READ THAT BACK: Catfishing Lawyers, Elmo, and Try the Kobe Beef


The Court Reporter would not be surprised if you experienced some severe déjà vu last week. Another hurricane hits Puerto Rico, another earthquake hits Mexico, and once again the Senate is trying to pass a health care bill that almost no oneseems to like (especially not Jimmy Kimmel), and which once again may have been killed by John McCain. Is this how Sisyphus felt? Can we try just…not rolling the rock?

Anyway, to the courts, where anticipation is high for today’s long conference at the Supreme Court, and the first orders of OT2017, most likely on Thursday

Notorious OMG!: In a talk at Georgetown University Law Center, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg—in a widely quoted statement—said what court-watchers already knew: The upcoming Supreme Court term (ONE WEEK GUYS OMG) will be “momentous.” But EVEN MORE IMPORTANT, if you skip ahead to 8:50, you can hear her name “Rapid Ruth” and “Swift Sonia” as the previous term’s fastest opinion writers. GUYS THAT’S US. WE SAID THAT!

Get Yer Ethics CLE Here!*: So it seems like just mayyyybe some attorneys have been spending too much time watching MTV. Who could possibly have imagined that catfishing potential defendants and witnesses could get attorneys in ethical hot water? Meanwhile, in Illinois, their Supreme Court has weighed in on a seldom-used ethical canon (that they last looked at in connection with John Wayne Gacy) prohibiting attorneys from acquiring an interest in media rights in a client’s case—here, former policeman Drew Peterson, convicted, after his fourth wife disappeared, of killing his third wife.

*Not actually valid for ethics CLE.

The Song That Never Ends*: (This iteration of) The Court Reporter doesn’t have children, and so blessedly has no idea what “Elmo’s Song” is or what it sounds like (and no I didn’t watch the YouTube video I just linked, so I continue to be so blessed). I am under the impression, though, that it’s much like any of a million theme songs for TV shows aimed at young children, which explains the title of this subsection, and why it’s now stuck in my head. At least it’s not “I Love You.” (Damnit.) Anyway, thanks to some pro bono help (subscription required) and creative thinking, ten charities are able to get the copyright royalties due them for the I’m sure entirely heartwarming and not at all earworming Sesame Street ditty. 

*Yes, that’s a ten hour video. No I didn’t watch all ten hours. RIP, Shari Lewis.


  • Noel Francisco has been confirmed as U.S. Solicitor General. I’m sure I saw someone somewhere say “I left my heart in Noel Francisco,” which is the best possible take on the matter, so whoever you are, bless you.
  • Work out like RBG! The B stands for Bulk and the G stands for Gainz.
  • Constitution day was last week, and here’s an interesting think piece about one of the things—one of the really important things that defines some of the deepest fault lines in modern society—it wasn’t built to handle.
  • The working title of this article—about a pair of judicial nominees, their affiliation with a certain religious group, and the Texas Senator who loves it—was very different. (Twitter: The never-ending source of headlines we don’t use.)
  • And more SCOTUS previews (subscription required) than you can shake a stick at! (For purposes of this bullet, you can only shake a stick at two SCOTUS preview at a time.

And Now…I’ll Have What He’s Having: There was a time when the Court Reporter had access to a law firm expense account, and the summers (and summer associates) provided a lot of opportunity to dine out in D.C. One such meal was a lunch attended by the Court Reporter and a summer associate at BLT Steak. The summer associate was trying to be moderate with his order as not to raise any red flags with the firm, which made it all the more surprising when he ordered a Kobe Beef steak. When the Court Reporter mentioned that it was perhaps a bold order, the summer associate said, “But it’s only $45.” While technically correct, the price of the steak was actually $45 per ounce. The Court Reporter told the summer associate that he was free to order a one-ounce steak if he wanted to, but he’d probably leave hungry.

The point of this story is of course a setup for one of the biggest news stories of the past week. Apparently, NYT reporters can afford to lunch at BLT Steak! Yes, I know, it’s utterly outrageous. (The Court Reporter considers the Noodles & Company across the street a “splurge.”) But those reporters will probably be allowed to continue dining out in style if they keep getting scoops courtesy of Trump lawyers with loud voices and mustaches that would make a wild-west lawman jealous.

Yes, attorney Ty Cobb (not baseball player Ty Cobb, although they may be distantly related) was overheard “casually and loudly” discussing details of the Russia investigation at the restaurant. (One can only hope he ordered the “Lobster ‘Cobb’ Salad,” an actual item on BLT Steak’s menu, as it not only bears his name, but he probably feels a bit like he’s being boiled in a pot this week.)

Our colleagues over at Big Law Business spoke to some ethics attorneys to get their reaction to steak-gate, and here’s some of the highlights:


  • “[W]hen you’re talking about the most important criminal investigation of our lifetime, it becomes even more bizarre and hard to fathom why these attorneys thought this was a good idea.
  • “I would label their behavior incompetent and unethical.”
  • “I would call what they did a rookie’s mistake but that would be unfair to rookies.”

Check please!