Alex Kozinski

Chief Judge KOZINSKI, disagreeing with everyone….

– The introductory line to Chief Judge Alex Kozinski’s recent separate opinion in Garfias-Rodriguez v. Holder (9th Cir. Oct. 19, 2012). As noted by the WSJ Law Blog, the other opinions of the highly fragmented en banc court had more traditional designations, like “concurrence” and “dissent.” Howard Bashman was amused.

(Additional news out of the Ninth Circuit, of a serious and sad nature, after the jump.)

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Kate Middleton

* Come on, people, Dewey really think that it’s fair that these proposed partnership clawback settlements blame only us for the firm’s implosion? The Steves and ex-CFO Joel Sanders don’t think so. [Bloomberg]

* “[E]ven if partners’ capital contributions were used to repay Dewey’s indebtedness—so what?” Well, that’s certainly one way to defend a suit alleging Citibank’s participation in a Ponzi-like scheme. [Am Law Daily]

* A $280K bonus sure seems nice, but do all Supreme Court clerks choose life in Biglaw once they’ve completed their stints at the high court? As it turns out, the answer is no — some view the money as “golden handcuffs.” [Wall Street Journal]

* Because nobody can ogle these crown jewels except Prince William: the royals’ potential suit against Closer magazine over topless pics of Kate Middleton has turned into full-blown privacy proceeding. [New York Times]

* If you’re struggling in law school, it may be wise to take some advice from those who’ve been there before you, like SullCrom’s Rodge Cohen, or the Ninth Circuit’s Chief Judge Alex Kozinski. [National Law Journal]

Chief Judge Alex Kozinski

Supreme Court precedent supports the appearance of federal judges in works of filmed or staged entertainment. For example, back in 1997, Justice Harry Blackmun played Justice Joseph Story in Amistad (as you can see in Justice Blackmun’s IMDb profile). More recently, in 2009, Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had cameos in a performance at the Washington National Opera.

We all know how much the Ninth Circuit loves to follow the Supreme Court. So should it be surprising that the Honorable Alex Kozinski, Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit, will be appearing in a feature film this fall?

And no, it’s not a documentary about the legal system. It’s a fiction-based, feature film….

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No more misleading stats.

* The ABA adopted a rule that law school data must not be “misleading.” That rule of course means nothing unless the ABA has the will to enforce it. [American Bar Association]

* Posner, gay porn, and the future of the internet. Oh yeah, you’re clicking on this link. [Hollywood Reporter]

* Some Penn State trustees are filing an appeal over their NCAA sanctions. Yeah, because we really want a higher power to take a closer look at PSU. [ESPN]

* Alex Kozinski kind of apologizes for the 9th Circuit judicial conference in Maui. Kind of. [9th Cir. via How Appealing]

* I was in the opening segment of the new Planet Mancow show with Erich “Mancow” Muller. Apparently, I’m the only guy who thinks an Escape from New York scenario where everybody is armed is a bad thing. [Planet Mancow]

* Media bias isn’t necessarily what you think it is. [The Atlantic]

* Vietnam is now getting on the right side of history. A song, played on a same sex saxophone. A gay man sound, a lesbian sound, a cry that tells us love isn’t just for heteros. It’s telling me, to hold you tight, and dance like homophobia makes no sense in the world. [WSJ Law Blog]

* If corporations are people, that means they also get to have religion. We can’t be too far away from social conservatives trying to ban same-industry corporate mergers. [The Atlantic]

* Yeah, what I really want to hear is a 0L giving advice about how to choose which law school to go to. [Huffington Post]

* Once again, Romney really seems to support some kind of government-mandated health insurance so long as he’s not talking to Americans while he’s running for President. [Wonkblog / Washington Post]

* Whistling at whales could be a crime, because you don’t want to encourage them. No, I’m not making a BBW joke. I’m talking about actual whales. [The Volokh Conspiracy]

* So if we ban illegal immigrants from getting government assistance for an abortion, then aren’t we kind of supporting anchor babies? [Associated Press]

* Lat and friend model t-shirts designed by Chief Judge Alex Kozinski (for His Honor’s Romanian barbecue). [Twitter]

While we wait for the Supreme Court to rule on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) — by the way, live audio or video coverage would be nice — let’s pick up where we left off yesterday, with coverage of the latest Supreme Court clerk hiring.

We’ll start with some analysis of the October Term 2012 law clerks, now that we know who they are, and then show you the updated law clerk lists for OT 2012 and OT 2013….

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Judge Paul Watford

Congratulations to the newest member of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the Honorable Paul J. Watford. On Monday, Watford, currently a 44-year-old partner at the super-elite Munger Tolles & Olson, was confirmed to the federal bench. The vote was 61-34, and it came after a bit of drama in the Senate.

It’s surprising that Watford’s nomination was so contentious, given that he has a number of backers from the right side of the aisle. As noted by the San Francisco Chronicle, “[h]is supporters included conservative UCLA law Professor Eugene Volokh, who has described Watford as brilliant and ideologically moderate, and attorney Jeremy Rosen, former president of the Los Angeles chapter of the conservative Federalist Society” (and a noted appellate lawyer, who has appeared before in these pages).

That’s not all. Watford clerked for Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, one of a handful of prominent conservative or libertarian judges on the (generally liberal) Ninth Circuit. If you look at the ranks of former Kozinski clerks, you’ll see many members in good standing of the vast right-wing conspiracy (and some who are not, like Paul Watford — who went on to clerk for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and was nominated to the Ninth Circuit by a Democratic president).

Now that the handsome Watford has joined his superhottie boss on the bench, we have a trivia question: Who is the circuit judge with the most former law clerks to join him on the Court of Appeals during his lifetime?

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The federal judiciary recently lost two of its most distinguished members. One was a trial judge on the East Coast, and one was an appellate judge on the West Coast (as well as the nation’s longest-serving federal appellate judge).

Both were leading lights of the Article III judiciary. They will be deeply missed by their courts; their clerks, current and former; and their colleagues….

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Majority opinions are hardly sitting ducks for the criticism dissentals may heap on them. If a panel majority finds that a dissental scores some valid points, it can modify its opinion to eliminate the problem, something that happens regularly in the Ninth Circuit. Indeed, fear that internal criticisms will be taken public often causes judges to moderate outlier opinions so as to present a smaller target for public criticism and possible certiorari. One of us (yes, the hot one) is even aware of a case where the panel withdrew its opinion and reversed the result, after winning the en banc vote, in the teeth of a stinging dissental.

– Chief Judge Alex Kozinski (9th Cir.) and his former law clerk, James Burnham of Jones Day, in a Yale Law Journal online essay entitled I Say Dissental, You Say Concurral (defending the practice of filing a dissental, aka dissenting from the denial of rehearing en banc).

(Additional discussion, after the jump.)

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The law is for muppets!

– Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, at a Fordham Law moot court competition. According to a tipster, Judge Kozinski was alluding to the very public resignation of Greg Smith from Goldman Sachs last week, in the course of dismissing a student’s point that the panel should rely solely on the law to decide the case.

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