The news reports last week didn’t mention whether or not U.S. District Court Judge Sam Sparks had an audience with Pope Benedict XVI while vacationing with his wife in Rome this past August. He did, however, tour St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican.
But given how Judge Sparks has burnished even further his firm disciplinarian’s reputation thanks to his latest judicial slap-down, his now famous “Kindergarten Order,” the traveling jurist might have enjoyed chatting up Benedict. After all, the Pope is a kindred spirit in canonical and ecclesiastical matters necessitating a hard-line and a firm hand.
But fortunately, I wasn’t in Rome in August when I blogged about Judge Sparks at “Discovery-warring lawyers ordered to “Kindergarten Party” in Judicial Body Slam.” Almost everyone else knows that “uncomfortably hot, muggy, and crowded” August is when practically every Italian in the country is also on vacation and why it’s the worst month to go to Rome.
Nevertheless, I blogged about the acerbic jurist and how he ordered discovery-squabbling lawyers to that so-called “kindergarten party.” He required the humiliated lawyers to attend the “party” to learn the finer points of civility, good communication, the procedural rules and especially, about “not wasting the time of a busy federal judge and his staff because you are unable to practice law at the level of a first year law student.”
But while last week’s news stories didn’t mention anything about a meeting with the only other personage in the world who also only answers to God, the news accounts did say that Judge Sparks was refusing to back down or to apologize or to otherwise say he’d done anything wrong. Indeed, “Texas Lawyer” quoted Judge Sparks saying,“I didn’t think it was a big deal and still don’t.”
Doubtless, the judge was bolstered by a post-vacation email inbox replete with“overwhelming support” from lawyers and judges alike. And not to be underestimated, he was quick to add that he’s “written a lot worse things than that.” And in what anywhere else might be considered sardonic understatement, he related that all he was trying to do was improve communication. See “Judge Sam Sparks Addresses “Kindergarten Party” Order, Jones’ Email.”
And as for Hon. Edith Jones’ chiding email wherein the “5th Circuit Chief Judge takes exception to “Kindergarten Party” Ordering Judge,” he told “The Wall Street Journal” at “Judge Defends “Kindergarten” Order” that he wasn’t changing his writing style because of any admonishment from Judge Jones.
She’s “entitled to her opinion,” he said. As far as he’s concerned, when it comes to his own conduct, he answers only to himself, telling “Texas Lawyer,” “I’m only responsible for my conduct. I’m not responsible for Judge Jones’ conduct.”
Or as the saying goes,“From his lips to God’s ears.”
Photo Credits: “Pope Benedictus XVI blessing after messe” by Alberto Luccaroni User:Luccaro, Wikipedia Commons via GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; File licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported.