“Judge Judy” / Judith Sheindlin

More trustworthy than any SCOTUS justice.

I suppose that’s a rhetorical question. When you live in a nation that’s been reduced to an army of mindless reality-TV-watching drones, it’s not exactly surprising that the average citizen is more inclined to trust a television judge than a jurist who’s been appointed to the highest court in the land.

We care more about the matching camouflage wedding couture Honey Boo Boo’s parents, Mama June and Sugar Bear, wore when they tied the knot this past weekend than the next round of controversial decisions that will be soon be handed down by the Supreme Court. We care more about the Kimye baby bump than the very existence of the Supreme Court, much less the names of the justices sitting on its esteemed bench.

No one who’s been paying any attention is taken aback by the fact that Americans care more about the people they see on television on a daily basis than names they once read in a textbook. That’s why the results of the latest Reader’s Digest Trust Poll as to this country’s judges are expected, and sad, and not at all surprising….

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Judge Frederic Block (E.D.N.Y.)

It’s hard out here for authors of judicial memoirs who are not named Sonia Sotomayor. Just ask Judge Frederic Block (E.D.N.Y.), a federal trial judge in Brooklyn since 1994 and the author of an appealing new book, Disrobed: An Inside Look at the Life and Work of a Federal Trial Judge (affiliate link). In Disrobed, Judge Block describes his surprising rise from small-town Long Island lawyer to Article III aristocracy, where he has presided over cases involving the Crown Heights riots, Kitty Genovese, mob boss Peter Gotti, and other headline-making subjects.

The book has received several favorable notices. Writing in the New York Times, Sam Roberts described Disrobed as an “engaging” book that provides “a rare look behind decision-making on the federal bench.” Over at Simple Justice, Scott Greenfield called the memoir a “well-written,” “easy and quick read,” by a “quite well-regarded” judge. I’ve read the book myself, and I concur with Roberts and Greenfield.

But even though the book has sold well, exceeding the expectations of its publisher, Thomson Reuters, Disrobed hasn’t attained the bestselling status of Justice Sotomayor’s My Beloved World (affiliate link). And this makes Judge Block a little sad, as he confessed to me when I recently visited him in chambers.

Especially because Judge Block came painfully close to what would have been a big, big break….

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Judge Judy

[I]f this 50-year-old woman would spend her time more productively at trying to find a job, instead of abusing the judicial system with frivolous lawsuits, we would all be a lot better off.

Judith Sheindlin, more popularly known as “Judge Judy,” commenting on a six-figure suit that was filed against her by Patrice Jones, her producer’s ex-wife, over a set of ridiculously expensive china and flatware that was allegedly sold to the TV jurist in a conspiracy to keep the funds from Jones in the divorce.


* DC Comics didn’t take kindly to a garage selling replica Batmobiles without permission. A federal court agreed. But if we outlaw Batmobiles, only outlaws will have Batmobiles! [Comic Book Resources]

* Mistrial in Philadelphia after the witness lost (part of) his head on the witness stand. [Philly.com]

* Taser or Lightsaber? I never thought that would be a serious question. [Legal Juice]

* A quick refresher from that “Law and the Vatican” course you took as a 3L. [WSJ Law Blog]

* A compilation of some bad courtroom (and quasi-courtroom) behavior including our friend from last week, Penelope Soto. [LOL and Smile]

* The Bratz case is so totally over. The result? A whole lot of nothing — much like the Bratz movie. [The Recorder]

* Shorter version of this article: Morpheus explaining, “But when you’re inside, you look around, what do you see?…The very minds of the [nice legal academics] we are trying to save. But until we do, these [law professors] are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy.” [Inside the Law School Scam]

* New Mexico is considering a new law against bullying — but does it go too far? Does it? Answer me, you little wuss! [Volokh Conspiracy]

It is that time of year when the treacle runs thick. Nostalgia can lead to the blues that can lead to a bout at P.J. Clarke’s that leads to a pounding head in the morning. Conversely, some of you are full bore into booking hours for end of year bonuses and have no time for such shenanigans. Then there are the lucky among us who are given money simply for having jobs — starting with Cravathians and the imitator firms. If you are one of those, good on you; there is no bitterness here — envy, perhaps — but not bitterness.

As I began to outline this week’s column I was alerted to some truly distressing news: Dave Brubeck has died at 91. If you had the pleasure, as I did, of hearing Mr. Brubeck in person, you were touched by the presence of an American treasure and true musical genius. Even if you’re not familiar with Brubeck’s music, his signature piece, “Take Five,” would likely be instantly recognizable. Brubeck was an inspiration for his artistry, yet was a self-effacing and quiet individual. When I was fortunate enough to see him perform, he ambled ever so slowly to the microphone to say a few words. One was concerned the man would topple over given the frail nature of his shuffling. After saying a few words, he’d shuffle back to his piano stool and the power of some greater being would generate through his fingers. He seemed like a man that you would wish for in a grandfather. Of course, news broke today that Charles Schulz had an ongoing affair, but I digress.

The point is that there are some folks who just exist on a different plane from the rest of us, and whom, for better or worse, we treat as heroes. The same can be said of several attorneys in my career. I am certain that each reader could submit their own list of attorneys who have mentored, assisted, helped up, or just been there for us as young bucks as we made our way through the profession….

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Judge Judy

* Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg may be the oldest member of the high court, but she’s still one bad ass bitch. She broke two ribs in June, and still fulfilled all of her duties on the bench. We <3 RBG! [Reuters]

* While merchants will now be able to charge more when customers use credit cards, they might not get much else from this Visa / MasterCard settlement because of an American Express catch-22. [New York Times]

* The Garden State just got a little greener (in a sticky icky way): starting today, doctors in New Jersey will be able to register their patients for the Department of Health’s medical marijuana program. [Star-Ledger]

* After some highly questionable opposition from government officials, the city of Macon, Georgia, has approved the placement of a park bench in memory of slain Mercer Law grad Lauren Giddings. [Telegraph]

* Kansas Law received a $1M donation to support scholarships. The dean is thrilled, because the school will be able to compete to attract and retain students who will someday be unemployed. [Lawrence Journal-World]

* The verdict is in on who reigns as the highest paid TV personality. Even if you pee on her leg and tell her it’s raining, Judge Judy will be able to afford the dry-cleaning bill, because she’s loaded. [New York Daily News]

* Even if you’re a ho fo’ sho, that doesn’t mean you can’t do business in a ho-tel, mo-tel, or Holiday Inn. An Australian court ruled that denying prostitutes rooms was discriminatory. [International Business Times]

Hey, did you guys know that Asian people sometimes marry Jewish people? No? Well, the New York Times has noticed, and they’re totally on it! Here’s the paper’s investigative masterpiece on Asian-Jewish intermixing, which manages a paragraph linking Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld to the Beastie Boys.

We await a hard-hitting NYT piece on the cultural implications of the WGWAG.

Meanwhile, it’s high wedding season for couples of all races and creeds. Here are three of the most outstanding:

Debra Elias and Seth Grossman

Ebonie Hazle and David Rochelson

Laurie Pila and Gregory Sheindlin

More on these couples, plus other lawyer weddings, after the jump….

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Earlier this month, a video showing Judge William Adams of Texas beating his disabled daughter went viral. Judge Adams didn’t try to deny what he did (which would have been tough, given the video); instead, he defended his actions.

Did the Texas Supreme Court find Judge Adams’s advocacy persuasive?

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DDs = Divorce Dollars?

* Herman Cain says he’s not in the habit of sexually harassing women. That’s too bad, because he’s got a great pick-up line for Election 2012: “I got your 9-9-9 right here. It’s in my pants.” [Reuters]

* Apparently Andrew Shirvell “has a history of trying desperately to smear people.” When so many people think you’re a closet case, that kind of a statement could be taken out of context. [Detroit Free Press]

* In college football news, West Virginia University wants to lose to unranked teams in a relevant conference so badly that the school is suing the Big East in the hopes of getting embarrassed quicker. [Washington Post]

* In honor of Kim Kardashian’s divorce, I propose that we play a game called “Things Longer Than Kim’s Marriage.” I’ll start: her sex tape with Ray Jay. [New York Post]

* Fake people. Fake cases. Judge Jerry. Looks like Judge Judy decided to let her husband out of his cage so he can play a judge in a new television series. [New York Daily News]

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….

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