Stephen Colbert

Won’t somebody please think of the children?

That quote comes from the contemptible Helen Lovejoy and probably a bunch of other sanctimonious folks trying to dupe the public into backing some BS agenda armed with the logical fallacy of an emotional appeal. The devil of it is these empty emotional pleas are so convincing to a lot of people. Sadly, lawyers aren’t above pulling this card to snowjob judges and the media.[1]

After the Vergara v. California decision there was a brief volley of commentary before everyone moved on to the next big event. The decision struck California’s teacher tenure law as unconstitutional because granting tenure to experienced teachers could possibly, maybe mean that a “bad” teacher couldn’t be fired fast enough. The decision earned the praise of a bi-partisan peanut gallery from the dwindling posse of Republicans in California to Secretary of Education and NBA Celebrity All-Star MVP Arne Duncan.

Everyone seems to want in on the “education would be peachy if it weren’t for the teachers” movement — including a metric s**t ton of Biglaw bigwigs. Gibson Dunn’s Ted Boutrous and Randy Mastro spearheaded the Vergara case. Ted Olson advised. David Boies is the chair of the Partnership for Educational Justice, a group fronted by former CNN anchor Campbell Brown bringing a similar lawsuit in New York fronted by Kirkland’s Jay Lefkowitzpro bono, of course. Now even Professor Larry Tribe is in the mix.

Stop the sanctimonious love-in. They aren’t championing children, they’re either starstruck or shilling or both. I mean, the Republicans have always wanted to kill unions because it’s easier to gut public schools for fun and profit. Democrats have jumped on board more recently because they want to suck up to tech billionaires like Bill Gates who preach that fixing the public education system that they never really participated in themselves is as simple as building an internet browser (which it is, if you want Internet Explorer).[2]

And all these legal luminaries throwing their reputations behind this effort just highlights how flimsy it is, as a matter of law and policy….

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Ted Olson and David Boies (photo by yours truly)

We do treat [gays] the same. None of them can get married to each other. That’s called equal protection. Are you familiar with that clause?

Stephen Colbert, speaking about same-sex marriage last night while interviewing David Boies and Ted Olson, the lawyers behind the legal challenge to Proposition 8 and the authors of a new book, Redeeming the Dream: The Case for Marriage Equality (affiliate link).

(More about Boies and Olson and their book, plus video footage of their Colbert Report appearance, after the jump.)

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Kourtney and Caleb Ballew, posing for a picture while at the White House for a state dinner with President Obama (with a portrait of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in the background).

The White House State Dinner that President Barack Obama hosted on Tuesday night in honor of President François Hollande of France featured quite the convocation of legal eagles. As we mentioned yesterday, attendees included such law-world luminaries as Justice Elena Kagan, Secretary Jeh Johnson, and ATL’s reigning Lawyer of the Year, Roberta Kaplan.

Also in attendance: Caleb Ballew and Kourtney Ballew. They’re a pair of twenty-something, small-firm lawyers from Huntsville, Alabama.

Say what? Did the Obama White House get Salahi’d again?

Actually, no. The Ballews came as honored guests of President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

Because the Obamas have had so few state dinners, invitations to the ones they do host are in especially high demand. How did two recent law school graduates score one of the most coveted invites in the country? I interviewed the Ballews to find out….

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* They are livestreaming the misconduct case against Judge Wade McCree. [Detroit Free Press]

* GW Law professor John Banzhaf is calling upon the D.C. City Council to bar local broadcasters from using the term “Redskins.” Two decades after the real emergence of “political correctness,” the “Redskins” name has held out against that all-out assault almost as long as the actual Native American society did against Phil Sheridan. [Huffington Post]

* People are still talking about the Yahoo!/Tumblr deal, but the most important deal for the legal profession has slid under the radar. Seamless and GrubHub are merging to make all your “3 a.m. and still haven’t had dinner at the office” dreams come true. [Wall Street Journal]

* Vivia Chen of The Careerist got some flack for suggesting that women taking their husbands’ names was a regressive trend. In (tongue-in-cheek) fairness, here are the good reasons to take your husband’s name. Example: “When you’ve been indicted or convicted.” [The Careerist]

* U. Chicago Law scheduled finals during Memorial Day weekend… while Chicago is closing Lake Shore Drive and cutting back on public transit. UChiLawGo responds. [UChiLawGo]

* A gospel singer is suing McDonald’s because she lost her voice. Normally I’d make fun of this, but she sounds like she has a good argument. [The Inquisitr]

* A review of the legal issues surrounding the DOJ/AP scandal. [Volokh Conspiracy]

* Elie explains why the racist, nasty comments we receive don’t faze us at all. [Paidcontent.org]

* Well this is a novel use of fundraising: Speculation that Tim Lambesis (who we covered yesterday) used crowdfunding for a new Austrian Death Machine Schwarzenegger tribute album as the down payment on a hitman to murder his wife. Maybe this new album was going to have a Total Recall theme? [Metal Sucks]

* Stephen Colbert sits down with Caplin & Drysdale’s Trevor Potter to discuss the fact that Colbert’s SuperPAC has never been approved by the IRS. Video after the jump…

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Ed. note: This post appears courtesy of our friends at Techdirt. We’ll be sharing law-related posts from Techdirt from time to time in these pages.

Last night, former President Bill Clinton joined Stephen Colbert on his TV show, The Colbert Report. As many people have noted, at the very end of the program, Colbert told Clinton that he had taken the liberty of signing him up for a Twitter account, since Clinton does not currently use Twitter (he joked that he was afraid no one would reply to his tweets). The Twitter account is @PrezBillyJeff, and Colbert sent Clinton’s first tweet live while on the air. If you’re in the US or the one or two other places that Hulu actually works, you can see the exchange below (if you’re elsewhere, blame Viacom for being stupid):

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Judge Frederic Block (E.D.N.Y.)

It’s hard out here for authors of judicial memoirs who are not named Sonia Sotomayor. Just ask Judge Frederic Block (E.D.N.Y.), a federal trial judge in Brooklyn since 1994 and the author of an appealing new book, Disrobed: An Inside Look at the Life and Work of a Federal Trial Judge (affiliate link). In Disrobed, Judge Block describes his surprising rise from small-town Long Island lawyer to Article III aristocracy, where he has presided over cases involving the Crown Heights riots, Kitty Genovese, mob boss Peter Gotti, and other headline-making subjects.

The book has received several favorable notices. Writing in the New York Times, Sam Roberts described Disrobed as an “engaging” book that provides “a rare look behind decision-making on the federal bench.” Over at Simple Justice, Scott Greenfield called the memoir a “well-written,” “easy and quick read,” by a “quite well-regarded” judge. I’ve read the book myself, and I concur with Roberts and Greenfield.

But even though the book has sold well, exceeding the expectations of its publisher, Thomson Reuters, Disrobed hasn’t attained the bestselling status of Justice Sotomayor’s My Beloved World (affiliate link). And this makes Judge Block a little sad, as he confessed to me when I recently visited him in chambers.

Especially because Judge Block came painfully close to what would have been a big, big break….

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So I’ve thought about this a lot….

Emily Bazelon, senior editor at Slate and author of Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy (affiliate link), responding to Stephen Colbert’s query, “Do you think I’m a bully?” The exchange brought Colbert to tears.

(Full video of the interview, after the jump….)

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Well, a piece of me would want her to become a justice instead of a person on television….

– Justice Sonia Sotomayor, in response to Stephen Colbert’s question — “When you go to the Bronx and you see a young girl on a playground there, do you think, ‘That child has the same opportunities I had when I was a child’?” — posed during last night’s episode of the Colbert Report. Sotomayor seemed generally confused, but attempted to play it off as if she had just pulled one over on Colbert.

(Continue reading to see a clip of the interview in question.)

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That's sexual harassment, but you probably want to take it.

* Listen up, internet pirates: if your license plate says “GUILTY,” it’s almost like you’re doing the DOJ’s job for them. More on this later. [Blog of Legal Times]

* Say cheese, because you’ll want to catch this first on camera. Sullivan & Cromwell is serving as lead counsel on Kodak’s bankruptcy case. [Am Law Daily]

* Protesting fail: looks like New York’s Occupy the Courts group won’t even be able to occupy the courthouse steps today. [Bloomberg]

* Stephen Colbert’s lawyer, Trevor Potter of Caplin & Drysdale, is now an internet celebrity. He’s a UVA Law grad, so pop your collars. [Chicago Tribune]

* Sexting extraordinaire Ken Kratz is fighting the suspension of his law license, because if he can’t practice as an “atty,” how can he be the prize? [Wisconsin State Journal]

* Apparently lots of DAs like to sexually harass their coworkers. Myrl Serra has been sentenced to one year for exposing himself at the office. [Denver Post]

Natalee Holloway

* What’s funnier here? The fact that Stephen Colbert is running for “president of the United States of South Carolina,” or the fact that he’s already beating Jon Huntsman in the polls? [Washington Post]

* Notorious New Jersey defense attorney Paul Bergrin’s second racketeering trial has been postponed and may be delayed indefinitely, but he’s such a pimp that he doesn’t even care. [The Record]

* According to a new study, 80 percent of law students surveyed said they would attend law school again if they could start over. Hey, any way to escape a dead-end job market. [National Law Journal]

* Unfortunately, not everyone impaneled for jury duty gets to have the Pauly Shore experience. Some people just get fired — even law firm receptionists. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* The day after Joran van der Sloot pleaded guilty to another girl’s murder, a judge declared Natalee Holloway was legally dead. Sometimes coincidence has great timing. [New York Daily News]

* Can you put a “White Only” sign outside of your apartment complex’s public pool? Nope, still illegal. That’s an antique that you might want to consider leaving up in the attic. [ABC News]

* Got fired because you love prostitutes and strippers? Don’t sue over your “hurt feelings,” because apparently all of the bros in the oil and gas industry love them, too. [The Snitch / SF Weekly]

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