George W. Bush

The federal judiciary thanks you.

* Barack Obama is trailing George W. Bush when it comes to leaving his mark on the federal courts, but that’s probably because Senate Democrats didn’t go nuclear quickly enough. [Blog of Legal Times]

* When it comes to 2013, one thing’s for sure: it wasn’t boring. Many of this year’s movers and shakers hailed from top Am Law 100 law firms — like Ted Cruz (formerly of Morgan Lewis). [American Lawyer]

* John Ray III isn’t going to sit back and allow a jury to shut down his discrimination and retaliation case against Ropes & Gray. He filed a notice of appeal last week, and he’s pissed off. [National Law Journal]

* Utah has until the end of January to figure out how it’s going to go about defending its same-sex marriage ban before the Tenth Circuit. Just a thought: the “it’s still gay, even if the balls don’t touch” theory of law isn’t going to cut it. [Deseret News]

* A lawyer for the Texas judge accused of strangling his girlfriend is offering media outlets a superb defense story on behalf of his client. He wasn’t trying to kill her, he was trying to save her! [New York Daily News]

* Here’s some advice on how to submit your law school application on time. If you don’t know how to meet a deadline, you’re going to make a great lawyer. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News & World Report]

A while back, someone wrote a book accusing a prominent former Karl Rove aide and conservative commentator of being a scheming, intellectually dishonest shell of a person, with nothing more to commend her than her beauty-queen good looks.

Once you recover from the shock, the wrinkle in this kerfuffle is that the book was written by her long-time friend and attorney, and draws upon what he learned over his years of representing the woman in various legal scrapes from divorce to criminal activity.

If you think writing a book divulging the confidences of a former client sounds suspect, well, the Indiana Supreme Court agrees with you…

UPDATE (1/7/14): Dee Dee Benkie reached out to us and noted that she never spoke to the Indiana Supreme Court, so the details in its decision represent only the former attorney’s side of the story and Benkie was not able to go on the record to defend herself.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Prominent Conservative Commentator’s Attorney Disbarred”

A minor scandal is brewing in Las Vegas. In a city known for its impeccable ethics and strictly above-board dealings, the legal community is astir over suggestions that a nominee to the federal bench earned her nomination by engineering a windfall for her political sponsor, Senator Harry Reid, with conveniently-timed donations from her law partners.

At what point does sucking up to politicians cross into the appearance of impropriety for prospective federal judges, and how much should the rest of us care?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The High Price of the Federal Bench”


Yesterday was the tenth anniversary of the day a little-known heroin addict called Russell Brand turned up for work dressed as Osama Bin Laden, and was promptly fired by his then-employer, MTV.

After some ensuing years knocking around the lower echelons of British light entertainment, Brand got himself together and landed a role presenting the VMAs — from which he launched himself into mega-stardom when he branded George W. Bush a “retarded cowboy fella.”

Now, you don’t get career paths like that in law. Having said that, I do know of a London Biglaw associate who was once asked to replace his brightly-coloured socks with a more sober pair in advance of an important client meeting, in which he performed impressively.

Please don’t interpret that as a snarky suggestion that all lawyers are boring. As legal market-watchers well know, many attorneys — especially the litigators — are often anything but. They’re just good at hiding the madness. Usually, anyway….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Letter from London: Barristers Behaving Badly”

When asked about the decision in Bush v. Gore, Justice Antonin Scalia — one of the best legal minds in modern American history — tells questioners to “get over it.” That’s right, the Supreme Court decided the winner of a popular presidential election, and one of the architects of that decision wants people to not care about it anymore. Is he serious? I wish Scalia could just “get over” the fact that privacy is a right now, but nobody begrudges him the right to ask questions about it.

It’s the ten-year anniversary of the Bush v. Gore decision, and everybody is talking about it, in part because the Court does not talk about it. Writing in the New Yorker, Jeffrey Toobin tells us that in the decade since the five “conservative” justices stopped Florida’s recount, the Supreme Court has cited Bush v. Gore exactly zero times. Think about that: it’s been ten years since the Supreme Court picked the president, and the Court is kind of hoping everybody forgets about it. Bush v. Gore is like a stripper the Court killed in Vegas when it was there for a bachelor’s party. “She’s got no friends or family, strippers die all the time in Vegas, let’s get back to the hotel and NEVER SPEAK OF THIS AGAIN.”

But this isn’t some drunk broad you can drive into the Atlantic Ocean and hope everybody covers for you. This is a presidential election! And whether or not they talk about it, the effect of Bush v. Gore is very evident today — and not just because of the five SCOTUS votes that were more important than everybody else’s….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Ten Years After Bush v. Gore, the Stench Lingers”

Sam, you ought to thank Harriet Miers for making this possible.

– President George W. Bush to newly confirmed Justice Samuel Alito, as recounted in President Bush’s new memoir, Decision Points (via Jan Crawford).