Big Love Mormon polygamy Above the Law blog.jpgEarlier this week, a California judge tossed out a lawsuit brought by a high school student who was disciplined by her school, and teased by her classmates, for using the phrase “That’s so gay.” From the Associated Press:

Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Elaine Rushing said she sympathized with 18-year-old Rebekah Rice for the ridicule she experienced at Maria Carrillo High School. But, the judge said, Rice’s lawyers failed to prove that school administrators had violated any state laws or singled the girl out for punishment….

The case filed by Rice and her parents in 2003 brought widespread attention to a three-word phrase that some teenagers use to mean “stupid” or “uncool,” but has come under attack as an insensitive insult to gay people.

The Rices argued that a teacher violated Rebekah Rice’s First Amendment rights by sending her to the principal’s office and putting a note in her school file. During a trial in February, Rebekah Rice testified she said “That’s so gay” as a response to other students asking her rude questions about her Mormon upbringing.

Regardless of the legal merits, it seems that young Rebekah could learn a little sensitivity. How would she feel if a classmate derided an ugly outfit of hers by saying, “That’s so polygamous”?
Update / Clarification: We are NOT making fun of Mormonism. Please recall that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints actually REJECTS polgamy. Rather, we are making fun of the idiocy of playground insults (e.g., “That’s so polygamous” — which makes absolutely no sense).
Judge Rules in ‘That’s So Gay’ Case [Associated Press]

Supreme Court 6 Above the Law blog.JPGWe’re a little late on this (and blame our tardiness on associate pay fixation). But here are two interesting tidbits of Supreme Court gossip, from Tony Mauro of the Legal Times:
1. Carter Phillips’ Kin Is Alito Clerk [Legal Times]
One of Justice Samuel Alito’s incoming clerks, Jessica Phillips — who has been described as “beautiful and brainy” — is the daughter of renowned Supreme Court litigator Carter Phillips. This means that Jessica “will have no involvement in cases in which her father’s firm, Sidley Austin, participates” — which has ranged as high as 20 percent of the Court’s docket.
(Btw, Jessica Phillips is not the first female clerk whose father also clerked for the Court. Mauro ticks off a list of five daughters of male clerks who went on to become clerks themselves. Check it out here.)
2. New Job for Mrs. Roberts [The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times]
More on Jane Roberts’ New Job [The BLT]

Lawyer Jane Sullivan Roberts, the wife of Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. has a new job — and it’s not at a law firm. The leading legal search firm Major, Lindsey & Africa announced this morning that Mrs. Roberts is leaving Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman’s D.C. office to become leader of the In-House Practice Group in Major, Lindsey & Africa’s D.C. office.

Inquiring minds want to know: Will Jane Roberts continue to earn more than her husband in her new position?
(That was surely the case in her old job, when Jane Sullivan Roberts was a partner at Pillsbury Winthrop. Even though her most recent post at the firm was Executive Partner for Talent Development, which probably didn’t involve a lot of client-billable work, it would be shocking for a Biglaw partner to earn less than her hubby’s $212,100 salary as Chief Justice.)

* Like an aging babyboomer, L&O might be spending its golden years with its progeny… at TNT. Loyal fans, you will always find L&O-related news here. (And when I say “here”, I mean in Non-Sequiturs, because Lat does what he wants.) [Los Angeles Times]
* Oops, they f**ked up. (And when I say “they”, I mean both Ashley’s parents and the hospital.) [WFSB]
* JDs (or passing the bar) not required. [Sports Law Blog]
* Victory for teachers, held not legally required to baselessly bolster students’ self-esteem with good grades on such challenging homework as posters, book reports and “leaf projects.” [Charleston Daily Mail]
* Suggestion for replacement billboard: “At least our controversial billboard lasted longer than Britney Spears’ first marriage.” [ABC News]

David Hasselhoff Above the Law blog.jpg* $3.19 a gallon for this? [CNN]
* Hasselhoff videotape (no, not the German music video) leads to loss of custody rights. [
* Bat-ban Begins — groups sue to overturn NYC ordinance.[SI]
* Senators expand Attorneygate probe. [MSNBC]
* Ethics of “pillow angel” surgery called unlawful. [CNN]

prom high school senior prom Above the Law blog.jpg* It’s prom season, when schools discriminate against singles (and misguided girls hope that a “prom baby” will save them from the trials and tribulations of college). []
* Decent folks (and despite all my hating, that’s most of us) have a visceral reaction to hate crimes — but out on the horizon also loom 1984 and Minority Report. [Agoraphilia]
* To my knowledge, Mr. Chow has never been a Biglaw partner. [Yahoo! News]
* That is 750 years of bitch servitude. []
* At least the plaintiff spared the Mets from an additional lawsuit by cushioning the fall of the 300 lb. man and has not defected to the Yankees, although the latter probably turns on the outcome of the lawsuit. [Sports Illustrated]

Whole Lesbian Sex Book Felice Newman Above the Law blog.jpgWe realize this news broke last week. But we were on vacation — and it’s just too good to omit from these pages. From

A father in Arkansas is looking for $20,000 in compensation for his teenage sons, after they found a book in a public library called The Whole Lesbian Sex Book.

According to Earl Adams, his sons – aged 14 and 16 – were ‘greatly disturbed’ by Felice Newman’s classic lesbian sex manual, described by its publishers as ‘the most comprehensive sex guide available for lesbians.’

And now he is demanding $10,000 from the city of Bentonville for each boy. The volume has already been withdrawn from the library shelves, and the director of the library has resigned – although she is adamant she left for personal reasons, not in response to the complaints.

So what’s the basis for the $20,000 damages claim? Per Overlawyered:

[This incident] happened, Adams said, while [his sons] were browsing for material on military academies (titter ye not!). The shock to their sensibilities from exposure to the “immoral” volume resulted in the boys being “greatly disturbed” and undergoing “many sleepless nights in our house.”

Simply ridiculous. Ask these boys in five years whether they still find lesbians “greatly disturb[ing].”
Also, The Whole Lesbian Sex Book has been critically acclaimed. Check out this review:

Cure for cancer? End to world hunger? What’s left to do after the publication of Felice Newman’s definitive guide to lesbian sex? Drawing on a wide range of published sources as well as her own notoriously graphic questionnaire circulated by e-mail… Newman has compiled an exhaustively thorough how-to guide for practices as exotic as play piercings and as pedestrian as oral sex.

Umm, who describes oral sex as “pedestrian”? Sounds like mistakes are being made in this reviewer’s household.
(Also, why are we not surprised that The Whole Lesbian Sex Book has been effusively praised on, of all websites, Amazon?)
Saw sex book by mistake; $10K apiece demanded [Overlawyered]
Man seeks compensation for lesbian trauma []
The Whole Lesbian Sex Book []

Sheryl Crow Above the Law blog.jpg* Cheating in B-school… Surely this would never happen in law school. But if one of the wrongly accused lacrosse players got a highly coveted, six-figure job, then surely these guys will pull through. [New York Times]
* Kids always suffer the most in a divorce. [The Oregonian]
* Inspired by that handy pageant trick, local politicians have also approved free pots of vaseline at schools and churches. [Concurring Opinions]
* In politics as in music, Sheryl Crow isn’t for everyone. But I still really like her first hit single, Leaving Las Vegas. [Mirror of Justice]
* Apparently, today is Law Day. But if a holiday or designated special day does not involve cake or presents, I just can’t get that excited. [Professor Bainbridge; WSJ Law Blog]

Remember Judge Sam Sparks, of the Western District of Texas? He’s a colorful judge with a robust sense of humor, as well as a low tolerance for lawyer shenanigans and quarrels.

Back in 2004, Judge Sparks compared bickering lawyers in his court to kindergarteners. His saucy order made the email rounds, first in Texas, then around the country.

And now he offers up this poetic order, in rhymed couplets:

Keystone Media Hancock order 1 Above the Law blog.jpg

The rest of this judicial ditty, including the punchline, appears after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Judge Sam Sparks Does It Again”

Some of you have questions about this CNN video report on a 19-year-old who’s about to graduate with a 4.0 GPA from the University of Michigan and head off to law school. Here are our thoughts on Nicole Matisse:
* She’s amazingly attractive. Most of those child-prodigy spelling-bee-winner types have thick glasses and an overbite.
* Surely the most pressing question: With a 4.0 GPA from Michigan, why is she going to fourth-tier Wayne State University Law School? Surely she could have gotten into most, if not all, of the top 10 (or 14, or whatever Georgetown is insisting is the cream-of-the-crop number these days). And at 19, she’s old enough to venture a bit further from home.
* What’s up with the typing demonstration? Is words-per-minute now the definitive measure of otherworldly intelligence?
* When asked to name her easiest college class, she responds: “Behavioral Neuroscience.” Showboating, anyone? We stopped liking her at that point in the video.
* How funny is that Wayne State law student being interviewed outside the school? “There’s a good chance I was in the entirely wrong classroom for that test.” The reporter then asks the young man how the prodigy will be regarded at the law school next year. Gee, a 19-year-old hottie brainiac–she’ll probably struggle.
* The reporter’s final comment is a new low in pathetic summings-up: “She won’t be 19 forever. Next February, she’ll be 20.” This just in: The year after that, she’ll be 21.

Former Santa Clara law professor Murdaugh Stuart Madden, Jr. is facing federal child pornography charges. The San Jose Mercury News reports:

A former visiting Santa Clara University Law School instructor faces felony child pornography charges, federal prosecutors said today.
Murdaugh Stuart Madden Jr., could face 10 years in prison and $250,000 in fines if he is convicted on charges filed by the United States Attorney’s office today.
Prosecutors charge that Madden kept child pornography on Dell laptop computers he used for his work at Santa Clara and Pace University in New York.
Officials at Santa Clara refused to comment on the case, other than to say that Madden was an instructor for eight months – September 2005 through April 2006.
It is unclear how many images prosecutors allege Madden kept or how he obtained them.
According to court records, prosecutors believe that Madden received at least some of the illicit images during his time at Santa Clara.

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