Saturday, March 26, 2011

Hon. M. Blane Michael Passes

M. Blane Michael, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, has passed away. From the Washington Post:
Michael served as special counsel during [now-senator] Rockefeller’s first term as governor from 1977 to 1980.

Rockefeller, D-W.Va., called Michael “my dearest friend and confidant.”

“Unvarnished in his honesty, uncanny in his humor and unequaled in his humility, Blane was a formidable presence of the federal bench, with a moral and intellectual compass set hard for justice,” Rockefeller said in a statement. “He was a brilliant judge who never took for granted the power and the responsibility of deciding the cases that impacted people’s lives or righted serious wrongs.”

Michael was born in Charleston, S.C., but grew up in Grant County, W.Va. He graduated from West Virginia University in 1965 and received his law degree from New York University School of Law three years later.

Michael worked at a private practice in New York City, then served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York in 1971 and 1972. After that, he returned to West Virginia, where he worked as an attorney until going to work for Rockefeller.

“I will be forever fortunate to call him my dearest friend and confidant — the kind you just trust to his very core and whose deep, easy companionship abides with you for a lifetime,” Rockefeller said.

After returning to private practice, Michael served as campaign manager for the late U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd. Michael was nominated by President Bill Clinton and confirmed to the 4th Circuit in Richmond on Oct. 1, 1993.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

"Six" Nominated to the 10th Circuit

President Obama nominates Former Kansas Attorney General Steve Six to a seat on the 10th Circuit vacated by new Pepperdine Law Dean, Deanell Tacha.

Friday, March 18, 2011

"No Jokes, Judge"

From the ABA Journal:
A lawyer for West Publishing didn’t see the humor when a federal judge hearing a motion to set aside a nearly $5.2 million defamation verdict tried to lighten the proceedings.

New York lawyer James Rittinger is asking the judge to overturn or reduce the award to two law professors who said they were defamed when West identified them as the authors of a pocket part that was written by a first-year lawyer. The Legal Intelligencer covered the arguments.

The senior federal judge, John Fullam, “is known for an especially dry wit and a deadpan delivery,” the Intelligencer says.

When Rittinger said the professors didn’t have “a single case” to back up one of their arguments, Fullam asked, “What about married cases?” When Rittinger objected to the size of a punitive award, Fullam asked, “You think it should be increased?"

Rittinger explained that he got the joke when the judge tried to explain the first question, according to the Intelligencer account. The lawyer gave a straightforward answer to the second question, saying, no, the award should not be increased. Later, he told the judge what he thought of his humor.

"Judge, you know, I guess it's funny, but it's not funny to me. It was a shock, and it should not have happened. So it is not a joking matter to the West Corporation," Rittinger said.

The plaintiffs in the suit are University of Pennsylvania law professor David Rudovsky and Widener law professor Leonard Sosnov.
Check out the article.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Justice Thomas -- Law Prof.

Justice Thomas drops in to teach Contracts for Dean Maggs at GW Law.