If you’re tuning in today to hear our thoughts on the leaked Dobbs opinion and what that means for the future of both reproductive rights and the entire superstructure of the 14th Amendment going forward… well, you’ll have to wait a week. Putting together a quality show takes time and that means we recorded this before that revelation. But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a lot to cover! We have a breakdown of the latest Am Law 100 ranking of law firms, recaps of the “interesting” lawyering both in and before the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard trial, way too much talk about the legal woes facing Ron DeSantis as he goes after Disney, the racist standup career of Alex Jones’s lawyer, and some pointers on how and how not to report on legal news.
Special thanks to our sponsor, Posh Virtual Receptionists, LLC.
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Joe Patrice: Hello.
Kathryn Rubino: Hello.
Joe Patrice: Welcome to the edition.
Kathryn Rubino: Thank you.
Joe Patrice: This is Thinking Like A Lawyer.
Kathryn Rubino: It is.
Joe Patrice: Okay.
Kathryn Rubino: Really?
Joe Patrice: Yeah.
Kathryn Rubino: Is that how do you think like a lawyer?
Joe Patrice: I’m Joe Patrice from Above the Law. That’s Kathryn Rubino. We are also joined as usual by Chris Williams. We are here to babble on. We are here to talk to you about the week in law, which was another one of those whirlwind weeks. So, we’ve got a lot to cover. But obviously, we usually begin with
Kathryn Rubino: Self-talk.
Joe Patrice: —Self-talk.
Kathryn Rubino: See how natural that was? And you didn’t have to like to use any sound words.
Joe Patrice: Do you not like the trumpet sound effect. Is that the deal?
Kathryn Rubino: I’m not going to say anything because then you’re going to hit it.
Joe Patrice: There. Maybe we’ll do that one.
Kathryn Rubino: Oh, my word.
Chris Williams: Please tell me that something like you recorded like acapella and then playback because that was different.
Joe Patrice: That was not me.
Kathryn Rubino: Oh, my word.
Joe Patrice: That is a sound effect. Yes.
Kathryn Rubino: Wow! Okay. All right.
Joe Patrice: That is our stuff for small talk.
Kathryn Rubino: Wow! Well then. What did you do this weekend, Joe?
Joe Patrice: I struggled to do random household chores that were most of my time. I’m having a bad time of it but hopefully, it will all come back around. just situations where the things that are supposed to work aren’t working. But you know, someday maybe I’ll be handy. Whatever?
Chris Williams: There’s an old saying that goes “do be like that sometimes.”
Joe Patrice: Yeah.
Kathryn Rubino: How about you, Chris? What was your weekend like?
Chris Williams: Two things? So, first, you noticed in the spirit of transparency in the legal profession, I went to the doctor on Friday and was diagnosed with moderate to severe depression
Joe Patrice: Oh.
Chris Williams: which was a weight off my shoulders because it’s like for the last 10 or 11 so years, I was like “Something seems off?” But I was like, “Wait, do what? I really do miss having a zest for life and I have health insurance now. Maybe I should go to a doctor.”
Kathryn Rubino: Health insurance is amazing like that.
Chris Williams: Right? And I think it’s called Sertraline. It’s like a non-brand version of a super easy like a Ford. So even if I do have a health insurance change, it will be fine. Well, yeah, it’s one of those things where it’s easy to look at like the data in the profession to be like, “Oh, this is the thing that a lot of people struggle with but it’s different to make the jump be like, “Oh, Steve down the hall.”
Kathryn Rubino: Yeah, right.
Chris Williams: So that was the first thing. And the second thing was I ordered a memory foam –
Joe Patrice: Oh.
Chris Williams: Yes.
Kathryn Rubino: Nice. Oh, I see you don’t have some reviews yet for us.
Chris Williams: It’s supposed to be in today.
Kathryn Rubino: Okay.
Chris Williams: And luckily for you, Joe, and the viewers listening, it’s not in yet because if it was, I would not be here. I’d be in bean bagging it up.
Kathryn Rubino: Maybe you just have to change your podcast set up to mean that you can be “in the beanbag chair” as you’re recording.
Chris Williams: this is why it’s great to have smart co-workers.
Chris Williams: Because the chair I’m in sucks right now.
Kathryn Rubino: Amazing.
Joe Patrice: Okay.
Kathryn Rubino: Amazing.
Joe Patrice: How about you?
Kathryn Rubino: I actually judged the finals of a high school debate tournament. It was the International Public Policy Forum. I think IPPS. It’s a high school thing. It’s sponsored by the Brewer Foundation. a lawyer started the whole foundation.
Joe Patrice: That’s in Brewer & Associates.
Kathryn Rubino: Correct. Correct. And Bill Brewers on the final round panel with me as well as former NYU Law School Dean John Sexton. Also, the former president at NYU, Stern Dean, and another debate coach. There were five of us on the panel and there were a bunch of high school kids and it was a $10,000 prize at the end. So, although I’ve judged a bunch of debate rounds in my life, I’ve never judged one that was worth $10,000. So, a little extra pressure we handled it? So, it was a lot of fun. And it starts as a written competition, and then from the elite eight on is oral debates. So, I got to be one of the final round panelists, and that was a lot of fun.
Joe Patrice: Cool.
Chris Williams: Is it 10K like for the team? Or like for the school? How does that break down?
Joe Patrice: Five for the school. I used to judge the written part of this, years ago. So, five to the school. Five for the team and then second place gets thirty-five hundred or so.
Kathryn Rubino: For the school.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, for the school.
Kathryn Rubino: Yes. I think from the elite eight on, there are cash prizes for the school and the individualized cash amounts of money are scholarship-based.
Chris Williams: Nice. High school, is it?
Kathryn Rubino: Yep, high schoolers? So, it’s school fun.
Chris Williams: So, is there an age limit on that? Because I have been missing school recently.
Kathryn Rubino: Yep, high school.
Joe Patrice: It probably puts you out of the range of it.
Chris Williams: Yeah.
Kathryn Rubino: It’s nice because it’s a bunch of obviously the pipeline between debate to a lawyer is alive and well and so it’s a bunch of law folks on the panel and in the audience and stuff like that. So, that was really kind of a fun moment as well.
Joe Patrice: Cool. All right.
Kathryn Rubino: Yeah, it’s pretty fun. It was a good Saturday.
Joe Patrice: Maybe we should go get into the conversation of law stories then and with that intro of the pipeline
ending small talk.
Kathryn Rubino: We are going to take a minute to give the news to you guys.
Chris Williams: It’s so bad.
Kathryn Rubino: It’s going to take a minute. I’m not sure if I love it.
Joe Patrice: I mean look I can bring back the trumpet if you want.
Chris Williams: That was campier than dare I say some of the law review submissions.
Kathryn Rubino: Oh.
Joe Patrice: Oh. Well, no. Oh, yes. No. So, we have law review submissions which we’ve been talking about. So, some fun times not a ton of them this year, but the voting goes on those. I can repurpose the trumpet because what came out last week.
Kathryn Rubino: Oh, I’m glad you’re going to tell.
Joe Patrice: In this case, that’s the fanfare for the Am Law 100. Well
Kathryn Rubino: Well, in fairness the Am Law is kind of one hundred this year does kind of deserve a little bit of fanfare. There’s some crazy. I mean every we’ve talked generically about, “Oh, BigLaw’s having a good year. Lots of people are hiring, super busy.” But to actually kind of see it broken down into numbers and stats is a little. Yeah, I mean 2021 was a good year for BigLaw. Every single member of the A, law 100 to the top 100 firms by gross revenue had an increase in revenue over the year before.
Chris Williams: Damn.
Kathryn Rubino: 52. Five, two. More than a half of the Am Law 100 makes over a billion dollars in gross revenue.
Chris Williams: Jesus!
Kathryn Rubino: A billion. The number of firms that make over two billion, is 15. So, that’s a lot. So, it’s a real lot. As has been true for the last five years, Kirkland is still in the first place. In terms of gross revenue, Latham is second with staggeringly large numbers. The Biglaw had a good year. Although, of course, no story about the good economic times is complete unless someone is there pouring a bunch of water on the situation.
People are starting to worry that what happens after the good time’s end, after this kind of billing frenzy ends that law firms are hiring at such a pace that the average sort of billables for those groups, they won’t have enough hours or enough work to go around to have whatever their hour’s requirements are for the group in the relatively near future. And should that happen Biglaws’ favorite way to deal with that is still stealth layoffs, which are the worst?
Joe Patrice: Yeah. So stealth layoffs situation where they start laying people off, but don’t call it a layoff. They start manufacturing reasons why somebody hasn’t quite made it to the performance standards that they want. And so, they are being fired not laid off, but it’s really when once 10% of the workforce gets mysteriously fired this way, we call it stealth lay off. And with that said, it strikes me as hard to imagine that we are at that point yet. So, the Am Law 100 obviously brings out the gross revenue numbers of all these big firms, which Kathryn already reported are giant. They also though have some breakdowns of profits per equity partner and stuff like that.
Like, it’s true and it’ not just that these firms are bringing in a lot of revenue, but they’re an incredibly profitable top. The costs, even though costs are the thing that goes up when you start paying associates more, it’s not going up to a point where it’s a real problem yet. I mean, you have to go down in the Am Law 100 organized by profits. You have to go down to 18 places to find somebody where profit margin wasn’t over 50%. And you got to go in the 35th to get anybody below 40. It’s just absolutely massive the profit margins that firms are pulling in right now.
And when you take that into account that the associate salary bumps as extreme as we have felt that they were like at least based on where they had been stuck for a few years, it’s just there’s a lot of slack to go before these firms really start feeling the pinch. So, one would hope that layoffs aren’t in the offing because as I always say, “When times go bad, you just convert to doing bankruptcy work.” So yes. So, that’s what’s going on.
Chris Williams: Is there a benefit to these stealth layoffs as opposed to just being upfront about it?
Joe Patrice: Yeah, not having Above the Law write a story about how you’re laying people off. That’s actually the benefit. Yes.
Kathryn Rubino: Yeah. And there’s a, “Oh, it’s not the financial health of the firm. There were performance issues with those associates. We just let go the folks, and people who couldn’t hack it and Biglaw.”
Joe Patrice: Right. And then you can blame them. It really does a number on these poor folks because they now go out –
Kathryn Rubino: That’s the truth.
Joe Patrice: Now, they go out to try and find a new job and they don’t have “Oh, they were laid off.” They have, “They were fired for performance issues.” So, it makes it harder on them on the backend. It’s all-around a bad way to handle it. If you’re going to lay people off, take a PR hit, but whatever.
Kathryn Rubino: And just be honest about it.
Joe Patrice: Yeah.
Kathryn Rubino: I mean, I think that that’s kind of one of the bigger kind of motivations of having a website like Above the Law. Right? It’s transparency and gets forcing firms to be honest about stuff, which is why we write about things like stealth layoffs they try to hide, we try to find it because transparency is important.
Joe Patrice: Yeah. So, hey, let’s transition from that to mock trial teams that Chris has seen in his life.
Kathryn Rubino: Oh, yeah. Yeah. There you go.
Chris Williams: Listen, while she was having a good time. Yeah, I won’t name any names, but I’ve seen some questionable openings.
Joe Patrice: Yeah.
Chris Williams: Of course, not all the trial team members. They ended up doing Very well. Also shout-outs to Judge Mason who if he has spare time might want to give Amy Heard’s.
Kathryn Rubino: Amber.
Chris Williams: Amber Heard’s.
Kathryn Rubino: Yeah. I don’t know why.
Joe Patrice: Yeah. You keep going back to Amy. I don’t know?
Chris Williams: I got wax on the brain. I’m just expecting.
Kathryn Rubino: There you go. There you go.
Joe Patrice: Nice.
Chris Williams: Amber Heard’s lawyer should have done a better job listening to a trial team if he was there. There was a point where he asks someone a question and once, they began to answer the question, he asks, and he objected to it because it was going in the wrong direction. I’m not sure if you’ve seen Johnny Depp in person, but I think he’s about the same height. Wasn’t Napoleon also five foot seven.
Joe Patrice: Yeah.
Chris Williams: — Or around. Napoleon wasn’t that that short? But Johnny Depp is no Shaq. He’s more of a Kevin Hart if you would be nice.
Joe Patrice: Yeah.
Chris Williams: And there was a point where Amber Heard’s attorney was like, “Oh, you’re” to Depp, like, “Oh, you’re significantly larger.” He was like, “I wouldn’t save and she had to stifle a laugher.” The whole celebrities working through the court system is ridiculous to me. I think that at some point there were like Alpacas out in front of the courthouse. Like, just what happened to Toyotas? I’m a simple man.
Joe Patrice: It certainly seems as though; her attorney is struggling a little bit with the weight of the moment. Beyond that, we have the other story to come out of this trial is that some other attorneys are facing some kind of serious questions, which is that the editorial that is the basis of this trial it turns out was ghostwritten by the ACLU, which has forced a lot of people who questioned why the ACLU got involved in this in the first place.
Obviously, the allegations in it of abuse are serious, but not quite an ACLU issue. One wouldn’t think there are several people who say, “I get money to the ACLU to fight for various civil liberties.” This seems like this was a poor decision of how to use their resources, especially if it turns out that this is a defamatory editorial. So, that’s the other half. So, it seems like Amber seems to have all sorts of attorney issues surrounding her cases.
Kathryn Rubino: Well, there was at least a theoretical reason. Right? Which is that Amber Heard had pledged half of her divorce proceeds to go to the ACLU which she has not fulfilled, by the way —
Joe Patrice: Right.
Kathryn Rubino: — to be cleared. There was some money donated in her name, a small percentage of it was actually from her larger percentage they believe is from Elon Musk’s Vanguard account they believe it was controlled by Elon Musk because he’s her ex-boyfriend. And also, there were some emails between Musk and ACLU at the time. Whatever. But the point is that she promised millions of dollars to the ACLU. ACLY tried to help her out during that moment and has not received what they were told. And she never signed the official pledge agreements and all this other stuff.
Joe Patrice: Yeah.
Chris Williams: It’s so very messy.
Joe Patrice: Yeah. It seems like a real mess. If you’re one of those people out there who’s not a lawyer, and they’re trying to figure out how the law works by watching this particular trial, you should probably change the channel.
Chris Williams: Unless you’re trying to figure out hearsay. Watch, Johnny Depp.
Joe Patrice: Right. That’s true. We did talk about that last week.
Kathryn Rubino: That’s true. That’s true. But I will say earnestly that watching “My Cousin Vinny” gives you a better example of a how-to lawyer than the actual lawyers in this case.
Joe Patrice: Right. But anyway. Oh, the phone’s ringing.
Kathryn Rubino: Oh, you will get that. You’re going to get that even though we’re in the middle of something.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, I know.
Kathryn Rubino: Maybe you should get it.
Joe Patrice: Yes. You are right.
Kathryn Rubino: Oh, maybe someone could get it for you?
Joe Patrice: Yes. Well, this why–
Kathryn Rubino: Yeah.
Kathryn Rubino: that would be a great idea.
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Kathryn Rubino: Perfect.
Joe Patrice: And that’s why we’re going to hear from friends from Posh.
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Joe Patrice: All right.
Kathryn Rubino: Let’s talk about messy? Let’s talk about messy. Let’s talk about Ron DeSantis.
Joe Patrice: Okay, so what’s up? What’s up with that guy?
Kathryn Rubino: So, I’ve been very clear in other articles that I’ve written on Above the Law. My personal appreciation of Disney, Disney World. I’m going on vacation there later this year. I’m a Disney person. I’m a Disney adult. Don’t at me. I don’t care. But Ron DeSantis is decided to pick a bone with Disney. I’m sure you’ve heard that he signed into law and I think to do away with Reedy Creek, which is the county that Disney gets to self-administer. Disney came out a couple of days ago after I’d written the original article saying that, “That would cost the State of Florida a billion dollars” because of all the things that they pay for and there is a difference also in the tax rate that Reedy Creek was/is allowed to. It’s like three times the maximum tax rate than any other county or city in the State can levy. So, there’s a difference in the amount of revenue they’re able to create as well.
And one of the ways that Disney like most counties, right, have been able to finance its debt is by doing bond offerings. Normal, all very normal except that in the bond offerings, the State legislator, the Florida legislature said specifically, that “They would not disband Reedy Creek for the term of the bonds,” which I believe the last one is still through 2029. And then the legislature turned around and did exactly what they said that they wouldn’t do, which is kind of a basis of contract law, right there. And there’s a bunch of cases, both Florida State cases, as well as federal cases, saying that “States cannot change the law to the detriment to get themselves out of bad contracts or good contracts or contracts of any sort that they’ve already entered into.” The bond issuance would be one of them. So, it’s a bit of a sticky pickle that Florida has gotten themselves into. And that’s not even counting the amount of money it would cost for the State to take over the responsibilities of administering that county. Never mind the potential First Amendment issues that are involved because it seems incredibly retaliatory. Right?
Kathryn Rubino: Like Disney did something that that Ron DeSantis did and all of a sudden there’s a law that a law that’s been changed as a result. No, it seems retaliatory, but there we go.
Joe Patrice: Okay, cool.
Kathryn Rubino: What?
Joe Patrice: None. You went on for a really long time there and I don’t know if there’s any remaining thing to say about it.
Kathryn Rubino: I have thoughts. I have thoughts.
Chris Williams: I too have thoughts.
Joe Patrice: Oh, okay.
Chris Williams: They are pressing and important. And I think our viewers are entitled to know. What’s your favorite Disney movie, Kathryn?
Kathryn Rubino: Oh, a great question. You know I definitely have a recent bias problem but Moana is probably in the No. 1 spot. I just think that it’s such a great movie. I love that it’s not a romantic journey at all. Also, when you say, “Disney movie,” I’m assuming that you’re talking about the animated oeuvre and not the entirety of Disney because then I’d have to consider all the Marvel movies. And now it’s Star Wars,
Chris Williams: Oh, my God.
Kathryn Rubino: Although the recent Star Wars movies. And don’t even get me started on those. But of the animated genres and I admit to very much having a recency bias, I think Moana is probably the right answer. although Encanto. I loved that. I really, really, really enjoyed that movie.
Joe Patrice: Well, that’s great. Hey, you know we’re doing a show here.
Joe Patrice: And we’re running out of time.
Kathryn Rubino: This is part of it. This part of it.
Joe Patrice: And have like five more topics.
Chris Williams: A moment of silence for the viewers listening that this is not a show with visuals because if you could just see Joe’s response, his happiness, and his joy, I wish you all could see this. It’s wonderful. What’s that movie where it’s like in the two hands on the face with the eyes on it? Do you know what I’m talking about?
Kathryn Rubino: I don’t but that’s amazing. Yup. I do. It’s the one pan.
Yeah. We just didn’t like to make this about movies now.
Joe Patrice: We turned this into a dog show and we now have stopped this. So, getting back to the actual legal of this and there is an interesting aspect to this and that DeSantis is a Harvard law grad.
Kathryn Rubino: Oh, true. Yup. You see, I did mention everything, Joe. You just gave me just a snooty look that I probably –
Joe Patrice: Yeah, probably. Yeah.
And I’m going to keep going. So, probably the reason why Harvard has dropped in this year’s U.S. News ranking.
Kathryn Rubino: That’s basically it. Right?
Joe Patrice: That’s probably it.
Kathryn Rubino: Probably it.
Joe Patrice: But yes. So, a Harvard law grad meaning that a quick, very, very quick look at the should have put a stop to this. Means that either he’s the worst Harvard grad possible or he fully understands that this is not something that will withstand any sort of court scrutiny, and he did it for the posturing effect and ultimately will have some sort of “face-saving” move at the end in which nothing actually happens. But that’s troubling as a method of governance where we’re passing laws that we know will never take effect for the pure –
Kathryn Rubino: TPR. Sure.
Joe Patrice: –PR value of it.
Kathryn Rubino: I mean the truth is, Ron DeSantis just wants a permanent space in Disney World’s hall of presidents.
Kathryn Rubino: Hall of presidents.
Joe Patrice: So, that’s a Disney kind of a preference.
Kathryn Rubino: So, it’s a Disney World. A Disney Land to has a hall of President, but I am personally partial to Disneyworld over land. I know that there are technically more attractions.
Chris Williams: No.
Joe Patrice: So, you know while we’re trying to have a show about the law here –
Kathryn Rubino: I’m having the show.
Joe Patrice: You’re having a thing. So, let the transition to talking about another thing that happened Alex Jones was continued legal whatever is going on. He’s obviously being sued for the damage that he’s lying about the Sandy Hook victims’ families has caused. He said that “They weren’t real” and the Sandy Hook massacre didn’t happen. Obviously, this resulted in them being harassed so they are suing. He has tried. We talked before about, he’s playing “bankruptcy games,” and trying to move around to assets in some sort of an attempt to avoid litigation. The most recent event though has nothing to do with any of the bankruptcy stuff. It has to do with his lawyer.
Kathryn Rubino: Mm-hmm.
Joe Patrice: His lawyer has been making some curious decisions and that he is telling the media that the reason they’ve declared bankruptcy with some of these entities is as a litigation strategy to cut off these people from having access to the actual rewards.
Kathryn Rubino: For staying quiet for crying out loud.
Joe Patrice: They are not a thing that you usually do. You usually try not to tell newspapers that you’re trying to undermine the proper organization of the entire justice system. But he did. He also, however, is an amateur standup, and video of his amateur standup came out. And he’s well, I think it’s more fairer to say, “we’re leaning heavily into the amateur.”
Kathryn Rubino: Fair enough. So, you were not impressed by his comedic stylings?
Joe Patrice: No. It’s interesting white guys just using the n-word is not actually a comedy.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, it’s just people trying to say things to offend people and act like it’s funny.
Chris Williams: Was he auditioning to be a law school professor?
Kathryn Rubino: No.
Joe Patrice: No. God, no. I mean that’s also a problem. In this instance, I don’t think he would try to concoct some non-sensical use of mention dichotomy because I think he’s very much was trying to go ahead and use it. In this instance though so the part that really got me, and I’m interested in Chris’s thoughts on this because you’ve done some comedy stuff in the past too.
Chris Williams: I’ve attempted.
Joe Patrice: Yeah. The part that really offended me on a lot of levels, but offended me on a comic level is, his attempt to try and say, “Look, George Carlin is the reason it’s okay to offend people.” And I was like, “Oh?”
But I mean he tried to invoke the concept of the seven words. You can’t say on television saying, “And this is exactly like that” as opposed to Carlin’s entire point, I would say was to mock the idea of sexual taboos at the time because he doesn’t include racial epithets in that list and they would have probably been on that list at the time, but that’s because Carlin wasn’t trying to have that conversation. So yeah, that’s the part that got me from a comedy perspective.
Kathryn Rubino: Fair.
Chris Williams: I mean, there’s a difference between saying like, “Oh, if you lived into Beethoven Symphonies, he would have really appreciated Dubstep.
Joe Patrice: Yeah.
Chris Williams: Given the way that he turned musical conventions at the time on their head, he would have an appreciation for using technological devices to make sounds never heard before. Cool. But when you’re talking about a guy who could have done the same thing when they were alive. No, a choice was made. He’s like I think in the report. There was a reason why Carlin wasn’t slurring. I mean he had that he had the opportunity to.
Joe Patrice: Yeah.
Chris Williams: He could have just done that if you want it. Like it’s like when people say, “You know what Mark Martin Luther King would have said?” “No, you don’t like it.” Like, it’s one of those things where like when people are in the wrong, they just quote a dead person because they know they can’t speak on their behalf. It’s like, “I do better.”
Joe Patrice: It means you’ve also “summed up” the entire intellectual infrastructure surrounding originalism. So, a good job. “When in doubt, quote dead people.” But yeah, it, it was problematic. It was also really bad and like, when you watch the video of it, it’s clear also like the most disturbing aspect of it is that he’s intentionally trying to turn like using his platform to kind of isolate the black people in the crowd and kind of get the crowd so rile up against them. It was viewed very much as like the beginning of mob violence. So, it was very disturbing, but not unexpected given who we’re working with here.
Kathryn Rubino: Fair enough.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, I guess the only other thing on this list of stuff is Axios, which is a media outlet.
Kathryn Rubino: That’s a shame. A shame.
Chris Williams: What are they good at?
Joe Patrice: As far as I can tell not much.
Kathryn Rubino: Being wrong.
Joe Patrice: I guess Jonathan Swann works there and he does this kind of interesting interview. But the outlet itself seems to be based around the idea of reducing any kind of coverage to the lowest common denominator in a way that I think I wrote this. It makes the USA Today go, “Whoa. Whoa. Whoa.”
Kathryn Rubino: That’s too far.
Joe Patrice: But ironically with all of their reducing everything to bullet points, they end up making the story read more convoluted than it otherwise would, which is problematic anyway. They put out a post the other day where they talked about Trump’s judges who have been interjecting themselves into really disturbing and not really becoming judicial behavior cases. You’ve got Judge Howe talking about how backing up the idea that Ketanji Brown Jackson must be a lesser black woman. You have Kyle Duncan writing some opinions of actively misgendering people. You have Lawrence Van Dyke writing opinions in which he calls the other members of the Ninth Circuit “criminals and possessed by demons,” which things –
Kathryn Rubino: There you go.
Joe Patrice: –you do not normally expect to hear from federal judges. And Axios concludes this article with another after all outlining this with another headline going “but Ketanji Brown Jackson also cited the federalist papers. So, in a way, that was suggested Trump was wrong about something. So, who amongst us cast the first stone?
Kathryn Rubino: Yeah, right. I think she wrote that “Presidents are not kings.”
Joe Patrice: Yeah.
Kathryn Rubino: And that was it.
That’s basically the same.
Chris Williams: Blasphemous.
Joe Patrice: It was a fixation upon the kind of “flattening” of all discussion that these sorts of objective news sources seem to feel like the “antidote” to partisan media.
Chris Williams: There’s nothing new. I mean, Elon did the same shit with that thing he showed recently. Whereas, like the old, the left is moving parts to the left.
Joe Patrice: Oh, yeah.
Chris Williams: “Oh, I’m just trying to be even-handed.” No. It’s like, “No! You’re not.” Listeners if you don’t know this. If anybody says, they’re “moderate,” or like they’re, “Oh, I’m just even-handed.” They’re Republican. They’re Republican. It’s known.
Joe Patrice: You are either so apathetic that you’re dangerous at that point or you’re just trying to cover up the fact that you’re relatively right-wing. Yeah. I know. That’s fair.
Chris Williams: Because right-wingers don’t get right swipes on Tinder. It’s a thing. It’s known.
Joe Patrice: But the problem for me with all of this is that when especially in a world where the judiciary is becoming particularly important for the future that a media outlet or partisan outlets, or whatever they’re going to do whatever. But what it presents itself as an objective outlet so irresponsibly juxtaposing two things that are none any way similar. As though, “Well, shrug your shoulders. This is all the same.” It’s just irresponsible, and it’s a problem, and it’s contributing to the lack of judicial literacy that the public has.
So, we talked about this with the Amy Coney Barrett thing –
Kathryn Rubino: Yup.
Joe Patrice: where she tried to claim, “Oh, well, we write all these like detailed opinions” when she clearly knows that they do have this junk on the shadow docket per curiam with no signed opinions.”
But that sort of mentality when we criticized that a few weeks ago is enabled by these sorts of media outlets that just had a “Group everything together” and say, “Yeah. You know.”
Kathryn Rubino: The case is off.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, exactly.
Kathryn Rubino: Yeah.
Joe Patrice: Anyway.
Kathryn Rubino: No, it’s incredibly problematic. I think it’s a really important thing to call attention to when we see it. But, “Oh, no. We are screwed as a society.”
Joe Patrice: Yeah.
Kathryn Rubino: That’s what I have to say about that.
Joe Patrice: Well, we’ve run a little bit longer because we had to endure.
Kathryn Rubino: I think people are going to appreciate my Disney thoughts.
Joe Patrice: Do you think that?
Kathryn Rubino: Well, listen.
Joe Patrice: Oh, the kids do.
Kathryn Rubino: For all the children listening to this legal podcast.
Chris Williams: And we know that all our listeners are young at heart anyway.
Kathryn Rubino: There you go? Whether speaking of a Disney controversy there was that whole thing where people are mad that they took out ladies and gentlemen, and they’re just doing like dreamers and believers.
Joe Patrice: Oh.
Kathryn Rubino: Children of all ages or something like that, and people are pissed about that because God forbid, we’re inclusive.
Joe Patrice: Yeah. Okay, cool.
Kathryn Rubino: There’s a lot to say.
Joe Patrice: Okay.
Chris Williams: This is the oddest revenge for all the times Joe is able to use the sound machine and Kathryn had no response back, and I’m loving it.
Joe Patrice: So, anyway. Yeah, that was for all the kids out there listening to this explicitly-tagged podcast. With that said, thanks for listening. You should be subscribed to show so you get new ones when they come out. You should leave reviews, stars, or write something, always helps. You should be reading Above the Law to see these and other stories before we get a chance to chat about them. You should be following us on social media. I’m @Joseph Patrice and she’s @kathrynI, the numeral I. Chris’s @rights for rent. The blog itself is the @ATL blog. These are all Twitter things. Obviously, who knows how long that lasts? We do have a mastodon now.
Chris Williams: Woot, whew!
Joe Patrice: So, all of that is true. You should listen to the other offerings. Kathryn’s also the host of a show called The Jabot. I’m a panelist at the Legal Week Journalists’ Roundtable.
Chris Williams: The thing, you’ve been listening to all this time.
Kathryn Rubino: You know I made fun of you first and then I stopped. But I think I need to pick it up.
Joe Patrice: I had it, but it well, I wasn’t on it this week and so like everything.
Kathryn Rubino: So, one and done and literally like if it’s not in your head immediately it’s gone?
Joe Patrice: The Legal Talk Journalists Roundtable.
Chris Williams: And that my friend is proof that bullying works.
Joe Patrice: That’s my gavel.
Kathryn Rubino: Okay. Are we?
Joe Patrice: I think so.
Kathryn Rubino: I’m not sure that’s accurate.
Joe Patrice: All right. So, thanks to Posh for sponsoring the show. And I think that will finally will conclude us for another week.
Kathryn Rubino: Peace!
Chris Williams: See you next week, dreamers.