Richard Posner

Several prominent judges, like Richard Posner (left) and Alex Kozinski (right), hire 'off-plan.'

Over the weekend, we mentioned a very interesting New York Times article on the chaotic state of the clerkship application process, and said we’d have more to say about it later. Well, now is later, quite a bit later — so let’s discuss.

The piece — by Catherine Rampell, who has written about the legal world before — paints a depressing picture of a dysfunctional system. Rampell reports that the clerkship process “has become a frenzied free-for-all, with the arbiters of justice undermining each other at every turn to snatch up the best talent.”

Let’s look at the reasons behind this, and discuss whether the process can be fixed….

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[M]asturbation is a form of “sexual activity” in the ordinary-language sense of the term, which judges use on occasion just as laypersons do. Masturbation is also a “sexual act” in that sense, but not in the statutory sense.

– Judge Richard Posner, doing his best to take all the fun out of jerking off (via Josh Blackman).

There must be no more of this childish abuse…. No more or there will be sanctions. In more than 29 years as a judge, I have never encountered such bickering, quarrelsome lawyers. You are wasting my time and your clients’ money.

– Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit, sitting by designation as a district judge (N.D. Ill.), ruling on motions in limine in Chamberlain Group, Inc. v. Lear Corp. (PDF).

(The context of this quotation, which contains additional benchslappery, appears below.)

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We add that the appellants’ brief is rambling, and would be more effective if compressed to 14,000 words.

– Judge Richard Posner, in a benchslap that denied appellants’ motion to file an oversized brief — and summarily affirmed the district court (full opinion here, via How Appealing).

DNA is pretty, oh so pretty.

* The Supreme Court opens the door, but just a crack, to prisoners seeking access to DNA evidence. [SCOTUSblog]

* The legal job market is getting better, right? Right? [Vault]

* Hall, J., dissenting — from the grave. [How Appealing]

* Harvard Law School is always ready for its close-up: first The Paper Chase, then Legally Blonde, and now The Five Hundred. [Deadline.com]

* Are computers better than attorneys at document review? Maybe — but they’re definitely more attractive. [Constitutional Daily]

* Protip for litigators: “Pull Your Pants Up Before Going to Court.” [Gothamist]

* Elsewhere in fashion news, a Seventh Circuit panel (Posner, J.) holds that it’s constitutionally protected to wear a t-shirt that says “Be Happy Not Gay” to your high school. But it’s still really… gay. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Litigation to advance a worthy cause (although it seems odd, in a “cart before the horse” sort of way, to file the press releases before the actual lawsuit). [The Snitch / SF Weekly]

* Blawg Review #301: it’s all about communication. [Not Guilty via Blawg Review]

* Congratulations to Professor Brian Fitzpatrick of Vanderbilt Law on receiving the 2011 Paul M. Bator Award (won previously by a long list of blawg celebrities, including M. Todd Henderson, Orin Kerr, Jonathan Adler, Eugene Volokh, and Randy Barnett). [Federalist Society]

Plus, you always surrender in an argument with your wife, right? Isn’t that the formula for marital happiness?

– Judge Richard Posner, quoted recently in the New York Times in an article about “sell by” or “use by” dates for food.

[N]eedless to say, I have not read the nineteenth edition. I have dipped into it, much as one might dip one’s toes in a pail of freezing water. I am put in mind of Mr. Kurtz’s dying words in Heart of Darkness — ‘The horror! The horror!’ — and am tempted to end there.

— Judge Richard Posner, in a scathing Yale Law Journal review of The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation (19th ed.).

(For additional discussion and funny excerpts, see Paul Horwitz, Ilya Somin, and Eugene Volokh.)

Earlier this week, we selected as a Quote of the Day a controversial quip from a post by Judge Richard Posner on The Becker-Posner Blog. The quote read:

The problem of priests’ sexually molesting boys would be solved if priests were allowed to marry and if women could be priests, because then the priesthood would attract fewer homosexuals.

It was, like pretty much every Quote of the Day, removed from its context. To see that context, read Judge Posner’s complete post, entitled “Contraception and Catholicism.”

Judge Posner’s comment wasn’t well-received by some in the LGBT community, who viewed it as implying that homosexuals might be more prone to molest children than heterosexuals. Yesterday, University of Chicago OutLaw, an LGBT affinity group at Judge Posner’s longtime academic home, posted an open letter to Judge Posner on its website.

The letter criticized Judge Posner’s post for “suggesting a causal link between male homosexuality and sexual abuse of minors (or even conflating the two)” and for “promulgat[ing] inaccurate and harmful stereotypes regarding gay and lesbian individuals.” OutLaw asked Judge Posner to consider retracting his statement.

I reached out to Judge Posner to see if he had any response to Outlaw’s open letter. Indeed he did. What did he have to say?

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The problem of priests’ sexually molesting boys would be solved if priests were allowed to marry and if women could be priests, because then the priesthood would attract fewer homosexuals.

– Judge Richard Posner, in a recent post on The Becker-Posner Blog.

I didn’t read one word. I have a life to live.

– Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook, explaining that he didn’t read the 100 pages of RESPA disclosure documents when he recently purchased a house.

(Gavel bang: Josh Blackman, who notes that Judge Easterbrook’s colleague, Judge Richard Posner, previously said essentially the same thing.)

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