Yes, I get that June 14th is a little bit late to be doing the May Lawyer of the Month poll. Yes, I also understand that the person who will almost undoubtedly be June’s Playmate Lawyer of the Month, Reema Bajaj, is ineligible for May — and that fact might leave some of our readers with blue balls.
But you know what? There were some really interesting candidates for May. And they deserve their moment of fame/infamy on these pages. Not every lawyer has to allegedly sell vaginal access in order to be special.
For instance, some people can become famous simply with an attempt at sexual trespass….
Three years ago, we bestowed Judge of the Day honors upon the Honorable Fred Biery, a federal judge in the Western District of Texas. Back in 2008, Judge Biery rejected a religious school’s attempt to join an influential statewide extracurricular organization. In the process of ruling against Cornerstone Christian Schools, Judge Biery took the Bible and turned it around on them, in a snarky opinion quoting religious texts to refute a religious school.
(His Honor apparently enjoys colorful writing. See also this amusing ruling, with shout-outs in the footnotes to such fabulous creatures as Barbra Streisand and Stephen Sondheim.)
Well, it seems that Judge Biery — make that Chief Judge Biery, as of last June — continues to antagonize organized religion. Let’s read about the latest controversy he’s incited, this time involving an imminent high school graduation ceremony….
UPDATE: Judge Biery’s ruling in the case discussed below was overturned on Friday afternoon by the Fifth Circuit. Details and links appear in the update at the end of this post.
Society has a deal with judges. We don’t pay them very well — but, in exchange for salaries that are much lower than what they could earn in the private sector, they get to do whatever they heck they want. And get to be addressed as “Your Honor,” and wear really cool black robes.
One of the perks of judicial office is that it isn’t a nine-to-five job. Judges don’t have to punch a time clock; they come and go as they please. Court isn’t court until the judge takes the bench.
As long as a judge is reasonably current with his docket, he should be left alone. There is no face-time requirement for judges. (Sure, judges have to be on the bench for trials and oral arguments and such — but that’s not “face-time,” since the judge’s presence is actually necessary for the proceedings.)
In light of all this, I’m puzzled by the controversy over Judge Rae Lee Chabot. Judge Chabot has served on the Oakland County Circuit Court in Michigan for over 10 years.
Sure, the allegations about how she spends her days are amusing — and we’ll name her our Judge of the Day, just for the heck of it. But is there really a problem here?
If I were in their role and in their position, I probably wouldn’t understand it either, that a club really can’t attract minority members.
– Judge Gilbert S. Merritt Jr. of the Sixth Circuit, commenting to the New York Times about two of his colleagues on the court — Eric L. Clay and R. Guy Cole Jr., both African-American — and their strong reactions against a bankruptcy judge’s membership in an all-white, all-male country club.
(Judge Merritt is also a member of the Belle Meade Country Club, although an honorary one without voting privileges.)
Does this sign also mean no blacks or women allowed?
It’s the ruling that is splitting the Sixth Circuit apart. A federal bankruptcy judge, George Paine II, belongs to an all-white country club in Nashville. But there is a pesky judicial code of conduct that says that judges “should not hold membership in any organization that practices invidious discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, or national origin,” according to the New York Times (gavel bang: ABA Journal).
That seems cut and dry to me. An all-white, all-male country club sounds a hell of a lot like an organization practicing “invidious discrimination.” But I’m not on the Sixth Circuit.
And the Sixth Circuit essentially told Judge Paine: guys in my high school used to belong to discriminatory clubs all the time, it was no big deal.
In a 10-8 decision, the circuit decided to allow Paine to continue his membership in the club and on the bankruptcy court.
So that code of judicial conduct means what exactly?
On Monday, Judge Philip Kirk of Wisconsin sentenced Delton D. Gorges, a 71-year-old former bus driver, to seven years in prison. Gorges was convicted on charges of sexually assaulting boys, after pleading no contest.
Judge Kirk had some odd words for the defendant at sentencing. Most notably, he told Gorges: “I think you were born gayer than a sweet-smelling jock strap.”
(I’m sorry, but is anyone else finding this transcript a little titillating? Maybe even Judge Kirk?)
Judge Kirk — today’s Judge of the Day, naturally — also expressed skepticism toward Gorges’s claim of heterosexuality: “I think that if anyone believes that in the last 10 years or 15 years all of a sudden you developed an interest in homosexuality and young boys, then I must have looked ravishing in my prom dress this year.”
(Well, Your Honor, you do wear a little black dress — well before the start of cocktail hour.)
We’re not talking just about Madam Justice Lori Douglas, the Canadian jurist whose nude photos surfaced on the internet. This message goes out to male judges too.
Like Pennsylvania judge Douglas Gummo, 42, who was arrested after he was apparently discovered naked, wrapped in nothing but a bed sheet, trying to access the hotel room (and maybe more?) of a female colleague….
It’s been a while since we last checked in on Madam Justice A. Lori Douglas, the Canadian jurist featured in pornographic photos that found their way to the internet. Today we have an update.
The update relates to Justice Douglas’s husband, Jack King — the Canada lawyer responsible for posting the pictures of his wife engaging in bondage, playing with sex toys and administering fellatio, among other activities….
We’ve discussed this before, but now there’s more to report. You know any semblance of bipartisan civility has broken down when one justice on the Wisconsin Supreme Court calls the chief justice a “bitch” and vows to “destroy” her.
That would be shocking language if it was bandied about in a courthouse in the Bronx, but it’s just another day of state politics in Wisconsin. I’m telling you, we’re going to have to station the USS Inside Voices Please in the Great Lakes to chill this state out…
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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