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

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

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. ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.