Saturday, May 31, 2008
- "One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws."
- "Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws."
- "I would agree with St. Augustine that 'an unjust law is no law at all.'"
- "A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God."
- "An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law."
Genesis 9:24: When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him, 25 he said,
"Cursed be Canaan!
The lowest of slaves
will he be to his brothers."
This was just after Canaan had planted a vineyard, had Noah drink some wine, and Noah got drunk and lay down naked. But overall, Noah was a Godly man, right? But he was a Godly man who condoned slavery. This is just the first slavery reference I found using a Bible search (NIV) on Bible Gateway, but there are many others.
If justness of a law is measure by how deeply its morality is rooted in the law of God (the Bible), and the Bible condones slavery (at least in the Old Testament), does MLK's segregation argument fail?
- (St. Thomas Aquinas): "An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust."
- "An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself."
- "By the same token, a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow and that it is willing to follow itself."
- "A law is unjust if it is inflicted on a minority that as a result of being denied the right to vote, had no part in enacting or devising the law."
Anyway, I'm enjoying reading Dr. King's writing. His writing reminds me of Barack Obama -- sweeping, persuasive, focused on change. I've always likened Obama's way of speech to a pastor's. Hopefully he can come through on the vast promises he's made.
Friday, May 30, 2008
For example, the cops just chased a murderer down Sunshine Avenue before turning onto Pretty Lane. A few minutes ago, they caught some hookers using heroin sitting on the side of Winning Road. Really? This can't be a coincidence.
I wonder if this is a tactic that neighborhood planners use. The seedier the place, the sunnier the given name, in hopes that the name will influence the tone of the neighborhood. In Charleston, the scariest street to walk down alone at night was America Street.
America the beautiful.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
"What I can tell you is that intimidation yields bad information. I could not remember basic details that I had no reason to hide."
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Second thought: Does thinking this make me a bad person, or a future lawyer?
Third thought: Or, does it make me BOTH a bad person AND a future lawyer?
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
ADDED: Although we thought my computer was fixed, it's not, and it's not Neal's fault. It's HP's fault, and they're mailing me a new hard drive. Just to clarify: Neal is still my hero.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Privacy is what allows us to eat pints of Ben & Jerry's ice cream in a single sitting, to cheat on our spouses, to pick our noses, to watch porn, to abuse our children. Privacy facilitates all sorts of unsavory, unethical, and even illegal conduct.
His main goal is to bring his weight back down to his "fighting form," which strikes me as very Bridget Jones. But he does have other worthy goals as well, and exposing his progress to the world probably will help him accomplish them. Good luck, David.
My bad habits: junk food (especially fruit snacks) and general procrastination. I'd get a lot more reading and writing done if I had to post my progress online every day. What bad habits would a lack of privacy help you break?
In Bill Watterson's "Calvin and Hobbes," Calvin once said creativity doesn't turn on and off like a faucet—you need the right mood: "last-minute panic."
Bingo. That's how I work best, and I'm sure it's how many other people work as well. It does present some problems, however, when writer's block hits. Thoughts?
Sunday, May 25, 2008
When I was little, my mom encouraged me to read because it would help my vocabulary scores on the tests that we took at the end of each year. Eventually, that helped on the SAT as well. It had a funny side effect though. Because I read so much, there were words that I knew how to spell and I knew what they meant, but I had never heard them in speech so I didn't know how to pronounce them. For example, I thought Poland, the country, was pronounced "Pahland" until I was about 13. I also thought the word sleuth (from my Nancy Drew days) was pronounced "slehth."
Aside from those pronunciation mistakes, I always had the intuition that carefully reading quality writing would help me become a better writer. Prose's book has articulated that, and she uses passages from classics to demonstrate her points. I'd recommend it for people who love language and want to learn to use it well. Here are parts of the opening passage from the book:
"Can creative writing be taught?
"It's a reasonable question, but no matter how often I've been asked it, I never know quite what to say. Because if what people mean is: Can the love of language be taught? Can a gift for storytelling be taught? then the answer is no...[but], a workshop can be useful. A good teacher can show you how to edit your work. The right class can form the basis of a community that will help and sustain you...Like most -- maybe all -- writers, I learned to write by writing and, by example, by reading books."
"My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. I don't understand it."Seems innocent enough, right? My first reaction was to interpret it as simply explaining why she hasn't dropped out yet. Her husband didn't wrap up the nomination until June, Bobby Kennedy didn't get out of the race until June, when he was assassinated. The assassination reference was a sidenote, right? Totally innocent.
But then again, this is Hillary Clinton. She's a smart woman who has demonstrated that she is very in control of the words she uses. On further reflection, I think she knew exactly what she was saying, but she miscalculated the backlash.
Also, there's another element to this that I haven't seen discussed in the press. If Clinton wins, she'd be our first woman president, just like if Obama wins, he'd be our first black president. All presidents have to worry about assassination attempts, and the concern is greater for "first" presidents like both Clinton and Obama would be. Maybe she was voicing a concern that had been stated in her own camp, about protecting herself against assassination.
Because Obama's victory is becoming more likely, the chatter about an Obama assassination attempt probably made it into her camp and she blurted the word out in an exhausted, bumbling, inarticulate moment. She thought it wasn't a big deal, but it was. The links are below; decide for yourself.
Here's the article detailing her explanation and the Obama and Kennedy reactions [CNN].
Here's the YouTube video of her original remarks [YouTube.com].
Saturday, May 24, 2008
ADDED: A commenter has said that they think it's called a "look-see," like it's short for "look and see." That makes it a little better, a little more adult-sounding. What do you think?
Friday, May 23, 2008
I was inspired by David and Kash's devotion to running, and decided to get in shape this summer. There's a certain masochism involved in getting in shape; it's hell while you're doing it, but produces a certain clarity afterwards. If you want to get in shape quickly, take a couple of spinning classes.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
We met at Poste, the bar inside Hotel Monaco and had drinks and some fantastic appetizers. Although the conversation drifted all over the place, my favorite was when David went on his Privacy Rant. He thinks that privacy only encourages negative behavior: "I mean, think about it. What do you do in private? You pick your nose in private! You eat too much and you're lazy in private!" He then described his plan of posting on Facebook, every day, how much he weighs, what he ate that day, and how much exercise he got that day to encourage himself to live a healthy life. He's right; that kind of setup would make all of us a lot healthier. Can you imagine strangers being able to add up how many calories you ate during the day? We'd ALL be a lot thinner and healthier.
However, this is coming from David, who has run two marathons and is totally going to run another sometime soon. He's already a pretty healthy guy. Kash is also running her first marathon this weekend (go Kash!). They inspired me to, at least, go to the gym a few times a week.
There was another conversation about a memo from Harvard that has stirred up some controversy. I received a refresher course in what "on the record," "off the record," and "background" mean.
Overall, it was a fun little meetup. Here's the semi-awkward looking picture from the end of the night:
Also, on my drive home, I saw a rainbow. That's got to mean good things are ahead, right?
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Eh, I'll need it just to get through the two hour, 6 song, and 2,000 Coca-Cola reference -finale.
Monday, May 19, 2008
Also, Obama is 47 and McCain is 71. How will these things affect the election? Should they? Whether or not they should, they will.
At my law school, they encourage women to wear skirts in interviews and other high pressure situations. For oral arguments, for example, the predominate dress among women was a skirt and blouse with a jacket. This isn't a post about fashion; I'm simply wondering what the rest of you think about skirts in certain situations.
In my head, I associate skirts with flirting, which would make me uncomfortable in an interview or oral arguments. For those situations, I want to look competent and professional, and I want my clothes to cause as little distraction as possible. I wore a pantsuit for oral arguments and for interviews. According to Professor Althouse, Hillary Clinton never wore a skirt during her entire campaign.
So, what do you associate skirts with? If you're a woman, do you wear them in professional situations? Does it matter how important the situation is? For example, if you're particularly nervous about something, would it make you more or less likely to wear a skirt? If you're interviewing or hearing arguments, do you even notice whether or not a woman is wearing a skirt?
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
"The legal difference between the two opinions [the Massachusetts and the CA decisions] lies in the so-called "rational basis" review used by the Massachusetts court and the "strict scrutiny" deployed by the California Court. In constitutional parlance, these terms describe how closely a court will examine state legislation: will it give the legislature the benefit of the doubt, or not? Rational basis review is so lenient that it almost always results in the validation of state policies (in this sense, the 2003 Massachusetts ruling was an aberration), while strict scrutiny is so stringent that it almost always results in the invalidation of such policies. In other words, the standards supposedly only express how closely the court will look at laws, but looks can kill."
This is how I hope to write one day. It takes an enormous amount of skill to clearly and succinctly explain a difficult concept, in layman's terms, and still keep it interesting.
The article is also a good summary of the Court's decision, so check it out if you're interested.
Charles: "I hate to tell you Sharon, but I hate lawyers."
Me: "Haha. Most people do."
Charles: "Well, I do like my attorney, for one reason: I tell him what I want or need, and he makes it happen. He doesn't tell me what I need to do."
I've been thinking about this ever since we had that conversation. Uncle Charlie has a point -- a good lawyer should be able to argue either side and get the outcome that their client wants. But we do work within a system of set rules, and lawyers don't have the authority to change the rules. There are things we can and can't do, outcomes that are more or less probable.
If I were a real lawyer, I would probably be guilty (heh) of deciding the best outcome and then telling my client what we need to do to get there, but this conversation highlighted something good. Listening is important. Listen to your client, find out what they want, then figure out how to get it for them (of course, working within the rules). In my perception, that's what the best lawyers do.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
First, I'm amazed at the volume of material by writers like Hitchens. He writes political and literary commentary and has published several books on different subjects. His friends have said that sometimes he'll excuse himself after dinner, write a column, and return before the subject of conversation has changed. He's constantly writing.
I first encountered his work at Slate.com, where he writes a column at least once a week. The thought that resonated with me most, however, was his attitude towards writing in the face of personal tragedy. His mother committed suicide in an Athens hotel, and while he was there, he churned out an insightful expose on the state of Greek politics. Here's the quote that struck me:
"'Everyone said, 'Christopher, how could you?' I said 'How could I not?' It was therapeutic to write. No -- consoling. Useful.'"
I don't write because it's therapeutic. I write because it's something useful, and doing something useful is therapeutic in the sense of regaining confidence and purpose after something negative has happened. It's also, I hope, contributing something positive and practical to someone in the world.
Here's the other quote from that piece that hit me. It's Hitchens talking about the turmoil in Athens while he was there:
"You can learn a lot in a short time when there are tanks in the streets."
True in general, too.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
At Dulles, the wi-fi is $10 per day. No way, Jose. I'll get my free internet from Krystal and the Birmingham airport, thankyouverymuch. The Southland isn't so bad.
Monday, May 12, 2008
I am also the person who complimented you on your posts on ATL some time
ago. I did not reach out to you when you asked to know who I was because,
frankly, I want to protect my anonymity. I still do. But for your information, I
am an associate at a large firm in a large city, and I am more than several
years removed from law school. I read ATL most days, and I read your blog when
you post new items. ATL and this blog are the only two non-sports blogs I
Regarding ATL, you took an unfair amount of flak from bitter associates,
but the fact is that you were much better than they cared to admit. Your byline
did not say "David Lat," however, and that was fatal for you. Even as bitter as
I am, I still saw that you were and are a good writer, and frankly, you paved
the way for a lot of folks' acceptance of Kash. Without you, there is no Kash.
You were the sacrificial lamb, unfortunately, but good to see that you survived
your first year of law school.
I also think Kash and David are doing a great job over at ATL, and I learned a lot from that experience.
Just to be clear, I wasn't condemning the first anonymous post. In fact, I thought it was well written and haunting. I'm just not at that jaded part of life yet, so I choose to be more hopeful.
Personally, this past week has been really tough, and this piece of encouragement means a lot to me. Thank you, whoever you are.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
The hardest year of your life will be your first year out of law school grinding away at a law firm or government agency learning how to be a lawyer.
Once you pass that, the hardest year of your life will be the first year you make partner or head of your group.
Then, the hardest year of your life will be the year you get divorced and lose everything.
After that, the hardest year of your life will be when your kid gets arrested and convicted of a felony while you get diagnosed with diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, or some other condition partially or wholly spurred on by your job.
After that, you'll be dead, so who cares.
Welcome to your future.
Whoever posted this is right in one sense. I realize that law school is, in the end, just school. We're not in Iraq; we're not facing a million other incredible difficult situations that would far outweigh the struggle of law school. It's really a privilege to be here, and I'm grateful for the chance. But that doesn't temper my excitement for having completed a very difficult year.
The comment is representative of the jaded, macabre humor that law students and lawyers often engage in. Remember the post from a few weeks back with the quotes from the law week T-shirt? The first quote was "I predict universal failure."
I recognize that law school is not the hardest thing we'll ever face, but the first year was one heck of a challenge. I'm proud of my class for sticking it out this far.
Friday, May 09, 2008
It means the hardest year of my life, and probably many of my classmates' lives, is over.
Congratulations, everyone. We made it.
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Alabama's law school is all in one big building, and the structure has a ton of walls facing outside that are just glass. The library has big skylights, so when there's a warning, they clear us out. There are a couple of exams going on right now -- I wonder what they'd do if the power went out. It would certainly send the records office, which is responsible for administering exams, into a tizzy.
So now I'm sitting with a bunch of people watching the weather on TV in the lounge area. Even though my house might be safer, I'm going to wait it out in the law school because I'm a wus and don't want to go home alone.
Second, this quote made me laugh:
ADDED: I linked to this a few weeks ago, but I still think it's so odd that CNN is selling T-shirts with their headlines on them. Here's the link to the T-shirt with the American Idol headline on it. Do you really want a shirt that says "Another 'Idol' forgets the lyrics."?
After Castro's cover of "I Shot the Sheriff," a less-than-impressed [Simon] Cowell said: "I don't know what you're thinking!"
Castro replied: "I'm thinking, Bob Marley!"
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
I knew it looked bad (hence my hurry to get it repaired), but I just had to laugh at the dentist's reaction when he saw it.
Dentist: "So show me what's going on. Give me a big smile."
Me: [Wide smile]
Dentist [With a horrified look on his face]: "Oh! Oh, not cute. Not cute at all."
You know it's pretty bad when the dentist tells you your teeth are ugly.
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
Monday, May 05, 2008
Friday, May 02, 2008
Thursday, May 01, 2008
A good buzz. And blurs.
A good buzz and some possibly important blurs are the things I remember from being in the hospital. I had just taken my Constitutional Law final, came home and took a nap, and woke up shivering with a fever of 105. Basically, I blame law school for the rest of this story.
After discerning where I was, who I was, and what time it was, I rolled over to my phone and called my boyfriend. “I need to go to the health center.” “Ok baby, I’ll be over in a few minutes.”
He picked me up, drove me to the student health center, where they took my temperature. 104.7. I thought the nurse was talking about a radio station when she first said it. Something about that number scared the nurses. They yanked my hoodie away from me, threw me in a bed and took away my blanket. All of this, in my compromised mental state, made me very angry. Then they brought out the ice water.
After dunking a rag enough times in the ice water so that it was soaking wet, they dripped it all over my shivering little hoodie-less body. I don’t really remember what happened at this point, but I’ve heard from other sources that I yelled ineffectually and stomped my foot a few times.
After realizing that rags and ice water were not going to cure my fever, the student health center sent me to the real emergency room. The people there threw me in a room with a gown that had 21 buttons and at least 12 ties, and told me to strip. For real? You expect an angry, sick girl to figure that how to put out on a gown that has 21 buttons and 12 ties and looks like a straight jacket? At this point, there was more foot stomping, and my 21-year old brother embarrassedly helped me get dressed. From this point on is a blur – there was a spinal tap (yes, like the funny movie; no, not funny in real life), a dark hospital room, and way too few shots of Demerol. At some point after I was given my first painkiller, I thought it was an appropriate time to start rapping some incoherent Jay-Z. Painkillers and Jay-Z do seem to complement each other.
I have distorted memories of the next few days. I know I don’t have meningitis, although lupus and leukemia are still a possibility. My temperature slowly returned to normal, and they released me yesterday morning. When they first released me, it felt like a 300-pound man had jumped angrily on my back. Today, it feels like that man turned into a midget. The buzz is gone (unfortunately), and I feel almost normal, although I wish I knew what caused all of this. The default answer, for now: law school.