Now that campaign season is over, it’s time for the defamation season! Scads of down-ticket candidates have brought lawsuits against their opponents for slanderous advertising during their campaigns.
I guess the presidential election wasn’t close enough for lawyers to make any money off of it.
According to the National Law Journal, even the ACLU sees limited value in bringing these post election actions:
But unless the line of truth is clearly crossed, First Amendment advocates note, negative campaign ads will continue to roll.
“Democracies are messy,” said Kary Moss, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan. “And the reality is that the First Amendment does provide wide latitude for candidates to make their case to the people.”
First A-what? But this is America! You can’t say that your opponent is “soft on sexual predators” in America.
The National Law Journal reports on the many, many lawyers who busted their tail (on both sides) making America a barely functional democracy:
In Ohio, New Hampshire and Virginia, lawyers scrambled to file court documents in election-related lawsuits. But in most states, lawyers were working to prevent litigation by fielding calls at centers housed at area law firm offices or traveling to polling locations to address voter concerns. Some states had unique issues, such as improper signage in Florida, missing absentee ballots in California and a shortage of interpreters for Asian-American voters in New York’s Chinatown.
Thanks to all who volunteered their time.
Nonetheless, a plethora of shenanigans ensued:
Jon Greenbaum, director of the Voting Rights Project, said the election did not go smoothly in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan and New Jersey. … The bottom line, according to Greenbaum: “The system is not designed to deal with a high turnout election and we’re seeing the effects of a lack of planning and resources.”
A few hours before the polls close, Virginia continues to be a disaster of disenfranchisement.
Voting machine breakdowns at dozens of sites, affecting voters in all parts of the state, suggest that Virginia election officials were woefully unprepared for the massive turnout that everybody predicted. Right now, Election Protection lawyers are concerned that multiple precincts in Virginia will run out of emergency back-up paper ballots.
Lawyers have asked the state to print more paper ballots because of the shortage. But according to Jon Greenbaum, director of the Voting Rights Project of the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights, the State Board of Elections has effectively said “let’s wait until the [paper ballots] actually run out, and we’ll deal with it then.”
Way to stay ahead of the curve.
The new tactic for voter suppression is apparently to tell people still waiting in line that “due to the unprecedented turnout, voting has been extended to Wednesday.”
Rock the Vote is reporting that students in Virginia are being targeted with text messages saying “due to the long lines, Obama voters are asked to vote on Wednesday. Thank you for your cooperation.”
The TV guys are still focused on Florida and Ohio. Always fighting the last war. So far, things are generally holding up well in those states.
The early election craziness for 2008 seems to be in Virginia and Pennsylvania. We documented some of the problems in VA earlier today, but many of the same problems are happening in Pennsylvania.
In PA, voting machines are breaking down — apparently these things are made of out of the same stuff they use for the space shuttle — and people are voting by paper ballots. PA does have a statewide mandate for back-up paper ballots.
But once again, voters are being told that their paper ballot, which they are using because of a machine breakdown, will be counted as provisional instead of regular.
Counting those ballots as provisional is a violation of state election law. As we understand it, all paper ballots should be counted as regular ballots if voters are using them because of a machine breakdown.
Additional PA problems, and some surprising news coming out of New Jersey, after the jump.
Earlier this month, an ATL / Lateral Link survey found that 86% of you were talking about politics in the workplace. And 18% of you reported that a fellow associate had tried to convince you to vote for their favorite candidate.
But are politics just seeping into your workplace, or will you be taking your profession to the polls? As the Obama campaign recruits lawyers to join the world’s largest law firm next week and the McCain campaign recruits its own Legal Response Team, how are you and your firms planning to spend the day?
Will you be policing the polls for pro bono — or billable — credit?
Update: This survey is now closed. Click here for the results.
My new colleague over at Dealbreaker has written a somewhat modest proposal. John Carney proposes creating an auction market for Electoral College votes, so that states which are traditionally overlooked during presidential elections (like New York) can recoup some political relevance in the free market.
Among general concerns about the fundamental nature of democracy, I’m pretty sure Carney’s elegant proposal is illegal, unconstitutional, and could possibly lead to the creation of subatomic black holes that could end life on earth.
But I’m always up for a spirited legal debate. If anyone disagrees with my reading of the 12th Amendment, please feel free.
Still, many people (who do not live in Ohio or Florida) believe that the EC needs some serious tweaking. But few people agree on how to do it.
So … write your own amendment. Is a straight popular vote really the way to go, or does that disproportionally represent populous coastal states? If you like Carney’s suggestion, how can he make it work constitutionally?
You can’t change the nature of the democratic process without talking to the lawyers. Could We Have A Market For Electoral College Votes? [Dealbreaker]
* Top candidates turn to trial lawyers for support. [Washington Post]
* More recusal requests expected in WV Supreme Court. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Former NFL player’s wife files malpractice suit over surgery. [ESPN]
* Suffrage suffers in Mexico. [MSNBC]
* How to count primary delegates (and an explanation of the “superdelegates”). [New York Times; New York Times]
* “It’s just not realistic” to present major new initiatives, but the SOTU will still be on every channel tonight. White House speechwriters are not on strike. [CNN]
* Super-litigator Tom Barr of Cravath, RIP. [New York Times (death notice); WSJ Law Blog]
If you’re thinking of moving from private practice to government, you should be prepared to take a hit in perks as well as pay. Sure, your hours will be better — just avoid the S.D.N.Y. — and you might even get a free flu shot. But you won’t have the fancy offices, the swanky lunches, or round-the-clock support staff. Sometimes you’ll have to make your own photocopies.
It is not, however, all doom and gloom. In the past, Department of Justice employees got to enjoy four-dollar meatballs (plus $13,000 in brownies). And now we hear that for at least one DOJ diva, work was a day at the beach — quite literally.
From Al Kamen of the Washington Post:
[T]he acting deputy director of the [voting rights] section, Susana Lorenzo-Giguere, has been accused of collecting a $64 per diem, including on weekends and the Fourth of July, while spending half of June and most of July and August with her husband and kids at their beach house on Cape Cod.
The allegation, made to the department inspector general apparently by someone linked to the Boston regional office, was that Lorenzo-Giguere made “multiple” government-paid trips to the Cape and that she improperly said that “her presence on Cape Cod was necessary pending litigation in Boston,” which was in the courts over the summer….
The complaint also alleged that Lorenzo-Giguere “spent little time in Boston” this summer and did little work on the case. Also, what supervision and oversight she provided was done by phone to Boston while she “remained on the beach,” and she would have been able to do this from her office in Washington.
C’mon, folks — cut Susana some slack. Her kids needed her; building sandcastles is no easy task. And she probably looks great in a swimsuit, too.
More about Ms. Lorenzo-Giguere, after the jump.
Ed. notes: First, B. Clerker is unavailable this morning, so we’re doing Morning Docket ourselves. Second, by the time you read this, we’ll be attending this event. But we’ve arranged for previously written posts (like this one) to be published in our absence.
* John Edwards tries to put a noble spin on the financial desperation of his flailing campaign. Stick a fork in him; he’s done. [WP; NYT]
* Jena One released on bail. [AP]
* Fourteen “high-value” terrorism suspects will be allowed to request lawyers. KSM will use his to sue Teleflex. [WP]
* In Pakistan, the Supreme Court gets involved in elections too. From the gallery: “Go, Musharraf, go!” [AP via WP]
* Set your TiVo, judicial groupies: Justice Thomas will be on 60 Minutes this Sunday. Thankfully, his interview — in which he’s rumored to call Anita Hill “a nappy-headed ho” — doesn”t conflict with the season premiere of Desperate Housewives. [WSJ Law Blog]
Another day, another controversy involving New Yorker scribe Jeffrey Toobin and his eagerly anticipated book, The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court (to be published on September 18).
Yesterday we wrote about Toobin weighing in on who deserved the blame for Harriet Miers. Today we bring you a new drama (first noted earlier this week by Jeff Dufour and Patrick Gavin, over at Yeas & Nays).
We begin with a juicy excerpt from Toobin’s book, concerning Justice Souter’s reaction to Bush v. Gore:
David Souter alone was shattered. He was, fundamentally, a very different person from his colleagues. It wasn’t just that they had immediate families; their lives off the bench were entirely unlike his. They went to parties and conferences; they gave speeches; they mingled in Washington, where cynicism about everything, including the work of the Supreme Court, was universal.
More discussion, including JT’s juicy revelation about Justice Souter, after the jump.
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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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deal flow has clearly picked recently up for most US associates, counsels and partners in Hong Kong/China and Singapore. We are on the phone with a lot of these folks on a daily basis, many of whom we have known for years. Further, the head of our Asia team, Evan Jowers, and Kinney’s founder and president, Robert Kinney, frequently meet in person with leading US partners in Asia to assess their needs and keep on top of the inside scoop at as many firms as possible. The need for legal recruiting help in Asia from experienced recruiters appears to be live and well. In March, Evan and Robert were in Beijing at such meetings, in April, Evan was in Hong Kong, and for half of June Evan will be in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Thus its pretty easy for us to tell when there has been an across-the-market pick up in capital markets and corporate work.
On an average day in Asia when Evan and Robert visit firms, they typically have 5 to 9 meetings a day, mostly with US partners in the market. The reason they have these meetings is not simply because Kinney makes a lot of US attorney placements in Asia and that a particular firm may have openings; instead these are just visits with friends. After years of working together as business partners, the folks at Kinney are actually these peoples’ friends. The firms Kinney work closely with in Asia (which is just about every law firm – call us if you want to know the one firm in the world we will never place anyone with again, ever, and why) look forward to the visits, or at least act like they do. After seven years in the market, many of the client partners are former associate candidates. Also, these US partners see Kinney as a very good source of market information as well, because they know how deep their contacts are in the market and how frequently they are speaking to counterparts at peer firms.
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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