Politics

Larry Craig small Larry E Craig Larry Edwin Craig gay senator Idaho Above the Law blog.jpgHere’s a little riddle: What do these three senators have in common?

Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho)

Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska)

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)

First, they’re all Republican senators from underpopulated sparsely populated states.
Second, they’ve all run into ethical, legal, or political problems. You know all about Senator Craig — in fact, more than you ever wanted to. As for Senator Stevens, see here and here. As for Senator Murkowski, see here.
What’s the third thing they have in common? Find out, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Ninth Circuit Curse”

Bill Lerach William Learch William S Learch Above the Law blog.jpgAs we mentioned in passing yesterday, infamous plaintiffs’ lawyer William Learch will be pleading to a federal conspiracy charge, related to his involvement in Milberg Weiss’s secret scheme to make payments to name plaintiffs in class-action cases. Under the deal that was so skillfully cut by Lerach’s lawyer, John Keker of Keker & Van Nest, Lerach will cough up $8 million in forfeiture and fines and serve one to two years in federal prison.
Is Bill Lerach getting off easy? Quite possibly. But a judge still has to sign off on the deal.
Not surprisingly, Lerach spread his cash around liberally among several Democratic candidates for president. But his favorite was fellow plaintiffs’ lawyer John Edwards. From Ben Smith over at Politico:

Edwards and Biden each gave away money from Lerach; no word yet on whether Hillary will give back the money he gave her 2006 Senate campaign.

Edwards, though, is particularly tied to him. Though he’s giving away the $4,600 from Lerach, Lerach is also listed as a bundler, and employees of the lawyer’s firm are his third-largest group of donors, mostly giving in the first quarter.

If we had to choose between disgraced Democratic fundraisers, we’d pick Norman Hsu over Bill Lerach any day. That Hsu is so cute — he looks like a Treasure Troll! And he didn’t intend to skip out on court the other day. He was “sick and confused,” you see, and “may have thought he was boarding a Bay Area Rapid Transit train when he instead caught an Amtrak train heading out of the state.”
The Lerach Case [Politico]
Fortunes Darken for Lawyer Melvyn Weiss [New York Sun]
Bill Lerach Agrees to Plead Guilty [WSJ Law Blog]
Is Bill Lerach Getting Off Easy? [WSJ Law Blog]
Hsu Didn’t Intend To Skip Court, Spokesman Says [CBS5.com]

Michael Mukasey Chief Judge Michael B Mukasey SDNY Above the Law blog.jpgWe’ve done relatively little about the nomination of former judge Michael Mukasey to serve as attorney general. While the WSJ Law Blog was dredging up his third-grade book reports — okay, not quite, but some college newspaper articles that he may or may not have written — we didn’t have much. But now we’d like to atone for that, with a piece we just did for the New York Observer.
We speculate that Michael Mukasey might be in D.C. longer than he might expect, especially if his good friend Rudy Giuliani wins the presidency (and possibly even if fellow New Yorker Hillary Clinton does). We discuss how he might have come to be picked as AG, despite not being a D.C. denizen like Ted Olson, Laurence Silberman, or George Terwilliger:

Mr. Mukasey was simply more of a known quantity to the White House than the typical Beltway outsider. The White House staff includes three former assistant U.S. attorneys from Manhattan, as well as other ex-New York lawyers who regularly practiced before Mukasey as a judge. Among the New Yorkers at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Mr. Mukasey enjoyed great respect, and was viewed as ideologically acceptable too, especially on war on terror issues.

The rest of the piece, including a discussion of what might be called the Curse of the Southern District (from President Bush’s point of view), is available here.
Mr. Mukasey Goes to Washington [New York Observer]
An Old Friend Joins Giuliani in a Spotlight [New York Times]

Taser 2 lawyers taser client Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgWe’re suckers for taser gun stories. Like this one, from the AP:

A University of Florida student was Tasered and arrested after trying angrily and repeatedly to ask U.S. Senator John Kerry about the 2004 election and other subjects during a campus forum….

Videos of Monday’s incident posted on several Web sites show officers pulling Andrew Meyer, 21, away from the microphone after he asks Kerry about impeaching President Bush and whether he and Bush were both members of the secret society Skull and Bones at Yale University.

“He apparently asked several questions he went on for quite awhile then he was asked to stop,” university spokesman Steve Orlando said. “He had used his allotted time. His microphone was cut off, then he became upset.”

More discussion, plus video, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Sadly, John Kerry Wasn’t Tasered (But He Could Have Used the Electricity)”

Larry Craig airport mens room bathroom Above the Law blog.jpg* Don’t try doing #2 at the Larry Craig airport bathroom, unless you want tourists photographing your ankles in a “wide stance.” [BBC via Althouse; Idaho Statesman via Drudge]
* Did President Bush pick Michael Mukasey as his AG nominee to avoid a “bruising, potentially embarrassing fight” with the Democrats? Or is that analysis “way too facile”? [NYObserver.com; Marc Ambinder]
* Can New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick deduct his $500,000 fine? [TaxProf Blog via WSJ Law Blog]
* Blawg Review #126 is now available — with a heavy emphasis on business and the law (subjects of great interest to many of you). [Small Business Trends via Blawg Review]

Erwin Chemerinsky Duke Law School UC Irvine Above the Law blog.jpgThis email message, from Professor Erwin Chemerinsky to Duke law school faculty and students, went out ten minutes ago.
Also, here’s some coverage from the Los Angeles Times.
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: “Erwin Chemerinsky”
To: [redacted]
Date: Mon, 17 Sep 2007 13:07:53 -0400
Subject: news
It is with excitement and sadness that I am writing to tell you that I have accepted the position to be the founding dean of the Donald Bren School of Law at the University of California, Irvine. After meeting with Chancellor Michael Drake at length this weekend, I accepted his renewed offer. He provided me the greatest possible assurance of academic freedom for the dean and all faculty.
It has been one of the strangest and most difficult weeks of my life. I cannot possibly express my thanks for all of the support that I received from the law school’s faculty, administrators, and students. I am sad to be leaving this wonderful supportive community, though excited about the new challenges ahead.
Chemerinsky to return as UC Irvine law dean [Los Angeles Times]

Michael Mukasey Chief Judge Michael B Mukasey SDNY Above the Law blog.jpgNo official announcement has been made (despite the claim of Wikipedia that “[o]n September 16, 2007, President George W. Bush nominated Mukasey to serve as the 81st Attorney General of the United States”). But numerous news outlets are reporting that President Bush has selected Michael B. Mukasey — currently a partner at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler in New Yorker, and former chief judge of the S.D.N.Y. — as his attorney general nominee, to replace Alberto Gonzales.
We’ll have more to say after an official announcement, which could come as early as tomorrow morning. In the meantime, read Judge Mukasey’s interesting, frequently cited Wall Street Journal op-ed piece, on the Jose Padilla case (which he handled in part).
If you have firsthand experience with Judge Mukasey — e.g., as a litigant who has appeared before him, or as one of his law clerks — please share your thoughts in the comments, or by email. Thanks.
Bush plans to pick Mukasey for A.G. [Politico.com]
Bush Settles on Mukasey to Replace Gonzales [Washington Post]
Bush Expected to Name Judge as Gonzales’s Successor [New York Times]
Judge Top Contender to Replace Gonzales: Aide [Reuters]
Bush Picks Mukasey as Attorney General [AP]
Sources: Retired judge may replace Gonzales [CNN]
Jose Padilla Makes Bad Law [Wall Street Journal]
Michael B. Mukasey [Wikipedia]

Charlie Savage Book Party 1A.JPG
“Dear Jim: Thanks for the great job you do pushing the mail cart around the office. You truly are a special person!”
[Charlie Savage signs a copy of his book for Aaron Zitner, politics editor for the Los Angeles Times.]
Earlier this week, we attended a delightful book party for Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy, by Charlie Savage of the Boston Globe. Savage won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting, based on his work on presidential signing statements.
Photos and discussion of the star-studded event — after you win a Pulitzer, everyone is your friend! — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “‘Takeover’ by Charlie Savage: A Fabulous Book Party”

Erwin Chemerinsky Duke Law School UC Irvine Above the Law blog.jpgWho knew that such a little man could generate such big controversy?
In a nutshell (see the links collected below for more):
Erwin Chemerinsky, the brilliant but controversial professor of constitutional law at Duke, accepted an offer to serve as inaugural dean of UC Irvine’s new law school. But then Professor Chemerinsky’s deanship was yanked as quickly as it was offered, based on the administration’s discomfort with Chemerinsky’s political views.
One tipster reminds us: “For those who took BarBri, Chemerinsky is the Con Law professor who can recite the entire lecture (2 days if I recall) from memory, without consulting his notes.”
Does anyone have a copy of, or know the contents of, Chemerinsky’s employment contract with U.C. Irvine? If so, please contact us by email. Thanks.
Also, you can take our reader poll about the controversy, which appears after the jump.
New UC Irvine Law School Hires Chemerinsky as Dean, Then Fires Him for Political Reasons
[Brian Leiter's Law School Reports]
The O.C. — Law School Edition [WSJ Law Blog]
Could This Be True??? [PrawfsBlawg]
Chemerinsky says UC Irvine rescinds offer to become law school dean [Los Angeles Times]

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Chemerinskygate: Dean for a Day?”

hillary clinton is magnificent.jpgCheck out this interesting data about the campaign contributions of Yale faculty and staff, over at Instapundit. It prompted Glenn Reynolds to ask: “Why don’t the Yale Law faculty like Hillary?”
Good question. And here’s another: Even if the Yale Law faculty don’t like this distinguished YLS alumna, why don’t they at least send their (hopefully non-tainted) money her way? Don’t they want her to remember them when she’s President Clinton, looking to fill high-ranking Justice Department posts or spots on the federal bench? As the old saying goes, “Scratch a Yale law professor (or graduate) and you’ll find an aspiring federal judge.”
(The information originally appeared in this excellent Yale Daily News article by Andrew Mangino — who, by the way, helped us out with the reporting for this piece on law firm economics and culture.)
Yale’s Diversity Problem [Instapundit]
Profs donate heavily to Dems [Yale Daily News]

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