Federal Judges

Several organizations filed a Complaint of Judicial Misconduct against Fifth Circuit Judge Edith Jones earlier this week. The complaint charges Judge Jones with a variety of offenses, but the headline-getter is the claim that she made racist remarks during her speech on February 20, 2013, hosted by the University of Pennsylvania’s chapter of the Federalist Society.

With no transcript or recording of the event, the 12-page complaint relies on the affidavits of a few individuals who attended the speech, including Marc Bookman, the Director of the Atlantic Center for Capital Representation. Bookman’s affidavit serves as the primary account, with the other affiants agreeing and adding relatively few details. About a week before the Penn Fed Soc speech, Bookman published an essay in Mother Jones titled “How Crazy Is Too Crazy to Be Executed?”, about Texas murderer Andre Thomas. Whether Bookman intended ahead of time to use his account of the Fed Soc event as the basis of a misconduct complaint or not, he was likely expecting to be offended when he attended a Federalist Society speech called “Federal Death Penalty Review” by a pro-death-penalty, Texas-based judge. Just a guess….

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Erika Harold

* AG Eric Holder sat down and had a little chat about what’s been going on at the Justice Department. He’s not impressed with his agency’s work, but he claims he’s not stepping down just yet. [NBC News]

* “Can you hear me now?” Oh, Verizon, what an apropos slogan you’ve got considering the latest government scandal. The NSA has been spying on you through your phone records since late April. [Guardian]

* Lawyers for Matthew Martoma still want more time to comb through millions upon millions of documents in their client’s insider trading case, but it seems rather pointless after a judge’s kiss of death. [Reuters]

* Looks like she got her wish: thanks to Judge Michael Baylson, a little girl with terminal cystic fibrosis may have a better chance at getting a longer lease on life in this donor lung transplant case. [CNN]

* Being a politician didn’t really work out so well for him, so John Edwards is going to try his hand at being a lawyer again. Just think of all of the lovely ladies he’ll be able to pick up as clients. [USA Today]

* Speaking of former public servants who are getting back into the law, Ken Salazar will be opening the Denver office of WilmerHale — and when it comes to pay, he’s got a “very good package.” [Denver Post]

* And not to be forgotten, famous flip-flopper Joe Lieberman will be taking his services to Kasowitz Benson. We certainly hope the firm will appreciate his superior legal mind. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* The ABA is considering law school job data collection 10 months after graduation, instead of nine, because bar exam results come out so late. Like that extra month will help… [National Law Journal]

* Erika Harold, a Harvard Law grad and ex-Sidley associate known for her reign as Miss America, is running for Congress in Illinois. What will she she do for the talent portion of the competition? [Politico]

These are trying times for clerkship applicants. The Law Clerk Hiring Plan is pretty much dead, at least in its strictest version, and it seems like every judge is going his or her own way.

The best applicants can hope for, in the absence of any standardized approach to law clerk hiring, is transparency. Ideally judges should provide clear and comprehensive information about their own particular approaches to hiring clerks. Thanks to this nifty thing called the internet, it’s not that hard.

As in many things, the Southern District of New York provides a model for other courts to follow….

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Last month, the powers-that-be behind OSCAR (the Online System for Clerkship Application and Review) made some changes to the remnants of the Law Clerk Hiring Plan (to the extent that folks still follow the Plan). The upshot: OSCAR will release the electronic clerkship applications of rising 3Ls on June 28, 2013, at 12:00 p.m. (ET). At that point, judges are free to schedule and conduct interviews and make clerkship offers.

In writing about this news, I questioned the wisdom of this approach: “The Plan provides for ‘a single date to receive applications, schedule and conduct interviews, and make clerkship offers.’ This could be a recipe for an utterly shambolic process, a mad scramble for talent on June 28, full of hastily conducted interviews, exploding offers, and questionable behavior by both judges and applicants.”

Well, it seems that some judges agree with this analysis and are taking a different tack….

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Jodi Arias

* “Journalists should not be at legal risk for doing their jobs.” Thanks Obama, but AG Eric Holder was the one who kind of signed off on the James Rosen search warrant. [Open Channel / NBC News]

* The chief judge of the D.C. Circuit apologized for a lack of transparency in the James Rosen probe, and this is one of the least embarrassing things that happened this week. [Washington Post]

* Despite having “done nothing wrong,” embattled tax official Lois Lerner announced she’s been placed on administrative leave in light of recent events. I salute you, fellow WNE grad. [National Review]

* Watch out, patent trolls, because this proposed bill might actually be — gasp! — helpful. If enacted, the Patent Abuse Reduction Act’s goal is to help keep discovery costs down. [Hillicon Valley / The Hill]

* It’s a hell of a drug: for some lawyers, the sequester won’t be such a bad thing after all, because Coast Guard and Navy forces won’t be available to intercept 38 tons of cocaine. [Breaking Defense]

* Proskauer Rose’s ex-CFO, Elly Rosenthal, has cut down her $10 million suit against the firm to just one allegation. She claims the firm fired her solely for her diagnosis of breast cancer. [Am Law Daily]

* A third perpetrator emerged in the Berkeley bird beheading case, and he was just sentenced to two days in jail. Can you listen to BARBRI in a jail cell? I guess Hazhir Kargaran will find out. [San Francisco Chronicle]

* The Boy Scouts of America will now admit openly gay youths into their ranks for the first time in the history of ever. You should probably “be prepared” for a flurry of litigation over this. [New York Times]

* A mistrial was declared in the penalty phase of the Jodi Arias murder trial. Ugh, come on with this, the Lifetime movie is already in post-production! How on earth are they going to work this in? [CNN]

* In the Western District of Arkansas, judges have to forfeit judicial immunity to go to the bathroom. So if you want to sue a judge, you need to catch them when their pants are literally down. [Hercules and the Umpire]

* Bowman v. Monsanto… in GIFs! [EffYeahSCOTUS]

* Cooley boy makes good! President Obama nominated Christopher Thomas, a Cooley Law School grad and professor, to the Presidential Commission on Election Administration. [White House]

* A judge threw out the fine against a New York artist as unconstitutionally harsh. The artist took an antenna from the trash and cops impounded his car and fined him $2,000. [Thompson Reuters News & Insight]

* The Ninth Circuit struck down Arizona’s “Fetal Pain” Abortion Ban. Sounds like a viable decision. [PrawfsBlawg]

* Work/life balance is when lawyers with kids throw their childless colleagues under a bus. [Slate]

* If you’re reading transcripts of old trials and think the lawyers of yesteryear were smarter, you’re probably right. Western civilization has gotten dumber since the nineteenth century. The reason is summarized by the video after the jump….

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Everyone smile and say “certiorari”!

One of our favorite legal blogs is Noncuratlex.com, authored by Professor Kyle Graham of Santa Clara Law. The site is extremely funny and insightful, especially if you’re a legal nerd (we plead guilty), and we link to it regularly.

Professor Graham shares a number of our interests, such as legally themed vanity license plates. And, of course, the U.S. Supreme Court.

Which SCOTUS justice would you be? Find out by taking the Noncuratlex.com personality quiz….

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A fireable offense in the UK?

* Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Oklahoma. [CNN]

* The IRS and the Treasury Department better watch out, because it seems that the “next logical step” for the tea party victims of heightened scrutiny leads right up the courthouse stairs. [ABC News]

* #Whatshouldwecallme after advising on the $1.1 billion Yahoo/Tumblr deal? Kind of a big deal. The Biglaw firms doing the underlying legal work are Simpson Thatcher and Gunderson Dettmer. [Am Law Daily]

* The Mirena MDL judge thinks female attorneys should be on the all-male executive committee. If this is “strategic gender placement,” the strategy is to look bad publicly. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* The Travers Smith trainee who was fired for getting pregnant is due in court this June to find out what type of compensation she’ll receive for being discriminated against by the firm. You go girl! [Daily Mail]

* Wherein the parents of a 0L who’s got doubts about her employment prospects are counseled that she can “work not just in law.” ::facepalm:: [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News & World Report]

* There’s trouble in paradise: lawyers in the Jodi Arias case unsuccessfully attempted to get a mistrial and withdraw from representation — for the second time — during its punishment phase. [Fox News]

Can you imagine only having to listen to black people for 11 minutes for your entire year?

At what point do the Supreme Court’s views on racial equality and tolerance become entirely illegitimate?

At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if the only black people the nine justices know are characters they’ve seen in Tyler Perry movies. Sorry… characters the justices have seen in previews for Tyler Perry movies.

The Huffington Post has a damning report on the number of minorities who have even had the opportunity to argue in front of the Supreme Court this Term. It’s embarrassing. But in a couple of days or weeks, these nine people are going to presume to tell me whether or not we’ve achieved enough racial equality to do away with affirmative action and the Voting Rights Act?

It’s unbelievable. It’s unbelievable that these nine people think there is any person of color who should respect them worth a damn…

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My expertise to address this topic may not be clear. For truth be told, I am ill-equipped to break out in song. My grade school music teacher labeled me a sparrow, not a robin, and instructed me to just mouth the words. Still, in my dreams I can be a great diva.

– Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, speaking on the subject of law and opera in a recent appearance at DePaul University.

(More about RBG’s remarks, after the jump.)

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