Law in Popular Culture

Women lawyers group asks NBC to cancel 'Bad Judge,' a show about an 'unethical, lazy' female jurist

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The Miami-Dade chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers has asked NBC to cancel a new comedy series about a hard-drinking, hard-partying female judge—appropriately titled Bad Judge, the Miami Herald reports.

“Our organization understands that Bad Judge may be intended to be hyperbole, but we nonetheless find it damaging to women in the legal profession,” Deborah Baker, president of FAWL’s Miami-Dade chapter, wrote in an Oct. 16 letter (PDF) to Steve Burke, NBC’s CEO.

The show depicts the judge as “unethical, lazy, crude, hypersexualized and unfit to hold such as esteemed position of power,” Baker wrote, and then listed nine examples, including:

• “Her bumper sticker read, ‘If you are rich, I am single.’”

• “In open court, the judge handed her bailiff a used pregnancy test and told him to be glad—like she was—that the test was negative.”

• “The judge parked in a spot designated for the disabled, and then pretended to limp when others in the lot were watching her with disapproval.”

• “The judge was referred to as a ‘muffin-top judge,’ with the ‘muffin top’ referring to her breasts billowing out of the top of her shirt.”

Bad Judge debuted Oct. 2. It has received some bad reviews, including this from the Hollywood Reporter: “Bad Judge immediately goes on the ‘how soon will it be canceled’ list.”

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Beatrice Butchko alerted the lawyers’ group about the show.

Baker, a name partner in Miami’s nine-lawyer Lipscomb, Eisenberg & Baker, does commercial litigation. In her letter to NBC, Baker noted that “the Archie Bunker show in the 1970s” was a comedy making fun of bigotry, using jokes “that included racist language.” She added that studies found the show was counterproductive in that area. (The show was actually called All in the Family.)

“To the bigoted viewers, Archie Bunker was funny and speaking truths,” Baker continued. “It is for this reason that I write.”

Watch a promo for Bad Judge below:

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