War on Terror

football 2.jpg* Yet another lawsuit against Cracker Barrel, and again it has nothing to do with how greasy and soggy the omelets are. Just saying. [CNN]
* Banning fun? They’re turning grade school into law school! [CNN]
* You’ve already heard about the melee between FIU and Miami (FL). But check out this Ivy League brawl, which brings to mind an old Onion article. [MSNBC]
* Keith Olbermann: “And if Justice Kennedy tries to change us back, we can always call him an enemy combatant.” Professor Turley lays the smack down on executive agrandizement and the new habeas law. [MSNBC]
* Note to self: if you agree to sell something for $139 million, don’t bring your buddies up to check it out during a party. But if you must, make one of those buddies a superlawyer. [WSJ Law Blog; DealBreaker]
For you fantasy football tip-seekers, see you after the jump

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Morning Docket: 10.19.06″

attorney man comic attorneyman.gif* Lawyer facing 30 years gets 28 months for the terrorism equivalent of passing a note in class. [New York Times]
* This guy is talking major smack about the Constitution. Where does he get off speaking his mind in a free press? And all without the fear of having the king’s soldiers quartered in his residence! [L.A. Times]
* Coming soon to a comic-con near you: ” By becoming a more skillful listener and communicator, Attorney Man masters the art of sales and develops a healthy roster of supersatisfied clients. `Wow! Look at those learned hands!’ one client gushes admiringly.” [Boston Globe via WSJ Law Blog]
* Another stock scandal for a high ranking government official. Who’d have thought the former chairman of the F.D.A. Obesity Working Group would come up with an easy way to make money. [N.Y. Times]
* Nadine and Nino go mano-a-mano this weekend on CSPAN (Washington’s ESPN). Says the mildly-worded AP article, “Scalia… generally finds himself taking the opposite position to the ACLU.” [Law.com]

mark foley.JPG* “If Mark Foley had sex with a page in the District of Columbia, it wouldn’t be a crime. In the capital, the age of consent is 16, as it is in many states. That, coincidentally, is the minimum age to be a page.” [Los Angeles Times]
* The Sixth Circuit has placed Judge Anna Diggs Taylor’s warrantless wiretapping handiwork on hold. [Detroit Free Press via How Appealing]
* Some benchslapping of the government, courtesy of Second Circuit Judge Jon O. Newman: “Beatings? Exposure to air-conditioning after standing in the rain? Needless strip-searches? Never approached a due process violation? If I thought your client really believed that, I’ve got to tell you, I’d be really troubled.” [New York Times]
* The other shoe has dropped in the HP leak investigation scandal: criminal charges have been filed against former chairwoman Patricia Dunn and four others. [New York Times]
* Apple joins the options backdating scandal club. [New York Times; WSJ Law Blog]

burka burqa burkha burqha.jpg* An investigation by the Justice Department Inspector General reveals that the Bureau of Prisons doesn’t have enough staff to monitor communications of imprisoned terrorists with the outside world, including mail and phone calls. [Washington Post]
(And what about Instant Messenger? “What ya wearing?” “A burka.” “Love to slip it off you…”)
* The Supreme Court kicks off October Term 2005 — and J. Lo is in the house. José Antonio López’s appeal raises the question of what constitutes a “felony punishable under the Controlled Substances Act” (which the Court has grappled with before, and surely will again). [New York Times; Los Angeles Times; Washington Post]
* That wacky Ninth Circuit ruling from earlier this year, holding that arresting the homeless for sleeping on streets and sidewalks constitutes “cruel and unusual punishment,” may be coming home back to the shelter to roost. It could jeopardize Los Angeles’s attempted crackdown on homeless encampments. [Los Angeles Times]
* Larry Sonsini’s reputation has been tarnished by his involvement in the HP and options backdating scandals. But he’s got all his life to live, he’s got all his love to give; he will survive… [WSJ Law Blog]
* Ex-Comverse Technology CEO Kobi Alexander, wanted back in the United States on options backdating charges, is granted bail by a Namibian court, over U.S. objections. Those starstruck Namibians! Ever since Brangelina, they’re suckers for the rich and (in)famous. [Associated Press]

* Senate approves broad new rules to try detainees. [New York Times; Bashman linkwrap]
* Senate House grandstands over Hewlett-Packard as most witnesses take Fifth; libertarians celebrate that time wasted is time not spent passing new appropriations. [New York Times; WaPo]
* Verizon Wireless piles on against H-P. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Observers suggest Supreme Court cases over abortion might be contentious. You think? [Legal Times]
* Dozen Iraqi journalists arrested under new law against criticism of government. See? They’re already following in our footsteps up to the Alien and Sedition Acts! [New York Times]
* Belgium rules sifting of bank data illegal. [WaPo]
* California court hearing testimony over how many angels can dance on the pinhead of an anesthesized Death Row inmate. [Bashman linkwrap]
* Louisiana appellate court strikes down med-mal damages cap for failure to index to inflation, providing another excuse for doctors not to return to post-Katrina New Orleans. [Point of Law]
* New York Times writes thumbsucker on the Pirro marriage. [New York Times]

brangelina branjelina.jpgHey, it’s not yet noon — so we can still call this “Morning Docket.”
(Sorry for the delay. But if you care about actual legal news, as opposed to our crude musings on them, you really should go here or here instead.)
* BREAKING: Ann Baskins just resigned as general counsel of HP. And her lawyer, K. Lee Blalack 2nd of O’Melveny & Myers, said that she will not answer questions at today’s congressional hearings into the HP leak investigation scandal. [New York Times]
* Apparently Namibia is good for things other than harboring baby-bearing celebrities. Kobi Alexander — who is not an NBA player, but the ex-CEO of Comverse Technology — has been found in the African nation. As you may recall, after he was indicted on federal criminal charges arising out of alleged options backdating, Alexander became a fugitive. [Wall Street Journal via WSJ Law Blog]
* Not all internet sickos are creepy white men like John Mark Karr. There are a few ladies out there, too. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via How Appealing]
* Federal prosecutors are looking into whether Jeanine Pirro, anti-porn prosecutrix and the Republican candidate for New York attorney general, illegally taped conversations of her husband, to figure out if he was having (another) affair. Her partner in (possible) crime: Bernard Kerik, the former New York City police commissioner and ill-fated pick for DHS Secretary. [New York Times]
(Anyone have a link to the tapes? We heard them on the news this morning, and Pirro repeatedly drops the F-bomb. It’s pretty awesome.)
* The long and tortuous path to legislation governing the treatment of terror detainees may be reaching an end — and not a moment too soon, since this story is kinda hard to follow. And a bit boring. And torture generally doesn’t lend itself to humor opportunities. But see here. [New York Times; How Appealing (linkwrap)]
* We described the HP leak investigation scandal as a “made-for-television movie” well before Rep. Dianna Degette (D. Colo.) did. [WSJ Law Blog]

ken wainstein kenneth wainstein kenneth l wainstein.jpgOkay, so he’s no Alice Fisher — the ball-busting, badass blonde, recently confirmed to head the DOJ’s Criminal Division, who has white-collar criminals shaking in their boots. But he’s still a highly regarded attorney — and pretty cute, too.
So ATL sends its congratulations to Kenneth L. Wainstein, just confirmed by the Senate as assistant attorney general for the Department’s brand-new National Security Division (NSD). Previously Wainstein served as U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.
The Wall Street Journal — which criticized the Democrats for holding up Wainstein’s nomination 4-evah — describes Ken Wainstein’s new job as follows:

Mr. Wainstein is waiting to fill a new post recommended in last year’s Robb-Silberman report to further break down the “wall” between intelligence and law enforcement. The new post would bring Justice’s counterespionage, counterintelligence and wiretapping units under one Assistant AG. Mr. Wainstein would also be the law enforcement world’s primary liaison with the intelligence community.

President Bush approved the change, Congress authorized it while renewing the Patriot Act earlier this year, and Mr. Wainstein’s offices are humming with computers. All that’s missing is a leader.

Letting Wainstein go through was a smart move for the Democrats. We’re no political strategists, but we do know this much: With an election just a few weeks away, it’s unwise for the Democrats to hold up the nomination of someone with the words “National Security” in his title.
Wainstein, by the way, is putting together a real A-team of legal talent over at the NSD, including several members of the Elect. As we previously reported, one of them is conservative legal superstar Brett Gerry — the Silbermaniac and former Kennedy clerk, who was associate general counsel to the Robb-Silberman commission. Also onboard: John Demers (O’Scannlain/Scalia), the affable legal genius who previously did a tour of duty with the Office of Legal Counsel (which works on many national security issues).
So congrats again to Ken Wainstein. And best of luck to his band of brainiacs, as they tackle some of the toughest issues facing our nation.
Kenneth Wainstein bio [WhiteHouse.gov]
Gonzales Statement on Confirmation of Ken Wainstein as Assistant Attorney General for National Security Division [DOJ Press Release]
Security Holdup [Wall Street Journal (subscription)]
Earlier: Congratulations to Alice Fisher!
The White House Counsel’s Office: Here Comes the Cavalry

enron logo.gif(Yeah, we know, today’s “Morning Docket” is coming in just in time for lunch. Sorry, we overslept…)
* Former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling is facing 20 to 30 years in prison when he’s sentenced next month — but he can still get himself into even more trouble. Impressive. [Houston Chronicle via WSJ Law Blog]
* Elsewhere in Enron-land, ex-CFO Andy Fastow is seeking leniency in advance of his sentencing next week. Did you know he built a picnic table at his synagogue? [Washington Post; WSJ Law Blog]
* Clarence Hill, the death row inmate who sought to challenge the constitutionality of Florida’s lethal injection procedure, was executed last night. The Supreme Court decided, by a 5-4 vote, not to grant him a new stay of execution. [New York Times]
* Something complicated happened in the House concerning the White House’s proposal for interrogating and prosecuting terror suspects. Parliamentary procedure can be so wacky! Let’s face it: Nothing is getting done on this until after the November elections. [Washington Post]
* Hey, that’s neat: “Eugene Volokh” is on ABC’s “Boston Legal.” [How Appealing]

stephen breyer justice.jpg* The Judicial Conference of the United States, the policy-making body for the federal judiciary (but not the SCOTUS), has announced measures to improve the judiciary’s self-policing and public accountability. They include required installation of “conflict checking” software — get with it, Your Honors, that’s long overdue — and enhanced disclosure concerning judicial junkets. [New York Times; Washington Post]
* Speaking of judicial naughtiness, a commission headed by Justice Stephen G. Breyer has concluded that the Ninth Circuit mishandled its investigation of Judge Manuel Real — who is now facing an impeachment inquiry. [Los Angeles Times via How Appealing]
* The latest news in L’Affaire HP: Lawyers all around! HP general counsel Ann Baskins has retained white-collar specialist Cristina Arguedas, and Larry Sonsini has retained Michael Madigan, of Akin Gump. [The Recorder; WSJ Law Blog]
* Trying to come up with legislation to govern interrogation and treatment of terror suspects: Still a big ol’ mess. Wake us up when something’s actually accomplished. [Washington Post; New York Times]

larry w sonsini.jpg* More back-and-forth between the Bush Administration and Congress concerning rules to govern the interrogation of terror suspects. The White House sent Congress a revised proposal last night; a deal could be reached by the end of this week. [Washington Post]
* More developments in the HP leak investigation scandal. The most interesting: even Larry Sonsini (at right), HP’s lead outside lawyer, was pretexted as part of the probe. Heh. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Former Enron exec David Delainey is sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison. [Houston Chronicle via WSJ Law Blog]
* Freelance video journalist and blogger Josh Wolf, who refused to comply with a grand jury subpoena seeking his footage of a political protest, is headed back to jail. [Associated Press]
* Judge Manuel Real (C.D. Cal.) will testify before Congress in response to GOP efforts to impeach him. (Judge Real, by the way, is quite a character; we’ll probably have more to say about this later.) [Daily Journal via How Appealing]

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