Richard Cordray

Mike DeWine

If you were to ask people to name states known for corrupt politicians, the top contenders would probably be Louisiana, Illinois, and New Jersey (my home state, so I can say that). But a scandal brewing in the state of Ohio, involving the sitting attorney general, could help the Buckeye State moving up in the rankings.

Attorney General Mike DeWine stands accused of running a “pay to play” operation in awarding lucrative contracts for outside legal work. What are the allegations against him?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Is Something Rotten In The State Of Ohio?”

It looks like a silly marginal tax increase on the personal incomes of the top 2 percent is the last thing the barons of Wall Street need to worry about. President Obama is sending a new sheriff into the regulatory fray.

Dealbook reports that Obama will nominate former U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White to head the Securities and Exchange Commission. Sending in White to the SEC is a little bit like calling the Wolf to drive home your blood-soaked vehicle. It’s a bold move for an agency that is often overwhelmed by the impressive lawyers marshaled on behalf of the financial industry in defense of their most complex transactions.

Unlike Elizabeth Warren (bless her heart), Mary Jo White is no academic, she’s a hard-nosed litigator. And she might be exactly what the SEC needs…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Obama Throws Down The Gauntlet With New Pick To Head The SEC”

Dominique Strauss-Kahn

* Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s lawyer has a challenge for you: “I defy you to tell the difference between a naked prostitute and any other naked woman.” [Dealbreaker]

* It’s not often that Cravath partners leave for other firms, but it happens. Jeffrey Smith, former head of the environmental practice at Cravath, recently decamped for Crowell & Moring. [Am Law Daily]

* Former Bush Administration DOJ official John Elwood, now a partner at Vinson & Elkins, breaks down the Office of Legal Counsel’s recently issued opinion on recess appointments. [Volokh Conspiracy]

* Blawging, Flawging & the Mathematical Theory of Information. Also: what do laser hair removal in D.C. and lemon law in Wisconsin have in common? [Associate's Mind]

* Are Americans finally waking up to the higher education bubble? [Instapundit]

Professor Ann Althouse: birthday girl.

* It appears that Joseph Rakofsky, whose handling of a criminal case drew critical comment, struggles on the civil side too. Justice Emily Goodman returned a proposed order of his with this notation: “Decline to sign. Papers are incomprehensible.” [New York Personal Injury Law Blog]

* If you’re a trusts and estates lawyer or a reader of fiction, consider checking out this well-reviewed new novel by Patrick James O’Connor, which takes the form of an extended last will and testament. [Amazon (affiliate link)]

* Happy Birthday, Professor Althouse! [Althouse]


It’ll take some time before a court rules on the legality of Barack Obama’s recess appointment of Richard Cordray to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In case you haven’t been paying attention, Obama nominated Cordray two years ago, but the Republicans have refused to allow his nomination to come to a vote. Obama then wanted to use his recess appointment powers to fill the vacancy while Congress was away, but Republicans have blocked that through a series of sham sessions in which a couple of members gavel in and gavel out in a few seconds every couple of days. Last week, Obama decided those sessions did not constitute real sessions and appointed Cordray anyway, and we’ve all been treated to a week of howling from the right about an “illegal” power grab by the executive branch.

I appeared on the Mike Huckabee Show this weekend and defended the president’s appointment. It felt a lot like writing here at ATL: the live studio audience even booed me to make me feel at home.

But on Friday, Republican lawmakers did something really funny: they asked Eric Holder and the Department of Justice to explain what role the Office of Legal Counsel played in advising or authorizing Obama’s move. I’m immediately reminded of Bones McCoy trying to get back to the quarantined Genesis planet in Star Trek III when he says: “There aren’t gonna be any damned permits! How can you get a permit to do a damned illegal thing?”

Regardless of the legality of the recess appointments, did Obama do the right thing?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Recess Appointments: How Do You Stop A Legal Sham?”

Watch this before Sunday.

* Is New Jersey’s Senator Robert Menendez blocking Patty Shwartz, Obama’s Third Circuit nominee, out of resentment? Time to build yourself a bridge and GTF over it. [New York Times]

* Sullivan & Cromwell took the top spot among law firms in M&A transactions in 2011, with $325.7 billion in deals. You better believe they’re giving out huge spring bonuses. [Bloomberg]

* “No one wants to pay for something that doesn’t pay off.” At least those at the annual meeting of the AALS realize this applies to law school. When will the ABA sign on? [National Law Journal]

* In his first move after being appointed to the CFPB — a so-called valid appointment, mind you — Richard Cordray has launched a program for oversight of non-banks. [Legal Times]

* You can’t bill clients for hookers and porn and then try to get out of it by blaming your mental disorder. Or you can, but it will come back to bite you in the ass. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* The Firm: from the best sellers list, to the silver screen, and now to the small screen. Look out for Mitch McDeere in his two-hour, television premiere this Sunday on NBC. [Wall Street Journal]

It woud be nice if the Senate could have actually given this guy a vote instead of forcing the present ugliness.

* The recess appointment of Richard Cordray to head the CFPB could get tricky — not because Republicans are outraged by recess appointments (much like Democrats are outraged by obstructionist filibusters), but because Congress isn’t technically in recess, due to the sham sessions Congress has been running. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Milbank, if you’re going to brag about being the only major Wall Street firm to have an Orthodox Jewish woman as a partner, you better be telling the truth, you meshuganas. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* The ABA responded to the Duncan Law antitrust suit. Its basic response is that the ABA doesn’t arbitrarily keep bad schools out, it only arbitrarily lets bad schools in. [Law School Transparency]

* But Duncan probably isn’t just in it for the legal fight. The school wants to bring media attention to the ABA’s random oversight of legal education. [Law Librarian Blog]

* Does Obama need to endorse gay marriage before the election? Or does he just tell the gay community “Santorum” until they get on board? [The Root]

* Is it really that surprising that the unemployed are NOT on drugs? Aren’t Republicans the ones who are supposed to understand that in a market, desirable goods cost money? If you want to drug test a constituency, do a random raid at a white-shoe law firm, and don’t forget your chemistry set. [Huffington Post]

* It’s nice to ask permission before you appropriate somebody’s song as your campaign theme. [Fox News]

* Thanks to everybody who voted for us as their favorite legal blog for news in the ABA Journal’s Blawg 100 poll. You’ve given us the strength to keep reporting on spring bonuses, even though they don’t technically exist yet. [ABA Journal]

I am not a mentor!

Never have been. Never will be. Don’t care to be.

I’m a lawyer. I’m a co-worker. In some cases, I may be a friend. But I’m not a mentor; I have no time for that crap.

When I was clerking (for the Honorable Dorothy W. Nelson of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit), my judge was (and remains) a delight. She was a warm, engaging person who treated everyone as an equal. She was living proof that you don’t have to give up on human kindness just because you’ve become powerful. She taught, by example, many lessons about work-life balance and the meaning of humanity.

But a mentor? They hadn’t invented the word “mentor” (at least with its current connotation) back in 1983. I don’t think Judge Nelson gave the idea a moment’s thought….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Inside Straight: Don’t Be A Mentor!”

Rebekah Brooks

* The arrest of Rebekah Brooks over the weekend only complicates the investigation into News Corp. phone-hacking. I like her hair. I only have one question. [Bloomberg]

* What (and where) becomes of Casey Anthony now that she’s out? Y’know, F. Scott Fitzgerald once opined that “There are no second acts in American lives. But Playboy is always a wise option.” Well said, F. Scott. Well said. [New York Times]

* Dominique “L’Dominator” Strauss-Kahn may have had multiple slam pieces on the fateful weekend he was accused of sexual assault. Trois, to be exact. Trois slam pieces. [Daily Intel]

* Some longhair in San Francisco got off a shrooms possession charge because he claimed to forget he had the magical caps and stems. He could, however, rattle off Phish’s entire set list from their Montreal show on 5/9/1998. “Trey was on fire that ni…” the hippie trailed off before asking the reporter for bus fare. [San Francisco Examiner via Gawker]

* More on Cooley’s lawsuit against the internets. [Lansing State Journal]

* The Supreme Court continues to hold its own Player Hater’s Ball with regard to the 9th Circuit. [Los Angeles Times]

* Obama’s pick to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is the former Ohio AG, a University of Chicago Law alum, a member of The Elect and, most importantly, a five-time Jeopardy! champ. [Columbus Dispatch]