In a column in the Wall Street Journal, Robin Keller, a partner at Hogan Lovells, wrote about being fired from the firm after a distinguished career of 44 years. Keller was not fired for intermingling funds or violating confidentiality of clients. She was fired because she exercised free speech in an internal meeting on the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health. After Keller expressed her support for the opinion and concern about higher rates of abortions in the black community, a participant complained that she could not breathe and others called her a racist. She was later suspended and reportedly fired. Continue reading ““Welcome Consequences”: Hogan Lovells Fires Partner for Voicing Her Views on the Dobbs Decision”
We previously discussed the case of two New York attorneys (Colinford Mattis and Urooj Rahman) who joined in violent protests in New York, including firebombing a police vehicle. The Biden Justice Department later gave the two lawyers an astonishingly generous plea deal that avoided long prison sentences. Now Rahman has been sentenced to 15 months after asking for no jail time for throwing the Molotov cocktail.
Parental rights are becoming one of the defining issues for 2024. Building from Glenn Youngkin’s 2021 gubernatorial victory in Virginia, school boards races and educational initiatives have become some of the most fiercely contested areas on local and state ballots. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D., Cal.) weighed in this week into the area with a curious attack on parents demanding more say in the education of their children. The California Democrat insisted that it is akin to “Putting patients in charge of their own surgeries? Clients in charge of their own trials?” These were curious analogies to draw since patients and clients are in charge of the key decisions in their surgeries and trials. What Rep. Swalwell is missing is called informed consent.
While largely lost in election day coverage, United States District Judge James Boasberg dismissed the much heralded case of retired Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman against Donald Trump Jr., Trump ally Rudy Giuliani and others for witness intimidation and retaliation. In a prior column, I criticized the lawsuit as deeply flawed. As is often the case, the media quickly moved on from the case and there is relatively far less coverage of the dismissal than the filing. Continue reading ““Political Hackery” is No Legal Conspiracy: Vindman Lawsuit Tossed by Federal Court for Failing to State a Legal Claim”
Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman and other Democrats have filed a federal lawsuit to strike down parts of Pennsylvania’s election law after the state Supreme Court ruled that mail-in ballots with incorrect dates or no dates should not be counted. Fetterman is challenging the state law on constitutional and federal statutes. He has turned to a controversial former lawyer for Hillary Clinton to seek to strike down the provision.
For those of us who have closely followed the Hunter Biden scandal, one figure remains mysterious in his role in the possible tax violations by the President’s son. Kevin Morris is a wealthy entertainment lawyer who reportedly paid off as much as $2.8 million in back taxes for Hunter. I have previously discussed the relationship and expressed uncertainty as to whether Morris was acting as a friend or a lawyer (use of personal funds in a representational matter can present ethical issues). Now, Morris is the subject of an ethics complaint by the conservative group Marco Polo, which lured him into a hoax exchange over disproving the laptop allegations.
Late Friday, the Justice Department filed its long-awaited appellate filing related to the special master order of United States District Judge Aileen Cannon. While the Administration previously argued that the appointment itself is a threat to national security and unsupportable, it notably dropped its opposition to the appointment on appeal and only appealed one aspect of the order. In its motion for a stay pending appeal, it is only asking the 11th Circuit to allow it to continue using classified documents seized from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property in a criminal investigation. The filing may reflect that time is running out for the Administration since a special master is now in place and is likely to prioritize (and release) these very documents. The motion pending appeal does not prevent the DOJ from later challenging the whole appointment but it will come after the special master has begun his work.
When U.S. District Judge Aileen M. Cannon issued an order for the appointment of a special master, she instantly became the latest jurist targeted by a furious mob of media and pundits. Rather than simply disagree with her order, these critics attacked Cannon personally and ethically, including lawyers and law professors. It is a familiar pattern but the fury shown in the last two days is chilling for our federal judges who have seen increasing attacks, including an alleged attempted assassination of Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Nevertheless, legal and media figures seemed to rush to outdo each other in the most extreme statements about a judge with a distinguished background.
Below is my column in USA Today on the diminishing role of Attorney General Merrick Garland at the Justice Department after a series of controversies. As a well-known moderate, many of us had hoped that Garland could be a unifying presence at the Department; assuring a divided nation that justice would be pursued in an even-handed and apolitical fashion. Yet, in controversy after controversy, Garland has failed to take modest steps to make such assurances. After well documented cases of bias and false statements by FBI and DOJ officials in past investigations, there was a clear need for greater transparency and independence in investigations. Garland has consistently swatted away such options. This week, Garland stayed on that path and refused to release any part of the affidavit used as the basis for the search of Mar-a-Lago. This included the possible issuance of a redacted copy or even responses to specific concerns over the timing or basis for the search. While Trump has called for the release of the affidavit, Garland will not even release those sections dealing with the account of the prior discussions and agreements with the Team Trump. There is little proactive effort to anticipate or address such concerns as vividly shown in the last week.
Here is the column: Continue reading “The Incredible Shrinking Merrick Garland”
Fox News is reporting that the FBI seized boxes containing attorney-client privileged and potentially executive privileged material during its raid Mar-a-Lago. When the raid occurred, I noted that the legal team had likely marked material as privileged at the residence and that the collection could create an immediate conflict over such material. Now, sources are telling Fox that the Justice Department not only took attorney-client material but has refused Trump requests for a special master to review the records.
For many who watched the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard trial, some of the most outstanding moments involved his defense counsel Yarelyn Mena. It was an extraordinary opportunity for the 29-year old graduated from CUNY (2015) and, by all accounts, Mena performed well. It was considered the turning point of one of the most famous trials in modern history. It is something that should be a matter of great pride for the CUNY community and, not surprisingly, the website did an article on their graduate. However, it has now been deleted with an apology after people objected that they were upset or traumatized by the recognition due to Heard’s allegations of abuse. Continue reading ““We Regret Any Pain”: CUNY Apologizes and Deletes Article On Depp Lawyer”
There was an extraordinary story this week out of Rolling Stone magazine, which breathlessly reported a “serious matter” of an allegation that Supreme Court justices prayed with evangelicals, including some associated with groups that filed amicus briefs with the Court. Many liberal sites went immediately into instant vapors at the thought of justices praying with such individuals, including the usual unhinged claims of ethical violations and renewed calls for everything from court packing to impeachments. What is clear is that the critics will require more than this “hope and a prayer” to achieve such ends. Continue reading “Hope and a Prayer: Liberals Condemn the Conservative Justices After Dubious Rolling Stone Article”
Attorney General Dana Nessel has lost the Flint case in spectacular fashion this week. Over six years ago, I wrote earlier about misgivings over the prosecutions but Nessel’s office created new challenges for the prosecution. In an unanimous 6-0 ruling, the Michigan Supreme Court held that her office committed a fatal and inexplicable error in prosecuting nine officials for the Flint water crisis, including former Gov. Rick Snyder. The court ruled that prosecutors doomed the case when they decided to bypass the conventional grand jury system in favor of a single judge to indict the officials. Now the cases have been tossed out. Continue reading ““Star Chamber Comeback”: Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel Loses Flint Water Cases in Spectacular Fashion”
As previously discussed, there has been a campaign from the left to pressure firms to force out Republican lawyers or to drop conservative clients (with the support of lawyers and legal commentators). Now, after former Solicitor General Paul Clement and his colleague Erin Murphy won one of the most significant constitutional victories in history, Kirkland & Ellis has yielded to the mob and forced them out of the firm. It seems that, if you want to take a Second Amendment case, you should have the decency of losing. In a column in the Wall Street Journal, the lawyers recount how they were shown the door after objections from lawyers in the firm and clients. The left appears to be channeling the views of Dick the Butcher in Shakespeare’s Henry VI that “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” Continue reading ““The First Thing We Do”: Liberals Push Two Leading Lawyers Out of Major Firm After Winning Second Amendment Case”
In the aftermath of the historic ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, politicians and pundits have denounced the Supreme Court justices and the Court itself for holding opposing views on the interpretation of the Court. Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the justices “right-wing politicians” and many journalists called the Court “activists.” Most concerning were legal analysts who fueled misleading accounts of the opinion or the record of this Court. Notably, it is precisely what the Court anticipated in condemning those who would make arguments “designed to stoke unfounded fear.” Continue reading “The Dobbs Decision Unleashes Rage and Revisionism”