As the first openly gay man to be confirmed as a federal judge, he will be a symbol of how much we have achieved as a country in just the last few decades. And importantly, he will give hope to many talented young lawyers who until now thought their paths might be limited because of their sexual orientation. When Paul becomes Judge Oetken, he will be living proof to all those young lawyers that it really does get better.
– Senator Chuck Schumer, commenting on the confirmation yesterday of Paul Oetken to serve as a judge on the Southern District of New York, by a Senate vote of 80-13.
(Because we are fair and balanced here at Above the Law, we offer a decidedly different perspective on the Oetken confirmation, after the jump.)
* A state-ordered suspension of jury trials in New Hampshire to save money during the recession could prevent justice from being served. [Bloomberg.com]
* A-rod may not be the only outed baseball star, the California 9th circuit court will soon decide whether the list of 104 players that tested positive for steroids in 2003, will be admissible in court. [MLB.com]
The Senate Judiciary Committee just voted in favor of the nomination of Michael Mukasey to serve as attorney general. The tally was 11-8, with two Democrats — Sens. Chuck Schumer and Dianne Feinstein — joining all the Republicans in supporting him.
What had been looking like a nailbiter of a nomination should sail through the full Senate fairly easily. The floor vote on the nomination should take place by next week.
Congratulations, Judge Mukasey! Nomination of Mukasey Sent to Full Senate [New York Times] Panel Sends Mukasey Nomination to Senate [Washington Post]
We’ve been doing a lot of Biglaw coverage lately. But since Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is being raked over the coals as we type, in an appearance before the House Judiciary Committee, let’s take a timely detour into the U.S. Department of Justice.
The DOJ isn’t looking terribly competent right now. And this latest story won’t burnish their reputation. From a tipster:
As you know, the Justice Department produced a number of documents to Congress, concerning the controversial U.S. Attorney firings. These document productions have not been huge — maybe just a few thousand pages. Nothing like what you see in major commercial litigation.
One such document production showed up on Capitol Hill, in four sets: two sets for the Senate Judiciary Committee (Democrats and Republicans), and two sets for the House Judiciary Committee (Democrats and Republicans). The production arrived on a weekday evening.
A Republican staffer immediately started looking through the production. The staffer noticed that the produced documents didn’t have Bates stamps on them. Oops. Guess the DOJ forgot to have them stamped — a screw-up, although not a cardinal sin.
A few pages later, the staffer noticed something else, on a document with redactions on it. There was redacting tape that was STILL ON THE DOCUMENT. One could access the redacted, privileged material simply by peeling off the tape.
Holy crap. Instead of sending over Bates-stamped photocopies, the DOJ had produced its ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS to the Congress.
Nice. Apparently the Justice Department is less competent than a second-year litigation associate: they can’t do a proper document production.
It gets worse. More after the jump.
1. Until her controversial ouster, Carol Lam (far right) was the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California (San Diego).
2. Until she was tempted away from government service by a $1.5 million offer from Gibson Dunn, Debra Wong Yang (near right) was the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California (Los Angeles).
3. As far as we know, Eumi Choi continues to serve as First Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California (San Francisco).
Coincidence? We have to ask:
What is up with Asian-American women and leadership positions in California U.S. Attorney offices?
Their presence in these posts would seem like a great leap forward for diversity — but it’s causing problems. Just ask poor Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
Here’s what Senator Schumer wrote in a recent letter to President Bush:
In an email to the White House, [former Alberto Gonzales aide Kyle] Sampson refers to a “problem” with Carol Lam.
What was this “problem” and was Lam’s firing motivated by her investigation into former Congressmen Randy Cunningham and Representative Jerry Lewis?…
Mr. Sampson’s email was sent the same day [May 11, 2006] that the Los Angeles Times had broken the news that Ms. Lam’s investigation of former Congressman Randy Cunningham (R-CA) had expanded to include Representative Jerry Lewis (R-CA).
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