What Justice Ginsburg Gets

It wasn’t remotely surprising that right out of the box, someone like Michelle Dauber would find some way to spin it.

The legal profession does not care about sexual assault and lawyers will protect each other and the profession pretty much no matter what.

The problem was that she was constrained to attack an unattackable voice, the Notorious RBG. Obviously, it couldn’t be that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a rape apologist or misogynist, as her feminist bona fides, not to mention intelligence and legal acumen, soared so far above the puny Dauber’s that it was untouchable. So she aimed her arrows at lawyers, generally. And as one might expect of a non-lawyer Stanford lawprof, she missed the target completely. Continue reading

Offending Maeve

The Pantheon of female comedians runs from the indomitable Carol Burnett and Phyllis Diller  to the banal but foul Samantha Bee. It used to include Sarah Silverman, but her name can no longer be mentioned. And then there’s Maeve Higgins. “Who,” you ask? You don’t know her name because she’s been canceled, but she would have to matter before anyone would bother to cancel her. And she doesn’t matter, except to the New York Times.

I’ve been doing standup comedy for 14 years, and at some point, I came to despise it. It made me feel bad about myself, mostly. The thing I find hardest is the bullying nature, the punching down. I’ve heard comics onstage mock women and gay people and black people in a variety of ways that still manage to say nothing new. I’ve sat in grimy green rooms and witnessed the ego bloat that comes with applause and money, the rewards that come from maintaining the status quo. It’s gross. But I stay for the rare and magic flashes of connection.

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Fear of the Flies

A comment by Skink the other day reminded me of a guest post that never happened. Out of the blue, I heard from a lawprof friend who sought to push me to write more about what was happening internally within the New York Legal Aid Society. I was sent a bunch of internal emails which were graphic and appalling.*

I replied that I couldn’t do it. I wouldn’t do it. If there were problems at LAS, then someone from LAS should come forward to say so, to tell the story of what the problems are. Not only wasn’t it my place to “explain” their view of internal problems, but enough already. Was there not a person in all of the Legal Aid Society with the balls to come forward to speak out?

At that point, there was no one willing to come forward to tell what was really happening at LAS other than my dear friend, Appellate Squawk, whose travails at the storming of her blog by the townsfolk carrying their pitchforks and torches were well documented. Later, another brave soul who showed the fortitude to speak publicly was Cynthia Taylor, but she was suing LAS which allowed public defenders to claim her words were tainted by self-interest. Continue reading

The Chief Justice’s Hubby

Few entrenched machines ran better than Chicago’s, or lasted as long. One of the dinosaurs of the Democratic cash machine was Alderman Ed Burke, who owned the 14th Ward. Somebody had to run it, so why not Burke?

Until this year, Burke’s 14th Ward organization was one of the only pure political machines in the country. The other is Madigan’s 13th Ward.

But the king of the 14th now faces 14 federal counts of corruption. Federal prosecutors earlier this year accused Burke of extorting the owners of a Burger King, allegedly withholding a remodeling permit in order to pressure them to hire his private law firm to handle their property tax appeals.

He’s under indictment, which is what he should be if there is evidence to support the allegations that he’s corrupt. Problem solved? Not for his wife. Continue reading

It Was The Best Of Times, It Was The Worst Of Times

The Los Angeles Times

It “got” it. Regardless of the hysteria, the lies, the emotions and the mindless outrage over the lenient Brock Turner sentence, the LA Times recognized that the legacy of Stanford non-lawyer lawprof Michelle Dauber’s war against Judge Aaron Persky would be to strike fear in the hearts of judges should they show more mercy than the mob would allow.

The problem is not what happened to Persky. The problem is how his recall will affect all the other California trial judges, some 1,500 of them, who now may be more likely to craft their sentencing decisions to take into account the degree to which an angry public wants the defendant punished.

Being California-centric, it focused only on its own judges. And indeed, the message was heard, loud and clear, throughout California. The idea of recall because a lawful sentence that fell short of the angry women’s demand for retribution would have seemed ridiculous before. That was no longer the case. #ThemToo. Continue reading

Fist Shaking And The Post Unseen

I wrote a long post this morning about the New York Times “news analysis” of Deborah Ramirez’s accusations against Brett Kavanaugh. I wrote it, but you won’t read it because after I was done, I decided not to publish it. I’ll explain.

The post was comprised of two parts, the first of which was about what’s wrong with trying decades-old accusations against the now-confirmed Kavanaugh, particularly using the weaselly language and guilt by innuendo reflected in the Times’ article, the worst sort of play to confirmation bias around.

But the more important part was where the young lawyers, the ones who inform me regularly that they’re far smarter and more aware than old lawyers who just don’t get it, would rather put their effort into rationalizing their woke outcomes than defending the core principles of criminal defense, public defense, against the conflation of “credible” allegations and guilt. Continue reading

Scapegoating The Sacklers

The Sackler family owned Purdue Pharma and made billions, which immediately marks them as evil in a world where fabulous wealth is prima facie evidence of wrongdoing. But there’s more beef to the claim than mere wealth.

Earlier this week, thousands of municipal governments and nearly two dozen states tentatively reached a settlement with the Sackler family and the company it owns, Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin.

The argument is that Purdue, and by extension the Sacklers, aggressively pushed oxy onto physicians, who prescribed it with reckless abandon, whose patients used it to excess, became addicted, had it in their medicine cabinets for their kids to steal, and produced an opioid epidemic. Or to put the argument in more realistic context, there’s an opioid crisis, people died and are dying, and someone must pay. Who better than the fabulously wealthy Sacklers who got the benefit of oxy? Continue reading

Let No Huffman Go Free

The government asked for a month. The defense asked for probation. District of Massachusetts Judge Indira Talwani split the difference, imposing a sentence of 14 days incarceration (plus a $30,000 fine and 250 hours of community service, which nobody bothers to notice since only jail time seems to matter to outsiders) on Felicity Huffman.

Naturally, this “light” sentence, when a faithful application of 18 U.S.C. § 3553 would have been a slam dunk for probation, revealed the festering boil of hypocritical pus of the unduly passionate.

And indeed, the government played the idiot’s game in its effort to make sure Huffman saw a cell. Continue reading

Seaton: Florida Man and the Stolen Title Belt

Last Friday I shared the ridiculous story of Chris Jericho and the “stolen” All Elite Wrestling World Championship belt. This week, the story’s gotten more ridiculous, and I would be remiss if I didn’t provide the SJ readership with the Paul Harvey* on the matter.

Turns out the Tallahassee Police Department doesn’t deserve credit for recovering the AEW World Title. A well-intentioned Florida Man celebrating his 41st birthday deserves Mr. Jericho’s gratitude.

Frank Price, listed as the assistant director for the Florida Natural Areas Inventory at Florida State University, spotted a scuffed up velvet bag in a turn lane while returning home from a scalloping** expedition with friends on his birthday. Continue reading

4th Circuit Says Fed Taint Team Stinks

Before the raid on Trump lawyer turned defendant turned snitch turned inmate, Michael Cohen, the idea of the feds raiding a law office to rifle through the files would offend the sensibilities of most rational people. But since Cohen was Trump’s lawyer, rational people were hard to find, and since Cohen turned out to be less than the poster boy for legal integrity and copped a plea, cries of impropriety rang hollow.

So now raiding law offices, particularly the law offices of real, actual, criminal defense lawyers is no big thing?

A prominent Baltimore defense lawyer has been accused of helping drug dealers commit and cover up crimes, and a second has been accused of obstructing justice on behalf of the first, who is a client, according to documents filed in a federal appeals court.

Neither Ken Ravenell, the first attorney, nor Joshua Treem, the second, has been charged with a crime.

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