* Carter to Ensign: “I may be a carpetbagger, but you’re a Bushman.” [AP via Online Athens]
* Out here in the West, we have a rugged, independent, individualist spirit. However, we want to make sure that our judges never express it. [Washington Times via How Appealing]
* The Constitution says that the writ of habeas corpus can be suspended only in times of rebellion or invasion. When it was suspended during a rebellion, and then later during an invasion, these suspensions were found to be unconstitutional. Now it’s being permanently suspended for a certain class of people without the circumstance of either a rebellion or an invasion. I’m sure we fine. [Fulton County Daily Report (subscription)]
* Scalia to the courts: You leave the country alone, and they’ll leave you alone, mmmkay?[WSJ Law Blog]
* Carter to Ensign: “I may be a carpetbagger, but you’re a Bushman.” [AP via Online Athens]
Whenever we visit the Deep South, we make a pilgrimage to the local Waffle House. We confess to a weakness for the chain’s famous “Scattered, Smothered and Covered Hash Browns.”
But now we wonder: What exactly are the hash browns “covered” in?
A police officer has filed a lawsuit against the Waffle House restaurant chain and one of its former cooks, claiming the cook admitted to spitting in the officer’s food.
Police Lt. John Morgan accused 19-year-old Homer Disher in the lawsuit of spitting in his order of hash browns and eggs before serving them to him last September….
Morgan said he thought Disher was upset over a warning he gave Disher and a friend during a traffic stop a few weeks before the incident.
We find in favor of the plaintiff. The defendant cook’s name is “Homer Disher,” so liability is presumed.
Next, the question of damages:
The lawsuit seeks $82,500. In court papers, Morgan said Disher told his manager what he had done and the manager did nothing to warn Morgan or report the incident to police.
Eighty-three grand — and Officer Morgan didn’t even consume the adulterated meal? This strikes us as excessive. If this were “Fear Factor,” he’d at least have to eat the spit-drizzled breakfast to get the money.
Tenn. Police Officer Sues Waffle House [Associated Press]
* For those of you hipsters moaning about gentrification in your respective cities (but really, where is this clamor louder than in New York City?), is this what you mean by “keeping it real”? [New York Daily News via Althouse]
* While we all know what happens to pedophiles in jail, this guy should at least be thankful he didn’t find himself on the receiving end of Chris Hansen’s indignant gaze on national television. [New York Law Journal (free access available for only one more week)]
* Anything to avoid the future in-laws. [MSNBC]
* Judging from your response to our round-up of Craigslist postings, we know you’ve also partaken of those delightful “Missed Connections” on more than one occasion. Fodder for a future Non-Sequiturs. [Kizmeet]
* Is this any stranger than women applying mascara in the car? Yeah, someone should put a warning on mascara. And, as a sidenote, how cute is it that Professor Childs hosts an indie kids’ music show with his own kid? [TortsProf Blog]
Really, really long.* To wit, 292 months long. For the mathematically challenged among you, that’s 24 years and four months. Ouch.
But given the size and scope of the Enron fraud, the lengthy sentence may be appropriate (even if it’s higher than many Wall Streeters expected). You can compare Jeffrey Skilling’s sentence to those of other leading white-collar criminals over at the WSJ Law Blog.
* We briefly contemplated a far more crude cinematic allusion, involving this movie, but thought better of it.
Skilling Sentenced to 24 Years in Prison [Associated Press]
Skilling Gets 24 Years [DealBreaker]
Skilling’s Sentence: 24 Years, 4 months [WSJ Law Blog]
Time for another Skaddenfreude request. Last time around, we requested data about the salaries of solo practitioners and small-firm lawyers. We reported the results here — and we’ll happily share more such info with you, if we receive a few more submissions.
We’ve noticed that, when we make Skaddenfreude requests, we tend not to receive submissions from the attorneys who are really raking in the dough. This disappoints us. It’s also a little counterintuitive, insofar as you might expect high-flying legal eagles to boast of their financial success. But maybe they don’t want to inspire envy.
Anyway, in the hope of achieving a higher response rate, this week we’ll on people who, despite earning perfectly good money, aren’t at the top of the earnings pyramid: paralegals.
If you’re a paralegal — whether for a big firm, small firm, the government, etc. — we’d love to learn how much you make (and how hard you work to earn it). If you’d be willing to share this data with us, please follow the submissions guidelines set forth here. For item (2), provide your undergraduate rather than law school graduation year. Per our standard procedure, we will “anonymize” your submission before publishing.
Thanks! We look forward to hearing from you.
Earlier: Prior editions of Skaddenfreude (scroll down)
During the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Justice Samuel A. Alito, some conservatives grumbled about one nickname bestowed upon him: “Scalito.” They argued that it unfairly treated him as a jurisprudential clone of Justice Antonin Scalia, without recognizing his independence as a thinker. Some also viewed the nickname as reflecting anti-Italian prejudice.
We’d like to reclaim the name of “Scalito,” and put it to legitimate use. Let’s turn it into the judicial equivalent of “Bennifer” (the first and best celebrity couple neologism, superior to “Brangelina” or “Vaughniston”). In these pages, we will use “Scalito” to refer to Justices Scalia and Alito whenever they appear in public together — as they did this past weekend.
Approximately 400 people attended a panel discussion on judicial independence, held this past Saturday at the Washington Hilton. The discussion, sponsored by the National Italian American Foundation, featured Justices Scalia and Alito, as well as William S. Sessions, a former FBI director and federal judge, and Lynn A. Battaglia, a Maryland appeals court judge.
Not surprisingly, Justice Scalia stole the show. Accounts of this Article III celebrity sighting focus primarily on his remarks. His main point was to question judicial independence as an absolute virtue: “You talk about independence as though it is unquestionably and unqualifiably a good thing. It may not be. It depends on what your courts are doing.”
Familiar stuff. His remarks about media coverage of the courts were far more amusing:
“The press is never going to report judicial opinions accurately. They’re just going to report, who is the plaintiff? Was that a nice little old lady? And who is the defendant? Was this, you know, some scuzzy guy? And who won? Was it the good guy that won or the bad guy? And that’s all you’re going to get in a press report, and you can’t blame them…. Because nobody would read it if you went into the details of the law that the court has to resolve.”
Sad but true. And Justice Alito echoed some of these sentiments:
Alito complained that people understand the courts through a news media that typically oversimplifies and sensationalizes. He said people’s ability to amplify their comments globally about judges and their opinions on the Internet takes a toll on the judiciary.
“This is not just like somebody handing out a leaflet in the past, where a small number of people can see this,” he said. “This is available to the world. … It changes what it means to be a judge. It certainly changes the attractiveness of a judicial career.”
Justice Alito, are you calling into question the value of writing about judges on the internet? If so, you’re hurting our feelings…
(By the way, if you haven’t done so already, please cast your vote in our poll to find out your Favorite Supreme Court Justice. We’ll close the voting once we have about 1,000 votes, which strikes us as a reliable indicator of ATL reader sentiment. Right now we have a little over 600. To vote, click here. Thanks!)
Scalia Rips Judges on Abortion, Suicide [Associated Press]
In addition to the major move reported this morning, a few other legal professional developments worth noting:
* Chadbourne & Parke: Corporate lawyers Frank Vellucci and Ayse Yüksel (both in New York, but Yüksel also works in London).
* McCarter & English: Corporate lawyer Lance Friedler, securities and white-collar criminal litigator William Moran, and products liability lawyer Thomas Smith (all in the New York office).
* Corporate lawyer Rick Frimmer, to Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps (San Diego), from Greenberg Traurig.
NY Lawyers Making Partner [NYLawyer.com]
- 9th Circuit, A. Wallace Tashima, Asians, Benchslaps, Betty Fletcher, Election Law, Supreme Court, Supreme Court Clerks, William Fletcher
We realize we’re late on this, since the news broke on Friday. But at the time, we thought Purcell v. Gonzalez was just a run-of-the-mill Supreme Court ruling. We didn’t realize it featured delicious benchslaps of the Ninth Circuit, the lower court whose decision was vacated.
The state of Arizona adopted a rule for next month’s elections requiring most voters to show photo identification before casting their ballots. Such rules, adopted by other states as well, are generally supported by Republicans — who view them as helping to cut down on voter fraud — and opposed by Democrats — who believe they may deter poor, elderly, disabled or minority voters from voting.
A legal challenge to the picture ID rule was mounted in Arizona. Some background about the case, from the L.A. Times:
In May, the American Civil Liberties Union, the League of Women Voters and several other civil rights groups sued to block the voter identification rule from being enforced Nov. 7. They called the rule a “21st century poll tax” because it could force some poor voters to purchase photo ID cards….
A federal judge refused to block the law from taking effect, but on Oct. 5, a two-judge panel of the 9th Circuit issued an order saying the law could not be enforced for the upcoming election. The appeals court did not explain its ruling.
Arizona’s attorney general asked the Supreme Court to intervene. And on Friday afternoon, the high court issued a six-page opinion that set aside the 9th Circuit’s order. It noted that the 9th Circuit’s “bare order” did not give a good reason for blocking the law from taking effect.
That’s a charitable description of the Supreme Court’s treatment of the Ninth Circuit. Here’s an excerpt from the opinion itself:
On October 5, after receiving lengthy written responses from the State and the county officials but without oral argument, the panel issued a four-sentence order enjoining Arizona from enforcing Proposition 200’s provisions…. The Court of Appeals offered no explanation or justification for its order. Four days later, the court denied a motion for reconsideration. The order denying the motion likewise gave no rationale for the court’s decision.
Translation: “Despite receiving oodles and oodles of briefing from state and county officials, the Ninth Circuit stopped Arizona from enforcing its rule — without even bothering to give the state its day in court. Then, when asked to rethink their decision, those Ninth Circuit morons just said ‘NO’ — again without bothering to explain themselves.”
The discussion continues, after the jump.
Over the weekend, after spending several days in critical condition, New Haven police officer Dan Picagli passed away. Officer Picagli was the officer who was struck last Tuesday in a traffic accident by Judge John M. Walker, Jr.
Judge Walker sits on the Second Circuit and maintains his chambers in New Haven (where he also teaches at Yale Law School). He was driving home in his sport utility vehicle at the time of the accident.
Officer Picagli, 38, was a 17-year-veteran of the police force and a father of four. He was praised for his service by several public officials, including New Haven’s mayor and chief of police. In the words of Mayor John DeStefano, “Officer Picagli was more than a cop. He was someone who brought people together, who created a sense of community… His basic decency will keep his memory vibrant in our city.”
A copy of the obituary for Officer Picagli, which we obtained by fax from the New Haven Police Department, can be viewed after the jump. It contains information about funeral arrangements and memorial gifts in lieu of flowers.
ATL sends its sympathies and condolences to the Picagli family.
Injured Police Officer Dies In Hospital [Hartford Courant via How Appealing]
Youth Officer Loses Struggle After Being Struck by SUV [New Haven Register]
Police Officer Dan Picagli [The Officer Down Memorial Page]
Earlier: An Update on Officer Picagli and Judge Walker
Judge John M. Walker Hits Police Officer in Traffic Accident
- Anthony Kennedy, Bush v. Gore, David Boies, Diarmuid O'Scannlain, Eyes of the Law, J. Harvie Wilkinson III, Kenneth Starr, Laurence Silberman, Michael Chertoff, Nina Totenberg, Paul Clement, Robert Bork, Sandra Day O'Connor, Ted Olson, Weddings
This past Saturday, October 21, Washington superlawyer Ted Olson and his fiancee, Lady Booth, were married. The wedding ceremony took place at the stunningly beautiful Meadowood resort, in Napa Valley, California.
Olson, a giant of the Supreme Court bar, served as Solicitor General — the federal government’s top lawyer before the Supreme Court — from 2001 to 2004. He’s currently a partner in the elite D.C. office of top-flight firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.
Olson successfully litigated the landmark 2000 election case, Bush v. Gore, in the Supreme Court. On the losing side: renowned litigator David Boies. But presumably there were no hard feelings, since Boies showed up for the wedding festivities — along with many other legal luminaries.
Some legal celebrity sightings, from the Washington Post’s Reliable Source:
More than 300 guests attended the midafternoon ceremony on the golf course, including Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, former justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, legal commentators Victoria Toensing and Joe diGenova, NPR’s Nina Totenberg, legal names such as Robert Bork, Kenneth Starr, David Boise [sic], and Olson’s law partner Bill Kilberg. U.S. Appeals Court Judge Laurence Silberman performed the ceremony, and Wall Street Journal Publisher Gordon Crovitz served as best man.
This is Booth’s first marriage and Olson’s fourth. The couple will honeymoon in Hawaii.
We hear through the grapevine that the wedding was, not surprisingly, “a great time. It seemed like half of Washington was there!”
Other notable guests: Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson, of the Fourth Circuit; Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain, of the Ninth Circuit, and his ever-stylish wife, Maura O’Scannlain; Frank Fahrenkopf, former RNC chairman and current gaming industry superlobbyist, with his wife, Mary; current Solicitor General Paul Clement; and conservative pundit Laura Ingraham.
Despite the tremendous collective brainpower of these august guests, we hear that several of them were left scratching their impressive craniums by one wedding detail: the request on the wedding invite for “Napa Casual” attire.
These leading minds of the bench and bar can slice, dice, define and parse the most complex legal terms known to man. But throw two innocent little words at them — “Napa Casual” — and watch them panic.
If only every day could be a court day. Who doesn’t look good in black?
Update: You can check out photographs from the wedding by clicking here.
Napa Nuptials for Olson and His Lady [Washington Post]
Theodore B. Olson, Solicitor General bio [USDOJ.gov]
Theodore Olson [Wikipedia]
- Allen & Overy, Bad Ideas, Bankruptcy, Biglaw, Matthew Gluck, Milberg Weiss, Patricia Hynes, Plaintiffs Firms
We’re vaguely troubled by the title of this WSJ Law Blog post (’cause it makes us think of this). But it does report on a notable move within the legal profession, so we will plow ahead.
From the aforementioned post:
Matthew Gluck is joining Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman as a senior partner, marking a significant hire for the plaintiffs’ law firm. Gluck had been a litigation partner at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson since 1973….
Milberg Weiss was indicted in May on fraud charges based on allegations that it paid plaintiffs to file cases. It pleaded not guilty and has vowed to fight the charges. Since the indictment, the firm has lost a significant number of partners and associates.
Gluck’s move continues the trend of breaking down the barrier between plaintiffs’ firms and Biglaw. Sometimes Biglaw associates might, after a few years of practice, move over to the plaintiffs’ side; but such moves at the partner level were much less common. Biglaw was Biglaw, plaintiffs’ firms were plaintiffs’ firms, and never the twain shall meet.
This may be changing. Gluck’s move, from Fried Frank to Milberg Weiss, comes not long after former Milberg Weiss name partner Patricia Hynes moved in the opposite direction — from Milberg Weiss to the New York office of Allen & Overy, the defense-oriented British firm.*
So why did Gluck make the move?
Gluck, 64 years old, is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Cornell University. He told the WSJ’s Nathan Koppel he was soon facing retirement age at Fried Frank and wanted a new challenge.
Attempting to turn around a class-action-complaint mill under federal indictment would indeed qualify as a “challenge.” But the undaunted Gluck is surprisingly sanguine about Milberg’s future:
“I don’t know why people have left [the firm] except for panic,” he says. “It doesn’t strike me as rational.”
Not “rational”? Clients defecting en masse, partners fleeing in droves, courts taking the firm off cases, or refusing to appoint them in new ones… Call us Debbie Downer, but this doesn’t sound too promising.
Even if you question the original decisions of clients, partners, and courts to abandon Milberg in the first instance, here’s the problem: the prophecy of doom has turned self-fulfilling. Does the name “Arthur Andersen” ring a bell? Even though the accounting firm was ultimately vindicated in the Supreme Court, that vindication came too late.
But hey, Matt Gluck’s arrival is undoubtedly a good thing for Milberg. In addition to being an experienced litigator, Gluck has — as noted by Milberg Weiss managing partner Sanford Dumain — “superb credentials in the area of bankruptcy law.”
* Yes, Allen & Overy is one of the “Magic Circle” firms. There, we said it. Now wasn’t that fun?
Fried Frank Partner Comes In Through Milberg’s Out Door [WSJ Law Blog]
Milberg Gets Fried Frank Veteran [Wall Street Journal]
Against Tide, Lawyer Joins Milberg Weiss [New York Times]
Matthew Gluck bio [Martindale-Hubbell]
* “I’m not as think as you guilty I am, occifer.” [Kansas City Star via How Appealing; New York Times]
* If she’s caffeine, I’ll be having decaf with my French Toast Fantasy this morning. [WSJ Law Blog]
* I’m not necessarily saying that taking a bus to a college town, pitching a tent, and hacking up a bunch of coeds in an attempt to become a “criminal superstar” was a “bad” idea; let’s just say it suffered from poor execution. [ CNN.com]
* Ok, when I said I wasn’t going to run for President, what I meant was, yeah, I’m probably going to run for President. [Washington Post; New York Times; Associated Press]
* I say that the bar owners are negligent. I mean, they’ve got the colleges and the rivers sitting right there. Can’t they see what’s gonna happen when they have $3 pitcher “drown your sorrows” night? [AP via Online Athens]