Nor Walter Winchell, but here's my best shot at gossiping about the Federalist Society New York Lawyers Chapter James Madison Award Dinner (reportedly sold-out), which honored Robert S. Smith, a former head of the FedSoc NY Lawyers Chapter who was recently elevated to the New York State of Appeals.
I feel compelled to make this report because before the dinner began, apparently someone mentioned Underneath Their Robes and seemed to be an admirer of Article III Groupie. Hopefully A3G will see fit to make some mention of the event in a rundown of Judicial Sight-ations and provide this person with the interesting sensation of reading about his/her own doings.
Information from the program:
Held on Tuesday, November 30, 2004 at the University Club. The menu included a Bistro Salad of baby greens w/ prosciutto, aged goat cheese, roasted pear, asparagus tips; Filet of Salmon, ginger teriyaki glaze, Asian vegetable garnishes; warm chocolate flourless cake w/ creme chantilly; platter of fancy cookies & petit fours; Cabernet Sauvignon, Beaulieu Vineyards, Coastal, Napa Valley 2001; Chardonnay, Beringer Vineyards, Founders Estate, Napa Valley 2002.
Call to Order by Gerald Walpin, of Katten Muchin Zavis Rosenman and Co-Chair of the Dinner Committe*;
Welcome by Master of Ceremonies James Taranto, editor of the WSJ's OpinionJournal.com;
Opening Remarks by Emil Arca of Dewey Ballantine and President of the FedSoc NY Lawyers Chapter;
Musical Interlude introduced by Nicholas John Stathis, Chairman of the FedSoc NY Lawyers Chapter;
Performance by Lynn Owen, international opera and cabaret singer formerly with Metropolitan Opera [and wife of Judge Richard Owen];
James Madison Award Presentation by Judge Dennis Jacobs, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Co-Chair of the Dinner Committee*;
Remarks by Judge Robert S. Smith, New York State Court of Appeals;
Acknowledgments by Leonard Leo, Executive Vice President of The Federalist Society;
Jodi S. Balsam, Steering Committee of the FedSoc NY Lawyers Chapter.
* This august body also included Emil Arca, Jodi S. Balsam, George T. Conway III, Kellyanne Conway, Anthony J. D'Auria, John H. Fund, Robert J. Giuffra, Jr., Steven C. Krane, Michael S. Lattman, Leonard A. Leo, John O. McGinnis, James M. McGuire, Francis J. Menton Jr., Bradford J. Race, Mark A. Schuman, Mark W. Smith, Nicholas John Stathis, James Taranto, Vincent J. Vitkowsky and Scott L. Walker.
In my observation, nothing terribly exciting occurred at the event. I thought the speeches by Judges Jacobs and Smith were both excellent and relatively non-partisan. Smith's words stuck in my mind (a week later) particularly because he appeared to be implicitly repudiating the joking admonitions of several previous speakers that he never be described by the New York Times as having grown in office.
On the contrary, Judge Smith seems to be trying sincerely to determine the correct path that he should take in this new role, rather than assuming that he's got it down already. He has had an admirably varied career: a visiting professor and lecturer at his alma mater, Columbia Law; a pro bono attorney for people on death row; and a longtime practitioner with Paul, Weiss. In his remarks, he talked about how to find the right way to read the law. One would think that this would be pretty well decided for a federalist, but Smith said he'd even read Scalia on the matter without finding a conclusive answer.
All in all, a very nice affair, even though I winced slightly at the room's great delight in an anecdote about Hillary Rodham Clinton's having been asked to leave the University Club once when she was with a gossip columnist who refused to stop using her cellphone. This is a fairly hard-and-fast rule -- everyone in the Federalist Society party who was observed using a cellphone by the Club's employees also was asked to take the conversation elsewhere. But I suppose such tales maximize conservative enjoyment.