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The Judge has grown weary of sulking in the shadows and letting the MeJDs and Chinaskis of Judged hog the limelight. Here you will find news about Judged, updates to our law firm rankings and the Judge’s daily ramblings. Want the real scoop? Check it out here.

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A career in law opens ambitious people to politics, making careers that may look like Jon Kyl (R-Arizona) whose career is bookended between practicing law. He practiced before he joined congress and has served there for 26 years, retiring from it last January. Now he is at Covington & Burling.

A plush set up can be expected from such a political figure, especially considering that Kyl was the second-highest ranking Republican in the Senate.

“The firm’s clients are an incredible mix of really important business entities representing a wide spectrum,” Kyl said in an interview. “I’ve had enough experience in the Senate and House to know how to help them out.”

It seems he does not regard his new arrangement as too small-fry after his political adventures. Covington is a huge D.C. law firm that has been increasing its lobbying, with such clients as the National Football League, BP Plc, Amazon.com, and others. Senators aren’t allow to formally lobby congress for two years after retiring, but Kyl is cheerful that there is “a huge amount of work that can be done,” till then.

“[Clients] need advice and counsel from someone who knows how government works in Washington,” said Kyl. “That’s the kind of advice I can give without getting into lobbying. I can provide my insights into the people and process on Capitol Hill for them to take advantage of in the lobbying I do.”

Men and women like Kyl who have some political clout can return to law in the same way some heavy-hitting lawyers return to the university to teach. They are a big fish returning to a small pond, and are sure to dominate in what they do.



03-06-2013


Coy Mathis was born as a male. Through some conversations with his parents, it was decided that really he was a girl in a boy's body. Hence, they dressed him as a girl and address him as a her.

Meanwhile, in first grade, the school officials balked at a physiologically male student using the girl's room. They offered gender neutral bathrooms, but his parents felt this was discrimination, and so contacted the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund. When their attorney couldn't persuade the school, the group and the family decided to file a state civil rights complaint.

Coy, meanwhile, is being homeschooled, in part because his parents fear bullies will make fun of him.

The school district holds that it acted appropriately. "The district firmly believes it has acted reasonably and fairly with respect to this issue," said the school district's attorney, W. Kelly Dude. "However, the district believes the appropriate and proper forum for discussing the issues identified in the charge is through the Division of Civil Rights process. The district is preparing a response to the charge which it will submit to the division. Therefore, the district will not comment further on this matter out of respect for the process which the parents have initiated."

The school wants to give no precedence to policies that will lead to trouble as Coy's male anatomy hits puberty.

Colorado law prohibits "discrimination in employment, housing and places of public accommodations against an individual based upon actual or perceived sexual orientation. Sexual orientation is defined as heterosexuality, homosexuality (lesbian or gay), bisexuality, and transgender status. Transgender status means a gender identity or gender expression that differs from societal expectations base on gender assignment at birth."

But bathroom regulations are spelled not out, and lead to such ambiguity as Coy and his parents are facing. It will be the first case to challenge restroom restrictions under the state's anti-discrimination act. What will become of it is not at this time transparent.



03-03-2013


Lance Armstrong may have lied, and lied vehemently, about using performance enhancing drugs during his bike-racing career, but that doesn’t mean he has to pay for it. Wasn’t being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and being banned from cycling competitions for life enough? His lawyers thinks so. And with Robert Luskin as his attorney, one of the most sought after lawyer in Washington, who represented Karl Rove, his race against the U.S. government will also be EPO supercharged.

He has a good case after all. Though the U.S. Postal System gave him and his team sponsorship money, they aren’t likely to get any of it back.

“Lance and his representatives worked constructively over these last weeks with federal lawyers to resolve this case fairly, but those talks failed because we disagree about whether the Postal Service was damaged.

“The Postal Service’s own studies show that the service benefited tremendously from its sponsorship – benefits totaling more than $100 million.”

And that’s not all. Though the government could pursue Armstrong under the False Claims Act, a 1863 law revitalized in 1986, using Floyd Landis as the whistleblower to open the case, they might not get anywhere.

For one thing, the sponsorship money is time-barred, with a six-year statute of limitations that has passed since 2004. Further, Armstrong signed no contract referencing doping or not doping. And finally, the contract was signed before Armstrong joined the team.

Despite Armstrong’s nefarious and infamous abuse of drugs to win his races, he never said he wouldn’t, contractually, so the Postal Service may have to settle down and accept the money they made off Armstrong without trying to reclaim the money they gave the team.



02-22-2013


A U.S. Naval base in Cuba is holding one of the most interesting trials of the year. Five men are being charged with terrorism, conspiring with al Qaeda, and bringing down the twin towers on 3,000 people. As the pretrial commences, the main issue has been whether the military has been spying on these five men as they talk with their lawyers.

Staff judge Navy Capt. Thomas J. Welsh was concerned. He viewed a carefully monitored meeting in the military complex, Echo II, that suggested to him that these men be under surveillance. The recorded meeting was unrelated to their trial, however, and when he confronted the Joint Detention Group commander Army Col Donnie Thomas, he said “Don’t worry, we do not monitor any attorney-client meetings.”

Should we be so sure? Cheryl Bormann, a civilian attorney for one of the men, Walid bin Attash, was told that a smoke-detector looking device was not a microphone when in fact it was.

“It was really not identifiable, it was not readily noticeable,” said Welsh. “If I knew [improper monitoring] was going on, I would have notified my authorities, I would have notified my boss, I would have notified my supervising attorney.”

It matters, after all, that the trials go as cleanly as possible, because the attack on the United States was symbolically an attack on our freedom system. To deny our citizens those very freedoms, say, by spying on them when they are in private meetings with their lawyers, would undermine the very values we are fighting to uphold.



02-13-2013


In 2012, President Barack Obama publicly changes his stance on gay marriage, becoming a supporter. That may relate in a way to his decision to appoint Todd Hughes for the U.S. appeals court. Hughes was a lawyer in the U.S. Department of Justice's civil division. The announcement Thursday, if confirmed, would make him the first openly gay circuit judge.

The nominee before him, who ultimately withdrew, was also openly gay, and would have been the first. Is this coincidental, or does Obama want to leave a legacy of firsts and precedents?

Obama spoke Hughes' "exceptional dedication" to pubic service. His specialty is in federal personnel law, veteran's benefits, international trade, government contracts, and jurisdictional issues regarding the United States Court of Federal Claims.

Before that he got his A.B. from Harvard in 1989, and got both his J.D. with honors and M.A. in English from Duke University in 1992.



02-08-2013


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