Wisconsin

Ann Althouse

* The town of Sedgwick, Maine, has declared “food sovereignty,” giving its citizens the right “to produce, process, sell, purchase, and consume local foods of their choosing,” without regard to state or federal law. Preemption? The Supremacy Clause? Eat it. [Food Renegade]

* Speaking of chaos, Wisconsin law professor Ann Althouse wonders: “Who will win and who will lose in the recall madness?” [Althouse]

* Elsewhere in the Midwest, a blogger who didn’t commit defamation is nevertheless held liable under alternative theories that media law professor Jane Kirtley describes as “trash torts.” We no like. [Minneapolis Star-Tribune via Consumerist]

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: birthday girl.

* A young couple that has been fined for their noisy kid might take legal action against their homeowners’ association. Do they have a toddler’s leg to stand on? [MyFoxDFW.com]

* Happy Birthday, Justice Ginsburg! You don’t look a day over 78. [Vault]

* We previously mentioned the ATL contest for NCAA picks — click here, join the group “Above the Law Blog” with the password “abovethelaw”, and fill out a bracket — but we also encourage you to join the Dealbreaker contest (which has much nicer prizes). [Dealbreaker]

* Johnson & Johnson will have to fix several factories after an agreement with the FDA prompted by massive product recalls. This still doesn’t explain why my bottle of Tylenol may contain tree nuts. [Bloomberg]

* Charlie Sheen hammered out a custody agreement With Brooke Mueller. That’s nice. [People Magazine]

* Texas may consider a law that would make losers pay attorneys’ fees. Easy, New York Mets. Not all losers. Just those who lose lawsuits. [New York Times]

* A discussion of the legal complaints lodged against the Wisconsin Legislature for Wednesday night’s votes. You know who’s not complaining? This guy. [Wisconsin State Journal]

* A former assistant attorney general from Maine was sentenced yesterday in a child porn case. This is definitely the year of the assistant AG. [ABA Journal]

Happy Birthday Nino

* Not all people living in Idaho are racists, duh. Some are gangsters from Boston. [New York Times]

* Law firm profits and productivity were up in 2010, while demand was flat and revenue was modestly up. Someone named Dan DiPietro and someone named Gretta Rusanow tag-teamed a report all about it. [Am Law Daily]

* A former McGuireWoods partner pleaded guilty to falsifying a tax document. [ABA Journal]

* Linda Greenhouse wishes Justice Scalia a happy 75th birthday. Sort of. [The Opinionator / New York Times]

Mel Gibson

* Mel Gibson has reached a plea agreement in a battery case involving his ex-girlfriend. #losing #BeaverBlood [Associated Press]

* Meanwhile, Lilo isn’t accepting her plea deal. No ma’am. Not for all the Texas booger sugar in the world. Well, maybe for all the Texas booger sugar. But that wasn’t really offered. [New York Post]

* A look at Jowls McRaisinhead’s Arlen Specter’s move to solo practice. [Legal Intelligencer via WSJ Law Blog]

* The Wisconsin Senate passed sweeping curbs on collective bargaining yesterday. The protesters are still howling, but I wonder how loud they’ll be when Pinkertons shove batons in their faces. That’s not actually happening. I just have a fairly violent and anachronistic imagination. [Reuters]

* House Republicans have gone meta in promising a defense of the Defense of Marriage Act. [Los Angeles Times]

* State Senator Carl Kruger, of Brooklyn, will turn himself in on corruption charges today. Big up to Crooklyn. [New York Times]

* Coach Sweater Vest’s hilarious understanding of attorney-client privilege is hilarious. [The Lantern]

* Profits per partner at Kirkland & Ellis topped $3 million in 2010, and the firm boosted its revenue even though it shed some lawyers. I Can Has Spring Bonus? [Am Law Daily]


Start messing with democracy and you'll find tyranny at your front door.

Earlier this week, I compared Wisconsin to a North African country. Now I think that comparison is unfair to North African countries.

The crisis in Wisconsin continues. Democratic state legislators are still on the lam from their jobs, denying the Wisconsin legislature the quorum necessary to conduct state business.

Some of our commenters think that fleeing the state to avoid a quorum call is just another procedural right given to the minority party, kind of like an ultimate filibuster. I think that’s a self-serving analysis. Quorum rules are there because reliable motorized transportation is a relatively modern innovation. Quorum rules are there because laws shouldn’t be passed by the first two guys to show up to work in the morning. Legislators don’t have a right to flee the state as a political maneuver to prevent democracy from occurring.

Of course, if Wisconsin Democrats don’t want to respect democracy, Wisconsin Republicans are more than happy to give them a big dose of tyranny. That’s just how Republicans roll…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Wisconsin Senate Is One Step Away From Hiring Dog the Bounty Hunter To Bring Back Democrats”

Is Wisconsin experiencing the worst Super Bowl hangover ever?

Is there a huge difference between living in a North African country and living in the state of Wisconsin right now? Can somebody please send in Richard Engel to conduct an interview with a bearded lumberjack making a barricade out of cheese?

In case you haven’t been following along (and I understand that it’s not as exciting as the next Charlie Sheen interview), Wisconsin no longer has a functioning government. I’m not exaggerating. The Republican Governor, Scott Walker, and the Republican legislature basically want to take away the right of unions to collectively bargain.

In response, Democrats have fled the state. Again, I’m not exaggerating here. Instead of allowing democracy, however disagreeable the outcome, to play out, 14 Democratic legislators have simply decided not to play. They’ve fled, preventing the legislature from getting together a quorum to vote on Walker’s budget.

And man, are there protests. It’s getting to the point where if Wisconsin had a functioning government, it would probably declare martial law….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Wisconsin Police State”

David J. Stern

* A Florida lawyer says he’s a psychic who can commune with the dead. Maybe he’ll be having a chat with his legal career soon. [WFTV Orlando]

* How can crazy cabbies avoid lawsuits from crazier passengers in New York? “Cabs shouldn’t pick up women.” Duh. [New York Daily News]

* Obamacare might be dead to Virginia and Wisconsin, but it’s still alive and kicking in their state budgets. [Bloomberg]

* Lawyers say that the drug Requip turned a man with Parkinson’s into a gay sex addict. [Healthland / Time]

* What do you get when you bet on the foreclosure boom caused by your own company’s alleged fraud? Fifty-cent stock shares. Have fun with that, David J. Stern. [New York Times]

* Scheiße! A German porn company was forced to drop a lawsuit against creepers who downloaded “The Good Uncle.” Ugh, I don’t even want to know what kind of porn that is. [Digital Media Wire]

* A personal injury firm is trying to stop people from slipping and falling. They may want to reevaluate their marketing campaign. [Proof and Hearsay / Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel]

Padma Lakshmi

* Breast implants linked to cancer, looking awesome. [Associated Press]

* A Russian man is accused of posing as an immigration lawyer and stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from fellow countrymen. Police say they knew he was lying when he began doing bizarre, and ridiculously obvious, things with Oreos. [Sun-Sentinel]

* You know how I know President Obama’s latest nominee to the S.D.N.Y, J. Paul Oetken, is gay? Because this article says so. Bonus: Lat quotes! [Poliglot / Metro Weekly]

* “Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi is treating her baby’s dad like a bottom feeder.” [New York Post]

* Allen “The Ponz” Stanford was found incompetent to stand trial. Aaaaaayyyyyy *thumbs* [Reuters]

* Before the rampage, Jared Lee Loughner performed internet searches on famous assassins, the death penalty, solitary confinement, and law firm bonuses. I think that’s right. [New York Times]

* A Wisconsin attorney was sentenced to four years in prison on his 40th birthday, which reminds me of one of my favorite Onion articles. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

* Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler, who wants to moonlight as an attorney, isn’t saying state salaries are too low. He’s just saying. [Bloomberg]

Court approved sippy-cup for lawyers appearing before Judge Gene Gasiorkiewicz.

If you’re a fan of state officials wasting valuable time, resources, and mental energy over issues of decorum and etiquette, you’re going to love Wisconsin Judge Gene Gasiorkiewicz. The Journal Times (gavel bang: ABA Journal) reports that this new Racine County Circuit Court judge has hit the bench with all sorts of decorum rules for lawyers appearing in his courtroom.

Many of the new rules are of the dress-code nature that we’ve come to expect from judges more concerned with style than substance. Judge Gasiorkiewicz requires Reagan-esque “coat and tie” attire in his courtroom. And, of course, ladies must have a mastectomy show absolutely no cleavage. We can’t have judges being distracted by barrel-chested men wearing mock turtlenecks or women with plunging necklines.

But while everybody is aware that judges have the attention span of goldfish and can be easily distracted by attorney attire, nobody expected Judge Gasiorkiewicz to take his Orwellian need for conformity all the way down to the level of beverage holders. But that’s because nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. Lawyers appearing before Judge Gasiorkiewicz now must use court-issued mugs.

And Wisconsin lawyers don’t seem to be pitching a fit over it. Either these attorneys are as docile as dairy cows, or they’ve decided to “let the baby have his bottle”….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Judge of the Day: Wisconsin Jurist Manages to Get a Stick All the Way Up His Butt”

Feast your eyes on 'The Prize.'

Thanks to the internet, your memory is probably getting worse. But surely you remember our recent Lawyer of the Day honoree, District Attorney Kenneth Kratz of Calumet County, Wisconsin.

A domestic violence victim who turned to Kratz’s office for help claims that the DA sexually harassed her via numerous text messages, trying to convince her to have an affair with him. One of his texts read, in pertinent part, “I’m the atty. I have the $350,000 house. I have the 6-figure career. You may be the tall, young, hot nymph, but I am the prize!”

(Someone should put that on a t-shirt: “You may be hot, but I am the prize!”)

Alas, the recipient of Kratz’s “I am the prize” text may not be the only woman he harassed. Two other women have come forward with allegations against the district attorney — and one of them claims Kratz has some weird ideas about what constitutes a fun date….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Sexting District Attorney, Ken ‘I Am the Prize’ Kratz:
Does He See Dead People — On a Date?”

Everyone thinks of Midwesterners as so wholesome. Perhaps this perception is unfounded.

For example, why are Wisconsin lawyers so darn horny? First there were the Biglaw Bad Boys, accused of sexual assault. Now we’re hearing about a government lawyer — an elected district attorney, in fact — who apparently let his libido get the best of him.

Here’s the story: Calumet County District Attorney Kenneth Kratz sent a flurry of text messages to a woman, 30 texts over three days, in an effort to start up an affair with her. The woman, who described Kratz’s harassing texts as putting her through “three days of hell,” was a victim of domestic abuse. Kratz met the woman in course of prosecuting her ex-boyfriend for the violence against her.

OMG. Legal ethics FAIL.

And some of Kratz’s texts are simply 2M2H. Read on, and prepare for the LULZ….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyer of the Day: The Sexting District Attorney – ‘You may be hot… but I am the prize!’

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