State Judges

* “[T]he nation’s last explicit ban of the right to bear arms has bitten the dust.” On Saturday, a federal judge said D.C. couldn’t ban the carrying of guns in public for self-defense. [Legal Times]

* Late on Friday, Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage was tossed by a state judge, making it latest in a string of major legal victories for marriage equality. Congrats, Floridians! [Bloomberg]

* There’s been some new updates in the case of Dan Markel, the young FSU Law professor who was murdered in his own home. We’ll have more on the details police released later today. [CNN]

* “I’ve come to the realization I’d really like to have a paycheck at some point.” Ouch. Law school graduates in Florida are starting to feel the pain of a very tough job market, and they’re not too happy about the situation. [Tampa Bay Times]

* “[T]hey treat us like step children instead of adoptees.” A group of Texas Wesleyan Law graduates have filed a complaint (in vain?) with the ABA in the pursuit of new diplomas from Texas A&M Law. [WFAA 8]

Alec Baldwin was such a stud.

* “I don’t care if it’s legal, it’s wrong.” President Obama is pointing the finger at companies using cross-border mergers to avoid U.S. taxes, and he wants to put an end to corporate tax inversions. [Bloomberg]

* Thomas Christina of Ogletree Deakins is the lawyer behind the recent circuit split on Obamacare’s state versus federal health insurance subsidies. Blame him or praise him, it’s up to you. [WSJ Law Blog]

* “I think I missed being in the courtroom more than I missed politics.” John Edwards, acquitted in 2012, is making court appearances again, but this time as a lawyer, not as a defendant. [Am Law Daily]

* A lawyer from Georgia hunts alligators in his spare time, and keeps the taxidermied head of one he caught right on his desk. He says it’s “a great conversation piece,” but that’s a pretty nasty paperweight. Eww. [Daily Report via ABA Journal]

* In a face-off with Alec Baldwin, a judge asked the actor to apologize. The combative Baldwin said he’d rather pay a fine, but if he can “[b]e a good boy,” his biking charge will be dropped. [New York Daily News]

Judge Wade H. McCree

Judge of the Millennium Wade McCree has a special place in our hearts here at Above the Law. The former Wayne County circuit judge had a penchant for disrobing for shirtless selfies and sex in his chambers, and was consequently disrobed by the Michigan Supreme Court.

On Monday, the Sixth Circuit correctly (if you mean “applying the law as it currently exists,” and “incorrectly” if you mean “adopting the better policy”) held that Judge McCree is immune from a civil suit brought by a man McCree slapped with a tether and high child support payments. The man’s complaint is that while Judge McCree was coming down hard on him, Judge McCree was also coming down hard on the child’s mother — specifically sexting her from the bench and carrying on an affair that ultimately ended in an abortion. The man and his lawyer are seeking an appeal to the Supreme Court.

Is absolute judicial immunity a doctrine worth keeping? Probably not…

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Judge Stephanie Domitrovich

Do you even ethics bro?

– Language on a t-shirt depicting Judge Stephanie Domitrovich, worn by a man at the Erie County Courthouse yesterday. The man was asked to leave. Judge Domitrovich is currently facing ethics charges having to do with her alleged “unpatient, undignified and discourteous” treatment of parties.

The old ball and chain, dischargeable in bankruptcy only in the most limited of cases. Go ahead, try and prove you’ve got a ‘substantial hardship’ preventing you from paying. We dare you.

* Now that a federal judge has classified California’s death penalty as unconstitutional, it’s only a matter of time before the issue reaches the Supreme Court. We have a feeling the justices will likely roll their eyes. [National Law Journal]

* Word on the street is that Bingham McCutchen has got the urge to merge, and has apparently spoken to a handful of potential partners over the course of the past three months. We’ll have more on these developments later. [Reuters]

* As it turns out, it was neither Wachtell Lipton nor Jenner & Block that managed to snag the coveted GM litigation oversight job. Nice work, Quinn Emanuel — you’re considered a “well-respected outside law firm.” [WSJ Law Blog]

* Congrats, Flori-duh, you did something right. A state court judge has ruled that Florida’s ban on gay marriage violated the U.S. Constitution in the latest post-Windsor victory for equality. Yay! [Bloomberg]

* Thanks to their hundreds of thousands of dollars in law school debt, many graduates are considering declaring bankruptcy. Too bad most won’t be able to get their loans discharged. [Connecticut Law Tribune]

David Nicosia

Rosa Parks, move.

– David C. Nicosia, a white Chicago resident who argued with Judge Arnette Hubbard, a black jurist, after she walked by him while smoking a cigarette. Nicosia allegedly spit in Judge Hubbard’s face, and later slapped her in the face.

Nicosia was arrested and charged with four counts of aggravated battery and a hate crime. He is currently being held on $90,000 bail.

‘Would you like fries with that, Your Honor?’

* With OT 2013 drawing to a close, here’s a nifty chart that shows which Supreme Court justices vote together most and least often. The division is real, people. [The Upshot / New York Times]

* “Not only do they have unique interpretations of the Constitution but they can’t even agree on how to pronounce words.” Listen to our SCOTUS justices flub the word “certiorari.” [Legal Times]

* Quinn Emanuel and Samsung must now pay more than $2M in sanctions to Nokia and Apple after leaking confidential, “attorneys’ eyes only” information in a discovery blunder. Oopsie! [Legal Week]

* “Why can’t you get a real job?” This judge — the same one who sentenced a rapist to just 30 days in prison — told a fast-food worker to get a better job to pay off his restitution more quickly. [Billings Gazette]

* If you think you’ve seen the best of the “Law and ______” classes, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Say hello to some newcomers, like Video Game Law and Law of Robots. Justice Scalia is pissed. [WSJ Law Blog]

This week, a Los Angeles County Superior Court found that five of California’s laws governing teacher retention violated the rights of schoolchildren under the equal protection clause of the California Constitution. Judge Rolf Treu issued a tentative decision in Vergara v. California, agreeing with plaintiffs that the provisions on firing public-school educators resulted “in grossly ineffective teachers obtaining and retaining permanent employment, and that these teachers are disproportionately situated in schools serving predominantly low-income and minority students.”

 

The United States Constitution, of course, provides no fundamental right to education. (Franklin Roosevelt’s “Second Bill of Rights” doesn’t count.) For example, in San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to apply strict scrutiny to a claim that the Texas funding scheme for public schools violated the equal protection rights of poor and minority students. The Court did so in part because it found no federal fundamental right to education.

 

The California Constitution, though, does provide for a fundamental right to education in its Article 9, Sections 1 and 5. In light of that, Judge Treu applied a strict scrutiny standard to the laws in Vergara. He concluded that the laws caused a violation of California children’s right to equality of education…

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Judge John C. Murphy of Brevard County, Florida was feeling a bit like Judge Dredd yesterday morning. Video captured him verbally sparring with an experienced assistant public defender, Andrew Weinstock, before requesting Weinstock visit him in his “Chambers of Doom” (a.k.a. the hallway) for some actual sparring.

Looks like we need to come up with a new term beyond “benchslap.”

Cue Michael Buffer: “Let’s get ready to RUMMMMMBLLLLLLE!”

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One is an outlier. A sad reminder of the legal profession’s struggle with alcoholism. Two is a curiosity. Perhaps a coincidence? But when three judges, all from the same court, get charged with DWI over the course of a mere six months, you’re looking at a trend.

Just this morning, the third judge in this trend was handcuffed and led away from the scene of an accident. In this case, the courtroom parking lot. That’s right, she’s accused of running over the gate to the lot and then ramming a parked sheriff’s car.

At 8:00 a.m.

There must have been an awesome special on mimosas at the local IHOP knockoff….

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