May It Please The Court
Quote of the Day - Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep insights can be winnowed from deep nonsense.
UCI's New Law School, The New Dean And The New Curriculum
Much has been written about Michael Drake, M.D, and Erwin Chemerinksy, J.D. and the start of a new law school at the University of California, Irvine, and much of it is wrong. There are only two people who actually know the discussions that took place, and those two people have resolved whatever issues they may have faced together and have elected to move forward.
It's time the rest of us move forward, too. MIPTC is disappointed some continue to thrash about, missing the whole point. Disclaimer / full disclosure here: I serve on the UCI Provost's Advisory Committee for the Donald Bren School of Law, so my interests lie in ensuring the success of the school, the UCI administrators, our new Dean and the students who will attend in Fall 2009 and beyond.
Suffice it to say that every law student and law-student-now-lawyer can understand how difficult the transition may be for a law professor to make from the ivory tower to the head administrator's office. We likewise understand that a Dean must work by creating a consensus from many disparate groups. Those already in a position of academic leadership, having successfully made the transition, understand even better than the rest of us. The transition from professorship can be bumpy and can result in signs that call into question the ultimate success of the switch from professor to Dean (read: independent to consensus-builder/administrator). Judgments can also be made too quickly and perhaps not considering the background of the signs.
When Chancellor Drake offered the Deanship to Professor Chemerinsky, the Chancellor wanted the focus on the announcement, cooperation with the administration and building the law school. When Professor Chemerinksy's article came out, free speech was beside the point. Indeed, anyone who knows the two knows, generally speaking, that they share the ideology. Instead, it appeared to Chancellor Drake that as an administrator, consensus building might not be the first agenda. Plus, the two might not be able to work together and there may have been an agenda different than he originally understood. On that basis, the offer was pulled back. When the ensuing but off-topic uproar occurred, Chancellor Drake faced the issue and flew to North Carolina to talk with Professor Chemerinsky. They both spoke openly, resolved the misunderstandings and reconnected, the offer restored. They both addressed the issue, apologized for the confusion and moved on.
Now for some other perhaps overly broad generalizations, but stick with me. I'm trying to make a point apart from the generalizations. Add to the mix above the surprise of many outside the current situation that a professor could be liberal. Huh? Practically every professor I've met on a college campus across the country is liberal. Conservatives tend to go into business, or perhaps its more accurate to say that owning a business tends to make you for the most part conservative. The only other place you typically find conservatives is in government, and then its more a matter of convenience for fundraising than anything else. Just call me crazy. Or cynical.
Apart from all the wild speculation, crazy accusations and uninformed guesses of those who have fervent ideals one way or the other, here's the net result: the Chancellor and Dean-to-be met, reached a common understanding, apologized to one another and (why I don't know) the rest of us. It seems to me whatever issues arose were between them. The rest of us have plenty of other drama in our lives without creating more.
But I guess that's why tabloids sell.
Perhaps with all the folderol, we lost the central focus: let's work with Dean Chemerinsky, his law-professors-to-be, the community and the Chancellor to build the best major law school to open in 50 years.
Imagine. Building rather than tearing down.
I'll Take Half And You Can Have Half
Landowners and housebuilders Mr. and Mrs. Bowers, Hillsboro, Ohio residents, allegedly refused to deed over the property and house they built where 66-year old Rodney Rogers lived. They had a verbal agreement to transfer the house, but as is frequently the case, things get confused when they're not in writing.
Apparently, however, Mr. Rogers thought the Bowers had wronged him when they refused to sell the house to him and deed over the land, and he elected to take the law into his own hands.
Well, a power saw to be exact.
He literally sawed the house in half. About chest-height, somewhat parallel with the ground, all the way around the house, excluding the doors and windows. Inside (link has video and sound), there's a six- to eight-inch chunk of drywall missing, and all the 2x4 studs are cut clean through. You can see the irregular cut outside the house (link has video and sound), as well, extending through all the way from inside.
According to this AP story, the Hillsboro Sheriff says the only thing holding the top half of the house on the bottom half is "gravity."
Amazon Opens The Floodgates - Well, Almost
Hold on to your hats - iTunes has a competitor, and it's an open source competitor. Amazon is offering not only music without copy protection, but unlike Apple and several other sites, the songs can be downloaded on any MP3 player, be it Zune, iRiver or just about any kind of cell phone.
Not that it's expected to make an immediate dent in the sale of iPods or music from iTunes, but Apple will have to deal with it sooner or later. Likewise, the initial round of offering from Amazon's MP3 site, offered now in beta, doesn't include several major music labels who still require copyrights locks on their music.
Amazon has paid attention to history's lessons about music and radio. Most don't know that when radio first came out, artists regularly filed suit against radio stations that played their music. The artists thought radio would cut into sales of their records.
Will open source AmazonMP3 open up music? Will it some day extend to movies?
Time will tell. But remember, you heard it here first.
Constitution Prevents Search And Seizure Without Prior Judicial Review
Regular readers know MIPTC comes down on both sides of the issues surrounding the Patriot Act. There are some good parts to it and others ... well, let's just say that portions could be read to rewrite a 200 year-old document we call the Bill of Rights. Apparently, I'm not the only one who agrees. For what appears to be the second time, another federal judge has declared as unconstitutional the parts of it that allow search and seizure without judicial overview.
As most members of law enforcement know, you have to get a judge's permission to conduct a search of someone's home. The Patriot Act, in certain circumstances, allows federal law enforcement personnel to bypass the judge.
The Bill of Rights prevents just exactly that type of behavior. Sure, the country needs aggressive enforcement against terrorists here. But there's nothing wrong with going to a judge, in private, and explaining the need for the search warrant.
You likely remember from high school civics class that they call it a system of checks and balances.
Did You Miss Your First Chance? Pony Up $20M - $30M, And Buy The Magna Carta
Save your shekels and by December 10 be prepared to spend up to a mere $30 million to own the "most important document on Earth" - the Magna Carta. Latin for Great Charter, it was written in 1215 and confirmed into English law by the end of the century, it mandated the King of England to cede certain (shall we say inalienable?) rights to citizens.
Among many other things, it confirmed the writ of habeas corpus. It is the document considered largely the basis for our own Constitution and the Bill of Rights. But, it's not the only one. There are allegedly only four copies extant: two in Britain, one in Australia and one here.
That is, until you find one at a garage sale for $1.59.
Can't afford the price tag for the real one? You can have your very own, readable copy here. Otherwise, you'll need to head over to the National Archives, where this copy is presently on display, in the next two months.
Tip 'O The Hat To Lawyer Mark Robinson
Mark Robinson is a one-man force in the courtroom and the community. He's featured this week in a National Law Journal article as a lead-up to an even this week. Mark has received many accolades, and many like that spoken by a former colleague and California state senator, Joe Dunn, who said, "He's a straight shooter. He's tough as nails in a courtroom, in front of a jury, but he's an individual you can trust. That's given him an incredible reputation."
MIPTC is proud to be able to attend Loyola Law School's Tribute to Champions of Justice dinner, a black-tie event at the Beverly Hills hotel to honor Mark's work. Mark has been instrumental in securing not only victories in the courtroom, but also in bringing the new Bren School of Law to the University of California, Irvine.
Kudos, props a tip of the hat, a pat on the back and a shout out to Mark for his fine work.
How Much Does The Government Know About You?
A lot more than you can imagine. If you fly, then they likely know about the books you read and the kind of clothes you wear, among many other things, such as where you're from, how you paid for your plane tickets, your motor vehicle records, your past one-way travel, seating preferences (I like exit row, aisle, thank you very much) and the meals you ordered in-flight.
They probably even know the color of your underwear.
It Doesn't Exist. It Doesn't. It Doesn't.
I've never been to Taiwan, so I don't really know whether it exists or not, but the underside of many of my electronics promises otherwise.
The United Nations, however, doesn't seem to agree, and has said so for the last 15 years. It won't allow Taiwan to join the UN.
Maybe next year.