Ninth Circuit

There’s really nothing to be said about this great video of Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit….

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Left to right: Alex Kozinski and Diarmuid O’Scannlain.

This week is an exciting one for conservative and libertarian legal nerds: the National Lawyers Convention of the Federalist Society starts tomorrow. I’ll be attending and covering the proceedings; if you see me, please say hello. (If you haven’t registered for the conference in advance, you can still register at the door.)

As always, the conference will overflow with legal luminaries. This year, two of the Ninth Circuit’s most notable names — Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, and Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain (for whom I clerked) — will be making presentations. Chief Judge Kozinski will debate Professor Hadley Arkes about natural law and constitutional law, while Judge O’Scannlain will moderate a panel about religious liberty.

To whet your appetite, let’s read more about both of these judges and some recent First Amendment fun at the Ninth Circuit….

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* A Hurricane Sandy survival guide. Key components? Food, water, booze, and prophylactics. Who’s ready for a hurricane Halloween party? [FindLaw]

* California’s longest serving death-row inmate just got his sentence set aside by the Ninth Circuit. [WSJ Law Blog]

* A few days before Thanksgiving, SCOTUS will decide whether to hear the Prop. 8 and DOMA cases. Happy holidays? [American Foundation for Equal Rights]

* Sometimes the most effective self-defense weapon isn’t a gun, it’s a pot of soup. [Consumerist]

* Harold Koh, former Yale Law School dean and current legal adviser to the State Department, sits down for a Legally Speaking interview at UC Hastings. [California Lawyer]

* Additional thoughts, this time from Professor Eugene Volokh, on employers urging employees to vote a certain way. [Volokh Conspiracy]


Chief Judge KOZINSKI, disagreeing with everyone….

– The introductory line to Chief Judge Alex Kozinski’s recent separate opinion in Garfias-Rodriguez v. Holder (9th Cir. Oct. 19, 2012). As noted by the WSJ Law Blog, the other opinions of the highly fragmented en banc court had more traditional designations, like “concurrence” and “dissent.” Howard Bashman was amused.

(Additional news out of the Ninth Circuit, of a serious and sad nature, after the jump.)

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Judge Susan Graber

All of us as judges have had life experiences that could be said to affect our perception of the cases that come before us. Some of us have served as prosecutors and others have not; some have experienced discrimination as women or minorities and others have not; some are intensely religious and others are not, and our religions vary…. These life experiences do not disqualify us from serving as judges on cases in which the issues or the facts are in some indirect way related to our personal experiences.

– Judges Marsha S. Berzon and Richard Tallman, in an elegantly written Ninth Circuit order explaining why Judge Susan P. Graber does not need to recuse herself from a capital murder case because her father was murdered 40 years ago.

Kate Middleton

* Come on, people, Dewey really think that it’s fair that these proposed partnership clawback settlements blame only us for the firm’s implosion? The Steves and ex-CFO Joel Sanders don’t think so. [Bloomberg]

* “[E]ven if partners’ capital contributions were used to repay Dewey’s indebtedness—so what?” Well, that’s certainly one way to defend a suit alleging Citibank’s participation in a Ponzi-like scheme. [Am Law Daily]

* A $280K bonus sure seems nice, but do all Supreme Court clerks choose life in Biglaw once they’ve completed their stints at the high court? As it turns out, the answer is no — some view the money as “golden handcuffs.” [Wall Street Journal]

* Because nobody can ogle these crown jewels except Prince William: the royals’ potential suit against Closer magazine over topless pics of Kate Middleton has turned into full-blown privacy proceeding. [New York Times]

* If you’re struggling in law school, it may be wise to take some advice from those who’ve been there before you, like SullCrom’s Rodge Cohen, or the Ninth Circuit’s Chief Judge Alex Kozinski. [National Law Journal]

Excited about fashion law?

* Good news, everyone! According to Citi’s Managing Partner Confidence Index survey, firm leaders are feeling pessimistic about their business due to an overall lack of confidence in the economy. [Am Law Daily]

* Per the Ninth Circuit, an Idaho statute that essentially criminalizes medication-induced abortions imposes an undue burden on a woman’s ability to terminate her pregnancy. Really? You don’t say. [Bloomberg]

* Kiwi Camara’s circuitous route to SCOTUS: thanks to the Eighth Circuit, Jammie Thomas-Rasset started and ended her journey with $222K damages for copyright infringement. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Was Barack Obama ever offered a tenured position on the faculty at University of Chicago Law School? Absolutely not, says longtime law professor Richard Epstein — and he was never a “constitutional law professor” either. [Daily Caller]

* “Fashion law is a real career choice,” says Gibson Dunn partner Lois Herzeca. This niche practice area is one of the hottest new trends in the fashion world, and it’s not likely to go out of style any time soon. [Reuters]

* Your clawback suit is a wonderland? John Mayer was named as a defendant in a suit filed by trustees seeking to recover money paid out by Ponzi schemer Darren Berg. [Bankruptcy Beat / Wall Street Journal]

* J. Christopher Stevens, UC Hastings Law grad and U.S. Ambassador to Libya, RIP. [CNN]

Judge Stephen Reinhardt (left) and Judge Robert Jones

Will 2012 go down as the Summer of Feuding Judges? Over the past few months, we’ve been covering the feud in print between Judge Richard Posner and Justice Antonin Scalia.

And yesterday we wrote about the harsh smackdown by Judge Stephen Reinhardt (9th Cir.) of Chief Judge Robert C. Jones (D. Nevada). Today we’ve got Jones’s rebuttal, which is just as heated. It’s unusual to see a lower-court judge criticizing a judge higher up in the judicial hierarchy, but reverse benchslaps do happen.

How does Judge Jones feel about being called unacceptably arrogant? Let’s just say he responded in kind…

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Judge Reinhardt and me, perfect together.

Such arrogance and assumption of power by one individual is not acceptable in our judicial system.

– Judge Stephen Reinhardt, concurring, in Townley v. Miller. A Ninth Circuit panel stayed a district court’s preliminary injunction order in a case involving Nevada’s “none of these candidates” ballot option.

(More about this interesting and politically charged case, after the jump.)

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Chief Judge Alex Kozinski

Supreme Court precedent supports the appearance of federal judges in works of filmed or staged entertainment. For example, back in 1997, Justice Harry Blackmun played Justice Joseph Story in Amistad (as you can see in Justice Blackmun’s IMDb profile). More recently, in 2009, Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had cameos in a performance at the Washington National Opera.

We all know how much the Ninth Circuit loves to follow the Supreme Court. So should it be surprising that the Honorable Alex Kozinski, Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit, will be appearing in a feature film this fall?

And no, it’s not a documentary about the legal system. It’s a fiction-based, feature film….

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