Back in 2007, I declared Judge Vanessa D. Gilmore (S.D. Tex.) to be a judicial diva (a term I first popularized over at my original blog, Underneath Their Robes). Judge Gilmore earned this delicious distinction through such behavior as allegedly throwing objects at attorneys in open court and dumping motions in the trash for using the incorrect font.
Well, it appears that Judge Vanessa Gilmore was pleased rather than perturbed by her diva designation. As she told the Texas Lawyer, she used it in the title of her new book, You Can’t Make This Stuff Up: Tales From a Judicial Diva.
This is Judge Gilmore’s second book. Her first literary effort, A Boy Named Rocky, was “a coloring book for the children of incarcerated parents.” (They sure could use it — if any kids need to be taught to stay within the lines….)
Let’s learn more about Judge Gilmore’s latest book — and check out the delightfully ridiculous cover art….
Judge Gilmore’s book is a self-published collection of amusing anecdotes. Here’s more, from the Tex Parte Blog:
Gilmore, who was appointed to the bench in 1994, says people often ask her if the humorous stories she tells about her life as a federal judge are true, and her answer is that she can’t possibly make it up.
Among various situations, Gilmore says she writes about the many, many letters she’s received from would-be suitors who contact her from prison. That includes the inmate who asked Gilmore, who is a single parent with a son, to fill out a questionnaire so he could determine if she’s worthy to date.
Well, she might be able to grant your § 2255 — that has to count for something, right?
Gilmore says she wrote other essays about “just crazy stuff.” For instance, Gilmore says she noticed that a large number of the defendants in capital cases in her court had Wayne or Lee for their middle names. After doing some informal research, Gilmore says she determined that an “oddly high number” of defendants in Texas death penalty cases have those middle names. After doing more online research, she’s determined that others have noticed the same strange propensity for people with Wayne or Lee for a middle name to have trouble with the law.
My middle name is “Benjamin,” which sounds significantly less sociopathic. But “Lee” might be okay as your kid’s middle name if you’re Asian.
Will Judge Gilmore’s book, despite its humorous focus, cause controversy? Back in August, I wrote about the kerfuffle (in my view unwarranted) over another feisty female judge’s memoir: In Defense of Women: Memoirs of an Unrepentant Advocate, by Judge Nancy Gertner (D. Mass.). Some critics think that donning the robes means no longer being able to have a personality — or to express it in print.
In any event, Judge Gilmore’s book sounds like an interesting and fun read. Learn more about it on Her Honor’s website — and buy a copy, too. It might be a while until the next federal judicial pay raise, so help a sister out!
P.S. The diamond-studded gavel on the cover might be a bit much. Could it raise an issue under the Code of Conduct for United States Judges? The commentary to Canon 2B notes that book advertising should “avoid exploitation of the judge’s office.”
U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore publishes second book [Tex Parte Blog]