Some people think that, as of late, Article III Groupie has been "fawn[ing] over well-credentialed conservative attorneys more than actual federal judges." See, e.g., this comment. Such criticism is not unfounded. But the problem isn't anything that can't be fixed with a few fabulous judicial sight-ations!
Today's federal judicial celebrity sightings have a theme: sporty judges! Many people erroneously assume that federal judges are the living embodiment of the adage "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." The stereotypical view of federal judges is that their brains are massive, but beneath their robes, their bodies have atrophied. As the sight-ations below demonstrate, however, this is not (entirely) true. (And it's definitely not true of their law clerks. Next month, Mark Mosier -- a law clerk to the late Chief Justice Rehnquist -- will be inducted into the University of Chicago Athletics Hall of Fame, for his baseball accomplishments.)
To be sure, the average federal judge knows and cares more about scienter pleading standards under the PSLRA than proper calculation of an ERA. For example, the super-brilliant Judge Richard Posner (7th Cir.) -- who knows pretty much Everything About Everything -- has professed a "profound ignorance of sports."*
But many other federal judges know a great deal about sports, enjoy attending sporting events, and have even been seen engaging in athletic pursuits. Consider these judicial sight-ations:**
1. Justice John Paul Stevens -- who is "a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan," according to one UTR reader -- recently threw out the first pitch at Wrigley Field, when the Cubs hosted the Cincinnati Reds. Justice Stevens may have looked a little decrepit on the pitcher's mound, but his achievement is still impressive. When A3G is as old as JPS is -- namely, 85 -- the only thing she'll be throwing out is her back!
UTR's correspondent adds: "This is rumored to be the first time a sitting Supreme Court justice has ever thrown out the first pitch at a baseball game. William Howard Taft threw out the 'first' first pitch, but he was POTUS at the time." And here at UTR, of course, a federal judge carries more clout than a mere President of the United States!
2. Earlier this year, ex-Judge Michael Chertoff was seen running on the beach in California, together with Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA). Fantastic! Representative Harman described Mike Chertoff as "an impressive runner." (Thanks to Wonkette for the link.)
Right now Secretary Chertoff is probably wishing he could sprint away from the Department of Homeland Security, back into the loving embrace of the federal judiciary. Howard Bashman took the words right out of A3G's mouth: "Michael Chertoff left a life-tenured judgeship on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit for this?"
In her Chertoff Quiz, A3G speculated (see item #15) that perhaps Judge Chertoff thought that as DHS Secretary, he could develop a national reputation that would put him on the fast track to the Supreme Court. If that was his plan, it may have backfired; rightly or wrongly, Secretary Chertoff has been the subject of intense criticism for the federal response to Hurricane Katrina.
A possible addition to the list of Katrina casualties: the once-bright SCOTUS hopes of Michael Chertoff...
3. As noted in this article (free reg. required), Judge Kathleen Cardone (W.D. Tex.) -- who appears to be rather attractive (see pic below) -- moonlights as a fitness instructor! According to the article, by Mary Alice Robbins for the Texas Lawyer:
It's not necessarily the pay -- $25 per class -- that keeps Cardone teaching fitness. "I think it's important to be fit," she says.
A3G agrees wholeheartedly! She also notes that other federal judges are aerobics enthusiasts. The most famous example is Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, known for leading female law clerks in morning aerobics sessions (although some have questioned the efficacy of the SOC work-outs).
In addition, rumor has it that Judge Consuelo Callahan (pictured at left) -- the "Dancing Queen of the Ninth Circuit" -- used to be "quite the aerobics instructor, at Jack La Lanne Fitness in Stockton!" The UTR reader who submitted this tidbit adds: "Do you remember Jack La Lanne? Apparently, they wore bright pink outfits with plenty of makeup.... I think that was also the time that those godawful leg warmers were in style!" (Thank God that dark time in our nation's fashion history is over!)
4. Several months ago, Judge Marjorie O. Rendell (3d Cir.) attended a Celtics game up in Boston with her husband, Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell. At the game, the couple entertained the assembled throng, by singing the national anthem!
Gov. Rendell has no illusions of quitting his day job in Pennsylvania for a singing career.
Wearing a No. 21 New England Patriots jersey, Rendell paid off a debt by singing the national anthem before yesterday’s game between the 76ers and the Boston Celtics at the FleetCenter.
When the Eagles lost the Super Bowl, 24-21, to the Patriots, [Governor] Rendell lost his wager with Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who was at yesterday’s NBA game wearing a No. 24 Patriots jersey. The payback was singing the “The Star-Spangled Banner” before the game, which the Sixers won.
Rendell sang a capella, and it’s likely he won’t be making any encore performances. “The biggest surprise was that I didn’t get booed,” a laughing Rendell said afterward.
“She saved me out there,” Rendell said.
It turns out that Rendell hadn’t told his wife until yesterday morning that she would be part of a duet. When Midge Rendell began to sing, the crowd gave her a huge ovation.
* Despite his lack of sports knowledge, Judge Posner is a champion at using the semicolon. For more on that delightful but controversial punctuation mark, check out this fascinating article by Trevor Butterworth (via Andrew Sullivan).
** Yes, A3G realizes that some of these sightings are pretty stale. But if you had almost 600 unarchived emails in your inbox -- i.e., emails still awaiting responses -- you'd be a little behind too...