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Wednesday, November 30, 2005
The WashPost's excellent Campaign for the Supreme Court blog carries this blurb from a C-SPAN press release:
Wednesday's one-hour, Supreme Court oral argument in a noted abortion case will air at approximately 12:15 p.m. ET on C-SPAN, C-SPAN Radio and c-span.org as soon as the recording is released by the Court.
The two cases to be aired on C-SPAN are today's Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England abortion case and a December 6th military recruitment case, Rumsfeld v. Forum for Academic & Institutional Rights.
I realize that the same-day airing of only two cases will not cause earth-shattering effects, but I sincerely hope that this does not mark the beginning of a trend. Lawyers arguing before the justices should only be concerned with one thing: convincing those justices of their case. Likewise, the justices should only be concerned with hearing those lawyers and asking them insightful questions.
This argument is not new: live or same-day airing of oral arguments would politicize the court and would thus be a harmful development. The lawyers and the justices would be tempted to pander to public opinion, even though they are not and should not be beholden to it. The court already has been overly politicized and we see the result: a populace which is dangerously ignorant regarding its function. Too many people see the justices as representatives and the court as a super-legislative body.
We see the result: confirmation hearings that threaten to shut down the Senate and that involve investigations into nominees' video rental records.
So why should we fan the flames by airing oral arguments like this? I say the current level of publicity and transparency is quite sufficient.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Three years after being detained Jose Padilla, accused of planning a radiological attack (dirty bomb) in America, has finally been indicted. I echo Andrew Sullivan's comments in this post, that while I have no sympathy for terrorists, an American citizen should not be held this long without formal charges.
Whatever happened to the fifth and sixth amendments?
Update: In the original version of this post, I mistakenly stated that Padilla was responsible for bringing a shoe-bomb on an airplane. The current version of the post contains the correction.
...write your statutes specifically enough and you'll avoid nasty "little" philosophical questions such as this: is an unborn baby a "person" under your High-Occupancy Vehicle law?
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
I liked the discussion following this post on law professors blogging. As the post made clear, I favor it, but several commenters offered good opposing arguments. Robert S. Boynton has written an interesting piece on the subject in Slate. Here's a quote:
. . . [A]cademic blogging represents the fruition, not a betrayal, of the university's ideals. One might argue that blogging is in fact the very embodiment of what the political philosopher Michael Oakshott once called "The Conversation of Mankind"—an endless, thoroughly democratic dialogue about the best ideas and artifacts of our culture. Drezner's blog, for example, is hardly of the "This is what I did today …" variety. Rather, he usually writes about globalization and political economy—the very subjects on which he publishes in prestigious, peer-reviewed presses and journals. If his prose style in the blog is more engaging than that of the typical academic's, the thinking behind it is no less rigorous or intelligent.(Via Prof. Orin Kerr, who also offers worthwhile commentary that begins, "in some ways, academic blogging is more challenging than traditional scholarly writing.")
Saturday, November 12, 2005
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the government may sue Southern Illinois University (SIU) for discriminating against whites, Asians, males, and anyone else who's not black and female:
"The University has engaged in a pattern or practice of intentional discrimination against whites, non-preferred minorities and males," says a Justice Department letter sent to the university last week and obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.The article lists three fellowships in question, including one "For underrepresented minority students to initiate graduate study in science, technology, engineering and math." One of the primary laws cited is Title VII of Civil Rights Act. In a 2003 decision, Grutter vs. Bollinger, the Supreme Court said in a 5-4 ruling that race could be included as a factor in determining admissions, but not the sole factor.
Liberal Illinois Senator Barack Obama accuses the Bush administration of trying to divide voters. "One of my concerns has been with all the problems the Bush administration is having, that they’ll start resorting to what they consider to be wedge issues as a way of helping themselves politically." But race-based scholarships aren't divisive? Obama's logic seems backward.
From my brief inspection of two of the fellowships, race appears to be the only factor. The outcome of this DOJ pressure, and any subsequent litigation, will have far-reaching implications on the scholarship culture and, in turn, higher education across the country.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
If you had a choice, would you chose a regular in-class written exam, or a 24 to 48 hour take home exam? Here's my take.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Census of Law Professor Bloggers
Daniel J. Solove at Concurring Opinions has updated his very useful census of law professors who blog. He counts 182 bloggers, an increase of 40% from his June 2005 census. The law schools with the most bloggers are:
Chicago (14)Despite my consistent urging, professors at IU-Indy remain apathetic about academia's future medium. Professor Cooper is the school's only blogging professor.
Update: Prof. Glenn Reynolds writes, "Interestingly, the presence of blogging faculty seems to correlate with higher rankings."
- Interested in Judge Alito's ideological underpinnings? Check out this excellent and thorough NYTimes article which discusses Alito's conservatism and his ideological roots.
- If Judge Alito is confirmed, a majority of the Supreme Court would be Catholic. Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, and now Roberts are the current Catholic members of the court. This WashPost article looks at the historical developments that led to conservative Catholics' increased participation in constitutional law.
- Finally, Senator Joseph Biden, a potential Democratic presidential nominee, says that Senate Democrats will be unlikely to filibuster Alito's confirmation. On this note, this blogger admit to being mildly surprised.
Thursday, November 03, 2005
Inside Higher Education reports on the increase in the number of law schools over the past few years.
There is no shortage of jokes about the United States having too many lawyers. If there are any corollaries about law schools, the punch lines are falling on deaf ears at a host of institutions that have plans to open law schools.
The legal question is a relatively new one: should internet sites be able to be forced to surrender subscriber lists and commenting information?
That is precisely the question now before a court in Maryland, a decision on which could influence litigation on this issue in other regions of the nation. From this AP article:
The publisher of a financial newsletter told Maryland's second highest court Wednesday that he should not be forced to disclose his subscriber list and other information sought by an Arizona company seeking those it says made defamatory online comments.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
The Law Professor Blog Network has announced the launch of Leiter's Law School Rankings by Brian Leiter, the Joseph D. Jamail Centennial Chair in Law at the University of Texas School of Law, in association with Law Professor Web Services LLC.
Leiter’s Law School Rankings (1) contains two brand new law school quality rankings, and (2) expands and redesigns the rankings material formerly maintained on the University of Texas School of Law web site.
The new 2005 rankings are:
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
George Will offers his thoughts on the impending senate confirmation battle over Judge Alito. He notes the fact that Alito was unanimously confirmed by a Democrat-controlled Senate to the 3rd Circuit during George Bush, Sr.'s tenure, and ends his column:
This is a debate the President, who needs a victory, should relish. Will it, as Democrats mournfully say, "divide the country? Yes. Debates about serious subjects do that. The real reason those Democrats are mournful is that they correctly suspect they are on the losing side of the divide.Indeed, the Democrats will be unable to stop Alito's confirmation. However, if they are correct in saying that Alito is antithetical to mainstream America, then the Republicans could take a political hit in '06 and '08.