Catholic Church

Pope Francis

When I first heard about Pope Francis comparing Jesus to a criminal defense attorney, a number of possible similarities sprung to mind:

  • He wasn’t known for his fashion sense.
  • He hung out with prostitutes and thieves.
  • Some people really hated him, but others felt he just got a bum rap.

While plausible, these weren’t the reasons the Holy Father made the comparison in a recent homily….

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Pope Gregory XIII be RACEIST.

A Catholic lawyer, a Jewish lawyer, and a Muslim lawyer all walk into a bar. The Muslim lawyer says, “I’m filing an injunction to stop this den of sin from serving alcohol.” The Jewish lawyer says, “I’m suing you for working on the Sabbath.” The bartender looks at the Catholic lawyer and says, “Jesus, what do you want?” The Catholic lawyer says, “How the hell should I know? But I’ll take a scotch while you wait for an answer.”

It’s not every day that you see a person specify that they want a lawyer who is from a certain religious background. Law is generally a secular profession. Sure, Moses is the first law giver in the Judeo-Christian tradition, but the only God most lawyers consult before deciding whether or not to take a case is the one bathed in green.

Still, when you are a whack-job on Craigslist who is trying to mount an assault on the calendar, I suppose the only way you’re going to get help is with the aid of a true believer.

Yeah, you heard me right, I’m talking about a guy who wants to sue… somebody… over the calendar

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If he’s having trouble judging homosexuals, well, then I’m his man. I have over a quarter century of professional experience.

– Justice Antonin Scalia, in comments supposedly made to reporters after offering to assist Pope Francis in his judgment of gays and lesbians. Scalia, referring to himself as “the master,” also noted that he “wasn’t great at judging homosexuals [in his] first year in the job, either.”

(N.B. Actually, this comes to us via The Borowitz Report, a satirical column published in the New Yorker that is written by comedian Andy Borowitz.)

The new mascot for the Roberts Court’s jurisprudence.

* Another interpretation of the Shelby County decision posits that the Roberts Court is a lot like the Walking Dead, just less entertaining. [Huffington Post]

* Dean David Schizer is leaving. [The Faculty Lounge]

* Missouri tried to “save Christmas” from heathens, but had its efforts stymied when the governor realized it could literally set the state on fire. [Volokh Conspiracy]

* Cardinal Dolan, America’s most prominent Catholic bishop, apparently shifted Church assets to keep them from falling into the hands of abuse victims. Perhaps he could have exerted the same effort keeping abuse victims out of the hands of abusers? [New York Times]

* It looks like a Paul Weiss associate, Molissa Farber, is still alive in the $1,000 No-Limit event at the World Series of Poker. Maybe she’ll be able to pay off her loans sooner rather than later. [Poker News]

* Did you enjoy Milli Vanilli? Perhaps you’d like watching air guitar? The national semifinals are in New York tonight. [Bowery Ballroom]

* The new meme sweeping the Intertubes is “Old Economy Steve.” While not strictly law-related, it is a fitting meme for trolling recent law school grads entering the market. [The Atlantic]

* After talking about the Atlanta battle of the (legal) bands, we learned that San Francisco is also getting into the act. [Law Rocks]

* Speculating on George Washington’s approach to drone strikes. [Washington Times]

* A look at how regulatory and tax policy changes affect the value of energy companies. [Breaking Energy]

* E. Gordon Gee, Columbia Law ’71 and President of THE Ohio State University got in a little trouble for saying, “You tell the SEC when they can learn to read and write, then they can figure out what we’re doing.” So another guy gets in trouble for being honest. Gee also said that you can’t trust Catholic priests, which segues nicely into the next item. [Yahoo! Sports]

* The Catholic Church’s top exorcist claims to have performed 160,000 exorcisms. After the jump, Professor Mark Kightlinger from the University of Kentucky College of Law eviscerates this claim with “math.”

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* We have a new pope. Pope Francis I has no involvement with the sexual abuse scandals surrounding the Church, but has had other legal troubles in his past. [Los Angeles Times]

* UNLV Law Dean Nancy Rapoport schools other deans on drafting press releases about the U.S. News rankings. [Nancy Rapoport's Blogspot]

* Lend your support to this new project to create Oyez-style audio/video archives of state Supreme Court proceedings. This will be really helpful, but I’m holding out for audio/video of Wade McCree’s courtroom. [Knight News Challenge]

* If you’re mad that your name comes up when people Google “erectile dysfunction,” filing a public lawsuit over that fact isn’t the answer. [IT-Lex]

* Charter schools are lame because the crazy people running them teach whatever they want, like this one that teaches students that hippies were dirty. Well, okay, that’s not actually untrue, but the system’s textbooks have other faults, like explaining how the KKK was just misunderstood, y’all. [Lawyers, Guns & Money]

* Man loses his memory after car crash-induced head trauma, decides to become a lawyer. I’ve always said would-be lawyers should have their heads examined. [BBC News via Legal Cheek]

* Nepal had actual regulations regarding Yeti killing. When will America join the international community and enact strict protections for Sasquatch? [Lowering the Bar]

* A state bar association is actively discouraging students from going to law school. Which is odd, since the state in question has a top five law school… according to National Jurist. [Associate's Mind]

* A clever Civ Pro class used the system against Howard Wasserman to get an extension on their assignment. I respect Wasserman for crediting the students’ ingenuity, but it would have been a better life lesson if he’d impleaded the Dean for forcing him to have grades in early. Or at least ding the students with a Rule 11 claim. [PrawfsBlawg]

* Inmate forgotten for 22 months in solitary confinement wins $15.5 million reward. Hopefully he’ll be ready in time to protect us from that bioweapon attack from Alcatraz. [CNN]

* In honor of International Women’s Day, enjoy an interview of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. [The New Yorker]

* To follow up on an old story, law grad/convicted sex criminal Chris Dumler is reporting to jail today. [WVIR]

* The Conclave is now set for Tuesday. Place your bets on the new pontiff now! [CNN]

When Pope Benedict XVI announced his retirement, conspiracy theorists opined that the mounting allegations of a Church-sponsored cover-up of sexual abuse had reached the highest levels of the Vatican. That charge didn’t make much sense to me. As Pope, Benedict XVI possessed the legal immunities. Outside the office, his status is in doubt.

So if he felt some fear of prosecution, he should have opted to stay in the office for life.

It’s pretty simple logic. That said, “logic” is the sort of thing that, historically, gets you burned at the stake by the Catholic Church, so maybe I shouldn’t try to apply that to the Pope’s decision.

But the question remains: Does the “Pope Emeritus” retain legal immunities in retirement? And if not, what litigation is he inviting with his retirement?

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I’m not a mathematician, but I am a diligent consumer of news. And based on a casual scan of recent headlines and stories that have dominated multiple news cycles, a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that every child in America is getting, or has gotten, raped. From a Catholic church that has exhausted anyone’s ability to be surprised to a football program arrogant enough to talk of a Grand Experiment, the institutions that have been sullied by serial child rape have also been ones that were previously thought of as bastions of strong moral fiber.

And to this Hall of Shame, we can now add the Boy Scouts of America. This Sunday, the Los Angeles Times published an exposé suggesting the Scouts should Be Prepared to get sued for all they’re worth. It could be a real Jamboree for plaintiffs attorneys.

After the jump, see if I can pull off the ridiculously difficult Pinewood Derby reference.

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* It’s hard to get a mortgage if you have a lot of student debt, even if you make a lot of money. Who needs a house anyway? Your advanced degree will keep you warm. [BusinessWeek]

* A civil trial over BP’s Gulf Oil spill was supposed to start today, but it was postponed at the last minute. Is it just me or does it smell like settlement in here? [New York Times]

* As if anyone needed another reason to never take a Carnival Cruise…. [CNN]

* The Catholic Church just couldn’t handle sharing its ignominious spotlight with Penn State any longer. Attorneys allege that the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, former Archbishop of Philadelphia, destroyed a list of 35 active priests accused of child sexual abuse. [Washington Post]

* Some movie with no sound, color, explosions, or giant robots won a bunch of Academy Awards last night. I can’t say I care too much. Here’s a rundown of some classic cine con lawyers instead. [ABA Journal]

* Advice for art collectors: CHECK YOU PROVENANCE. [New York Times]

* Michael Rothenberg, executive director of New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, RIP. [New York Law Journal]

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