Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 5


YOUR VOICE

Letters, posts, emails & tweets from our members

FOND

MEMORIES

OF ABNER J. MIKVA, A CONSCIENTIOUS JURIST
Your remembrance of the late legendary Abner J. Mikva calls for more detail than a
one-page tribute in October's Washington Lawyer. As a lawyer in the Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission (FERC) Solicitor's Office in the 1980s, I defended the agency's
cases in the D.C. Circuit. I argued before Judge Mikva quite a few times. Thirty years later,
two incidents remain indelibly etched into my mind.
In one instance, he disagreed so completely with my reading of a U.S. Supreme Court
case that he had his clerk bring him the relevant volume of U.S. Reports as I spoke. I
noticed he made a show of following along as I described the opinion. He showed his
displeasure in this dignified way, rather than berating me or raising his voice. He treated all
attorneys with the respect he wanted others to treat him.
More revealingly - and I don't think anyone else knows about this - the circuit clerk's
office scheduled one of my cases before a panel over which Judge Mikva presided for a
Jewish Holiday, the Feast of Weeks. Only Orthodox Jews observe the occasion. (I recall
Judge Mikva as active in a Conservative congregation.) I decided that, rather than give up
the case to a colleague, I would move to postpone the argument until after the holiday. I
expected a rejection, but at least I would make my point.

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To my surprise, Judge Mikva granted the motion. It meant that he had to go to the
inconvenience of reconvening the panel (as the day after the holiday fell after the court
switched weekly panels) and obtaining a different courtroom (that week's regular panel
occupied the usual venue). I saw his humanity even more when, after the argument, the
panel affirmed the Cities of Ashburnham v. FERC with an unsigned and unpublished
one-sentence opinion.
Judge Mikva easily could have gotten the panel to issue the opinion without argument
and saved all the trouble he went to. However, Judge Mikva's conscience dictated that
true accommodation for my religious obligations required him to reschedule the
argument that he had called for in the first place.
That great and decent man earned the long life God granted him. May his memory be a
blessing to all who knew him.

Joshua Z. Rokach
Retired

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* WASHINGTON LAWYER * JANUARY 2017

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - January 2017

Washington Lawyer - January 2017
Contents
Your Voice
From Our President
Our Membership
Career & Professional Development
Practice Management
Calendar of Events
Government & Gavel
Feature: An Inside Job
Feature: Investment Planning for Lawyers
Feature: Making the Virtual Leap
Feature: Lawyers Have Heart
Member Spotlight
Global & Domestic Outlook
Worth Reading
Media Bytes
Partners' Perspective
Ask the Ethics Experts
Attorney Briefs
Pro Bono Effect
Community & Connections
Last Word
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Washington Lawyer - January 2017
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 1
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Contents
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 3
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 4
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 7
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Our Membership
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 9
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Career & Professional Development
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 11
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 13
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Calendar of Events
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 15
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Government & Gavel
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 17
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Feature: An Inside Job
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 19
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 20
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 21
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Feature: Investment Planning for Lawyers
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 23
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 24
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 25
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Feature: Making the Virtual Leap
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 27
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 28
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 29
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Feature: Lawyers Have Heart
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 31
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 32
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 33
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Member Spotlight
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 35
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Global & Domestic Outlook
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 37
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Media Bytes
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Partners' Perspective
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 41
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Ask the Ethics Experts
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Pro Bono Effect
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 45
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Community & Connections
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 47
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Last Word
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Cover4
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