Airplanes / Aviation

Paul Cassell Judge Paul G Cassell Above the Law blog.jpg* As a judge, Michael Mukasey cited Shakespeare in snarking on — and striking down — the federal sentencing guidelines. [AP]
* Speaking of district judges, the well-regarded Judge Paul Cassell (D. Utah — at right) is resigning from the bench — partly due to low judicial pay. [Sentencing Law & Policy via WSJ Law Blog]
* What not to wear when you go to the airport. [Boston Globe]
* Unlike, say, the Ninth Circuit, the Second Circuit follows on-point Supreme Court precedent. [TaxProf Blog]
* Your submissions for Blawg Review #127 are respectfully requested. [Deliberations]
Update: The citation for the Mukasey opinion is United States v. Mendez, 691 F. Supp. 656, 663-64 (S.D.N.Y. 1988).
Back in this post, in which we incorrectly predicted that Mukasey wouldn’t get the AG nomination, we wrote: “We’d also add that Judge Mukasey probably isn’t solidly conservative enough for the White House. See, e.g., his views on the federal sentencing guidelines.”

Here’s the latest Job of the Week from Lateral Link, ATL’s career partner:

Company: Eclipse Aviation

Title: Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary

Description: This Albuquerque, NM-based company, which makes personal passenger planes, seeks a General Counsel to head overall management of the legal and regulatory functions within the Company and to oversee all legal aspects of its anticipated public offering, including legal compliance with SEC and NASDAQ/NYSE registration and all subsequent reporting requirements. Company is willing to relocate qualified candidate from anywhere in USA to Albuquerque, NM.

More details, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Job of the Week”

Raed Jarrar ACLU T-shirt Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgSome fashion advice for Arab-Americans traveling by plane: leave the Arabic-slogan t-shirts at home.
Unless you want to become the plaintiff in an ACLU lawsuit. Consider this recently filed case:

The American Civil Liberties Union and New York Civil Liberties Union today filed a federal civil rights lawsuit charging that a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) official and JetBlue Airways illegally discriminated against an American resident based solely on the Arabic message on his t-shirt and his ethnicity.

JetBlue and the TSA official, identified as “Inspector Harris,” would not let Raed Jarrar board his flight at John F. Kennedy Airport until he agreed to cover his t-shirt, which read “We Will Not Be Silent” in English and Arabic script.

According to the complaint, Harris told Jarrar that it is impermissible to wear an Arabic shirt to an airport and equated it to a “person wearing a t-shirt at a bank stating, ‘I am a robber.’”

Oy. Gotta love those enlightened TSA officials. Should Jarrar have worn a burqa instead?
Okay, seriously — if Raed Jarrar were a terrorist intent on wreaking havoc, would he really have worn such a t-shirt on to an airplane? Isn’t that just a recipe for extra-special scrutiny from the federal air marshal?
(On the other hand, perhaps one could argue, under a “reverse psychology” rubric, that a terrorist might don such a t-shirt because everyone would think: “Only the most dumb-ass terrorist would call attention to himself with his outfit!”)
ACLU Sues TSA Official, JetBlue for Discriminating Against Passenger Wearing Arabic T-Shirt [American Civil Liberties Union]
“We Will Not Be Silent” [ACLU (lawsuit homepage)]
The Airline Screening Playset: Hours of Fun! [Concurring Opinions]
After 5 Years In U.S., Terrorist Cell Too Complacent To Carry Out Attack [The Onion]

Andrew Speaker Andrew H Speaker Andrew Harley Speaker Above the Law blog.jpgYesterday’s Lawyer of the Day here at ATL, Andrew Speaker, is a 31-year-old personal injury lawyer from Atlanta. He is currently infected with a drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis. He got married and honeymooned in Europe, then returned home — initially flying into Canada, from which he drove back to the United States — to have his TB treated.
His critics argue that Andy Speaker, in traveling despite being urged not to by the CDC, endangered his fellow passengers, exposing them to a potentially fatal illness. His defenders point out that he is not symptomatic — and that many of us might have done the same thing in his shoes.
Anyway, enough commentary. You’ve all read a great deal about this story already. Time for a pair of (unscientific and imprecise) reader polls:


* Will Yalies respond with an NYU-esque gimmick? [Balkinization]
* And some people say raising kids and taking care of the house is a full-time job. Looks like the monetized value of a stay-at-home mom is not always so inflated after all. [Christian Science Monitor via CrimProf Blog]
* You just know that after a few minutes of official union matters, they’re going to be laughing it up about the stuff they see in our bags, and body parts that accidentally (or not) get felt up during pat-downs. [Yahoo! News]
* Another argument in favor of stronger Second Amendment rights? [MSN]
* I know these are the kinds of stories you want, so occasionally, you’ll get them. [WTHR Indianapolis]

Federal Judges on a Plane.jpgSome time ago, we posted an anecdote about the family travel mishaps of Judge Marsha Berzon, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Many ATL readers enjoyed the story. But Judge Berzon’s colleague, Judge Alex Kozinski — one of the federal judiciary’s most brilliant thinkers and talented writers — was less pleased. He sent us an open letter criticizing the story and our decision to publish it.
We posted Judge Kozinski’s letter here, and we promised a more detailed response.
We intended to publish a response much earlier. But having to respond to a benchslapping at the hands of a brilliant federal judge tends to induce “writer’s block.” Who’d have thunk it?
Anyway, we finally got over our writer’s block. Our response appears after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Response to Judge Alex Kozinski”

Northwest Airlines NWA Above the Law blog.jpgWhat is it about being 30,000 feet in the air that makes people so horny? First this. Then this. And now, this disturbing news story:

An off-duty Northwest Airlines employee was arrested after a woman on a flight from Seattle complained that the man had ejaculated on her.

The FBI identified the man as Samuel Oscar Gonzalez, 20, of Lakewood, Wash. He was charged in federal court with simple assault, a misdemeanor.

It happened on the redeye Monday morning from Seattle to Minneapolis. The woman was headed back to college.

Near the end of the flight, the FBI said Gonzalez sat next to the woman as she was trying to sleep. He touched her, which she described as spooning, lifted her shirt and then got up and left. Court documents said she felt a warm fluid on her back, clothes and seat after he walked away.

Nasty. Well, at least he wasn’t a state court judge.

The woman told the flight attendants about the incident. They moved her to another seat and called police from the air. The crew also moved the man to a seat near the front of the plane until the end of the flight.

He just wanted to sit in first class. Is that so wrong?
Or maybe he was just having trouble falling asleep on the red-eye flight. We’re sure that he slept quite soundly after this encounter.
Off-Duty NWA Worker Charged With Assault On Flight [CBS via Drudge Report]
United States v. Gonzalez: Criminal Complaint [PDF]

* Jurors become instant BFF over testimony of an intimate and sexual nature. [Los Angeles Times]
* Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]
* Turns out you actually can’t dance if you want to. [Newsday]
* As kids, my brother and I were familiar with only this constitutional amendment because of the “Second Amendment = Two arms” mnemonic aid. (We knew other things, okay?) [Volokh Conspiracy]
* Faux fur is, more often than not, real fur. As in real dog fur. So who is going to cast the first stone (or, rather, paint bucket) at Anna Wintour now? [San Francisco Chronicle]
* It’s getting hot in herre. [MSN]
* “Innocence most often is a good fortune and not a virtue.” One thing’s for sure — if you’re being tried for a crime, you’re SOL. [PrawfsBlawg]

* A flight attendant was suspended for merely taking a bathroom break. Of course, this “break” involved Ralph Fiennes’s penis. Wrongful termination or not, it would have been worth it. [The Daily Telegraph]
* Was this a way out of CLE requirements? [San Francisco Chronicle]
* Too many lawyers, not enough nuts, fruits or flakes. [Professor Bainbridge; Point of Law]
* How many times have you wondered what a producer actually does? And how many times since last year’s Oscars have you wondered why Crash won best picture? (Once for me, but the moment was intense and fraught with anger.) [Madisonian]

We feel a bit like Senator Joe Biden must feel right now, after his ill-advised comments about Senator Barack Obama. In case you haven’t heard, Sen. Biden paid Sen. Obama’s presidential candidacy some backhanded compliments:

“I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.”

Take foot (or, in our case, keyboard). Insert into mouth. Then push, as far as it will go.
Yesterday we published a post about a recent plane trip made by Judge Marsha Berzon, of the Ninth Circuit, and her family. It was supposed to come across as playfully irreverent (and yes, slightly snarky). But instead, it turned out to be rather mean-spirited, at least in the eyes of some readers — such as Judge Alex Kozinski.
In a later post, we will explain various aspects of that original post (and vigorously defend the decision to publish in the first instance). But for now, we would like to point out that the timing of our post could not have been worse.
The following email is representative of others we’ve received. It’s from a former clerk of Judge Berzon (who, by the way, thinks very highly of her and enjoyed the clerkship):

Judge Berzon’s brother passed away Tuesday quite suddenly and unexpectedly. So, whereas I would be bothered by such a post about someone I so thoroughly revere as a general matter, I wouldn’t normally object to its very existence — I’d just fight back. Given current circumstances, however, I do think it is in especially poor taste this week, a point you might want to consider as you post further on the subject.

Point well-taken. Obviously we had no idea of the passing of Judge Berzon’s brother at the time we published our post. It was a story we had on hand for a while — non-time-sensitive stuff, or what we in the biz call “evergreen” material — and we didn’t get the chance to write it up until yesterday. So it was pure (and unfortunate) coincidence that it appeared at such a terrible time for the Berzon family.
We send our sincerest condolences to Judge Berzon on the passing of her brother. And we apologize if we have in any way made such a difficult time for her family even more trying.
Update: Some interesting comments here. Please be sure to read our clarification of the point of this post. Thanks.
Earlier: Flying the Friendly, Federal Judicial Skies: An Open Letter from Judge Alex Kozinski
Flying the Friendly, Federal Judicial Skies

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