The ceremony to unveil Magistrate Judge David Cohen's portrait was held in Courtroom 1 on Friday, before a packed house. Spearheading the organization for the event was Arlyn Weeks, one of his career clerks, who did a great job. Attendees included the federal bench – Judge Lipez, Chief Judge Woodcock, Judge Singal, Judge Hornby, and Magistrate Judges Kravchuk and Rich. Ruth Coffin, widow of Judge Coffin, was also present – Judge Cohen was the first of Judge Coffin's clerks to become a judge himself. Justice Dana and Chief Justice McKusick were also there, along, I am sure, other illustrative folks I could not see through the crowd.
Speakers included Judge Lipez, Judge Hornby, Judge Kravchuk, Federal Public Defender David Beneman, and Vermont Law School Professor Donald Kreis, the latter two ex-Judge Cohen clerks. All provided pithy and eloquent homage to the subject of the portrait, touching upon his various personality traits, such as his insistence upon excellence, tendency not to suffer fools gladly, command of Rule 56 and soft spot for his poodle, Zoe.
The star of the event, however, was Susanni Douville, ex-Pierce Atwood-ite, current career clerk for Judge Rich, and long-time career clerk for Judge Cohen. She told a litany of great Cohen stories. My personal favorite relates to another one of his attributes. A female juror, when asked about her jury experience, wrote how the presiding judge was a true hunk.
It was a great event and underscores our good fortune in having had such a stellar case of adjudicators in the federal system in Maine (and good looking ones at that). I remember filing a rather lengthy and complicated summary judgment motion in a Telecommunications Act case and receiving a very thoughtful and comprehensive decision from Judge Cohen that clearly reflected that he and his clerks and mastered a large administrative record and had carefully waded through each argument and claim. Happily, Judge Rich continues this tradition. No doubt Susanni is keeping careful notes for when, hopefully a long time in the future, his portrait is also unveiled.