D. Kyle Sampson

Yours truly and S.D.N.Y. nominee Paul Oetken

* One of my favorite parts of the judicial nomination process is the financial voyeurism it makes possible. Check out the income and net worth numbers for two S.D.N.Y. nominees named Paul: Paul Engelmayer, recognized by ATL as a top partner to work for, and Paul Oetken, who would become the first openly gay man to serve on the S.D.N.Y. if confirmed. [The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times]

* Some happier news for Hunton & Williams: partner Kyle Sampson, a prominent figure in the U.S. Attorney firing scandal, has been awarded a D.C. law license (after a two-year battle). [Main Justice]

* Now that the DOJ will no longer defend DOMA, married gay couples, represented by prominent immigration lawyer Lavi Soloway, plan to challenge the law in immigration court. [Stop the Deportations]

* A status update in the Facebook juror case: the California Supreme Court wants some briefing. [Sacramento Bee via @KashHill]

Rep. Christopher Lee (R-NY)

* Lawyerly Lairs: Retired Law Professor Edition. Amidst all the bellyaching by state workers demanding rich, defined-benefit pensions (which are basically extinct in the private sector), isn’t it nice to read about two old people who can pay for their own retirements — and a $3.3 million condo? [New York Times]

* Wondering why Rep. Christopher Lee stepped down so quickly? Here’s a possible answer. [Gawker]

* Musical chairs: Indianapolis-based Barnes & Thornburg takes six lawyers from Akin Gump and opens a new Los Angeles office. [Indiana Lawyer]

* If you’re done with the February bar exam, congratulations! Here are some ways to celebrate (besides going to Disney World). [Lawyerist]

D Kyle Sampson Kyle Sampson Kyle D Sampson Kyle Samson Above the Law blog.jpgOf all the characters in the U.S. Attorney firings drama, Kyle Sampson, former chief of staff to former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, was not our favorite. When he testified on Capitol Hill, he was earnest, sweaty, and decidedly non-fabulous — unlike Monica Goodling, who took the Senate Judiciary Committee by storm with a dazzling performance.
But even though his government service ended inauspiciously, Sampson has done just fine for himself. From the Salt Lake Tribune:

Three Washington lawyers with Utah ties – including the chief of staff to former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales – are joining the food and drug practice at the firm Hunton & Williams.

D. Kyle Sampson, a Cedar City native, was Gonzales’ chief of staff at the Justice Department until he resigned amid a controversy over the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys, a move that spawned congressional investigations. Sampson, who compiled the list of attorneys who were fired, testified for hours before House and Senate committees in public hearings and private interviews.

Before joining the Justice Department he was an Associate Counsel to the President at the White House, was director of personnel for the Bush administration, and was an aide to Sen. Orrin Hatch on the Judiciary Committee. He is a graduate of Brigham Young University and Chicago University law school.

We wonder if the Mormon Mafia had a hand in his hiring. They are to the legal world what the Gay Mafia is to fashion!
Sampson, ex-aide to Gonzales, joins law firm [Salt Lake Tribune]

D Kyle Sampson Kyle Sampson Kyle D Sampson Kyle Samson Above the Law blog.jpgOf all the characters in the U.S. Attorney firings drama, Kyle Sampson, former chief of staff to former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, was not our favorite. When he testified on Capitol Hill, he was earnest, sweaty, and decidedly non-fabulous — unlike Monica Goodling, who took the Senate Judiciary Committee by storm with a dazzling performance.
But even though his government service ended inauspiciously, Sampson has done just fine for himself. From the Salt Lake Tribune:

Three Washington lawyers with Utah ties – including the chief of staff to former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales – are joining the food and drug practice at the firm Hunton & Williams.

D. Kyle Sampson, a Cedar City native, was Gonzales’ chief of staff at the Justice Department until he resigned amid a controversy over the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys, a move that spawned congressional investigations. Sampson, who compiled the list of attorneys who were fired, testified for hours before House and Senate committees in public hearings and private interviews.

Before joining the Justice Department he was an Associate Counsel to the President at the White House, was director of personnel for the Bush administration, and was an aide to Sen. Orrin Hatch on the Judiciary Committee. He is a graduate of Brigham Young University and Chicago University law school.

We wonder if the Mormon Mafia had a hand in his hiring. They are to the legal world what the Gay Mafia is to fashion!
Sampson, ex-aide to Gonzales, joins law firm [Salt Lake Tribune]


Monica Goodling 4 Monica M Goodling sexy pose Above the Law blog.jpgThose of you who read our extensive liveblogging of Monica Goodling’s testimony on Wednesday before the House Judiciary Committee know how deeply impressed we were.
Goodling was poised, intelligent, and articulate. She showed flashes of wit, as well as consistent honesty and forthrightness. She looked like a million bucks.
On a scale of 0 to 10, we’d score Monica Goodling’s performance on Capitol Hill as a 9.3. It wasn’t a perfect 10; Rep. Artur Davis landed a few punches in the eleventh round. But Monica “Hurts So” Goodling ultimately emerged victorious from the boxing ring of the Rayburn House Office Building, with barely a glove laid on her.
We weren’t alone in our assessment. Distinguished legal commentators, including law professors like Orin Kerr and Adam Gershowitz, also raved over La Goodling’s star turn.
And this morning, via Howard Bashman, we come across more praise of Goodling, from an unlikely source. Check out this great online essay (registration required), by Eve Fairbanks of The New Republic — no bastion of conservatism.
Discussion continues after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Monica Goodling: They Like Her, They Really Like Her”

Monica Goodling 5 Monica M Goodling Monica Gooding Alberto Gonzales Above the Law blog.jpgVia the Volokh Conspiracy, we came across this intriguing piece, by Murray Waas for the National Journal, about how Attorney General Alberto Gonzales delegated exceptionally broad powers to his two youthful underlings: D. Kyle Sampson and the Magnificent Monica Goodling.
Here’s the lede:

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales signed a highly confidential order in March 2006 delegating to two of his top aides — who have since resigned because of their central roles in the firings of eight U.S. attorneys — extraordinary authority over the hiring and firing of most non-civil-service employees of the Justice Department….

In the order, Gonzales delegated to his then-chief of staff, D. Kyle Sampson, and his White House liaison “the authority, with the approval of the Attorney General, to take final action in matters pertaining to the appointment, employment, pay, separation, and general administration” of virtually all non-civil-service employees of the Justice Department, including all of the department’s political appointees who do not require Senate confirmation. Monica Goodling became White House liaison in April 2006, the month after Gonzales signed the order.

Professor Orin Kerr’s take:

Remarkable. And assuming this story checks out, it certainly explains why Gonzales seemed so clueless about the U.S. Attorney firings. It seems that Gonzales had taken himself completely out of the loop of all DOJ political appointee hiring. He had delegated that role completely to two 30-somethings, Kyle Sampson and Monica Goodling; his only role was a formality, required just so that OLC would find the practice constitutional.

We take issue with Professor Kerr’s dismissive reference to the Magnificent Monica Goodling as a mere “30-something.” And now that she has been granted immunity, we can’t wait for Goodling to testify before the House Judiciary Committee.
All mysteries will be revealed, and this entire U.S. Attorney mess will be straightened out, after Monica Goodling appears before the House Judiciary Committee in all her radiance. She will dazzle the Committee, as well as the American people, with her command performance, the likes of which have never been seen on Capitol Hill.
Goodling’s crisp and cogent answers to even the most challenging queries from legislators will cause jaws to drop. Her command of both the facts and the law concerning the U.S. Attorney firings will amaze the nation. It will be just like the final courtroom scene in “Legally Blonde,” in which another plucky, underestimated blonde triumphed against all odds.
At the end of her testimony, Rep. John Conyers will publicly apologize to Monica Goodling for dragging her good name through the mud. Faith in the U.S. Department of Justice will be restored. Truth, justice, and the American way will be vindicated.
And then President Bush will dispatch Monica Goodling to Iraq, as head of a special mission designed to fix the debacle over there. There is nothing that our Monica can’t do!!!
Secret Order By Gonzales Delegated Extraordinary Powers To Aides [National Journal]
Did Sampson and Goodling Have Total Control of DOJ Political Hiring? [Volokh Conspiracy]

Monica Goodling 5 Monica M Goodling Monica Gooding Alberto Gonzales Above the Law blog.jpgWe were planning to do a quick write-up on the Senate Judiciary Committee testimony of Kyle Sampson. But many such write-ups have already been done. And the Sampson testimony, while it had its moments, wasn’t quite as exciting as we were hoping.
So forget about the decidedly unglamorous Kyle Sampson, accurately described by Emily Bazelon as “sweaty, nervous, and soft-spoken.” Let’s talk about a more exciting and dynamic personality, the real breakout star of U.S. Attorney-gate to date:

MONICA GOODLING!!!

Today brings two new, juicy profiles of Monica M. Goodling — one from the Washington Post, and one from the Harrisburg Patriot-News. They contain a lot of interesting material.
Discussion and links, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Monica Goodling: Diva Is As Diva Does”

Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has just announced that the Republicans have objected, under Senate rules, to the Kyle Sampson hearings continuing any further.
The committee, which returned from lunch at around 1:45, now stands in recess. We’ll keep you posted.
Update (2:42 PM): And we’re back. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) is questioning Kyle Sampson.

(We were a little distracted by a technical glitch with the site that some commenters pointed out. But we think it has been fixed now, so we’re back to blogging on the hearings.)
Since our last post, there have been some exciting developments. Sen. Pat Leahy’s questioning was pretty boring; he walked Sampson through a bunch of emails, deposition-style.
But things got more interesting when Sen. Arlen Specter took over. Playing his role as Senate moderate, he asked some questions that could be viewed as friendly, and some as hostile. Senator Specter got Sampson to admit that some of Alberto Gonzales’s prior testimony was not consistent with Sampson’s recollection.
Things got even hotter during Sen. Chuck Schumer’s questioning. In a “yes or no,” Perry Mason-esque line of cross-examination, Senator Schumer got Sampson to admit — under oath, and with apparent reluctance — that several of AG Gonzales’s prior statements were “not accurate,” or at least not consistent with Sampson’s recollection. Ruh-roh…
You could tell that Senator Schumer was scoring points because Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), a smart and savvy former prosecutor and judge, piped up in the middle of Schumer’s questioning. Senator Cornyn angrily protested that Sen. Schumer was being unfair in not allowing Kyle Sampson, a witness testifying under oath, to answer questions fully. Exciting stuff!
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) is trying too hard. It seems like he is looking for something to be upset about.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) sounds like Alec Baldwin with a lisp. He is vaguely ridiculous.
Okay, it’s lunchtime. In recess until 1:45 PM.
Earlier: Kyle Sampson Inside the Lions’ Den

D Kyle Sampson Kyle Sampson Kyle D Sampson Kyle Samson Above the Law blog.jpgWe’re liveblogging the Kyle Sampson testimony. Our commentary will be added continuously to this post, so just refresh your browser for the latest.
We have high expectations — and we’re not alone. From the NYT:

“I think it will be the most interesting testimony we have heard since Professor Hill,” Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said as he recalled Anita F. Hill’s appearance in the confirmation hearing for Clarence Thomas for a Supreme Court seat. “I can’t think of anyone else who has quite the drama.”

(Of course, some are trying to dial down expectations. Sen. Chuck Schumer is warning us that the Sampson testimony probably won’t produce the proverbial “smoking gun.”)
Our commentary on the hearing, plus links to various news accounts, will appear after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Kyle Sampson Inside the Lions’ Den”

From the New York Times home page, as of 11:30 PM on Wednesday:
New York Times Kyle Sampson Alberto Gonzales Above the Law blog.jpg
Is this, like, a racial slur or something? Granted, it’s a buffalo-buffalo, not a water buffalo; but still…
The NYT subsequently fixed this photo screw-up (but not before an enterprising ATL reader took a screenshot). The Timesfolk replaced the buffalo-and-snowmobiles photo with a sinister-looking Kyle Sampson, accompanying Alberto Gonzales on an earlier visit to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Sampson’s testimony begins at 10 AM today. We’re looking forward to it!
Former Key Aide Testifies Today on Gonzales’s Statements [New York Times]

Page 1 of 212