1. I attended the Massachusetts Chapter of the Federal Bar Association's Reception last night, which honored Chief Justice Lynch. She offered, as always, pithy and insightful remarks, focusing on the role of federal judges in our political system, noting, among other things, that while all branches swear to uphold the Constitution, the federal judicial branch is the only arm of the government sworn to act "without fear or favor," i.e., in a non-partisan manner. CJ Lynch is the epitome of a great judge – smart, hard working, good humored, thoughtful, sees both the big picture and the individuals involved in each case, and, truly, acts without fear or favor. We are lucky to have her as our chief.
2. In other news, Bill Kayatta joins the ranks of PA special master appointments by the Supreme Court, having just been appointed for Kansas v. Nebraska and Colorado (Original # 126). By my count this makes a total of seven appointments in our firm, with Ralph Lancaster and Chief McKusick having had three each.
3. As I mentioned previously, another of our stellar circuit judges, Judge Boudin, participated on a panel in a conference I attended in DC last week. The general subject was antitrust, and his contributions included the observation that while the element of deception is often a part of the analysis in an antitrust case, and an important one, there has yet to be thorough and systematic analysis given to the role of deception and when it impacts competition versus competitors. Citing the maxim "reculer pour mieux sauter" (see how my French major comes in handy in the law?), Judge Boudin noted how interest in antitrust waxes and wanes over time for various reasons, and that we may be in the tail end of a waning phase. He cited the area of state action as one overdue for revisitation; suggested that EC views may influence thinking in the U.S; and that agreed with other panelists that regulatory enforcement under section 5 of the FTC Act may be the door to new antitrust efforts. This last point was reinforced by the other panelists, who noted that the FTC route lacks the treble damages and fees available for private action relief, which can lead to fears of overreaching. Finally, Judge Boudin ventured that perhaps he wouldn't be teaching antitrust over the winter semester in the near future, to avoid having to read 100 papers on antitrust over Christmas. Can you think of anything else that would put you more in the Yuletide spirit?