The National Law Journal recently reported that:
“When a judge harshly critiques a lawyer in a written opinion, it’s sometimes called a “bench slap.”
There is no term devoted to counsel rebuking judges. Perhaps it can be called an “Alschuler slap.”
Albert Alschuler, a well-known and now retired University of Chicago Law School professor, accused a federal appeals court judge in a law review article published last week of eight “falsehoods” in two opinions that kept Alschuler’s client, former Illinois Gov. George Ryan, in prison.
Alschuler called U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit Judge Frank Easterbrook, a University of Chicago colleague widely hailed as one of the nation’s leading jurists, a “bully” with a “paradox” of a reputation. While intellectuals and academics have praised Easterbrook, Alschuler writes that he has also earned the scorn of practitioners who have appeared in front of him.
The article represents a battle between lawyers at the top of the federal judiciary and legal institutions of higher learning.
In an interview, Alschuler said the article was written partly out of anger, but it is also intended to prod Easterbrook’s federal appellate colleagues to “rein him in.”
“Judge Easterbrook’s colleagues should view everything he says with skepticism and should recognize the serious problem his conduct poses for their court,” Alschuler writes in the article, titled “How Frank Easterbrook Kept George Ryan in Prison,” published in the Valparaiso Law Review and downloaded more than 1,400 times by the time of this story.