I feel like I know the judges on the D.C. Circuit — at least a little bit. After all, I clerked there a decade ago and most of the judges are still hearing cases. I also read a lot of D.C. Circuit opinions, which isn’t a bad way to learn how someone thinks. So even if I haven’t met each of them in person, I at least have a sense of the Court’s judges.
Except for one judge: Judge James L. Buckley, retired.
But he certainly was a judge on the D.C. Circuit. After all, his portrait is there — with a polar bear:
I’ve heard stories about Judge Buckley for a very long time. And this is not without cause. Buckley, who is now 95 (per Wikipedia), has lived an amazing life. A student, this semester, for instance asked me who the “Buckley” was in Buckley v. Valeo. Of course, it was Senator James Buckley — or, as the Supreme Court described him, “a minor-party candidate in 1970 when he was elected to the United States Senate from the State of New York.” Wait, wait, what? New York elected a “minor-party candidate” to the U.S. Senate, and that senator eventually ended up on the D.C. Circuit? Yup. Buckley was a elected as the candidate of the Conservative Party.
Bill Buckley was someone we all admired. Later I came to, on this court, respect his brother a great deal more than I ever did Bill. I think Jim is one of the most intellectual people I ever met, but we didn’t know about Jim so much then until he ran for Senate and was elected.
After serving in the Reagan Administration, Judge Buckley was nominated to the D.C. Circuit, where it seems he was much loved. If you want to learn more about him, the indispensable folks over at the D.C. Circuit Historical Society have useful information, including the transcript of his portrait ceremony. Here are some highlights from that ceremony.
From Judge Ginsburg’s introduction:
From Judge Wald’s remarks, wherein she described the transition the D.C. Circuit experienced in the 1980s:
And then this:
And one more:
Judge Silberman (unsurprisingly) also had interesting things to say:
One of Judge Buckley’s law clerks had this to say (which I quite like):
And another clerk had this to say:
The Judge himself said this (and trust me, there is a lot of interesting material left for you to read):
Why do I write about Judge Buckley today? Because he made an appearance — of sorts — this week! I was reading a legal story this week and stumbled across his name:
That surprise reference sent me off reading more about Judge Buckley,* especially because this was another quiet week in the D.C. Circuit. The Court decided a single case — about international arbitration.
In Diag Human S.E. v. Czech Republic – Ministry of Health, Judge Randolph (joined by Judges Srinivasan and Wilkins) affirmed the district court’s refusal “to enforce an arbitral award against the Czech Republic Ministry of Health and in favor of Diag Human, S.E., a corporation organized under the laws of the Principality of Liechtenstein.” This is not my area of law — at all. It seems, however, that the Court need not enforce an arbitration award that is not “binding on the parties.” If you want to know why this award was not binding, read the opinion. Warning: It involves Czech arbitration law:
And with that, enjoy the weekend.
* Judge Buckley wrote a book just a few years ago; I have now put it on my ‘to read’ list. As an aside, I hope that the transcript of (or a recording of) Justice Ginsburg’s remarks — with Judge Tatel — from this week become available. If anyone knows where to find such a thing, I’d love to do a post about that event too.
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