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With the holidays approaching, Hollywood begins to trot out their “Oscar-bait” movies—those awards season contenders hoping to generate a buzz among those who select the nominees for the Academy Awards, Golden Globes, and other cinematic accolades. But what about the legal world? Don’t we deserve our own laurels for those “you just can’t make this stuff up” episodes that livened up the legal system over the past year? I know the awards I’d hand out.

Let’s begin with the “Judicial Honesty” award. This year’s pick is Ninth Circuit Judge Jay Bybee, who bared his true feelings about dealing with the opinions of his brethren. In his July opinion in U.S. v. Martinez-Lopez, a complex sentencing case, Judge Bybee began as follows: “Bybee, Circuit Judge, concurring in part and dissenting in part, but frustrated with the whole endeavor.” Wow—tell us how you really feel, Judge Bybee. What’s next, “Bybee Circuit Judge, concurring because the Supreme Court won’t look at this one anyway?” Of course, if there were a category for “Painful Honesty,” Bybee may have some competition—David Bookstaver, the longtime communications director for New York’s Office of Court Administration. In August, after denying to a reporter that his job responsibilities had been taken away, Bookstaver accidentally “butt-dialed” the same reporter later that day. The result was a four-minute-long voicemail of a conversation Bookstaver had with a colleague in which he admitted “the story’s true. I’m not doing anything. I barely show up to work and I’ve been caught.” Not surprisingly, soon thereafter Bookstaver was fired from his $172,000 a year “no show” job.

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