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* “The road to this day has been long”… and hard. That’s what he said. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell has finally been put to bed, and the next logical step would be to ditch DOMA. [PostPartisan / Washington Post]
* “Citizens United has been good for gay rights.” Well, at least it’s been good for something. Are we allowed to like the ruling in this case now? Bueller? Bueller? No? Okay, just checking. [New York Times]
* John Banzhaf continues to fight for coeds’ right to party at Catholic University, but it’s not looking good because it’s hard to immaculately conceive when boys live in the same dorm. [WSJ Law Blog]
- Barack Obama, Biglaw, Fabulosity, Federal Government, Military / Military Law, Partner Issues, Politics
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The fate of Guantanamo Bay. The repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The rise of WikiLeaks. The raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound. The conflict in Libya.
On these and many other critical national security legal issues, one of the most important advisers to Defense Secretary Robert Gates and President Barack Obama’s White House has been Jeh C. Johnson, General Counsel of the Department of Defense. In light of his role as senior legal adviser to the largest government agency in the world, responsible for the work of over 10,000 lawyers, it is no understatement to describe Johnson as one of the powerful and influential lawyers in the entire federal government.
I recently went down to Washington to interview Johnson in his office at the Pentagon. If you think security at your law firm is tight, visit the Pentagon. I had to pass through a metal detector and multiple security checkpoints before arriving at Johnson’s office, located on the E Ring within the mammoth structure — the world’s largest office building by floor area, with over 6.5 million square feet housing over 25,000 employees. (I was accompanied at all times by a member of Johnson’s staff, which prevented me from getting lost inside the maze-like complex.)
Before entering Johnson’s private office, I had to surrender my Blackberry – the office is a SCIF (pronounced “skiff”), or “Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility.” This means that it is specially designed to prevent eavesdropping, thanks to walls and doors of specified thickness and the use of jamming technologies. The windows of Johnson’s office, tinted a yellowish green, are blast-resistant and designed to preclude visual surveillance.
Once I made it to the inner sanctum, I was in for a treat. My wide-ranging discussion with Jeh Johnson covered his remarkable career path, which has included service as a federal prosecutor, partnership at a top law firm (Paul Weiss), and his current post as GC of the Defense Department; the virtues of public service, as well as the growing challenges for lawyers interested in it; and Johnson’s advice for law students and lawyers who aspire to careers in government (hint: keep your nanny on the books)….
* High-powered litigatrices on the move: Rachel Brand and Kate Comerford Todd, two fabulous members of The Elect, are joining the National Chamber Litigation Center — where they will contribute to the Chamber’s impressive track record of litigating against excessive regulation. [The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times]
* Professor Sasha Volokh floats the intriguing idea of prison vouchers: “What would the world look like if, instead of assigning prisoners to particular prisons bureaucratically, we gave them vouchers, good for one incarceration, that they were required to redeem at a participating prison?” [Volokh Conspiracy]
* An update on “don’t ask, don’t tell” developments. [Metro Weekly]
* This should be interesting: disgraced ex-judge Sol Wachtler tells all. [92YTribeca]
* Thanks Senate, but gay servicemembers now get to play another waiting game. How long will the certification process take? Don’t ask, because the administration isn’t going to tell. [New York Times; Wall Street Journal; Washington Post]
* What a Masshole. An ex-magistrate forced women to have sex in the courthouse. Karma’s a bitch — better watch your back in the slammer. [Boston Globe]
60% 61% of the time, it works every time. Under the leadership of Chief Justice John Roberts, the Supreme Court has shown considerable favor for business interests. [New York Times]
Here’s a nice surprise on this otherwise quiet Saturday afternoon in late December. The Senate just voted to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the legal ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military. The vote to repeal the law was 65-31, with eight Republicans joining the Democrats.
For additional discussion and analysis, see the links below.
Senate Repeals ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ [New York Times]
DADT Repeal Passes Senate 65-31, Heads to the President’s Desk [Poliglot / Metro Weekly]
Obama’s Long Game: 65 – 31 [The Daily Dish / Andrew Sullivan]
* A lawyer named Conn created a 3D commercial for potential clients. Too bad his target audience will be purchasing new hips before 3D televisions. [Florida Times-Union]
* “And then I felt a sharp jabbing pain into my rectum.” That’s what she said. Actually, that’s what he said. What’s with the NYPD and sodomy? [Wall Street Journal]
* Another day, another “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” lawsuit. Yes, I just totally dropped a DADT bomb after a story about sodomy. I went there, that happened. [Washington Post]
* You better not question Rahmbo’s amended 2009 tax return. He will f**king end you. You will never even see it coming, motherf**ker. [NBC Chicago]
* The lawyer tasked with defending Obamacare paces hallways, muttering to himself. Good to hear Asperger’s is not a death sentence anymore. [New York Times]
* Three New Orleans cops were convicted of, well, going Lord of the Flies on some poor guy in the aftermath of Katrina. [CNN]
* Jenn Sterger says she won’t sue if the NFL suspen… you know what? Just click the link. [New York Post]
* So apparently federal prosecutor is a tenured position? [USA Today]
* Wake me up when DADT is actually repealed. Actually, don’t. If I’m sleeping, I doubt I need to be woken up just to find out that DADT has been repealed. That’s an insane reason to be woken up. [Washington Post]
* Judge Roberto Pineiro, R.I.P. [Miami Herald]
I’d have to say I’m not particularly optimistic that they’re going to get this done.
This legal uncertainty is not going away anytime soon.