Last week in Large Numbers of Law we discussed Nazi war criminals, ...this week we've managed to find a bigger hot-button issue:
The Monty Hall Problem. Please, no death threats: Large Numbers of Law, Week of 5/16/11.
Meet Entitlement Eric - Robot Pimp
Wherein I Solve World Peace - Lampshade, Esq.
IBR and You, and You, and You Too - Robot Pimp
A Necessary Delusion - Shadow Hand
Do you even need to shave overhead? - Lawyerlite
LSAT Jenga - Publius Picasso
JD vs MFA - BL1Y
The ABA Picks Its Battles - Publius Picasso
Vault recently published some thoughts on their panel at NYU discussing things to consider when applying to law school.
Naturally, BL1Y couldn't help but weigh in: 6 Things to Reconsider When Applying to Law School
There's been a growing movement lately suggesting that the 17th Amendment, which provides for the direct election of senators, should be repealed. For a "let's repeal and amendment" call, it's not actually that crazy.
Just look at judges. There's some arguments for having elected judges, but also some very good ones for having them be appointed. Likewise, goes the theory, we might be better off having one of the two houses of Congress not directly elected by the people, but rather one step removed, so that members of the senate could be chosen by a slightly less politicized method.
But, that's not what Michael Mannheimer (Northern Kentucky) is talking about. He thinks there's an argument that the 17th Amendment is unconstitutional. It goes basically like this:
Article V guarantees all states equal suffrage in the Senate. For those of you unfamiliar with our founding document, Article V sets out the rules for amending the Constitution. So, Article V is basically saying that no amendment can deny states their equal suffrage.
The next piece of the argument is that "the states" and "the people" are different under the Constitution. Not really a controversial point of view.
So, the 17th Amendment takes the states' representatives in Congress and gives those seats to the people. Senators are now chosen not by the state, but by the state's citizens, and that's a pretty important distinction.
The real key to Mannheimer's argument is interpreting "equal suffrage." Since no states can appoint senators, they are all equal. But, Mannheimer argues that the equality and suffrage parts are two separate concepts. The states cannot be denied equal standing with the other states, nor can they be denied suffrage.
Interesting to think about, but entirely academic. No Supreme Court would ever strike down a constitutional amendment.
University of Georgia School of Law is under fire for one of its latest faculty additions.
Former deputy attorney general Larry Thompson has been hired as a permanent member of the faculty, and some people aren't too happy about it. In 2002, Canadian Maher Arar was detained by police during a layover at JFK airport, suspected of having ties to al Qaeda. Arar was then deported to Syria where he was jailed and tortured for a year. Syria later released Arar, proclaimed him completely innocent, and allowed him to return to Canada.
Thompson did not make the deportation decision himself, but did sign off on it.
Wondering why a Canadian citizen suspected of ties to a terrorist group wouldn't simply be detained in the United States? Or sent back to Canada to be investigated by Canadian authority? Speaking on Arar's extraordinary rendition, Senator Patrick Leahy said:
We knew damn well, if he went to Canada, he wouldn't be tortured. He'd be held. He'd be investigated. We also knew damn well, if he went to Syria, he'd be tortured. And it's beneath the dignity of this country, a country that has always been a beacon of human rights, to send somebody to another country to be tortured.
It's because Jack Bauer doesn't like the cold.
Maria LaHood, senior staff attorney for the Center on Constitutional Rights and Arar's counsel during the affair had this to say about Thompson's appointment:
The notion that Mr. Thompson should be held out as a model for future law students when in fact he should be, at a bare minimum, investigated for his role in Mr. Arar’s rendition to torture, is astonishing.
It's important to remember that 2002 was a crazy time. The Twin Towers had just come down, everyone was afraid of reprisal attacks as the US went into Afghanistan. People still thought we might catch OBL that decade. It's easy to see how in that atmosphere a deputy AG might sign off on the extraordinary rendition program.
But, it's also pretty easy to see how we, as a nation might say "We understand why you did it, and there were enough mitigating circumstances that we're not going to punish you, but you damned well don't get to teach our nation's future caretakers of the justice system. Sorry, find another job."
Then again, we're dealing with a legal education system where 45% of students cheat, but less than 1% are ever disciplined. Where schools routinely publish false or misleading employment data, and then as a defense claims that the ABA hasn't required them to produce better numbers, or that US News hasn't asked for it, as though integrity needs to be demanded from a third party and not simply offered up voluntarily.
UGA probably didn't know about the Arar incident. They probably saw deputy AG on his resume and gave him a job. It's not really astonishing that Thompson would be invited to teach law students, it's just sad.
New from The Philadelphia Lawyer, a look at the most under appreciated player in the justice system, the calendar.
I agree w/ #GoodwinLiu – he believes that the role of a judge is to apply relevant precedents to the facts of each case. Period.
Liu is a professor at UC Berkeley and a nominee to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, finally getting his confirmation vote before the Senate.
A few hours earlier, Boxer Tweeted this:
American Bar Association gave #GoodwinLiu “unanimously well qualified” rating based on integrity, competence & judicial temperament.
On March 31, Boxer sent a letter to ABA President Stephen Zack, scolding the organization for its complacency in allowing law schools to report bad salary data, "which may be false at worst and misleading at best. [...] the ABA allows law schools to report salary information of the highest earning graduates as if it were representative of the entire class."
So, first she accuses the ABA of basically giving its blessings to if not outright fraud, then at least highly unethical behavior, but now suddenly thinks the ABA is a reliable source for judging integrity?
Well, what else do you expect from a member of the [either political party] party?
Could it be that when a student transfers from a middling law school up to the elite ranks, both schools suffer?
If you're willing to put aside your fear of numbers for just a moment, you'll see how this could be the case: Everyone's a Loser in the Transfer Game.
If you've been through the big law OCI (that's on campus interview, for those of you who call it something else) grinder, you know that it's a rapid succession of 20-minute fluff talks.
They ask you about food and travel, you try to make sure you get the name of the firm right and don't say you're interested in the one practice area they don't have, or that you want to work in a non-existent office. At the end of the interview, the firm looks the same as when it started, and the firm goes back to judging you almost solely on your school and transcript.
This poor match-making system might have something to do with why so many lawyers hate their jobs. You might have a lot of potential as an attorney, but being a bad fit will make you unhappy, it'll make your boss unhappy with you, and it'll make you even more unhappy that your boss is unhappy. Now, one firm is taking a very different approach.
Philadelphia-based Pepper Hamilton has introduced a three-prong interview process. The first stage is still the typical meet and greet "don't say anything stupid" interview. After that, students then move in to a more substantive process, starting with a discussion of their writing sample, and ending with a "hot seat" fact pattern argument.
This more closely resembles the hiring method used by big consulting firms, which typically have a live exercise for interviewees to work through. It will be a lot more work for both the students and the firms, but it probably should be. Deciding who is going to staff your cases, and what firm you're going to spend the next 5-50 years at is a pretty big deal. The present double-blind approach doesn't exactly give the process the weight it deserves.
14% of ob-gyns in South Florida have begun turning down obese patients.
Women who weigh more than 200 pounds will start finding it harder to find an ob-gyn as more begin turning down obese patients. Some cited inadequate equipment to handle heavier weights, while others said they didn't want to deal with the higher risk of complications (and presumably higher risk of lawsuits).
While medical ethics experts have pointed out the obvious problem, fatties aren't a protected class. So long as doctors aren't discriminating on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation or infectious disease, they can turn down whatever patients they don't want. But, with the way America's waistline is going, most doctors will find it impossible to refuse all obese patients.
This will almost certainly lead to some sort of law suit, or a push to make the obese a protected class. But, what if rather than excluding the obese, a doctor simply limited their patient list to those who were fit?
It's on ethically shaky ground to turn away all obese patients, but what if a doctor, say a particularly skilled and in-demand doctor, wanted to only treat very fit patients? Is it at all unethical for a doctor to say that if you want to be his patient, you are not allowed to smoke, must do at least 3 hours of cardio each week, avoid high salt foods, and keep your body fat below a certain percentage?
Or, to make a legal analogy, wouldn't you want to be able to drop a client who continuously disrupts proceedings, pisses off the judge, and gets public intox arrests while out on bond for a burglary arrest?
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