Lipstick on a pig

Among the complaints filed against Judge Edward Nottingham is one I find pretty silly. In a written opinion in a case in which he thought one of the attorneys did a lousy job of presenting his case, he inserted a picture of a pig with lipstick. I haven’t seen the picture, but I imagine it would be similar to the one above.

Nottingham used the picture a year ago in commenting on an attorney for a school district that was being sued for allegedly discriminating in employment. The judge said the attorney had used examples in a written argument that had nothing to do with the point of the argument.

“Putting lipstick on a pig” is a common term used when one attempts to make something unappealing, more attractive and fails.

The complaint was filed by Kenneth Smith of Golden.

He sued because the high court would not admit him to the bar because he refused to submit to a mental status examination for the state board of law examiners. The appeals court concluded in 2003 Nottingham was correct in throwing out Smith’s lawsuit.

…Smith over the years has sued several judges and regularly uses the judicial system to complain about alleged unfair treatment he has received from judges. Smith and others have an ongoing crusade, using Internet web sites, against alleged misconduct by judges.

Tenth Circuit Judge Paul Kelly, while not caring for the use of the photo and declaring it in bad taste, resolved the issue in favor of Judge Nottingham.

[Judge] Kelly concluded Nottingham’s use of the pig picture “does not rise to the level of treating litigants or attorneys in a demonstrably egregious or hostile manner.” That phrase refers to a type of misconduct specified in federal court system rules.

Bloggers use the term and photo frequently. Maybe Judge Nottingham should start a blog. What might be frowned on in a judicial opinion would be a perfect fit for this medium. I bet if he had a blog it would be entertaining, scathing and illuminating. Someone ought to suggest it to him.