The name of Judge Sparks became know across the US lately due to a pair of orders chastising lawyers.
While back in Texas he has a reputation of being quick to lash out at lawyers he finds unprepared or unable to meet his expectations, a federal appellate judge called Sparks’ latest sparks caustic and demeaning.
Sam Sparks underscored his – above mentioned – reputation with an Aug. 23 order released to a lawsuit over a Texas law requiring women to view an ultrasound before getting an abortion. He managed doing that rejecting a bid by an outside organization to intervene in the case by calling the group’s lawyer “anything but competent”.
Three days later Sparks found another channel to express his thoughts about lawyers: in an Aug. 26 order he invited lawyers involved in a subpoena dispute to a kindergarten party that would feature “many exciting and informative lessons” such as “how to telephone and communicate with a lawyer” and “an advance seminar on not wasting the time of a busy federal judge and his staff”.
Although the party was cancelled, his order was spread across the country among lawyers, so it caught the attention of Edith Jones, chief judge of the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals, which oversees Sparks’ court.
Jones answer to the judges’ order was simple: tone down your language, my friend. “Frankly, this kind of rhetoric is not funny,” Jones wrote. “In fact, it is so caustic, demeaning, and gratuitous that it casts more disrespect on the judiciary than on the now-besmirched reputation of the counsel.”
Jones added, “I urge you to think before you write.”