Minority Issues

This is the problem with allowing only one black person into your little club, be it your country club, your journalistic publication, or your Supreme Court. When you have only one black voice, the brilliant diversity of thought and opinion within the black community can be reduced to Samuel L. Jackson playing Steven, over-laughing and telling you exactly what you want to hear.

Or it can be reduced to one dude on a revenge jihad.

Regardless, if you are only going to let one black person in, it kind of matters who you let in. And that’s why so many people who believe in the advancement of civil rights have such a visceral, negative reaction to Clarence Thomas. It’s not because Thomas isn’t “black enough.” It’s not because he’s a “sell out.” Those are stupid terms that don’t really apply to Thomas anyway.

The problem with Thomas is that despite being the lone black voice in the institution of government that is best positioned to protect minority rights against the vagaries of majority rule, Thomas’s approach to racial justice can best be summed up as, “I got mine, screw the next generation.” The man is so unable to overcome the racism visited upon him that he holds the perverse view that laws that help minorities magically hobble them. Yet he’ll allow majority rule to hobble black people as they see fit. He thinks that the law singles out people as different, as opposed to the somewhat self-evident truth that people define others as different, and then use those distinctions to discriminate. He was hurt by white people thinking that he only got somewhere “because of affirmative action,” but instead of just dealing with it, he now seeks to block the path for others to follow in his footsteps.

Thomas might not want to be a “minority leader,” but he is by simple fact of his important position. Don’t take my word for it, take Justice Scalia’s. Personally, I think that Scalia is more than capable of coming up with his racist BS on his own, but the man just blamed praised Thomas for “leading” his thoughts down a more asinine path.

But it shows why it matters so much who you let in when you only let in one. And it shows why Thomas has been such a colossal failure as a successor to Thurgood Marshall….

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* Today is the 50-year anniversary of the SCOTUS decision in Gideon v. Wainwright establishing the right to counsel in criminal cases, but we haven’t got much to show for it except for a still broken system. [National Law Journal]

* “I am 57 years old. Don’t you think it’s time for things to change?” This from a woman whose desegregation lawsuit is still pending after 48 years in federal court. That’s not funny; it’s absurd. [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]

* Anheuser-Busch InBev and the Department of Justice are buying their second round in an attempt to work out their antitrust problems with regard to the company’s planned purchase of Grupo Modelo. [Bloomberg]

* Attention Biglaw partners: if you’re looking for a quick way to boost your profits, just follow SNR Denton’s lead — the firm’s profits rose by 12 percent after trimming the fat of underperforming equity partners. [Am Law Daily]

* A random dude wants to pay Casey Anthony $10K in exchange for her promise never to tell her story. OMG, please don’t take the money! I live for the day when Lindsay Lohan plays you in the movie! [New York Post]

If I ever go on a killing spree where I murder racist white people, I’m going to do it while wearing an expensive, tailored business suit. My racist victims will never see it coming. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned about racist white people (as opposed to white people generally), it’s that they seem to be OBSESSED with how minority males dress. If you interviewed a casual, “don’t call me racist” racist, it’d go like this:

YOU: Do you think you can judge people based on the color of their skin?
RACIST: Just the skin?
YOU: Yeah.
RACIST: Well, like, probably not?
YOU: What about the clothes they wear?
RACIST: And their race? Clothes and race together??
YOU: Sure.
RACIST: I mean [fidgeting] like [sweating] COME ON! If a WHITE GUY was dressed like one of those ni… urban youths, I’d judge him.
YOU: Yeah. And? So that makes it okay?
RACIST: EXACTLY! Just look at them. You can tell.

Sorry, I made that last line up. In the real world, when a judge is playing the role of “Don’t Call Me Racist,” the line is: “You can tell by their dress and attitude.” Truth is more prejudiced than fiction….

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Quick, what would you name your new diversity program if you were a major, global law firm?

If you said anything other than “Partner Miscegenation,” you’re a little bit ahead of DLA Piper….

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Justice Sotomayor: you wouldn’t like her when she’s angry.

As we recently observed, Justice Sonia Sotomayor could be thought of as the people’s justice. The Wise Latina is also the Warm Latina.

Justice Sotomayor shows up on Sesame Street as well as One First Street. She hugs little girls on her book tour. She hires law clerks from outside the top 14 law schools.

But you need to stay on her good side; if you tick her off, woe unto you. Let’s check out the Beloved World (affiliate link) — of pain — that Her Honor just inflicted on a federal prosecutor down in Texas….

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‘Best court-ordered pajama party ever! Yay!’

* Our own Elie Mystal isn’t the only one who’s capable of fanning the flames of race baiting — it seems that Supreme Court justices can do it, too! We’ll probably have more on Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s benchslap later today. [The Two-Way / NPR]

* Patience is obviously one of this judge’s virtues, because this took a looooong time. After waiting more than a year for people to put their petty political pandering aside, the Senate confirmed Robert Bacharach to the Tenth Circuit. [Blog of Legal Times]

* Mary Jo White, the nominee to lead the SEC, will probably face her confirmation hearing in March. Her legal wranglings at Debevoise may be of interest to some, but really, who cares? She’s so cute and tiny! [Reuters]

* Mayer Brown and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year: gross revenue is up overall at most Biglaw firms, but not this one. In 2012, Mayer Brown’s revenue dipped 3.7 percent for a six-year low. [Am Law Daily]

* Kirkland & Ellis, now the fifth-largest Biglaw firm in the nation, is leading the market in terms of top dollar merger-and-acquisition deals. Now, if only the firm could get some bananas. [Crain's Chicago Business]

* Orderly liquidation authority may be a legitimate exercise of power under the Bankruptcy Clause, but as far as these states are concerned, it’s just another reason to hate the Dodd-Frank Act. [DealBook / New York Times]

* Remember Peggy Ableman, the judge who ordered lawyers to attend a course on remedial civility in their “jammies”? She’s now at McCarter & English, so mind your manners. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* An “astronomically stupid” legal loophole? Unpossible! Gun trusts are seeing the limelight because Chris Dorner claims he used one to purchase his paraphernalia without a background check. [New York Times]

Maybe people in Mississippi should watch this to figure out why the Voting Rights Act is still important.

My mother was born in 1950 in Mississippi. I’ve been to Mississippi. There are still brothers trying to escape to freedom from Mississippi.

Today the big story (at least in liberal circles) is that Mississippi finally officially ratified the Thirteenth Amendment, after two Ole Miss employees saw the movie Lincoln and decided to look into why their state hadn’t officially ratified the amendment. You can’t make that up: Mississippi needed a Spielberg movie to remind them to ratify the amendment banning slavery. I can’t wait till Mississippi sends an expedition to Isla Nublar to check into this whole “dinosaur situation” “Jesus Horse situation.”

You can see why liberals love this story. It’s the perfect deep south story: a tradition of holding people in bondage, slow response times, and incompetence.

And I’d leave it at that.

Except that as the Supreme Court gears up to eviscerate the pre-clearance requirements of the Voting Rights Act, it’s important to remember that not all states are created equal….

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‘That’s just our special sauce!’

* Six Supreme Court justices attended last night’s State of the Union address, and although it was all hugs and kisses and handshakes to start off with, some looked as if they were due for naptime by its end (coughRBGcough). [Blog of Legal Times]

* It’s a clash of the Biglaw titans! In a face off between legal heavyweights, the Second Circuit has set aside time to hear arguments from Ted Olson and David Boies in the Argentine bondholder case. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Dewey know if this document specialist’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act lawsuit has got any legs to it? It certainly must, because Judge Martin Glenn very recently denied the failed firm’s motion to dismiss it. [Am Law Daily]

* Congratulations to Paulette Brown of Edwards Wildman Palmer. This Jersey girl is the uncontested nominee for ABA president in 2015, making her the first minority woman to hold the title. [New Jersey Law Journal]

* Send in the clowns (or loads of O’Melveny and Akin lawyers): Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, has a low opinion of David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital lawsuit, referring to it as nothing more than a “silly sideshow.” [Reuters]

* “It is up to us in the academy to prepare our students for the future no matter what it holds.” Dean Frank Wu of UC Hastings seems to be on the right track when it comes to necessary law firm reforms. [Huffington Post]

* Poor, poor Teresa Wagner. She was allegedly denied a job because of her conservative views, and her case ended in a mistrial. That kind of a thing could drive a woman to drink… and drive. [Iowa City Press Citizen]

* Not only does Lehigh University ruin every college basketball bracket in the nation, but it also provides great “I’m suing you because of my crappy grades” fodder. Oh my God, I really miss you, Lehigh! [Morning Call]

* Thanks to the wisdom of the Ninth Circuit, we now know that, at least in Washington, a spit-laden hamburger from Burger King is grounds for emotional distress damages. Ugh, that’s nasty! [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

I’m all for holding people accountable for their racist behavior.

But I also love children. I love allowing children to behave like children — nasty, violent children. Adults can be expected to behave with appropriate decorum, but you have to cut kids a little slack.

So what happens when an alleged racist I’m prone to hate happens to also be an alleged bully that I usually defend (from criminal prosecution)?

I’m not sure, but I’m not at all surprised that the state of New Jersey is where we find today’s moral quandary….

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Judge Lynn N. Hughes

Being a federal judge is like being a professional boxer: you have to know when it’s time to hang up the robe. (Yes, pare, I’m talking to you, Congressman Pacquiao.)

How does a federal judge know when it’s time to retire (not just senior status, but complete and total retirement)? Well, how about when he starts making bizarre, offensive, and racially charged comments — on the record?

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