Racism

Slutty law school devil? Bravo.

Slutty law school devil? Bravo.

Happy Halloween! When we were younger, this holiday was about going trick or treating in relatively innocent-looking costumes to collect as much candy as possible. When we started getting older, the costumes grew up too, and our sense of decorum was thrown out the window.

Women now have the option of dressing as sexy professionals, sexy nursery-rhyme characters, sexy vampires, sexy witches, and this season, even sexy Ebola nurses. Men’s costumes usually run the gamut of witty to incredibly offensive — racially and otherwise — but sometimes women drop the slutty schtick to get in on the “fun.”

Believe it or not, even law students can get carried away with racially insensitive costumes. We bet some clueless white law school couple is totally excited about dressing in blackface as Ray Rice and Janay Rice with a bruised eye. You’re so funny and cool! Everyone wants to give your their outlines now! Yay!

One law school is here to remind you not to dress up like complete morons this Halloween…

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NFL_logo* NFL blackout rules will be a thing of the past on November 24. So just in time for all you rabid Rams fans to watch them play the Raiders. [CommLawBlog]

* Electing judges is so very stupid. [What About Clients?]

* OK, Alex Rich: it’s time to ditch document review and become a psychic. [Law and More]

* A tumblr of offensive stuff overheard at Yale Law. If these are true, then that place sounds horrible. [The YLS Offensive]

* Exactly where is the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge? It turns out the government doesn’t really even know. They’re looking to shift the border and possibly allow more oil drilling. [Breaking Energy]

* How to get your Biglaw career right from the beginning. [Medium]

Righteous-IndignationThe public learned this week that the Judicial Council of the D.C. Circuit dismissed a complaint of judicial misconduct against Judge Edith Jones of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.   The order followed a year-long investigation by Special Counsel Jeffrey Bellin.  The roughly 70-page Report of the Special Committee appears nonpartisan, thorough, and fair.

The complaint stemmed from a lecture Judge Jones gave to the University of Pennsylvania Federalist Society chapter in February 2013.  Among the complainants’ claims was that, during her lecture, Judge Jones suggested she believed that members of certain races were predisposed to commit violent crimes.  With no recording of the event, witnesses disagreed about exactly what she said.  Was she talking about genetic determinism?  Or was she only referring to the objective fact that, for whatever reason, our nation’s prisoners are disproportionately black and Latino?  The subsequent independent investigation concluded that “whatever she said initially, it is clear that Judge Jones used the question-and-answer period to clarify that she did not adhere to such views,” rejecting the complaint’s version of her speech. The D.C. Circuit cleared her of all of the charges of misconduct, including this one.

When the complaint was first filed, I defended Judge Jones. Defending her was relatively easy….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “How Edith Jones Helped Prove Eric Holder Right: Lessons I Learned About Race After Defending A Judge Accused Of Racism”


Social acceptance of gay marriage in the United States is often compared to social acceptance of interracial marriage. However, while interracial marriage was completely legal by 1967, majority approval of interracial marriage did not take hold until the 1990s. How does popular opinion of gay marriage today compare with the current legal status of gay marriage?

The genius at xkcd demonstrates how popular approval and legal status don’t always neatly track one another…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Stat Of The Week: Interracial Marriage vs. Gay Marriage”

What the hell is going on here?

Canadians are generally a friendly lot. At least, when they aren’t building anti-gay law schools or talking about their Stanley Cup drought (21 years and counting). So it was more than a little bit startling to see the latest cover from Canadian Lawyer magazine going all Birth of a Nation on us.

The prominent legal publication featured a cover story about the lack of diversity on the Canadian bench. Unfortunately, the cover image they used did a much better job demonstrating why there might be race problems in Canada. Great White North indeed.

And bizarrely, the magazine hasn’t apologized for its cover despite the controversy it’s sparked….

(Please note the UPDATE added below.)

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This story starts as a sperm bank horror story. A lesbian couple wanted to have a baby, and decided artificial insemination was the way to go. They pored over donor profiles, discussed with family and friends, and finally picked one specimen of biological material that was right for their family.

But the sperm bank sent over the wrong specimen, and didn’t figure out the mistake until the woman, Jennifer Cramblett, was well into her pregnancy. Terrible, right? The sperm bank apologized and gave her a refund, which probably doesn’t even scratch their legal liability. But the woman carried the baby to term and gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.

Now, two years later, Cramblett wants to sue. The sperm donor mixup really should be enough to support her claims for wrongful birth and breach of warranty. But Cramblett has added a surprising twist to her protestations of harm. It turns out that the incorrect donor was black. Cramblett now claims emotional distress because her family and town are too racially intolerant for her to raise a mixed-race daughter in their midst…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “White Woman Learns What It’s Like To Be A Black Mother, Sues”

An LGBT group at a top law school is having a “neon party” this weekend. Posters promoting the event featured a scantily clad black woman with a pleasing backside. This poster has caused a kerfuffle… and I bet you can guess the law school.

Now, it doesn’t escape the notice of the black community when white gay men appropriate black female culture (or white women who have appropriated black culture) as “mascots.” But black people are pretty used to white people “stealing” their culture. White culture is like the Borg.

That said, there are real, honest-to-God racial issues in this country that need to be addressed. Gay men twerking is not one of them

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law School Poster Appropriates Booties, Hurts Feelings”

When being judged by a jury of your peers, is it necessary that some of those peers be members of your ethnic or racial group? Hold on, white people, I’m not asking you. You might talk tough on the internet, but if you were the defendant in a trial and you walked in and saw the entire Wu-Tang Clan sitting in the jury box you’d have a freaking conniption. And… it would NEVER happen to you. A white person would never have to face an “all-other” jury. Your opinions on how you’d feel about a situation that would never happen to you matters less to me.

For the rest of us, being judged by zero people from your peer racial or ethnic group is a legitimate possibility. Is that fair? Almost certainly not. Is it presumptively unfair? That’s kind of a different question. Can we presume that 12 white people can’t give a black person a fair trial? Should a judge stop a trial once he sees that a person is about to face a jury devoid of any of her racial peers?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “When Is An All-White Jury Not Okay?”

* Lawyer grabbing drinks in hotel bar accused of being a prostitute by security guards. In fairness, she probably said, “I bill out at $600/hour!” a little too loudly. [The Root]

* In finance, interns are only there for sex. Probably not how the law will see it. [Dealbreaker]

* Judge Kozinski found his way into another Atlas Shrugged movie. The true accomplishment of the mega-industrialists is funding two sequels of the first putridly reviewed movie. [Josh Blackman's Blog]

* Are you sick and tired of reading about the 10 books that your Facebook friends think will most impress you most influenced them? Here’s a much better question: the 10 Rock Songs that most influenced you… [What About Clients?]

* New Jersey has a new alimony law. So before you leave your wife for your goomah, check it out capische. [Larry the New Jersey Lawyer's Cogitations]

* Meant to write this up as a full post yesterday, but time got away from us. In any event, Geuaxjudge is Geauxone. Judge Michael Maggio, best known for launching racist and sexist comments about Charlize Theron’s adoption, has been fired by order of the Arkansas Supreme Court. [CNN]

* Following up on this afternoon’s piece about lawyering from home, maybe one overlooked factor is meeting your clients, at least once, in an office. [Law and More]

* This Friday, the CBLA and the Fordham IP Institute are hosting a visiting high-level legal delegation from China, including multiple judges from the Supreme Court of the PRC, multiple members of the Ministry of Commerce. If you’re interested, RSVP. [Chinese Business Lawyers Association]

There’s not really much to say here. There are just a few things to remember to avoid an embarrassing oral argument. Basically, don’t condescend to the judges on your appellate panel, and try to show up wearing pants (and maybe some socks). Pretty simple, right?

We’ve seen this kind of confrontational tone out of lawyers before, and it never ends well for the attorney. Like when Jones Day’s Matthew Kairis thought it wise to continuously interrupt Judge Posner in Notre Dame v. Sibelius. What happened next was… entirely predictable: Kairis ended up with an earful from Judge Posner about the proper role of an advocate before an appellate panel.

This poor fellow earns the same basic tongue-lashing, just with a different accent…

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