In her bestselling memoir, My Beloved World (affiliate link), Justice Sonia Sotomayor recounts her journey from the projects of the South Bronx to the bench of the United States Supreme Court. Given that background, one would expect Justice Sotomayor to have a weak spot for young women who make it to One First Street from improbable places.
So it makes perfect sense that Justice Sotomayor has hired the first-ever Brooklyn Law School graduate to serve as a Supreme Court law clerk: Sparkle Sooknanan, a 2010 graduate of BLS who is currently an appellate attorney at the Justice Department. We’ve heard Sooknanan described as “an awesome human being” and “brilliant” — and with a name like “Sparkle,” the brilliance must be literal.
Sparkle isn’t the only bright young lawyer to claim a shiny new credential for the résumé. Read on for additional news of Supreme Court clerk hiring….
Take the words “all contributors.” Now close your eyes and contemplate what those words mean in plain English. This exercise serves two purposes, by both focusing your mind on the definition and simulating exactly how much the D.C. Circuit thinks you should know about the political process. How did they come to their decision, you might ask? By twisting, turning, and bending the words of the English language in a way that’s still illegal in nine states.
I mean, what more can you say about an opinion that calls dictionaries an “optical illusion?” Seriously…
What if Supreme Court nominees didn’t have to defend themselves to the American public? What if the U.S. Senate’s constitutional privilege of “advice and consent” was revoked? What would the Court look like if the nominees didn’t have to even pretend to be moderate?
It’s a thought experiment that we’re sure has been done countless times before. But we’ve never done it, so we’ll plunge ahead.
Here are the rules: (1) The nominee should be unconfirmable. (2) The nominees on the right should make Elie angry; the nominees on the left should make Lat uncomfortable. (3) Mealy-mouthed moderates need not apply.
“I wouldn’t call Harry Edwards a ‘judicial divo,’ per se. He’s just really irritable, that’s all.”
This is a continuation of our earlier post about a luncheon talk by the fantabulous Judge Janice Rogers Brown. Judge Brown sits on the D.C. Circuit, the most prestigious appellate court in the country after the U.S. Supreme Court (which she may someday join). She spoke recently before the Federalist Society in Washington, a group that she said she “always enjoys spending time with — despite all the trouble it gets [her] into.”
Discussion and pictures, after the jump.
“I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: I am NOT a judicial diva!!!”
(Okay, she didn’t say it quite this emphatically. But Judge Brown did repudiate the “judicial diva” label, when we asked her about it during the Q-and-A session.)
Some time ago — we’re too embarrassed to mention when — we attended a lunch talk here in Washington with Judge Janice Rogers Brown, of the D.C. Circuit. As we’ve previously noted, Judge Brown is a leading judicial diva and possible Supreme Court nominee.
It was a great event, and we took lots of pictures, of the impressively poor quality that you’re used to here at ATL. Our write-up, with pics, after the jump.
Last Friday, we attended a fantastic lunch talk by Judge Janice Rogers Brown (near right; her celebrity doppelganger, Wanda Sykes, is on the far right).
In case you’re not familiar with her, Judge Brown is a leading judicial diva. She’s a former justice of the California Supreme Court and a current member of the D.C. Circuit. In light of her inspirational life story — she’s an African-American female, the daughter of sharecroppers — and her seat on our nation’s most prestigious circuit court, Judge Brown is frequently mentioned as a possible Supreme Court nominee.
We’ll have more to write about the event later — plus some of our fabulously horrendous photographs, an ATL trademark. For now, though, we just want to share you the best quip of the day (or the “money quote,” as those political bloggers like to say):
Rumors that Justice John Paul Stevens is about to step down from the Supreme Court are a recurring feature of the legal gossip landscape. As we previously observed, JPS retirement rumors “return each spring, with the birds and the flowers.”
But hey, we’re good sports, so we’ll blog about them. ‘Cause one of these days, they might actually turn out to be true — and we wouldn’t want to be caught flat-footed. (Our personal view, though, is that Justice Stevens will leave the Court as the late Chief Justice Rehnquist did — through death, not retirement.)
Anyway, here’s the latest gossip. Per Sean Rushton, executive director of the Committee for Justice, and an active participant in judicial confirmation battles:
For the past several weeks, there has been a rumor circulating among high-level officials in Washington, D.C., that a member of the U.S. Supreme Court has received grave medical news and will announce his or her retirement by year’s end. While such rumors are not unusual in the nation’s capital, this one comes from credible sources. Additionally, a less credible but still noteworthy post last week at the liberal Democratic Underground blog says, “Send your good vibes to Justice Stevens. I just got off the phone with a friend of his family and right now he is very ill and at 86 years old that is not good.”
Rushton’s rumor was picked up over at ConfirmThem.
If Justice Stevens does resign from the Court, who might fill his robes? U.S. News’s Washington Whispers column offers this intelligence:
President Bush isn’t looking very far for his next conservative pick to the U.S. Supreme Court: His top two candidates work just 12 blocks away in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Insiders say Judge Janice Rogers Brown, appointed in June 2005, tops the list, followed by Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, appointed in May.
Also up: Peter Keisler, whose nomination to the D.C. court is pending. So there’s no vacancy, you say? With apologies to Justice John Paul Stevens, 86, it’s his seat they hope to fill.
As ATL readers know, we love ourselves some Janice Rogers Brown. But would this outspoken, conservative judicial diva be able to make it through a Democrat-controlled Senate? The same goes for Brett Kavanaugh, whom Senator Chuck Schumer once described as “the Zelig of young Republican lawyers.”
So we’d be interested in your views on a question that a (clearly conservative) reader sent to us earlier today:
How about a piece on SCOTUS candidates Bush could get through the Senate now that it’s controlled by Communists?
* Gay marriages legally-cognizable-relationships-that-will-probably-get-called-civil-unions are coming to New Jersey.
* Superstar lawyer Ted Olson, who is not gay, got married — to a lovely lady named Lady. And ATL has the exclusive photos to prove it.
* Law firms are tying the knot too. The latest to head for the altar: Dewey Ballantine and Orrick.
* Things are going less smoothly for celebrities. Country music star Sara Evans is getting divorced. Jane Pauley is filing suit. Naomi Campbell is getting arrested. And Foxy Brown is getting sentenced.
* Paralegal pay ain’t half bad, as long as you work for Biglaw — and put in lots of overtime.
* Think grammar and punctuation are silly and useless? Listen to the cautionary tale of the costly comma.
* Justice Scalia: You like him, you really like him!
* As for your Least Favorite Supreme Court Justice, we’ll keep the polls open over the weekend. To vote, click here.
* And if you’d like to cast a ballot in a more frivolous poll, help Judge Janice Rogers Brown pick a hairstyle. To vote, click here.
On Fridays, we administer random reader polls here at Above the Law. Last week, for example, we asked you to vote for your Favorite Supreme Court Justice.
(That poll is now closed — and Justice Scalia won, in case you’re wondering. But we’re still taking votes in our poll for LEAST Favorite Supreme Court Justice.)
Today’s poll is a little less weighty. It relates to Judge Janice Rogers Brown, who currently sits on the super-prestigious D.C. Circuit (from whence many Supreme Court justices have come).
Judge Brown, a former justice of the California Supreme Court, is a smart, outspoken judicial conservative — a judicial diva, if you will. She also happens to be an African-American woman. Not surprisingly, JRB is frequently mentioned as a possible Supreme Court nominee in a Republican administration.
Enough background. For your reference, the top right photo is “Bangs Janice,” and the bottom right photo is “Perm Janice.” Here’s the poll:
We look forward to the results. Thanks for voting! A Preemptive Rebuttal to the P.C. Police: We do NOT need your lectures on the long and complex history of African-American women and their hairstyles. We are NOT making any grand statement on issues of self-image and self-representation, the highly charged intersection of racism and feminism, or any other weighty subject.
This poll is nothing more than the federal judicial version of the “which look is better” polls that appear in celebrity mags like US Weekly and In Touch. We just want to find out which JRB hairstyle our readers prefer. (We have an opinion, but we’ll keep it to ourselves for now.)
In future polls, we will ask ATL readers about the hair and fashion choices of lawyers and judges from every conceivable demographic group. So don’t read anything into this poll. We’re starting with Janice Rogers Brown because, well, we think she’s magnificent. And we want her to have the full benefit of these poll results as she styles herself for future public appearances.
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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: email@example.com.
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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