Judicial Nominations

Reports indicate that cloture has not been invoked for Goodwin Liu’s nomination to the Ninth Circuit. That means the filibuster is still on. That means he’s going to be a law professor, not a judge (at least until the next election cycle).

Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and the totally [curse words] Ben Nelson (Something – NE) all voted against Liu. Game, set, match.

Maybe Goodwin Liu and Miguel Estrada should start a support group.

UPDATE (2:40 PM): The vote to end debate failed, 52-43; 60 votes were required.

Senate votes on cloture for Goodwin Liu confirmation [Daily Kos]

* The Southern District of New York: gay bench, or the gayest bench? Like fellow S.D.N.Y. nominee Paul Oetken, Alison Nathan is an openly gay lawyer who clerked for SCOTUS and served as an associate White House counsel. [Poliglot / Metro Weekly; Main Justice]

* Maybe this is why Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld decided to leave New Haven and head up to Harvard. [Slate]

* Speaking of the Harvard-bound hottie, if you’re waiting for her to fail at anything, don’t hold your breath. [Disgrasian]

* Dolce & Gabbana say “Ciao!” to Italian tax evasion charges. [Fashionista]

Jeannie Suk

* Belated congratulations to Jeannie Suk, one-half of celebrity couple Feldsuk, who’s now the first Asian-American woman to serve as a tenured professor at Harvard Law School. [The Careerist]

* A cute April Fool’s joke from UT Law: check out the offerings in Dean Larry Sager’s Law Bodega. [Etsy]

* Elsewhere in April Fool’s news, “Dear SCOTUS FOIA Officer”…. [Law Librarian Blog]

* This is not a prank: a full ride to NYU Law. [Vault]

* These lawyerly lovebirds met as 1Ls at Georgetown Law and would love the support of ATL readers in Crate & Barrel’s “ultimate wedding” contest. [Ultimate Wedding Contest / Crate & Barrel]

Longtime readers of Above the Law will recall the colorful figure of Shanetta Cutlar. She was a high-powered Department of Justice lawyer who was known for her high-handed treatment of DOJ subordinates and colleagues.

(Read the blockquote in this post to get a sense of her antics, or read this juicy letter to former Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty, in which ex-Cutlar underling Ty Clevenger describes the “atmosphere of fear and paranoia” created by Shanetta.)

We haven’t covered Shanetta Cutlar since March 2010, when she stepped down from her post as chief of the Special Litigation Section (“SPL”). After she left SPL, she took a post in the Bureau of Justice Assistance, part of the Office of Justice Programs (“OJP”). This move was interpreted by some DOJ insiders as a form of exile for the controversial Cutlar.

We haven’t heard anything about her since her move to OJP — until now….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Shanetta Cutlar, Back in the News”

One day, after I had been questioned for weeks at a time, I was so frustrated I looked at my assistant and said ‘I think they already know the color of my underwear.’

– Justice Sonia Sotomayor, complaining about the intrusive questioning she was subjected to during the Supreme Court nomination process, in an appearance yesterday at Northwestern Law.

Goodwin Liu

* Doing hood rat stuff with your friends is less likely to land you in the adult court system now. [New York Times]

* The Quinnipiac Law School registrar might be headed to the pokey on mortgage fraud charges. Add/Drop is now… CLOSED!!!!! No idea what that means. [Hartford Courant]

* Law prof Liu lingers in limbo. Liberals loathe legislative logjam. Lumpy loofah. [Diverse: Issues in Higher Education]

* You’re riding high, working for a prestigious law firm that handles collections, when WHAMO… you’re out 300 large. [ABA Journal]

* “The feds are set to probe new underage-sex charges against pervy financier Jeffrey Epstein.” [New York Post]

* Several states are considering laws that would make it more difficult for college students and others to vote. College students fire back that they’re not going to take this lying down. But they’re going to get a little high first. [Washington Post]

* A Charlie Sheen update: from dealing with fools and trolls to taking on Munger Tolles. Gnarly gnarlingtons. [Hollywood Reporter]

Yours truly and S.D.N.Y. nominee Paul Oetken

* One of my favorite parts of the judicial nomination process is the financial voyeurism it makes possible. Check out the income and net worth numbers for two S.D.N.Y. nominees named Paul: Paul Engelmayer, recognized by ATL as a top partner to work for, and Paul Oetken, who would become the first openly gay man to serve on the S.D.N.Y. if confirmed. [The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times]

* Some happier news for Hunton & Williams: partner Kyle Sampson, a prominent figure in the U.S. Attorney firing scandal, has been awarded a D.C. law license (after a two-year battle). [Main Justice]

* Now that the DOJ will no longer defend DOMA, married gay couples, represented by prominent immigration lawyer Lavi Soloway, plan to challenge the law in immigration court. [Stop the Deportations]

* A status update in the Facebook juror case: the California Supreme Court wants some briefing. [Sacramento Bee via @KashHill]

Rep. Christopher Lee (R-NY)

* Lawyerly Lairs: Retired Law Professor Edition. Amidst all the bellyaching by state workers demanding rich, defined-benefit pensions (which are basically extinct in the private sector), isn’t it nice to read about two old people who can pay for their own retirements — and a $3.3 million condo? [New York Times]

* Wondering why Rep. Christopher Lee stepped down so quickly? Here’s a possible answer. [Gawker]

* Musical chairs: Indianapolis-based Barnes & Thornburg takes six lawyers from Akin Gump and opens a new Los Angeles office. [Indiana Lawyer]

* If you’re done with the February bar exam, congratulations! Here are some ways to celebrate (besides going to Disney World). [Lawyerist]

Justice Kennedy

* How did Howrey start to unravel? The trouble might have started in Europe. [Washington Post]

* Congratulations to Arvo Mikkanen, a Native American nominee to the federal bench in Oklahoma (and “an all-around great dude,” according to a tipster). [The Atlantic]

* Washington & Lee Law School, which we recently praised for its honesty to prospective law students, gets even more transparent — in an interview with Vault. [Vault's Law Blog]

* In a recent visit to USC, Justice Kennedy presided over a Shakespeare-inspired trial — something he has done before — and denied that the justices think about the news media when making their decisions. Methinks His Honor doth protest too much. [USC News]

'Please don't ship me in a box with no air holes.'

* A New York trial court smacks down a claim of cyberbullying. [Adjunct Law Prof Blog]

* Taxing alcohol to reduce crime? Sounds like that will lead to more muggings for alcohol money. [Going Concern]

* If you try to mail a puppy from Minnesota to Georgia in a box with no airholes, you don’t get your dog back. Also, you get shipped directly to hell. [Runnin' Scared / Village Voice]

* Blawg Review #297: The Hair Shirt Edition. [Big Legal Brain via Blawg Review]

Disclosure: I'm pals with Judge Kozinski.

Given my prior stewardship of Underneath Their Robes, it should come as no surprise that I like my judges to exhibit some humanity. My favorite judges are those with personality, spunk, and a sense of humor, not the judicial automatons who just crank out dry opinions.

Sometimes judges can be, well, all too human. They might make mistakes — such as, for example, letting their lovers take nude photos of them in compromising positions, which then wind up on the internet. But that’s okay — the photos might be embarrassing, but they don’t call into question judicial impartiality or otherwise prevent the judge from serving.

(All the photos might show is that judges like sex — and is there anything wrong with that? As Elie quipped to me this morning, with regard to the Justice Lori Douglas photos, “I’m not worried about the judges who like having sex. I’m worried about the ones who don’t like having sex.”)

Earlier this week, the Honorable Alex Kozinski, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, reminded us that judges are people too — people who still enjoy free speech rights, despite their judicial offices….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Chief Judge Alex Kozinski Defends Free Speech for Judges”

Liveblogging of this interesting panel about judicial nominations at the National LGBT Bar Association’s Annual Lavender Law Career Fair and Conference, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Understanding Federal Judicial Nominations”

Specter Switches parties.jpgArlen Specter (R-PA), is switching parties. Politico reports:

Republican Sen. Arlen Specter is switching parties so he can run in the Pennsylvania Democratic Senate primary, abandoning his party because he does not want to be “judged by the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate.”

Specter is the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee (chaired by Patrick Leahy).

It will be interesting to see who replaces him as the Republican leader against future Obama judicial nominations. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) used to chair the committee. John Kyl (R-AZ) has been making a lot of news. Chuck Grassley recently became famous for his stance on banker suicide. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) might be a little young for the post.

The early money on the street is on Kyl. The Republican party seems to be listing right and Kyl has been out in front of that movement.

The back and forth on the Judiciary is important for lawyers (how much fun do you think Elena Kagan is having today), but obviously the bigger news is that Specter could be the 60th Senate vote for the soon-to-be filibuster proof Obama agenda.

The move stands to put the White House’s agenda on a fast track — and to renew hopes among organized labor for the Employee Free Choice Act.

The move also raises the stakes for the resolution of the Minnesota Senate race and may tempt Republicans to drag that fight on further.

Political expediency could be the name of the game for Specter. More details after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Arlen Specter, Ranking Republican Member on Senate Judiciary, Switches Parties”

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