Late last week, Bill Mears of CNN wrote a helpful round-up of the best benchslaps from the Supreme Court’s most recent Term. It starts off:
One Supreme Court justice says his fellow conservatives are “too dismissive” of government efforts to ensure racial diversity in schools. Another more liberal member says those on the right did “serious violence” to a high school student’s free speech rights. And one conservative slams another for “faux judicial restraint.”
In his dissent today from a order denying rehearing en banc in the case of United States v. Ziegler, Kozinski basically calls the rest of the panel morons, or at least hack magicians. The best part is this paragraph:
By plucking consent out of its judicial top hat, when neither
party has argued it and the district court made no findings to
support it, the panel gives the unfortunate impression that it
is seeking to vindicate a result it has reached on other (nowrepudiated) grounds.
It is not our business to reach particular
results, nor may we jiggle the rules of procedure to achieve
an outcome we prefer. Our responsibility is to apply the law
in an objective and impartial manner, and let the chips fall
where they may. Here, the government lost the one issue on
which it chose to make its stand—Ziegler’s expectation of
privacy in his own office. At that point it was our responsibility
to reverse the district court and vacate the defendant’s sentence.
Appellate review is not a magic wand and we
undermine public confidence in the judicial process when we
make it look like it is.
But he basically rips the panel a new one throughout the dissent.
Access the entire opinion here.
We missed this separate benchscuffle from the Tellabs opinion in our haste to look at all three earlier, but Scalia and Stevens, the lone dissenter, went at it as well. Stevens told Scalia that he was “clearly wrong”, and Scalia responded with “it’s you who is ‘mistaken’”. Steven then said “nun uh”, and Scalia said, “unhuh”.
Read the relevant excerpts and commentary at the WSJ Law Blog.
At issue in the SCOTUS’s decision today in Tellabs, Inc. v. Makor Issues & Rights, Ltd.[SCOTUSblogvia How Appealing] was the definition of the term “strong inference”, and therefore what the standard is for determining whether a plaintiff has met the pleading requirements as to scienter in a securities fraud case. Some mildly saucy benchslaps insued.
Justice Scalia expressed his disdain for the majority’s resolution to this issue (authored by Justice Ginsburg) this way in his concurring opinion:
If a jade falcon were stolen from a room to which only A and B had access, could it possibly be said there was a “strong inference” that B was the thief? I think not, and I therefore think that the Court’s test must fail. In my view, the test should be whether the inference of scienter (if any) is more plausible than the inference of innocence.
Well, I don’t know. If a Supreme Court justice uses a really bad analogy from an old movie, could it possibly be said that he had made a “strong argument?”
But Ginsburg wasn’t taking this lying down. Her benchslap back from n.5 of the majority opinion is after the jump.
Also, the SCOTUS issued two other opinions today:
Rita v. United States [SCOTUSblog via How Appealing]
Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Assn. v. Brentwood Academy [SCOTUSblog via How Appealing]
We have a ruling in the HappyMealGate case (prior coverage here, here, and here of Wiliam P. Smith, the McDermott Will & Emery partner who told Judge Laurel Myerson Isicoff that she was “a few French Fries short of a Happy Meal”). And it’s surprisingly lenient.
Judge Isicoff basically gave Smith a stern talking to:
“There is no jurisdiction in the U.S. — including the district where Mr. Smith regularly practices — where the expression and tone Mr. Smith used on May 7 would fall in the bounds of acceptable behavior,” a solemn Isicoff said from the bench in front of a packed courtroom.
and ordered him to take an online professionalism course administered by the Florida Bar.
Smith brought McDermott chairman Harvey Freishtat with him to beg and plead for mercy from Isicoff. Apparently it worked.
Isicoff said she accepted the apologies of both Smith and McDermott Will & Emery chairman Harvey Freishtat, the head of the Chicago-based, 1,000-lawyer firm, who also appeared in front of her to beg her pardon.
Looks like the fry guy got off relatively easy, and we’ve all learned something: don’t stoop to middle-school insults while arguing in front of a federal judge, especially if you’re appearing pro hac vice.
Surely you all recall William P. Smith — a partner at McDermott Will & Emery (Chicago), and head of its bankruptcy department — who recently told a Miami bankruptcy judge, in open court, that she was “a few French Fries short of a Happy Meal.” We broke the story here (with follow-up here).
The “Happy Meal” comment royally pissed off Judge Laurel Myerson Isicoff (and not ’cause she’s a Burger King partisan). She benchslapped Bill Smith via an Order to Show Cause, directing the Fry Guy to explain why he shouldn’t be suspended from practice in her court.
The firm has now filed a motion in response to the OSC. From the Daily Business Review:
Chicago attorney William P. Smith says he’s very, very, very sorry for telling U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Laurel Myerson Isicoff she was “a few French fries short of a Happy Meal” during a May 7 court hearing in Miami.
The chairman of McDermott Will & Emery, the Chicago-based firm whose bankruptcy practice Smith heads, is ready to prostrate himself before the judge as well.
According to a recent motion filed by the law firm, Harvey Freishtat, who heads the 1,000-lawyer firm, plans to fly to Miami for a hearing on Smith’s comment. The motion states Freishtat will personally express “on behalf of the entire firm, to this court, to the other lawyers in this case, and to the other honorable judges of this District Court, [his firm’s] sincere and deepest apology for the words used by Mr. Smith.”
And would Her Honor like a side of fries with that?
More discussion after the jump.
There aren’t many two-time winners of ATL’s Judge of the Day award. The members of that distinguished group are true pieces of work — jurists like Judge James M. Brooks and Judge Elizabeth Halverson.
But we think that Judge Wilbur Mathesius, of Mercer County, New Jersey, richly deserves membership in the club. If you question this conclusion, just click here, to read what one tipster described as “a judicial hissy fit, with great footnotes.”
Some background. The New Jersey Supreme Court recently disciplined Judge Mathesius, suspending him from the bench for 30 days, and directing him to “reflect on his position of authority and the manner in which he exercises that position of authority.” So Judge Mathesius did just that:
I removed to a remote and undisclosed location to encourage contemplation and reflection. To provide further catalyst to my reflective capacities, I subsisted on a Zen macrobiotic vegetarian diet, an occasional leaf or two of organic radicchio and Evian water, foraging as best I could for native fruits and nuts. The occasional tuna sushi was like gold. I report herewith the product of that reflection…
Last Friday, in the Scooter Libby case, Judge Reggie Walton delivered quite the benchslap. Some brief background, from Ana Marie Cox:
A group of exceedingly prominent law professors (including Alan Dershowitz and Robert Bork) filed an amicus brief to Judge Reggie Walton [on Friday], arguing that the Libby verdict could possibly be overturned on appeal because of the “close question” about the constitutionality of the special prosecutor….
I was struck (as were others) by the footnote Judge Walton appended to his agreement to have the brief submitted:
Here’s the feisty footnote:
It is an impressive show of public service when twelve prominent and distinguished current and former law professors of well-respected schools are able to amass their collective wisdom in the course of only several days to provide their legal expertise to the Court on behalf of a criminal defendant. The Court trusts that this is a reflection of these eminent academics’ willingness in the future to step to the plate and provide like assistance in cases involving any of the numerous litigants, both in this Court and throughout the courts of our nation, who lack the financial means to fully and properly articulate the merits of their legal positions even in instances where failure to do so could result in monetary penalties, incarceration, or worse. The Court will certainly not hesitate to call for such assistance from these luminaries, as necessary in the interests of justice and equity, whenever similar questions arise in the cases that come before it.
The holiday season is upon us, and yet again, you have no idea what to get for the fickle lawyer in your life. We’re here to help. Even if your bonus check hasn’t arrived yet, any one of the gifts we’ve highlighted here could be a worthy substitute until your employer decides to make it rain.
We’ve got an eclectic selection for you to choose from, so settle in by that stack of documents yet to be reviewed and dig in…
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.
We currently have a very exciting and rare type of in-house opening in China at one of the world’s leading internet and social media companies. Our client is looking for an IP Transactional / TMT / Licensing attorney with 2 to 6 years experience. The new hire will be based in Shenzhen or Shanghai. Mandarin is not required (deal documentation will be in English) but is preferred. A solid reason to be in China and a commitment to that market is required of course. This new hire will likely be US qualified (but could also be qualified in UK or other jurisdictions) and with experience and training at a top law firm’s IP transactional / TMT practice and could be currently at a law firm or in-house. Qualified candidates currently Asia based, Europe based or US based will be considered. The new hire’s supervisors in this technology transactions in-house team are very well regarded US trained IP transactional lawyers, with substantial experience at Silicon Valley firms. The culture and atmosphere in this in-house group and the company in general is entrepreneurial, team oriented, and the work is cutting edge, even for a cutting edge industry. The upside of being in an important strategic in-house position in this fast growing and world leading internet company is of the “sky is the limit” variety. Its a very exciting place to be in China for a rising IP transactional lawyer in our opinion, for many reasons beyond the basic info we can share here in this ad / post. This is a special A+ opportunity.
If your firm is in ‘go’ mode when it comes to recruiting lateral partners with loyal clients, then take this quiz to see how well you measure up. Keep track of your ‘yes’ and ‘no’ responses.
1. Does your firm have a clearly defined strategy of practice groups that are priorities of growth for your office? Nothing gets done by random chance, but with a clear vision for the future. Identify the top practice areas for which you wish to add lateral partners. Seek input from practice group leaders and get specifics on needs, outcomes, and ideal target profiles.
2. In addition to clarifying your firm’s growth strategy, are you still open to the hire of a partner outside of your plan? I’ve made several placements that fit this category. The partner’s practice was not within the strategic growth plan of my client, but once the two parties started talking with each other, we all saw how it could indeed be a seamless fit. Be open to “Opportunistic Hires.” You never know where your next producing partner might come from, so you have to be open to it. I will be the first to admit that there is a quirky element of randomness in recruiting.
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