Attorney General Eric Holder

President Obama formally announced the resignation of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder this week. Filling the position ordinarily poses a political challenge, but installing Holder’s successor will be particularly rancorous. And we have Eric Holder himself to thank for that.

With Congressional midterm elections weeks away, confirmation hearings for a new AG any time soon seemed unlikely at first. However, Senator Patrick Leahy (D – VT), the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced that he intends to urge the confirmation process onward. “Definitely, we should have confirmation hearings as quickly as possible in the Senate,” Leahy told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell. Changes to Senate rules allow debate to end over executive and judicial branch nominees (except for nominees for Supreme Court vacancies) with a simple majority vote, rather than a supermajority of 60 votes. At least until the January 2015 session, when the Senate can revisit the rule change, Senators cannot filibuster the vote on Eric Holder’s potential successor. No matter what shifts occur after the upcoming elections, Republicans hold only 45 seats in the Senate until January 2015. So, Democrats acting quickly hold an advantage. However, Democratic senators facing dicey election contests may not be enthusiastic about their party’s push for hearings before the election.

The AG confirmation process opens a new battlefield in the war between supporters of President Obama and his critics. The battle to confirm Eric Holder’s successor promises to be messy. Senate Republicans will treat the process as a referendum on everything President Obama has done — possibly everything his critics suspect he might want to do. Washington politics makes this sort of fight possible. The timing of Holder’s resignation, a few weeks ahead of Congressional midterm elections, makes this plausible. But Eric Holder himself made this battle necessary.

So, how did Holder generate so much bad blood?

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NPR has a breaking scoop. Sources report that Attorney General Eric Holder will announce his resignation today.

Holder is one of the longest-serving members of Obama’s cabinet. People have called him the most “racially divisive” AG in history. In related news, he’s also African-American, a fact that has really seemed to piss some people off.

It’s been a few weeks without a manufactured “scandal” landing on his desk, so maybe now is a good time to go back to private practice and make millions of dollars?

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Bradley Cooper: a very handsome man, but sadly not a lawyer.

Seemingly random small-firm lawyers from Alabama weren’t the only legal types in attendance at the White House State Dinner on Tuesday evening. Indeed, as we’ve previously noted, numerous legal celebrities attended the festivities as well.

Sure, there were some “celebrity celebrities” at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue that night. The guest list included such boldface names as J.J. Abrams, Stephen Colbert, Bradley Cooper, Mindy Kaling, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

But who cares about Hollywood? Above the Law readers are more interested in the government lawyers, federal judges, Biglaw partners and law professors who attended this major social event….

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Remember the 80s? Big hair, Dynasty, Huey Lewis was popular for some reason. Well, Judge Jed Rakoff remembers the 80s, and he also remembers the way the federal government used to actually investigate and prosecute people who committed massive financial crimes — Mike Milken, Ivan Boesky, Charles Keating, a bevy of other savings and loans kingpins. Good times.

And Judge Rakoff wants to know what happened to prosecuting financial crimes, specifically the sort of fraud that crippled the economy. So he took to the pages of the New York Review of Books to ponder all the financial prosecutions that could have been. And he has some theories about what happened and how prosecutors could do a better job in the future.

It’s a fascinating look at a bunch of ideas that the government is going to totally ignore…

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I didn’t go to Eric Holder’s big speech at the ABA annual meeting on Monday. I kind of halfheartedly tried to go, but there were a lot of people who wanted to see Holder say something they could’ve read about online hours earlier.

If the ABA had invited Secretary of Education Arne Duncan over to speak about the horrendous abuse of federal funds by purveyors of higher education, I’d have smashed my way in. But in the crush of people trying to get a look at the Attorney General trying to dismantle a big part of the United States “War On Drugs,” I was reminded that regulating legal education is a small part of what the ABA does — and a part that isn’t of great institutional importance to the organization. The ABA wants a seat at the policy table when it comes to big sexy issues of justice and legal services. Preventing member institutions from price-gouging young people doesn’t get its logo splashed across all the major news networks.

So, Eric Holder delivered a big policy address. And later, by which point I was on a plane, Hillary Clinton spoke about how she’ll be speaking about other things as she doesn’t run for president just yet. Holder! Hillary! Marvel at the ABA’s relevance in national policy debates!

Except, they’re not relevant. Holder did make an important speech on Monday, and he couldn’t have found a more supportive group for his take-down of mandatory minimums had he been speaking to potheads in Golden Gate Park. But really, the ABA isn’t going to be any more helpful when it comes to actually convincing Congress than a meeting of the 4:20 club…

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Alexis Wright

* “Hindsight is always 20/20.” Perhaps AG Eric Holder should’ve quit when he was ahead after President Obama’s first term, because now White House insiders are wishing he’d step down. [New York Times]

* Dewey think Steven Davis will ever live down claims that he brought about the death of a once legendary law firm? No, but at least his $19.5 million mismanagement settlement was approved. [Am Law Daily]

* “What’s disgusting? Union busting? Who’s disgusting? Joe Genova.” Damn. This partner had some issues with Legal Services NYC lawyers on strike outside his office last week. [New York Law Journal]

* With all of the talk about patent trolls, this Morgan Lewis attorney allegedly thought it would be a good idea to get a piece of the action. Oopsie, it sounds like you got some splainin’ to do. [Ars Technica]

* LEAVE THOMAS JEFFERSON SCHOOL OF LAW ALONE! TJSL alumni appreciate their alma mater so much they’re willing to sign love letters written by the school’s PR flack. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* Widener Law is thinking of splitting its campuses into separately accredited schools, but this isn’t a cost-saving measure — neither were the buyout packages offered to professors. [Delaware Law Weekly]

* Alexis Wright, the Zumba instructor who ran a prostitution ring out of her dance studio, will ditch the workout and join the party in jail, because this hot mama was just sentenced to 10 months. [CNN]

Republicans can’t make moderate white people afraid of Barack Obama just because he’s black. They’ve tried. And it works on the fringe birther/nutjob element that is already suspicious of people who use polysyllabic words, much less multiculturalism. But with moderate “I can’t watch Fox because the game is on” white folks, all the dog-whistle calls in the world don’t cause racial animosity towards the likeable Barack Obama.

But his black friends are a different story. Or maybe Obama just thinks that voters will be more racist towards blacks without his personal likability? But for whatever reason, Obama has shown no stomach for standing up and defending the black people in his life when the Republican scandal brigade comes for their blood sacrifice.

Remember Jeremiah Wright? If he had been a white preacher to a Republican candidate, he would have gone unnoticed. Instead, he sounded a bit like an angry black man. Obama put that brother on ice. Remember Susan Rice? She did… nothing? She’s not Secretary of State because Obama didn’t want a fight. Hell, Obama didn’t even go to the mattresses for Desiree Rogers, his social secretary who got punked and was replaced by a white woman.

Let’s just say that if I were the first black attorney general, I wouldn’t expect a whole lot of help from the first black president right now…

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Amanda Bynes

* Let’s get ready to rumble! Some of the Supreme Court’s most controversial opinions yet are expected to be rolled out in the coming weeks — and maybe even today. Stay tuned for news. [CNN]

* Let’s see what happens when Obama nominates three judges at once to the D.C. Circuit. How many of them will be confirmed as quickly as Sri Srinivasan? Probably not many. [New York Times]

* White House counsel and leading litigatrix Kathryn Ruemmler is best known for her fabulous shoes, but this week, she’s taking some flak for her involvement in the IRS scandal. [New York Times]

* “I don’t know whether the Lord Himself could get confirmed at this point.” It looks like poor Attorney General Eric Holder doesn’t have very many people left to turn to thanks to executive and congressional inaction. [Bloomberg]

* When it comes to recent diversity efforts in Biglaw there’s an ebb, but not really a flow, and it’s all being blamed on the recession. Also, “diversity fatigue” is apparently a thing now. [New York Times]

* The $200 million gender discrimination suit filed against Greenberg Traurig over the firm’s alleged “old boys club” has been settled for an undisclosed amount. You go girl! [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* According to Judge Murray Snow, Arizona’s most beloved sheriff, Joe Arpaio, has been violating the constitutional rights of all of the Latinos whom he supposedly “hadn’t” been racially profiling. [Reuters]

* My, how things change: David Blankenhorn, a man who once testified as an expert witness in support of Proposition 8 at trial, has come forward to condemn anti-marriage equality laws. [Los Angeles Times]

* Stewart Schwab, the dean of Cornell Law School, will step down in June 2014. Perhaps the next dean will crack down on the number of cam girls pleasuring themselves in the law library. [Cornell Chronicle]

* Law schools tend to be “bastions of liberalism,” which makes it hard for students to find intellectual diversity. It’s a good thing we’ve got the Federalist Society to balance things out. [Washington Times]

* People who think Washington needs another law school propose one for students “who can’t afford to … go into debt … to get their legal degree.” This won’t sit well with the legal academy. [News Tribune]

* With Lindsay Lohan stuck in rehab, Amanda Bynes decided it was her turn to go wild. The retired actress says she’s suing the NYPD for unlawful arrest and sexual harassment. [New York Daily News]

* Alton Lemon, the Supreme Court plaintiff behind the eponymous Lemon test, RIP. [New York Times]

Dean Evan Caminker

* Eric Holder has agreed to serve once more as attorney general during President Barack Obama’s second term, but he still plans to leave at some point — after all, he’s no “Janet Reno of the Justice Department.” [Blog of Legal Times]

* AIG will not join the lawsuit against America. To put that in terms that should be just as outrageous, former AIG CEO Hank Greenberg is still suing America. [Washington Post]

* For those who care about Biglaw firms and the landlords who love them, fear not, because there’s a whole lot of moving and shaking in terms of commercial real estate deals for Arnold & Porter, Goodwin Procter, and Sidley Austin. [Am Law Daily]

* Jacoby & Meyers scored at the Second Circuit: its attack on New York’s ban on non-lawyer firm ownership was reinstated. Soon Walmart will own a firm with “Low Prices. Every day. On everything.” [Bloomberg]

* Who’ll step in to fill Evan Caminker’s $400,000+ shoes as the next dean of Michigan Law? None other than Mark West, who’d like to improve financial aid and loan repayment programs. [National Law Journal]

* Gun nuts, commence your rioting… now. If passed, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s sweeping gun-control proposal would make New York the state with the strictest gun laws in the country. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* Speaking of needless gun violence, by Friday, we’ll know whether there’s enough evidence to move forward with a trial for James Holmes, the accused shooter in the Aurora movie theater massacre. [New York Times]

Kristen Saban

* With Eric Holder questioning his job, and Deval Patrick dining at the White House, perhaps we’ll see our second black attorney general. Or not, because one of the Governor’s aides says he’ll continue his reign as a Masshole. [Washington Times; Buzzfeed]

* When it came to sanctions for discovery violations in the Apple v. Samsung case, this judge was all about pinching pennies. Last week, both Quinn Emanuel and MoFo got taken to task over their apparently “sloppy billing practices.” [The Recorder]

* What’s the most inappropriate thing for a federal judge to say to jurors when delivering the news that a defendant of Asian descent killed herself after testifying? “Sayonara.” Ugh. [Careerist via New York Times]

* “Law school is very unforgiving, but classes must go on.” Law schools in the New York metropolitan area are still trying to make sure their students are safe and sound — and studying, of course. [New York Law Journal]

* Another one bites the dust: Team Strauss/Anziska’s lawsuit against John Marshall Law School over its allegedly phony post-graduate employment statistics has been dismissed with prejudice. [Chicago Tribune]

* Are you ready for some litigation? Lawyers for Nick Saban’s daughter are showing the sorority girl who sued her what it’s like to get rolled by the Alabama tide in a flurry of more than 40 subpoenas. [Times Leader]

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