MILLER WASN’T BITTER ABOUT HALL OF FAME SNUB
Marvin Miller was not a lawyer. But the influential former director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, who died November 27 at age 95, got to know many — including a fellow nonagenarian named John Paul Stevens, the now-retired Supreme Court justice.
During a 2011 interview with The National Law Journal, Miller recalled meeting Stevens in 1967. Stevens then represented Charles O. Finley, the volatile owner of the Kansas City Athletics, in a tense meeting with Miller that was a turning point in the fight for players’ rights. Stevens, described by Finley as “my lawyer from Chicago,” calmed Finley down and convinced him to make concessions. “Stevens once in a while would put his hand on Charlie’s arm to hold the decibel level down. His role was to try to keep Finley on an even keel,” Miller said. “He was a very important cog in that wheel.”
Miller was philosophical about not being in the Baseball Hall of Fame despite several campaigns on his behalf; like many others, he believed team owners blocked him from being elected. “There are some things that are just past their time,” Miller said. Besides, he shrugged, very few of his friends and family members were still alive to enjoy the honor with him. “That is part of the penalty of living to be 94.” — Tony Mauro
JUDGE REJECTS TOBACCO CHALLENGES AGAIN
Lawyers for major tobacco companies howled at the notion they’d have to widely publish statements that leading cigarette makers lied about the health risks of smoking. U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler in Washington in 2006 ordered tobacco companies to issue so-called “corrective statements” as a remedy in the U.S. Justice Department’s racketeering case against industry leaders. Now, those statements are final.
Kessler on November 27 issued a 55-page ruling that rejected challenges from tobacco company lawyers, including Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher partner Miguel Estrada and Beth Wilkinson of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison for Philip Morris USA Inc. The defense attorneys argued that language in the preambles accompanying the corrective statements isn’t “purely factual.” The preambles each end with: “Here is the truth.”
Kessler said in the ruling that “mandatory disclosures alerting the consumer to wrongdoing and giving accurate information about that wrongdoing have been upheld. They are neither unprecedented nor controversial.” The judge ordered DOJ lawyers and the tobacco lawyers to meet to discuss the publication of the statements, which will be broadcast on TV, displayed in newspaper ads and posted on corporate web sites. —Mike Scarcella
BAR GROUP SALUTES LUMINARIES
The Bar Association of the District of Columbia, the city’s voluntary bar organization, marked the end of the year with an annual dinner on December 1 honoring local legal luminaries. Now in its 141st year, making it the third-oldest bar association nationwide, the group recognized Bancroft‘s Paul Clement as its lawyer of the year; his achievements this year included arguing the landmark health care case before the U.S. Supreme Court. U.S. District Chief Judge Royce Lamberth, a member of the bench since 1987 and chief judge for the District of Columbia since 2008, was this year’s judicial honoree. The Annice M. Wagner Pioneer Award, named after the former chief judge of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals and current senior judge, was given to Angela Ciccolo, chief legal officer of the Special Olympics. This year’s young lawyer of the year award went to Vinson & Elkins associate Yousri Omar, a member of the firm’s litigation practice and past chair of the association’s young lawyers section. Rounding out the event was a performance from Deaf Dog and the Indictments, a rock ‘n’ roll band featuring five District of Columbia Superior Court judges and a nonlawyer. — Zoe Tillman
Judge David Sentelle, the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, will be taking senior status in February, according to the U.S. Courts website. The move opens a fourth vacancy on the 11-judge court for President Barack Obama to try to fill during his second term. Obama did not get any judges confirmed to the D.C. circuit during his first term, and his nomination of Caitlin Halligan has met with strong resistance from Republicans in the Senate. Sentelle, appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1987, became chief judge in 2008. Judge Merrick Garland, appointed to the court by President Bill Clinton in 1997, is next in line to be the chief. Garland served at the U.S. Justice Department as the principal associate deputy attorney general from 1994 until his appointment to the court. — Todd Ruger
Members of the American League of Lobbyists (ALL) last week unanimously approved Advanced Capitol Consulting President Monte Ward as their next leader after he ran unopposed. But a couple of days before the vote, he wasn’t entirely sure if he had their votes locked up. Ward said the first question reporters asked him prior to the election was if someone had ever voted against the individual who was proposed as ALL’s president for the next year. “I started to get a little nervous,” said Ward, a nonlawyer, on November 27 at the Capital Hilton in Washington during the trade group’s annual meeting. Ward, whose term officially begins in January, will succeed Marlowe & Co. President Howard Marlowe, who held the post for the past two years. As president, Ward said he will focus his time on providing more educational opportunities for ALL members and boosting the group’s membership, among other goals. Ward added that the group is hoping to triple its membership in the next five years and bring in more lobbyists who work outside of the Washington area. — Andrew Ramonas
Everybody Wins! DC raised $12,000 recently with the support of eight firms during its sixth annual Lawyers for Literacy Trivia Challenge. Eleven teams with attorneys from Alston & Bird; Kirkland & Ellis; Morrison & Foerster; Sidley Austin; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; Troutman Sanders; Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati; and White & Case tested their knowledge. (Wilson Sonsini won.) The event funds the organization’s mentoring and literacy programs. Firms also participate in the power lunch program, where firm employees serve as reading mentors to underserved elementary school children. Everybody Wins! serves more than 4,500 children at 40 public schools in the Washington area. “[The] money raised through team sponsorships will greatly benefit our programs and the low-income students that we serve,” said executive director Mary Salander. — Matthew Huisman
‘NO’ MEANS ‘MAYBE’
One of the most vocal opponents of judicial nominees this year, Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), says he won’t restart his categorical “No” vote policy that dogged candidates this year. Lee started his campaign in January, when President Barack Obama made four controversial recess appointments, which he says happened when the Senate was in session. That even led to an awkward vote in which Lee sided against a nomination he supported: Robert Shelby, a nominee for district judge in Lee’s home state of Utah. But now, Lee, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, says the Republicans have adequately responded by invoking a loosely defined Senate tradition of backing off from filling circuit court seats in the waning months of a president’s term. “That issue is closed,” Lee spokesman Brian Phillips said. However, should the president again make recess appointments, Lee could again institute his policy, Phillips said. — Todd Ruger