Politics

“[O]ne familiar with the profound debates that ushered our Federal Constitution into existence is bound to respect those who remain loyal to the ideals and dreams of ‘Our Federalism.’ The concept does not mean blind deference to ‘States’ Rights’ any more than it means centralization of control over every important issue in our National Government and its courts. The Framers rejected both these courses. What the concept does represent is a system in which there is sensitivity to the legitimate interests of both State and National Governments, and in which the National Government, anxious though it may be to vindicate and protect federal rights and federal interests, always endeavors to do so in ways that will not unduly interfere with the legitimate activities of the States. It should never be forgotten that this slogan, ‘Our Federalism,’ born in the early struggling days of our Union of States, occupies a highly important place in our Nation’s history and its future.”

– Justice Hugo Black, Younger v. Harris

Our Federalism. Our dear Federalism. Justice Black described this vaunted principle when deciding in 1971 that federal courts must show some restraint when interfering with state criminal prosecutions.

“Our Federalism,” though, only works when you work it. The many conservatives (myself included) who trumpet these principles in briefs, articles, and opinions ought to view this not simply as an academic matter but as a personal political responsibility as citizens.

For all the caterwauling on all sides about national politics and for all the petticoat-clutching over Our Federalism, it is shameful when those same folks can’t name a single member of their city council or school board or state supreme court. . . .

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “When ‘Our Federalism’ Turns Into ‘Somebody Else’s Federalism’: Why Local Elections Matter”

Scalia’s buddy?

* “What about devil worshippers?” Justice Scalia may think Satan’s gotten “wilier,” but that doesn’t mean his supporters don’t deserve religious representation in their public meetings. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Speaker of the House John Boehner says that if the Employment Non-Discrimination Act passes, tons of lawsuits will be filed — except that hasn’t happened in states with similar laws. Oopsie… [Reuters]

* Judge Shira Scheindlin isn’t going to just sit there and allow herself to be kicked off the stop and frisk case. In a rare move, she asked the Second Circuit to reverse its ruling and reinstate her. Go girl! [Reuters]

* Quinn Emanuel is welcoming a frequent firm-hopper (from Sidley to Clifford Chance to Cleary Gottlieb) into its ranks in D.C. to join Weil defectors Mike Lyle and Eric Lyttle. Best of luck! [Am Law Daily]

* Gibson Dunn scooped up Scott Hammond, a longtime leader of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division. Query just how large the dangling carrot at the end of the firm’s stick was. [Blog of Legal Times]

* Till death or criminal charges do we part: troubled lawyer Kent Easter claims he didn’t have the backbone to stand up to his wife. He blames the entire drug-planting scandal on her. [L.A. Now / Los Angeles Times]

It’s Election Day today. Go vote. Go vote now, or make sure you go before the polls close. Whatever you are doing today isn’t as important as participating in your community. Sorry there’s no “president” on the ballot. Instead it’s just a bunch of local officials and local issues that affect your day-to-day life way more than the President of the United States. GO VOTE.

In New York, we’re going to elect a new mayor, I can only hope that Mike Bloomberg actually allows the new guy to take office.

But if you are going to vote in New York, make sure you flip the ballot over and vote on all the propositions. There are some fun things there: should we institute the regressive, idiot tax that is opening a casino? I say yes! We need money and regressive, idiot taxes are the only ones you can pass in this environment.

Gothamist has a good breakdown of all the New York ballot issues. But the one that’s most legally interesting is Proposition 6: raising the mandatory retirement age for judges to 80.

Eighty! That’s having somebody decide the latest issues in eDiscovery who was alive for D-Day.

Of course, judges are in favor of this…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “How Old Can Your Judges Be? Decide Today In New York.”

* The Supreme Court might have dismissed the Oklahoma abortion case as improvidently granted, but not to worry, because the high court may yet get the chance to abort a woman’s right to choose in this new case from Texas. [New York Times]

* Wherein Justice Scalia seems highly concerned about toupees: yesterday, Supreme Court justices put their fashion sense to the test when trying to determine what ought to count as clothing under the Fair Labor Standards Act. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* The Senate is forging ahead with the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, but the bill will likely fail in the House because discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is still cool with John Boehner. [CBS News]

* Wherefore art thou, ladness? According to the latest PricewaterhouseCoopers survey, profits per partner at top firms in the U.K. are behind profits per partner in the U.S. America, f**k yeah! [Businessweek]

* Bill de Blasio, the Democratic candidate in the NYC mayoral race, apparently has “deep ties” to Gibson Dunn, the firm behind Citizens United. Gather round, conspiracy theorists. [International Business Times]

* An InfiLaw school is changing its name to Arizona Summit Law. How kind to tip law students off to the fact that even if they climb all the way to the top, there’s nowhere to go but down. [National Law Journal]

On Friday, we reported that a law dean resigned from his post because the university was not providing the law school enough resources. We mentioned that there were come rumblings that the university president was more concerned with making the law school a bastion for fringe political theories instead of simply providing a quality legal education.

Our tipsters are worried that their law school curriculum will be brought to them by “Big Oil.” And now students have signed a petition asking for input on the search for a new dean…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “How Not To Make An Energy Lawyer: Law Students Object To The Politicization Of Their Studies”

Yet another law dean blows the whistle.

Whenever a law dean goes out in a blaze of glory, it’s news. And by “blaze of glory,” I mean “resigns with a hyper-critical message to the larger university.” Law deans might be insensitive to the cost concerns of their students, but university presidents are generally clueless. A university president looking at a law school entering class is like Cypher looking at the Matrix. They don’t even see the code anymore, they just see “dollar sign, federally guaranteed loan, potential future donor.”

Obviously, law deans usually only resign in a huff when they’re not getting enough money from the university, and “we need more money” isn’t necessarily helpful to students since often the solution is to “jack up tuition.” But in today’s story, we have a dean who might have resigned for reasons beyond more than money.

It’s possible that this dean wanted to run a law school, while the university wanted to run a Tea Party training ground…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Poor Funding And Maybe Politics Force Popular Dean To Resign”

* The Second Circuit has remanded the New York Stop and Frisk decision, demanding that a new judge hear the case. Among the reasons: that Judge Shira Scheindlin gave “media interviews and public statements purporting to respond publicly to criticism of the District Court.” So basically, act like a contemptuous prick in the press and when the judge calmly reaffirms her impartiality, get her thrown off the case. Thankfully this will all stop being an issue on about January 1, 2014. [U.S. Courts]

* Attorney networking and referral site wireLawyer gave itself a Halloween makeover. Personally I wouldn’t want a Fett as an attorney — they have a tendency to lose their heads or fall into pits of despair. Screenshot if you check out the site after they’ve moved on to what we can only assume is their All Saints Day makeover. [wireLawyer]

* Joe Biden’s niece appeared in court after she clashed with police last month, “swinging at a female officer then slapping another” before being dragged away in handcuffs all while touting how she “studied law.” This actually sounds more like something Joe Biden’s Onion persona would do. [NY Post]

* Penn Law is sporting pumpkins carved with the likeness of all nine Supreme Court justices. [Under the Button]

* Vivia Chen’s epic fail as a mother on Halloween. We still love you. [The Careerist]

* The House of Representatives has now introduced a use restriction on videos of House hearings to prevent the footage from being used for political purposes. That doesn’t sound all that legal. The Republicans just desperately don’t want people to know what they actually do at “work.” [Patently-O]

* Meanwhile, the Senate GOP is going filibuster on Patricia Millett’s nomination to the D.C. Circuit despite lacking any objection to her. [Huffington Post]

* NYU Law carried on its annual tradition of acting out the Erie case. Screw that! They should act out Palsgraf…

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Brains Billable hours…

* Let’s get ready to rumble! Senate Democrats are threatening to go “nuclear” on existing filibuster rules if Senate Republicans decide to band together to block Patricia Millett’s nomination to the D.C. Circuit. [New York Times]

* AMR Corp. and US Airways are reportedly trying to broker a deal with the Department of Justice that would allow the airlines’ merger to go through. And this is the room full of people who care. [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]

* Proskauer Rose and the zombie corpse of Dewey & LeBoeuf received a Halloween treat from Judge Martin Glenn in the MF Global case. The firms will each be receiving a combined $9 million for their work. [Am Law Daily]

* Twitter is facing a $125 million fraud suit filed by two financial firms claiming that the social media giant had them organize a private sale of shares and then canceled it. #OhShiat #LawyerUp [Businessweek]

* Jill Bjorkholm Easter, the lawyer accused of planting drugs on a PTA volunteer at her son’s school, has pleaded guilty to false imprisonment. Her hubby’s trial is next week. [L.A. Now / Los Angeles Times]

* She’s got the right to remain topless: Holly Van Voast, the photographer famous for roaming the streets of New York with breasts bared, settled a lawsuit against the city for $40,000. [New York Daily News]

* “Ed,” the anonymous editor of the defunct Blawg Review site, RIP. [Trial Warrior Blog; Simple Justice]

We all know that drinking can cause a lot of problems. We also all know that prohibiting drinking doesn’t work. Therefore, we are left with the choice of trying to ameliorate the problems associated with drinking (here’s a thought, let’s not have drunk people with weapons) or we can pretend that people are not going to drink to excess and hope for the best.

I’m a fan of amelioration. Cabs, tough domestic violence laws, liver cloning, abortions, whatever it takes to make sure drunken indiscretions don’t ruin lives. That goes for underage drinking too. Sure, it would be great if people under 18 didn’t drink (I refuse to act like a 19-year-old who could be drafted into the Army is “underage” when he cracks open a beer), but that’s not going to happen. Instead of having a stupid “abstinence only” policy when it comes to teen drinking, we should be doing more to help the kids get home safely, with their eyebrows still attached, as they experiment with our national solvent.

Of course, I’m just a mere blogger. If you are a politician — a state attorney general and gubernatorial candidate — who talks tough on the stump about underage drinking but then turn a blind eye to it when you go chat with your son at a raging teenage house party, well, then your “boys will be boys” stance can only be chased with a strong swig of hypocrisy…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Attorney General Against Underage Drinking Fails To Stop Underage Drinking While At Underage Drinking Party”

Counselor, you’re out of order.

Lawyer jokes notwithstanding, most lawyers are ethical, honorable, and competent. That’s why we tend to focus on attorney misbehavior in these pages; it’s more newsworthy. If a lawyer complies with the law or serves a client well, that’s not exactly “news”; it’s what lawyers are supposed to do, and what most lawyers do most of the time.

Alas, sometimes lawyers fall short of our profession’s high standards. Today we look at allegations of a high-ranking government lawyer abusing the perks of his office, a tax lawyer engaging in tax fraud, and a real estate lawyer who has people real mad — after taking $4 million from them.

Which of these attorneys deserves to be our Lawyer of the Day? We’ll describe their alleged misdeeds, outline the reasons for and against Lawyer of the Day honors, then let you vote for the winner….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyers Of The Day: Attorneys Allegedly Acting Up”

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