Federal Judges

'At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought.'

It’s not every day that attorneys repeatedly file “unintelligible” complaints that are “riddled with errors.” (Okay, maybe it is every day.)

But it’s really not every day that Drew Peterson’s attorney — yes, that Drew Peterson — attempts to file the same complaint three times, appeals to the Seventh Circuit only to get smacked down, and is then ordered to show cause as to why his federal license to practice shouldn’t be tossed out.

Let’s take a look at what Walter Maksym attempted to file, and why he faced the wrath of the Seventh Circuit earlier this week….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Benchslap of the Day: A Billy Madison Style Rambling, Incoherent Complaint”

Judge Vanessa Gilmore

* Lincoln Caplan writes about Bill Stuntz — “America’s leading thinker on criminal justice, and its hardest to categorize” — in a review of Stuntz’s posthumously published book, The Collapse of American Criminal Justice (affiliate link). [Democracy: A Journal of Ideas]

* Ben Kerschberg identifies eight great law and technology resources — including Above the Law’s tech section, natch. [Forbes]

* Andrew Cohen calls out Judge Vanessa Gilmore for “dubious behavior” in a death penalty case. Judicial diva is as judicial diva does? [The Atlantic]

* Professor Eugene Volokh comes to the defense of “dissental” and “concurral,” two new words coined by his former boss, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski. [Volokh Conspiracy]

Turtle as deadly weapon?

* Don’t let Stephen McDaniel or Bruce Reilly anywhere near a turtle. [Lowering the Bar]

* Check out Orrick’s excellent “It Gets Better” video. Orrick, MoFo and Shearman are the three large law firms we’re aware of that have made such videos; if you know of others, please let us know. [It Gets Better]

* If you are free on November 4th and will be in New York that night, consider attending the Black and White Masquerade Ball of the Dave Nee Foundation, a non-profit committed to fighting depression and preventing suicide. [The Dave Nee Foundation]

First class is a great place for napping.

Along with all of the other passengers, according to the Washington Post. The plane reportedly experienced engine trouble.

United Airlines Flight 586 was scheduled to depart Dulles for San Francisco at 12:34 p.m. The engine problems apparently started before the plane took off. The passengers were evacuated from the smoky plane via emergency chutes and sent back to the terminal. They will board a flight scheduled to depart at 3 p.m. today.

There were reports of three injuries — but Justice Ginsburg, 78, is doing fine, according to Supreme Court spokeswoman Patricia McCabe Estrada. RBG is on her way to an appearance tomorrow at the UC Hastings College of the Law.

Elie wonders: “Is this God’s way of telling RBG to retire? Things aren’t looking so great for 2012.”

UPDATE (4:40 PM): More from the Associated Press.

Justice Ginsburg aboard plane evacuated at Dulles International Airport [Washington Post]

Now that Labor Day is behind us, fall is fast approaching. You can tell by the chill in the evening air.

Or is that just the cold offers we’re feeling? Last month, we asked you for stories about firms giving out cold offers to summer associates. As we explained, a “cold offer” or “fake offer” is, in the words of NALP, an employment offer made “with the understanding that the offer will not be accepted.”

This “offer,” made with a wink and a nudge, allows the employing law firm to report (and boast about) a 100 percent offer rate, when in reality it isn’t welcoming back 100 percent of its summer associates. It also has an advantage for the recipient: when she goes through 3L recruiting, she can truthfully say, “Yes, I received an offer from the firm where I summered.”

We recently heard a story about a pretty cold offer (not from summer 2011, but from not too long ago summer 2010). This summer associate, who wasn’t the most popular person in her class, received a full-time employment offer “contingent upon obtaining a federal clerkship.” Given how hard it is to land a federal judicial clerkship, that’s a pretty cold offer — especially considering that the student in question, now graduated, didn’t go to a law school known for cranking out lots of clerks.

But wait, it gets better….

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While some of the candidates for August’s Lawyer of the Month were bold in their displays of public idiocy, others were bold in their candid assessments of the legal profession.

Looking back on our summer winners for June and July, we thought that legal smarts were taking a substantial lead over legal stupidity. But as it turns out, the margin is much closer than we thought.

In this polling cycle, just ten votes separated our Lawyer of the Month from our second-place finisher….

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Judge Sam Sparks: Probably not smiling now.

The benchslapper has become the benchslapped. Judge Sam Sparks, of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, just got smacked around by a higher authority: Chief Judge Edith Jones, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Last month, Judge Sparks issued a sharply worded order in which he compared the counsel appearing before him to squabbling schoolchildren — and invited them to a “kindergarten party,” where they would learn such lessons as “how to telephone and communicate with a lawyer” and “how to enter into reasonable agreements about deposition dates.” In the end, Judge Sparks ended up canceling the party, after the publicly shamed lawyers worked out their issues — but not before his infamous order received national attention within the legal community.

Many observers were amused by Judge Sparks’s order — which was not the first time His Honor has gotten saucy with lawyers in recent weeks (or in his judicial career, for that matter). But a minority felt that the order was over the top and gratuitously nasty.

Among the unamused: Edith Jones, who oversees the federal courts of Texas in her capacity as Chief Judge of the Fifth Circuit. What did she have to say to Sam Sparks?

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Today is Friday, September 9, 2011. Do you know why today is special? Here’s the answer:

Yes, that’s right — we’re smack dab in the middle of the clerkship application season. Today was the first date and time (10 a.m. Eastern) when judges could contact applicants to schedule interviews, pursuant to the official law clerk hiring plan.

Let’s talk more about the process — and hear from those of you who are going through it….

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In our most recent Grammer Pole of the Weak, over two-thirds of you voted against the use of gender-neutral language, opting instead for the historic use of “he,” “him,” and “his” to cover both sexes. In the poll before that one, over 80 percent of you voted in favor of the serial comma. These results suggest that Above the Law readers are traditionalists in matters of grammar, usage, and writing style.

But back in August, 60 percent of you said that you are all right with “alright.” So perhaps ATL readers are open to the evolution of the English language and the creation of new words.

How do y’all feel about neologisms? Let’s look at two new words, coined by none other than the newly svelte Alex Kozinski, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Grammer Pole of the Weak: ‘I Respectfully Dissental’”

My objections to the TSA and the invasive search techniques they employ have been well documented in these pages. I believe their tactics are violative of our rights and would be deemed unconstitutional in any America where courts placed justice ahead of fear. I believe a government that authorizes these searches has lost its legitimacy to rule. I believe citizens who support these procedures do not deserve the liberty they so eagerly toss aside.

And I believed all of that before I was actually molested by the TSA just yesterday.

Having now been through that awful experience, and so close to the ten-year anniversary of 9/11, I can only conclude that not only did the terrorists win, but they keep winning. Right now, the terrorists are winning so hard that they’ve gotten us to do their work for them. In my opinion, the TSA is nothing more than a domestic terror organization that operates above the law.

Just two minutes alone with these people has made me realize that their power now far exceeds the normal constraints of law and order. It might well take active civil disobedience to stop them.

Of course, this is all just my opinion. That’s a disclaimer I feel I need to make very clearly, since the TSA apparently believes that I should be wary of even criticizing it, for fear of being slapped with a lawsuit….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Two Minutes of Terrorist Triumph: Alone With the TSA”

* What did you think of the way Obama was pimping out his reelection jobs bill last night? People were probably more excited about the football game that followed. [Los Angeles Times]

* Congratulations to Stephanie D. Thacker of West Virginia. She was nominated to fill a seat on the Fourth Circuit. If she doesn’t have a family circle, things will go well in her confirmation hearing. [State Journal]

* Money might not grow on trees, but it certainly grows on financial reform legislation. Thanks to the Dodd-Frank Act, the pockets of Biglawyers will continue to be lined with cash for years to come. [New York Times]

* Skinnygirl is supposed to be “the margarita you can trust,” but now the company is facing two class actions. I’ve never tried it (duh), but it’s never good to put your trust in alcohol. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* If you really want a job, you can start packing for South Dakota. A bit deserted for me. In fact, I think you might need some oxen and a covered wagon to practice out there. [WSJ Law Blog]

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