Laurence Silberman

On Tuesday, the D.C. Circuit benchslapped a gaggle of lawyers for filing briefs with excessive acronyms. The court’s per curiam order directed the parties to “submit briefs that eliminate uncommon acronyms used in their previously filed final briefs.”

Alas, attempts to comply with this order have raised a new problem — a problem that some readers saw a mile away….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Benchslap Postscript: Mo’ Words, Mo’ Problems”

The D.C. Circuit to counsel: readable briefs or GTFO. From an order filed today:

Who are the parties and their counsel? Additional information and the full order, after the jump.

(Also note the UPDATES — in defense of the lawyers, and floating a theory about the judge behind the benchslap — added to the end of this post.)

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Chief Judge Merrick Garland

Merrick Garland, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit since last week, is dreading March 1.

With heavy stress on “not,” Chief Judge Garland said he does “not look forward” to the potential sequester because he knows that it would mean cuts and that he would have to make them.

Garland, along with fellow D.C. Circuit Judge Thomas Griffith and Senior Judge Laurence Silberman, spoke Saturday at the Georgetown University Law Center, as part of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society’s annual conference. I attended the panel presentation.

One positive of the new job for Garland is that he can make more writing assignments. Like Justice Breyer, he was a longtime junior judge. Translation: He had to take what he was given to write.

“The public has seen [Garland’s] last opinion on energy law,” Griffith predicted.

Read more about the panel, including Silberman’s jabs at the recess appointments decision, Griffith’s magical (?) clerk gift, and Garland’s limited edition headgear for a court party, after the jump….

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Laurence Silberman

Here, both parties abandoned any attempt to write in plain English, instead abbreviating every conceivable agency and statute involved, familiar or not, and littering their briefs with references to ‘SNF,’ ‘HLW,’ ‘NWF,’ ‘NWPA,’ and ‘BRC’…

– Senior Judge Laurence Silberman, writing for the D.C. Circuit, in a footnote lamenting the litigants’ in National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners v. United States Department of Energy overuse of alphabet soup.

champagne glasses small.jpg
The stalk-and-eventually-marry-your-doorman phenomenon continues to enthrall the NYT weddings editors. This week they shine the spotlight on yet another bride — this time a producer at CNN — who found love in the lobby. LEWW encourages female Biglaw associates to embrace this trend. You’re in and out of office buildings all day, ladies — open your eyes to the lusciousness perched behind those security desks!
And now, this week’s finalist couples:

1. Monique Mendez and Graham O’Donoghue
2. Ashlee Conley and Andrew Veit
3. Anne Claiborne and Andrew Grotto

Read all about these newlyweds, after the jump.

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George J Terwilliger III George Terwilliger Attorney General Above the Law blog.jpgYesterday we opined that Judge Laurence H. Silberman would get the Attorney General nomination. Now we take that back.
After our post, a knowledgeable source informed us that Laurence Silberman isn’t interested in the job. A second source, who confirmed Judge Silberman’s lack of interest, added that he might be tougher to confirm that one might expect for a longtime federal judge. See here.
Then we came across this great analysis of the AG situation, by the ever-fabulous Jan Crawford Greenburg. She writes, over at her blog, Legalities:

The White House could announce as early as Wednesday its nominee to replace Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and former U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olson has emerged as a leading candidate—despite initial concerns in the administration that he could face a tough confirmation hearing, according to sources close to the process.

Olson, a highly regarded Washington D.C. lawyer, has broad support inside the administration because of his deep experience in the Justice Department in two different presidential administrations. In addition to serving as solicitor general during President Bush’s first term, Olson headed the Office of Legal Counsel during the Reagan Administration.

This is consistent with what just went up at the Drudge Report:

FLASH: Ted Olson becomes frontrunner for Attorney General, top sources tell DRUDGE REPORT; announcement could be imminent… Developing…

But we’re not so sure. Remember when Edith Brown Clement looked like the frontrunner for the Supreme Court seat vacated by Justice O’Connor? This White House likes surprises.
More discussion, after the jump.

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Laurence Silberman Judge Laurence H Silberman Laurence Hirsch Silberman Above the Law blog.jpgAs noted in the Washington Post, President Bush is expected to name Alberto Gonzales’s replacement as attorney general in the next few days, after returning from Australia tomorrow. The WaPo seems to be predicting Ted Olson:

[F]ormer solicitor general Theodore B. Olson has emerged as one of the leading contenders for the job, according to sources inside and outside the government who are familiar with White House deliberations.

Other candidates still in the running include former deputy attorney general George J. Terwilliger III and D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Laurence H. Silberman, according to the sources, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the discussions.

Even though we’re still rooting for our former boss, based on this short list, we’re predicting Judge Laurence Silberman (who previously served as Deputy Attorney General, the #2 job at the Justice Department).
More thoughts, including discussion of George Terwilliger and Larry Thompson, after the jump.

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* Short list of possible attorney general nominees includes George J. Terwilliger III and Judge Laurence H. Silberman (D.C. Circuit). [Washington Post via WSJ Law Blog]
* “Sen. Larry Craig should be allowed to withdraw his guilty plea… because he was under extreme stress after being hounded by journalists asking questions about his sexuality, his lawyer argues.” Umm, okay. [Associated Press]
* Judges of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court hike up their robes a little more, show the world about national security. [Sidebar / New York Times via How Appealing]
* Prominent Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu flipped out on train, “at one point stripping off his shirt and shoes,” before his crazy ass got arrested. [San Francisco Chronicle via Drudge Report]
* Uproar over Missouri Supreme Court culminates with Gov. Blunt offering a half-hearted endorsement of his own appointee. [Kansas City Star via How Appealing]

Laurence Silberman Judge Laurence H Silberman Laurence Hirsch Silberman Above the Law blog.jpgThe D.C. Circuit’s administrative law-heavy docket can be a total snooze-fest less than thrilling. But at least that uber-prestigious court is stocked with some interesting personalities.
Like the prominent, conservative, and temperamental Judge Laurence H. Silberman. From a tipster:

How about giving a shout-out to the latest Silbermannerisms? Yesterday Judge Silberman served up these two gems in a completely run-of-the-mill case, Menkes v. DHS (PDF):

“In response, the government raises a number of threshold jurisdictional arguments. Frankly, we do not think them worth a tinker’s damn.”

“This argument [is] unworthy of the government.”

OUCH — but not out of character for Judge Silberman. More from our source:

[H]e’s badass. The all-time greatest Silbermannerism:

“If you were ten years younger, I’d punch you out!” [Silberman to Abner Mikva, in conference with Ken Starr, as recalled by Mikva -- New York Times, 9/1/1998]

Someday I’ll start a blog on the DC Circuit, and when I do I plan to make Silbermannerisms a regular feature. But in the meantime, I hope you put those quotes to good use! He’s surely the greatest Judicial Divo of all time.

Judge Silberman is certainly in the running for that title. But what about his liberal counterpart, Judge Harry T. Edwards? No shrinking violet, he.
Menkes v. DHS (PDF) [U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit]

Alberto Gonzales 2 Attorney General Alberto R Gonzales Above the Law blog.JPGAttorney General Alberto Gonzales may be slightly more secure in his position these days than in the recent past, when it was looking like “Gonzales” was Spanish for “canned.” But he’s not out of the woods yet — which is why speculation about possible successors continues.
Ben Wittes, writing for TNR Online, has some excellent insights. His overall take:

[B]etween a sinking administration that still demands loyalty above all else and congressional Democrats keen on using their new oversight powers, finding a candidate who satisfies both sides will be hard. The next attorney general must be someone acceptable enough to Democrats not just to get confirmed but to tamp down the fire Gonzales has witlessly set.

But he must also be enough of a conservative to satisfy the White House. And he needs a reputation for probity and moral seriousness sufficient to speak to the public and to Congress with the respect that Gonzales obviously lacks. It’s a tall order–a pinch so tight that it squeezes out almost all of the names being bandied about in public.

Wittes then marches through various possible nominees. Discussion continues, after the jump.

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