State Department

* So now, officially, more people have lost their jobs over Benghazi than lost their jobs over 9/11. [New York Times]

* Could we sue the NRA out of existence? [Dissident Voice]

* Nate Silver makes it clear that gun ownership is a great indication of party affiliation. Guess the liberals would get their asses handed to them in a civil war. [Five Thirty Eight / New York Times]

* Should it be harder for a teenager to get his hands on a video game with lots of guns in it, or AN ACTUAL FREAKING GUN? [Huffington Post]

* “Fun” law bloggers interview each other, for fun. [Allison Leotta]

* Wait, McDonald’s restaurants in Europe have waitresses? [Telegraph]

* Former Governor of Florida slams current Governor of Florida while nation wonders why Florida is always such a train wreck. [Blog of the Legal Times]

* Bank robbers hail getaway cab. [Chicago Tribune]

* Look, the quote of the year is Megyn Kelly’s, “Is this just math that you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better?” But here are some other fun ones from 2012. [The Careerist]

* “To do nothing in the face of pending disaster is to be complicit. It’s time to act. It’s time to vote.” What a convenient time to discover that the Department of Justice tabled new gun control proposals in favor of an upcoming election campaign. [New York Times]

* Rumor has it that the president will nominate Senator John Kerry to be secretary of state for his second term. Upon hearing the news, Hillary Clinton updated her Tumblr page before she caught a case of the vapors, fainted, and got herself all concussed. [CNN]

* “If you don’t know, then you have to plan for the worst.” Everyone’s pissed off about the possibility of being pushed off the fiscal cliff, but on the bright side, it’s creating a mountain of billables. [National Law Journal]

* Remember the judge who resigned after he accidentally showed a colleague a picture of the “judicial penis”? He was removed from office by a judicial ethics panel. How very effective. [Seattle Post-Intelligencer]

* And for the talent portion of the competition, Alicia Guastaferro, the pageant princess who was picked up for prostitution after getting caught with an attorney, will have her hooking charges dropped. [Huffington Post]

* “The people who are paying us say this is what we want.” When it comes to cross-border mergers, law firms aren’t becoming behemoths for the hell of it. The end goal is to be able to edge out the rest of the competition. [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]

* It’s been six weeks since Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast, and “[e]verybody wants to go back downtown,” but some Biglaw firms in New York City — firms like Harris Beach and Cahill Gordon — are still stuck in their temporary offices. [New York Law Journal]

* Following Jeh Johnson’s adieu to the DoD, drone-loving Harold Koh will be packing up his office at the State Department and returning to Yale Law to resume his professorship next month. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the legal sector is employing 5,800 more people than it was at this time last year. We’d be in good shape if 40,000 people hadn’t graduated law school in May. [Am Law Daily]

* Another day, another wrist slap: Villanova Law has been placed on probation for by the Association of American Law Schools over its grade-inflation scandal. Does that even mean anything? [Philadelphia Inquirer]

* The Lanier Law Firm, known for its spectacular Christmas parties, hosted some country superstars at this year’s event. Guess we know where Faith Hill and Tim McGraw go for legal assistance. [Houston Chronicle]

* A slim majority of American adults think that federal government employees should just sit back, relax, and smoke a bowl instead of enforcing federal laws against marijuana use. [FiveThirtyEight / New York Times]

* “I’m sorry they are confused in the White House.” Puerto Rico’s statehood referendum received a majority of votes, but lawmakers say the results of the two-part plebiscite are too confusing to add a 51st state. [CNN]


Meet your new cellmates.

* A few weeks back, we mentioned some legal lessons gleaned from Jay-Z’s 99 Problems. Turns out, you might not need law school to become a lawyer. Maybe all you need is a Spotify subscription and a good set of headphones. [FindLaw]

* Government security guard finds suspicious bag and stashes it under his desk, where it chills out for a couple of weeks. Oh yeah, I should probably mention — there was A BOMB in the bag. Nice work, Sherlock. [CNN]

* If you rat someone out, you might avoid prson. But in Illinois, if you end up in prison, don’t be surprised if you end up with a real rat as a cellmate. Maybe a roach too, if you get particularly unlucky. [WBEZ]

* Former Judge of the Day John Wulle, who yelled at a teenager in court and suggested the teen might be “stupid,” just lost his bid for reelection. I think the appropriate statement here is: Stupid is as stupid does. [The Columbian]

* I’m pretty sure everyone knows politicians are not exactly truthful all the time. But which politicians are the heavyweight “Liar, liar, pants on fire” champions? [Daily Dolt]

One of [my handlers during my confirmation process] said, ‘You know, you might want to apologize for some of the things you wrote.’ I said to him, ‘Can we get one thing straight? I am not apologizing.’

I’ve lived the life I’ve wanted to live. I’ve said the things I’ve wanted to say. If you really want me to say I’m sorry, I’ll say, ‘I’m sorry that my life’s work has been misunderstood.’

Harold Koh, current Legal Adviser to the State Department and former Dean of Yale Law School, in recent remarks he delivered at the American Constitution Society’s annual convention. (In the same speech, Koh voiced support for Yale Law graduate Goodwin Liu, whose Ninth Circuit nomination was successfully filibustered.)

WikiLeaks worships at the shrine of rabid transparency. And it does not just sacrifice government documents to the transparency gods; founder Julian Assange tells my Forbes colleague Andy Greenberg that corporate America is the site’s next big target. A big bank is going down, says Assange.

Greenberg thinks it might be Bank of America. Dealbreaker has some additional theories. Most likely some bank somewhere is going to have a big project for its lawyers pretty soon.

Meanwhile, after the most recent State Department cable leak, government lawyers are trying to figure out how to prosecute Assange.  There’s talk of invoking the Espionage Act of 1917, regardless of the fact that Assange is an Australian citizen and spends his time country-hopping. G’day and g’luck, mate.

So, what about those juicy diplomatic cables? What did State Department legal adviser Harold Koh not want the world to see?

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Harold Koh Yale State.jpgThe Yale Law School campus is buzzing with rumors that their popular dean, Harold Hongju Koh, could be leaving for a job in the Clinton State Department. The Yale Daily News reports that Koh could be appointed as legal adviser to the State Department:

In that position, Koh — a former assistant secretary of state and a leading expert on international law — would serve as principal counselor on all legal matters to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton LAW ’73.

Rumors have swirled for months around the Law School and in Washington, D.C., that Koh, whose five-year term as dean ends in June, might leave Yale to serve again in government. Koh, however, has repeatedly dismissed talk about a possible appointment as pure speculation.

Koh and the YLS press office did not respond to ATL’s requests for comment.

Even though Koh’s five year term is up in June, Yale has given every indication that Koh can keep his current job if he wants it:

University President Richard Levin said Wednesday that a routine review of Koh’s tenure at the Law School — timed for the end of his first term as dean — had yielded positive responses.

“It was clear that the community supported his reappointment,” Levin said. “There’s no question: If he stays here, he will be reappointed.”

If Koh leaves, he’ll be creating yet another opening on the Law School Dean circuit — which is one of the few jobs in the legal profession that is hiring.

Details after the jump.

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