A Judge Gets Slammed

Baited by Microsoft, Thomas Penfield Jackson took his case to the press. Does this mean he will lose it?

Federal appellate arguments are often snoozeathons, arcane debates over obscure procedural questions. But last week's hearing on Microsoft's antitrust appeal had all the malevolent energy of a public flogging. "I don't think we'll see anything like it again," says George Washington University law professor William Kovacic. "You just don't see seven members of an appeals court throwing stones at a colleague and basically asking for more stones."

The target of those judicial projectiles was Thomas Penfield Jackson, the judge who presided over the Microsoft trial. The reason for the appellate court's displeasure: Jackson's intemperate comments to the press while the case...

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