July 2007


Lady Bird Lake

In a very appropriate tribute, the Austin City Council has just voted to change the moniker of the blandly-named “Town Lake” to the much more poetic and appropriate “Lady Bird Lake.”

Thx (for once) to the Austin City Council and All Ablog Austin

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SCOTUS

The High Court is filling up fast. According to the intrepid David Lat over at Above the Law, the current standings for the October ’08 and ’09 terms are:

OCTOBER TERM 2008 SUPREME COURT CLERK HIRES (as of July 26, 2007)

Chief Justice John G. Roberts
1. ?
2. ?
3. ?
4. ?

Justice John Paul Stevens
1. Jessica Bulman-Pozen (Yale 2007 / Garland)
2. Cecelia Klingele (University of Wisconsin 2005 / B. Crabb (W.D. Wis.) / S. Black (11th Cir.))
3. Lindsey Powell (Stanford 2007 / Garland)
4. Damian Williams (Yale 2007 / Garland)

Justice Antonin Scalia
1. Jameson Jones (Stanford 2007 / Sutton)
2. Yaakov Roth (Harvard 2007 / Boudin)
3. David Thompson (Stanford 2007 / Kozinski)
4. ?

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy
1. Chris Walker (Stanford 2006 / Kozinski)
2. ?
3. ?
4. ?

Justice David H. Souter
1. ?
2. ?
3. ?
4. ?

Justice Clarence Thomas
1. William S. Consovoy (GMU 2001 / E. Jones)
2. Jennifer Mascott (GW 2006 / Kavanaugh)
3. Patrick Strawbridge (Creighton 2004 / M. Arnold)
4. ?

Bonus hire, for October Term 2009: Marah Stith (Yale 2006 / O’Scannlain)

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
1. Sue-Yun Ahn (Columbia 2006 / Cote (S.D.N.Y.) / Tatel Tot)
2. Miriam Seifter (Harvard 2007 / Garland)
3. Kevin Schwartz (Yale 2006 / Calabresi)
4. Rob Yablon (Yale 2006 / W. Fletcher)

Bonus hire, for October Term 2009 (and RBG is telling you she’s not going): John Rappaport (Harvard 2006 / Reinhardt)

Justice Stephen G. Breyer
1. Seth Grossman (Yale 2005 / Reinhardt / Calabresi)
2. Matthew E. Price (Harvard 2006 / Boudin)
3. ?
4. ?

Justice Samuel Alito
1. Dana R. Irwin (Yale 2002 / Scirica)
2. Jack L. White (Pepperdine 2003 / Alito)
3. ?
4. ?

Thx to Above the Law

Akin Gump has just announced that it has matched 1st and 2d year salaries to $160k and $170k, respectively.

AG

Baker & McKenzie has just announced that it has met the $160k scale, at least in its D.C. office, but perhaps throughout the rest of the nation as well.

BM

And, in the most surprising news today, venerable Hughes & Luce is apparently in merger talks with K&L Gates. Probably one of the last firms I would have expected to go to the highest bidder, but we’ll see. If they do indeed merge with KLG, they will be at the $160k scale as well.

HL

Thx to Above the Law and the Texas Lawyer

D.A. Earle confirms to Texas Watch that his office has already been looking into the discounted legal fees charged to Justice Hecht by Jackson Walker.

DA Earle

What a shocker.

Thx to Quorum Report

Perhaps surprising no one else but me, a prominent MidTex firm—Bracewell & Guiliani—announced today it would match the $160k bliss, before even some of the BigTex players have weighed in, such as Fulbright or Baker Botts.

BG

No doubt the fact that Mayor Guiliani would not want the NY branch of his own firm to lag too far behind the other prominent NY firms had something to do with B&G announcing ahead of FB or BB.

According to one commenter over at Above the Law, these are now the lists of fame and shame, respectively, in Texas:

TEXA$ HALL OF FAME

V&E
Andrews Kurth
Locke Liddell
Thompson Knight
Susman
Bracewell
McKool Smith
(Dewey Ballantine- Austin)
(Fish & Richardson- Austin and Dallas)
(Gibson Dunn- Dallas)
(Jenner & Block- Dallas)
(Skadden- Houston)
(Sidley Austin- Dallas)
(Weil Gotshal- Dallas and Houston)
(Wilson Sonsini- Austin)

TEXAS LIST OF ¢HAME

Akin Gump
Baker Botts
Baker McKenzie
Carrington Coleman
Fulbright & Jaworski
Gardere
Haynes & Boone
Hughes & Luce
Hunton & Williams
Jackson Walker
Jones Day (at 150)
King & Spalding
Munsch Hardt
Porter & Hedges
Seyfarth Shaw
Strasburger (never went to 135K)
Winstead

Thx to the Texas Lawyer and Above the Law

At the end of the 80th Legislative Session, a challenge was mounted to the leadership of Speaker Tom Craddick via the mechanism of a privileged motion for him to vacate the chair. However, Speaker Craddick refused to recognize the motion.

Speaker Craddick

In doing so, he ignored then-House Parliamentarian Denise Davis and Deputy House Parliamentarian Chris Griesel’s opinion that Speaker Craddick had to recognize members of the House on motions to vacate the chair. Thereafter on May 25, 2007, both Davis and Griesel resigned in protest.

Well, on June 18, 2007, Representative Jim Keffer—who is the Chair of the House Ways & Means committee—filed an opinion request with the Attorney General to clarify the powers of the Speaker, namely whether he has the power to refuse to recognize such motions.

In support thereof, the Attorney General has received a letter from the newly-installed House Parliamentarian, former Travis County Sherriff and Representative Terry Keel, as well as a letter from Warren Chisum, Chairman of the House Apppropriations committee.

Of far more import to this debate is the brief in opposition to Chairman Keffer’s opinion request, which was drafted by appellate wizard, former Solicitor General of Texas, and former SCOTUS clerk Greg Coleman (now with Yetter and Warden).

Having only summarily perused Mr. Coleman’s brief—which bases its arguments primarily in the contentions that: (1) constitutional separation of powers prevents the Attorney General from opining on Legislative branch squabbles; and (2) article XV, section 7 of the Texas Constitution of 1876 requires that the Speaker can only be removed under color of enacted law after a trial—and respecting the distinguished legal acumen of Mr. Griesel as well, I am severly underqualified to opine on what the correct result should be in this matter is. My instinct of course is that legislative battles should be resolved by the legislative branch of government, but nevertheless, my opinion is of no moment.

Thx to the Quorum Report, TexasPolitics, as well as to Denise Davis and Chris Griesel for their service to the State

Today, Texas Watch filed three complaints against Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht, all of which stem from a twenty-five percent discount given Justice Hecht by the law firm that represented him in his successful challenge to the wrongful admonition handed down by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct.

Justice Hecht

Texas Watch filed complaints with the Public Integrity Unit of the Travis County District Attorney’s office, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, and the Texas Ethics Commission, claiming the discount Justice Hecht received was worth at least $100,000, and therefore exceeded the $5,000 limit for individual donations and the $30,000 limit on donations from political action committees.

Justice Hecht’s attorney, Chip Babcock of Jackson Walker, said that his firm considered the discount to be pro bono work. For his part, Justice Hecht voluntarily recused himself from all cases before SCOTX in which Jackson Walker was listed as counsel during the pendency of his appeal.

Admitting the scattershot approach his organization (which is a historically left-leaning lobbying organization, despite its laughable claim to being nonpartisan) had taken in simultaneously filing three complaints–the first ever filed by Texas Watch–with three different oversight agencies undercut the viability of Texas Watch’s claims, Executive Director Alex Winslow acknowledged: “[w]e don’t think it’s possible for Justice Hecht to have committed three offenses here, but we felt that there’s enough of a question with each of these, that we needed to file all three.”

For whatever it’s worth, my continuing take on this latest round in the Days of our Hecht Saga is that all three complaints are each very serious allegations that will invariably and quickly cost Justice Hecht the $100,000 in defense costs of which Texas Watch complains he was spared during the previous round of vexatious litigation.

Of the three, however, the one that would give me the most pause is the complaint with the Travis County D.A.’s office led by Ronnie Earle, who gained recent notoriety empaneling several, successive grand juries to indict Tom Delay, only to have that indictment thrown out because it didn’t actually allege actions which constituted a crime at the time the actions were alleged to have occurred.

Accordingly, Ronnie Earle has demonstrated that he is unafraid to use his office to pursue a blatantly partisan political agenda, and thus, might relish the thought of going after a famous conservative intellect like Justice Hecht.

We’ll keep you posted as this develops ….

Thx to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the San Antonio Express-News

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