Michael Boudin

Washington, DC is often derided as a contemptible swamp full of power-mad squabblers and greedy leeches. And we don’t dispute that. The nation’s capital can be fairly awful when viewed through certain lenses. Still, if you can overlook the pettiness and the posturing, there’s a lot to love about Washington. And a lot of love in Washington, as demonstrated by the newlyweds featured below. All three of these über-impressive couples live and work in and around DC, and we think you’ll agree that any town that’s attracting such gifted, ambitious young people can’t be all bad.

Our finalists:

Jane Kucera and Paul Nitze

Anne Pierson and Robert Allen

Kate Heinzelman and Jonathan Cooper

Read on for more about these legal-eagle lovebirds and their delectable résumés.

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During the United States Supreme Court arguments over Obamacare, the nation got a rare treat: the chance to see (or at least hear) Paul Clement in action. Clement, a former U.S. Solicitor General and current partner at Bancroft PLLC, delivered a brilliant performance before the justices, a veritable master class in appellate advocacy. As Carter Phillips, a veteran SCOTUS litigator himself, told us here at Above the Law, Clement “did a spectacularly good job” and “was just on his game… over a much longer period of time than most of us are required to do it.”

But even Clement couldn’t save Section 3 of the highly problematic Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) from going down to defeat in the First Circuit. Before a panel with a majority of Republican-appointed judges, in fact.

Let’s find out who was on the panel, whether there were any dissents, and what the court concluded….

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Just two lawyer weddings show up on the Legal Eagle Wedding Watch this week, but both are vigorous, Ivy-licious contenders. There’s even a juicy clerkship in the mix to herald the approach of spring!

Here are our finalists:

1. Allison Podell and Bradley Saft

2. Dina Mishra and Benjamin Shultz

More about these couples’ qualifications, after the jump.

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Donald Stout house Blackbery RIM NTP NPT.JPG* Over at the Justice Department, the bad-ass Shanetta Cutlar, Chief of the Special Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division, takes no prisoners.
* Not even summer interns can escape her wrath.
* But hey, at least they get to go back to school. Full-time attorneys can escape only by leaving the Section — provided that Shanetta doesn’t get to them first.
* Speaking of job changes, meet your new White House counsel: Fred Fielding, of Wiley Rein & Fielding (who served as White House counsel under President Reagan).
* Next time you go out for pizza, leave the corporate lawyers at home.
* Pentagon official Charles Stimson doesn’t like how Guantanamo Bay detainees are getting pro bono representation from some of the country’s top law firms. Don’t they have better things to be doing with their pro bono time?
* Michael Nifong manages a Houdini-like escape from the debacle known as the Duke lacrosse team rape case.
* Celebrity law professors Noah Feldman and Jeannie Suk, whom you have just dubbed Feldsuk, have a really nice house.
* But not as nice as the $7 million mansion of patent lawyer Donald Stout (aerial view at right).
* Federal judicial nominees: Out with the old, in with the new.
* Chief Judge Michael Boudin (1st Cir.): You like him, you really like him.
* Maybe it’s because he’s such a big feeder judge. Interestingly enough, though, he has only placed one clerk so far at the Supreme Court for October Term 2007.*
(But Chief Judge Boudin feeds mostly to Justice Breyer and Justice Souter. The former isn’t finished hiring yet, and the latter hasn’t even started.)

Nothing could win you over. Not Judge Bruce Selya’s impressive vocabulary, Judge Juan Torruella’s magnificent yacht, Judge Kermit Lipez’s niceness and decency, nor Judge Sandra Lynch’s personal charm steely intellect.
In the end, you all turned into prestige whores. You succumbed to his fancy title of “Chief Judge,” as well as his strong track record as a feeder judge to the Supreme Court:
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Congratulations to Chief Judge Michael Boudin, your favorite First Circuit judge!
Earlier: ATL Reader Poll: Who’s Your Favorite First Circuit Judge?

First Circuit 1st Circuit 1st Cir seal.jpgIn reviewing our coverage of the federal judiciary, we noticed that we don’t give the First Circuit enough love. For those of you who haven’t memorized this map, the 1st Circuit includes four New England states and Puerto Rico.
Perhaps we don’t cover the First Circuit that much due to its small size. With spots for only six active judges, it’s the smallest of the thirteen U.S. courts of appeals. Or maybe we don’t write much about it because it’s a fairly collegial court — and we like to cover benchslappery.
Regardless of the reasons for it, we’d like to remedy this deficiency in our court coverage. As a first step towards that goal, we bring you this rather random reader poll:


We also invite you to send to us, by email, any good gossip or fun facts about the First Circuit and its members. Thanks!
Update (12:15 PM): As pointed out by this comment, and confirmed in his FJC bio, Judge Bruce Selya took senior status a few days ago (this past Sunday).
We’ll leave Judge Selya in the poll, because many votes have already been cast, and removing him would screw up the results. But if Judge Selya gets the most votes, we’ll declare him the “honorary” winner, and name the runner-up as your favorite active First Circuit judge.
U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit [official website]

legal eagle wedding watch david lat above the law legal blog law blog david lat david lat atl.JPGOn the heels of the robust lawyer wedding market over October 21-22, last weekend delivered another bumper crop of attorney nuptials. We picked three couples to write about, per our standard procedure. But there were many others that would have been equally suitable for review.
Three of the wedding announcements that we almost wrote about illustrate an interesting trend: mentioning past employment positions. Typically this is done only if the former post is a big deal — e.g., a Supreme Court clerkship, an ambassadorship, etc. But in three announcements — Lucy Fowler and Travis Glasson, Liora Powers and Steven Spiess, and Robyn Sorid and Joshua Ufberg — past jobs of the bride were mentioned, despite not being exceptionally notable.
(Fowler, Powers, and Sorid were, respectively, former associates at Foley Hoag, Schulte Roth & Zabel, and Paul Weiss. These are all prestigious gigs; but none is on the level of a SCOTUS clerkship or an ambassadorship.)
Sorry for the digression; on to the business at hand. Here are the couples in contention this week:

1. Leanne Abrams, Brandon Bortner

2. Aileen McGrath, Jason Gillenwater

3. Marjorie Zauderer, David Griffel

Ratings and reviews appear after the jump.

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