Human Rights First

On Tuesday evening, I returned to the offices of Wachtell Lipton, the law firm where I toiled as an associate years ago. Luckily, I wasn’t there to bill hours; instead, I attended a reception marking the launch of a delightful new book, The Mother Court: Tales of Cases that Mattered in America’s Greatest Trial Court (affiliate link).

“The Mother Court” is the nickname for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, regarded by many as the preeminent federal trial court in the nation. In the book of the same name, James Zirin, a leading litigator who’s now senior counsel in the New York office of Sidley Austin, shares with readers the fascinating history of this top tribunal.

In a review that ran yesterday in the New York Law Journal, Thomas E.L. Dewey hailed the book as a “richly textured, immensely readable overview of the modern history of the Southern District of New York.” Last month, in the New York Review of Books, Judge Jed Rakoff praised Zirin’s “fluid prose and eye for detail.”

What fun tidbits and interesting opinions did James Zirin share in his remarks on Tuesday night?

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Earlier this week, President Barack Obama reiterated his interest in shutting down the prison at Guantanamo Bay: “I’ve asked my team to review everything that’s currently being done in Guantanamo, everything that we can do administratively, and I’m going to reengage with Congress to try to make the case that this is not in the best interests of the American people.”

President Obama isn’t alone in being troubled by goings-on at Guantanamo. This morning I attended an interesting panel discussion where a retired admiral, the former Judge Advocate General of the Navy, spoke out in favor of closing Gitmo….

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