* Federal court lets the Alpha Dog out. [AP via How Appealing]
* The negligence causation standard is the same under FELA for railroad negligence and employee contributory negligence. Norfolk Southern v. Sorrell. [U.S. Supreme Court (PDF)]
* Execution in Oklahoma first of the year in the U.S. [Jurist]
* iSuit. [Associated Press; WSJ Law Blog]
* House passes minimum wage increase. [AP via Yahoo!]
- 9th Circuit, Death Penalty, Intellectual Property, Morning Docket, Movies, Politics, SCOTUS, Supreme Court, Trademarks
* Federal court lets the Alpha Dog out. [AP via How Appealing]
Shanetta Cutlar heads the Special Litigation Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. After we named her our DOJ Diva of the Day, a number of you asked for more information about her.
Who is Shanetta Cutlar? How long has she been at the Civil Rights Division? Where did she go to law school? And what’s the origin of her distinctive first name?
We did a little research. Accessing PDF files can be a pain — they take forever to launch, they slow down your machine, etc. — but we’ll do anything for our readers. So we opened up this PDF bio:
Shanetta Y. Cutlar is the Chief of the Special Litigation Section, U.S. Department of Justice. Ms. Cutlar has worked in the Civil Rights Division since 1993. She served for over 2 years as a Special Counsel prior to becoming Chief. As Special Counsel, Mr. Cutlar led the team of attorneys and professionals handling the investigations of the Cincinnati, Detroit and Prince George’s police departments.
In March 2003, Ms. Cutlar was appointed to the Chief position where she is responsible for supervising and overseeing the work of Section, involving health care facilities, prisons and jails, juvenile detention facilities and police misconduct. She is the first African-American woman to serve as a chief in 25 years, and the second in the history of the Civil Rights Division.
Ms. Cutlar is a graduate of California State University, Hayward and University of California at Los Angeles, Law School. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.
Ah, Shanetta’s a sorority girl. No wonder she’s so good at (allegedly) cultivating “an atmosphere of fear and paranoia.” Those sorority girls are VICIOUS.
(A Google image search for Shanetta Cutlar comes up empty. But if you have pictures of Ms. Cutlar, or know where on the internet we can find some, please contact us.)
Shanetta Y. Cutlar bio (PDF) [U.S. Department of Justice]
Earlier: DOJ Diva of the Day: Shanetta Y. Cutlar
- Celebrities, Deaths, Drinking, Jeanine Pirro, Legal Ethics, Music, Non-Sequiturs, Politics, Reality TV, Sex, Television
* What the world really needs more than another lawyer is another talk-show host. Also, is it just me, or do you think Eva Longoria should play Jeanine Pirro in a Lifetime movie once she’s all washed up? [New York Post]
* Ethics CLE credit is notoriously hard to come by, but the lucky attorneys of Virginia get a go at four whole hours of it, by sitting through what will no doubt amount to a slightly more polished version of your law school’s annual talent show. [American Constitution Society For Law and Policy Blog]
* Film Producer Carlo Ponti, who started out as a lawyer, has died. Perhaps in your future also lie multiple affairs with hot Italian actresses and a long, albeit briefly bigamous, marriage to none other than the luscious Sophia Loren. [AP via New York Times]
* No word on any pending legislation regarding public urination though. [Sun Herald]
* Despite the well-timed Donald/Rosie debacle, there doesn’t seem to be that much interest in Season 6 of The Apprentice, even though this season features 6 attorneys. And Ivanka. Go figure. [Althouse]
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:
Congratulations to Chief Judge Michael Boudin, your favorite First Circuit judge!
Earlier: ATL Reader Poll: Who’s Your Favorite First Circuit Judge?
No really, it does! The National Law Journal tells us so:
Now where’s our Drudge siren gif?
Largest law firms hire from elite schools [National Law Journal]
- Civil Rights, Department of Justice, Litigatrix, Paul McNulty, Politics, Senate Judiciary Committee, Shanetta Cutlar, Ty Clevenger, Vicious Infighting
The Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department — one of the DOJ’s most important arms, charged with enforcing our nation’s anti-discrimination laws — has been experiencing some upheaval over the past few years. Several articles in the Washington Post have examined some of the conflicts within the division. See, e.g., here, here, and here.
We’ve learned that Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee may be taking a closer look at what’s going on over at the Civil Rights Division. And when they do, some of their attention may focus on the Special Litigation Section, headed by Shanetta Y. Cutlar.
Here’s an explanation of the Section’s mission, from its website:
[The Section is] charged with enforcing federal civil rights statutes in four major areas: Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons, Conduct of Law Enforcement Agencies, Access to Reproductive Health Clinics and places of Religious Worship, and Religious Exercise of Institutionalized Persons. The Section undertakes investigations and litigation through the United States and its territories.
The Section Chief is Shanetta Cutlar, an award-winning litigatrix. And even though some attorneys and staff members have alleged that she’s “abusive” — what a subjective word! — Cutlar is a woman after our own heart. There’s nothing we love more than a high-powered female who takes charge of a situation and demands respect from her subordinates. We adore women in leadership roles who follow the teaching of Machiavelli: “[I]t is far safer to be feared than loved.”
A former attorney in the Special Litigation Section, Ty Clevenger — a Stanford Law grad and former law clerk to the highly esteemed Judge Morris Arnold (8th Cir.) — had some issues with Cutlar and how she ran the Section. Last fall, Clevenger sent a letter to Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty. Clevenger alleged that Cutlar — whom he described as “extremely intelligent” and “very charming,” but also “a Jekyll and Hyde personality” — created an “atmosphere of fear and paranoia” within the Section.
On October 4, 2006, Ty Clevenger sent his letter to McNulty. Clevenger’s office was searched overnight, and he was fired the next day. He is in the process of filing a whistleblower complaint.
Here’s the first page of Clevenger’s letter to the DAG:
There’s more. Juicy details about La Shanetta’s alleged behavior are described in the rest of Ty Clevenger’s letter. The letter has been distributed to all the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee (with supporting documentation).
We reprint the entire Clevenger letter, which a source helpfully
leaked provided to us, after the jump.
How do you get bloggers to change out of their proverbial pajamas? One strategy: give them press credentials.
From the Media Bloggers Association (MBA):
The U.S. District Court in Washington, DC has agreed to provide the MBA with two press credentials at the upcoming Scooter Libby Trial.
I have been working with the folks at the federal judiciary through for over a year to create this opportunity. It has never been done before. Behind this may be many additional opportunities with the federal and state supreme courts so getting this one right opens up the door to many other cool things. Other institutions will surely be looking at this as well.
The event begins with jury selection on January 16th. The trial is expected to last 4-6 weeks so we will create a schedule for six weeks to allow us to get a good number of our member bloggers involved.
Sounds exciting, right? We’re total credential whores, so we certainly like the idea of bloggers in court, sitting side by side with all the real journalists. It’s so “legitimizing.”
But attending a trial is usually more exciting in theory than in practice. We’ve watched a fair number, both in court and on TV. And even in the most high-profile trials, the ratio of boring to interesting stuff is about 80-20 (if you’re lucky).
Finally, attending a trial might require actual reporting. UGH. Much better to stay at home, where we can nap whenever we feel like it, and remain a tick on the hide of the mainstream media.
Federal Court Credentials Bloggers [Media Bloggers via Wonkette]
- Feldsuk, Harvard Law School, Jeannie Suk, Law Professors, Lawyerly Lairs, Nauseating Things, Noah Feldman, Noajeannie, Real Estate
The whole point of being a mono-monikered celebrity entity is that you get covered, and covered, and covered by the media. This coverage continues, long after the public claims to be sick of you and cries out for mercy.
But really they’re not sick of you. This is why Brangelina still moves magazines.
As for the Brangelina of the legal academy, Harvard Law profs Noah Feldman and Jeannie Suk, the jury is still out on what to call them. To vote in our nickname poll, click here.
But we DO know what to call the good professors’ recently acquired, $2.8 million house in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Coldwell Banker has some suggestions: “Imposing,” “lovely,” “magnificent,” and “exceptional.”
We agree. Check it out:
If this reader comment is correct — and it appears to be, since various details match up with the New York Observer article (an 1873 Victorian with five fireplaces and a pool) — Professors Feldman and Suk will be taking up residence in the shown above. As you can see, it’s one nice pile o’ bricks.
Sometimes real estate listings get pulled after outside websites link to them. We hate it when that happens.
To preserve this information for posterity, we took a screencap of the original property listing. Check it out, after the jump.
Yesterday we put up a list of all the Supreme Court clerk hiring news that we have so far (for October Term 2007). We will update this post, or republish the list in a full post, as we receive more information.
After we put up the list, we received several corrections and additions (for which we thank you). We’ve revised the original list accordingly. But for those of you who haven’t looked back at the list since we first published it, we’d like to highlight these changes:
1. We’ve added the information that Stephen Cowen, a future clerk to Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, is currently clerking for Chief Judge Douglas Ginsburg (D.C. Cir.). This is information we already had, since Cowen was featured a few months ago in Legal Eagle Wedding Watch. We apologize for omitting it on the first go-round.
(Bloggers work quickly, and we don’t have a separate fact-checking department. Mistakes were, are, and will be made. Sorry.)
2. We’re advised that William Consovoy is now clerking for Justice Clarence Thomas in October Term 2008 (a possibility hinted at in the Wiley Rein press release). So that leaves Eric McArthur, Carrie Severino, Heath Tarbert and Leila Thompson — who has “awesomely fun hair,” we’re told — as the CT clerks for OT 2007.
3. Heidi Bond is a 2006 grad of Michigan (not a 2005 grad, as originally reported). Also, she used to blog at Letters of Marque. Now that she’s clerking for Judge Alex Kozinski, she has neither the time nor the ability to continue blogging (or sleeping or showering).
Do you have further corrections or additions — maybe some hiring news from Chief Justice John Roberts, on whom we have nothing so far? If so, please email us. Gracias.
Earlier: More SCOTUS Clerk Hiring News: October Term 2007 Hires
- Alice Fisher, Fred Fielding, Harriet Miers, Litigatrix, Rachel Brand, White House Counsel, William Kelley
We previously wrote about President Bush’s selection of Fred Fielding as his new White House counsel. Our coverage was based on a pre-announcement scoop by Time, not an actual announcement from the White House.
Just to close the loop on this, the rumor was correct: Fielding’s selection is now official. Here’s the (predictably bland) White House press release.
From the New York Times:
Mr. Fielding’s agreement to take the job surprised some of his closest friends. The friends said last week, when his name surfaced as a contender for the position, that they would be surprised if he would give up a successful corporate practice for another stint of what promises to be heavy partisan battle at age 67.
Mr. Fielding was deputy counsel to President Richard M. Nixon under John W. Dean III and was White House counsel for the first five years of Ronald Reagan’s presidency.
Further discussion, plus speculation about the next Deputy White House Counsel, after the jump.
We’re not the only ones who spend way too much time curled up with the New York Times wedding announcements. So does NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams.
Here’s his amusing (and true) commentary on the “Vows” column, aka “the Big Box,” from his blog:
In my experience, brides in the Big Box have some common traits:
They are invariably “more at home in a pair of combat boots than they are in high heels.” They are ALWAYS described as “spontaneous.”
The brides-to-be are a “constant blur of activity” and are apt to “kayak down the Hudson at Midnight on New Year’s Eve.”
Many of the men are in passionless relationships until they are hit squarely on the forehead by the club of love, in the form of the aforementioned combat-boot wearing free-spirited woman.
A fair number of these men, of course, are lawyers. Williams continues:
Weddings are always on a bluff, a dune or a “sweeping lawn,” and are usually officiated either by an Enormously Powerful Federal Judge who’s a friend of the family or a member of the online ministry community with names like “The New Life Church of the Free Spirit.” Participants seldom wear shoes.
“Enormously Powerful Federal Judge”: Isn’t that redundant?
Okay, fine, some federal judges are more powerful than others. And some federal judges officiate at NYT-featured weddings more than others. In our years of reading the “weddings and celebrations” page, we’ve noticed a lot of Judge Pierre N. Leval, of the Second Circuit. He appears to have officiated at almost 30 weddings profiled in the Times. See here.
A trivia challenge: Do you know of a federal judge who has officiated at more NYT weddings than Judge Leval? If so, please name him or her in the comments to this post.
Nonstop News [The Daily Nightly]
Brian Williams: ‘NYT’ Styles Section Is Like “Dessert on Paper” [Gawker]
* Retirement of experienced judge leaves very inexperienced Nevada Supreme Court. [Reno Gazette-Journal via How Appealing]
* Scalia the lone dissenter on the side of a criminal defendant? Then again, he does find it hard to resist an opportunity to show us all how much smarter he is than us. [U.S. Supreme Court (PDF)]
* Now, something I’m a little more used to: Thomas as the sole dissenter. You have to breach your patent agreement before there’s an Article III case or controversy, says he; the other 8 justices disagree. [U.S. Supreme Court (PDF)]
* And the Supreme Court also issued this per curiam opinion dismissing a habeas petition because it was a “second or successive” petition for which authorization was not obtained from the Court of Appeals as is required by the AEDPA. [U.S. Supreme Court (PDF)]
* Like a good neighbor, State Farm doesn’t pay for wind/flood combo damage. [CNN]
* The long and tortured media history of a long and tortured legal case. [Huffington Post / Eat the Press]