This may be the only time you see the words "Makin’ Whoopee" and "Supreme Court" in the same sentence. The ribald song was performed before the normally staid court on May 15 by none other than the Broadway great Barbara Cook.
The occasion was the court’s spring musicale, held in its east conference room, a regular respite the court takes from its official duties. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, perhaps the court’s greatest music fan, presided. Usually the musical fare is classical or operatic. But the justices have also heard memorable jazz performances by the likes of Bobby Short and Marian McPartland.
The 85-year-old Cook may have topped them all, belting out jazz and oldtime favorites even though she was suffering from a virus, according to Ginsburg. The selections ranged from Bye Bye Blackbird to Let’s Fall in Love and I’ve Got Rhythm. In addition to Ginsburg and retired justice Sandra Day O’Connor, on hand were Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito Jr. and Elena Kagan. Other notable guests included the Italian ambassador to the United States Claudio Bisogniero. Cook brought down the house with an emotional rendition of John Lennon’s famous iconoclastic song Imagine. — Tony Mauro
STEPPING UP TO LOBBY
A Minneapolis-based shoemaker fighting to keep consumers from walking even an inch in counterfeit versions of its moccasins has retained a team of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld lobbyists in Washington. Minnetonka Moccasin Co. has directed the firm to advocate on trademark enforcement and registration matters in China, according to lobbying registration paperwork filed with Congress last week. Akin partners Stephen Kho and Brian Pomper, as well as firm policy adviser Roger Murry and associate Nicole Cadman, are handling the account. The lobbyists all count international trade among their specialties. Akin is the first firm to register to lobby for the shoemaker. The firm declined to comment, as did a Minnetonka representative. On its website, Minnetonka devotes a page to "Counterfeit Education." The company says it helps law enforcement officials detect knock-off Minnetonka moccasins and take down websites selling counterfeit versions of its shoes. The shoemaker also encourages consumers to report knock-off Minnetonka moccasins to it. "We are dedicated to fighting this problem," Minnetonka says. — Andrew Ramonas
When News Corp. transforms itself into a company focused on newspaper publishing, the media giant will have a Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom partner at the helm of its Washington operations. Antoinette Cook Bush, who leads Skadden’s communications group, will join News Corp. on June 24 as its executive vice president and global head of government affairs. Her arrival will come 13 days after News Corp. shareholders meet for votes to move the company’s movie and television business into an independent entity that it will call Twenty First Century Fox Inc. In a written statement, Bush said she is "thrilled" to come to the company. "Having worked with News Corporation for many years as a legal advisor, I’m honored to have been asked to serve this important role from inside the Company," she said. "As a big believer in the power of news, information and education to transform societies, I look forward to communicating the Company’s mission to key audiences in Washington and around the world." Except for a stint as executive vice president of Northpoint Technology Ltd. from 2001 to 2003, Bush has spent the past 20 years at Skadden. — Andrew Ramonas
KICKOFF IN SAN FRANCISCO
The San Francisco office of Arent Fox doesn’t open until June and already the firm has drafted the San Francisco 49ers to its client roster. Partners Richard Brand and Steven Cohen represented the National Football League team in a $220 million naming-rights deal with Levi Strauss & Co. for its new Santa Clara, Calif., stadium. Levi was represented by Proskauer Rose partner Jon Oram. In September, Brand will head to San Francisco to help open the Arent office. It will be a big change for Brand, who has been with Arent Fox in Washington since 1984. He started out as a real estate attorney and then added sports law during the mid-1990s. "By splitting my time I’ll be able to keep the local client base and hopefully expand to California," Brand said. — Matthew Huisman
U.S. District Judge James Boasberg weighed in on a recent controversy facing the District of Columbia Public Schools, declining to block the closure of 15 schools. While acknowledging the sensitive nature of the dispute — "Few topics," he wrote, "understandably, incite our passions more than the education of our children" — he found no merit to the plaintiffs’ arguments that the plan was discriminatory. Noting the schools on the chopping block had weaker academic performance and were more segregated and underenrolled, he said the parents who sued were unlikely to succeed. Lead plaintiffs’ counsel were Johnny Barnes, former executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of the National Capital Area, and John Brittain, a professor at the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law. — Zoe Tillman
D.C. CIRCUITRY RULES
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit is generally pretty quick at turning around opinions. Does Judge Brett Kavanaugh try to set records? Probably not. What about when it comes to running? Kavanaugh finished this year’s ACLI Capital Challenge three-mile run in 21 minutes, 13 seconds — a few seconds better than last year. Kavanaugh, on team "D.C. Circuitry," was the fastest judge — again — who participated. His team members: George Ingham, a George Mason University School of Law student who is clerking for Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson; Yale Law School student Trevor Sutton, clerk for Senior Judge Stephen Williams; Gabe Ledeen of Stanford Law School, clerking for Senior Judge A. Raymond Randolph; and Morgan Good­speed, a student at Harvard Law School who clerks for Kavanaugh. — Mike Scarcella