Chief Judge Alex Kozinski (9th Cir.) and your above-signed writer, at the 2010 Annual Dinner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
Last Thursday, June 17, I had the pleasure of attending the 2010 annual dinner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, in Washington, D.C. In case you’re not familiar with it, CEI is “a public interest group dedicated to free enterprise and limited government” — i.e., a libertarian think tank.
At this year’s dinner, the honoree was a legal luminary with libertarian leanings: Alex Kozinski, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Given my adoration of Judge Kozinski, the proximity of Washington to New York, and the fact that I was already going to be in D.C. — for a dinner of the Society of Professional Journalists (Kash and I wrote a magazine story that was nominated for an award) — how could I not attend?
A write-up of the proceedings and a slideshow, after the jump.
Ignorance has never stopped a federal judge from expressing an opinion.
– Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit, after professing limited knowledge of antitrust law during a humorous speech about (you guessed it) antitrust law, at the annual dinner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute last night.
The Supreme Court routinely relies on such express instructions. And some of our nation’s hottest jurists have called for their more frequent use. See, e.g., Alex Kozinski, Should Reading Legislative History Be an Impeachable Offense?, 31 Suffolk U. L. Rev. 807, 819 (1998).
We’re hoping the Harvard Law School email controversy has run its course — and we suspect that it has. (But we still invite you to take our reader poll on whether Crimson DNA’s email was racist or offensive.)
Before we close the door on this story, we’d like to give you the background on how it all got started. It’s disturbing — and a cautionary tale for all of us.
Our initial report on this story was missing some important pieces of information, which we did not acquire until later. This post will attempt to provide a more complete report of how one Harvard 3L’s personal email message, shared with just a handful of friends, became national news….
UPDATE: We’ve added a statement from one of the principal players, “Yelena,” after the jump.
Thumbs up to cameras in the courtroom from Judge Alex Kozinski and our own David Lat
The Ninth Circuit sent waves through the legal community earlier this year when Judge Vaughn Walker proposed broadcasting the Prop 8 trial. In January, the Supreme Court swept in and shot down that idea.
The right to an open and public trial is guaranteed by the Constitution, and understanding what’s going on in our courts is a crucial part of democratic self-governance. The standard for closing a courtroom to the public is very high, and justifiably so. We the People should be allowed to know — and to hear, and to see — what is transpiring within our courts. After all, these are our laws being interpreted, our rights being adjudicated, and our taxpayer dollars at work.
And in this age of videoconferencing, YouTube, blogging, and Twitter, the distinction between physical and virtual attendance of court proceedings is becoming increasingly artificial.
Kozinski is a fierce advocate of cameras in the courtroom. On Monday, he stopped by Fordham Law School to talk about why courts need to admit cameras (before Congress forces cameras on them). Beyond the public’s “right to know,” he focused on the fact that cameras are impartial observers that are becoming increasingly necessary as the media devolves into a bunch of highly-subjective blogger-types…
* Would ash sway a jury? A judge in Iowa thought so. [Beliefnet via ABA Journal]
* Spanking judge Herman Thomas was acquitted on charges of sexually abusing inmates, but yesterday he was disbarred. [Associated Press]
* CHECK YOU EMAIL SCAMS. [ABA Journal]
* Ninth Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski laments the death of the Fourth Amendment. [Pogo Was Right]
* Snarky justice is better than no justice. More on Judge Rakoff’s ruling on the Bank of America-SEC settlement. [New York Times]
* Another lawyer show, this time with Jim Belushi. [Reuters]
What should a female Solicitor General wear to the U.S. Supreme Court? It’s a hot-button issue. For some excellent analysis, see Dahlia Lithwick.
The topic of SCOTUS-appropriate attire for a Solicitrix General keeps coming up. It popped up yesterday in Solicitor General Elena Kagan’s interview with Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, at the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference in Monterey.
From an attendee (who stayed at the conference longer than we did; we left the day after our panel):
In case you are not here, David: the solicitor general was just asked what she will wear at the Court, and she declined to say. But Judge Kozinski followed up to ask — expressly on your behalf [David Lat fka Article III Groupie] — whether she would be wearing Jimmy Choos. She said “no,” because the heels are too high to stand in while she argues.
Thought you’d want to know this breaking fashion news!
Someone’s July 4th weekend is off to a good start. Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, has been cleared of misconduct by the panel of Third Circuit judges that was tasked with investigating him. As you may recall, Chief Judge Kozinski called for an investigation of himself, after it was revealed that he had a “website” — which wasn’t really a website, for reasons previously explained by the judge’s wife, Marcy Tiffany — containing some sexually explicit material.
The Third Circuit Judicial Council’s unanimous opinion, authored by Chief Judge Anthony Scirica, is available here (PDF). It was actually filed on June 5, but only made public today. It’s thorough and lengthy, weighing in at 38 pages, and describes in detail the extensive investigation conducted by the council (with the assistance of outside lawyers, from Dechert and Morgan Lewis, and a technology consultant).
To those with a deeper familiarity with the facts of the case, as opposed to just the headlines, Chief Judge Kozinski’s vindication is not surprising. The judge violated no law; rather, the “website” — actually just a private family file server, although imperfectly secured for a period of time, as explained in the opinion — was a personal matter unrelated to his judicial duties. To the extent that the (overblown) public controversy created a problem in an obscenity trial that Judge Kozinski was presiding over at the time, any problem was obviated when the judge recused himself. And let’s not forget that the whole controversy was originally kicked up by a disgruntled litigant, Cyrus Sanai, who tried peddling the story for months before someone finally bit — and who “has been targeting Kozinski for years,” as noted by Ted Frank.
So congratulations, Judge Kozinski, on putting this matter behind you. We look forward to catching up with you at the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference later this month.
We previously linked to Eilene Zimmerman’s article in Morning Docket, but in case you missed it, check it out here. An excerpt:
Although many associates are angry about the freezes, others are relieved, said David Lat, founding editor of AboveTheLaw.com, a blog about law firms and the profession.
“There is this sense that firms didn’t act prudently during the boom and now they are getting religion, and that it’s better late than never,” Mr. Lat said. “Many associates we have spoken to think the freeze probably saved jobs.”
This article, by Alex Aldridge, focuses primarily on the social networking and blogging scene over in the U.K., but there is some discussion of what’s going on here in the States:
[T]he US legal blogging community is a fascinating case study in itself, having grown up in the wake of the controversial lawyer message boards Greedy Associates. So influential did the irreverent site come as a means for junior lawyers to pass around information that they were regarded as playing a key role in the pay wars of 1999 and 2000, as news of tit-for-tat pay rises among US law firms raced around the web.
The always-playful legal Web site Above the Law asked readers to answer an online poll. About 48 percent blamed Roberts, just 17 percent blame Obama, and 35 percent said yes to the statement, “They both sucked.”
If you missed our recent event with Chief Judge Alex Kozinski (9th Cir.) in Los Angeles, and if you’re here in New York, feel free to swing by Columbia Law School at around noon tomorrow:
A Judge in Full: Personality and Jurisprudence
When: Thursday, January 22, at 12:10 PM Speakers: The Honorable Alex Kozinski, Chief Judge, Ninth Circuit; David Lat, Founder, Above the Law Where: JG 106, Columbia Law School, 435 West 116th St. (at Amsterdam Ave.) Cost: Free and open to the public. Lunch will be served.
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Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
Deal flow has clearly picked recently up for most US associates, counsels and partners in Hong Kong/China and Singapore. We are on the phone with a lot of these folks on a daily basis, many of whom we have known for years. Further, the head of our Asia team, Evan Jowers, and Kinney’s founder and president, Robert Kinney, frequently meet in person with leading US partners in Asia to assess their needs and keep on top of the inside scoop at as many firms as possible. The need for legal recruiting help in Asia from experienced recruiters appears to be live and well. In March, Evan and Robert were in Beijing at such meetings, in April, Evan was in Hong Kong, and for half of June Evan will be in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Thus its pretty easy for us to tell when there has been an across-the-market pick up in capital markets and corporate work.
On an average day in Asia when Evan and Robert visit firms, they typically have 5 to 9 meetings a day, mostly with US partners in the market. The reason they have these meetings is not simply because Kinney makes a lot of US attorney placements in Asia and that a particular firm may have openings; instead these are just visits with friends. After years of working together as business partners, the folks at Kinney are actually these peoples’ friends. The firms Kinney work closely with in Asia (which is just about every law firm – call us if you want to know the one firm in the world we will never place anyone with again, ever, and why) look forward to the visits, or at least act like they do. After seven years in the market, many of the client partners are former associate candidates. Also, these US partners see Kinney as a very good source of market information as well, because they know how deep their contacts are in the market and how frequently they are speaking to counterparts at peer firms.
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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