5th Circuit

Not the alleged hot-dog hooker.

* While Dewey’s former culture gets roasted on a spit, and the seemingly unending drama gets turned into a montage of living lawyer jokes, we’re still waiting for the final punchline. [New York Times; Wall Street Journal]

* Don Verrilli tried so hard, and got so far (depending on who you ask), but in the end, it doesn’t even matter. When Linkin Park lyrics apply to your oral argument skills, you know you’re kind of screwed. [New York Times]

* The 9/11 arraignments went off without a hitch this weekend. And by that, we mean that it was a 13 hour hearing filled multiple interruptions, and grandstanding about “appropriate” courtroom fashion. [Fox News]

* In a “re-re-reversal,” Judge Jerry Smith, on a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit, reinstated Planned Parenthood’s injunction against Texas without even so much as a homework assignment. [Dallas Observer]

* The It Gets Worse Project: if you thought that the Law School Transparency debt figures were scary before, then take a look at them now. Six figures of debt just got a lot harder to swallow. [National Law Journal]

* Scalia gets busted on a case of hot-dog hooking. No, not that Scalia. A woman from Long Island has been accused, for the second time, of selling swallowing foot-longs in the back of her food truck. [New York Post]

Judge Jerry Smith

Above the Law readers weren’t particularly fond of Judge Jerry E. Smith’s “homework assignment” for the U.S. Department of Justice. In a reader poll, about two-thirds of you expressed disapproval of the Fifth Circuit ordering the DOJ to submit a three-page letter discussing judicial review. (The order came in the wake of, and in apparent response to, unfortunate comments on the subject by President Obama.)

But let’s say that you’re among the one-third of readers who view Judge Smith as courageous for calling out a former Con Law professor for making misleading statements about judicial review (statements that, in fairness to the president, he subsequently clarified). Let’s say that you’d like nothing better than to clerk on the Fifth Circuit for Judge Smith.

Well, aspiring law clerks to Judge Smith, there’s something you should know….

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Remember the homework assignment issued by Judge Jerry Smith of the Fifth Circuit to the U.S. Department of Justice? Earlier this week, Judge Smith ordered the DOJ to file a three-page, single-spaced letter discussing the principles of judicial review, in light of prior comments by President Barack Obama that could be construed as questioning the doctrine.

The response was due today at noon (Houston time) — about 20 minutes ago. It was filed on behalf of the Department by Attorney General Eric Holder.

Let’s take a look, shall we?

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'I'm so glad the Justice Department respects judicial review!'

The nation recently received a lesson in constitutional law from President Barack Obama (who famously taught Con Law at the University of Chicago). As we mentioned yesterday, President Obama said on Monday that striking down the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, would constitute an “unprecedented, extraordinary step,” amounting to “judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint — that an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law.”

The problem with this lesson: it wasn’t exactly accurate. Those “unelected” federal judges “overturn … duly constituted and passed law[s]” all the time — well, maybe not all the time, but on occasion, when said laws are inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution. It’s neither “unprecedented” nor “extraordinary,” and it doesn’t amount to judicial activism; rather, it’s called judicial review.

One prominent conservative jurist, Judge Jerry E. Smith of the Fifth Circuit, took it upon himself to set the record straight on this matter….

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Jenna Talackova

* AG Eric Holder can thank Obama for this homework assignment from Fifth Circuit Judge Jerry Smith, because it seems like our president forgot about Marbury v. Madison. More on this to come later today. [CBS News]

* Dewey need to buy this Biglaw firm a functional calculator? New information shows that the imploding firm was off by roughly $153M when partners reported 2011 earnings to the American Lawyer. [Am Law Daily]

* You know there’s got to be something questionable about a law school when the accreditation machine that is the ABA gives it the side eye. And no, Duncan Law, a judge still won’t force its hand. [National Law Journal]

* Stephen McDaniel pleaded not guilty at his arraignment for the murder of Mercer Law classmate Lauren Giddings, but will he be released on bail before trial? Only if he’s got $2.5M sitting around. [Macon Telegraph]

* More law school lawsuits are coming down the pipeline, but local lawyers in Massachusetts don’t think that they stand a chance. Why? The highly-educated consumer argument strikes again. [Boston Business Journal]

* Thanks to Gloria Allred, transgender beauty queen Jenna Talackova may be able to participate in the Miss Universe pageant if she can meet the legal requirements for being a woman in Canada. [MSNBC]

I called it, but it wasn’t a hard call to make.

Last year, the Fifth Circuit upheld the University of Texas’s affirmative action plan in Fisher v. University of Texas. But they did so in a petulant, childish manner, as if somebody was forcing them to eat their vegetables. At the time, I said they were openly begging for a right-wing Supreme Court to review and overturn their ruling.

It looks like the members of the Fifth Circuit are going to get their wish. The Supreme Court granted cert on Fisher, and now we get to have an affirmative action debate right in the middle of an election cycle where a black man is running for reelection.

I’m sure that last part is just coincidence though….

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Mountain Dew: a mouse could not survive in this environment, according to PepsiCo counsel.

* Pepsi lawyers offer a creative (if disturbing) defense to a lawsuit by a man who claims he found a mouse in his Mountain Dew. [Madison County Record via The Atlantic Wire]

* Will birther queen Orly Taitz get to depose — i.e., “rupture the jurisprudential hymen” — of President Barack Obama? That would be kind of awesome. [Columbus Ledger-Inquirer]

* Professor Ann Althouse raises an interesting “who decides?” question about Cleveland’s controversial ban on trans fats. [Althouse]

* Please, lawyers, stick to cocaine. Allegations of crystal meth usage are très déclassé. [NewsOK.com]

* Kudos to Kirkland & Ellis for coming to the defense of lesbian and gay public employees in Michigan. [Poliglot / Metro Weekly]

* It seems that the Montana Supreme Court isn’t a fan of the Citizens United decision. [Huffington Post]

* Jamin Soderstrom, a (rather cute) former S&C associate and current Fifth Circuit clerk, has written a book (affiliate link) analyzing the qualifications of presidential candidates and the relationship between résumés and presidential success. [Tex Parte Blog]

* If you’re a law professor / blogger who wants to get a rise out of fellow profs, write posts in praise of Paul Campos (just voted our 2011 Lawyer of the Year — congrats again, Professor Campos). [PrawfsBlawg]

* “Rising tuition. Misleading employment statistics. Inadequate skills training.” So what are legal educators doing about it? Blogging, of course. [Law School Review]

* Trendspotting: cute judges the federal bench? The Senate has confirmed Loyola Law professor Stephen Higginson for a seat on the Fifth Circuit. [National Law Journal]

* People in New Jersey have morals. Who knew? When faced with aborting babies or aborting their careers, some nurses from UMDNJ decided to sue. [Washington Post]

* Elbert Lin is returning to Wiley Rein after a stint clerking for Clarence Thomas. We wonder what his wife would say about him if he was one of her LEWW contestants? [Blog of Legal Times]

* Another Real Housewife of New Jersey is facing legal troubles, but this time to the tune of $7.8M. Sorry Teresa, but at least Jacqueline Laurita’s got her hairline under control. [Huffington Post]

* Is Justin Bieber the father of a baby, baby, baby? That’s what a 20-year-old from California says, and she wants a paternity test to prove it. [New York Post]

Our candidates for the coveted Lawyer of the Month title have been a bit tame for the past few months. This time around, we’ve chosen some lawyers and law students who represent our more prurient interests and our unabashed love for scandal.

Aficionados of hookers? We’ve got ‘em. Vicious tongue lashings? We’ve got those, too.

This installment of the competition is the sex, violence, and stupidity edition. Check out our deadly and disorderly nominees for the month of September….

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Chief Judge Edith Jones: Underneath her robe beats a judicial diva's heart.

Can you enforce civility by being… uncivil? That’s the question being raised, over and over again, by federal judges from Texas these days.

Before we get to the latest ridiculousness, let’s review. Back in August, Judge Sam Sparks (W.D. Tex.) benchslapped some rude lawyers with a snarky order inviting them to a “kindergarten party,” where they would learn such lessons as reasonableness and courtesy.

Ironically enough, some found Judge Sparks’s civility-seeking order to be… rude. Chief Judge Edith Jones (5th Cir.) issued an email reprimand to Judge Sparks, condemning his “caustic, demeaning, and gratuitous” order as “cast[ing] disrespect on the judiciary.” Some observers in turn thought it rude of Chief Judge Jones to call out Judge Sparks in writing, so publicly — she cc’d all of the other Western District of Texas judges on her email — when she could have just made a private phone call.

Chief Judge Jones is a highly regarded conservative jurist and a fixture on Supreme Court short lists, but she might not be the best authority on civility and etiquette these days. Check out the latest craziness — an en banc hearing before the Fifth Circuit that generated judicial fireworks, culminating in Judge Jones essentially telling a colleague to STFU or GTFO….

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