Constitutional Daily

Founding Principles

The Tenure Paradox - Robot pimp

Slap on the Wrist for "Non-Consensual Sex" - Lampshade, Esq.

Intelligence: The Gathering - Graphic and Gratuitous

Grads are the New Illegals - Robot Pimp

Meet Entitlement Eric - Robot Pimp

Wherein I Solve World Peace - Lampshade, Esq.

A Necessary Delusion - Shadow Hand

Do you even need to shave overhead? - Lawyerlite

LSAT Jenga - Publius Picasso

http://www.constitutionaldaily.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1573:legal-reasoning-redux-5&catid=38:there-and-never-back-again&Itemid=65

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Constitutional Daily

MD MTA Police Hate Cameras

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Three police officers in Baltimore detained and harassed a man for more than 40 minutes over the offense of taking pictures of trains.

After the man boarded a train to continue on his way to Penn Station, MTA police followed him, and upon arriving at an Amtrak terminal, the MTA police got the Amtrak police involved, who disagreed with the MTA about the illegality of photographing trains.

He caught nearly the entire incident on video, and the MTA officers can be heard citing homeland security concerns, and sections of the Patriot Act:

Listen, listen to what I’m saying. The Patriot Act says that critical infrastructure, trains, train stations, all those things require certain oversight to take pictures, whether you say they are for personal use or whatever, that’s your story.

Granted, no one has actually read the Patriot Act, so it's not like we can say with any confidence that this isn't in there, but given little things like Google Maps and the zillion YouTube videos taken on trains, it's pretty unlikely that there's a crime being committed here.

On the other hand, terrorists are well known for their meticulously documented before-and-after photos, taken conspicuously, in broad daylight.

Iran's Parliamant Votes to Take Ahmadinejad to Court

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In a 165-1 vote, Iran's parliament voted to take President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to court over his recent takeover of the nation's oil ministry. 124 members of Parliament either abstained or were absent from the vote.

In a continuation of the conflict between President Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the President fired the head of the oil ministry and appointed himself to the position. The move makes Ahmadinejad the current head of OPEC, as the leadership of the oil cartel rotates through countries, and is currently in the hands of Iran.

Members of the Parliament argued that this move was unconstitutional, and their will send the dispute into the court system, though it is unclear whether Ahmadinejad will find himself in a criminal or civil dispute.

[Washington Post]

[Related: Ahmadinejad's protege and 25 other allies arrested on charges of witchcraft.]

CA Appellate Court Split on Bar Records

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The California First District Court of Appeal appeared split on the question of whether bar exam records were subject to a Public Records Act request.

After losing in the lower court, Professor Richard Sander (UCLA Law) took his case to the appellate level. The State Bar has argued that it is not subject to the act because it is not a state agency, despite the obvious legal importance of the bar's admissions decisions.

Sander is seeking the data to further his controversial research on the issue of affirmative action. Black law graduates have a notoriously low bar passage rate. But, surprisingly, it is also low when controlling for LSAT and undergraduate GPAs. Sander's hypothesis is that these low bar passage rates may be caused by affirmative action programs (aka: "diversity initiatives") which cause black students to be admitted into more elite schools than they would have been accepted to if race were not considered. This "mismatch" could prove detrimental to students who are placed in a program that is over their heads, while they would have thrived elsewhere.

Two of the justices on the panel looked as if they intended to reach opposing conclusions on the question, with the third judge not yet giving any indication of his opinion.

[The Recorder, via Law.com]

Don't Call Us Ambitious

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New from The Philadelphia Lawyer, a look at whether Type A overachieving lawyers are dedicated, ambitious professionals, or merely addicted to the drug of consumption.

Read it here: Don't Call Us Ambitious

Computer Security is Easier Than You Think

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New from Lawyerlite, our law firm marketing, legal technology, and practice column, a look at just how easy it is to secure your sensitive computer data: Computer Security is Easier Than You Think.

Just file this under "Not Intended as a Primer on Burning Bridges."

Alabama Lifts Brew Pub Restrictions

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The Brewery Modernization Act has cleared both houses of the Alabama legislature with wide margins, 58-25 in the House, and 24-5 in the Senate.

The previous law restricted the manufacture of beer to certain historical buildings located in counties that had been continuously wet since the end of prohibition. Production was limited to 10,000 kegs a year, and beer could only be sold on location, and the brew pub was required to have a restaurant.

Those restrictions have been limited, and brewpubs will now be allowed to give a $6 free sample on tours (AL state law otherwise prohibits any free drinks).

The law will go before the governor and is expected to be signed. IF not acted on, it will become law within 6 days.

Old language:

The Legislature finds that it is in the best interest of the public welfare of the State of Alabama to preserve and redevelop the original "downtown" municipal areas of this state and to further promote the preservation and redevelopment of historic buildings and sites.

New language:

The Legislature finds that it is in the best interest of the public welfare of the State of Alabama to promote local industry in the state.

Neighboring Georgia and Tennessee, which did not have such restrictions, had more than 400% more local breweries, and Florida has 1200% more.

The state's 16oz bottle limitation still remains in place.

[Amended statute]

[Free The Hops]

Legal Hiring: It Gets Worse

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The NALP data for law students graduating in 2010 is out, and it's not pretty.

Of the 2010 graduates whose employment status was known, only 87.6% were able to find any work at all, including non-legal, temporary, or part-time work. This is the lowest rate since 1996. Of the students who did find work, only 68.4% found jobs where bar passage is required (short hand for "lawyer").

That means only 59.9% of the class of 2010 has found work as lawyers. This number does not reflect graduates who found work as judicial clerks, or other desirable non-lawyer jobs. But, it also does not reflect the fact that students who were not counted are disproportionately unemployed. (The percentage reporting was not stated in the NALP press release.)

For those of you just graduating and without jobs, sorry to say, but NALP predicts things will be even worse for you. According to NALP Executive Director James Leipold:

There is likely more bad news to come. Just as the biggest impact of the last significant recession was felt in the national economy in 1991, the legal employment market for new law school graduates did not hit its nadir until 1993, and the overall employment rate did not crest 89% until 1997, we can expect that the overall employment rate for new law school graduates will continue to be stagnant or decline further for the Class of 2011, with the curve probably not trending upward before the employment statistics become available for the Class of 2012.

And, of course continued bad news for the class of 2010, as firms that are recovering and upping their employment will go for fresh graduates over those who have been sitting on the shelf for a couple years.

[NALP Press Release, gavel wave Vault]

MSNBC Throws Self Under Palin Bus

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An MSNBC pundit has accused Sarah Palin's bus tour of operating in violation of federal law.

Claims of breach of federal campaign finance laws are common in every election, and Donald Trump was accused of a breach before announcing he wouldn't be running. But, that's not the offense Martin Bashir has accused Palin of committing.

Bashir instead says that the stars and stripes painted on Palin's tour bus, which is being used in part to promote book sales, is in violation of the United States Flag Code:

"In fact, the whole thing could be in breach of a federal law because the United States Flag Code establishes important rules for the use and display of the stars and stripes, the flag of the United States. Under standards of respect and etiquette, it's made clear that the flag of the United States should never be used for any advertising purpose whatsoever. Yet that's precisely what Sarah Palin is doing. She's using the flag of the United States for her own financial purposes. She drapes herself in the stars and stripes and makes millions of dollars in the process."

Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 8:

No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America; the flag should not be dipped to any person or thing. Regimental colors, State flags, and organization or institutional flags are to be dipped as a mark of honor.

(i) The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.

This rule is discussing mutilation of a flag to be used in commercial purposes, not the use of a representation of a flag, such as a partial flag painted on to a tour bus. Another section lays out more strict rules, which would prohibit painting the flag onto anything for a commercial purpose, but the rule only applies to DC, comes with a misdemeanor charge and $100 fine, and under Supreme Court rulings, is unenforceable as a violation of the First Amendment freedom of speech.

The idea that the flag cannot be used in commercial enterprises is, on its face, absurd, and smacks of the sort of convoluted, counter-factual notions produced by tin-hat conspiracy theorists.

Just for fun, we looked a little further into the flag code, and... well, we'll let it speak for itself. From the same section:

(j) No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.

[Media Research Center TV]

[Flag Code]

Louisiana Parish to Carve Out Black Judicial District

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Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana may soon be getting a special black judicial district.

The parish has five judges, who are elected at large across the district, and all of whom are currently white men. The new bill going through the state legislature would carve out a special black district to elect one of those judges. Residents of the special district would not be allowed to vote in the parish-wide judicial elections.

The special district would be overwhelmingly black, with the expectation that this would ensure a black judge was elected. Apparently, this is prefaced on the idea that not only are whites racist against blacks, but blacks are racist against whites, and thus wouldn't ever consider using their special district to elect a white judge. Nothing like some good ol' segregated Us v. Them mentality.

The district affects only the elections, and not the jurisdiction of the judges. That means people outside of the special district run a chance of appearing before a judge who was elected entirely by another group. And, people within the district will, more often than not, be in court before a judge for whom they had no say in the election of.

15 parishes in Louisiana have already set aside special black judicial carve outs.

[Daily Comet]

4 Year Old's Advice to HLS Grad

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Excellent advice from a 4 year old to a recent Harvard Law Grad. There are enough lawyers already, why not be a trash man instead?

Page 95 of 136

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