Posts Tagged: conlaw


Just type up the Constitution word-for-word, then add:

"To answer all of these questions, just READ the Constitution and apply the PLAIN MEANING of the words. I mean come ON. Get a dictionary if you need to. Just use the plain/obvious/original meaning of the words. Stop being all judicial activist-y."

Then I’ll slam down my laptop and storm out of the room.


The Reign of Wonderful Section B is over, folks! Done with classes for 1L year. After finals I’ll post something about this year, but right now all I can manage is a kind of exhausted gurgle as i go back to outlining.

Our grand finale, by the way, was conlaw, and it was THREE HOUR LONG CLASS. Head currently swimming with Scalia-anger mixed with a dose of rational basis review and something about commerce among the several states.

Four exams and a writing competition. Here we go.


Friend posted this on Facebook. Perfectly explains my theory of conlaw.


Quick summary of outlines completed so far:

Conlaw: Something about Lochner. Also, Scalia is mad.

Crim: If defendant is black/poor/woman, s/he loses. Also, jurisdictions vary.

I think I’m ready!


I was really not a fan of Scalia’s Lawrence dissent.


And it was fine, but I just find this discussions so frustrating and uninteresting. The arguments are these:

1. Life begins at implantation. A fetus is a person within the meaning of the 14th amendment of the Constitution and therefore has a constitutionally protected right to life. Abortion is murder.

2. At least until the fetus is viable, the fetus is part of the woman’s body and she may elect to do with her own body as she wishes. Abortion is a medical procedure. A fetus prior to viability is not a constitutional person.

And we’re done. Neither argument will ever be able to convince the other side. I also figure that, look, we all agree that reducing unwanted pregnancies is probably a good idea. Let’s argue about that, where we have actual empirical data, instead of this other tortured question that people evidently never change their minds on.

  • Prof: Ms. Student, can you please explain the statute at issue in Craig?
  • Ms. Student: Oklahoma passed a statute forbidding the sale of 3.2 percent alcohol content beer to women under the age of 18 but men under the age of 21.
  • Prof: Okay, and what was the level of scrutiny - wait, does it really say 3.2 percent alcohol content?
  • Ms. Student: Um... I think so?
  • Prof: *glances at case* Huh, I had never noted that detail. *pause* How many of you have had 3.2 percent beer?
  • *a dozen students raise their hands*
  • Prof: You should be ashamed of yourselves.
Photo Set


Lovings at Home

In 1950, a young man from Central Point, Virginia, went seven miles down the road to hear some music. Seven brothers named the Jeters were on that night, playing bluegrass in a farmhouse. The young man had come for the music, but couldn’t help noticing a young woman in the audience. The man, Richard Loving, was white; the woman, Mildred Jeter, was black and Cherokee. Seventeen years later, as a result of their meeting, the Supreme Court struck down Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act, along with anti-miscegenation laws in fifteen other states, ending the legal prohibitions against interracial marriage.

On view until May 6th at the International Center of Photography, “The Loving Story” highlights the human element of the Loving v. Virginia case, bringing the ardor that fueled the Lovings’ half-decade of appeals into heart-rending focus…

- For more selection of photographs of Richard and Mildred Loving:

I was on call for this case in conlaw like an hour ago!  I hadn’t realized how totally unabashedly racist the state of Virginia was in defending this statute. When you make classifications based on rase, you’ve got to have a really imperative and legitimate government interest, and the statute has to be the absolutely only way to advance that interest. Virginia literally just got up and said we’re trying to prevent the “mongrelization of the white race,” among other horrible things. SCOTUS was just like… seriously? That’s the best you’ve got? Uh, white supremacy is not a legitimate government interest. Not even a rational government interest. Pretty satisfying decision to read.

(via npr)


Over the past few days, I have had to read Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, Scott v. Sandford, Plessy v. Ferguson, and Whitney v. California.

I’m not sure if this is a “There Is No Justice” Campaign to try and get me to drop out or what, but man, I feel like I need to go read Brown v. Board or Perry v. Brown just to get the injustice off me. Blech.

PS - Fun fact: In the Dred Scott case, the slave owner’s name was actually Sanford, but due to a type-o (or quill-o? pen-o?) in court documents, he has gone down in history as Sandford. But I assume were he alive today he wouldn’t want to be associated with this case anyway.


"Those who won our independence believed that the final end of the State was to make men free to develop their faculties; and that in its government the deliberative forces should prevail over the arbitrary. They valued liberty both as an end and as a means. They believed liberty to be the secret of happiness and courage to be the secret of liberty. They believed that freedom to think as you will and to speak as you think are means indispensable to the discovery and spread of political truth; that without free speech and assembly discussion would be futile; that with them, discussion affords ordinarily adequate protection against the dissemination of noxious doctrine; that the greatest menace to freedom is an inert people; that public discussion is a political duty; and that this should be a fundamental principle of the American government. They recognized the risks to which all human institutions are subject. But they knew that order cannot be secure merely through fear of punishment for its infraction; that it is hazardous to discourage thought, hope, and imagination; that fear breeds repression; that repression breeds hate; that hate menaces stable government; that the path of safety lies in the opportunity to discuss freely supposed grievances and proposed remedies; and that the fitting remedy for evil counsels is good ones. Believing in the power of reason as applied through public discussion, they eschewed silence coerced by law - the argument of force in its worst form. Recognizing the occasional tyrannies of governing majorities, they amended the Constitution so free speech and assembly should be guaranteed."


- Holmes, dissenting in Whitney v. California

Granted, it sort of annoys me that he couches this all in terms of “the founders thought!” I don’t generally like it when we worship the founders, given that, for example, Jefferson was all about free speech till people said cranky things about him. Adams signed the Alien and Sedition Acts, for goodness sakes. But Holmes can’t really come out and say *I believe* this.

But he does. And so do I.

PS - To clarify, this isn’t meant as a comment on SOPA. Just on free speech.