Feeds

MS to court: why it's OK to string up judges

Not Being Nice About Jackson After All Week continues...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Microsoft's legal team has helpfully sent the appeals court a letter pointing to a precedent for kicking a judge off a case. But it turns out that the judge referred to is not the one you're most likely to think of. Back in 1995 Microsoft got Judge Stanley Sporkin kicked off its case, but the precedent cited now is that of Judge Nancy Gertner of Boston, who seems to have accidentally immolated herself last year.

There is of course a difference between the circumstances the two judges found themselves in. Gertner seems to have become sucked into commenting to the press on a case she was conducting, while Sporkin was sacked for - we use highly technical legalese here - being an out of control maniac who was screwing it up for all of the parties involved. But the parties then involved are involved again, and as they're not bosom buddies any more, it's a pity Stanley doesn't get recalled more often.

Microsoft had, you'll remember, cut a consent decree deal with the DoJ, and both of them wanted it signed off. This was the very consent decree that provided the wording that allowed the appeals court (the one MS is now writing to) with a reason to permit Microsoft to innovate and integrate, and hence to overturn the injunction telling Microsoft to unbundle IE from Windows. That injunction had been issued by one Judge Thomas Penfied Jackson, the very same judge that Microsoft now wants kicked off the case.

The DoJ twigged that the consent decree was a crock somewhat before Jackson issued his injunction, but considerably after Judge Stanley Sporkin decided it was one, and refused to sign it. The DoJ and Microsoft therefore both agreed on kicking Sporkin out, and getting somebody else to sign. That somebody was Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson.

No, you're right, it's a good enough tale to form a script for a TV soap, but it's pretty obvious why it would be a good idea to find another judge as a precedent. The precedent cited, however, is maybe not totally appropriate. Gertner wrote to a newspaper correcting what she saw as inaccuracies in a report, and following that the paper quoted from a phone interview with her. She could therefore have been construed as expressing views about the case while it was still in progress. Jackson, on the other hand, has been pretty careful about when he speaks, and what he says. With hindsight that may not have been enough, and he might have been wiser to clam up completely, but it's not quite the same thing. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
Redmond top man Satya Nadella: 'Microsoft LOVES Linux'
Open-source 'love' fairly runneth over at cloud event
Chrome 38's new HTML tag support makes fatties FIT and SKINNIER
First browser to protect networks' bandwith using official spec
Admins! Never mind POODLE, there're NEW OpenSSL bugs to splat
Four new patches for open-source crypto libraries
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.