State Judges

The old ball and chain, dischargeable in bankruptcy only in the most limited of cases. Go ahead, try and prove you’ve got a ‘substantial hardship’ preventing you from paying. We dare you.

* Now that a federal judge has classified California’s death penalty as unconstitutional, it’s only a matter of time before the issue reaches the Supreme Court. We have a feeling the justices will likely roll their eyes. [National Law Journal]

* Word on the street is that Bingham McCutchen has got the urge to merge, and has apparently spoken to a handful of potential partners over the course of the past three months. We’ll have more on these developments later. [Reuters]

* As it turns out, it was neither Wachtell Lipton nor Jenner & Block that managed to snag the coveted GM litigation oversight job. Nice work, Quinn Emanuel — you’re considered a “well-respected outside law firm.” [WSJ Law Blog]

* Congrats, Flori-duh, you did something right. A state court judge has ruled that Florida’s ban on gay marriage violated the U.S. Constitution in the latest post-Windsor victory for equality. Yay! [Bloomberg]

* Thanks to their hundreds of thousands of dollars in law school debt, many graduates are considering declaring bankruptcy. Too bad most won’t be able to get their loans discharged. [Connecticut Law Tribune]

David Nicosia

Rosa Parks, move.

– David C. Nicosia, a white Chicago resident who argued with Judge Arnette Hubbard, a black jurist, after she walked by him while smoking a cigarette. Nicosia allegedly spit in Judge Hubbard’s face, and later slapped her in the face.

Nicosia was arrested and charged with four counts of aggravated battery and a hate crime. He is currently being held on $90,000 bail.

Donald Sterling

Go back to answering questions rather than making somewhat entertaining comments.

– Judge Michael Levanas, in response to Donald Sterling’s combative antics during a trial to determine whether the 80-year-old billionaire was competent to remain as co-trustee of the Los Angeles Clippers trust. During testimony, Sterling called opposing counsel a “weird lawyer” and a “smartass.”

‘Would you like fries with that, Your Honor?’

* With OT 2013 drawing to a close, here’s a nifty chart that shows which Supreme Court justices vote together most and least often. The division is real, people. [The Upshot / New York Times]

* “Not only do they have unique interpretations of the Constitution but they can’t even agree on how to pronounce words.” Listen to our SCOTUS justices flub the word “certiorari.” [Legal Times]

* Quinn Emanuel and Samsung must now pay more than $2M in sanctions to Nokia and Apple after leaking confidential, “attorneys’ eyes only” information in a discovery blunder. Oopsie! [Legal Week]

* “Why can’t you get a real job?” This judge — the same one who sentenced a rapist to just 30 days in prison — told a fast-food worker to get a better job to pay off his restitution more quickly. [Billings Gazette]

* If you think you’ve seen the best of the “Law and ______” classes, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Say hello to some newcomers, like Video Game Law and Law of Robots. Justice Scalia is pissed. [WSJ Law Blog]

This week, a Los Angeles County Superior Court found that five of California’s laws governing teacher retention violated the rights of schoolchildren under the equal protection clause of the California Constitution. Judge Rolf Treu issued a tentative decision in Vergara v. California, agreeing with plaintiffs that the provisions on firing public-school educators resulted “in grossly ineffective teachers obtaining and retaining permanent employment, and that these teachers are disproportionately situated in schools serving predominantly low-income and minority students.”

 

The United States Constitution, of course, provides no fundamental right to education. (Franklin Roosevelt’s “Second Bill of Rights” doesn’t count.) For example, in San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to apply strict scrutiny to a claim that the Texas funding scheme for public schools violated the equal protection rights of poor and minority students. The Court did so in part because it found no federal fundamental right to education.

 

The California Constitution, though, does provide for a fundamental right to education in its Article 9, Sections 1 and 5. In light of that, Judge Treu applied a strict scrutiny standard to the laws in Vergara. He concluded that the laws caused a violation of California children’s right to equality of education…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Tenure Itch: What’s Bad (And What Isn’t) About The Case Striking Down California Teacher Retention Laws”

For those of you who covet the intellectual and professional opportunities that come with clerking for a judge, choosing a law school that will enhance your prospects is pretty important. Make no mistake, no school is going to guarantee a clerkship. Nor will attending a school with historically low representation in clerkships automatically nuke your chances. But, a school with a high placement rate reflects the school’s reputation with judges, the influence of its professors, and the strength of its clerkship process advisors.

Bob Morse of U.S. News has released a breakdown of the schools securing the most clerkships. And more importantly, he breaks out the best schools for federal clerkships and state and local clerkships.

So which law school is the best represented? OK, it’s Yale. But who else is at the top of the list?

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Judge John C. Murphy of Brevard County, Florida was feeling a bit like Judge Dredd yesterday morning. Video captured him verbally sparring with an experienced assistant public defender, Andrew Weinstock, before requesting Weinstock visit him in his “Chambers of Doom” (a.k.a. the hallway) for some actual sparring.

Looks like we need to come up with a new term beyond “benchslap.”

Cue Michael Buffer: “Let’s get ready to RUMMMMMBLLLLLLE!”

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One is an outlier. A sad reminder of the legal profession’s struggle with alcoholism. Two is a curiosity. Perhaps a coincidence? But when three judges, all from the same court, get charged with DWI over the course of a mere six months, you’re looking at a trend.

Just this morning, the third judge in this trend was handcuffed and led away from the scene of an accident. In this case, the courtroom parking lot. That’s right, she’s accused of running over the gate to the lot and then ramming a parked sheriff’s car.

At 8:00 a.m.

There must have been an awesome special on mimosas at the local IHOP knockoff….

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Entry-level Biglaw salaries soon?

* The times are a-changin’ for Biglaw in many ways, and lawyers may soon see their starting pay take a dive because clients think they “continue to be too expensive.” [WSJ Law Blog]

* Foley & Lardner plans to shutter its San Diego shop, following in the footsteps of other Biglaw behemoths. Not to worry, no one’s been laid off — that we know of, that is. [Am Law Daily]

* Say hello to Alabama Law’s new dean, Mark Brandon. Maybe he’ll be the man to propel the school to a #5 ranking in a publication other than National Jurist. ROLL TIDE! [National Law Journal]

* Earlier this week, an Idaho judge struck down the state’s ban on gay marriage, and now she’s refusing to issue a stay. Good on you, judge, but the Ninth Circuit may put those marriages in limbo for a while. [NPR]

* Speaking of judges who’re refusing to stay same-sex marriage rulings, last night, the Arkansas Supreme Court turned down the state attorney general’s request to put a stop to marriage equality. [USA Today]

* A lawyer working as Board of Education president in Mahopac, New York, resigned from his position after calling a PTA volunteer a “chubby wubby” at a school board meeting. That’s not very nice. [Journal News]

David Audlin

In January, we brought you word of a Florida state-court judge who posted a sex ad on Manhunt. We covered the news, first broken by JAAblog, since we are fond of stories about sexy judges. But we did not judge. Instead, Staci Zaretsky wrote of Chief Judge David Audlin, “more power to him if [the photos are] real. Everyone needs to get some, even judges.”

Last week, Judge Audlin resigned from the bench, apparently because of L’Affaire Manhunt. With all due respect to the judge, this strikes me as a bad decision….

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