Lately Article III Groupie has been focused on the Supreme Court: those nine judicial deities, and their clerkly attendants. Perhaps some of you are getting One First Street fatigue. So, in an effort to mix things up a little, A3G now interrupts her Supreme Court clerk programming, for a brief trip back to the lower courts.
Today she brings you some most exciting news: a federal judicial three-way! Recently A3G received this gobsmacking morsel of mail:
Last weekend, I attended the wedding of two high-powered prosecutors: John P. Collins, Jr., an AUSA in the much-heralded U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, and Mary Jo Blanchard, an ADA in the Bronx District Attorney's office. John, by the way, is the son of a non-icky state court judge. Here is their New York Times wedding announcement.
Now, here's why I'm writing: judicial sight-ations galore! A3G, you would have died. At the reception, I was seated at a table with not one, not two, but three, yes, three federal judges: Judge Barbara S. Jones (S.D.N.Y.), Judge John F. Keenan (S.D.N.Y.), and Judge Sonia Sotomayor (2d Cir.)!
As one might expect given the company, the conversation was sparkling, erudite, and delightful. Some funny stories were told, of the "judges are real people too" variety, but I do not feel at liberty to share them. After all, my mealtime companions were never told they would be "on the record."
I will, however, describe the impressive attire of my fellow guests -- which was, after all, in "plain view" of everyone in attendance. In doing so, I have drawn inspiration from your former correspondent, Southern Diva of New York.
1. Judge Keenan. Judge Keenan was dressed conservatively, in a grey, pin-striped suit, a blue button-down shirt, and a nice tie. (Sorry, I couldn't tell the designer; I don't have your eye for fashion.) Although not particularly exciting, his outfit worked. Judicial style score: 8.0.
(But Mrs. Diane Keenan deserves a style score of 9.5! In her pale pink suit and pearl necklace, she was the very embodiment of Upper East Side elegance. She reminded me a lot of the lovely and talented Frances Sternhagen, who played Bunny MacDougal on "Sex and the City." But unlike Bunny, Mrs. Keenan couldn't be nicer.)
2. Judge Jones. The youthful and stylish Judge Jones was wearing the official uniform of your favorite senatrix, A3G: The Black Pantsuit. It wasn't a very adventurous choice, so maybe she doesn't get points for originality. But she sure looked great in it! Judicial style score: 9.0.
If you were to assign her a "judicial fun quotient," Judge Jones would rate a perfect 10! Unlike many Article III judges, who have allowed their status to go to their heads, Judge Jones is friendly, approachable, and down-to-earth. Not only is she a fun conversationalist, but she's also as an excellent dancer. The high point of the day for me: receiving dance lessons from a federal judge!
3. Judge Sotomayor. You would have loved the outfit of Judge Sotomayor: a very dramatic, red skirt suit, with a rather long jacket. I had never met Judge Sotomayor before, so I was not prepared for how striking and glamorous she is in person.
Pictures don't do justice to Judge Sotomayor. Maybe it's because they fail to capture her aura of mysterious intensity -- very Sonia Braga. Or maybe it's because they make her hair look flat, which it most definitely isn't. For the wedding, she had it done up in an "old Hollywood" perm that was simply stunning. Judicial style score: 9.5.
I enjoy your blog a ton. Keep it up!
Delightful and fabulous! A3G thanks her reader for this wonderfully detailed report. If only she could have been there -- dancing with a federal judge would be a dream come true!
Of course, the super-knowledgeable A3G has some trivia to add about each judge:
1. Judge Keenan. In 1983, Judge Keenan, a veteran of the Manhattan D.A.'s office, was on the verge of being nominated as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York -- until, at the eleventh hour, he was elbowed out of the way by a brash upstart named Rudy Giuliani. John Keenan's "consolation prize"? A district court judgeship, which he was nominated for later that year.
2. Judge Jones. She's not only stylish and fun, but also an excellent judge. Check out this very interesting NYT article, a joint profile of Judge Jones and her good friend, Judge Denise L. Cote (S.D.N.Y.), both presiding over WorldCom litigation. The piece describes Judge Jones as hardworking, efficient, and formidable in the courtroom; she runs a tight judicial ship. The article also offers these additional tidbits:
(a) "Judge Jones's Christmas parties are also legendary. Every year, she caters a party in the courthouse, complete with a disc jockey. But true to her image as a bridge builder, she makes sure that the courthouse staff members, including cleaners and security guards, are invited."
(b) "[Judge] Jones's first job out of college was as a hostess at a Howard Johnson's restaurant in the Sepulveda area of Los Angeles..."
(c) As an attorney in the DOJ's organized crime and racketeering group, "a male-dominated world," Judge Jones "stood out for her tact, teamwork and diplomatic skills."
(d) While a prosecutor in the legendary S.D.N.Y., Judge Jones became close friends with Sara Moss, now Estée Lauder's general counsel, and Mary Jo White, former U.S. Attorney for the S.D.N.Y. (now back at Debevoise & Plimpton, where she chairs the litigation department). The three women "called themselves 'the three Sids,' after Sid Vicious, the bass player of the Sex Pistols, the punk rock group. The three were also fierce tennis rivals. Still close, they sometimes take vacations together."
(e) Lawyers rave about Judge Jones, whom they describe as "fair and rarely ideological," "balanced," and "committ[ed] to justice."
3. Judge Sotomayor. Judge Sotomayor has been discussed extensively in UTR's pages, so A3G will simply refer you to her prior posts. Back in this post, A3G recounted the inspirational life story of "Sonia from the Block," whose remarkable, J. Lo-esque trajectory took her from the housing projects of the Bronx to the halls of 500 Pearl Street. And in this post, A3G imagined Judge Sotomayor mud wrestling the "Yankee Ice Princess," Judge Sandra L. Lynch (1st Cir.), for a Supreme Court appointment in a Kerry administration. (Both jurists were on the Kerry shortlist.)
In light of John Kerry's loss in the election, Sonia from the Block is no longer on a "rocket ship to the Supreme Court" (as Rush Limbaugh once stated). That may be just as well. Based on her fashion sense, it sounds like she'd be more at home on a Paris runway!
A3G hopes you enjoyed this little detour from Washington. To those of you who came here looking for the next installment of Supreme Court clerks, don't despair; the post about the SOC clerks is on its way. (But there's still time to email A3G with new tidbits about them, or any of the other OT 2005 clerks. So don't delay!)