Alex Kozinski

dolphin sex video.jpgA tipster asked us: “Did you catch this week’s Law & Order – SVU? The judge had to recuse himself because they found porn on his computer during the course of a porn-addiction case.”

Sound familiar? It may remind you of this recent case (although the L&O episode involved dolphins rather than donkeys).

More after the jump.

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new hampshire.gif* No trial for you! New Hampshire’s Superior Court is shaving a month of jury trials off of next year’s calendar because of its budget crisis. [New York Times]

* 9/11 masterminds recant their guilty plea because they want the death penalty. [Washington Post]

* Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo is taking the leaders of L.A.’s largest gang to court. The twist? It’s a civil suit, seeking monetary damages on behalf of L.A. neighborhoods for “property damage, loss in property value, emotional distress, personal injury, medical expenses, and out-of-pocket expenses” [Los Angeles Times]

* Ten percent of UVA 2Ls have not found “summer internships” yet. Alumni suggest they head to Nashville or Denver. [Daily Progress]

* Embattled Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski is getting media attention again, for raunchy, politically-incorrect joke round-ups e-mailed out to friends, colleagues, journalists, lawyers and judges. Sadly, we were not on the Easy Rider Gag List distribution list. The jokes are kinda hilarious. [San Jose Mercury News]

* Five Blackwater guards charged with murder in killings of Iraqis. [Boston Globe]

Supreme Court hallway Above the Law Above the Law Above the Law.JPGOur last round-up of Supreme Court clerk hiring was published back in August, before the start of October Term 2008. Now that the justices are back in the country and back on the bench, they’re back to interviewing clerkship applicants.

Over at the Clerkship Notification Blog, there was buzz about Justice Stephen Breyer interviewing and hiring clerks for October Term 2009. That intelligence was correct. Here are his hires:

1. Christopher Fonzone (Harvard 2007 / Wilkinson)

2. Jennifer Nou (Yale 2008 / Posner)

Fonzone appears to be the “2007 Harvard grad” referenced in the comments. With Chris Fonzone and Jen Nou on board, Justice Breyer is all done for OT 2009. (We also hear that he’s started to hire for October Term 2010, but we have no details.)

Update (3:40 PM): We now know one of SGB’s hires for OT 2010:

Erika Myers (Stanford 2008 / Kozinski)

Interesting — although Chief Judge Kozinski is a big-time feeder, he tends to feed more to the right side of the Court. So he may be expanding his range as a feeder judge.

The updated list of Supreme Court clerks, with Fonzone and Nou and Myers added, appears after the jump.

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In the interest of completeness, here are a few quick postscripts to stories that we previously covered in these pages, but didn’t get around to mentioning during the craziness of last week. They come from the National Law Journal and/or the WSJ Law Blog.

Robert Somma Bankruptcy Judge Robert Somma Above the Law blog.jpg1. Judge Robert Somma: The cross-dressing former bankruptcy judge (at right), who resigned from the bench after a drunk driving arrest, has joined the bankruptcy practice of Posternak Blankstein & Lund, a midsize firm based in Boston, as senior counsel. [National Law Journal; WSJ Law Blog]

2. American Justice School of Law: This defunct Kentucky law school, which in 2007 was hit with a class action filed by some of its students, has filed for bankruptcy. [National Law Journal; WSJ Law Blog]

Alex Kozinski Chief Judge Alex Kozinski small.jpg3. L’Affaire Kozinski: The panel of federal judges from the Third Circuit investigating Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski (at right) has retained Robert Heim, head of litigation at Dechert, to oversee the probe (which will be staffed by lawyers from Dechert and Morgan Lewis & Bockius). [National Law Journal; WSJ Law Blog]

4. University of Michigan’s Wolverine Scholars Program: Sarah Zearfoss, dean of admissions at UM Law, has defended the program against allegations that it’s an attempt to game the U.S. News rankings. She pointed out that the program is small, likely to result in the admission of just five to ten students (out of a class of 360), and that very few UM undergrads (about 200) would even be eligible for it. [WSJ Law Blog]

avatar Marin ATL Idol.jpg[Ed. note: This post is by MARIN, one of the finalists in ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Marin's avatar (at right).]
From ergonomic wrist supports to dual computer monitors, law firms wring every ounce of productivity from the attorneys they haven’t axed (yet). But while firms close branch offices and fire scores of lawyers, we submit that the answer to the current economic slump isn’t merging firms – it’s merging people. Everybody knows that two lawyers are better than one. It’s time for firms to get both and pay half; time for attorney mating.
No more legions of staff attorneys or filibuster roll-calls. Say goodbye to team meetings that resemble the Last Supper. Through attorney mating, firms can combine, say, the skills of master litigators with those of corporate powerhouses in order to produce uberlawyers with the efficiency of ten Aeron chairs. Using genetic samples from parent attorneys and the latest in Photoshop technology, we’ll give you a sneak peak at the offspring of some of the most sought-after combinations.
Read more, after the jump.

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Kozinski.jpgWe have. So, barring major new developments, we’re cutting back on our coverage of the controversy surrounding Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit. As we suggested yesterday, the story is petering out anyway; but if you’re still interested in following it, check out Patterico’s Pontifications, which has been offering excellent, wall-to-wall coverage.
Before we take our leave of this tale, here are a few notable links:
1. Judges Named To Head Kozinski Inquiry [AP]
This is the only real news to emerge since our last post. Chief Justice John Roberts, responding to Chief Judge Kozinski’s request for an investigation, has named five jurists to the investigatory panel: Chief Judge Anthony Scirica, Judge Marjorie Rendell, and Judge Walter Stapleton, of the Third Circuit; Chief Judge Harvey Bartle III (E.D. Pa.); and Chief Judge Garrett Brown Jr. (D.N.J.). This is a solid group of judges; expect their investigation to be thorough and proper.
2. Cyrus Sanai: Kozinski investigation “is part of a litigation strategy” [Overlawyered]
The Kozinski archenemy who tipped off the Los Angeles Times to the judge’s website — L.A. lawyer Cyrus Sanai, who has been feuding with the judge since 2005 — is a real piece of work. At Overlawyered, Ted Frank chronicles how Sanai has been benchslapped by numerous judges, both federal and state, at the trial and appellate levels. Sanai blames the mountain of adverse on rulings on bias. Frank writes:

One has much sympathy for Cyrus Sanai, who has suffered the extraordinary misfortune of four trial judges in three different jurisdictions who are biased against him, and that does not include the appellate judges like the Chief Justice of the Washington State Supreme Court, Gerry Alexander; Washington State Court of Appeals judges Marlin Applewick, Anne Ellington and William Baker; or Judge Kozinski on the Ninth Circuit, all of whom Sanai has accused of bias. We wish that a just result is reached in Sanai’s various appeals, and pray that a just result is reached if a California legal disciplinary body ever decides to investigate what biased judges have been saying about Sanai.

3. Who’s at Fault For the Kozinski Kerfluffle? [Simple Justice]
Scott Greenfield writes:

David Lat, who has feasted on unsubstantiated gossip at Above the Law as well as his blog dedicated to sifting the salacious from the judicious, Underneath Their Robes (where he blogged anonymously as Article III Groupie, or A3G as he came to be known), joins the chorus [of Kozinski defenders]. But does the former AUSA explain his sudden conversion? Isn’t this the guy who is first on line (and online) to publish a smear of any lawyer or judge? In fairness, Lat’s connection to Kozinski is well-known to his long-time followers, but the new reader would be left out in the cold.

As Greenfield suggests, we view our connection to Chief Judge Kozinski as very well-known, and therefore not worth belaboring. But if he wants some sort of formal disclosure, here it is.
Disclosure: We have a great deal of respect and affection for Chief Judge Kozinski, whom we consider a friend. He helped launch our blogging career with his support of our first foray into the blogosphere, Underneath Their Robes (started four years ago this month). Our coverage of him is biased. If you’d like to read harsh personal attacks upon Chief Judge Kozinski, you should look elsewhere.
Above the Law is an independent blog. Unlike MSM-sponsored blogs such as the WSJ or the BLT, ATL makes no claim to “objectivity.” Considering that we opine daily on all sorts of topics, in ways that would be unacceptable for pure news reporters to do, we don’t see how anyone could mistake ATL for an objective news source. But if you want an express disclaimer of objectivity, consider this it.
Finally, we’d like to clarify our views of the “Kozinski Kerfluffle,” as Greenfield aptly dubs it. Consistent with our general antipathy to privacy, we don’t entirely agree with observers who see what Sanai and the L.A. Times did as an egregious privacy violation. On this we agree with Ted Frank:

I don’t think I fully endorse Lessig’s view on this — accessing a directory on a public website may be slightly creepy, but it’s not the same as breaking and entering a house to peer inside the photo albums in the den; it’s not even at the level of obnoxiousness as a guest inspecting the medicine cabinets of a host’s bathroom.

What we do think, however, is that the whole matter has become completely overblown. All it shows is that federal judges enjoy the occasional dirty joke and have risque material on their computers — in other words, “they’re just like us.” Considering that we launched a blog devoted to this very proposition four years ago, we find it hard to get that excited about it now.
4. Defending Judge Kozinski, and Online Privacy [The Lede / NYT]
ATL gets a shout-out from Mike Nizza in the Lede, a New York Times blog, in this concise round-up of the latest developments.
Judges named to head Kozinski inquiry [AP]
Cyrus Sanai: Kozinski investigation “is part of a litigation strategy” [Overlawyered]
Who’s at Fault For the Kozinski Kerfluffle? [Simple Justice]
Defending Judge Kozinski, and Online Privacy [The Lede / New York Times]
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Chief Judge Alex Kozinski (scroll down)

Alex Kozinski small Alex S Kozinski Judge Above the Law hot hottie superhottie federal judiciary.JPGApologies for the downtime. We were off being interviewed by CNN Headline News about the controversy surrounding Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit. We’ll post a link to the interview if and when it becomes available.
Speaking of Chief Judge Kozinski, here’s the latest news:

The 9th Circuit judge, who posted sexually explicit material on his own site, according to a Los Angeles Times story yesterday, has just released this statement:

I have asked the Judicial Council of the Ninth Circuit to take steps pursuant to Rule 26, of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct and Disability, and to initiate proceedings concerning the article that appeared in yesterday’s Los Angeles Times. I will cooperate fully in any investigation.

Is it unusual for a judge to call for an investigation of himself? Sure. But it’s a testament to Chief Judge Kozinski’s integrity and forthrightness; he’s not trying to hide anything underneath his robe. This is a smart move, a lesson in good crisis management.
Kozinski Calls for Investigation of Himself [WSJ Law Blog]
Judge wants panel to investigate his porn postings [Associated Press]

Alex Kozinski Alex S Kozinski Judge Above the Law hot hottie superhottie federal judiciary.jpgThis Friday, at the Ninth Circuit courthouse in San Francisco, a ceremonial “passing of the gavel” will be held. The court’s outgoing chief judge, Mary M. Schroeder, will hand over the gavel to her successor, Alex Kozinski. Details about the ceremony appear in this press release (PDF).
From How Appealing (additional links collected below):

Judge Kozinski was able to sneak some humor into the news release:

“The chief judge of the circuit assumes the position based on seniority. The chief judge is the judge in regular active service who is senior in commission of those judges who are (1) 64 years of age or under; (2) have served for one year or more as a circuit judge; and (3) have not served previously as chief judge. Judge Kozinski also believes that looks count, though he can provide no support for that proposition.

That last sentence, we’re guessing, is a nod to Judge Kozinski’s victory in our Superhotties of the Federal Judiciary contest. With such a robust sense of humor, is it any surprise that Judge Kozinski has his own Facebook fan club?
The Ninth Circuit’s press release states that “still and video cameras will be permitted” at the gavel passing ceremony, which is taking place on Friday, November 30, at 4 p.m., in Courtroom One of the James R. Browning U.S. Courthouse. If an ATL reader (or readers) would be willing to take pictures or videos and send them our way, we’d be most grateful. Thanks!
Ninth Circuit Attempts to Prepare Itself for Chief Judge Alex Kozinski [How Appealing]
‘Hottie’ Judge Kozinski Continues Joke in Press Release [ABA Journal]
Apochiefosis [Volokh Conspiracy]
Gavel Passing to Mark Changing of the Guard for Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (PDF) [U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit]

A photo op with two of the nation’s most distinguished jurists: Ninth Circuit Judges Stephen Reinhardt and Alex Kozinski!
(Judge Reinhardt seemed a bit skittish about the taking of this picture, but Judge Kozinski’s enthuasism was infectious. Or maybe it was just hard for Judge Reinhardt to say no to the incoming Chief Judge of the court.)
Federalist Society gala 3.jpg

Alex Kozinski David Lat.jpgWe now yield the floor to Laurie Lin. Who better to report on one of the year’s biggest social events than the writer of Legal Eagle Wedding Watch? Over to you, Laurie.
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Ambition and Old Spice wafted sweetly through the air last night at the Federalist Society’s 25th Anniversary Gala at Union Station — a kind of right-wing Golden Globes. Nearly two thousand G-ed up conservative lawyers packed the main hall to hear President George W. Bush blast the Senate on judicial confirmations:

“Today, good men and women nominated to the federal bench are finding that inside the Beltway, too many interpret ‘advise and consent’ to mean ‘search and destroy,’” Bush said.

Tickets to the black-tie affair were $250 — actually $249, because there was a new $1 Madison coin at every place setting — but that was a small price to pay to breathe the same oxygen as Ted Olson, Antonin Scalia, and Laura Ingraham.
More on the conservative legal fabulosity — including pictures of the people who didn’t hide when they saw us coming — after the jump.

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