Federal Judges

A recent study conducted by Maya Sen, a political scientist at the University of Rochester, and Adam Glynn, a government professor at Harvard, shows that judges who have at least one female child may be more likely to rule in favor of women in certain types of cases. The report “Identifying Judicial Empathy: Does Having Daughters Cause Judges to Rule for Women’s Issues?” finds that having at least one daughter corresponds to a 7 percent increase in the proportion of cases in which a judge will vote in a feminist direction. The study further finds that having one daughter as opposed to one son is linked to a 16 percent increase in the proportion of “gender-related cases decided in a feminist direction.” The study found the “daughter effect” was more dramatic in judges appointed by Republican presidents than in those appointed by Democrats.

Sen told the New York Times in a recent interview, “By having at least one daughter, judges learn what it’s like to be a woman, perhaps a young woman, who might have to deal with issues like equity in terms of pay, university admissions or taking care of children.” Sen and Glynn consider other causal explanations for their findings, but conclude that learning is the mechanism at play. For example, they rule out the possibility that parents of daughters feel compelled to rule in ways that would protect their female children Sen and Glynn saw an effect only in gender-related civil cases, not a conservative shift among gender-related criminal cases like sexual assault.

The problem with the study is not that the data are wrong. The problem is that too often those who use data like these mean to either exempt the judgments from moral consequence altogether or to praise particular judicial motivations that they happen to like. In the first instance, they justify legal realism with data, omitting any reflection on whether the observed effects can or should be minimized. They gloss over too the overwhelming number of cases that are decided by mundane, less-subjective methods. In the second variation, they celebrate the phenomenon as “empathy” with some results, while condemning it as “bias” in others . . . .

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Justice Scalia: get off his lawn!

What is going on with the distinguished members of the Supreme Court of the United States? One of the justices recently got caught shopping at Costco.[1] Another just confessed to riding the bus — no, not the Metro, the bus.

Earlier this week, Justice Scalia dissented from the Court’s denial of certiorari in a very interesting Establishment Clause case, Elmbrook School District v. Doe. His dissent garnered media attention for the way he curmudgeonly railed against rock music (and got in a dig at Stravinsky).

But what jumped out at me was a different line in the opinion….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Since When Does Justice Scalia Ride The Bus?”

* In a “historic day for our judiciary,” the Senate confirmed the first openly gay black male judge, and the 112th female federal judge appointed by Obama — more than any other president. Congrats! [AP]

* “It looks like science fiction, but it’s real.” That’s probably what the good folks at Amazon are going to say after they take a look at Akin Gump’s bill for its drone delivery lobbying efforts. [Legal Times]

* A 90-year-old judge removed himself from Michael Jordan’s big-money case against a grocery store chain, but dropped the gavel on the basketball star’s lawyers before leaving the bench. [Chicago Tribune]

* This Ohio attorney was suspended after he sent some pretty dirty text messages to a 3L who was working in his office. He just wanted assistance on his pro boner representation. [National Law Journal]

* Give this man some money: Jonathan Fleming, the New York man who was wrongly imprisoned for almost 25 years for a murder he didn’t commit, has filed a $162 million lawsuit against the city. [Reuters]

Sarah Jones

* Judges with daughters are seven percent more likely to support women’s rights than judges with only sons. Alas, Justices Scalia and Alito are impervious to human emotion. [New York Times]

* If you thought Supreme Court justices were “profoundly divided” over issues of law, wait until you see how they differ over the pronunciation of the word “certiorari.” [National Law Journal]

* This year’s summer associate programs sound pretty lame compared to the past: “The emphasis is certainly more on the work than it is on the social events.” All work and no play makes Jack an employed boy at graduation. [Boston Business Journal]

* “I saved the internet today. Your freedom continues.” Fair assessment. Sarah Jones’s win in her defamation case against Nik Richie and TheDirty.com was overturned by the Sixth Circuit. [Courier-Journal]

* If you’re choosing to go against the president’s wishes and apply to law school, here’s how you can leverage your major on all of your applications. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News & World Report]

* This cowgirl is putting aside her rodeo accomplishments to go to law school. At least she’ll have the experience needed to ride the bucking bronco of the post-recession job market. [Casper Star-Tribune]

Zach Warren

* They know where to find a deal: Justice Sonia Sotomayor ran into Hillary Clinton at Costco this weekend where the former secretary of state was hawking her book (affiliate link). It’s almost like this wasn’t arranged. [Huffington Post]

* “[T]his is my chance to do what I love and I am going to seize it!” Judge Randall Rader stepped down from his role as chief of the Federal Circuit less than a month ago following an ethics issue, and now he’s retiring for good. [Reuters]

* The government says that Zachary Warren’s prestigious legal accomplishments “left him well-able to understand the criminal nature of his conduct at Dewey.” Ouch, the People just turned it around on him. [WSJ Law Blog]

* “The reasons they have are the reasons they have.” The ex-dean of Indiana Tech Law quit his job weeks ago, but no one has any idea why. We guess he got out while the getting was still good. [Journal Gazette]

* Kenan Gay, the Charlotte Law student charged with murder after allegedly tossing a man into traffic, was acquitted. He graduated this spring. Nice work, but loans are still a life sentence, bro. [Charlotte Observer]

* It’s been 20 years since the O.J. Simpson case — aka the “trial of the century” — came to its dramatic conclusion. If you want to know what happened to all of the lawyers involved, we’ve got you covered. [CNN]

For those of you who covet the intellectual and professional opportunities that come with clerking for a judge, choosing a law school that will enhance your prospects is pretty important. Make no mistake, no school is going to guarantee a clerkship. Nor will attending a school with historically low representation in clerkships automatically nuke your chances. But, a school with a high placement rate reflects the school’s reputation with judges, the influence of its professors, and the strength of its clerkship process advisors.

Bob Morse of U.S. News has released a breakdown of the schools securing the most clerkships. And more importantly, he breaks out the best schools for federal clerkships and state and local clerkships.

So which law school is the best represented? OK, it’s Yale. But who else is at the top of the list?

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Would you wear these to court?

* Hmm, somebody didn’t review those documents quickly enough: the City of Detroit’s bankruptcy trial has been delayed for about a month’s time by Judge Steven Rhodes because the parties needed additional time to get their acts together. [Bloomberg]

* The NCAA may have lost the battle in the Keller EA Sports video games case with its $20 million settlement offer, but it’s clearly out for blood to win the war in the O’Bannon case with its tough cross-examination tactics for the lead plaintiff. [USA Today]

* GW Law, a school that recently increased its class size by 22 percent and allowed its average LSAT score to slip by two points, yoinked its new dean right out from under Wake Forest’s nose. [GW Hatchet]

* The legal profession isn’t exactly diverse, and law schools want to change that — the more pictures of “diverse” students they can display on their websites, the better. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

* Who really cares what prospective jurors wear when they show up for jury duty? The lawyers arguing that being turned away for wearing sneakers affected their clients’ rights in a case, that’s who. [WSJ Law Blog]

Justice Stephen Breyer

On Friday, the National Archives unsealed a fifth batch of Clinton Administration presidential papers. The documents were originally released by the William J. Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock. Let’s get these pesky papers out of the way before Hillary Clinton, author of a new memoir (affiliate link), launches her presidential bid.

The latest papers contain some juicy tidbits for legal nerds. For example, as noted in Morning Docket, then-Judge Stephen Breyer got dissed as a “rather cold fish” while being considered for a Supreme Court seat (the seat that ultimately went to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg).

The papers contain candid assessments of Justices Breyer and Ginsburg, as well as other fun nuggets. Here are some highlights:

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A rather cold fish.

* If you’ve ever wondered what’s being said about Supreme Court justices during the vetting process, we’ve got a great one-liner about Justice Breyer, who’s apparently a “rather cold fish.” Oooh, sick burn. [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]

* The NLJ 350 rankings are here, and this is where we get to see the big picture about the big boys of Biglaw. In 2013, it looks like headcount grew by 3.9 percent, which is good, but not great, all things considered. Meh. [National Law Journal]

* A Wisconsin judge is the latest to give her state’s ban on same-sex marriage the finger, and she did it with flair, noting in her opinion that “traditional” marriages throughout history were polygamous. [Bloomberg]

* The Ed O’Bannon antitrust case against the NCAA is going to trial today before Judge Claudia Wilken. Since it could change college sports forever, here’s everything you need to know about it. [USA Today]

* According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of those employed in the legal sector is at its lowest level since the beginning of 2014, with jobs still being shed. Welcome, graduates! [Am Law Daily]

* UC Irvine Law has finally earned full accreditation from the American Bar Association. We’d like to say nice work and congrats, but we’re pretty sure the ABA would fully accredit a toaster. [Los Angeles Times]

Petitioner’s brief, unfortunately, was laden with obscure acronyms notwithstanding the admonitions in our handbook (and on our website) to avoid uncommon acronyms. Since the brief was signed by a faculty member at Columbia Law School, that was rather dismaying both because of ignorance of our standards and because the practice constitutes lousy brief writing.

– Judge Laurence Silberman of the D.C. Circuit, condemning a brief for an abundance of acronyms.

(More information — including the identity of the offending professor, and the full opinion — after the jump.)

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