Tag Archives: Barb Stenross

When ENG meets LEX

20 Jul

The Other Lit in Litigation

If you have room for a general education elective, you may want to consider a literature course.

In a March 31, 2015 ruling in the U.S. District Court for Hawaii, Chief Justice Susan Oki Mollway quoted English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.”  “This court feels like the sailor in [the poem] who, trapped for days on a ship, becalmed in the middle of the ocean, laments, ‘Water, water every where, Nor any drop to drink.”

Chief Justice Mollway was referring to her inability to find any legal rationale for the National Maritime Fisheries Service’s approval of the U.S. Navy’s plan to detonate high intensity sonar with license to harm whales, dolphins, sea lions, and other marine mammals “up to 9.6 million times” during the planned exercises.  The suit was initiated by the National Research Defense Council and other environmental and conservation organizations.

Chief Justice Mollway, set to retire on November 6, is the first Asian-American woman to have been appointed to the federal bench.  She did her undergraduate work at University of Hawaii and received her J.D. from Harvard Law School.

– Barb Stenross



3 Sep

Ghostbusters doesn’t figure into much legal parlance, but that didn’t stop new North Carolina Bar Association President Catherine B. Arrowood from quoting Bill Murray in her initiatory remarks to the Association in June:  “We’ve been slimed.”

What’s the slime our new state bar President is talking about?

  • Following recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions allowing it, outside money has been flooding into North Carolina judicial races. The problem?  This makes judicial races subject to special interest groups, and undermines the public’s confidence in the judiciary as above and beyond politics.
  • Complaints against judicial misconduct are no longer public information, unless and until a case reaches the N.C. Supreme Court and the Court chooses to make it public. This change results from a bill introduced last year which the governor signed into law despite a letter bearing the signatures of all living presidents of the N.C. State Bar requesting it be vetoed.  That was the first such request ever made by the Bar.

The NC Bar Association has several initiatives aimed at “unsliming” the judiciary.  One is a forthcoming new website, ElectNCJudges.org, that will publish objective information about all candidates for Superior and District Court positions.

For more information about this and other initiatives, read The President’s Perspective in The North Carolina Lawyer, available online at https://www.ncbar.org/about/communications/nc-lawyer.  Or, follow our new NC Bar Association president on Twitter:  @cbarrowood.

– Barb Stenross