JUSTICES CREATE BUZZ WITH TRADITIONAL HEADGEAR
The headgear worn by U.S. Supreme Court justices at the presidential inauguration January 21 caused almost as much buzz as Michelle Obama‘s bangs and outfits. Justice Antonin Scalia wore a grandiose replica of a hat worn by Renaissance Saint Thomas More. It was a gift from the St. More Society of Richmond, Va., to Scalia in 2010, according to former Scalia clerk Kevin Walsh. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) tweeted a photo of it and pronounced it weird.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was dwarfed by her large fur hat. Anthony Kennedy went with a basic black ski cap, while Stephen Breyer wore a more classic cornered skullcap. Justice Samuel Alito Jr. went hatless, but seemed to be making some kind of statement with ominous wraparound sunglasses. In spite of the range of styles, it’s traditional for justices to wear black hats at inaugurals and other cold-weather events.
Hats have gone in and out of vogue over the years. Chief Justice Edward Douglas White wore one when swearing in President Woodrow Wilson in 1913, the first time a skullcap was documented in an inaugural photo. At John F. Kennedy’s 1961 inaugural, seven of the nine justice wore skullcaps. — Tony Mauro
INAUGURATION BRINGS JONES DAY TOGETHER
Down the street from the U.S. Capitol in the warm confines of Jones Day‘s Washington office, champagne bottles were popping as more than 100 lawyers and their clients, friends and family members watched President Barack Obama take the ceremonial oath of office last week.
Although partygoers could have gone outside to view the festivities on a deck overlooking the U.S. Capitol, most of them watched the action on a television inside, where a breakfast spread and a full bar were available.
Geoffrey Stewart, a Jones Day partner who keeps offices in Washington and New York, noted that a “nice, diverse group of people” were at the party, which drew children and adults from across the country. “It’s a lot of fun,” he said
Raymond Wiacek, a Washington-based Jones Day partner who leads the firm’s tax practice, said it also was great to see people of different political leanings come together at the firm to celebrate the inauguration.
But Wiacek, a Democrat, wasn’t optimistic about any long-lasting camaraderie among his fellow partygoers.
“In a week,” he predicted, “they’ll be back at it.” — Andrew Ramonas
ABA HITS $1M LOBBYING MARK
The American Bar Association posted a $1 million federal lobbying tab in 2012, returning to seven-digit spending after a one-year hiatus, according to congressional records. The organization cleared the $1 million mark with $230,000 in fourth-quarter lobbying expenses reported to Congress last week. The ABA was $45,000 short of a seven-digit bill in 2011, the only time since at least 1999 that the group didn’t spend at least $1 million on government advocacy. “It’s pretty consistent over time,” ABA governmental affairs director Thomas Susman said. He said the congressional calendar and the size of the ABA’s lobbying staff affect the organization’s government affairs expenses. He noted that the group’s lobbyist roster last year grew to 11 members, with the addition of governmental affairs principal deputy director Holly Cook. During the fourth quarter of 2012, the ABA focused on issues that included violence against women and stalled judicial nominations, Susman said. In 2013, the organization plans to focus on matters concerning gun crime, violence against women and human trafficking, he said. — Andrew Ramonas
TO THE MAINLAND
Luis Fortuño, the former governor of Puerto Rico, is going back to his roots. He announced last week that he joined Steptoe & Johnson LLP as a partner in the firm’s Washington office. He is a member of the firm’s government-affairs and public-policy group, as well as the corporate, securities and finance practice. Even though he was born in Puerto Rico, Fortuño has a long history with the D.C. area. It was in Washington that he met his wife of 30 years. And as the congressional representative for Puerto Rico, he lived in the D.C. area. He is also a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, and both he and his wife lived in Charlottesville, Va., as a young couple. “We have a lot of friends in the area and have seen it transform,” Fortuño said. But should the former governor feel homesick, his native land is only a nonstop plane ride away. — Matthew Huisman
For the dozens of lawyers and friends of Baker Botts gathered last week on the roof of the firm’s Washington office overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue, a presidential sighting proved elusive. As chants of “Obama!” erupted from the crowd below, the partygoers who secured a good view of the parade only saw the presidential motorcade. President Barack Obama was nowhere in sight. But that didn’t seem to dampen their spirits. “It’s terrific,” Washington-based partner William Henry, a Republican, said of the inauguration. “It kind of reaffirms your joy in being American.” Inside the Baker Botts office, American pride was on display. Partygoers nibbled on Red Hawk and bleu cheeses as they caught up with friends and watched the inauguration festivities on television from the comfort of the indoors. They also sipped some American beers, including Washington’s own D.C. Brau. Seth Taube, a New York-based Baker Botts partner, said the firm’s location in Washington is a great asset. “It’s a very effective business development tool,” Taube said. — Andrew Ramonas
Civil legal services lawyers often spend years toiling for long hours and less pay than their peers in private practice without much recognition. One exception is the Jerrold Scoutt Prize, considered one of the highest honors that’s awarded solely to public interest lawyers in Washington. The D.C. Bar Foundation announced this month that this year’s prize will go to Su Sie Ju, northwest legal clinic supervisor for the nonprofit Bread for the City. The prize, which comes with a $2,500 stipend, was created in 1993 to honor Jerrold Scoutt, founding partner of Zuckert, Scoutt & Rasenberger. Ju said in an email that she was “humbled and incredibly honored” to receive this year’s award. “My clients and my colleagues continually inspire and challenge me to not accept the status quo and to work corroboratively to help make access to justice a reality for individuals and families living in poverty.” — Zoe Tillman
LOVE OF LABOR
Back in 2004, Illinois attorney Sean Smoot‘s organization was the first labor and police group to endorse then-U.S. Senate candidate Barack Obama. To close the loop, Smoot said, he came back to Washington this weekend to celebrate the start of Obama’s second term as president. “We’re thrilled to have someone as president who’s not only from our state, but someone who is a friend to law enforcement,” said Smoot, the chief legal counsel for the Illinois Police Benevolent and Protective Association. Smoot and his wife, Teresa, got almost the exact same seats for the Inauguration ceremony as they did four years ago. But the weather and crowds were much milder this time. As for the energy? “The scene looks the same,” Smoot said. The weekend for him and his wife included a dinner with Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and a rooftop party at the Willard InterContinental hotel to watch the parade. — Todd Ruger