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Arlen Specter 2 Senator Arlen Specter Above the Law.jpgHere’s another excellent article from Jeffrey Toobin of the New Yorker. It’s about the role played by Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), outgoing chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, with respect to the recent habeas corpus legislation (aka the Military Commissions Act of 2006).
If you’re confused about the controversy over this legislation, which has wound its way through both the federal courts and the Senate chamber, the article is well worth your time. It explains recent developments in this complex area of law with commendable clarity.
And it also contains fun bits of color and gossip. We collect a few highlights, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Senator Arlen Specter: One Heck of a Squash Player”

musical chairs 2 Above the Law legal blog above the law legal tabloid above the law legal gossip site.GIFLateral Moves:
* Antitrust lawyer Paul Kaplan, to Bryan Cave (NY). from Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton.
* Bankruptcy lawyer Alan Gover, to White & Case, from Dewey Ballantine, where he was co-head of the bankruptcy practice.
(Dewey Ballantine is the process of becoming Dewy Orifice. Perhaps Gover’s departure is related to the merger.)
* Same move, different city: energy lawyers Earle O’Donnell and Donna Attanasio, to White & Case from Dewey Ballantine, but in Washington rather than New York.
* Government contracts lawyers Gregory Smith and Kevin Mullen, to Cooley Godward Kronish, from DLA Piper.
New Office:
* Howrey has opened a New York office, headed by Thomas Engel and James McCarney, formerly of the litigation boutique Engel McCarney & Kenney (which Howrey swallowed up).
On The Move: Paul M. Kaplan to Bryan Cave [Antitrust Review]
Paul M. Kaplan Joins Bryan Cave in New York [Bryan Cave]
NY Practice Leader Switches Firms []
Bonus Season Doesn’t Stop Partner Pair From Switching Firms []
With Boutique Raid, Firm Opens NY Office []
The Churn [New York Times]

marijuana pipe Above the Law.jpgGood stuff.
And they agreed to hear two other cases: a taxpayer lawsuit, and an appeal involving the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management. Control your excitement, people.
Tom Goldstein is a bit peeved at how late the Court is granting certiorari. This leaves relatively little time between the cert grant and the argument, which has unfortunate consequences:

The failure to adapt the briefing schedule to the smaller size of the Court’s docket produces expedited briefs that are less thorough and helpful to the Justices and creates a recurring cycle in which it is necessary to apply still more expedited schedules.

But we’re not shedding tears for the attorneys whose cases get granted. The opportunity to brief and argue a case before the U.S. Supreme Court is once-in-a-lifetime experience. Suck it up and deal, people.
(Of course, Goldstein — a veteran Supreme Court litigator — probably doesn’t quite the same thrill from strutting his stuff at One First Street as SCOTUS virgins.)
Supreme Court Takes ‘Bong Hits 4 Jesus’ Case [New York Times]
Court grants three cases [SCOTUSblog]
An Update on the State of the Docket [SCOTUSblog]

Capitol building Above the Law Legal Blog 2.JPGTwo pieces of news from the Senate Judiciary Committee:
1. Orrin Is Outie. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) is said to be leaving the Judiciary Committee. Senator Hatch served as committee chairman for many years, before he was replaced as chairman by Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), due to the Republicans’ system of term limits for committee chairs.
When the Democrats take over the Senate in January, Senator Specter will become the ranking member. Senator Hatch, if he stayed on the Judiciary Committee, would be just another member — and a minority member, at that. So he’s leaving the committee, to devote his time and energy to other policy areas.
Update (12/14/06): Actually, this did not come to pass. Senator Hatch ended up staying on Judiciary.
2. Let the investigations begin! The SJC’s Democrats are gearing up to look into allegations in a whistleblower complaint, made by a former attorney in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights division. In connection with this matter, certain documents are being distributed to the Democratic members of the committee, via the office of Senator Pat Leahy (who will take over as chairman in January).
That second story is developing. We’ll have more on it later. If you have anything to add, please email us.

Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco Eumi Choi Eumi Choi Above the Law.jpgThis post is even more random than usual. But it’s Friday, and Mother Nature is going bonkers — a major snowstorm in the Midwest, an epic typhoon in the Philippines — so indulge us.
Some time ago, we characterized the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of California (San Francisco) as “well-regarded.” But then John of The Legal Reader helpfully informed us that the office has slipped in recent years. He brought to our attention this fascinating feature, describing problems that have plagued the office under United States Attorney Kevin Ryan.
So we read the article, which was most enlightening. And after reading it, we were left with one conclusion:


Who is Eumi Choi? She’s First Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Northern District, the right-hand woman of U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan. But it seems that, despite her nominal status as Ryan’s second-in-command, Choi is actually running the show, cracking the whip over the assistant U.S. attorneys while Ryan hides out in his office.
If someone were to make a movie about the N.D. Cal. office, Eumi Choi would be the “scene stealing” character. The role of Eumi would turn into a surprise star vehicle for Lucy Liu, en route to an improbable Oscar nomination.
We explain why Eumi is so yummy, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “How Yummy Is Eumi?”

Antonin Scalia Justice Antonin Scalia Above the Law Legal Gossip.jpgOver at Bench Memos, Ed Whelan — one of our favorite commentators on matters judicial — provides a great account of Justice Antonin Scalia’s recent visit to his alma mater, Harvard Law School. Here’s an excerpt:

The dinner that Harvard Law School dean Elena Kagan hosted on Wednesday evening to honor the 20th anniversary of Justice Scalia’s appointment to the Supreme Court was a delightful event, far exceeding my hopeful expectations.

In her own remarks honoring Justice Scalia, Dean Kagan was eloquent, warm-spirited, insightful, and very amusing. She presented Justice Scalia with a letter from Chief Justice Roberts congratulating him on reaching the “midpoint” (or some similar term) of his service on the Court. With wonderfully apt remarks, she also gave him, as a memento of the dinner (which featured salmon as the main course), the framed original of a humorous letter from the great Justice Joseph Story offering thanks for a gift of salmon. The celebratory remarks of professors Charles Fried, Laurence Tribe, and John Manning were likewise excellent.

Read the full report here. As Whelan notes, the welcome extended to Justice Scalia in Cambridge — by law school dean hottie Elena Kagan — was notably warmer than the somewhat chilly reception accorded to Nino in New Haven.
Harvard Law School Celebration of Justice Scalia [Bench Memos on National Review Online]
Earlier: An Addendum on Nino in New Haven

stack of bills cash money.jpgIt looks like we’ll have to wait until next week for any major associate bonus announcements. Nothing exciting has happened since the brouhaha over the supposed Milbank Tweed bonus memo, which turned out to be fake.
As soon as you hear anything, please let us know ASAP, by email (subject line: “Associate Bonus Watch”). As always, anonymity is guaranteed — unless you want to be fired from your Biglaw job so badly that you WANT public credit for leaking your firm’s bonus memo.
We need your tips because we don’t want to be entirely dependent upon the different message boards (Greedy Associates, Infirmation,, etc.). While we do check them from time to time, we don’t do so as much as we should. Why? They annoy the crap out of us. You have to wade through so much juvenile junk to find anything that’s borderline interesting. And once you do find something, you can’t even be sure that it’s true (e.g., the Milbank memo).
So no big bonus announcements yet. But we have gathered a few tidbits from sources that we know and trust (as opposed to anonymous posters on message boards).
Check ‘em out, after the jump.

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legal eagle wedding watch david lat above the law legal blog law blog david lat david lat atl.JPGWe just named the final winning couple in Legal Eagle Wedding Watch for last month. So now voting can commence for Above the Law’s November 2006 Couple of the Month.
If you need to refresh your memory about these different couples, our prior write-ups — with scores, links to their original NYT wedding announcements, and photos (in some cases) — appear after the jump.
But if you’re ready to cast your ballot, perhaps because one of the newlyweds emailed you and asked you to vote for them, here’s the poll:

Make Free Online Polls

To review the competitors once more, check out their profiles, which appear after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Eagle Wedding Watch: November 2006 Couple of the Month”

Richard Posner Richard A Posner Above the Law Legal Blog.jpgBecause this distinguished and brilliant jurist seems rather grumpy as of late. Last week, in a published opinion, he slapped around the IRS.
And now Judge Richard Posner — who, by the way, will be assuming virtual form later this month — delivers stinging benchslaps to lawyers for playing fast and loose with jurisdiction:

[T]he lawyers have wasted our time as well as their own and (depending on the fee arrangements) their clients’ money. We have been plagued by the carelessness of a number of the lawyers practicing before the courts of this circuit with regard to the required contents of jurisdictional statements in diversity cases.

It is time, as we noted in BondPro, that this malpractice stopped. We direct the parties to show cause within 10 days why counsel should not be sanctioned for violating Rule 28(a)(1) and mistaking the requirements of diversity jurisdiction. We ask them to consider specifically the appropriateness, as a sanction, of their being compelled to attend a continuing legal education class in federal jurisdiction.

Ouch. But query whether forced attendance at a CLE class on federal jurisdiction constitutes “cruel and unusual punishment” under the Eighth Amendment.
Continued commentary, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Benchslapped: Is Judge Posner Getting Enough Fiber These Days?”

* “[P]rosecutors will be investigating the backdating of stock options by companies for ‘years to come.’” [WSJ Law Blog]
* “A state appeals court on Thursday rejected a lawsuit by a boy who wanted to compete on his high school’s girls’ gymnastics team.” [Sports Illustrated]
* Anna Nicole gets booted from another ex-boyfriend’s mansion. [CNN]
* DHS wants to know what you eat on the airplane… [CNN]
* … and your boss wants to know what your IMs say (e-discovery). [MSNBC]

paparazzi paparazzo photographs pictures Above the Law.jpgThe Hollywood paparazzi are frequently condemned as the lowest of the low, most often by the celebrities they stalk photograph. But now they get to act superior to someone — even if that “someone” is a mere gossip blogger (albeit one of the most widely-read ones on the internet):

Seven of Tinseltown’s top photo agencies have threatened to sue the popular celebrity-skewering site for allegedly stealing their pictures, a spokesman for the shutterbugs said last night.

“Perez claims he is making a fortune off exploiting pictures taken by photographers. He blatantly violates copyright and makes advertising revenues off other people’s works. It’s time he is held accountable for his actions,” Gary Morgan of Splash News said in a statement. routinely posts the most salacious celeb shots – like this week’s panty-free Britney Spears – without crediting the photographer or agency. The ripped-off lensmen say the site, which bills itself as “Hollywood’s Most-Hated Web Site” routinely fails to pay for use of their pics.

We’d actually be interested in seeing a lawsuit between the photographers and Perez Hilton (aka Mario Lavandeira). It might helpfully delineate the contours of the somewhat fuzzy “fair use” doctrine.
(Hey Mario: To avoid such troubles in the future, get your photos and graphics from here, here, and similar websites. Unfortunately, their collection of Lindsay Lohan pics is a bit limited.)
Our pics worth thousands of dollars: lawsuit [New York Post]

* Jurors go wild… kind of. [AP via Yahoo! News]
* This could be your fate if you have sexual relations with any animal, dead or alive, regardless of law: you could be the posthumous star of a Sundance documentary. [Editor and Publisher]
* Do not think you can know go about suing the various characters in your dysfunctional family. [Seattle Times]

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