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Karl Born
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Sapere aude - dare to be wise
Saturday, June 24, 2006
WSJ: Don't Go To Law School
Posted 9:37 AM by Joshua Claybourn
The Wall Street Journal's Cameron Stracher has an interesting article titled, "Law School by Default; Want to Keep Your Options Open? Don't Train to be a Lawyer."
They're dropping like flies. Count 'em. Despite the swelling ranks of the new recruits, the steady growth in large corporate firms, and the length, breadth and expense of lawsuits, the legal profession is actually losing lawyers every day, a silent drain of talent to banking, business and premature retirement. Every year, I face a new class of eager law students, ready to take on the world, but after a couple of years of practice, many have lost their youthful glow. Perhaps it's time to rethink the whole "law school as default" mentality that infects so many otherwise sane young minds....

The legal profession is really two professions: the elite lawyers and everyone else. Most of the former start out at big law firms. Many of the latter never find gainful legal employment. Instead, they work at jobs that might be characterized as "quasi-legal": paralegals, clerks, administrators, doing work for which they probably never needed a J.D.

It's time those of us inside the profession did a better job of telling others outside the profession that most of us don't earn $160,000 a year, that we can't afford expensive suits, flashy cars, sexy apartments. We don't lunch with rock stars or produce movies. Every year I'm surprised by the number of my students who think a J.D. degree is a ticket to fame, fortune and the envy of one's peers--a sure ticket to the upper middle class. Even for the select few for whom it is, not many last long enough at their law firms to really enjoy it.

There's something wrong with a system that makes a whole lot of people pay a whole lot of money for jobs that are not worth it, or that have no future. If we wanted to be honest, we would inform students that law school doesn't keep their options open. Instead, we should say that if they work hard and do well, they can become lawyers.
(Hat tip: TaxProf Blog)
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Expanding the debate on gay marriage
Posted 1:05 PM by Luke
Always a popular (read: contentious) issue on ILN, the debate on gay marriage has seen an inevitable expansion into issues of religious freedom and constitutional philosophy.

Religious freedom

The New York Times has a good write-up on how gay marriage implicates religious freedom, an extremely new area of law. This clash could potentially occur in two different directions. [hat-tip to Josh for the NYT link]

As one scholar in the article points out, legally sanctioning gay marriages in one jurisdiction could impact religious freedom relating to church-run summer camps, daycare centers, etc. Conversely, prohibiting gay marriage might clash with religious freedom when a church marries a gay couple and the state refuses to recognize that marriage while at the same time recognizing the heterosexual marriages performed by other churches. Legal conflicts in this realm could support a push for so-called "contract marriage."

Constitutional philosophy

While most Republicans support a gay marriage ban for moral reasons, many nevertheless oppose amending the U.S. Constitution to create such a ban, usually citing the conservative philosophy of limiting the power of the federal government.

Tom Ehrich, an Episcopal priest, relates an argument of constitutional philosophy in his column in The Herald Sun:
The Constitution doesn't exist to resolve religious disputes. It exists to provide a just and equitable environment of laws and rights in which citizens can address religious issues, along with equally thorny issues involving human rights, property rights and competing claims for power....

The Constitution doesn't exist to implement certain religious beliefs. The colonies had been down that road and it was disastrous. The Constitution exists to provide an environment in which all citizens are free to worship and to believe as they choose. It is difficult to imagine a situation more antithetical to the American way than faith by fiat....

Don't worry, say some observers. The "Marriage Protection Amendment" is just for election-year show, not serious deliberation. Such trifling with our common life is no less worrisome. It manages to trivialize marriage, human sexuality, legitimate methods for resolving disputes and the U.S. Congress all at one time. That seems a lot of damage just to make the point that one branch of Christians doesn't believe gays and lesbians should have the same rights as other citizens.
Trial judge throws out San Francisco's gun ban
Posted 12:56 PM by Luke
A San Francisco superior court judge has thrown out that city's handgun ban. The ban prohibited the possession of a handgun by any resident with the exception of police officers and professionals in security-related positions. It also forbade the manufacture, sale, or distribution of all guns and ammunition within the city.

Do not be fooled by any hype surrounding this case, however, as the judge did not rule on 2nd Amendment grounds but rather that the city ordinance intruded into an area reserved for California state law. Nevertheless, expect the judge's decision to be promptly appealed.

Readers may recall that this is not the first time that San Francisco has entered into a conflict regarding the scope of its legislative/executive power. The most prominent episode occurred when it attempted to marry gay couples, contrary to California law.
Monday, June 05, 2006
Campus-wide tobacco ban to start August 14
Posted 3:37 PM by Luke
The IUPUI Office of Student Life and Diversity has just issued this bulletin:

In a continued effort to promote health and reflect IUPUI's health/life sciences emphasis, a new campus wide Tobacco Free policy will take effect Aug. 14, 2006. The policy will ban the use and sale of all tobacco products on university-owned property and in university-owned, -leased or -operated vehicles.

For more information about the policy, visit
Friday, June 02, 2006
Bush to repeat gay marriage mistake
Posted 4:18 PM by Luke
Last term President Bush pushed an anti gay marriage amendment, despite the fact that the Senate was unlikely to support any such measure. In fact, the vote fell far short of the 67 votes necessary to pass and presently it is unclear whether or not there is even a normal majority of 50 votes in support of it.

Nevertheless, President Bush has decided to once again push the amendment this term.

Shame on him. While I do not begrudge him for sincerely opposing gay marriage, I do begrudge him for pushing this fruitless endeavor when there is so much else that Congress needs to get done. Just as was the case last term, this is an obvious political tactic to energize the "values" base of the party.

Further, even if there was a possibility that the Senate could pass the amendment, it is still unnecessary for opponents of gay marriage to pursue it. The National Journal's Jonathan Rauch argues such, saying that the Supreme Court--under its current composition--has no chance of legalizing gay marriage nationally, and the Defense of Marriage Act already allows states to refuse to ratify gay marriages from other states. DOMA has been upheld in every circuit court in which it has been challenged, including in the liberal 9th circuit.

Finally, Rauch poses an interesting question to pro-life, anti gay marriage Republicans:
Two questions for anti-gay-marriage, anti-abortion Republicans: If states can be allowed to go their own way in defining human life, why not allow them to go their own way in defining marriage? Where constitutional amendments are concerned, why is preventing gay couples from marrying so much more urgent than preventing unborn children from being killed?
[hat-tip to my friend Kristine for the Rauch article]

Update (6/7/06): Senate rejects the amendment; only 49 votes in favor... no surprise here

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