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December 31, 2007

Secunda from Mississippi to Marquette

Paul Secunda, an expert on employment law who is assistant professor at the University of Mississippi, has accepted a tenured offer from the law school at Marquette University, where he will start in 08-09. 

Posted by Brian Leiter on December 31, 2007 in Faculty News | Permalink | TrackBack

A Google Curiosity

The top two results for a Google search of "Leiter" are my philosophy blog and this blog.  Take that Al Leiter and Felix Leiter!

Posted by Brian Leiter on December 31, 2007 in Navel-Gazing | Permalink | TrackBack

December 28, 2007

Are Law Professors Unhappy?

Stephen Bainbridge (UCLA) disputes (convincingly to my mind) that they are.  Of course, everyone knows why Professor Bainbridge is happy!

Posted by Brian Leiter on December 28, 2007 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink | TrackBack

December 27, 2007

A Dangerous Piece of Legislation

It is the "Prevention of Violent Radicalism and Homegrown Terrorism" act, whose provisions and implications are discussed here.  As the author notes:

Promoted as a relatively innocuous public safety measure, the bill directs money to the Department of Homeland Security for research on homegrown terrorist-Americans in our midst. While this may seem to make sense, the way the bill describes the “hidden enemy,” and the powers inherent in the 10-member investigative commission it establishes, should raise concerns among Americans who remember history, no matter what their political leanings.

According to the bill, “homegrown terrorists” can be anyone who “… intimidate(s) or coerce(s) the United States government, the civilian population … or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social belief,” a definition broad enough to include Americans who organize mass marches on Washington to “coerce” changes in government policy.

The bill defines “violent radicals” as Americans who “…promot(e) extremist belief system(s) for the purpose of facilitating ideologically based violence to advance political, religious or social change…” - in other words, Americans who have not yet done anything illegal but who, commissioners believe, have thoughts that might lead to violence.

The bill does not target all thoughts (belief systems) that might result in violence, but only thoughts leading to “… force or violence … to promote political, religious or social beliefs,” which is exactly the kind of violence that might result whenever people gather to demonstrate for or against important issues, such as the Iraq war or abortion.

For at least 18 months this “Homegrown-Terrorism and Extremist Belief Commission” will be required to hold congressional hearings around the country, to uncover Americans with “political, religious or social” concerns who commissioners think might be “extreme” and/or potentially violent, whether any of these Americans has committed a crime or not. Virtually any politically, socially or religiously active person or group could be targeted by the commission to find out who is, and who is not, one of the “hidden enemy” among us.

Witnesses who refuse to testify can expect to be held in “contempt of Congress,” as former members of the Bush administration like Harriet Myers have learned recently, and jailed. Witnesses who do testify but say things that commissioners or their staff think are not true can be charged with perjury, or lying to a federal official, as “Scooter” Libby found out. Either way, noncooperative witnesses can face up to a 10-year sentence.

Members of suspect political, religious and social groups, or Americans who might even know people the commission suspects - which certainly will include nonmainstream political parties, certain public advocacy groups, some churches and many mosques - can expect the “commissioners” will want to know … “are you now, or have you ever been … associated with extremists, violent radicals or homegrown terrorists?”

For those who do remember history, this should sound uncomfortably familiar. These are the kinds of questions Americans were compelled to answer when testifying before another “legislative commission” during the anti-communist McCarthy-era witch-hunts.

In 1938, the House set up the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) to find the dangerous Americans among us, which provided the model for Sen. Joe McCarthy’s ideological purges based on accusation and innuendo. But HUAC lasted long after McCarthy passed from the scene, and it was busily investigating anti-Vietnam War and civil rights activists when it was disbanded as part of post-Watergate reforms in 1975....

f this “Son of HUAC” becomes law, any political, religious or social activist is fair game for HUAC-like congressional hearings. And, we can expect that any person or group preparing to do anything other than watch TV during the upcoming Republican Convention in St. Paul will be hearing from the commission … and will have to be prepared to answer the famous question … “are you now, or have you ever been…?” And also be prepared to face jail for refusing to answer, or for getting the answer “wrong.”

I'm surprised not to have seen more discussion of this bill in the legal or libertarian blogosphere, but perhaps I have missed it.   Any links to discussion and analysis would be welcome in the comments section.

Posted by Brian Leiter on December 27, 2007 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 26, 2007

Lipkin on Edwards and "class war"

Robert Lipkin (Widener) has an interesting statement about John Edwards's Presidential candidacy.

Posted by Brian Leiter on December 26, 2007 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink | TrackBack

December 24, 2007

More Holiday Humor: The Lawyer's Version of "'Twas the Night Before Christmas"


Posted by Brian Leiter on December 24, 2007 in Legal Humor | Permalink | TrackBack

December 23, 2007

Politically Correct and Non-Legally Binding Holiday Wishes

MOVING TO THE FRONT from Dec. 22, 2006


Via reader Ian Best comes this all-purpose set of seasons greetings, written by Professor Gary Potter (Music, Indiana-Bloomington):

From me ("the wishor") to you ("the wishee"):

Please accept without obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, politically correct, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practised within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I wish you a financially successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2005, but with due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures or sects, and having regard to the race, creed, colour, age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer platform or sexual preference of the wishee.

By accepting this greeting you are bound by these terms that:-

This greeting is subject to further clarification or withdrawal.

This greeting is freely transferable provided that no alteration shall be made to the original greeting and that the proprietary rights of the wishor are acknowledged.

This greeting implies no promise by the wishor to actually implement any of the wishes.

This greeting may not be enforceable in certain jurisdictions and/or the restrictions herein may not be binding upon certain wishees in certain jurisdictions and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wishor.

This greeting is warranted to perform as reasonably may be expected within the usual application of good tidings, for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first.

The wishor warrants this greeting only for the limited replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wishor.

Any references in this greeting to "the Lord", "Father Christmas", "Our Saviour", "Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer" or any other festive figures, whether actual or fictitious, dead or alive, shall not imply any endorsement by or from them in respect of this greeting, and all proprietary rights in any referenced third party names and images are hereby acknowledged.

This greeting is made under Czech Law.

Posted by Brian Leiter on December 23, 2007 in Legal Humor | Permalink | TrackBack

December 21, 2007

Practices Relating to Oversight by Schools of Law Reviews

UPDATE:  Moving to front, since I stupidly neglected to open comments the first time!

A colleague at American University writes:

A committee I'm on at the American University Washington College of Law is preparing to examine the questions below, and I suggested that to elicit more information more efficiently we submit them to a blawg for general discussion.

Here are the questions

       (1) Do law school faculties/administrations generally have oversight of the rules that their law reviews have concerning footnote to text ratios, template verification, and other formatting requirements?

     (2) If so, have editors or authors argued that such oversight interferes with the quality of the published articles?

     (3) Do law schools generally award credit to students for their work as law review editors?

As usual, non-anonymous comments strongly preferred; please post only once and be patient, as comments may take awhile to appear.

Posted by Brian Leiter on December 21, 2007 in Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Justice Thomas: "Take This Job and Shove It!"

Well, he doesn't quite say that, but it's close:

Clarence Thomas told an overflow crowd at Chapman University Monday evening that he never wanted to become a Supreme Court justice, or even a judge.   

"There's not much that entices about the job," Thomas said, answering questions from the public that provided a rare glimpse of the man behind the office. "There's no money in it, no privacy, no big houses, and from an ego standpoint, it does nothing for me." 

Thomas, 59, said the position is satisfying because he feels he's serving the public, and he's honored by it, "but I wouldn't say I like it." 

"I like sports," Thomas said. "I like to drive a motor home."

Clearly, for the money, big houses, and ego, he should have become a law professor!  Certainly, if the University of Chicago Law School had not thrown in the motor home, I wouldn't be heading north next year.

Posted by Brian Leiter on December 21, 2007 in Legal Humor, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink | TrackBack

December 20, 2007

Kysar from Cornell to Yale

Douglas Kysar (environmental law, products liability, behavioral law and economics), Professor of Law at Cornell University (and a visiting professor of law currently at UCLA), has accepted a senior offer from Yale Law School.  The YLS press release is here.

Posted by Brian Leiter on December 20, 2007 in Faculty News | Permalink | TrackBack