(l-r) Donald Trump, James Comey, Amy Berman Jackson, and Robert Mueller.

It’s been a wild year in legal news, especially in the nation’s capital.

In the first year of his presidency, four officials from President Donald Trump’s campaign have been indicted by Robert Mueller, the special counsel handling the Russia investigation, and two pleaded guilty. The president has nominated dozens of young, conservative judges to the bench and set records with confirmations to appellate courts. He’s also issued three travel ban executive orders, all of which ran into legal roadblocks.

That’s meant some crazy headlines at the NLJ this year. What follows are 17 of the most-read courts stories for 2017.

Meet Matthew Petersen, DC Court Nom Who Flunked Senators Pop Quiz

After video of Petersen’s flubs on softball legal questions went viral, the Federal Election Commission member would withdraw his name from consideration. [Read more]

DOJ Asks SCOTUS to Discipline ACLU Attorneys in Immigrant Abortion Case

The U.S. Supreme Court’s still weighing the request from Solicitor General Noel Francisco. [Read more]

Amy Berman Jackson, Judge Assigned to Manafort Case, No Stranger to Spotlight

Jackson, a former criminal defense lawyer in D.C., was an Obama administration appointee. She took a no-nonsense tone right out of the gate. [Read more]

Trump’s 8th Circuit Nominee Criticizes ABA Interviewer After Not-Qualified Rating

Tensions between conservatives and the ABA deepened after a judicial nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit said his rating as “not qualified” from the organization was unwarranted. He was confirmed anyway. [Read more]


➤➤  Our 2018 prediction? More wild news from the Trump administration. Let Cogan Schneier be your guide with Trump Watch, a new email briefing that breaks down what’s happening around judge picks, policy shifts, court clashes and the Mueller investigation. Sign up here!


3 Big Moments for Attorneys in Comey Hearing

Former FBI Director Jim Comey got a shoutout for his “legal writing” skills during his testimony before the Senate about Russian interference in the 2016 elections. [Read more]

Fourth Circuit Questions Trump Administration’s Travel Ban

In May, the en banc court in Richmond had some tricky questions for lawyers challenging, and defending, the second travel ban executive order. The court is now weighing the third iteration of the ban. [Read more]

Ex-DOJ Insider Knocks Trump’s Prosecutor Purge “What’s so unusual, and I believe unprecedented, is that they were asked to clear out their desks by the end of the day.” [Read more]

Judge Handling Manafort Case Issues Gag Order

Judge Amy Berman Jackson laid down the law when it came to Paul Manafort and Rick Gates’ lawyers talking to the press. But Manafort would do it any way. [Read more]

Trump Tweets About Judges Become Fodder in 6th Circuit Confirmation 

Trump’s Twitter tactics took center stage in the Senate hearing for his first appellate court nominee. [Read more]

High-Profile Team Sues Trump Campaign, Alleging Role in DNC Hack

Some major legal players say Roger Stone and others engaged in a conspiracy with Russia and Wikileaks. [Read more]

‘You’re a Bunch of Radicals,’ Gorsuch Jokes at Federalist Society Dinner

The newest Supreme Court justice took a victory lap at a conservative group’s gala, mocking the Federalist Society’s critics. [Read more]

More Than 200 Civil Rights Groups Oppose DC Circuit Nominee Greg Katsas

The Senate would confirm Katsas to the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., by a vote of 50-48. [Read more]

An AUSA, White House Lawyer and State Judge: Trump’s Latest Judicial Nominees

While some on this list were confirmed before the new year, others are still waiting for confirmation or have even withdrawn their nominations. [Read more]

Who’s Who: The Lawyers Defending Trump’s Travel Ban

DOJ lawyers such as Hashim Mooppan would become the face of the administration’s defense of the travel ban. [Read more]

Russia Dossier Subpoena Fight Entangles Big Law and Boutiques

Zuckerman Spaeder and Duane Morris got in on the subpoena battle between Fusion GPS, the firm behind the so-called Steele Dossier, and the House Intelligence Committee. The case is ongoing. [Read more]

Meet the DC Judge Who’s Likely Oversees Mueller’s Grand Jury

Chief Judge Beryl Howell is in charge of settling disputes that arise from the grand jury proceedings, including subpoena fights or concerns about witness testimony. [Read more]

3 Things to Know About the Trump Lawyers Memos to Mueller

Trump’s lawyers tried to get Mueller to see it their way. It’s still unclear if this tactic will prove successful. [Read more]