Judicial Notice (01.22.22): Much Ado About Masking
High drama at SCOTUS, higher salaries in Biglaw, and other legal news from the week that was.
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This week was productive for me, personally and professionally. On the domestic front, I did grocery shopping at Whole Foods, took our car to the car wash (but made the amateur mistake of going the day before a snowstorm), cooked dinner three times, brought recently acquired artwork to the framing shop, and even baked brownies (no, not from scratch, but the Ghirardelli Brownie Mix is quite good).
On the work front, I published three stories, including an in-depth profile of Cooper & Kirk, the elite D.C. litigation boutique that just turned 25. I also recorded a new episode of Movers, Shakers, and Rainmakers, where my co-host Zach Sandberg and I discussed diversity and inclusion efforts in Biglaw, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. I feel that my 2022 is off to a good start (aside from my eating, health, and fitness—I have gained five pounds so far this year and barely exercised—but I’ll turn to those matters shortly).
Now, on to the news.
Lawyers of the Week: Rudolph Giuliani, Sidney Powell, Jenna Ellis, and Boris Epshteyn.
On Tuesday, the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack issued subpoenas to four lawyers who challenged the 2020 presidential election results on behalf of former president Donald Trump: Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, Jenna Ellis, and Boris Epshteyn. According to Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the committee, “The four individuals we’ve subpoenaed today advanced unsupported theories about election fraud, pushed efforts to overturn the election results, or were in direct contact with the former president about attempts to stop the counting of electoral votes.”
The subpoenas weren’t the only bad news this week for Trump’s self-described “elite strike force team.” On Wednesday, in Trump v. Thompson, the Supreme Court denied Trump’s request to stay a ruling of the D.C. Circuit that rejected his claims of executive privilege over certain White House records. While this ruling didn’t involve the four lawyers, it suggests an unwillingness to protect Trump on the part of SCOTUS (and over at the Washington Post, George Conway explains why the ruling is even worse for Trump than it appears).
How did the lawyers respond? Giuliani’s lawyer, Robert Costello, dismissed the subpoena as “political theater.” Ellis tweeted that “the committee is just mad they can’t date me,” while Epshteyn condemned the House investigation on Twitter as a “Stalinist witch hunt against President Trump and his supporters.” But Sidney Powell had the most interesting response of all:
Ms. Powell has received the January 6 Committee’s subpoena, and she looks forward to providing the Committee with significant evidence in support of the election fraud statements and claims she presented on behalf of the electors and clients she represented….
Ms. Powell looks forward to appearing before the Committee to answer questions, walk through the evidence, and present a full picture of the fraud and other misconduct that took place during the 2020 Election, including the myriad of election fraud allegations only now being examined by state officials in Georgia, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.
It sounds like Sidney Powell plans to #ReleaseTheKraken on the House Committee. Grab some popcorn and fire up C-SPAN for true must-see TV.
Judges of the Week: Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Neil M. Gorsuch.
Okay, pull up a chair, and let’s talk about Maskgate….
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