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June 26, 2003

Nature is Annoying

One thing about staying out here in the boonies before heading off to Columbia. I remember how wild nature really is, and how much I like living in cities. Tonight, driving to the bar and back (and yes, I was the designated driver):

a) Two fauns almost ran out into the road in front of me
b) A cat decided that trying to cross in front of a Ford was a good insurance risk

and best of all

c) It's insect spawning season out here in the woods. For some reason, one side of the house (the one that has my bedroom window on it) is covered by several plagues of Egypt. The particular insects (I have no idea what they're called) are small enough they can slip through the screen, and they're smacking their tiny bodies up against the windows in sufficient numbers to make a perpetual low-grade hum.

New York City, here I come!

June 25, 2003

My proofing skills are dire

Wow. Just read over some of my blog entries, and started correcting grammar and punctuation mistakes. I'm at a new keyboard and that always screws me up, but even so, I'm not at my best.

I should put work into being more careful about such things in the future.

"Critical Mass," or When Orwell Meets Oppenheimer

Well, I finished Grutter v. Bollinger, and it's hard to stay polite after going through it. After reading both decisions, I can't help but be disappointed at what are transparently two dressed-up compromises without the decency to admit they're masquerading as principles.

Justice O'Connor has played Napoleon. Not the French emperor, but the pig in Orwell's Animal Farm, whose most famous dictum is that "All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others." The 'strict scrutiny' that the decision claims to require justifies every criticism that the dissenters in Gratz (for the most part the majority in Grutter) make regarding the punishment of 'openness.' Rather than simply decide that the 14th Ammendment permits some forms of discrimination (inviting the Congress to decide that it doesn't), or rule that such discrimination cannot be justified except in the most dire of circumstances, the majority embarks upon a 'third way' that would make Tony Blair green with envy. It does this by linguistically torturing words to the point to which they can no longer bear meaning. The majority opinion reserves its most lurid of definitional thumbscrews for two terms in particular: 'critical mass,' and 'compelling state interest.'

I have to admit that 'critical mass' was the term that made me the most upset. Admittedly the term is commonly used to describe a minimum amount necessary for something to occur, but in its technical usage in physics, critical mass is achieved at a definite, measurable point. Items having critical mass in other areas also have such a definite, measurable point. But the majority opinion in Grutter extols the virtue of such critical mass thinking precisely because the university has claimed that it is vague with regards to number.

Chief Justice Rehnquist's dissent contains charts which tend to dispute that such fuzziness ever existed, and he has the advantage of being forthright about what can be statistically deduced: comparisons of the number applying and the number enrolled do not show how the system is designed to work, but only how it functions after an unpredictable external factor (which applicants decide to accept admission). Indeed, the similarity between the percentage of a given minority applying to the University of Michigan Law School and the percentage admitted suggests that the University believes that the 'critical mass' necessary for a given minority is roughly equivalent to its percentage of the applicant pool, though admittedly the justification for that would be mystifying.

Nonetheless, the concept of a 'critical mass' implies some point beneath which a given happening (analogous to a 'chain reaction' in physics) would fail to occur. Critical masses are by definition subject to empirical testing, because any point below critical mass would fail to achieve the 'benefits of diversity.' Defining that point (and it has to be subject to definition) would certainly constitute a quota, but in order to make the poilcy constitutional, the admissions officers have to stay in a state of willful ignorance (innocence?) with regards to exactly where that point lies. At least the officers in Gratz were honestly attempting to make a rational assessment; there is nothing 'critical' about the mass involved in Grutter. [1]

Which brings me to 'compelling state interest.' I've never been a big fan of Justice Thomas, but in this case he's got one heck of a point: how compelling can the interest of a state be in having a law school at all if five states manage to get by quite well without them? And how critical can it be to Michigan to have an elite law school most of whose practitioners then leave the state? [2] If the concern for the welfare of a child (quite reasonably rejected as a grounds for racial discrimination in Palmore v. Sidoti, as cited by Justice Thomas) is not a compelling state interest, what hubris on the part of the legal profession would make us think we were so special? Furthermore, Thomas points to the inconsistency between the Court's decision in United States v. Virginia (where VMI was not given anywhere near the deference to its opinions on women under intermediate scrutiny that U of M has been given under 'strict' scrutiny), a difference on which the majority remains silent. [3]

Ginsburg and Breyer at least seem consistent: roughly, they see a difference between positive and negative discrimination and are willing to try to define that into the Constitution. I'd disagree, but it's a position that can be held without the need to perform linguistic contortions. But the lesson to be learned from Grutter and Gratz has to be that admission to university can be race-conscious, just so long as you close your eyes and don't ever figure out just how 'critical' your critical mass is. Woe betide you if it's worth 20 points.

[1] Indeed, justification by critical mass of minorities brings its own statistical bugbears. Only a few minorities are so favoured, but there's no rationale for why, for instance, one shouldn't discriminate in favour of a Native American over an African-American. But wouldn't to do this invite some form of 'racial balancing?' On the other hand, a 100% Hispanic minority admission would otherwise seem to qualify under a 'critical mass' for underrepresented minorities--which makes no sense either. Indeed, the mass here is only understandable if it is not, in fact, critical.

[2] A comedian rather than a Supreme Court Justice might feel inclined to point out what it says about lawyers if there is a compelling state interest to produce them and then export them elsewhere.

[3] I really wonder if as a result of this, VMI or other single-sex institutions don't renew their cases.

June 23, 2003

Reading Gratz v. Bollinger

Well, like just about every other person with an interest in law, I've been reading Gratz v. Bollinger and Grutter v. Bollinger today. I've not had time to read the second yet, but my immediate reaction is, 'Wow. This is how to confuse the issue and satisfy nobody.'

As one might guess, I'm of the opinion that racial preferences should be abolished in college admissions. But assuming that there is a compelling interest in promoting 'diversity,' and that this is consistent with the 14th Ammendment, I really can't see how Gratz helps. Try as I might to hold with Rehnquist (and I think the court is right with regards to the issue of standing), I keep wondering if the entire project doesn't boil down to one of mathematics.

Without rehashing the facts of the case, the majority decision seems to think that the +20 point preference given to minorities in the University of Michigan undergraduate admissions system is not strictly-tailored enough, but doesn't answer my immediate next question: what about five points? or ten? At what margin does the policy become constitutionally respectable? [1] Souter makes a very good case here, unfortunately.

On the other hand, the dissenting opinions fare no better with my internal economist. Justice Ginsberg [2] wades in with the idea that if the number of minority applicants to a university are small in comparison to the number of non-minority applicants [3], then the odds of any given non-minority applicant being turned down are not noticably diminished. But this is patently ridiculous, as it assumes that university placements are distributed at random except for according to race. Otherwise, while the overall number of non-minority applicants won't be much different--they can't be, given the supposition that minority applicants are a small proportion--the odds faced by any individual will vary greatly depending on how close they are to the margin. In economic terms, what we're worrying about is marginal price.

Similarly, while I grudgingly have to go along with Souter as far as his maths, he (and to a greater degree Ginsberg) obfuscate the point in their criticism of the Texas high school policy of set-asides:

While there is nothing unconstitutional about such a practice,it nonetheless suffers from a serious disadvantage. It is the disadvantage of deliberate obfuscation. The “percentage plans ”are just as race conscious as the
point scheme (and fairly so),but they get their racially diverse results without saying directly what they are doing or why they are doing it. In contrast,Michigan states its purpose directly and,if this were a doubtful case
for me,I would be tempted to give Michigan an extra point of its own for its frankness. Equal protection cannot become an exercise in which the winners are the ones who hide the ball.

But those who set up the Texas set-asides did so to recognise that all high-schools are not created equal, and that the residents of a given area to a great degree share the same disadvantages, regardless of their race. Indeed, I'd be surprised if this point, when debated within the Texas legislature, wasn't made frequently and at length.

Anyway, this will probably be revised several times over the next few days, as I take a look at the decisions more deeply. For now it's enough to note those points. There weren't a lot of surprises as to each justice's opinion, but the use (and misuse) of statistics was enlightening.

[1] The majority decision seems to state that racial preferences are acceptable so long as they are subject to individual consideration, i.e. a member of a given race may be given a preference because of that, but not automatically. The really tragic thing, however, is exactly how little individual consideration is given to each applicant [i]whatever their race[/i]. A truly good application essay, according to the evidence cited in the decision, may give no more than three points. Given the vast number of applicants to top undergraduate schools and the lack of individual scrutiny that any of them receive, this ruling may functionally eliminate race-based preferences from undergraduate admissions, at least in theory.

[2] If anything worries me about the political bent of my future law school, it's that I really can't find it in me to agree with Justice Ginsberg on most of her opinions.

[3] Actually, she quotes a source siting 'minority' and 'white' applicants, while the majority opinion is careful to limit themselves to 'minority' and 'non-minority' applicants. Ginsberg seems to gloss over the point that, from the point of view of the University of Michigan, Ichiro's a white ball-player. Indeed, if the purpose of minority enrollment was the promotion of 'diversity' in higher education, then a foreign-born student of a 'non-preferred' minority ought to have greater benefit than a 'minority' applicant.

June 20, 2003

Not auspicious

Not a good start to a law school career. My lender of choice just returned my loan application, pointing out that I'd signed only one of two places necessary to complete the form.


June 18, 2003

My first intentional reading of a Columbia academic's work: Kendall Thomas' Racial Justice: Moral or Political?

(I warn you, this is easily the longest entry to date, and is both a bit rambling and less-focused than it would be if it were an answer to an assignment. Read at your own risk, and if you feel like being vitriolic in your comments realize I may just ignore you. :) )

In the process of reading Looking Back at Law's Century, I've just finished Kendall Thomas's article Racial Justice: Moral or Political. It causes me to worry some that the political content of my law degree may be more than I can handle, but then, it's not coursework. Thomas spends most of his article contending that the primary justification for or against a racial interpretation of our Constitution has been moral, but that a more expressly political interpretation is more appropriate.

As an argument goes, it makes sense so long as you accept the fundamental premise: that a moral interpretation of the constitution, whether it is right or not to allow laws which discriminate on the basis of race, have limitations in their normative value. While it's not the whole of his article, I'm most interested in his justification for a political view of racial justice due to the effects of law upon supposed racial 'civic publics.'

According to Thomas (to paraphrase crudely here, in the interest of space), it would be better to consider laws to be racially biased in terms of their political effects, than to concentrate on the moral rights or wrongs of laws which are 'colour-blind' or 'colour conscious.' His major example is the crack/powder cocaine disparity in sentencing in the United States, and he spends several pages contrasting his conception of the policy with another academic, the apparently conservative (or neo-liberal) Randall Kennedy.

Thomas reasons that because many states have laws disenfranchising convicted felons for life, the disparity in sentencing between crack-convicts and powder-convicts hurts 'black civic publics' by reducing both their political efficacy and coherency. [1] But this presupposes the existence of 'black civic publics' that are distinct from their white counterparts. [2] In a note, he proceeds at length to argue that this is not the case, and that individual black citizens should have the ability to leave the 'enclaves of resistance' that he claims these policies weaken through disenfranchisement. However, without this notion of a fairly unified black polity, his argument falls to pieces.

The concept that blacks (or other races) share a political culture may describe political reality today[3], but it is not the necessary political reality, merely what may have occurred because of our current space in history. The idea that any polity to which a standard middle-class black American (the stereotypical 'Huxtable') belongs is weakened by the disenfranchisement of dealer of crack or powdered cocaine presupposes that this person has more political interests in common with the criminal with which he shares a race, rather than his fellow businessmen, professionals, or academics across the racial divide. (The opposite also applies: a white powdered cocaine dealer is assumed to have more in common with a white minister than with his fellow dealer across the colour divide.)

Thomas then goes so far as to say that this common 'political culture' crosses 'racial cultures', and uses as an example New York City:

By way of a concrete example, consider the dynamics of black civic public life in the city in which I live, New York. Black people from the U.S. South, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Europe, and Africa have mobilized around an alternative, activist vision of racial justice in the urban polity. These black counterpublics have addressed issues from police brutality to environmental justice to the politics of race and representation in the city's cultural institutions. An oppositional black public presence in New York City has not required suppression of the myriad cultural (or class) differences among its constituent groups. This is because the political identity of these black urban counterpublics in no way entails the claim of a singular cultural identity. Rather, collective political action by black civic publics in New York City has stemmed from the recognition of a common location in the network of the city's racialized power relations.(102)

But New York City, with a history of racialized politics more extreme than the norm within the United States as a whole, is a bit of an odd example. Besides, constitutional rights span city boundaries (in which races may, by dint of propinquity due to de-facto segregation, be more politically homogenous) to encompass the nation. Besides which, New York City remains one in which politics apportions an appreciable percentage of the spoils of everyday life, and in which de facto segregation not just of races but of ethnic groups ('Little Italy,' etc.) isquite common. The combination of governmentally-apportioned spoils providing stakes and segregated neighborhoods providing opportunity promotes racially-conscious polities, and relatively few forces are working against this concentration. I wonder if Thomas supposes that a national 'black civic public' including individuals from not only cities but suburbs and countryside is sufficiently politically homogenous that a political interpretation of racial justice could be found. Would policies that help the 'black civic public' to which the discriminated-against crack-dealers belong also avail black business leaders and entrepreneurs?

Of course, the political difference I have with Thomas here extends to a conception of the law: whether it is a tool for use in politics, or the rules by which the political game is played. I have always thought of constitutional law as providing a channel within which politics may run, the 'banks of the river' which contain acceptable methods while remaining neutral to their results. My major concern with a political conception of racial justice comes from my economic studies and my thoughts on general systems: what you allow as the boundaries of a system both constrain the possible results and promote the likely ones. Thomas's recommendations of construing racial justice in a political manner do not only ensure that a racial polity may exist, but by providing obvious advantages to members of such a polity against others outside it, ensure that it always shall exist, or at least goes a long way towards promoting its survival against other possible outcomes.

By way of illustration, I'd point to a commonly cited criticism of the Bush administration's preferred alternative to affirmative action. In Texas, a certain percentage of the top graduates from all public high schools are ensured a place in the Texas higher-education system. The New York Times, among others, has pointed out that this system can only be considered effective in helping minority enrollment so long as a de facto segregation of the public schools exists. [4]

If you hold with the Times editorial page, this is a sign of racism, or at least bull-headed 'colour-blindness' in action. But to a system-thinker, it makes sense as a remedy. If the idea is that minorities are disadvantaged due to unequal access to high-quality public primary and secondary education (due to poverty, lack of English skills, or whatever), then this solution will be racially remedial so long as that segregation exists. If that segregation ends, it will be remedial towards anyone with such limited access, but cease to be racially remedial. As a systems policy, it's near-perfect--limited to those suffering from the identified problem up until the point that the problem no longer exists, while providing a method for eventually phasing out both problem and solution. Of course, it doesn't provide a total remedy (a minority group may be disproportionately affected by other factors than location), but then other policy prescriptions may be put forward for those problems, rather than a 'one-size-fits-all' race remedy.

Similarly, if a minority is disproportionately affected by poverty, than any policy which alleviates the effects of poverty will be disproportionately ameliorative to that minority. It strikes me that by institutionalising 'black' (or other minority) polities, these political thinkers miss a pretty important trick. If one can consider crack/powder distinctions in sentencing to be racist in a 'bad' way, even if the law itself applies equally to any race, then one can consider anti-poverty legislation (for instance, redistributive taxes, union rights, etc.) to be racially-biased in a 'good' way.

This provides a space for minority political leaders to put themselves at the forefront of political movements without having to pigeonhole themselves into being concerned with 'race' issues. The benefit, for instance, of a +20 point advantage to anyone from a disadvantaged family background applying to the University of Michigan might be roughly equivalent for members of racial minorities, or perhaps a +30 point benefit would be needed. In any event, even a larger point increase would be easier to justify both politically and judicially, and by gaining allies outside a self-defined racial 'polity,' it would become much easier to achieve. [5] The fact that members of a race at the moment have a number of shared political interests by no means implies that they must do so forever, and I would say that the purpose of law is to encourage change such that race is less of a motivating factor, rather than enshrining it as a necessary polity. By removing themselves from polities explicitly bounded by race, politicians would have the ability to advocate change as leaders of true 'rainbow coalitions,' as well as reducing the resistance encountered from those who continue to consider racial justice a moral, as well as political, issue.

[1] Since this isn't a formal essay, I fully realise that I'm simplifying his argument here. Few of my readers want a twelve page summary, and I don't intend to provide it. If you're interested, I strongly recommend the article, which is thought-provoking.
[2] Indeed, much of his argument's strength would seem to suppose the existence of 'white civic publics' sharing similar political ambitions, particularly in opposing 'black civic publics.' This unstated homogenity is to me one of the weak points of race-identity politics: the assumption of the monolithic 'Them.' When a poor rural Southern white speaks of the government that is 'giving all the jobs to those minorities' (and who is perhaps a target of old campaign ads by Jesse Helms), he's cursing largely the same power structure as a minority activist protesting crack/powder sentencing laws.
[3] I say may because I wouldn't concede this point, except in as much that as a voting block blacks as a race are predominantly Democratic. I somehow doubt this is a sufficient condition, though.
[4] It is important to note here that this is not an argument Thomas makes in his article, but merely one I think is similar to his thesis.
[5] Consider, for instance, the racial spoils system in the University of California, which at least in the public consciousness for a number of years advantaged blacks as a minority over Asians. A 'race neutral' policy would have allowed leaders to share alliances with anti-poverty groups across the racial divide, instead of the kind of antipathy which eventually led to a 'race-blind' referendum.

Anne Applebaum takes on NYC

Well, apparently there's one person who doesn't think that New York is inherently superior to Washington, D.C.. But her description of a New York 'monoculture' is a bit worrying, considering that Columbia's supposed to be liberal for New York, and New York is definitely more liberal than I am.

Oh well--if I ignore politics a bit, I can probably concentrate more on my studies.

In other news, I just purchased an HP 812 Digital Camera--so this blog should have some pictures sometime soon.

June 16, 2003

Compromise, glorious compromise

Just because I thought it would be fun, I set up a blog that other Columbia Law School students in my class could author. (I need to create some new authors today, actually.) And we ran into the inevitable problem of 'what is this blog for?' when someone decided to post an entry on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

So I think I've come up with a good techie compromise. If you view the blog, you can now see it in the full-bore politics mode, or in 'politics-lite' mode. I've not implemented a cookie that automatically transfers you to the blog of your choice yet, but that's stage two.

Now, watch--no one posts a politics article ever again. Oh well--part of my goals this summer is to have one last gasp at stretching my other skills before concentrating 100% on law.

June 14, 2003

Distractions for Stressed Law Students

I'm still trying to decide what I want to add to the links on Three Years of Hell. Eventually there will be some top navigation so that, if you really want, you'll get to read my CV, glance at my work history, and look through a page of suggested resources--the most important of which is now on the right.

Yep, everyone keeps telling me how horrible 1L is (anyone who wants to disagree, chime right in), so I've added a set of 'Distractions for stressed law students' to the categories on the right hand side. Check out the adventures of Davan, Peejee, Aubrey, and other reprobates in Something Positive, or the strange animations at The Other Side. Little Goth Girl is probably Mata's best-known animation, though the Columbia NHK crowd might like Samurai Lapin, while the anti-corporate types among my readers should definitely enjoy the works of Mr. Snaffleburger.

June 11, 2003

To explain my worry at relaxation...

A lot of people have commented on my pro/anti-preparation thoughts. I should probably explain that I quit my job in early March (I was tired of doing a weekly trip to Munich), and have been more or less unemployed since. I'm making ends meet and should enter law school without excessive non-school-related debt, but I'm also beginning to get out of the 'wake up early, start work early' habit.

Which is a good part of why I'm trying to make myself prepare. When I'm doing freelance translation, this isn't hard--I'm generally working fairly early and doing a full day's work. But since the work is erratic, there can be some stretches where I'm not doing much, and doing 'summer reading' can make me feel like I'm actually accomplishing something more useful than watching Simpson's reruns.

Sometimes I'm happy for copyright violations.

I probably shouldn't say that as someone who's trying to become a lawyer, and in general the free-marketeer in me thinks copyrights should be defended. But something odd came up today that's made me wonder.

Before I moved back here for the summer, I watched most of a Japanese anime called Revolutionary Girl Utena with some friends in Oxford. These were pirate downloads from the internet, not the 'official' products which sell for exorbitant amounts in the US and until recently couldn't be bought in the UK at all.

Now I've watched some of the licensed versions, and the thought I'm left with is, 'Thank God I saw the other copies.' Despite the horrible image quality, the subtitling was far better. I can only suppose this is because it was done by people enthusiastic about the task, rather than paid translators. In general, the pirate copies caught the sense and feel of the original, as well as having a stronger sense of drama. The licensed versions just have 'special features.'

So where does that leave the legally-minded? I'm happy that these translations exist--the 'fan-edited' versions of Cowboy Bebop are also better than what you can get on DVD. They give people an opportunity to enjoy something I think is quite special without having to learn Japanese themselves, or put up with sub-par translation. But they probably violate copyright law. [1]

The economist in me thinks the law should change with the times, and that those who used to be paid a great deal of money to choose what should be distributed in the audio-visual world when distribution was difficult are using the law to maintain their profits long after their usefulness has come and gone. (The recording industry was clearly in the right, and Napster was clearly taking the mick in its trial, so far as I can tell. But the idea that music file sharing will get rid of good music is ridiculous--by disintermediating the record distributors, music should become cheaper, more plentiful, and provide greater selection than Ms. Spears v. Ms. Aguilera.) But that seems to be a long time coming.

Until then, I'll find it difficult to reconcile the fact that what are, as translations, in their own right works of creativity and skill are actually violations of the law.

[1] Someone with a bit more knowledge than me would have to tell me whether it did in fact violate the law. To the best of my knowledge, the translation of these files was done before a 'licensed' translation had been performed. Who knows whether or not the product was translated before the rights to do so had been sold--I certainly don't. I somehow doubt it matters, as the visual aspect of what was copied probably broke the law. But I'm not going to state that as a definite.

June 09, 2003

Placing stuff on the net

Thanks to for linking me from the site. From that came one friendly and two unfriendly comments, but then, you start blogging and that's the risk.

Almost everyone seems to be advising relaxing for the summer and not worrying about law school, so I figure other than the general reading I'm doing I'll stick to translation and leave it at that.

June 08, 2003

Some initial resolutions

Only about a month and a half until I travel to New York. I think it's time I make some resolutions. Of course, sheer inexperience suggests that many of these may be wrong, or even impossible, resolutions, but I think you should start out with goals. We'll start with seven.

1. I will keep up with the reading. Every law student I've talked to has told me that this is the most important thing about first year law. While I'll follow the same triage system I used at Oxford ('what's really important, and what can I skip?') the goal is 100% of the reading list covered.

2. I will keep within my budget. Believe it or not, I think this will be more difficult than (1). New York is an expensive city (though not as expensive as Tokyo) and I'm out of the habit of sacrificing for student life. Still, I'm working on putting together a budget and I should be able to keep to it. Working in the library costs nothing.

3. I will not take this too seriously. On the one hand, I want to treat Columbia as a chance to be at my most competitive, working with people who I'm pretty certain are better than me at many of the important skills of the legal profession. On the other hand, I know how easy it is to drive oneself into the ground over 'failures' that are actually pretty successful. We'll see how it goes, but I don't intend to kill myself for a diploma.

4. I will keep an open mind. Even more than Oxford, Columbia is pretty legendary for its leftward-leaning tendencies. Whenever National Review does a piece on conservative newspapers being stolen and the administration doing nothing, etc. etc., Columbia is usually the first or second school mentioned. It's difficult not to think 'I'm going into enemy territory.'

But this would be nonsense. And if my beliefs about liberty and the limitation of government aren't up to that kind of challenge, then I shouldn't be there.

5. I will see New York. After five years in Europe, I'm shocked at how little I actually travelled, how little I actually went ahead and tried to discover. While I'm in the Big Apple, I promise I'm going to go see Brooklyn Bridge, the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building, and all the stupid 'tourist' things. After all my years in Oxford, I never went to the top of Carfax Tower, and I refuse to repeat that mistake.

6. I will do things that require my Japanese skills. This shouldn't be that hard, if only because Columbia has the Center for the Study of Japanese Law. But I've promised this before, and yet every translation I do this summer ends up being a 'refresher' course of some kind. Not again.

7. I will not get stuck in the 'professional' mindset. The idea of 'professions', jobs which you cannot practice unless you've had a certain minimum amount of training and passed some monopolistic examination held by other members of the profession, has always smacked of medieval guilds to me. I know people who are very proud to be 'professionals', and it's sparked all sorts of nonsense. The business fraternity at the University of Alabama considered itself a 'professional' fraternity when it was nothing of the sort--you don't need a license to practice business, and a bloody good thing that is, too.

In the end, while I'll keep an open mind, I'm still fairly convinced that 'professions' are market-restrictive practices, and that if it weren't for the close linkage between politicians and lawyers, the Bar would have died away years ago. I'm willing to be convinced otherwise, and I'll take pride in doing a good job, but I have no intention of getting big-headed for becoming a 'professional.'

June 06, 2003

Things I've been reading today

1) I've been reading An Introduction to the Law of Contract, which mainly deals with English contract law. It's interesting, if not particularly useful for my degree. (It keeps saying, 'Of course, American lawyers would look at this differently.) Still, I think I'm going to like contract law.

2) This newspaper article about about the legends and folklore of homeless children in Dade County. If it weren't so terrifying, it would be fascinating.

June 04, 2003

Political weblogs (as a bit of an aside)

I'm currently doing my best to help Tim Ireland get US senators to start blogging. I worked for two of them in a very minor capacity, and so I'm writing some of my old contacts. It'll make an interesting summer project before law school.

Anyone who'd like to know how to help on this should look at Write To Your Senator Today (So You Can Leave Comments On Their Weblog Tomorrow).

June 03, 2003

Reading Lists

Just in case any other Columbia students are reading this: I'm trying to do some reading in preparation for first year. Just something to get my mind into a 'law school' frame of reference, not reading textbooks. So far I'm looking at a few books, including Looking Back at Law's Century, Oliver Wendall Holmes The Common Law, and a book called An Introduction to the Law of Contract which seems to cover mostly English contract law.

If anyone has any suggestions, I'd be happy to hear them.

June 02, 2003

And so it begins

Welcome to Three Years of Hell to Become the Devil. In putting this together, I've discovered that there's a lot of law school blogs out there, and I'll be reading and linking to some of the best of them. In time, I will probably be adding law school-related links, comments on some of my legal studies, and a fair few rants about debt. (My original working title for this blog was '37 Thousand in Debt and Counting.')

Hope you enjoy it.

Giving The Devil His Due

Nature is Annoying (3)
Andi Nagler wrote: Hi Tony, so you arranged a drive... [more]

My proofing skills are dire (0)
"Critical Mass," or When Orwell Meets Oppenheimer (3)
Jean-Pierre Chassagne wrote: The "linguistic contortionist" did ... [more]

Reading Gratz v. Bollinger (3)
Anthony Rickey wrote: Heh. Thanks for the tip. I'll cor... [more]

Not auspicious (0)
My first intentional reading of a Columbia academic's work: Kendall Thomas' Racial Justice: Moral or Political? (10)
Arnie wrote: very nice site! ... [more]

Anne Applebaum takes on NYC (0)
Compromise, glorious compromise (3)
Anthony Rickey wrote: Hi. If you mean what's the progr... [more]

Distractions for Stressed Law Students (8)
Dawit wrote: Kozzo is realy talented dancer. i r... [more]

To explain my worry at relaxation... (1)
2L Boy wrote: You know, I think it's a good idea.... [more]

Sometimes I'm happy for copyright violations. (2)
Anthony Rickey wrote: Well, yes, but copyright does have ... [more]

Placing stuff on the net (6)
Anthony Rickey wrote: Hi, Bruce: It came from a conver... [more]

Some initial resolutions (9)
JCA wrote: I'm of two minds on the "chill out,... [more]

Things I've been reading today (1)
akochems wrote: You will definitely like contracts ... [more]

Political weblogs (as a bit of an aside) (4)
Nate wrote: Howard Dean has a couple of blogs f... [more]

Reading Lists (8)
Jeff wrote: If you haven't yet, pick up a few o... [more]

And so it begins (1)
Mike wrote: The debt name would have never work... [more]

Choose Stylesheet

What I'm Reading

D.C. Noir

My city. But darker.
A Clockwork Orange

About time I read this...


Projects I've Been Involved With

A Round-the-World Travel Blog: Devil May Care (A new round-the-world travel blog, co-written with my wife)
Parents for Inclusive Education (From my Clinic)

Syndicated from other sites

The Columbia Continuum
Other Blogs by CLS students

De Novo
Theory and Practice
Liberal Federalism?
Good News, No Foolin'

Nancy Pelosi covers her head and visits the head of John the Baptist.
Vlogging in from Austin.
Omikase/"American Idol"

Jeremy Blachman's Weblog: 2007
Happy Passover
Looking for Advice re: LA
Google Books

Stay of Execution
What I've Learned From This Blog, or My Yellow Underpants
The End
Mid Thirties

Legal Theory Blog
Program Announcement: Summer Programs on the Constitution at George Washington
Book Announement: Political Foundations of Judicial Supremacy by Whittington
Entry Level Hiring Report

The Volokh Conspiracy
Making the Daily Show:
Civil unions pass New Hampshire House:
Profile of Yale Law Dean Harold Koh:

Crescat Sententia
Hillary II
Politics and Principal/Agents

Law Dork
Election Approaches
Following Lewis
New Jersey High Court: 'Same Rights and Benefits'

Surveying the revival
Birds of paradise

Half the Sins of Mankind
Cheney Has Spoken Religious conservatives who may ...
Does Ahmadinejad Know Christianity Better Than MSN...
Borders as Genocide In discussions of climate chan...
For lovers of garden gnomes...and any China-freaks out there
We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Programming

Does SOX explain the flight from NY?
More Litvak on SOX effect on cross-listed firms
What did the market learn from internal controls reporting?

The Yin Blog
Iowa City = Riyadh
Jeffrey Rosen's "The Supreme Court"
Geek alert -- who would win between Battlestar Galactica and the U.S.S. Enterprise?

Letters of Marque
And there we are

Signing Off

Dark Bilious Vapors
Jim (The Waco Kid): Where you headed, cowboy?
Bart: Nowhere special.
Jim: Nowhere special. I always wanted to go there.
Bart: Come on.
--"Blazing Saddles"

Technical Difficulties... please stand by....
The Onion should have gotten a patent first....

Legal Ethics Forum
Interesting new Expert DQ case
Decency, Due Care, and The Yoo-Delahunty Memorandum
Thinking About the Fired U.S. Attorneys

Ex Post
Student Symposium- Chicago!
More Hmong - Now at Law School
Good Samaritan Laws: Good For America?

Appellate Law & Practice
Those turned over documents
CA1: courts can’t help people acquitted of crimes purge the taint of acquitted conduct
CA1: restrictions on chain liquor stores in Rhode Island are STILL okay

the imbroglio
High schoolers turn in plagiarism screeners for copyright infringement
Paris to offer 20,600 bikes at 1,450 stations to rent by the end of the year

The Republic of T.
The Secret of the Snack Attack
links for 2007-04-04
Where You Link is What You Get

Distractions for stressed law students

The Other Side: Twisted AnimationsSomething Positive, a truly good webcomic

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