August 2014

Here are the results of the various reader polls we conducted concerning Adriana Dominguez, the Brooklyn Law School student who appeared nude in a video for Playboy TV:
Adriana Dominguez poll results.JPG
These results make sense to us. Dominguez’s participation in the Playboy really has no bearing upon her character and fitness, with respect to her bar admission. It wasn’t criminal, and we don’t live in the Victorian Age.
As for her legal career, if she’s a talented lawyer, who cares if she has, er, certain other abilities? Sure, one might question her judgment; but this was one mistake, and nobody’s perfect.
(But yeah, maybe she’s not that hot. And just because her doing this nudie video shouldn’t preclude her bar admission doesn’t mean people can’t look down on her for doing so.)
Earlier: Adriana Dominguez: What Do YOU Think?
The Jurisdiction Stripper: Two More Polls

Alberto Gonzales Attorney General Alberto R Gonzales Above the Law blog.JPGWe’re liveblogging Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’s desperate fight for his political life testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is just getting underway. Our commentary will be added continuously to this post (until we eventually migrate to a new post). So just refresh your browser for the latest.
9:35: Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), SJC Chairman, has been reading a lengthy introductory statement. It’s way harsh on AlGo.
(Nice tie, Senator Leahy — alternating mint and forest green stripes. And a crisp white shirt — not a button-down-collar, thankfully. Politicians dress so much better than judges.)
9:41: Leahy gets in a dig about the White House being content to turn U.S. Attorney’s Offices into outposts of the Bush Administration.
The camera cuts to Gonzales, whose lower lip juts out defiantly — and he shakes his head vigorously, to show disagreement with Leahy’s statement. Will the famously mild-mannered Gonzales actually display some cojones?
More discussion after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Alberto Gonzales: In the Hot Seat (Part 1)”

supreme court small frontal Above the Law blog.JPG* Here’s the partial-birth abortion opinion, if anybody missed it yesterday. [U.S. Supreme Court (PDF)]
* And, in what I like to call “the other opinion issued by the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday”, the Court found that an attempted burglary in Florida is a “violent felony” for the purposes of the Armed Career Criminal Act. [U.S. Supreme Court (PDF)]
* We must be succeeding in bringing our freedom and values to Afghanistan; they’re now calling for the resignation of their Attorney General too. [Jurist]
* Rock asks Georgia court to settle paternity. [Fulton County Daily Report]
* VT gunman sent package to NBC in between shootings. [AP via Yahoo!]

Stephen Kunian Stephen T Kunian Steven Kunian Steve Kunian Above the Law blog.jpgHere’s a bizarre fact pattern to get your day started right. From the Massachusetts Lawyer Weekly:

A criminal assault-and-battery complaint has been issued against attorney Stephen T. Kunian, a partner at the Boston law firm of Eckert, Seamans, Cherin, Mellott, for an incident in which he allegedly forced open the jacket of a woman during the Dec. 2, 2006, opening of the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston.

But Kunian’s attorney said the allegations are “an attempt at character assassination” by a victim who has demanded $500,000 in damages.

The alleged victim in the case, independent museum curator Gloretta Baynes, filed a police report claiming that Kunian approached her on the night in question and opened up her jacket, exposing her bra. Baynes’ attorney, James S. Dilday of Boston, said she had the jacket zipped up to neck level but was not wearing a shirt underneath at the time.

Baynes is also claiming that Kunian’s hands touched her breasts at the time. Kunian allegedly said after the incident: “Oh, I’m sorry, I thought you had a shirt on.”

Bill Maher had some harsh words for graduates of Regent Law School. But Harvard Law School grads get in trouble too.
Complaint Launched Against Law-Firm Partner [Massachusetts Lawyer Weekly]
Stephen T. Kunian bio [Eckert Seamans]

library Above the Law blog.jpg* The headline screams “Britney!” But, in fact, this plaintiff was not wearing too-long jeans and fleeing the press — he was tasered. [Houston Chronicle]
* In my college days, this kind of activity was confined to private study booths known as “weenie bins.” We respected the books. [AP via Yahoo! News]
* Are royalties drying up, or is this (PDF) a legit lawsuit? [Los Angeles Times]
* Is teamwork encouraged in law school? Well, there is no “I” in team, but there sure is one in “Order of the Coif.” [Law School Innovation]

Linda Greenhouse 5 New York Times Above the Law blog.JPGBecause she needs all the help she can get these days. Backlash and insurrection against New York Times reporter Linda Greenhouse, the long reigning queen of the Supreme Court press corps, continue to grow.
For years, the courts construed 40 U.S.C. 6134 — which forbids “loud, threatening, or abusive language in the Supreme Court Building” — as prohibiting criticism of Linda Greenhouse. As a result, nobody within the legal or media establishment dared breathe a harsh word about her. But now, after decades of dominance, La Greenhouse is slipping — and increasingly vulnerable to attack.
Fueled by the success of the bestselling, critically acclaimed Supreme Conflict, Jan Crawford Greenburg — ABC News’s young, talented, and utterly gorgeous Supreme Court correspondent — is challenging Greenhouse for the title of America’s top Supreme Court reporter. Last month, a threatened LG tried to mount a snarky counterattack. But rather than damaging Greenburg’s reputation, it merely caused SCOTUS insiders to marvel at Greenhouse’s pettiness.
And now Greenburg’s challenge to Greenhouse is emboldening others. Some dare to claim that the empress has no clothes. Take Adam J. White of Baker Botts, a former Sentelletubby and legal commentator. White had this to say about Linda Greenhouse, in an essay for the Weekly Standard:

The law takes the long view, and so do its chroniclers — none more so than Linda Greenhouse, New York Times reporter and unofficial doyenne of the Supreme Court press corps. But Greenhouse’s recent essay on Chief Justice Roberts exemplifies the risks of racing to write the second draft of history before the first: By attempting to turn a single case into a moment of historic importance, Greenhouse misdescribes the record of one chief justice and severely insults another.

OUCH — and there’s more. You can read the rest of the piece here.
0-for-2: Linda Greenhouse gets both Rehnquist and Roberts wrong [The Weekly Standard via How Appealing]

harriet miers.jpgThere was much speculation about where former White House counsel Harriet Miers, of the ill-fated Supreme Court nomination, would wind up.
Would Miers oversee the George W. Bush Presidential Library at her alma mater, SMU? Would she be nominated to the Fifth Circuit? Would she launch a new line of high-end eye make-up?
The suspense is now over. From the Dallas Morning News:

Ex-White House counsel and U.S. Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers will rejoin her old law firm, Locke Liddell & Sapp, the firm announced Wednesday.

Ms. Miers had helped run the firm, based in Houston and Dallas, before joining President Bush’s staff in 2001. She will rejoin the firm’s public policy group and litigation group on May 1.

A Locke Liddell official said she will be based in Washington D.C. but also have offices in Dallas and Austin.

Congratulations, Ms. Miers!
(But why is she staying in D.C.? Why not return to her home state of Texas, home to her former lover, Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht? As we previously suggested, “If she returns to Texas, she may be able to stir the embers of his passion.”)
Harriet Miers To Rejoin Locke Liddell [Dallas Morning News]

Adriana Dominguez 2 Brooklyn Law School Playboy Above the Law blog.JPGFormer Justice Department official Monica Goodling isn’t the only appealing female who’s hiring lawyers these days. Yet another damsel in distress, who has also been in the headlines lately, has obtained legal representation for herself.
Remember Adriana Dominguez, the Brooklyn Law School student who made a nude video for Playboy TV? If you email Ms. Dominguez with an interview request, you receive this message:

I have no comment at this time. If you have any further questions, you can direct them to my attorney:

Brian Bloom
Cozen & O’Connor
(212) 509-9400
bbloom@cozen.com

Sincerely,
Adriana Dominguez

Why on earth has Adriana Dominguez hired a lawyer? We saw the video, and it was pretty trashy — but not criminal (although reasonable minds can differ).
Here’s the law firm bio of Dominguez’s attorney, Brian Bloom (Cornell 1999, Hofstra Law 2002):

Brian A. Bloom joined the New York Midtown office of Cozen O’Connor in March 2005 as an Associate in the General Litigation Department. He concentrates his practice in commercial litigation and intellectual property matters. Brian has represented various entertainers, musicians, and recording artists, including Eminem and (the Estate of) Tupac Shakur. Prior to joining the firm, he was a litigation associate at Fischbein Badillo Wagner Harding, LLP.

Tupac is probably turning over in his grave right now. Assuming he’s actually in it.
P.S. We’re guessing that Bloom and Dominguez are friends and that he picked up this matter as a favor to her (i.e., allowed her to refer to him as her attorney). But did he clear it with the powers-that-be at Cozen O’Connor, go through the requisite conflicts check, etc.?
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Adriana Dominguez (scroll down)

Blackberry Crackberry Blackberries baby Above the Law blog.JPGAre you a Biglaw associate who left the office early last night, relying upon your trusty Blackberry to keep you posted about what was going on back at work? If so, your reliance was misplaced. From the NYT:

Technical problems at Research in Motion cut off wireless e-mail service to millions of users of its BlackBerry hand-held devices in the United States for more than 10 hours overnight.

Mark Siegel, a spokesman for AT&T Wireless, which has the largest BlackBerry customer base in the world, said the service was lost to all carriers in the United States around 8 p.m. Eastern time on Tuesday. RIM told AT&T Wireless that the problem that caused the shutdown was resolved by 6 a.m. Eastern time today. However, he said that the enormous backlog of e-mail messages that must now be processed would continue to delay or disrupt service for some users.

So if you were out to dinner with friends last night, with a non-buzzing Blackberry, and thought “this is too good to be true,” guess what? You were right.
Now get back to work…
Blackberry Blackout: A Personal Story [DealBreaker]
Service Problems for BlackBerry System [New York Times]
Massive System Failure Affects BlackBerry Users [WNBC]

If you ask former Supreme Court clerks to name the three or four smartest justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg routinely makes the list. Former SCOTUS clerks on both sides of the aisle praise Justice Ginsburg for her intellect. She’s also regularly mentioned as one of the most “self-sufficient” justices (i.e., a justice who could still do her job effectively with little or no law clerk help).
But Justice Ginsburg is not infallible. Here’s an interesting IM conversation we had with a source earlier today (with actual screen names replaced by pseudonyms). Our source, identified below as “tipster,” was reading Justice Ginsburg’s dissent in Gonzales v. Carhart (PDF).
tipster: Ooh. Ginsburg is not good at math – see n.10.
Gonzales Carhart Above the Law blog.JPG
ATL: Ha! 1/1 is a fraction…
tipster: “No, sweetie, if the numerator and the denominator are the same, that just equals 1. Now go back to Home Ec and stop trying to learn math.”
ATL: that’s funny — can I use that?
tipster: sure.
ATL: Per standard ATL policy, no attribution (unless you want it).
tipster: DON’T YOU DARE ATTRIBUTE.
ATL: Can I at least identify you as a liberal and an RBG fan when I make fun of her footnote 10? I don’t want to get attacked as a right-wing hack (since this is equal-opportunity snark).
tipster: Yes.
ATL: Thanks.
tipster: Not like anyone will believe you have liberal friends.
ATL: But I do! I have more liberal friends than conservative ones.
tipster: “some of my best friends are *shudder-gag-vomit* liberal”
(That last line by our tipster was sarcastic, for those of you who are sarcasm-impaired. Thank you.)
Earlier: Breaking: Supreme Court Upholds Constitutionality of Partial Birth Abortion Act

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