Judge Wesley Brown

* Everybody is having a pants party today over these five careers U.S. News thinks you can do with a law degree. But here’s the thing, for every one J.D. holder who fills one of these positions despite their law degree, I can name ten people who have the same job and DIDN’T have to waste three years of their lives and more than $100,000 to get the opportunity. Christ on an opportunity Cross, if I had gone to journalism school instead of law school maybe I’d still have this job and be able to use a comma. [WSJ Law Blog]

* If you don’t have a gavel, you can’t be a judge. No really. Not in Utah. I guess they need visual cues out there. [Salt Lake Tribune]

* Underwear gnomes, funny. Underwear Asians, significantly more disturbing. [Montgomery Media]

* I can’t even keep American kids from pursuing law degrees, there is no way I’m stopping foreign students. [Bar and Bench]

* If you are following us on Twitter during tonight’s stump speech State of the Union, here’s a fun drinking game. [Constitutional Daily]

* Judge Wesley Brown (D. Kansas), the longest-serving federal judge in history, just passed away (at the age of 104) — R.I.P. [Wichita Eagle]

Apparently you guys really like seeing “funny” videos about law students even after I’ve subtlety warned you to manage your expectations. Here’s what I was email bombed with today. Can tomorrow please be the day where we get flooded with naked women or something?

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Judge Wesley Brown will be 104 in June.

When I clerked on the Ninth Circuit years ago, one of the judges on the court at the time was extremely old — and didn’t seem very “with it.” His law clerks seemed to take on a large amount of responsibility. One of his clerks that year, a law school classmate of mine I’ll call “Mary,” would negotiate over the phone with Ninth Circuit judges over how particular cases should come out — a responsibility well beyond the legal research and opinion drafting done by most clerks.

On one occasion, a vote on whether to rehear a case en banc emanated not from the judge’s chambers account, but from Mary’s personal email account. Even more embarrassingly, it was written not on behalf of the judge or the chambers, but in the first person: “I vote YES to rehearing en banc.” A law school classmate of mine who was also clerking for the Ninth that year remarked, “I thought only judges did that. When did Mary get her presidential commission?”

Some of us jokingly referred to that chambers as Weekend at Judgie’s. What appeared to be going on over there reminded us of Justice Thurgood Marshall’s famous quip to his clerks: “If I die, prop me up and keep voting!”

We joked about this delegation of Article III authority to a newly minted law school graduate. But as Joseph Goldstein suggests, in a very interesting article just published by Slate and ProPublica, the issue of superannuated jurists is no laughing matter….

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'Whee!!! I'm old!!!'

What’s the judge wearing underneath his robe? In the case of Judge Wesley E. Brown of the District of Kansas, the oldest living federal judge, the smart money is on these.

Judge Brown, the subject of a front-page profile in the New York Times (the news cycle is a little slow right now), is a whopping 103 years old. He was born on June 22, 1907. The president at the time was Roosevelt — Teddy, not Franklin. Judge Brown was appointed to the district court by President John F. Kennedy, and he’s one of just four JFK appointments still on the bench.

Despite his (extremely) advanced age, Judge Brown still regularly takes the bench to hear cases. And, impressively, he does so with his eyes open….

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