Livingston, Circuit Judge:
Congratulations to Debra Livingston, a professor at Columbia Law School, who was confirmed by the Senate on Wednesday to a Second Circuit judgeship by a vote of 91-0. Professor Livingston will now sit on the same court where she was a law clerk: she clerked for the legendary Judge J. Edward Lumbard on the Second Circuit in 1984-85. Even better, she can now overturn the decisions of her former colleague and fellow crimprof, Gerard Lynch, now a district court judge on the Southern District of New York. (Hey, I'm not saying it's going to happen often; only that it's possible.) Seriously, this is terrific news. I'm sure Debra Livingston will be an excellent judge.
At least the law school still has 4 Liebmans on the faculty.
5.11.2007 3:45pm
Cornellian (mail):
The downside of her new job is that you have to deal with the problems people bring to you, instead of just the problems you find interesting. The upside is, people will actually read what you write about those problems.
5.11.2007 4:13pm
Anon for this (mail):
Orin, (or anyone else), do you have any sense of the politics behind this nomination? From the links I can't discern any noticeable ties to FedSoc or other conservative organizations; and truth is, I don't know enough about her scholarship to glean any inklings of where DL is. Is this appointment evidence of mere credential-fetishism (I say this with respect (and notice the 91-0 vote) or is there a backstory that explains it all? If it's merely the former, do you think that the Bushies should be appointing more people like DL, wherein they could earn (back?) some of the respect they've lost with Gonzales-Harriet-gate?
5.11.2007 5:54pm
WHOI Jacket:
But, did she go the Regents?

The fate of the Republic rests on the answer!
5.11.2007 6:23pm
Weird (mail):
Curious, I just took a quick look at DL's Westlaw profile. DL's been teaching since 1992 and here's what the record reveals: There's a total of ten pieces that show up.
Overall, the ten pieces, which include several articles and an assortment of book reviews, tributes, and roundtable discussions, are 6, 5, 18, 117, 43, 45, 29, 23, 15, and 11 pages in length.
Since 1999, there have been 3 pieces (non-articles) that add up to a total of 49 printed pages, 23 of which were a co-authored essay. Length of course is not a good measure of quality, but short pieces tend to be relatively discounted in the legal academy. Moreover, there may well be pieces not in the JLR database that DL has published, and there is the casebook she's co-authored, which is a solid casebook. Her 1997 Colum LR piece has been cited a lot also. All that said, don't you think this is an odd paper record at some level? I should note that other profs who have been elevated to the bench may have similarly relatively thin records (McConnell excepted). FWIW, Lynch has 18 pieces and has been on the bench for a good while already (7 years).
All this makes me wonder: why Livington under Bush 43? And does it mean that one has to be a relatively quiet academic if you want to get a judgeship? I'm sure a judgeship for Orin (if not others on TVC) is only a few months years away, so I hope the answer is not a troubling one.
5.11.2007 6:33pm
Edward A. Hoffman (mail):
What I find curious is that Livingston and Lynch (who is still nominally a full-time professor) both seem to hold the same endowed professorship -- the Paul J. Kellner chair -- at the same time. Maybe there are two chairs with the same name, but if so I can find no evidence that anyone else ever held either of them. It's an interesting coincidence that the two incumbents both get appointed to the federal bench when, AFAIK, no other Columbia lawprof has been so annointed since Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 1980. I wonder if the next Kellner Professor will also become a judge.
5.11.2007 10:40pm
Eli Rabett (www):
What the Senate needs to do ASAP is stop confirming judges until Gonzales and Co go.
5.12.2007 1:53am
JKS (mail):
Lynch teaches at least 2 classes a year, including first year crim-law, so hard to classify as only "nominally" a prof.
5.13.2007 8:14pm
Edward A. Hoffman (mail):
I didn't say Lynch is nominally a professor; I said he is nominally full-time. An instructor who holds a full-time job elsewhere and squeezes some teaching around his commitment to that job would normally be an adjunct professor or a lecturer. Last time I checked, Judges Posner and Easterbrook were lecturers at Chicago even though they were still teaching and even though they had been full-time professors before they were appointed to the bench. Lynch still holds the title of professor but he is de facto a part-timer.
5.13.2007 8:35pm
JKS (mail):
As I just said, teaching a minimum of 2 classes a year, and serving on committees and the like is not de facto "adjunct". If you knew anyone at CLS, youd know Lynch hardly "squeezes in" teaching, but rather is extraordinarily committed to students and teaching. But conspiracy theorize away...
5.13.2007 10:15pm
Edward A. Hoffman (mail):
"Conspiracy theorize away"? Where on earth did that come from? All I have said is that it's unusual to call someone in Judge Lynch's position a full-time professor and that it's an interesting coincidence he and Prof. Livingston hold the same professorship. The fact that you and I disagree doesn't mean I've inferred anything about the reason Lynch still has the title, let alone that I think the reason is improper.

I don't even understand *why* we disagree about any of this. Do you presume that pointing out a coincidence implies a belief that it really isn't a coincidence at all? I neither said nor believe anything of the sort. There's nothing wrong with Columbia letting Lynch keep his title or with the fact that Livingston has an identical title; it's just surprising.
5.13.2007 11:17pm