My goodness, this is embarrassing! UTR hasn't offered up blind items of judicial gossip since last year. So let's address this deficiency without further delay, with this hot-off-the-presses edition of Justice Is Blind.
One UTR reader kindly offers up multiple blind items:
Are there some judges who take the cloister a little too seriously? When one [Southern District of New York] judge has a jury sitting, and he spots a juror or two on his way to the courtroom, he actually turns tail and hides out until the jurors have disappeared. Same when he spots a lawyer in a pending case. (We all remember when the court of appeals wondered about the S.D.N.Y. judge who allegedly stuck her head in the jury room and told them not to be hung up but to get a verdict.)
But this isolation can go too far. It can lead to judges imagining that the reason for having a "no go" zone has to do with their being superior beings altogether. I remember when [Judge X] was sworn in on the Fifth Circuit, and said to the assembled group that she thanked [Politician Y] for getting her the job, and promised to serve "God," and then after a pause, "my country." Judge John Brown, may his memory ever be glorified by the lovers of Article III, leaned over and said, "[Judge X], I just want you to remember that you were appointed, not anointed."
Another reader offers this blind item, also about a Lone Star jurist:
Care to examine a tyrant on the bench? Try [this Southern District of Texas judge]. He writes his own rules, and if you don't like them, he will send you to jail while hearing a civil case. All local attorneys cringe at the thought of apprearing in his court, knowing that year by year it gets even worse.
[Judge Y] is unbelievably lazy. She doesn't want to put in the work to get complex cases right. Her basic problem is that she doesn't enjoy the day-to-day work of the trial court -- she's just in it for the prestige. She is obsessed with maintaining a low reversal rate, not because she wants to get the cases right, but so she can get promoted to the Third Circuit -- more prestige. (But promotion would be tough for her, in part because of some sketchy business dealings by her husband, which almost derailed her nomination the first time around...)
[Judge Y] inappropriately tries to strong-arm the parties into settling, so no one will appeal, and when that doesn't work, she tries to jawbone them into not appealing. She tries her best to avoid making the tough calls. Sometimes you just want to say to her, "Your Honor, you're a judge -- so try exercising some judgment!"
And finally, for our last blind item, let's return to the S.D.N.Y. for a humorous anecdote:
The scene: a birthday dinner for the beloved S.D.N.Y. jurist, [Judge A]. In attendance are [Judge A], his wife [Mrs. A], and numerous former clerks of [Judge A]. One of these former clerks, a partner at a high-powered law firm, is now married to a federal judge.
Perhaps in a state of inebriation, the former clerk gets up to give a toast. At some point during his toast, he turns to the (rather elderly) wife of his former boss and declares: "[Mrs. A], you and I are very lucky people. Each of us gets to go home tonight and f*** a federal judge!"
This is just to tide you over. A3G is working on several other blind items that are far more juicy and scandalous than these relatively tame ones. So check back soon!