Sunday, February 28, 2010

Significant Moments: Fondness for a Female Judge

Cosima, . . .
Sheldon M. Novick, Henry James: The Young Master.
. . . contributing her diplomatic best, . . .
Robert W. Gutman, Richard Wagner: The Man, His Mind, and His Music.
. . .smoothed over all disagreements . . .
Sheldon M. Novick, Henry James: The Young Master.
. . . logically and without undue passion
Jeffrey Rosen, The New Look of Liberalism on the Court quoting Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
It was she who created and maintained the structure of the court, upon which the whole . . .
Sheldon M. Novick, Henry James: The Young Master.
. . . of Wagner’s . . .
Martin Gregor-Dellin, Wagner: His Life, His Work, His Century.
. . . great work depended.
Sheldon M. Novick, Henry James: The Young Master.

I seem to have a special interest in female judges. It would appear that that interest is deeply-rooted in unconscious forces.

In 1995 I analyzed one of my dreams that I titled: "The Dream of Milton's Successor." The manifest dream image of the late psychiatrist John E. Mack, M.D. masks unconscious dream thoughts about Judge Julia Cooper Mack of the D.C. Court of Appeals.

Be that as it may.

Back in the early 1980s, while I was a student at the Temple University Law School in Philadelphia, I developed a fondess and admiration for a female judge: Judge Lynne M. Abraham. Judge Abraham sat on the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia, the state trial court of general jurisdiction.

Judge Abraham, as well as other other Common Pleas Court judges, taught a trial advocacy course at night at Temple Law School. I took Introduction to Trial Advocacy taught by then-Common Pleas Court Judge Richard B. Klein in the spring term 1981. Judge Klein now sits on the Pennsylvania Court of Appeals.

Judge Abraham was herself a graduate of Temple Law School. She was a tough judge and a tough person. She once commandeered a SEPTA bus in Philadelphia that had been hijacked by a robber, if I recall correctly. She recently retired (January 2010) as Philadelphia's District Attorney, a post formerly held by the lions of Philadelphia's legal establishment: Richardson Dilworth, Senator Arlen Specter, and Governor Ed Rendell.

She was married to Frank Ford (Edward Felbin), who had hosted talk radio shows in Philadelphia on various radio stations (WPEN, WCAU, WWDB) for years. I remember listening to Frank Ford when I was 12 years old, back in 1966. He was on WCAU at that time. Frank Ford was years older than Judge Abraham; I think he had known her when he was middle-aged and she was still a teenager.

Frank Ford was a legend in Philadelphia. He was born in 1917 and died last year, in March 2009. I think he was a pilot in World War II. He had majored in economics and English at The University of Pennsylvania.

Frank Ford and Lynne Abraham lived in a townhouse in Society Hill in Philadelphia, a few blocks from where I used to live on Locust Street in Philadelphia. They may have been members of a Society Hill synagogue, whose rabbi was an individual named Ivan Caine. I don't know that for sure.

Coincidentally, Ivan Caine was the brother of Burton Caine, Esq. who taught Constitional Law at Temple Law School; I (and Eva Bleich, Esq.) was Professor Caine's student. Burton Caine, an expert in First Amendment law, is a personal friend of American University Law Professor Herman Schwartz. I am an alumnus of American University law school, by the way. While I was a student at American University, in the fall of 1983, I happened to read a Temple Law Review article about judicial review written by Professor Caine, and wrote him a four-page letter critiqueing the article. I had a problem with Professor Caine's legal reasoning!

I remember seeing Judge Abraham in the lobby of Temple Law School one evening in the spring of 1981, arriving to conduct her trial advocacy course; she was wearing an overcoat with a fur-lined collar--it was a cold evening in early spring. She saw Burton Caine and said, "Hi Burt!" (I have a mind like a steel trap.)

Incidentally, did you know that Judge Abraham has a special weakness for the singing of Cecilia Bartoli?

Burton Caine used to be a partner at the Philadelphia law firm of Wolf Block. Jerome Shestack, former President of the American Bar Association, was a partner at Wolf Block; Shestack is married to Marciarose Shestack, who, like Frank Ford, used to be a local broadcast celebrity in Philadelphia.

Michael Temin, Esq., a bankruptcy lawyer, used to be a partner at Wolf Block; Michael Temin was the brother of the late virologist Howard Martin Temin who won a Nobel Prize in Medicine for his work on retroviruses. I write about Howard Martin Temin in my book, Significant Moments! Howard Temin and Michael Temin, Esq. were both graduates of my high school, The Central High School of Philadelphia. In fact, they both graduated first in their respective classes at Central.

Peculiar connections. Frank Ford started the Valley Forge Music Fair with Lee Guber, who used to be married to TV journalist Barbara Walters. Coincidentally, Lee Guber and I both went to Central High School. Barbara Walters used to date former U.S. Senator John Warner (a colleague of Senator Arlen Specter's), who is now a partner at the Washington, D.C. law firm of Hogan & Hartson -- where I was employed as a paralegal from 1985 to 1988! Small world!

Yes, I know a lot of facts about a lot of people. I happen to admire some of those people. Some of those people happen to be female judges!


Gary Freedman said...

See "The Ice-Cream Man Cometh: My Vacation in Atlantic City" My Daily Struggles, August 15, 2009:

Thursday August 6, 2009: Worked out for an hour and twenty minutes on stairclimber. Drizzle off and on all day. Cloudy all day. No beach. Only about 72 degrees. Walked to Tennessee Avenue on boardwalk (Central Pier). I’m glad I brought an umbrella. The walk took about an hour and a half. Picked up two containers of oatmeal at grocery store on Atlantic Avenue. Got two rolls of quarters at Wachovia Bank for laundry. “Can I have two rolls of quarters, please?” The teller said, “Here you go, sir. Thanks for banking at Wachovia.” Well, I wasn’t exactly banking at Wachovia. Today is the sixth anniversary of the death of Lawrence C. Sack, MD, my former psychiatrist. He died while on vacation. Sonia Sotomayor was confirmed by the U.S. Senate. An auspicious date. It was on this date that Wagner penned in the final bars of Tristan und Isolde, in the company of a young musician.

Gary Freedman said...

I forgot to mention. Barbara Walters (who used to date former U.S. Senator and Hogan & Hartson attorney John Warner) is a friend of Vernon Jordan.

But then, Vernon Jordan is a friend of everybody.