Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
CHENEY PLAINTIFFS GET THEIR DUCKS IN A ROW The controversy over the early January Louisiana duck-hunting sojourn Justice Antonin Scalia took with Vice President Dick Cheney won’t go away. Editorialists nationwide have called for Scalia to recuse from the forthcoming case In re Cheney because of the trip. On Jan. 30, Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) asked the Court to draw up recusal procedures. Soon the talk may turn to action. The Sierra Club, one of the groups that brought the case to force Cheney to reveal information about his energy policy task force, is seriously considering filing a request with Scalia to recuse. Officials of Judicial Watch, the other party in the case, could not be reached for comment. “We certainly understand why this trip creates such public concern about the appearance of impartiality,” says David Bookbinder, Washington legal director for the Sierra Club. “But before we do anything as dramatic as asking for recusal, we want to gather the facts.” One target of his inquiry: Wallace Carline, who hosted Cheney and Scalia. Carline is president of the Diamond Services Corp., an Amelia, La., oil industry services company. According to Federal Election Commission records, Carline has donated $4,000 to GOP candidates and groups since 1998, including $1,500 to Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.). Bookbinder wants to know who paid for Scalia’s trip and lodging, and whether Carline has links to the energy task force. Carline declines comment. In unwritten Court etiquette, recusal motions are frowned upon. But the parties in Cheney are taking a cue from Michael Newdow, the atheist who asked Scalia to recuse in Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow because of a speech Scalia gave touching on the issue in the case: whether “under God” belongs in the Pledge of Allegiance. Once asked, Scalia recused. Scalia, in a response in the Los Angeles Times, said he would not recuse, likening the encounter with Cheney to attending a White House dinner. “I do not think my impartiality could reasonably be questioned,” Scalia said. The case will be argued in April. Says Bookbinder:”Sitting in a duck blind with the vice president, outside the public eye, is not the same as dinner at the White House.” For his part, Chief Justice William Rehnquist has made it clear he thinks senators should not ask justices to recuse. Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) wrote Rehnquist on Jan. 22 asking about the Court’s recusal standards. Rehnquist responded that “any party to a case may file a motion to recuse,” but wrote that any similar suggestion from senators would be “ill-considered.” � Tony Mauro WINSTAR IN WINTER After six months on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, Judge Victor Wolski is facing calls from the Justice Department to recuse himself from three cases related to the S&L crisis of the 1980s. The suits are among roughly 120 similar cases � known as Winstar matters after the Supreme Court case United States v. Winstar Corp. � that seek damages from the government caused by 1989 banking reforms. According to a Jan. 20 motion, Wolski stated at a November status conference that he performed legal research on Winstar matters as a partner at D.C.’s Cooper & Kirk, where he worked for three years just before his appointment. While Wolski is not presiding over any specific matter involving his former firm, the DOJ claims Cooper & Kirk’s extensive involvement in Winstar cases warrants recusal. “The facts currently available to us suggest that a reasonable person would conclude there is an appearance of partiality,” the brief states. Wolski declines comment. Name partner Charles Cooper, who argued Winstar at the high court, says Wolski’s work on related matters was “quite limited.” He adds, “I don’t see any reason [Wolski] should be obligated to recuse himself from matters neither he nor this firm has been involved in.” � Vanessa Blum LUQUE LANDS Criminal defense lawyer Nancy Luque has joined California’s Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich after a stint at her own boutique firm. Among Luque’s clients are the Safa Trust and the Heritage Trust, Northern Virginia organizations being investigated for links to terrorism funding. She also represents indicted Washington Teacher’s Union official Gwendolyn Hemphill. In 2002, Luque left Reed Smith’s D.C. office to start her own practice with Donna Sheinbach, who has joined Gray Cary as special counsel. Luque says Gray Cary “has a wonderful culture for women that you don’t find so often in many Washington firms.” Luque joins Gray Cary’s 25-lawyer D.C. office as a partner. “It’s a very bold, edgy firm.” � Lily Henning TURNING THE TABLES A prosecutor in Northern Virginia accused last week by a federal judge of jury tampering in a death penalty case has himself asked the Justice Department to investigate the matter. On Jan. 30, Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Mellin of the Eastern District of Virginia sent a letter to H. Marshal Jarrett, head of the DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility, requesting the probe, according to Frank Shults, spokesman for U.S. Attorney Paul McNulty. A day earlier, U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee issued a 74-page ruling claiming that the veteran homicide prosecutor knowingly provided the jury deciding the fate of Jay Lentz with information not in evidence. In July, Lentz was convicted of kidnapping and killing his ex-wife. Three jurors later came forward, stating that two day planners belonging to victim Doris Lentz were among the evidence in the deliberating room and that the information contained in the books persuaded them to convict. In his ruling, Lee labeled the misconduct as “intentional” and “reckless,” noting that Mellin was the last person to have custody of the planners. McNulty, however, immediately came to Mellin’s defense, arguing that the judge’s order was not based on the evidence. Mellin, a member of the Texas Bar and a former assistant U.S. attorney in the District, did not return a call seeking comment. � Tom Schoenberg END OF THE SENTENCE The U.S. Sentencing Commission spent much of 2003 responding to congressional demands in the so-called Feeney Amendment that it minimize the opportunity for federal judges to hand down sentences more lenient than those outlined in sentencing guidelines. The commission will have to face any similar crises this year without its chairman, Judge Diana Murphy. Murphy stepped down from her post Jan. 30 to devote herself full time to her work as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit. “I never felt I was keeping up with my real job in the way I should,” says Murphy, who is based in Minneapolis. The controversy over Feeney, she adds, “was one of many things that made major time demands.” Murphy’s resignation leaves the commission, which is part of the judicial branch, with six members. A new chairman will be named by President George W. Bush and will require Senate confirmation. Erin Healy of the White House press office declines comment. � Jonathan Groner FIRM FAUX PAS Nearly a year after lawyers at Dewey Ballantine infuriated members of the Asian-American community by performing a stereotype-laden parody song at their annual dinner, the firm is again dealing with allegations of racial insensitivity, this time stemming from a partner’s joke that was e-mailed to the firm’s New York employees. Last week, an employee sent an e-mail advertising the availability of some puppies for adoption. Douglas Getter, a London-based American who heads Dewey Ballantine’s European mergers and acquisitions practice, then sent a reply: “Please don’t let these puppies go to a Chinese restaurant!” His joke drew criticism from others at the firm, and Getter sent out an apology. The firm’s co-chairs, Sanford Morhouse and Morton Pierce, also issued a response: “This afternoon an offensive e-mail was circulated by a partner. Comments of this nature are inconsistent with the values of this firm and will not be tolerated. We extend our immediate apologies to the entire Dewey Ballantine community.” Getter could not be reached for comment. It’s not the only issue the 582-lawyer firm is facing � the partnership this year declined to elect any associates to partner. Last year, Dewey promoted seven associates and has added a total of 52 new partners, including laterals, in the past three years. “There were some close calls and some strong candidates from within,” says Morhouse of this year’s class, “but, in the end, they just didn’t get over the bar.” � Anthony Lin, New York Law Journal GOING PRIVATE In response to interest last month in the upcoming release of the papers of the late Justice Harry Blackmun, the Library of Congress has withdrawn from public access an index or “finding aid” to the papers. Scholars and journalists were hoping to use the 350-page aid in advance of the March 4 release date to plan their research. Blackmun’s daughter Sally, who has had control of the late justice’s papers, has granted exclusive pre-release access to reporters Linda Greenhouse of The New York Times and Nina Totenberg of National Public Radio. The justice, who died on March 4, 1999, had specified the fifth anniversary of his death as the release date for his huge collection. Legal Times reviewed the finding aid in advance of a Jan. 26 article about the papers. After learning that Legal Times had seen the index, Yale Law School professor Harold Koh, who is advising Sally Blackmun, asked library lawyers to decide if it should be regarded as part of the papers and thus not released until March 4. Last week, the index was yanked � angering historian David Garrow. “One of the best research institutions in the world is being made to look foolish and unprofessional simply on account of Koh’s ham-handed attempt to ‘manage the news’ concerning public release of the Blackmun papers,” says the Emory University law professor. Koh replies, “Thoughtful people understand the difference between ‘managing the news’ and implementing a late justice’s intent that there be an orderly release of his collected papers in a way that promotes genuine public understanding of how the Court works.” � Tony Mauro FELLOWSHIP FUNDS Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom has named 28 fellows for the class of 2004, five of whom will serve in the D.C. area. Through the firm’s two-year program, recent law school grads and outgoing judicial law clerks provide civil legal assistance to nonprofit organizations while receiving a salary paid by the Skadden Fellowship Foundation, established in 1988 and funded by a bequest from the firm. Beginning in September, James Freeman (Harvard Law School) will work at the Advancement Project, Nicole De Sario (Harvard) will work at the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, Trisha Miller (Stanford Law School) will work at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Delicia Reynolds (American University Washington College of Law) will work at Just Neighbors Ministry Inc. in Arlington, Va., and Elizabeth Keyes (Georgetown University Law Center) will work at CASA of Maryland in Takoma Park, Md. � Lily Henning

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a Law.com story?

License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.