Department of Justice

Better than Biglaw? Obviously.

Better than Biglaw? Obviously.

* “I think we have to be concerned that almost all of us are from two law schools.” Justice Clarence Thomas thinks that the Supreme Court bench ought to be more diverse. [New York Times]

* The DoJ expanded its recognition of gay marriage by adding six states to its roster of those newly entitled to federal benefits — now more than half the country. Yay! [Bloomberg]

* Former White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler has withdrawn from consideration as a nominee for Eric Holder’s job as AG. She and her shoe collection will remain at Latham. [WSJ Law Blog]

* [I]t’s profound that we have not made much progress on that front in the legal profession.” There’s still an income gap between men and women in the law, and it gets worse over time. :( [National Law Journal]

* Come sail away, come sail away, come parasail away with me. This former Biglaw associate found that life slaving away at a law firm wasn’t her paradise, so she decided to move to the beach. [Am Law Daily]

220px-Eric_Holder_official_portrait* Eric Holder gave millions to Nazis! Or at least that’s how Darrell Issa will put it. But seriously, the Department of Justice has a long-standing policy of allowing Nazi war criminals to collect Social Security payments if they agree to get the hell out of the U.S. [Associated Press via New Europe]

* A Cleveland attorney, Peter Pattakos, is not worried about contracting Ebola, even though he was in a room with a current Ebola patient, because Pattakos is neither a crazy person nor a cable news producer and realizes that he never exchanged bodily fluids with the patient. As he points out, “I’m much more likely to be mistakenly killed by a police officer in this country than to be killed by Ebola, even if you were in the same bridal shop.” [Cleveland.com]

* Chanel is suing What About Yves for trademark infringement. The question Professor Colman asks is whether “we really want a trademark ‘protection’ regime in which mark ‘owners’ can prevent creative, non-confusing uses of ‘their property.'” [Law of Fashion]

* One for the career alternatives file: Miami lawyer who ranks local restaurants opens his own restaurant. At ATL we rank law schools, maybe we should open our own law school. [Southern District of Florida Blog]

* Academic publishers fighting the war on common sense by charging an arm and a leg for access to research that is written and peer reviewed by other people for free scored a victory on Friday when the Eleventh Circuit rejected the lower court’s articulation of educational fair use in the digital age. [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

* Balancing parenthood and the “jealous mistress” that is the practice of law. [Jed Cain]

* An amazing symposium on campaign finance reform from the NYU Law Review and the Brennan Center for Justice. It’s a wealth of content. [NYU Law Review]

* Josh Gilliland from The Legal Geeks gave a presentation on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Law at the San Diego Comic Fest, which sounds much more fun than any “and the Law” class I ever took. He’s provided his slideshow presentation…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Non-Sequiturs: 10.20.14″

LSAT scantron* The Supreme Court is allowing Texas to enforce its strict voter identification law during the upcoming election, but Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, hero to the masses, wrote a rather scathing dissent in opposition. [New York Times]

* Michael Millikin, GM’s beleaguered GC, will be stepping down from his position while the Justice Department continues its probe into the company’s fatal ignition switch failures. A replacement has not yet been named. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Baltimore Law and Maryland’s HBCUs hooked up to assist underrepresented minorities get into law school. Full scholarships come with GPAs of at least 3.5 and LSAT scores of at least 152. [USA Today]

* Kent Easter, the lawyer who was convicted for planting drugs in a school volunteer’s car, was sentenced to serve six months in jail. His law license will likely be suspended (just like his wife’s was). [OC Weekly]

* Accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev isn’t doing well in court, and his trial hasn’t even started yet. Motions to dismiss his case and to suppress evidence were denied. [National Law Journal]


Justice Antonin Scalia

* Justice Scalia spoke at CU-Boulder last night. For his sake, we certainly hope he didn’t speak about any issues that might someday appear before SCOTUS, lest he be asked to recuse. [Boulder Daily Camera via How Appealing]

* Another one bites the dust over at Main Justice: David O’Neil, the head of the criminal division, is stepping down in the wake of the BNP Paribas case, and will likely have many white-shoe law firm suitors. [DealBook / New York Times]

* Fox Rothschild picked up a 18-lawyer boutique firm in Texas, which will serve as the home of its first outpost in the Lone Star State. Energy law, surprisingly, wasn’t the driving factor. [Legal Intelligencer]

* “I have a heart and I have two kids.” That’s a pretty damn good reason for Biglaw attorneys to take a break from their corporate billable hours to represent undocumented children pro bono. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Scott Greenfield reviews Lat’s forthcoming novel, Supreme Ambitions (affiliate link). Of course, in SHG style, it contains a spoiler. Try to skip that clearly marked paragraph. [Simple Justice]

Eric Holder

Now that Eric Holder has announced his departure as attorney general, talk has turned to who his successor will be — and should be. Early buzz has centered around Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, but there are other compelling candidates as well, including lots of legal luminaries that Above the Law readers will recognize.

Who will be our nation’s next AG? And who should be the next AG? Let’s discuss….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Who Will — And Who Should — Replace Eric Holder As Attorney General?”

President Obama formally announced the resignation of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder this week. Filling the position ordinarily poses a political challenge, but installing Holder’s successor will be particularly rancorous. And we have Eric Holder himself to thank for that.

With Congressional midterm elections weeks away, confirmation hearings for a new AG any time soon seemed unlikely at first. However, Senator Patrick Leahy (D – VT), the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced that he intends to urge the confirmation process onward. “Definitely, we should have confirmation hearings as quickly as possible in the Senate,” Leahy told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell. Changes to Senate rules allow debate to end over executive and judicial branch nominees (except for nominees for Supreme Court vacancies) with a simple majority vote, rather than a supermajority of 60 votes. At least until the January 2015 session, when the Senate can revisit the rule change, Senators cannot filibuster the vote on Eric Holder’s potential successor. No matter what shifts occur after the upcoming elections, Republicans hold only 45 seats in the Senate until January 2015. So, Democrats acting quickly hold an advantage. However, Democratic senators facing dicey election contests may not be enthusiastic about their party’s push for hearings before the election.

The AG confirmation process opens a new battlefield in the war between supporters of President Obama and his critics. The battle to confirm Eric Holder’s successor promises to be messy. Senate Republicans will treat the process as a referendum on everything President Obama has done — possibly everything his critics suspect he might want to do. Washington politics makes this sort of fight possible. The timing of Holder’s resignation, a few weeks ahead of Congressional midterm elections, makes this plausible. But Eric Holder himself made this battle necessary.

So, how did Holder generate so much bad blood?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “When The Confirmation Of The Next Attorney General Gets Political, Thank Eric Holder”

* A list of lawyers who followed their passions. Let’s be honest: I just like that Lat’s in the same listicle as Jerry Springer. [One 400]

* Another report on the Brian Leiter kerfuffle (by Professor Jonathan Adler). [The Volokh Conspiracy / Washington Post]

* Postal carrier hoarded 40,000 pieces of mail. Newman! [The Smoking Gun]

* Another court allows service via Facebook. [Peter S. Vogel]

* Eric Holder is resigning. Time for the speculation that he must have done something awful to begin! [New York Observer]

* D.C. lawyer Ronald Goldfarb reviews John W. Dean’s new book (affiliate link) about the Nixon tapes. [Washington Independent Review of Books]

NPR has a breaking scoop. Sources report that Attorney General Eric Holder will announce his resignation today.

Holder is one of the longest-serving members of Obama’s cabinet. People have called him the most “racially divisive” AG in history. In related news, he’s also African-American, a fact that has really seemed to piss some people off.

It’s been a few weeks without a manufactured “scandal” landing on his desk, so maybe now is a good time to go back to private practice and make millions of dollars?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Sources Say Eric Holder Will Step Down”

Barry Bonds was convicted of obstruction of justice for giving non-responsive answers to questions in a grand jury. As Judge Fletcher told the government in the oral argument in the 9th Circuit en banc challenge to his conviction, “I find your reading of the [obstruction of justice] statute absolutely alarming.” And for good reason — Judge Fletcher thinks that the government’s interpretation of obstruction of justice would mean that most civil lawyers are felons.

There are a lot of ways to violate federal laws that are related to obstruction of justice. You can lie to a federal agent who is coming to your house to interview you and violate 18 U.S.C. § 1001. You can commit perjury under 18 U.S.C. § 1621. And there are a host of other false statement statutes specific to other regulatory schemes (like false statements in connection with a tax filing, or a health care request for payment, etc.).

All of those laws, though, require that the person who is being prosecuted make a false statement.

Obstruction of justice is different. Instead of having concrete elements like “making a false statement”, obstruction of justice criminalizes willfully “obstruct[ing], imped[ing], or interfer[ing] with” whatever is being allegedly obstructed.

Here, Barry Bonds didn’t make a false statement. Instead, he gave an answer that was non-responsive. The government’s theory was that Barry Bonds didn’t give a responsive answer to a question in order to throw the government off (because, apparently, having the temerity to force an AUSA to listen to questions in a grand jury and ask a follow-up question is the kind of thing that ought to brand you a felon).

And that was “obstructing” the federal law enforcement apparatus.

There are a lot of things wrong with this prosecution. The one I want to focus on is the lengths the federal government will go to in order to protect AUSAs from having to do the same basic work that the rest of the legal community does routinely.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Barry Bonds And The Lengths DOJ Will Go To Protect AUSAs”

There’s a new sheriff in town, and it’s corporate America.

Companies face pressure to make sure their market competitors aren’t getting a jump on them. And, in an effort to do that, some large companies have noticed that if they can get the United States Department of Justice to help, they have a big advantage.

Take, for example, this new blog about black market cigarettes. I heard a radio interview with the guy who writes it — Richard Marianos. He seems very passionate about the problems of black market cigarettes being trafficked on Interstate 95. His blog argues that I-95 is the new tobacco road.

(The old tobacco road, apparently, was Interstate 40 in North Carolina, which didn’t traffic in tobacco but, rather, collegiate sports, but, still, it’s a catchy name for a blog. Both tobacco roads seem to be separate from David Lee Roth’s understanding of the term.)

Marianos explained on the radio that black market cigarettes are a huge problem.

Often, he says, folks who traffic in cigarettes aren’t treated as seriously by judges as people who traffic, say, heroin, even though, when you think about it, they’re both drugs. (Though, of course, at the same time, an outhouse and the Louvre are both buildings, so I’m not sure how far that kind of reasoning goes.) Marianos is outraged that some cigarette traffickers only get probation.

He strongly suggested that black market cigarette sales are being used to fund terrorists.

Normally, when I hear the word “terrorist” I stop thinking and just hope the government throws money at combating whatever is being talked about. So, at first, I though black market cigarettes might be a very serious problem that the government needed to fund a response to.

Until I realized that a Marianos’s blog is another example of a disturbing development that I’ve been seeing in criminal intellectual property cases lately….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Criminal Intellectual Property Prosecutions and Corporate Police Work”

Page 1 of 4312345...43