What’s with these SDNY Judge Talking Back to Appellate Courts That Rebuke Them?

December 9th, 2013

First Judge Shira Scheindlin shot back at the Second Circuit for benchslapping her. Now Judge Harold Baer  is talking back to Justice Alito, who faulted Baer for requiring that counsel representing classes are “diverse.” Here are Baer’s comments from an interview with Reuters (why are judges giving “interviews”??):

In an interview with Reuters on Wednesday, Baer, 80, said that Alito lacked “either understanding or interest” in the discrimination faced by blacks, Latinos and women.

“So for him to talk about it as if this is something we shouldn’t look at is unfortunate,” Baer said.

Alito declined to comment through a Supreme Court spokeswoman.

In court orders, Baer has written that the practice is warranted under a federal rule governing the certification of class action lawsuits. The rule says a judge may, among other things, “consider any other matter pertinent to counsel’s ability to fairly and adequately represent the interests of the class.”

In the interview, Baer said that he does not require the firms to assign minority and women lawyers to cases. Instead, he said he notes the value of taking race and gender into account, and only in cases where the plaintiffs are mainly minorities and women.

If plaintiffs were “all white Anglo-Saxon Protestants,” Baer said, “I would not likely be making these comments.”

Baer, whom President Bill Clinton nominated to the bench in 1994, said Alito’s salvo did not surprise him.

“I think the tongue-in-cheek answer would be that I was surprised because of how much he’s done in the way of supporting anti-discrimination laws over the years,” Baer said. “But that would be just a facetious comment.”

He said he was undeterred by Alito’s criticism and welcomed a Supreme Court challenge.

“That would be a wonderful thing,” he said. “They ought to do that.”

What’s with these SDNY judges? Plus, throw in Rakoff’s usual outlandishness. Hell, Kozinski and Posner should sit by designation, and Weinstein should take a stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge, just to round out the judicial diva dream team.

I don’t know what they are serving in the cafeteria at SDNY but these judges really need to tone it back.