Remember David T. Shulick, the Philadelphia lawyer who filed a colorful case that we recently named a Lawsuit of the Day? After his luxury vacation was ruined, Shulick sued two airlines, alleging (among other things) that a sassy baggage agent referred to his wife as a “honkey.”
It feels like I receive at least one email a week from a pissed-off white male. I feel like everywhere I look there is some white person whining, complaining, playing the “victim” card, and moaning about how difficult things are for a white person nowadays. I’m telling you, if white males have to live under a non-white male president for another four years, Ted Nugent is going to start writing spirituals.
Sometimes I respond to these “white plight” emails. Sometimes I get into passionate debates with people. Never do I sit back and say, “Man, white men really are getting screwed on this issue. White power!” I mean, at the end of the day the playing field still ridiculously favors white males. Sometimes white men can’t see it, just like sometimes you can’t tell that the Earth is curved when you’re standing on the ground. But if you look up — and do some math — it’s pretty obvious we live on a sphere, and it’s pretty obvious we live in a society that favors white males.
But I am… open-minded. And my mind was blown wide open when I read a blog post on Just Enrichment about the paucity of white male judges as fictional characters. Without having the resources to do a full-scale survey of every movie or television character in the past twenty years, this guy makes a compelling point that white males are disfavored when it comes to portraying impartial justice.
And I think this guy — Adam Chandler, a 3L at Yale Law School — is absolutely right….
There is this automatic assumption in any legal environment that Asians will have a particular talent for bitter labor. There was this weird self-selection where the Asians would migrate toward the most brutal part of the labor…. White people have this instinct that is really important: to give off the impression that they’re only going to do the really important work. You’re a quarterback. It’s a kind of arrogance that Asians are trained not to have.
– Tim Wu, Columbia law professor and author of The Master Switch, quoted in a very interesting New York magazine piece by Wesley Yang, Paper Tigers: What happens to all the Asian-American overachievers when the test-taking ends?
Sometimes, typos matter — a lot. We’ve seen typos get law firms into all kinds of trouble. And now a typo might ruin the already slim gubernatorial chances of a Green Party candidate.
Running on the Green Party line, Rich Whitney wasn’t likely to become the next Governor of Illinois anyway. But an error at the Chicago Board of Elections will cause Whitney’s name to be misspelled as “Whitey” on some touch screen ballots this November. Of the 23 wards affected by this typo, half of them are in largely African-American districts. And the error cannot not be fixed in time for Election Day.
So yeah, black people in Chicago will be able to vote for “Rich Whitey” this fall.
You remember that scene in Die Hard With a Vengeance where Bruce Willis has to stand in the middle of Harlem while wearing an offensive sandwich board? Things are going to turn out marginally better for Rich Whitney, but clearly Whitney would have been better off changing his last name to “not the whiteman’s bitch.” Or even “Kill Whitey,” as Juggalo Law suggests…
If you spend any time around criminal defense lawyers, progressive lawyers, or people in a black barber shop, you’ll hear the claim that African-American criminal defendants receive harsher sentences than their white counterparts. People have done studies about this, people have written reports about this, people have held conferences about this institutional expression of discrimination.
Rarely do we see anybody trying to do anything about it. There are many reasons this fundamental unfairness persists, but only one of those reasons makes any sense: at the end of the day, nobody wants to be more lenient on a convicted criminal just because that criminal is black. And nobody wants to be more harsh towards a white criminal just because he’s white. So while we have these wide variations in sentencing outcomes, judges can’t re-balance the system from the bench. They have to sentence the criminal in front of them.
But that doesn’t mean judges are blind to the racial injustice of the system. And it doesn’t mean that judges can’t do what they have to in order to make sure that a particular punishment fits the crime.
I’m sure that Judge Joseph Williams of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, will be making all of those arguments shortly. Because he just threw out a plea on the grounds that the prosecutor had been too lenient on the young criminal, just because the criminal is white.
And to be clear, this wasn’t a passing or offhand remark from Judge Williams. Instead, he really laid into the prosecutor in this case…
* I’ll bite: I think a tanning tax is racist. It’s textbook disparate impact. African-Americans have been through enough; we shouldn’t be forced to look at pasty-faced white people all winter. [Concurring Opinions]
* DWI fines are so expensive drunk drivers can’t pay them, so a Texas state senator suggests repealing the law. The things that pass for logic down there are amazing. [Legal Blog Watch]
* Arizona Governor Jan Brewer finds a way to blame Mexico for everything. [Color Lines]
* Meanwhile, in Sacramento, the solution to police budget cuts is to make sure it’s easier for people to carry around concealed handguns. D’uh. When they’re not enough cops you absolutely need people walking around armed to the teeth. Don’t you know that safety smells like hot lead and fresh blood? [Volokh Conspiracy]
* Court orders joint custody … of a Lhasa Apso. I have a Lhasa Apso, and I’m pretty sure my wife only puts up with me so she can see the dog. [ABA Journal]
* This is a pretty interesting way of looking at the LeBron coverage. [Breaking Media]
Here’s a headline from the ABA Journal this morning:
African-American Law Firm Elects Unusual CEO
Unusual, you say? Well, when you click on that link, aren’t you expecting something really outside the box? Maybe they picked a CEO with no private sector experience? Maybe they picked a CEO who used to be in the CIA? Maybe they picked Triumph the Insult Comic Dog? You know, something “unusual.”
But no, here’s the interesting twist to this story:
Detroit-based firm Lewis & Munday, which was founded in 1972 by David Baker Lewis and two African-American partners, named partner Blair Person as its new president and CEO this month… some might find it curious to learn that Person is white.
That’s it? A law firm elected a white guy to be CEO. That’s news? That’s unusual?
Wait, let me back up a second. Aside from the fact that black people founded the place, what the hell makes this an “African-American” law firm? I don’t think you’d see a headline in 2010 calling Wachtell a “Jewish” law firm. And what in God’s name is unusual about black owners selecting a white person to run their business? In short, what the hell is going here?
- Bush v. Gore, Diarmuid O'Scannlain, Fabulosity, Fashion, Gibson Dunn, Parties, Pictures, Robert Bork, Sandra Day O'Connor, Ted Olson, Weddings, White People
“Okay, Judge Bork. Smile and say ‘The Original Understanding’!!!”
Earlier this week, we gave you a detailed report about the fabulous nuptials of Ted Olson — the winning lawyer in Bush v. Gore, former Solicitor General, and current Gibson Dunn partner — and his beautiful and brilliant bride, Lady Booth.* The Olson wedding was attended by the crème de la crème of D.C. and conservative legal circles.
Now we have an update to our prior coverage, an ATL exclusive: WEDDING PICTURES!!! And they’re not boring, like the ones your college roommate makes you look at every time you visit her house. Did Justice Sandra Day O’Connor attend your college roommate’s wedding?
Check out the pics — there are just a few of them, it won’t take you long — after the jump.