Judicial Notice (10.14.23): May It Please The Court
First-time SCOTUS advocates, an unfortunate judge-clerk romance, Kim Kardashian's counsel, and other legal news from the week that was.
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Over the past week, I have not been following the legal news as obsessively as I usually do, for obvious reasons. Like everyone else, I have been glued to coverage of the Israel-Hamas war. Our normal concerns seem trivial compared to the violence and destruction in Israel and Gaza that have claimed thousands of lives so far—and will claim thousands more before everything is over.
As I recently suggested, I’m not a fan of people or institutions commenting on news events about which they have no firsthand knowledge or special insight. So I won’t subject you to my thoughts on what’s going on right now in the Middle East—and I have no idea why you’d be interested in my opinion, given my lack of expertise. (That said, I have read numerous statements about it over the past week, and so far I think that the message David Boies issued to his colleagues at Boies Schiller Flexner probably comes closest to representing my current views.)
Now, on to the news—the legal news, about which I actually have a clue.
Lawyers of the Week: Easha Anand, Howard Bashman, Eugene Scalia, Leah Aden, and John Gore.
What do Easha Anand, Howard Bashman, and Eugene Scalia share in common? They all argued before the Court for the first time, all on the same day (Tuesday). This is especially noteworthy in an era when SCOTUS arguments are dominated by a small group of elite advocates who appear again and again and again.
Not that these three aren’t elite; they are known to the justices, even if not for having appeared before them in argument. Anand is a professor at Stanford Law who clerked for Justice Sonia Sotomayor during October Term 2015, Bashman is a veteran appellate advocate and author of the treasured How Appealing legal blog, and Scalia is the former U.S. Labor Secretary and son of the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
And despite their familiarity with the Court, they were all honored and excited to be there, as they told Jenna Greene of Reuters. Anand said that she was “acutely aware that women and attorneys of color still appear at the court too infrequently,” while Scalia said it was a privilege to argue before the court that “meant so much to my father.” As for Bashman—who had previously told Law360 that he “had basically given up hope” of arguing before SCOTUS, a longtime goal of his—he told a group of Villanova Law students who were visiting the Court that day, “Don’t think this couldn’t be you here one day.”
[UPDATE (10/16/2023, 4:12 p.m.): From a reader: “I write to suggest an addition to your Lawyers of the Week. Leah Aden of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund argued for appellees in Alexander v. South Carolina State Conference of the NAACP on Wednesday. This was her first argument before the Supreme Court. Like Ms. Anand, Ms. Aden joins the ranks of a growing number of women of color who have argued before the Court. I hope you will consider recognizing her on Original Jurisdiction.” Agreed! I have added Aden to the list, along with John Gore of Jones Day, who made his SCOTUS debut this week in the same case (discussed in more detail below as Litigation of the Week).]
An update on last week’s Lawyers of the Week: I unintentionally omitted Professor Imani Perry from the list of “genius” lawyers, i.e., lawyers who just won MacArthur Foundation Fellowships. I relied on the ABA Journal for identifying the lawyerly winners, and they omitted Professor Perry as well (perhaps because her current academic appointment at Harvard is in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, not the law school). I apologize for the error.
In memoriam: Frederick Morello, 69, a Georgetown Law grad who practiced employment law in Daytona Beach, died in a skydiving accident in Titusville, Florida. May he rest in peace.
Judge of the Week: Judge David R. Jones.
When judges have romantic relationships with their clerks, things can get… messy. Just ask Bankruptcy Judge David R. Jones (Bankr. S.D. Tex.), who stepped down from the complex-case panel handling major chapter 11 proceedings in Houston—at the request of the Fifth Circuit, which is investigating allegations of misconduct against him. (Please note his middle initial; he should not be confused with Judge David S. Jones (Bankr. S.D.N.Y.), who is not under investigation for anything.)
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