Baby Mama

It’s time to announce the winner of July’s Lawyer of the Month. Actually, it’s well past time to announce the winner of July’s Lawyer of the Month, but I forgot to do it before I went on vacation. Sorry about that. Since it’s late I’ll make this column free.

The winner of the July contest won in a landslide. Regular readers of Above the Law will not be surprised to learn that Elana Nightingale Dawson, a recent law school graduate who went into labor while attempting to pass the bar, won our lawyer of the month poll — even if she’s not yet a practicing attorney. That’s just how we roll around here.

But despite her comfortable margin of victory, Elana Dawson inspired some interesting debates in the comments, debates that merit additional attention….

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Back in February 2009, we named the Honorable Joseph Wall a Judge of the Day. Joe Wall, at the time a Wisconsin trial court judge, used the term “baby mama” at the sentencing of an African-American defendant. He also made additional amusing quips — e.g., suggesting that “baby mamas” congregate at “a club” to find their unemployed, wastrel boyfriends.

An appeals court, finding Judge Wall’s comments to be inappropriate, held that the defendant was entitled to a new trial. But now the Wisconsin Supreme Court has reversed the appeals court, in a unanimous decision — a rarity on that utterly dysfunctional famously fractured court.

So, what did the Wisconsin court conclude?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Update: ‘Baby Mama’ Drama on Wisconsin Bench Reaches Resolution”