The appellate court facing the most complex workload in the country is also tiny and overworked. Only the First Circuit has fewer active slots, and with three vacancies, the D.C. Circuit has fewer judges than its sibling courts with 11 active judges.
So it should come as no surprise that some senators are actively trying to shrink the D.C. Circuit.
The crux of their beef is that actually filling the three vacancies on the court would constitute court packing, because no one on the Hill has bothered to pick up an AP U.S. History textbook and figure out what “court packing” means.
But when you strip away the partisan stupidity and actually look at the numbers, there’s a really good argument in favor of “court packing” because this Circuit could use an extra judge or two…
There are a lot of things you can do in New Orleans that you can’t do anywhere else. But cursing out a judge is apparently not one of them.
Ashton O’Dwyer has made a bit of a name for himself in the post-Katrina universe. A tipster provides some backstory on this former lawyer:
Ashton O’Dwyer has become a bit of a nuisance in Louisiana post Katrina. I am pretty sure that at one point, he actually seceded from the union in an attempt to get financial foreign aid following Katrina. He has been disbarred for abusive language and disrespect of the legal system. He does have several cases where he represents himself pro se.
Recently, Judge Ivan L. R. Lemelle (E.D. La.) held O’Dwyer in contempt of court for saying “screw you” and hanging up, at the conclusion of a status conference.
O’Dwyer fired off a (handwritten) response to the contempt order, defending his conduct:
[A]t the time he told Ivan L. R. Lemelle (as a man, not as a Judge): “screw you,” and hung up the telephone during the referenced status conference by telephone, the business of the Court had already been concluded.
Actually, that is not a terrible argument, if the court’s business was actually concluded before O’Dwyer made his remark.
But O’Dwyer doesn’t leave well enough alone. Did you know that both O’Dwyer and Lemelle are Judge Lemellle is black? That fact becomes important — at least in O’Dwyer’s mind.
More details after the jump.
* The Judicial Conference of the United States, the policy-making body for the federal judiciary (but not the SCOTUS), has announced measures to improve the judiciary’s self-policing and public accountability. They include required installation of “conflict checking” software — get with it, Your Honors, that’s long overdue — and enhanced disclosure concerning judicial junkets. [New York Times; Washington Post]
* Speaking of judicial naughtiness, a commission headed by Justice Stephen G. Breyer has concluded that the Ninth Circuit mishandled its investigation of Judge Manuel Real — who is now facing an impeachment inquiry. [Los Angeles Times via How Appealing]
* The latest news in L’Affaire HP: Lawyers all around! HP general counsel Ann Baskins has retained white-collar specialist Cristina Arguedas, and Larry Sonsini has retained Michael Madigan, of Akin Gump. [The Recorder; WSJ Law Blog]
* Trying to come up with legislation to govern interrogation and treatment of terror suspects: Still a big ol’ mess. Wake us up when something’s actually accomplished. [Washington Post; New York Times]
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