The Right Coast

Editor: Thomas A. Smith
University of San Diego
School of Law

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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Polling Originalism versus the Living Constitution
Mike Rappaport

Mike Ramsey links to a poll purporting to get people's views about originalism versus the living Constitution approach.  But as with all polls, it depends on how you ask the question.  It seems (although I cannot confirm it) that the poll asked the following question:

Should the Supreme Court base its rulings on what the Constitution means in current times or meant as originally written?

This is how I would design the poll if I wanted to increase its support for the living Constitution approach, and so I assume that was what they did.

What's wrong with the poll?  There is no single answer as to what "the Constitution means in current times."  That is the problem.  Instead, the poll should say something like what "judges today believe the Constitution should mean in current times."  To make it totally fair, one could even correct the originalism choice with "what judges believe the Constitution meant as originally written."  

Then, let's see the results.  

Cross posted at the Originalism Blog.

June 30, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

Tuition Dollars Hard at Work: A Palatial Pad for NYU Law Profs « Above the Law: A Legal Tabloid - News and Colorful Commentary on Law Firms and the Legal Profession

This year, we’ve heard a few horror stories from the poor and downtrodden students of NYU Law School –- and that is not the way we’d usually characterize these students.

But when the recession hit, NYU Law’s students were hit even harder. Some 3Ls were unemployed; so unemployed that Barrister’s Ball tickets had to be subsidized. Some 3Ls were so poor that they can’t afford black market commencement tickets. Holla! Livin’ in squala!

How could the school better use student tuition dollars to avoid these problems in the future? How could the school improve its students’ quality of life? These circumstances were likely difficult for the school’s administration to address, so it seems that they decided not to address them at all.

Instead, the school did this:

via abovethelaw.com

June 30, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

The Volokh Conspiracy » Is the Debt Limit Constitutional?

This is an interesting argument, and one that is unlikely to be resolved by the Courts. There is no indication that President Obama is willing to embrace this argument. If he did, it’s not clear what anyone cuold do about it. Were the White House to authorize the assumption of debt above and beyond that authorized by Congress, it is not clear that anyone would have standing to challenge this action in federal court. As a consequence, the question would be left to the political branches.

via volokh.com

June 30, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Blind Item: Which East Hampton Visitor With $100 Million In His Savings Account Must Suffer The Indignity Of A $2.75 ATM Fee Like The Rest Of Us? (Update) « Dealbreaker: A Wall Street Tabloid – Business News Headlines and Financial Gossip

And has no time for pedestrian moves like throwing out the receipt or ripping it up after taking out some cash?

via dealbreaker.com

June 30, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Facebook More Hated Than Banks, Utilities - Slashdot

jfruhlinger writes "According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, Facebook raises a lot of ire among its customers — more than Bank of America or AT&T Mobility. This bodes ill for the company — as blogger Chris Nerney points out, many of the others on the most-hated list are utilities and other companies with monopolies, which can hold customers despite bad service. At least Facebook edged out MySpace." Unsurprisingly, the most important thing about Google+ is that it's not Facebook.

via slashdot.org

June 30, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Red wine: Exercise in a bottle?

According to Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of the FASEB Journal, "There are overwhelming data showing that the human body needs physical activity, but for some of us, getting that activity isn't easy. A low gravity environment makes it nearly impossible for astronauts. For the earthbound, barriers to physical activity are equally challenging, whether they be disease, injury, or a desk job. Resveratrol may not be a substitute for exercise, but it could slow deterioration until someone can get moving again."

via www.sciencedaily.com

June 30, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

In Re The Passing Of A Skadden Associate « Above the Law: A Legal Tabloid -
Tom Smith

For the past week, a conversation has percolating around Skadden that has made its way into the ATL inbox. A Skadden associate, Lisa Johnstone, died last week. Her obituary ran earlier this week in the San Diego Union Tribune. And her memorial service was yesterday. She died of an apparent heart attack, though we understand that her autopsy has not yet been completed. She was 32.

We’re talking about Lisa Johnstone’s death because reports indicate that she died while doing legal work from her home office on a Sunday. We’re talking about Lisa Johnstone because for over a week, Skadden associates have been talking about just how many hours Johnstone had been working. We’re talking about Johnstone because while the root cause of her death my never be known, many Skadden associates and others who know the story are taking this as an opportunity to assess their lives and their mental and physical well being.

via abovethelaw.com

I don't understand why the business model of so many Big Law firms includes working associates such punishing hours.  Part of the answer is, I suppose, because they can.  For $150K per year or whatever a junior associate salary is these days, 3000 hours a year is a much better bargain than 1500 hours a year for the partners.  A lot of the work involved is sufficiently routine that it can be performed well enough evidently in the last ragged hours of sleep deprivation and Ritilan/Provigil/caffeine enhancement.  I don't understand why the equilibrium isn't to hire more associates and pay them less.  I suppose there are fixed costs ("training", HR costs, summer program seduction) that make it cheaper to hire fewer associates and work them to death than more and work them less.

June 30, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

BBC Nature - 'Singing penis' sets noise record for water insect

Scientists from France and Scotland recorded the aquatic animal "singing" at up to 99.2 decibels, the equivalent of listening to a loud orchestra play while sitting in the front row.

The insect makes the sound by rubbing its penis against its abdomen in a process known as "stridulation".

Researchers say the song is a courtship display performed to attract a mate.

via www.bbc.co.uk

June 30, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Angry Birds: Crows Never Forget Your Face : Discovery News

Crows remember the faces of threatening humans and often react by scolding and bringing in others to mob the perceived miscreant, according to a new study published in the latest Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Since the mob members also then indirectly learn about the threatening person, the findings demonstrate how just a single crow's bad experience with a particular human can spread information about this individual throughout entire crow communities.

via news.discovery.com

June 30, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Was John Lennon a secret Reaganite? - War Room - Salon.com

The right-leaning media is aflutter today with the news that, according to a one-time assistant to John Lennon, the rock icon in the final months of his life privately came out as a supporter of Ronald Reagan. But there's strong evidence that, despite the new claim, Lennon never abandoned his left-wing roots.

via www.salon.com

June 30, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)