Eyes of the Law

airplane.jpegAs gossip aficionados, we were excited to learn about this delicious website. From the NYT:

Ever wonder what the cabin crews on planes think of the passengers they serve? If you want to find out, log onto www.airlinecrew.net, a Web site “connecting crew members worldwide,” where flight attendants (or FA’s) spout off…

[I]t is the “celebrity sightings” thread within the Galley Gossip forum that makes for the best reading — posting after posting of who’s naughty and who’s nice in the air….”

Recalling the dishy write-ups of Justice O’Connor and Justice Breyer from Bitter Waitress, a similar website for restaurant servers, we headed over to the Airline Crew site. Our mission: to find judicial celebrity sightings at 30,000 feet.
Alas, unlike the Bitter Waitresses, our nation’s flight attendants seem to fit into the group of Americans who are more familiar with the Seven Dwarfs than the Nine Justices. Our diligent searches through the AirlineCrew.net gossip threads produced no Supreme Court justice sightings. (We didn’t bother looking for lower-court judges.)
The best we could do? Sightings of the Honorable Judith Sheindlin, aka Judge Judy. One flight attendant described her as “a tiny little thing.” Sure, she may be small; but she packs quite a punch.
From the same FA who saw Judge Judy came this comment, on Jennifer Lopez:

I CANNOT STAND THIS WOMAN… she yelled at me because I couldn’t make her a double espresso, and then told me that my shoes looked cheap!!!!!! can you believe it!? so I replied “well at least they match YOUR bag!”

We beg to differ with this FA. We adore J. Lo — and the more she acts like a diva, the more we love her.
Furthermore, we continue to believe Ms. Lopez should be nominated to the Supreme Court. We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: “Who could resist the prospect of a case parenthetical reading, ‘Lo, J., dissenting’?”
A New Kind of Dish Is Served by Flight Crews [New York Times]
Celebrity Sightings: What Fun! [AirlineCrew.net]
LAX-JFK Sightings [AirlineCrew.net]
Judicial SIGHT-ations: Hail to the Chief! [UTR]

ruth bader ginsburg.gifThis just in: A possible sighting of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg!!!

I have an unconfirmed rumor that RBG was at the Kennedy Center’s performance last night of Sophie’s Choice: The Opera. Can you confirm this? Apparently the justice has been spotted before at the opera there.

Such a sighting would not surprise us. Justice Ginsburg’s love of the opera is well-known. It’s an interest she shares in common with her jurisprudential opposite, Justice Antonin Scalia, and the two jurists bond over it. They have even made cameo, non-singing appearances in various D.C. opera performances over the years.
So it would not surprise us to learn that Justice Ginsburg was at the Washington National Opera last night. Earlier this month, Ruthie was sighted at the company’s opening night gala dinner.
If you can confirm this sighting, please email us (and we will update this post if and when we receive such confirmation). Thanks.
We doubt we’ll check out “Sophie’s Choice” once we’re back in Washington. As DCist notes, the work “met with considerable critical disapproval after its 2002 world premiere in London.” The Washington Post’s recent review of the D.C. production calls it “a study in endurance” — at three and a half hours, with only one intermission.
If Justice Ginsburg went to “Sophie’s Choice,” did she enjoy herself? We hope that, at the very least, she didn’t fall asleep — as she did during an oral argument last Term
Even if the production may be problematic, we do like this quip from the programme notes of the London staging: “Life is messy, like masturbation.”
Justice Ginsburg, can you please pass the Kleenex?
Friedkin Toasts Opera Stars’ Talent [Washington Times]
Sophie’s Choice Opens Tonight [DCist]Opera Review: Sophie’s Choice [Guardian Unlimited]
A Searing Sophie’s Choice: WNO’s Production Is A Study in Endurance [Washington Post]
That White Ruffle Thing Is Great for Catching Drool [Wonkette]

stephen breyer in track suit.JPGLately you haven’t been sending many legal celebrity sightings our way. C’mon, guys — we know you can do better. If you harbor doubt as to who constitutes a “legal celebrity” in our book, please review this post.

Due to your delinquency, we’ll have to resort to some rather hoary sightings. Here’s the first, inspired by our recent post about legal hotshots chowing down:

As for food sightings, I hear that Leonard Leo has his own wine locker at Morton’s. One day this past summer, he was there and Miguel Estrada was in the next booth.

For those of you outside the Beltway, Leonard Leo is Grand Poobah of the Federalist Society — ringmaster of the good Senatrix’s “vast right-wing conspiracy.” Miguel Estrada — aka “the kid from Teguicalpa” — is the brilliant Latino lawyer, and former nominee to the celestial D.C. Circuit, who is often talked about as a possible SCOTUS nominee (in a Republican administration).

And what do great legal minds do to work off all those calories? Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Judge Consuelo Callahan (9th Cir.), and Judge Kathleen Cardone (W.D. Tex.) are aerobics aficionados. And all three, coincidentally, used to teach it. Justice O’Connor led the female law clerks in aerobics at the Supreme Court; Judge Callahan was an instructor at Jack La Lanne Fitness in Stockton, California; and Judge Cardone led classes at EP Fitness in El Paso, Texas.

Meanwhile, Justice David Souter, feeder judges J. Harvie Wilkinson (4th Cir.) and Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain (9th Cir.), and ex-Judge Michael Chertoff (3d Cir.) enjoy running. And they’re not the only ones:

An older sighting (March), but a good one. I was driving my car in Georgetown one Sunday morning behind a jogger (blue/black long spandex pants and windbreaker). He was trotting right down the middle of the street, leaving no opportunity to pass on either side.

We followed behind him for about 2 blocks, going an infuriating 4 mph. When he hits the end of the block, he turns and starts jogging the opposite way, and now he’s heading straight in our direction. It was unmistakably Justice Stephen Breyer.

We commend Justice Breyer for his fitness regimen (which may explain why he’s one of the more svelte of the justices). But please, Your Honor — show some consideration for the motorists.

(Yeah, we know — those brick sidewalks in Georgetown can be a real bitch. But remember the words of Nietzsche: “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”)


harriet miers.jpgHarriet Ellan Miers — remember her? President Bush’s White House Counsel, who was the subject of an ill-fated, and quickly withdrawn, Supreme Court nomination?
When Harriet Miers was thrust into the public spotlight as a SCOTUS nominee, her personal style was placed under scrutiny. People made fun of her hair and her make-up. And her 80’s-style ensembles were criticized by many.
Perhaps Harriet Miers took these fashion criticisms to heart. Here’s our latest “Eyes of the Law” celebrity sighting:

On Saturday afternoon, 9/9, I saw Harriet Miers in the “Narrative” Department at Nordstrom’s Pentagon City. She was looking at suits in black and “Reagan red.” I recognized her and nodded at her, and so she smiled pleasantly (in her Stepfordian way). She also rightly determined that red is not her color, and moved on.

I spent the rest of the afternoon lamenting the now obvious loss of my former rock-and-roll lifestyle and feeling tortured that I was shopping in the same department as Harriet Miers. Ew.

Cheer up, dear reader; you should actually congratulate yourself on being found in the shopping company of Harriet Miers. Although the blogospheric masses dismissed Harriet Miers, more sophisticated critics viewed her as a “fashion icon” — with really nice legs!

john roberts at cosi.JPGIn response to our request for legal celebrity sightings, you sent a few our way, which we now share in these pages.
But we know that you can do better. Next time you see a famous lawyer or well-known judge around town, please let us know, by email (subject line: “Sighting”).
Today’s sightings have a theme: FOOD. Prominent and Supreme Court justices have been spotted at the feeding trough. Great legal minds need the fuel of high-quality chow to propel them through their mountains of work.
Here are the sightings — all in Washington, DC, where you can’t throw a rock without hitting an attorney (hopefully not a personal-injury lawyer):

Last month, on a Sunday afternoon around 1:30, I saw Chief Justice John Roberts walking on Pennsylvania Ave. SE and 2nd St., towards the Library of Congress. He was wearing khakis and a blue polo shirt, with some kind of acronym on it, and carrying a Cosi bag and coffee.

It’s interesting to see that Chief Justice Roberts was hard at work on an August weekend (while his colleagues were frolicking around Europe, no doubt). Since Chief Justice Roberts lives out in Chevy Chase, Maryland, there would be little reason for him to be walking around in that neighborhood if he weren’t in chambers. And if he were doing some sightseeing in the area — like when he took a tour of the Folger Shakespeare Library back in July — one would expect him to be accompanied by his wife Jane and their two kids, Josie and Jack Roberts.
So we’re guessing that JGR was at work that day and just stepped out to grab a little lunch. And Cosi is a logical choice for the Chief: we know that he likes sandwiches for lunch, based on prior sightings of him at Au Bon Pain. (ATL to JGR: We recommend the Tuscan pesto chicken sandwich. It’s scrumptious!)
Chief Justice Roberts’s colleague, Justice Antonin Scalia, has somewhat less healthy eating habits. His weakness for pizza at AV Ristorante is well-known. But on a Friday this past summer, he was spotted in very different surroundings:

On a Friday earlier this summer, I spotted Justice Scalia and four young men (presumably his clerks) at Chinatown institution Full Kee. I was surprised to see him there, since I thought he was more partial to AV’s anchovy pizza. But he and his clerks had a nice spread of food out before them, and they seemed to be enjoying it. I didn’t get a good look at what they had, but one of the items appeared to be a beef dish of some sort — maybe beef with broccoli or sesame beef (couldn’t tell just from sight, and Nino didn’t invite me over for a taste).

Very interesting! We didn’t know that Justice Scalia was so fond of Chinese food. It would have surprised us less to spot him at the site of our next celeb spotting:

Former Solicitor General Ted Olson, and Federalist Society grand poobah Leonard Leo, were at Morton’s on Connecticut today [Friday, September 1]. Shocking, I know.

Olson was sitting underneath Leonard Leo’s photo, but Leo was in the next booth over. Both were wearing suits. No consumption details, alas.

Speaking of Ted Olson, today is his birthday (as we noted earlier). Above the Law wishes him all the best.
Earlier: The Eyes of the Law: Legal Celebrity Sightings

spyglass 2.jpgCelebrity sighting columns are a staple of gossip magazines and gossip blogs. E.g., Gawker Stalker, Wonk’d, Judicial Sightations. So, in this spirit, we proudly present The Eyes of the Law — your source for all the legal celebrity sightings that are fit to print (and a few that aren’t).
Since we don’t get out that much — we get an electrical shock if we stray ten feet from our keyboard — we need your help. We’ll need you to make the sightings and submit them to us, by email (subject line: “Sighting”). Then we’ll publish them on the internet, for all the world to enjoy. (We’ve already received a few; keep ‘em coming!)
A few tips and guidelines to help you in your celeb-spotting:

(1) When you make a sighting, please be as observant as possible. How was the person looking — hot, or not? What were they wearing? What kind of mood were they in? Were they alone, or with others?

(2) On a related note, digital photographs to support your sighting are especially welcome. A thousand words, etc.

(3) A true “sighting” requires seeing the personality outside of their natural habitat — and preferably doing something that one might not expect them to be doing. So sightings of federal judges in courthouses and law school deans in the halls of their schools don’t count. But we welcome sightings of judges or deans at, say, a baseball game — or, better yet, a nudie bar.

Here are the types of people who qualify as sighting subjects in our book:

(1) any federal judge (but we’re talking Article III here — no bankruptcy or magistrate judges, ick);

(2) any member of a state’s highest court;

(3) a state court judge from a lower court, but only if they’re notorious for doing the kinds of things that state court judges are known for doing (e.g., using a penis pump on the bench, facilitating the escape of a violent felon, etc.);

(4) famous practicing lawyers, like David Boies, Ted Olson, Mark Geragos, or Ben Brafman (if you have to explain who they are, they’re not famous);

(5) prominent law school deans, like current Yale dean Harold Koh, current Harvard dean Elena Kagan, and former Stanford dean Kathleen Sullivan;

(6) well-known law professors, like Laurence Tribe, Lawrence Lessig, Lani Guinier, or Anita Hill (no, your first-year legal writing instructor doesn’t count); and

(7) law-related television personalities, like Judge Judy Sheindlin, Nancy Grace, or Jeffrey Toobin.

This list is not exhaustive; we may have overlooked certain categories of legal eagles that we’d like you to spot. But it gives you a good idea of the kinds of people we’re interested in.
So enough idle chatter; get to it. Rustle up some juicy sightings, and submit them to us forthwith, by email. Much thanks!

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