Morning Docket

whale.jpg* SCOTUS hearts the Navy, hates the whales. National security trumps environmental concerns in Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council. [New York Times]

* Obama plans to give the Department of Justice a makeover. Wilmer Hale partner David Ogden and Jenner & Block partner Thomas J. Perrelli are heading up Obama’s DOJ transition team. [Washington Post]

* … Meanwhile, O’Melveny and Myers partner Thomas Donilon will oversee Obama’s State Department transition team. [Associated Press]

* Lawyers are getting busy in the Minnesota Senate race between Al Franken and Norm Coleman. Let the recount begin. [Star Tribune via Drudge]

* Raffaello Follieri, Anne Hathaway’s conman ex, doesn’t like living in Brooklyn. His lawyer requests that Follieri be transferred to a Manhattan prison, as his Brooklyn jail cell digs are “unspeakably unsanitary” and have an “intolerable stench.” [The Smoking Gun]

Judge Judy.jpg* A New York Times round-up of law firm troubles. (Regular ATL readers will find nothing new here.) Lawyers aren’t cockroaches anymore, thriving in good times and bad. Now, law firms are the canaries in the economic coalmine. [New York Times]

* Judge Judy gets political on Larry King Live. The joys of not being a real judge include opining on Proposition 8. [CNN]

* Canadian legal scholar Ronald Daniels chosen as new president of Johns Hopkins University. [Baltimore Sun]

* Same-sex marriage comes to Connecticut today. [Boston Globe]

* Obama wants to close down Gitmo. Here’s a look at the legal challenges involved in the endeavor. [Time]

adult baby.jpg* SCOTUS weighs case that could result in a lot more travel for crime lab experts. [New York Times]

* Thirtieth child abandoned under Nebraska’s safe-haven law, intended to protect unwanted newborns from being abandoned. The “child” dropped off is an 18-year-old girl. The Legislature convenes Friday to change the law, so drop off those unwanted teens ASAP. [Associated Press]

* Deja vu. As we mentioned before, Proposition 8 has led to three backlash lawsuits. Now the California Supreme Court will decide whether a gay marriage ban needs to go before the legislature before going to voters. [Washington Post]

* Update on former ATL Ex-Judge of the Day: Richard Sasso. He testified yesterday that he used to take Vicodin and drink wine before court. [Newsday]

* This will keep the Bush administration busy until January. Judge Henry Kennedy rules in favor of private groups who want the White House to recover millions of missing e-mails. [Associated Press]

[Ed Note: Due to technical difficulties, my super awesome Morning Docket picture could not be uploaded. I suggest you visualize the most awesome picture idea ever to go along with this column. Thanks.]

* Good Morning American taxpayers. Please enjoy the $40 billion in AIG shares you just purchased. [NYT]

* Circuit City: more knowledgeable staff than Best Buy, better prices than Best Buy, higher end equipment than Best Buy, and now much more bankrupt than Best Buy. [Dealbook]

* Strip club owners lost their trademark infringement claim against Grand Theft Auto. [Courthouse News]

* Is there an appropriate earthly penalty for kidnapping a nun? [CNN]

* The post-9/11 transfer of power in the Justice Department is a big deal. []


* A state agency publicly admonished retired Superior Court Judge John M. Watson for being rude in court, citing a case “in which he repeatedly mocked attorneys.” The agency claims Watson’s actions threaten the “integrity of the judiciary.” [Los Angeles Times]

* A federal judge “opened the first hearing into the government’s justification for holding suspects at the naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.” This hearing was made possible by a Supreme Court ruling in June that Gitmo detainess “can seek their freedom through federal habeas corpus cases.” [New York Times]

* In an effort to keep thier son on life-support, parents of a 12-year-old boy with brain cancer will take the Children’s National Medical Center to court. The hospital argues that keeping him alive is unethical because he has “no brain activity,” but his parents, Orthodox Jews, say that is not how their religion defines death. [The Washington Post]

* A jury ruled that the former administrator of Grafton, Mass was not sexually harassing his secretary when he stared at her breasts so often that she had to hold a piece of paper in front of her chest when walking through the office. His doctor said he has an eye condition, lucky guy. [On Point]


* A puppy named Afro was rescued from a burning law firm in South Africa, and his owner promptly “smothered him with kisses.” [Independent Online]

* Google dumped its needy girlfriend Yahoo, forgoing their advertising partnership instead of going to court to fight an anti-trust law suit filed by the US justice department. Yahoo is disappointed to say the least. It seems totally unreasonable. Google, a monopoply? [Financial Times]

* Yesterday, SCOTUS discussed whether or not an Eritrean prison guard should be given asylum in the United States, even though he participated in torturing and killing inmates. The guard says he should be forgiven because he performed these acts under “duress.” A similar case with a Nazi prison guard served as precedent. [The New York Times]

* What’s in a name? Democrats swept the courts in Harris County, Texas. If that surprises you, consider the Houston Chronicle’s explanation for why four republicans kept their seats: their democratic opponents had unusual names. [Houston Chronicle]

* Labor union workers were among those dancing in the streets Tuesday night. The landslide Democratic sweep on Tuesday promises to change labor laws. [Market Watch]

iStock_000005179735XSmall.jpg[Ed. Note: Check back throughout the day for election shenanigans updates.]

* Vote. Even if your boss tells you that clocking a full fourteen-hour-day at your miserable law firm is more important, remember that this is a historic election no matter who wins. Check out this fun New York Times piece on election night.

* In some states, people waiting in line after the polls close may not get to vote. [Abc News]

* Federal attorneys nationwide are in charge of processing reports of any voting problems on election day. Here are some numbers to call: [Courthouse News Service]

* Just in time for the election, Sarah Palin was cleared of any wrongdoing in the Troopergate scandal. [Los Angeles Times]

* The Supreme Court will hear arguments in a dispute between the broadcast networks and the Federal Communications Commissions over a government ban of “fleeting expletives.” The FCC prohibited bad language, after Cher, Bono, and Nicole Richie used profanity at awards ceremonies in 2002 and 2003. [The Associated Press]

* “Google Inc. and Yahoo! Inc. scaled back their proposed Internet-advertising agreement to win support from U.S. antitrust officials.” []

* More recession madness: Law firms everywhere are discounting their fees. But most lawyers don’t care because they practice for love of the law, and money is no object. []

bug shivers ewww.jpg* Readers who plan to become ambulance chasers might want to read this. The Supreme Court hears arguments today in a case involving the FDA. “At issue is whether the federal government can limit lawsuits by consumers…who have been harmed by prescription medications.” [NPR]

* UBS clients issued claims over “100 percent principal protected notes” that are now almost worthless. [

* Virgin Atlantic fired 13 members of the cabin crew for making fun of passengers on Facebook and complaining about cockroaches on aircrafts. [Sky News]

* The Supreme Court hears a case that “could determine how tribes recognized after the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act are allowed to buy, give and use land.” [Associated Press]

* Three years after the mysterious murder of D.C. attorney Robert Wone, police release disturbing details alleging a cover-up by Wone’s roommates. [Washington Post]

* R.I.P. Studs Terkel Esq. [Ideoblog]

Halloween pumpkins.jpg* Texan Toxic Tort attorney Fred Baron has died. His profile went national this year due to his support for John Edwards (and his mistress) and his campaign to secure an experimental drug to treat his cancer. [Dallas Morning News]

* New York AG Andrew Cuomo is on the case of big executive bonuses in the wake of the bank bailout. [New York Times]

* New York divorce lawyers aren’t very good at making their marriage work. [Newsday]

* Ohio may be the new Florida this election. [New York Times]

* Here’s a horror story for you. Paralegal beheads a gang member, puts pieces of the body in plastic, and buries them. His attorney/employer is defending him, saying his paralegal “did not have a chance to call 911.” Happy Halloween! [Associated Press]

Biden speaks to Phillies fan.JPG* Nebraska doesn’t want your teenagers or kids from other states. The legislature will hold a special session to fix its safe-haven law. [New York Times]

* The DOJ declares Delta and Northwest Airlines man and wife. [Pacific Business News]

* Washington Judge Roger Fisher doesn’t want anything to do with scalded monkeys. [Seattle Times]

* A crazy different take on the effect of the financial crisis on law firms. It’s boom time for lawyers? [Los Angeles Times]

* Dell gets slapped with a $500 million class action suit, accused of discriminating against women and firing workers over 40. Well, come on, it is a tech company… [Dallas Morning News]

* It took a 46-hour baseball game, but Philly has their first champion since Rocky IV. Sober up by Tuesday okay? [ESPN]

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