Bench Memos

Re: Buying a Judgeship?

It turns out that fatcat Democratic donor John J. McConnell Jr.—nominated by President Obama to a district judgeship in Rhode Island—received a mediocre ABA rating of substantial majority “qualified”/minority “not qualified.”  For someone with so much litigation experience (he’s been a trial lawyer for 25 years), such a poor rating ought to set off alarm bells.  At the very least, that rating makes even more clear that Senators Reed and Whitehouse recommended him because of his campaign contributions, not, as they claimed (in the Providence Journal’s paraphrase), because of his supposed “qualities of legal ability, intellect, temperament and integrity.”

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Jussie Smollett’s story has always sounded a little . . . extraordinary. Smollett, who appears on the television series Empire, says he was attacked on the streets of Chicago at 2 a.m. by two men who shouted racial and homophobic abuses at him, beat him, doused him with bleach, and fastened a noose around ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Let’s Chill about Hate Crimes

‘Jussie Smollett, one of the stars of the television show ‘Empire,’ was attacked in Chicago by 2 assailants who yelled racial and homophobic slurs,” tweeted the New York Times on January 29. Mark the tone of absolute certainty about an unconfirmed claim. Many other news outlets took the same tack. ... Read More