Monday, March 31, 2008
A memorable former student of mine, from my great Contracts Class of 2000, has started a blog on the lighter side of climate change. Check it out Hands Across the Glacier here.
Enemy of the People is too proud to bleg for an Instalink, but I'm not.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Over at Balkinization, Jack Balkin and Marty Lederman point out that the unitary executive theory is inconsistent with an independent Federal Reserve. And Lederman takes unitary executive theorists to task for failing to trumpet this conclusion. Lederman suggests that they do not discuss this aspect of the theory because it would be unpopular.
Well, let me discuss it. I have struggled with this issue for years, since I first embraced the unitary executive theory during my years in the Justice Department (they didn't really teach this sort of thing at Yale, at least in my classes). But I now feel pretty comfortable with my position. The independent Federal Reserve is inconsistent with the original meaning of the Constitution. But, unlike some other unitary executive theorists, I believe that the independent Federal Reserve may continue because it is entrenched into our system. If the Supreme Court were to hold the Fed unconstitutional, we would soon see a constitutional amendment authorizing the independent Fed.
In a paper that John McGinnis and I are now working on, we argue that when the overturning of a precedent (or practice) would lead to a constitutional amendment reestablishing that precedent, that precedent should be deemed entrenched and should be respected. For a brief discussion in an earlier paper, see here. So I can say that the independent Fed is unconstitutional, but its existence is authorized by a precedent that should be followed.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Tom informs us that his wife, Jeanne, "reads only books relating to medicine, and novels, as far as I can tell. The novels seem invariably to involve women, and sometimes their families, whose lives suck." Boy that sounds familiar. My wife belongs to a book club of women, and that appears to be all they read. I don't even like reading books about men whose lives suck (although, like Tom, I do enjoy Jane Austen).
Is it important that you and your true love, soul mate, whatever, like the same books?
The New York Times explores this arguably trivial question.
My lovely wife Jeanne reads only books relating to medicine, and novels, as far as I can tell. The novels seem invariably to involve women, and sometimes their families, whose lives suck. This is a standard joke around here. They suffer and often die in India, on the frontier, and in various other places. They have tasteful covers. So I would not be surprised to find, for example, a cover with a black and white photo of an old woman with a wrinkly face, with a title such as, oh, Down from Carolina, or, In the Time of Hunger. They are of high literary quality but, I strongly suspect, politically dubious. We both like Jane Austen, so that's something. She tried reading a Patrick O'Brian novel and objected to all the discussion of ships and rigging. I like the discussions of ships and rigging, though I cannot always follow them. One past a mizzen and a mains'l, I'm pretty much lost. People who put a lot of weight on shared literary tastes may know a lot about books, but I doubt their wisdom in other matters.
Widely divergent taste in music or food strikes me as a far more serious matter. Why that is true, I'm not sure, but I'm sure I'm right. Perhaps that reading is a fairly solitary pursuit.
Of course, there's a limit. Extreme snobbishness or philistinism is not to be borne. You don't want to spend you days with someone who cannot enjoy a good novel or read a book with big words in it.
As is often the case, this Ann Coulter column makes two good points mixed in with the jokes and the exaggerations. First, the press have treated Hillary as they normally treat Republicans. Obama is treated as the Democrat. Second, despite all of the praise in some quarters for Obama's speech on race, he failed to explain or even address Reverend Wright's apparent antisemitism. Both points are good, even though they are put in a form that is extremely entertaining to some, but over the top to others.
Friday, March 28, 2008
Yet another rule for candidates for public office: do not urinate in public. In public office, one has almost no private life, but one must pay attention to that "almost." As to the other alleged acts, I offer no opinion beyond the obvious. Maybe this is what comes of discouraging call girls among politicians. I refrain from drawing any inferences about the neighborhood being called "Normal Heights."
And then there is this rule for everybody. Do not piss off a cop in Oceanside. They are armed. There is road rage, and there is road rage. Five shots through your own passenger window while your wife is sitting next to you, and into the car of a woman with her child, now that's what I call road rage. I like the detail the UT picks up of the mat in front of the ragin' officer's door that says "Leave." I sense some hostility issues there.