* Democrats take back the House. [CNN]
* And maybe the Senate. [CNN]
* Just what we need in Washington: more lawyers. [WSJ Law Blog; WSJ Law Blog]
* It still might be possible to have an abortion in South Dakota after all. [AP via Yahoo! News]
partial-birth intact-dilation-and-evacuation abortions could be in trouble, depending upon what the Supreme Court rules. [Associated Press]
* Show me the stem cells. [CNN]
* What’s an election these days without the lawyers getting involved? [WHSV (Harrisonburg, VA)]
* One clear winner last night: judicial independence. [How Appealing (linkwrap)]
* Democrats take back the House. [CNN]
Late last month, the New Jersey Supreme Court gave the gays a big gift. In Lewis v. Harris, the court held that New Jersey must provide same-sex couples with “the same rights and benefits enjoyed by opposite-sex couples under the civil marriage statutes.”*
Well, maybe the gays can return the favor — by giving makeovers to all seven justices, and by taking some high-quality photographs of the court.**
Because THIS has got to be one of the most craptacular judicial portraits ever:
In the words of our tipster:
Check out the brand new “portrait” of the NJ Supremes. First, it looks like it was taken with a camera phone. Second, is it just me, or does Chief Justice Zazzali look like he wants to strangle the photographer?
Yes, he does. And if our portrait ended up looking this awful, we’d want to strangle the photographer too.
If you think that we’ve distorted the photo in any way, click here, and view the original. It arguably looks even worse than our screencap — it’s bigger, which highlights the poor image quality. The picture is fuzzy and unfocused; the colors are washed-out; and the composition is terrible. In short, it’s a photographic disaster. Dreadful!
* Speaking of the ruling in Lewis v. Harris, the New Jersey and Seton Hall chapters of the Federalist Society are sponsoring what should be a very interesting panel discussion on the decision. It’s taking place at Seton Hall Law School this Monday, November 6, at 5:30 PM. If you might be interested in attending, details are available here (PDF).
** Some of the most celebrated contemporary photographers have been gays or lesbians. E.g., Herb Ritts, Bruce Weber, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Annie Liebovitz (maybe — her relationship with Susan Sontag was ambiguous).
If the New Jersey Supreme Court can’t find a top gay or lesbian photographer to take their portrait, we recommend Ann Althouse. She takes beautiful photographs! See, e.g.., here and here.
(Granted, these are landscapes; we don’t know whether Professor Althouse excels at portraiture. But at least she can take pictures that are clear and crisp — unlike this court “portrait.”)
Official Portrait: Supreme Court of New Jersey [official website]
Earlier: BREAKING: New Jersey Supreme Court Upholds Gay Unions
A Madison County official and Democratic Party stalwart said Tuesday that he is unapologetic about Internet hijinks that are drawing criticism from supporters of Republican Appellate Judge Steve McGlynn.
County Public Defender John Rekowski last year registered a website named www.citizensformcglynn.com. McGlynn’s campaign committee is Citizens for McGlynn. Rekowski uses the Web address to redirect visitors to the site of McGlynn’s political opponent, Circuit Judge Bruce Stewart of Harrisburg.
Stewart faces McGlynn, a Belleville lawyer appointed to the 5th District Appellate court last year, in a heated contest for an open seat on the court.
Here’s what Rekowski — the County Public Defender, and therefore a lawyer — had to say for himself:
“People cyber-squat all the time,” Rekowski said. “I’m an American citizen, and I can do as I please.”
Well, yes. But then they get sued under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act.
(But query whether the ACPA would apply on these facts. We’re not saying that it would; we’re just observing that it’s silly for Rekowski to defend himself by saying that cybersquatting is commonplace and that he can do as he pleases.)
Web Tactic on Foe’s Behalf Upsets appellate court candidate [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]
Aren’t Judicial Elections Fun? [TortsProf Blog]
We worship federal judges — for their brilliance, their probity, and their service to our nation. We have a somewhat lower opinion of state court judges.
Many state judges are talented and dedicated public servants (and some of them later serve on the federal bench). But some of them are like the Not-So-Honorable Glenn Staege:
Two women have slapped a former municipal judge with 18 felony charges on grounds that he allegedly made them sign a contract to live on his property and have control of their prescription medications. He then required sex acts in exchange for the medicine.
Glenn A. Staege, 67, was charged with two counts of compelling a person to prostitution and 16 counts of possession of prescription drugs with intent to deliver.
Do you really want to know the particulars? Okay, read on:
One of the women said she and her boyfriend had been homeless when Staege agreed to let them live in a van on his property. She adds that the former judge coerced her to perform sexual activity 18 times to get her prescription medications while he recorded the liaisons.
Having a van lying around your property: SKETCHY.
Having a van lying around your property, which you turn into a halfway house for homeless drug addicts: VERY SKETCHY.
Having a van lying around your property, which you turn into a halfway house for homeless drug addicts, whom you force to prostitute themselves in exchange for drugs, in sexual acts that you record on videotape: STATE COURT JUDGE.
Women Charge Ex-Judge Of Sex For Prescription Swap [All Headline News]
* Who even thought for a second that selling this drink to kids would be ok? “According to the label, each 8.4-fluid ounce can contains 280 milligrams of caffeine… but no cocaine.” [MSNBC]
* Having Shaq involved in any warrant execution automatically violates, like, four amendments at least. [Associated Press]
* Charter schools are a go in Ohio. [Dispatch]
* Some state ballots this month will include a measure to allow the recall of judges “for any reason,” and a proposal actually named “JAIL 4 Judges” — among other slights of the judiciary. [Newsweek]
(More on judicial politics at the New York Times (subscription archive), Ohio State Law Journal, and Common Dreams. Remember phrases like “judicial murder” and “nuclear option” from last year?)
* In memory of Pat Tillman, Army Ranger and Arizona Cardinals safety, his brother Kevin has written a thought-provoking piece on war. [truthdig; New York Times]
* Carter to Ensign: “I may be a carpetbagger, but you’re a Bushman.” [AP via Online Athens]
* Out here in the West, we have a rugged, independent, individualist spirit. However, we want to make sure that our judges never express it. [Washington Times via How Appealing]
* The Constitution says that the writ of habeas corpus can be suspended only in times of rebellion or invasion. When it was suspended during a rebellion, and then later during an invasion, these suspensions were found to be unconstitutional. Now it’s being permanently suspended for a certain class of people without the circumstance of either a rebellion or an invasion. I’m sure we fine. [Fulton County Daily Report (subscription)]
* Scalia to the courts: You leave the country alone, and they’ll leave you alone, mmmkay?[WSJ Law Blog]
- Harriet Miers, Judicial Nominations, Legal Ethics, Nathan Hecht, Romance and Dating, State Judges, Supreme Court
When White House Counsel Harriet Miers was nominated to the United States Supreme Court, her friend and ex-boyfriend, Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht, rushed to her side. In numerous interviews with the news media, he praised his former paramour to the heavens.
Justice Hecht’s reward for such loyalty? Being haled before the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct, which reprimanded him for violating the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct. The Commission concluded that he violated prohibitions on a judge “advanc[ing] the private interests of the judge or others” and “authoriz[ing] the public use of his or her name endorsing another candidate for any public office.”
Thankfully, the reprimand has been dismissed. A special three-judge panel, convened by the Texas Supreme Court, has found Hecht not guilty of the charges. The panel’s lengthy opinion, which we’ve only skimmed, turns on how to construe a number of terms in the Texas Code that haven’t been adequately developed in the case law. The full decision is available here (PDF).
Our reaction? We’re pleased to see that chivalry is not dead in the Lone Star State.
No Reprimand in Judge’s Support of Miers [Associated Press]
Panel Clears Texas Supreme Court Justice [Austin American-Statesman via How Appealing]
Justice Nathan L. Hecht [Texas Judiciary Online]
Here at Above the Law, we’re not all about silliness. We have a serious and more practical side, too.
Last month, in honor of fall recruiting season, we shared with you our Top Ten Interview Tips. This is what’s known in the trade as “service journalism,” or what U.S. News and World Report calls “news you can use.”
We now bring you the first post in an occasional series of ATL Practice Pointers. You’ve landed the legal job of your dreams. Now, what do you have to do in order to keep it?
Today’s tip is about being a good loser. Even the most talented attorneys lose sometimes. Superstar litigator David Boies, for example, lost a little case called Bush v. Gore. So what’s the best way to handle professional setbacks?
Practice Pointer #1: Don’t send the judge nasty, ad hominem letters after he renders a decision against you.
The ACS Blog brings us this news:
Florida attorney Jack Thompson recently lost a case seeking to enjoin the sale of “Bully”, a video game which puts the player in the shoes of a high school ruffian. In response to his loss, Thompson delivered a letter to the judge in the case:
Dear Judge Friedman:
Now that you have consigned innumerable children to skull fractures, eye injuries from slingshots, and beatings with baseball bats, without a hearing as to the danger, let me tell you a few things, with all respect for your office and with no respect for the arbitrary way in which you handled this matter. I can handle an adverse ruling by a judge. I’ve had plenty of those in my lifetime, and that’s fine. But the way you conducted yourself today helps explain why a great Dade County Judge, the late Rhea Pincus Grossman, could not abide you. She was not the only one….
Luckily for Thompson, Judge Grossman is no longer around. She probably wouldn’t have appreciated being ratted out like that.*
The letter goes on for a while, before concluding as follows:
Next time you promise a “hearing,” I’ll bring a parent with me whose kid is in the ground because of a kid who trained to kill him or her on a violent video game. Try mocking that person, I dare you.
Which brings us to Practice Pointer #2: Don’t threaten a judge, either — even a mere state court judge.
* We’re assuming this enmity between the judges was not open and notorious; but maybe it was.
How Not To Speak To a Judge [ACSBlog]
Judge Gives Bully Game the Go Ahead [Tech Law Prof Blog]
“Bully” Case Document Dump [GamePolitics]
Letter from John Thompson to Judge Ronald Friedman [GamePolitics.com (Word document)]
Earlier: A PSA from ATL: Top Ten Interview Tips
- 2nd Circuit, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Enron, Jeffrey Skilling, John Roberts, Morning Docket, Samuel Alito, Sandra Day O'Connor, State Judges, Supreme Court, White-Collar Crime
* Buttons — isn’t that the new song by the Pussycat Dolls? Yes; but it’s also the issue in a case argued before the Supreme Court yesterday. Question Presented: Was a murder defendant’s right to a fair trial violated when the judge allowed relatives of the victim to sit behind the prosecutor, sporting buttons with the victim’s photo on them? [New York Times; Washington Post; Slate]
* A federal judge rules that candidates for the state bench can’t be barred from personally soliciting campaign contributions. So let’s just shove C-notes down their robes. [New York Times]
* Ex-Enron CEO Jeff Skilling won’t take the Martha Stewart approach: he’d like to remain free on bail while his appeal winds its way through the courts. This makes sense: his sentence is likely to be way longer than Martha’s brief stay at Camp Cupcake. [Washington Post]
* Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was slumming it earlier this week at the Second Circuit. The Times provides a UTR-esque account of the “mind-numbing” proceedings. [New York Times]
* The Supreme Court heard oral argument yesterday in Cunningham v. California, an important case raising the constitutionality of California’s sentencing scheme — and one that will have implications for other state sentencing systems. (Readers of the tea leaves suggest that Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito may not be in complete agreement with Justices Scalia and Thomas. Who are you calling “Scalito”?) [Sentencing Law & Policy; Los Angeles Times; New York Times]
Once upon a time, there lived a magnificient judicial diva named Carolyn B. Kuhl. She lived in sunny California, Land of the Dancing Raisins.
Judge Kuhl was beautiful, and she was brainy. Her résumé was one brand name after another: Princeton; Duke Law School; a clerkship with Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, back when he was on the Ninth Circuit; various high-level positions at the Justice Department, including Deputy Solicitor General; and a partnership at the elite L.A. law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson.
But Carolyn Kuhl was a bit like Cinderella. After tremendous early career successes, she found herself trapped in a state of miserable servitude: a state court judgeship. And not even a state supreme or appellate court judgeship, but a position as a state trial court judge. ICK.
While wicked judicial stepsisters with far less distinguished backgrounds wound up with more prestigious, better-paying federal judgeships, Judge Kuhl was stuck with the judicial equivalent of Cinderella’s floor mopping: hearing civil cases in state court. To add insult to injury, the decrepitude of the state court building sometimes forced Judge Kuhl to conduct hearings out on street corners.
But one day, Prince Charming showed up, bearing a glass slipper. It was President George W. Bush, and the glass slipper was a nomination to the prestigious Ninth Circuit — the nation’s largest, and arguably most influential, federal appeals court. If confirmed to that circuit court, Judge Kuhl might someday be a viable candidate for the United States Supreme Court. She might end up as the belle of the ball — just in a black robe, instead of a white chiffon gown.
Alas, Judge Kuhl never got to try on that glass slipper. Her Ninth Circuit nomination was held up by Senate Democrats, who were pressured into doing so by various liberal interest groups. Eventually Judge Kuhl asked for her nomination to be withdrawn. In the end, her glass slipper was shattered — by partisan politics.
So what happened next to Judge Kuhl? After her Ninth Circuit nomination was scuttled, she decided that she had had enough of the law. She left the judiciary, and she left Los Angeles, in order to start a new life. She moved all the way to New York City, to follow her lifelong, pre-law-school dream: a career in retail fashion.
Once she arrived in the Big Apple, Judge Kuhl found the most perfect storefront on Madison Avenue. It became the new home of her eponymous menswear boutique: Kuhl Man. Here’s a picture:
The Kuhlman boutique took off, becoming a mecca for every dandy in the New York metropolitan area (including many partners at the city’s top law firms). And Judge Kuhl lived happily ever after.*
* Okay, this last part about Judge Kuhl leaving the bench to start a clothing store in Manhattan is wholly fabricated. As far as we know, Judge Kuhl continues to serve on the California Superior Court for Los Angeles County.
It’s just that, when we were up in New York this past weekend, we walked past this elegant men’s clothing store named “Kuhl Man.” Seeing this shop immediately triggered thoughts of Judge Carolyn Kuhl. So we stopped in front of the store, whipped out our camera, and took a photograph.
Then we made up this imaginary backstory explaining how the store came into being — and linking it up with the fabulous Judge Kuhl. That’s all. We have a very active imagination.
(Yeah, kinda bizarre. Please, cut us some slack today. It’s a pseudo-holiday — even if many Biglaw associates, as well as many law clerks, are stuck at work right now.)
Fili-BUSTED! Magnificent judicial divas have been stopped dead in their tracks. Now UTR asks: Who is the biggest diva? [UTR]
Judicial Diva, She’s Homeless [UTR]
Kuhlman Company [official website]