Ted Frank

Jessica Cutler Washingtonienne Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgThis news is a bit mystifying to us. From the Associated Press:

Jessica Cutler, the former Senate aide whose online sex diary landed her a book deal and a Playboy photo spread but got her kicked off Capitol Hill, has filed for bankruptcy….

Cutler has spent much of her time [recently] fending off a lawsuit by ex-boyfriend and fellow DeWine staffer Robert Steinbuch, who claims Cutler’s blog publicly humiliated him. He is seeking more than $20 million in damages.

In court documents filed in the case Thursday, however, Cutler says she can’t even pay her American Express bill, legal fees and student loans. She submitted to the judge a copy of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition filed in New York dated Wednesday.

The lawsuit is being closely watched by online privacy groups and bloggers because the case could help establish whether people who keep online diaries are obligated to protect the privacy of the people they interact with offline.

Our advice to Jessica: retain William P. Smith to represent you in bankruptcy court. You can pay his fees in “Happy Meals.”
On a more serious note: How did the Washingtonienne wind up in this financial predicament?
We’re not so good with math, so please help us out. We run some numbers, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Breaking: Jessica Cutler Files for Bankruptcy”

When President Bush delivered the State of the Union last night, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was not one of the four Supreme Court justices in attendance.

Oddly enough, however, Justice Ginsburg and President Bush aren’t as far apart as one might think. They share something in common:

Both Justice Ginsburg and President Bush were cheerleaders!!!

President Bush’s career as a college cheerleader is well-known. But did you know that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a cheerleader too, at Madison High School, in Brooklyn, New York?

We are not kidding. More details available from Ted Frank. It goes without saying that we would LOVE a copy of that yearbook photo.

UPDATE: Alas, the link to Ted Frank’s blog no longer works. But you can read about Justice Ginsburg’s cheerleading career, as well as her other high school activities, over here.

Look, anything is possible. If little Olive Hoover (Abigail Breslin) can be a beauty pageant contestant, in Little Miss Sunshine — which just snagged Oscar nominations for Best Picture and for Breslin’s performance, among others — then surely RBG can be a cheerleader.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg cheerleader beauty queen Little Miss Sunshine.JPG

Justice Ginsburg, cheerleader [Lagniappe / Ted Frank]

arm & hammer crack cocaine.jpegAs one of you has noted, our favorite pro se lawsuit, filed back in 2003, has already been decided.
Interested in seeing how the case was resolved? Check out the published opinion: Ward v. Arm & Hammer, 341 F.Supp.2d 499 (2004).
Ted Frank has the link, plus commentary. Click here to satisfy your curiosity.
Because we all love wacky pro se suits: Ward v. Arm & Hammer [Overlawyered]
Earlier: Ward v. Arm & Hammer: What Do You Think?
The Fine Line Separating Pro Se Litigants, Plaintiffs’ Lawyers, and Law Professors

Richard Posner Richard A Posner Above the Law Legal Blog.jpgBecause this distinguished and brilliant jurist seems rather grumpy as of late. Last week, in a published opinion, he slapped around the IRS.
And now Judge Richard Posner — who, by the way, will be assuming virtual form later this month — delivers stinging benchslaps to lawyers for playing fast and loose with jurisdiction:

[T]he lawyers have wasted our time as well as their own and (depending on the fee arrangements) their clients’ money. We have been plagued by the carelessness of a number of the lawyers practicing before the courts of this circuit with regard to the required contents of jurisdictional statements in diversity cases.

It is time, as we noted in BondPro, that this malpractice stopped. We direct the parties to show cause within 10 days why counsel should not be sanctioned for violating Rule 28(a)(1) and mistaking the requirements of diversity jurisdiction. We ask them to consider specifically the appropriateness, as a sanction, of their being compelled to attend a continuing legal education class in federal jurisdiction.

Ouch. But query whether forced attendance at a CLE class on federal jurisdiction constitutes “cruel and unusual punishment” under the Eighth Amendment.
Continued commentary, after the jump.

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The AEI panel discussion on Watters v. Wachovia Bank that we were liveblogging earlier has ended. Our quick thoughts on the question-and-answer session, after the jump.

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Ted Frank AEI Above the Law.gifThe televised event that we put in a plug for earlier today is now underway, on C-Span. And it’s actually not just a conversation with Ted Frank (at right), much as we’d enjoy that. It’s a full-blown panel discussion, sponsored by AEI, on Watters v. Wachovia Bank, to be argued before the Supreme Court tomorrow.
The topic — preemption of state banking regulation by federal banking law — is technical, complicated, and perhaps dry-seeming to some. But we’re tuned in, and finding it interesting. (Caveat: We may not be the typical viewer. We’re geekily fasincated by preemption, just as we are by ERISA, a statute that frequently raises preemption questions.)
We’re also enjoying the occasional camera shots of the audience. E.g., the woman in Kermit-the-Frog green, who was vigorously scratching her nose (and whose facial expression suggested she was oddly intrigued by the nasal itchiness).
When television cameras are in the room, you really must be on your best behavior.
More observations, after the jump.

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Beyonce Above the Law.JPG* Former ATL guest blogger Ted Frank — of Overlawyered, Point of Law, and Table 42 fame — will be on C-SPAN today, at 2 PM (Eastern time). He’ll be discussing federal regulatory action and the Roberts Court. [C-SPAN]
* If you haven’t done so already, add the excellent JD Bliss to your RSS reader or blogroll. And not just ’cause we were recently interviewed by them. [JDBliss: Balancing Life and the Law]
* The music video for Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable” is not to be missed. The visual contrast between “urbane” Beyonce, with her meticulous make-up and perfectly straight hair, and “feral” Beyonce, drenched by a gushing fire hydrant, is jaw-dropping. And the image of her wet hand, snaking deliciously across her black-leather-swathed derrière, is arresting and indelible. WOW!!! [YouTube]
(We can’t wait to see Beyonce in Dreamgirls, directed by Bill Condon — a graduate of our alma mater, just like Plamegate prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald.)

We previously provided you with our photographic coverage of the Federalist Society’s annual dinner, held last Thursday at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, DC. Now we offer a short (and admittedly belated) write-up of the proceedings.
For more systematic accounts of the dinner, check out the news links collected at the end of this post. For our more idiosyncratic reflections, read on — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “From the Belly of the Beast: An Evening With Scalito (Part 1)”

apple pie.jpgThis is one sure way to cut down on frivolous litigation. The Code of Hammurabi could be pretty badass.
And how would the Code treat unjustified lawsuits alleging overly hot coffee? Here’s our guess:

If any one bring an accusation of negligence against makers of hot coffee, and does not prove what he has charged, he shall be forced to eat TEN fried McDonald’s apple pies, straight out of the fryer.

Yes, McDonald’s phased out the fried apple pie with the super-hot filling. But surely they had it in ancient Babylon, given their advanced civilization.
(And you can still find this delicacy at a few other restaurants. Check out the McDonald’s Fried Apple Pie Locator for an establishment near you.)
Loser Pays, Babylonian-Style [Point of Law]
Two more hot coffee lawsuit data points [Overlawyered]

* Bill Childs disses AEI’s parties. He just doesn’t appreciate a good formal gala. [TortsProf Blog]
* FAA regulations: comply with weirded-out flight attendant at all times, no matter how irrational she is. [Prettier Than Napoleon]
* Apple claims right to word “podcast”; next: all soundwaves between 4500 and 6000 MHz. [Overlawyered]
* Blogs can be used against you in court. Duh. [Boston Globe via Elefant]
* Soon to be issued to all incoming associates. [The Billable Hour]
* The first judicial citation to CuteOverload.com. [Volokh]
* Two new books attack string theory; class action lawsuit against Stephen Hawking’s “Brief History of Time” inevitable. [New Yorker]
* “I keep forgetting how women are disadvantaged by having to write a research agenda, but I am sure they have to be. Somehow. Always disadvantaged.” [Kate Litvak comment on PrawfsBlawg]
* Dom Deluise is not only still alive, but can legally sue his litigious ex-daughter-in-law’s lawyer. [Overlawyered]
* Weird Al Yankovic also alive, has aspirations of Jeremy Blachman-dom. [Overlawyered]
* Some might call it clever marketing of E. coli lawsuits, but I say it’s spinach and I say to hell with it. [Wall Street Journal]
* It’s not too late to download my law review article, and move me higher on the dowload rankings. [SSRN]
* Protest demands recognition of zombie legal rights: “What do we want?” “BRAINS!” “When do we want it?” “BRAINS!” [Boing Boing]
* Upcoming deadline #1: The statute of limitations for suing Merck over Vioxx expires for many many putative plaintiffs today. Court clerks will be busy as attorneys forum shop. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Upcoming deadline #2: The Days of Awe end Sunday, and Yom Kippur starts Sunday night. Stephen Colbert offers a toll-free number, 1-888-OOPS-JEW, if you wish to atone to him. The recorded disclaimer alone (and Colbert’s addendum afterwards) makes it worth it, but you get what you pay for. [News From Me]
* It has nothing to do with the law, but how can we avoid mentioning this important press release on Kazakh-Uzbek relations? [Borat.tv]

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