Judge Kopf Continues to Make Inappropriate Remarks; Time for Him to Retire

Federal judge Richard Kopf, who told the Supreme Court to shut the fuck up, commented favorably on the ample chest of a lawyer in his courtroom, and attacked Professor Bainbridge and Dahlia Lithwick with intemperate remarks, now says I’m a “highbrow” scold who has “never made a living trying cases.” He writes:

In my post, The evisceration of Dahlia Lithwick, I referred to Ms.Lithwick as being “very bright.” Among a lot of other things, I also added: ” Lithwick can be a tiresome scold. Taking her down several begs is a good thing if you care about intellectual rigor and the national legal commentariat.” I “pimped” Scott Greenfield’s incisive critique off Lithwick’s comparison of the Court’s First Amendment jurisprudence to other Constitutional values that she evidently holds more dear.

Rick Hansen, a law professor and blogger, responded with a post entitled, “Judge Kopf Calls Dahlia Lithwick a ‘Tiresome Scold.‘” Professor Hansen’s first sentence reads this way “Keeping it classyas usual. (Morehere.).” Subsequently,  Michelle Olsen ‏@AppellateDaily chimed in, writing, among other things, “To show my cards, I find honest criticism (à la @ScottGreenfield) helpful, rooting for ‘evisceration’ of a ‘scold,” weird.’” In response, Professor Hansen wrote, “Not just weird, but sexist” and in a second tweet, “But we should expect this from judge who writes about ‘ample chests’ of lawyers arguing before him.”

I confess to taking guilty pleasure in annoying law professors who have never made their living trying cases and who dictate manners to others when a fellow “highbrow” is grilled. Now, I both admit and realize that “guilty pleasure” is the “distillation of all the worst qualities of the middlebrow.” But, unlike Professor Hansen, I have never thought of myself otherwise.


It would have been nice if he spelled my name right or knew that I practiced (and occasionally continue to practice) law, most recently on the team winning this appeal against Lisa Kudrow. If anything I’m one of those professors who lives too much in the real world and not enough in the realm of high theory. But that’s beside’s the point.

His intemperate rantings on his blog demean the federal judiciary and indicate that the judge has lost his judgment. It is time for him to retire.

UPDATE: Apparently drafting appellate briefs and engaging in oral argument (I’ve argued before the Ninth Circuit and CA Supreme Court, for example) don’t count as real lawyering to Judge Kopf. 

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