Montana

Exploding courthouse toilet = products liability attorney’s dream.

* Funny that SCOTUS just struck down a law imposing a 35-foot buffer zone around abortion clinics, yet it heavily enforces its own buffer zone. Some call it “supreme irony.” [WSJ Law Blog]

* Despite the slacking demand for legal services — down by 8.8 percent in terms of billable hours — members of the Am Law 100 still managed to keep their heads above water. [Am Law Daily]

* Lorin Reisner, chief of the criminal division of S.D.N.Y.’s USAO and Preet Bharara’s right-hand man on Wall Street convictions, is leaving for greener pastures at Paul Weiss. Congrats! [Reuters]

* New York State’s highest court has rejected New York City’s ban on gigantic drinks that was previously proposed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Go on, have yourself a nice Quadruple Big Gulp. [Bloomberg]

* When the long arm of the law flushes the toilet, it sometimes explodes, raining down jagged shards of justice. But on a more serious note, we’re happy no one was hurt at this courthouse. [Billings Gazette]

If you’ve ever wondered what a difference your $150K+ legal education makes, watch a pro se litigant. If you’ve ever wondered what a difference your $150K+ legal education and a clean bill of mental health makes, watch this pro se litigant.

Pro se litigants are often entertaining with their hare-brained theories about law and fervent yet unwarranted conviction that everyone is out to get them. Ironically, pro se litigants tend to hate the judge most of all, even though the most frustrating part of litigating against a wingnut is the way judges bend over backward to help out — prolonging the inevitable while slowly bleeding your patience and your client’s wallet. But it’s rare to have video of one launching into a full tirade against a judge before storming out of the courtroom.

So what’s this guy’s deal?

(Be careful — on some computers the video just starts automatically so be prepared)

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In this Court’s opinion, imposing a sentence which suspends more than the mandatory minimum would be an illegal sentence.

– Judge G. Todd Baugh, in an order setting a new sentencing hearing for Stacey Rambold, the teacher convicted of raping a 14-year-old student who the judge claimed was “older than her chronological age.” Last week, all but 31 days of Rombold’s 15-year sentence were suspended, with a one-day credit given for time already served. Rambold’s victim committed suicide in 2010.


In a story that seems to magically combine almost everything I care about, a person who was attending a University of Montana Law School party apparently shot himself “through the foot” on Wednesday.

Guns, random law schools, self-mutilation… if the dude had been a black guy who did it so The Man couldn’t hobble him first, I’d probably spontaneously combust….

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So it’s December 21, 2012, otherwise know as the day that the world is supposed to end, at least according to the Mayan calendar. Bars were playing that R.E.M. song on repeat last night, and people (myself included, since it’s my birthday, bitches!) were drinking like there was going to be no tomorrow. But, as it turns out, it’s today, so we all got that “end of the world” hangover for nothing. It sure was fun, though, so it was definitely worth it.

Anyway, I’m more than willing to bet that all of those doomsday preppers are pretty pissed off right about now. But in reality, they probably don’t even know that everything’s still the same because they’re down in their underground bunkers snacking on Spam and sardines, drinking powdered milk, and gently stroking their precious AK-47s while murmuring Bible passages to themselves like crazy people.

And as luck would have it, one of those end of days loons might be a lawyer….

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Jason Christ

Former medical marijuana entrepreneur Jason Christ has been banned from the University of Montana campus after allegedly smoking marijuana in the law school….

– The first sentence of a recent article about the alleged exploits of Jason H. Christ, a medical marijuana activist from Montana who has made headlines for getting high in public places. Bong Hits 4 Jesus, anyone?

(Want to see the what the campus police report said? Check out the allegations, after the jump — they’re pretty entertaining.)

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Judge Richard Cebull

Americans expect the courts to be fair, impartial, and open to all. Cebull clearly demonstrated that he does not have the temperament to serve as a federal judge, period.

Cebull may hope that taking senior status before the misconduct review concludes will help him avoid sanction. But he should be held accountable by the 9th Circuit regardless of his status.

Taking senior status is a half-measure that allows Cebull to continue hearing cases. That’s not appropriate. He should resign or retire immediately.

– Josh Glasstetter, Research Director of People For the American Way, responding to news that District Judge Richard Cebull, who sent that infamous, racially charged email about President Obama, will take senior status in March 2013.

Thursday the Supreme Court will sit for its final session of October Term 2011. The Court will issue opinions in all the cases pending before it. For example, the Court will let the American people know whether they ever have a right to lie.

The Court will also rule on the case that, according to a sign I saw earlier, presents the question of whether we need to “Get The Feds Out of Medicare.” I’m not sure about the details of that case though, because it hasn’t gotten much press attention (I only read the Bicycle Times).

Today, however, the Court issued two opinions in argued cases. The fun in the courtroom was not in the opinions, but in the dissents….

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This morning saw significant activity at the U.S. Supreme Court. Although we did not get a ruling in the health care reform case (aka Obamacare), SCOTUS did hand down a number of important opinions. Check back later today, when we expect to have color commentary from our Supreme Court correspondent, Matt Kaiser, who attended the proceedings in person.

In the meantime, here’s a quick and dirty summary of what transpired at One First Street this morning, including links to the underlying opinions. The most high-profile case was the Court’s decision on the controversial Arizona immigration law, but there were other major cases that were resolved today as well….

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The federal judiciary recently lost two of its most distinguished members. One was a trial judge on the East Coast, and one was an appellate judge on the West Coast (as well as the nation’s longest-serving federal appellate judge).

Both were leading lights of the Article III judiciary. They will be deeply missed by their courts; their clerks, current and former; and their colleagues….

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