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[personal profile] tssandwich
When I was about 10 or 11 years old, my swim team got invited to a citywide swim meet. It was the first Olympic-sized pool I had seen, they actually used digital stopwatches to measure times, and there were hundreds of people there.

My coach called me over, and told me I was swimming backstroke in the next race. I ran over, got into position on the starting bars, and realized he was wrong—it was the race after the next one—I was side by side with about ten 16-or-17 year olds, all of them several times larger than I was. The referee? umpire? guy-with-the-starting-gun-and-stopwatch? walked over to me, and loudly told me I was in the wrong race. I don’t think I’ve ever been more humiliated in my life. I had nightmares about it for months, and I quit the swim team just a little less than one year later.

On Saturday, I got a call from the preeminent election law lawyer in town. I had called him earlier to let him know that there was a ballot challenge to our longtime state representative. (Said Rep.’s son used to babysit for me, 25 years ago.) He told me that based on the facts of the case, he wouldn’t take it, (the facts were uncomfortably close to a case a year ago where the candidate got knocked off the ballot) and had recommended me to the state rep. to represent her in court.

Not just any court. Commonwealth Court, which is the 2nd highest Court in Pennsylvania. And this case, win or lose, was going to go to the State Supreme Court, which has mandatory appeal powers in election matters involving state-level officials.

Suddenly, I felt like I was swimming against the big kids again. I worked my ass off over the weekend, wrote what I thought was a rather good brief, organized my files carefully, and went into Court on Monday.

Right into a buzzsaw. The Judge in the case had written a case that I had rather vociferously argued against in my brief. At the point in my argument that I noted that her case had been referred to as non-precedential on at least two occasions by the State Supreme Court, she started yelling at me. To calm her down, I maneuvered her into ruling on my motion to quash a subpoena the other side had served. She granted it, grumbling that she had no choice (the subpoena was defective for at least two reasons). Looking at the transcript, I was really, really lucky she didn’t cite me for contempt. At one point she told me not to offend the Court with ridiculous arguments—at the time, I was quoting a State Supreme Court Justice, and a Republican one, at that. I walked out, feeling certain I’d lost the case, but happy that I hadn’t wilted, and that I’d gotten everything I needed on the record.

I called preeminent-election-law-talking-guy, afterwards, to let him know what happened (his first words, after I told him who the judge was, were “did you get cited for contempt personally?”). I mentioned that I’d emailed my brief to him the night before, and did he get a chance to look at it? (he hadn’t replied.) He told me that he hadn’t replied, because it was letter-perfect—exactly what he would have argued in my place, and that I’d hit all the right points, and that I probably had a 50-50 chance on appeal. Single greatest compliment I've received in my professional life.

I got a call from the Associated Press about 45 minutes ago. I won the case. There were no financial records in the official record (because the subpoena had been quashed), and I had refused to let my client, the State Representative, take the stand. The attorney for the other side was so sure, looking at how the Judge was treating me and my arguments, that she had won, she never called my client as a hostile witness. The petition to strike my client from the ballot was dismissed on grounds that there was insufficient evidence on the part of the Petitioner to sustain the claim. With that procedural posture, there’s almost no way the other side can get this reversed on appeal—they’d have to prove that the Judge abused her discretion, and given the transcript, which mostly shows the Judge abusing *me*, there’s no way another Court would believe *that*. I swam with the big kids—and beat them.

My quote to the AP? “I am gratified that the Court saw through this transparent attempt by Mr. *****’s campaign to fight this election in the courts rather than at the ballot box.”

I rock.

Date: 2006-03-21 11:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dr-memory.livejournal.com
Dude. That's above and beyond merely rocking. You have rocked, rolled, and quite possibly gotten down on top of it all. Goddamn.

Post the link to the AP story when it runs?

Date: 2006-03-22 12:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sabinablue.livejournal.com
Whoa! Whoa!

Congratulations -- I hope you're doing/going to do something in the spirit of celebration as you read this.

Fuck'n A!

Date: 2006-03-22 01:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] surfal666.livejournal.com
Dude... now would be a totally appropriate time to smoke a cuban.

That's simply excellent.

Date: 2006-03-22 02:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] raaven.livejournal.com
You *do* rock! Congrats!

Date: 2006-03-22 03:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] creidylad.livejournal.com
Awesome! Congrats!

Date: 2006-03-22 03:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] missionista.livejournal.com
Congratulations!!!!!! You can fight city hall! :)

Date: 2006-03-22 01:46 pm (UTC)

Date: 2006-03-22 03:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] catya.livejournal.com
woot! good job!
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