Fifth Circuit

Remember the homework assignment issued by Judge Jerry Smith of the Fifth Circuit to the U.S. Department of Justice? Earlier this week, Judge Smith ordered the DOJ to file a three-page, single-spaced letter discussing the principles of judicial review, in light of prior comments by President Barack Obama that could be construed as questioning the doctrine.

The response was due today at noon (Houston time) — about 20 minutes ago. It was filed on behalf of the Department by Attorney General Eric Holder.

Let’s take a look, shall we?

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* “I think that you know what the president said … was appropriate.” While the DOJ scrambles to meet Judge Smith’s memo deadline, Attorney General Eric Holder is busy defending Obama’s con law faux pas. [CNN]

* Six more partners have fled from Dewey & LeBoeuf, bringing the grand total of partner defections to at least 46 since January. Good Lord, somebody needs to get this firm a freakin’ tourniquet. [Wall Street Journal]

* Facebook filed a motion to dismiss Paul Ceglia’s ownership claims, but he isn’t going anywhere soon. Ceglia’s got two months to submit expert reports as to the authenticity of his fake contract. [Associated Press]

* Joe Jamail, “America’s richest practicing lawyer,” donated his $3M law library to TSU’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law. Now students can learn more so they don’t have to sue over being graded on a curve. [Fox]

* McDonald’s doesn’t have to worry about its G-rated Happy Meal toys in California anymore. It’s that XXX-rated lawsuit over a former employee’s “Filet-O-Fish” that the company’s really got to keep an eye on. [Reuters]

'I'm so glad the Justice Department respects judicial review!'

The nation recently received a lesson in constitutional law from President Barack Obama (who famously taught Con Law at the University of Chicago). As we mentioned yesterday, President Obama said on Monday that striking down the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, would constitute an “unprecedented, extraordinary step,” amounting to “judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint — that an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law.”

The problem with this lesson: it wasn’t exactly accurate. Those “unelected” federal judges “overturn … duly constituted and passed law[s]” all the time — well, maybe not all the time, but on occasion, when said laws are inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution. It’s neither “unprecedented” nor “extraordinary,” and it doesn’t amount to judicial activism; rather, it’s called judicial review.

One prominent conservative jurist, Judge Jerry E. Smith of the Fifth Circuit, took it upon himself to set the record straight on this matter….

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Jenna Talackova

* AG Eric Holder can thank Obama for this homework assignment from Fifth Circuit Judge Jerry Smith, because it seems like our president forgot about Marbury v. Madison. More on this to come later today. [CBS News]

* Dewey need to buy this Biglaw firm a functional calculator? New information shows that the imploding firm was off by roughly $153M when partners reported 2011 earnings to the American Lawyer. [Am Law Daily]

* You know there’s got to be something questionable about a law school when the accreditation machine that is the ABA gives it the side eye. And no, Duncan Law, a judge still won’t force its hand. [National Law Journal]

* Stephen McDaniel pleaded not guilty at his arraignment for the murder of Mercer Law classmate Lauren Giddings, but will he be released on bail before trial? Only if he’s got $2.5M sitting around. [Macon Telegraph]

* More law school lawsuits are coming down the pipeline, but local lawyers in Massachusetts don’t think that they stand a chance. Why? The highly-educated consumer argument strikes again. [Boston Business Journal]

* Thanks to Gloria Allred, transgender beauty queen Jenna Talackova may be able to participate in the Miss Universe pageant if she can meet the legal requirements for being a woman in Canada. [MSNBC]

I called it, but it wasn’t a hard call to make.

Last year, the Fifth Circuit upheld the University of Texas’s affirmative action plan in Fisher v. University of Texas. But they did so in a petulant, childish manner, as if somebody was forcing them to eat their vegetables. At the time, I said they were openly begging for a right-wing Supreme Court to review and overturn their ruling.

It looks like the members of the Fifth Circuit are going to get their wish. The Supreme Court granted cert on Fisher, and now we get to have an affirmative action debate right in the middle of an election cycle where a black man is running for reelection.

I’m sure that last part is just coincidence though….

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Mountain Dew: a mouse could not survive in this environment, according to PepsiCo counsel.

* Pepsi lawyers offer a creative (if disturbing) defense to a lawsuit by a man who claims he found a mouse in his Mountain Dew. [Madison County Record via The Atlantic Wire]

* Will birther queen Orly Taitz get to depose — i.e., “rupture the jurisprudential hymen” — of President Barack Obama? That would be kind of awesome. [Columbus Ledger-Inquirer]

* Professor Ann Althouse raises an interesting “who decides?” question about Cleveland’s controversial ban on trans fats. [Althouse]

* Please, lawyers, stick to cocaine. Allegations of crystal meth usage are très déclassé. [NewsOK.com]

* Kudos to Kirkland & Ellis for coming to the defense of lesbian and gay public employees in Michigan. [Poliglot / Metro Weekly]

* It seems that the Montana Supreme Court isn’t a fan of the Citizens United decision. [Huffington Post]

* Jamin Soderstrom, a (rather cute) former S&C associate and current Fifth Circuit clerk, has written a book (affiliate link) analyzing the qualifications of presidential candidates and the relationship between résumés and presidential success. [Tex Parte Blog]

* If you’re a law professor / blogger who wants to get a rise out of fellow profs, write posts in praise of Paul Campos (just voted our 2011 Lawyer of the Year — congrats again, Professor Campos). [PrawfsBlawg]

Lindsay Lohan

* Professor Glenn Reynolds notes Lindsay Lohan’s swift movement through the jail system. [Instapundit]

* Professor Orin Kerr notes Professor Stephen Higginson’s swift movement onto the Fifth Circuit — in apparent violation of the rule in judicial nominations “that a circuit court nominee with Supreme-Court-level credentials will have a harder time getting confirmed than a nominee without those credentials.” [Volokh Conspiracy]

* Professor Larry Ribstein notes the growing competition between Biglaw and the in-house world. [Truth on the Market]

* If you’re having a hard time keeping track of all the lawsuits in which law firms and their partners are parties rather than counsel, check out this handy guide from Brian Baxter. [Am Law Daily]

Professor Paul Campos

* How would you like your soon-to-be-ex spouse to have your Facebook and Match.com passwords? [Not-So Private Parts / Forbes]

* Here’s an interesting profile of Professor Paul Campos, the legal academic behind the controversial Inside the Law School Scam blog. [National Law Journal]

* And here’s commentary on Karen Sloan’s NLJ piece by Professor Paul Horwitz. [PrawfsBlawg]

* Still on the subject of scamblogging, where do retired scambloggers go? Apparently they start doing podcasts about reality television. [Top Chef Refire]

* “Rising tuition. Misleading employment statistics. Inadequate skills training.” So what are legal educators doing about it? Blogging, of course. [Law School Review]

* Trendspotting: cute judges the federal bench? The Senate has confirmed Loyola Law professor Stephen Higginson for a seat on the Fifth Circuit. [National Law Journal]

* People in New Jersey have morals. Who knew? When faced with aborting babies or aborting their careers, some nurses from UMDNJ decided to sue. [Washington Post]

* Elbert Lin is returning to Wiley Rein after a stint clerking for Clarence Thomas. We wonder what his wife would say about him if he was one of her LEWW contestants? [Blog of Legal Times]

* Another Real Housewife of New Jersey is facing legal troubles, but this time to the tune of $7.8M. Sorry Teresa, but at least Jacqueline Laurita’s got her hairline under control. [Huffington Post]

* Is Justin Bieber the father of a baby, baby, baby? That’s what a 20-year-old from California says, and she wants a paternity test to prove it. [New York Post]

Our candidates for the coveted Lawyer of the Month title have been a bit tame for the past few months. This time around, we’ve chosen some lawyers and law students who represent our more prurient interests and our unabashed love for scandal.

Aficionados of hookers? We’ve got ‘em. Vicious tongue lashings? We’ve got those, too.

This installment of the competition is the sex, violence, and stupidity edition. Check out our deadly and disorderly nominees for the month of September….

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Chief Judge Edith Jones: Underneath her robe beats a judicial diva's heart.

Can you enforce civility by being… uncivil? That’s the question being raised, over and over again, by federal judges from Texas these days.

Before we get to the latest ridiculousness, let’s review. Back in August, Judge Sam Sparks (W.D. Tex.) benchslapped some rude lawyers with a snarky order inviting them to a “kindergarten party,” where they would learn such lessons as reasonableness and courtesy.

Ironically enough, some found Judge Sparks’s civility-seeking order to be… rude. Chief Judge Edith Jones (5th Cir.) issued an email reprimand to Judge Sparks, condemning his “caustic, demeaning, and gratuitous” order as “cast[ing] disrespect on the judiciary.” Some observers in turn thought it rude of Chief Judge Jones to call out Judge Sparks in writing, so publicly — she cc’d all of the other Western District of Texas judges on her email — when she could have just made a private phone call.

Chief Judge Jones is a highly regarded conservative jurist and a fixture on Supreme Court short lists, but she might not be the best authority on civility and etiquette these days. Check out the latest craziness — an en banc hearing before the Fifth Circuit that generated judicial fireworks, culminating in Judge Jones essentially telling a colleague to STFU or GTFO….

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