Quote of the Day

This case is a perfect illustration of what happens when divorce meets recession meets downsizing.

Howard London of Beermann Swerdlove, commenting on the particulars of client David McLauchlan’s case.

(McLaughlan, a former partner at Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell, was asked to leave the firm during the height of the recession due to his declining billables. McLaughlan’s income was reduced significantly — so much so that he could no longer afford his alimony payments.)

I feel queasy just looking at this photo of Nutriloaf.

Deliberate withholding of nutritious food or substitution of tainted or otherwise sickening food, with the effect of causing substantial weight loss, vomiting, stomach pains, and maybe an anal fissure (which is no fun at all, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anal_fissure (visited March 15, 2012)), or other severe hardship, would violate the Eighth Amendment.

– Judge Richard Posner, in Tuesday’s ruling in Prude v. Clarke. The Seventh Circuit reinstated a lawsuit filed by a prisoner who alleged that being fed nutriloaf (a.k.a. Nutraloaf) in the Milwaukee County Jail amounted to cruel and unusual punishment.

(Judge Posner had more strong words to say about nutriloaf, as well an in-depth analysis to answer this crucial question: what the heck is nutriloaf?)

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Justice Antonin Scalia

My approach would be to say that if you take the heart out of this statute, the statute’s gone.

– Justice Antonin Scalia, commenting on what might happen to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act if the individual mandate were struck down as unconstitutional by the Court.

(How open is Justice Scalia to reviewing the particular provisions of Obamacare to decide which provisions should stand and which should fall? Let’s find out….)

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The law is for muppets!

– Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, at a Fordham Law moot court competition. According to a tipster, Judge Kozinski was alluding to the very public resignation of Greg Smith from Goldman Sachs last week, in the course of dismissing a student’s point that the panel should rely solely on the law to decide the case.

I swear to faithfully fulfill the sacred mission of legal workers in socialism with Chinese characteristics. I swear my loyalty to the motherland, to the people, to uphold the leadership of the Communist Party of China and the socialist system, and to protect the dignity of the Constitution and laws.

– A new oath of loyalty Chinese lawyers must swear to the Communist party. The vow is not sitting right with, well, pretty much anyone.

Today’s opinion opens a whole new field of constitutionalized criminal procedure: the field of plea-bargaining law. The court announces this new field in opinions that almost seem designed to sow confusion.

– Justice Antonin Scalia discussing his dissents in Lafler v. Cooper and Missouri v. Frye. The Supreme Court’s 5-4 split decisions in both cases (published today) extended the constitutional right to effective legal assistance in cases of plea bargain deals that are rejected or lapsed due to bad lawyer advice.

The court does not expect the parties to hold hands and sing ‘Kumbaya’ around a campfire beside the Medina River. Nor does the court expect the respondents to engage in a public spectacle of self-flaggellation for communicating words better left unsaid. Moreover, the court does not expect plaintiffs to become Traditional Christians, though the court suggests plaintiffs might follow the moral and civility lessons of Matthew 5:39 (‘if someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also’)[.]

– Chief U.S. District Judge Fred Biery’s “non-Kumbaya” order in a contentious San Antonio-area school prayer case.

What you do in mediation is recite the realities. You don’t have to be brilliant. It’s called common sense.

Mario M. Cuomo, the former New York governor who spoke to the New York Times about mediating the lawsuit brought against the New York Mets by the trustee for the victims of Bernie Madoff. Today, the parties agreed to settle for $162 million.

For years you had the haves and have-nots. What’s happening now, is the haves are not getting paid.

– a former Dewey & LeBoeuf partner, who spoke to the Wall Street Journal on the basis of anonymity, commenting on the firm’s alleged habit of issuing IOUs to partner-level attorneys due to lack of cash flow.

Judge Jed Rakoff

It is commonplace for settlements to include no binding admission of liability. A settlement is by definition a compromise. We know of no precedent that supports the proposition that a settlement will not be found to be fair, adequate, reasonable, or in the public interest unless liability has been conceded or proved and is embodied in the judgment. We doubt whether it lies within a court’s proper discretion to reject a settlement on the basis that liability has not been conclusively determined.

Having considered the various explanations given by the district court for its refusal to permit the settlement, we conclude that the S.E.C. and Citigroup have a strong likelihood of success in their joint effort to overturn the district court’s ruling.

– A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in a per curiam opinion granting a stay pending appeal in the SEC’s case against Citigroup.

(A quick refresher on this case, after the jump.)

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