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Thursday, May 26, 2005
The front page of the Indianapolis Star has an article concerning Cale Bradford, Chief Judge of the Marion County Superior Court, retaining a provision in a couple's divorce decree preventing them from teaching their common religious beliefs to their son. The religion is Wicca, "a contemporary pagan religion that emphasizes a balance in nature and reverence for the earth."
Judge Bradford inserted the provision preventing the divorcing parents, the Jones, from exposing their 9 year old son to "non-mainstream religious beliefs and rituals." A confidential report from the Domestic Relations Counseling Bureau, whose duty is to provide recommendations to the court on child custody and visitation rights stated, "There is a discrepancy between Ms. Jones and Mr. Jones' lifestyle and the belief system adhered to by the parochial school [a local Catholic school the child attends]. . . . Ms. Jones and Mr. Jones display little insight into the confusion these divergent belief systems will have upon (the boy) as he ages[.]"
[Editorial note: how many of you know someone that attended a religious school that was of a different faith than the student? That is not an uncommon situation.]
"Religion comes up most frequently when there are disputes between the parents. There are lots of cases where a mom and dad are of different faiths, and they're having a tug of war over the kids," says Kenneth Falk, legal director of the Indiana Civil Liberties Union. "This is different: Their dispute is with the judge. When the government is attempting to tell people they're not allowed to engage in non-mainstream activities, that raises concerns."
Most states, including Indiana, allow parents who are awarded physical custody of children to determine what religious training, if any, they shall receive. As a general rule a court steps in only when the danger exists to the child's physical or emotional health.
Our own Constitutional Law Professor David Orentlicher believes the provision to be"blatantly unconstitutional. . . . Obviously, the judge can order them not to expose the child to drugs or other inappropriate conduct, but it sounds like this order was confusing or could be misconstrued." The purported vagueness of the provision concerns Jones and the ICLU. They "argue the order is so vague that it could lead to Jones being found in contempt and losing custody of his son."
Wicca is a nature-centered belief system, not a centralized religion. Wicca is observed by approximately 50,000 Americans. The U.S. government recognizes Wicca as an official religion and includes it in reference texts such as the U.S. Army Chaplain's Handbook.
Friday, May 20, 2005
Some footnotes are far more interesting than others. Citing to the mating call of a tree frog and the movie Caddyshack have to be among the best.
Though not listed I've heard a legend concerning a footnote containing the recipe to a bean dip.
Monday, May 16, 2005
When former IndyLawNet contributor Lawren Mills graduated last year she posted on her experiences with bar review classes. After one day I can already tell she was correct in everything she posted. For those unfamiliar with PMBR classes, they review the MBE section of the bar exams. The MBE is a multiple choice section used by most states to cover the topics of Criminal Law, Torts, Contracts, Property, Constitutional Law, and Evidence.
Not everyone decides to take PMBR classes or they decide to not take all the classes. The purpose of the PMBR classes is not to take your money or scare a student with the practice exams, although based on conversations from today it does both tasks very well. The real purpose of the classes are to provide a baseline to students to see what they remember after 3 or 4 years of school. The answer to that question is not very much initially. The topic for today was Criminal Law with a pinch of Criminal Procedure thrown in. Most of us liked these classes and felt fairly comfortable with these subjects. You would think the practice exam would go fairly well for everyone. You're wrong.
The instructor informed us that a score 40% is average the first time, and most of the class proved average. Many didn't look forward to the class today, but I found it refreshing. We're in the same boat trying to figure out how to study for the bar exam. The other purpose of the class is to provide black letter law and test taking techniques. These classes, BarBri, Indianapolis Bar Association and others condense the entire law school career into 2 months. You learn that for test taking purposes the law has yes and no answers and why. On a multiple choice exam there is no 'it depends.'
No rest for the weary. Time to start studying again for the biggest professional exam of our lives.
The Supreme Court ruled today that states could not prohibit direct purchases of wine from out-of-state wineries, such as internet orders. The principle of the ruling will likely similarly affect restrictions on direct sales of liquor and beer as well.
The ruling allows states to regulate out-of-state purchases as long as the regulations treat out-of-state and in-state wineries equally.
Interestingly, the decision exposed a unique division amongst the justices, with Kennedy, Scalia, Ginsburg, Souter, and Breyer amongst the majority, and with Thomas, Rehnquist, O'Connor and Stevens dissenting.
Here is the syllabus of the court which includes links to Kennedy's majority opinion and Stevens' and Thomas' dissenting opinions. I highly recommend reading them, as this decision will likely have implications for future federalism related cases.
Like Joe, I have just joined the ranks of IndyLawNet. Like Joe, I am also a newly minted 2L. UNLIKE Joe, I am an evening student. I don't know that ILN (or Sapere Aude) had an evening student contributor before, so this should be an interesting challenge.
And it looks like I am going to be the only one around here for the summer while my colleagues are going to China and France....I'll be here. I'm sure that will be an adventure in itself.
I just wanted to greet all of the readers out there. My name is Joe and I am going to be a 2L here at the law school in the fall. As some of our esteemed contributors have graduated and are entering the dreaded bar study period, I have joined the ranks of IndyLaw Net in the hopes of filling in where I can.
Although I will be leaving for Strasbourg, France in just a few days, when I return I will begin my contribution. To give you all a bit more insight into me, I am a native New Yorker and I am a registered Democrat. I am addicted to the show Boston Legal, which ABC has put on hold for Gray's Anatomy. Needless to say, I am not too happy about that. But Denny Crane will return!
Thanks to IndyLaw Net for extending an invite. I hope to add a valuable difference of opinion to the mix. Cheers, all. And have a happy summer. I know that my only summer reading will be the new Harry Potter book. My you all join in the Potter-mania...
Thursday, May 12, 2005
Now that I am finished with finals and thus my first year of law school, I would like to take this moment to share a few thoughts.
First of all, congratulations to the graduating class of 2005! Having only completed my first year, I have but a slim perspective on the full experience and challenge of law school, but I still can say without a doubt you have accomplished something to be proud of. Now go kick the Bar exam's butt.
Secondly, I would like to call attention to the comments underneath the petition post below, in particular a thoughtful response by Professor Bradford. Due to a glitch in the Haloscan commenting system, the comment count number has been going down on that particular post, despite the addition of new comments.
Finally, I'd like to thank Kelly, Josh, and Brian for their contributions to ILN this year and for welcoming me to Sapere Aude back in August. On behalf of all us, thank you for reading the blog and for your comments. If you're graduating, I encourage you to check back with ILN for news regarding your alma mater as well as news of general interest to the Indianapolis legal community.
To continuing students, if you'd be interested in writing for ILN, please send me an e-mail, and we can look into that possibility, as I hope to add at least a couple writers to the blog for next year.
The blog will of course be updated regularly over the summer, although my personal involvement may be less over the course of the remainder of May and June, as I'll be in China during that period. Hopefully, I'll have time to make a few posts on comparative law then.
Sunday, May 08, 2005
‘So spin the Fates,’ the Roman adage goes. One Fate spins the thread. A second Fate measures the thread. The third Fate cuts the thread. Many of our fates get spun today as another class graduates.
I’m sure the ceremony today will be filled with the typical speakers, a band playing ‘Pomp and Circumstance,’ and numerous people congratulating us for our achievement in obtaining a Juris Doctorate degree. Yet this time it will be different in some respects. Every graduation ceremony I’ve attended mentions the ideas of changing the world, how the student body will be the leaders of tomorrow, etc. I doubt any of us were impressed with those ideas when graduating high school. At age 18, none of us were qualified to change anyone’s world. The same themes were spoken at our undergraduate ceremonies. Again, those lofty words seemed higher than our ability to reach them. When those high-minded ideas are expressed today I won’t be as jaded. This time, we truely have the intellectual tools required to be the leaders of tomorrow and to change the world.
Whether or not you decide to practice law, having the J.D. is an accomplishment. That accomplishment is recognized by others and given a weight of respect. Doors of Opportunity will open for us simply because of this degree. Don’t get the impression that life will be a breeze simply because of graduating. We will still work hard to accomplish great deeds and those deeds aren’t handed to us on a silver platter. What I am saying is that Opportunity will come our way due to the effort we’ve expended these past few years.
For better or worse, the movers and shakers of society, the advisors and policy makers, the advocates of others tend to be those who graduated from a law school. ‘With great power comes great responsibility.’ As we take advantage of Opportunity, as we eventually become people of power and respect, I hope we develop the wisdom to use these intellectual tools wisely. Regardless of our future job titles, the fate of others will soon be spun with our own, and that is the biggest responsibility of all. Today we proved we are intelligent. In the future we must prove we are wise.
Friday, May 06, 2005
"I believe that the recent renewed interest in traditional values across this great land will provide us with a brief window of opportunity to help stop judges who insist on ignoring the will of the people."
-Dr. James Dobson, Focus on the Family
I almost entitled this post "Evangelicals versus the judiciary" as Dobson's position here is emblematic of the open complaints of many self-identified evangelicals, especially following the Terri Schiavo affair. But I resisted that urge, because such a grouping would be unfair. I have also read less prominent and less 'loud' evangelicals who oppose Dobson's position here. In fact, I consider myself an evangelical in a religious sense, and I refuse to let certain people take that term hostage by turning it into a political one.
But I digress. Can anybody tell me what is wrong with that quote?
FYI: Due to Mini-Marathon preparation about 20% of the parking lot next to the school is not usable today. If you're coming down here for finals leave early and be aware spots might not be available here. Lot 73 just north of Michigan St and the Infomatics Building is very empty.
For tomorrow, Saturday, to be honest if you can avoid coming here tomorrow, then don't come. At a bare minimum don't come before noon or 1 P.M. With luck most of the 30,000 participants and family members will have cleared out around here by then.
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
The new Class of 2005 composite is installed on the second floor. I'll agree with Prof. Cooper and admit it does seem much more real now that one phase of our lives is over. Where did three to five years go? Did you enjoy it? Was the experience what you expected? Are you glad you did it? Are you glad to be moving on?