By: Steve Lash
On prominent display at the Supreme Court is its darkest hour.
Chief Justice -- and former Maryland Attorney General -- Roger B. Taney
Encased in glass at the high court is the judicial robe worn by Chief Justice — and former Maryland Attorney General — Roger B. Taney, who wrote the 1857 opinion in Dred Scott v. Sandford that blacks are not U.S. citizens and therefore a slave had no standing to sue for his freedom.
The robe, on loan from the Historical Society of Frederick County, Md., is part of an exhibition, “In War and In Peace: The Supreme Court and the Civil War.” The display states the Dred Scott decision “pushed the nation closer to Civil War.”
The exhibition mentions other Civil War era decisions, including Ex Parte Vallandingham, in which the Supreme Court held it had no jurisdiction over appeals from military tribunals, and The Prize Cases of 1863, in which the high court defined the battle between North and South as a civil rebellion of high magnitude, not a war.
The display also credits Taney, historically scorned for his opinion in Dred Scott, with having ruled in Ex Parte Merryman in 1861 that President Abraham Lincoln lacked the authority to suspend the writ of habeus corpus even during wartime.
By: Steve Lash
With the 2012 election in the rear-view mirror, the drive toward 2014 has begun.
Senator Brian E. Frosh
State Sen. Brian E. Frosh, who has all but officially announced his run for Maryland attorney general, will hold a happy-hour fundraiser Wednesday at the Red Red Wine Bar in Annapolis. In a nod toward his legislative support for the environment, the Montgomery County Democrat’s campaign backers — Citizens for Brian Frosh — are tying suggested donation amounts to wildlife and anti-pollution themes in a flyer announcing the event.
For example, $1,000 donors are “Snakehead Warriors”; $500 donors are “Osprey Outlaws”; $250 donors are “Climate Change Hot Heads”; and $100 donors are “Clean Water Clarions.”
Coming up with nicknames for donors is not new for Frosh, who has in past election cycles dispensed with the traditional terms “sponsor” and “patron” in favor of “friend” and “best friend.”
But what is new for Frosh, who has served a quarter-century in the General Assembly, is the amount of money he said he will have to raise in a campaign for the statewide office. Frosh would not put a dollar value to that campaign figure but said a successful run will cost “more than I wish it would.”
“I raised money obviously for my Senate races, but this is a whole different ballgame,” added Frosh, who chairs the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. “It’s a different order of magnitude.”
By: Kristi Tousignant
Asked: Our weekly question to the In-House community
What do you do when you start a job as an in-house attorney for the first time and there are no other lawyers at your company?
Many lawyers go in-house after practicing law for decades. While they come equipped with knowledge of the law, a general counsel position has its own set of rules and requirements. Often, these attorneys are the only lawyers in the building and have few outlets for advice.
Corporate Counsel asked general counsels how they seek mentorship. Some seek advice in general counsel online forums, others pair up in formal programs with other in-house counsel and some just call other in-house attorneys they are acquainted with on the phone.
So, here’s our question for you:
Where do you seek advice and mentorship in your job as a general counsel?
Leave a comment below or email me.
Need to Know:
- More drama at the University of Iowa as a judge decided a case brought by an ex-general counsel.
- A former legal officer who worked for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for four decades passed away.
- First Potomac Realty Trust’s general counsel ceased his duties.
- An administrative attorney for the Montana Department of Labor and Industry is running for attorney general in the state.
- Follow us on Twitter for In-House news and discussion: @TDRInHouse
- Want the latest on who’s been hired, fired or moving and shaking in between? Head to our Movers and Shakers page to find out.
- For networking events and other happenings this week in Maryland, check out our calendar of events.
- Get the very latest updates from our law reporters on Twitter: @TDRKristi, @Steve_Lash
- Check out The Daily Record on Facebook.
By: Danielle Ulman
With all of the Osama bin Laden news last night and today, you might want (need?) a little break. Check out the law links below for a breather.
By: Danielle Ulman
Good morning. Here are some law links for you on this balmy Monday:
- The Washington Post goes over the same-sex marriage vote in Maryland’s House through the eyes of Speaker Michael E. Busch.
- NPR takes us back to 1980, when then-attorney general Ben Civiletti (at left) wrote the legal opinion that Congress must say yes to the federal budget to avoid a government shutdown.
- Local-ish lawyers in love.
- For ef’s sake sounds about right.
- The moral of the story? Don’t put suggestive screen savers on your coworker’s computer, and, whatever you do, don’t put feminine products on her keyring.
- Another name emerges in the legal insider-trading scheme that has rocked D.C. and New York firms.
By: Danny Jacobs
If you’ve never heard of Andrew Shirvell, I’ll let Anderson Cooper tell you about him in the video below.
(If you’d like Shirvell with a side of snark, check out this Daily Show story from last week.)
Shirvell was fired Monday from his position as an assistant attorney general in Michigan. His lawyer says Shirvell was exercising his First Amendment rights, but Attorney General Mike Cox said Shirvell’s conduct was “unbecoming for a state employee, especially an assistant attorney general.”
“Shirvell repeatedly violated office policies, engaged in borderline stalking behavior and inappropriately used state resources, our investigation showed,” Cox said, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Philip Thomas, Shirvell’s lawyer, said Shirvell has received excellent performance reviews and said the firing “smelled political.”
“There’s been a tremendous piling on against Andrew,” Thomas told the Free Press. “The liberal media started this tempest in a teapot.”
Sounds like this kettle might be boiling for the foreseeable future.
By: Danielle Ulman
Welcome back! Time to catch up on some law-related tidbits:
- In a rough divorce, who gets to keep the friends?
- Even good doctors make mistakes — and doctors who do work on superstar athletes are not immune from malpractice lawsuits.
- Consumers struggling with payments really have to be on the lookout these days for scammers, but some in Erie, Penn. have been duped beyond the norm. A debt collection company there set up a FAKE courtroom, complete with faux judges and sheriffs. This one’s a doozy.
- An insurer is suing the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority for $8 million because its water lines are so leaky that firefighters could not get enough pressure to put out a fire in the home of Peggy Cooper-Cafritz, a collector of fine art.
- Voters in Iowa ousted three judges from the state’s Supreme Court last week. The three were part of the unanimous decision to allow same-sex marriage in 2009.
- Lamebook v. Facebook
- The University of Missouri, Kansas City has launched a small firm and solo attorney incubator for recent grads.
By: Steve Lash
During the foreclosure crisis, much of the attention has focused on the people who have lost their homes.
But what about the purchasers of the foreclosed properties faced with what 50 state attorneys general – including Maryland’s Douglas F. Gansler — say is the real possibility that those foreclosures contained paperwork errors?
The situation illustrates why buyers should always insist on having their own title insurance coverage, rather than relying on the title policy the lenders insist they purchase, says real-estate attorney Lawrence S. Conn, of Baxter, Baker, Sidle, Conn & Jones PA in Baltimore.
“This is exactly the type of title defect that title insurance is designed to protect,” Conn said of paperwork errors in the foreclosure process.
The lender’s title policy, though, protects only the lender. Anything beyond that, such as the buyer’s down payment, would require an owners’ title policy, which is only marginally more expensive.
A buyer neglects this added coverage at his or her own peril, Conn added.
“Make sure that in this climate, [purchasers] certainly have title insurance,” he said.
By: Danielle Ulman
The kids are back to school and you’re at work. Take a minute to check out some law links to start the week.
- Copyright laws might prevent public consumption of the Savory collection — a treasure trove of jazz recordings from the 1930s and 1940s.
- Two couples with ties to the Maryland legal community made the New York Times Weddings/Celebrations page.
- Virginia’s AG says the state can further regulate abortion clinics.
- The Maryland Injury Law Blog is supporting sitting judges Laura Kiessling and Ronald Jarashow in the race for Anne Arundel County Circuit Court judge — even though they say only 11 people could make an informed decision in that race.
- Lots of students on other career tracks work for free in summer internships, but law schools in Florida are refusing to post requests seeking summer associates who will work for free because of labor laws.
- More and more are leaving big law behind.
- The Huffington Post has a Q&A with Pastor Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church.
By: Steve Lash
Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler might soon be getting a call from Gov. Martin O’Malley, if he hasn’t already received one, seeking a campaign donation.
The governor, in his solicitation, might raise the following points:
- Gansler is running unopposed for re-election; O’Malley is not.
- Gansler has campaign money he need not spend on himself; O’Malley does not.
- Gansler might want to run for governor in four years; O’Malley cannot if he wins re-election this fall against Republican challenger Robert Ehrlich and is term-limited out of office.
- Gansler, if he plans a gubernatorial run, thus has a rooting interest in O’Malley’s victory this fall, as it is easier to win an open seat than one occupied by an incumbent (O’Malley’s win over then-Gov. Ehrlich in 2006 being an exception).
But cheers of “Go, Martin, Go” do not win re-election fights. Money does — and Gansler has plenty to spare.
The attorney general might also want to spread the wealth. Donating to many Democrats in tight races this fall could be an investment that pays dividends for Gansler in 2014 when he might seek gubernatorial-campaign support.