Patrolling the Political Beat: Over the past eight years, U.S. District Judge John Bates has presided over a slew of politically controversial cases, including the claims of detainees at the Bagram Theater Internment Facility in Afghanistan and the requests for records from Vice President Dick Cheney’s energy task force. Jordan Weissmann writes that, despite the high-profile cases, Bates, 63, is known as a mild-mannered, cerebral judge, one who closely guards his personal opinions and rarely shares his views on politics or policy. He’s also worked in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for D.C. and on the Whitewater prosecution team.
Not the Usual Suspects at High Court: In his Courtside column, Tony Mauro reports on two rulings that the Supreme Court handed down last week in which first-time advocates before the Court won surprising victories: Tuscon lawyer Thomas Jacobs represented a client challenging a police search, and Jenner & Block associate Lindsay Harrison represented an alien facing deportation. Also, Justices Stephen Breyer and Clarence Thomas face questions from Congress about cameras and clerks.
Inner Conflict: An impeachment inquiry of a federal judge has been set back by three months because of a conflict of interest between Holland & Knight’s lobbying practice and a partner at the firm who is serving as counsel to the House Judiciary Committee. David Ingram reports on the slow-moving case against U.S. District Judge G. Thomas Porteous Jr., who faces the possibility of becoming the first federal judge in two decades to be impeached.