When I asked folks to “flog” this blog, one of the commentators (anonymouse,
May 2, 2014 at 9:17 am) suggested that I provide more behind-the-scenes accounts of what really goes in the federal trial courts. Believing that a picture is worth a thousand words, and keeping in mind my post on the wearing apparel of female lawyers, consider the following that I received last year (well before my apparel post) as part of a contest for the best Halloween costume.


Photo credit:  United States Probation Office for the District of Nebraska (Halloween, 2013).

Costume, model and photo credit: United States Probation Office for the District of Nebraska (Halloween, 2013). While I had nothing to do with this model or any awareness that my likeness would be used in the contest, the bra superimposed on the model by US Probation in 2013 is mine. How I came to wear that bra in open court in our Special Proceedings Courtroom long before my wearing apparel post or the 2013 Halloween contest is a behind-the-scenes story for another day (maybe).


Yes, the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska has an annual Halloween contest. What’s more, Chief Judge Bill Riley of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit (whose office is in Omaha) is a very engaged participant as well. I think he might even have thought up the idea!

Who knew?



3 responses

  1. I’m the anonymouse from the other post–thanks for the call out and for the additional post. I’m glad you liked the Seth Harris interview. By way of background as it relates to being a federal judge, your colleaged in the Eastern District of New York wrote “Disrobed: An Inside Look at the Life and Work of a Federal Trial Judge” By Frederic Block ( It’s a great read if you haven’t read it and gives wonderfully fascinating tidbits on NY politics and the process of a theoretical everyman becoming a federal judge, along with interesting anecdotes and tidbits about various high profile cases that he handled. This was along the lines of what I was thinking, but from a Mid-Western perspective. Plus, there’s all sorts of things you could write about, from Baby Judges school, to updates/requirements you get from the Federal Judicial Center, to treats/courtesies you get as a federal judge (NY state appellate judges in Brooklyn get their cars parked for them when they pull up to the courthouse). It all makes for good reading for those of us not a Judge. It’s along the lines the stuff you may tell a group at a bar meeting but now you’ll put it in print (subject to, of course, your discretion and the need for collegiality). Judge Block seemed to hit the mark pretty well in what he wrote.
    Thanks again for returning to your blog and best wishes in your continued recovery.

  2. You mentioned that you’ve given explicit instructions that no portrait is to be made of you. Good idea. This is a thousand times better! I can just imagine it placed upon an elegant pedestal amid the somber demeanors of your robed predecessors.

  3. anonymouse,

    I hope to provide more behind-the-curtains stuff in the future. For example, and if I get it written, I hope to post tomorrow about what a court does when a judge maybe too sick or old to work.

    I truly appreciate your insights as a lay reader, and I thank you for them. By the way, I have read a review of Judge Block’s book, but have not gotten to the book itself. Now, I will.

    All the best.


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