Monday, March 31, 2003

[Will, 9:33 PM]
A Closet Libertarian?:

Miss Manners denounces the New York City cell phone ban.

[Will, 7:49 PM]

Shucks, guys. I'm flattered. In his post "Sodomy Report From A Dahlia Wannabe" A Slate Frayster suggests that Amanda and I should take over Dahlia Lithwick's position. Dare to dream, Mr. Baude.

[Will, 7:45 PM]

We are in the top ten hits for "What's Wrong with Virginia". The views of Google are not necessarily the views of the author.

[Will, 7:33 PM]

Shonda Werry writes:
As long as there are no concerns about the qualification of the judges (and there aren't), then there's no legitimate reason to filibuster.

Why not? She also writes:
There seems to be some confusion about the senate’s role in selecting justices.

True, perhaps, but on whose part? It's worth examining the text of the constitution on this point:

[The president] shall nominate by and with the advice and consent of the Senate....judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for

Note that this clause does not say "The president shall nominate and the Senate shall confirm." They're a joint party in the nomination. What does it mean for the Senate to consent to something? It has always meant that an issue has to be brought to the floor of the senate, voted on, and approved. Just because a motion would pass if the Senate voted on it doesn't mean that it should necessarily be brought on to the floor immediately. As a practical matter, the Senate has a 60% voting rule, which I happen to think is a Very Good Thing.

Why shouldn't Senators consider the political views of potential judges? Since judges-- conservative and liberal alike-- have taken it upon themselves to make more and more political decisions (ranging from Bush v. Gore to Roe v. Wade) the Senate is perfectly within its rights to fight back. What judges think matters. Why pretend otherwise? Yes, the liberals are being dishonest about their rationale for the Estrada filibuster (and I'm shocked, simply shocked! that politicians would be unforthright about their motives), but their job is not "simply to vote on them." Why would it be? If filibusters are ever a proper thing to do (and the rules of the Senate suggest that they are) then the discretion about when to use them belongs to the Senators.

Of course, those who are unhappy about their Senator's role in this fracas should feel free not to vote for those who filibuster Estrada. Indeed, I suspect Ms. Werry wasn't planning on doing so anyway (though I don't know where she's registered to vote.

For many more thoughts on the selection of a neutral judiciary (which I think is a desirable end), see my paper here.

Saturday, March 29, 2003

[Will, 7:18 PM]
A Poem:

So I found this poem amongst a bunch of books I bought from Bartleby's Books, in Georgetown. It was published in the 1970 New Yorker.

How I Love You

Kind of green, kind of gray, i.e.,
striated all over with rain,
and the linden frangrance, so heady,
that I can hardly-- Let's go!
Let's go and abandon this garden
and the rain that seethes on its paths
between the flowers grown heavy,
kissing the sticky loam.
Let's go, let's go before it's too late.
quick, under one cloak, come home
while you still are unrecognized,
my mad one, my mad one!

Self-control, silence. But with each year,
to the murmur of the trees and the clamor of the birds,
that separation seems more offenseful
and the offense more absurd.
And I fear ever more that rashly
I may blab and interrupt
the course of the quiet, difficult speech
long since penetrating my life.

Above red-checked slaves
the blue sky looks all laquered,
and pumped-up clouds
with scarcely discernible jerks
move across.
I wonder, is there nowhere a place there
to lie low-- some dark nook
where the darkness might merge
with a wing's cryptic markings?
(A geometrid thus does not stir
spread flat on a lichened trunk.)

What a sunset! And once more tomorrow,
and for a long time, the heat is to last,
a forecast faultlessly based
on the stillness and on the gnats--
hanging up in an evening sunbeam,
their swarmlet ceaselessly jiggles,
remining one of a golden toy
in the hands of a silent peddler.

How I love you! In this
evening air, now and then,
the spirit finds loopholes, translucences
in the world's finest tecture.
The beams pass between tree trunks.

How I love you! The beams
pass between tree trunks; they band
the tree trunks with flame. Do not speak.
Stand motionless under the flowering branch,
inhale-- what a spreading, what flowing--
Close your eyes, and diminish, and stealthily
into the eternal pass through.

Vladimir Nabokov, translated from the Russian by the author.

[Will, 12:05 PM]
Good Riddance:

Clayton Cramer is no longer with The Volokh Conspiracy. Hurrah!

[Will, 11:13 AM]

For those of you who will be in Chicago on Wednesday the 9th of April: The University of Chicago Libertarian Society will be sponsoring a speech by Dr. Tom Palmer of the Cato Institute. Dr. Palmer will speak on "Civil Society in the Wake of 9/11." The event will began at 7:00 P.M., April 9th, and will be held in Harper Memorial Library, room 130 at the University of Chicago campus. Refreshments and questions will follow. Anybody needing directions or with any other questions should email me at baudeatuchicagodotedu.

[Will, 5:36 AM]
Two More Diotiman Quibbles:

Two posts by Shonda Werry over at Diotima deserve some comment. In the first, she writes to criticize Susanne Martinez's remark (about fetal assault laws) that, "if they can shift the dialogue to believing that a fetus is a person, they will have set the groundwork for overturning ROE V. WADE."

On the one hand, it's certainly possible that this is not one of the ultimate goals of the pro-lifers who generally support these provisions. On the other hand, if a fetus were believed to be a human being, that would be the end of a constitutional right to an abortion. No doubt. I don't think Martinez is wrong to see this as a slippery slope, and I don't think she's wrong that most anti-abortion types would be happy to start us sliding down it.

The other slightly baffling post is here. Werry writes
Hmmm, I wasn't aware Democrats were all that selective in applying the filibuster to justices.

Huh? How many judges (there hasn't been a justice filibuster in decades, and it wasn't by the Democrats) have the Democrats filibustered in recent history? The only one I can think of is Estrada. The Democrats are being selective in the use of their minority veto. Though I happen to be pro-filibuster, I'm also pro-Estrada, so I don't mind seeing people argue about the issue of judges. All the same, it would be helpful to keep the allegations true, or at least sensical.

[Jonathan, 12:18 AM]
Well, since I never have anything important to say, I just thought I'd put this up here to show I'm still alive. I got a junk e-mail from some woman (I assume) named Soo and felt compelled to respond:

Dear Soo,

Thank you so much for your letter! I enjoyed hearing from you. I am flattered that you thought of me first. I would always liked to be remembered for my desire to 'get sexed up tonight!' And seeing you confirm that, well... it just puts a tear in my eye.

I am also glad to hear that you've found such satisfying work. To have a job at such a fine company as yours must bear a lot of responsibility. I'm sure it's not easy to 'find a slut today!' when most companies require two to three business days to find such a person.

It is great to see a fine young person such as yourself working in a diverse environment, comfortably interacting with males in a responsible, professional manner.

However, I must kindly decline your offer. While it is very tempting to allow you to do the matching, while I instead reap the benefits of getting laid, I simply would not be able to forgive myself for imposing on you in such an egregious manner.

This is not to comment on all those who do wish to accept the honor, for it is certainly a matter of personal choice, but at this time in my life, I do not feel that it would be beneficial for me to allow you to find a whore in my area. Thank you once again for your offer.

I will remember you dearly for your hard work and dedication to the fine business of instant date matching. Perhaps under different circumstances, I would be able to 'click here,' but that is neither here nor there.



Friday, March 28, 2003

[Will, 4:01 AM]

Amy Lamboley suggests that One-hour Photo (reviewed here and here) only because Robin Williams "failed to convincingly become his character."

Not so, I think. The movie worked not because Williams failed to be unsympathetic, but because he showed us that creepy stalkers can be . . . perversely likable sympathetic characters. And that, I think, is what makes this such a good movie. It's about teaching people to empathize with lonely sociopaths.

It's possible I'm inserting my own value scheme on the movie. On the one hand I have a newly rekindled interest in the importance of empathy, and on the other, I am a reformed ex-creepy ex-stalker. All the same, I think the humanity that Williams shows us in Cy's character is placed there intentionally. Like a tragic flaw, only backwards.

[Will, 3:46 AM]

Sara Butler suggests that in the military, "rules that seem outdated to us" can often be justified by psychological necessity. This may be true, so far as it goes. But how far does it go? "The point of the military is national security, not gender equality," she writes. In other words, the military should be defending us from harm, and letting women be captured (and possibly raped) by the enemy, or letting openly gay men into the military could hurt morale and unit cohesion.

Here's the troubling bit. A few weeks ago, I had the fortune to chat with a very bright gentleman at West Point named Joseph Z Wells (who was just named a Truman Scholar). He pointed out that all of those arguments are the same as the ones that were made against racial integration in the armed forces. And they were probably true!

I think that Mr. Wells is right. If it's a good thing to force the army to enact our view that blacks and whites should be treated equally by the state, (was it?) and that Christians and Jews should be, then it's also a good thing to force our army to recognize the same about those who identify themselves as homosexuals. As Ms. Butler herself points out, politics can change a culture.

I don't mean to knock the military. I have the greatest respect for the fact that it lets me sleep safely at night while thousands of soldiers are fighting for their lives in Iraq. I think that it should be granted more deference than many other state actors. But can the army simply wave the banner of military necessity every time it wants to invoke an "outdated" (which is usually to say "discriminatory") policy? No.

UPDATE: Sara Butler responds to my concerns and attempts to bridge some of the distance between our arguments. I'm not sure how deep our disagreement here is either, so I won't keep this line going much. I'm still not sure I agree with her reformulated position that "the standard for military should be whether or not a change will improve its ability to protect the nation not fairness."

My guess is that letting women serve full combat positions, an open policy on homosexuals in the military, and so on do hurt the military's ability to protect the nation. Nonetheless, there are some things that we believe the military shouldn't do anyway. The principles of the Geneva Convention are one example of such things. I think that some degree (and I think it's that degree that Ms. Butler and I might disagree about) of non-discrimination ought to be another.

[Will, 3:23 AM]
A Minor Point:

This has been bothering me for days. Rising out of the DC Metro, I saw a woman with a button on her backpack that said "Why do we kill people who kill people to show that killing people is wrong?" I know the fault in this logic may be obvious, but I found this particular pin strangely aggravating.

The answer, of course, is that most of us don't believe that killing people is always wrong. Self-defense, the defense of the innocent and the weak, and completely ignorant accident are three examples of things most people find mitigating. A few very squeamish (or very good) souls may think that taking any human life is always wrong. But they aren't the majority, and I wouldn't want them guarding my streets.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

[Will, 6:15 PM]
Will The Real Dahlia Lithwick Please Stand Up?:

So I presume nobody is reading this blog who hasn't read Dahlia Lithwick's excellent post on Lawrence v. Texas. But if you haven't, do so. I have a small issue with one passage, however.
Justice Stephen Breyer asks one of his famed three-part questions and, when Rosenthal doesn't answer immediately, Breyer interrupts: "That's not my question. I'd like to hear your straight answer." The gallery busts up. Rosenthal says there's a good place to draw the line of privacy and fundamental rights, and that line is "at the bedroom door."

Far be it from me to defend the Texas prosecutor (or to criticize Dahlia Lithwick!) but my notes show Rosenthal saying "the door to the marital bedroom" rather than simply "the bedroom door". I might be wrong, and when the transcript comes out we can check, but if I'm right that makes that answer (and that answer only!) significantly more coherent.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

[Will, 8:21 PM]
SC Report II:

A note: This post came out sounding a little less even-handed than I meant for it to. My personal views of the constitutionality or desirability of sodomy laws are not meant to be implied, (though I'm happy to supply them), but the oral arguments were far from evenly accomplished.

Amanda Butler and I made it to see Lawrence v. Texas, the Texas sodomy case, this morning. We were some of the last people admitted, so we missed Overton v. Bazzetta, the first case of the morning, entirely. But somehow the powers-that-be found spots for us for the Lawrence, though I came in a few minutes late, just in time to see Chief Justice Rehnquist murmur something about procreation.

Mr. Smith, the counsel for Mr. Lawrence and the other plaintiff (Mr. Garner) was nimble and impossible to pin down, but in that masterfully convincing, lawyer-like way. On the one hand he was reassuring Justice Scalia that his case could be won even with Bowers v. Hardwick in full force. This prompted a baffled question from Justice Ginsberg: "But don't you want us to overrule Bowers v. Hardwick?" Smith assured her that he did (with a quick glance to Kennedy and O'Connor, with whose help he will win) but showed how Romer v. Evans could win his case for him, even against Bowers.

Souter made a speech to remind everybody that the history of the enforcement of sodomy laws is far from clear, and then everybody turned the floor over to Scalia, who was at his most charismatic, presumably because he realized the burden of winning this case for Texas was going to fall entirely upon him. He wanted to know whether a law that made rape of a woman by a man (but not other gender-pairings) would be unconstitutional under the equal protection argument. Smith reminded him that Texas couldn't muster even a rational relation between its prohibited conduct and any of the goals it claimed it wanted to regulate (other than flat-out animus towards homosexuals, which Romer expressly proscribes). Scalia, of course, didn't like Romer in the first place, partially because he saw this exchange coming.

Scalia then launched into a speech about moral laws. He accused Smith of playing word-games, of making the statute sound discriminatory and oppressive, when it was really just making a moral judgment. "You can make anything sound horrible when you phrase it like that," Scalia said. "Who are you to tell me I can't have more than one wife, you blue-nosed bigot?"

Rehnquist decided to let Scalia take a breather (and Scalia did, and began chatting animatedly with both Souter and Stevens), while Rehnquist reminded counsel that "all laws are based on disapproval of some conduct." Rehnquist then trotted out the "parade of horribles" that he feared would follow a decision in favor of Lawrence in this case-- Gay marriages, legalized prostitution, and the like. . . maybe even homosexual kindergarten teachers (here the audience stared at the Chief Justice (and each other) in utter bafflement). Scalia tried to save the Chief Justice's point by pointing out that kindergarten teachers might corrupt the youth into practicing homosexual acts, and then gave up when he saw he wasn't going to convince O'Connor and Kennedy (who he desperately needs to convince) that the state could discriminate against homosexuals on the grounds that they might turn other people homosexual.

After chastising Smith for nimbly jumping back and forth between defending his due process argument and defending his equal protection argument (Scalia himself had gotten mixed up, and demanded counsel raise his hand every time he was changing tracks), Scalia tried one more time to create some rational bases for the state of Texas's disapproval of homosexual families, but Ginsburg reminded him that lots of gay people form families. Smith delivered a brief speech about the "hundreds of thousands of gay families" in the census, and Scalia looked like he wanted to cry. Or spit lightning. Or both.

Smith reserved four minutes, and the counsel for Texas came to the stand, at which point it became clear that the question for watchers of the court is not "Will the court find in favor of Lawrence?" (it will), but rather, "Will Scalia's scathing dissent even manage to capture the support of Rehnquist and Thomas, or have they some dignity?"

Mr. Rosenthal, counsel for Texas, began speaking slowly while Scalia resumed his note-passing. The Justices let him talk for a minute or two without interruption, which seemed to be making Rosenthal nervous. He attempted to argue that the plaintiffs were not homosexuals (or had not proven that they were), that they hadn't proven that their conduct was consensual, and that they hadn't proven that they were in private. Even though the argument appeared in Texas's brief, even Scalia seemed a bit surprised that counsel was making the argument seriously. Finally the Justices stepped in to bail him out, and argued a bit about what it meant to be homosexual.

Then a justice wanted to know whether the public attitude toward homosexuality had changed so dramatically as to justify overruling Bowers v. Hardwick (this was the point Mr. Smith was making with his "hundreds of thousands" of gay families). Mr. Rosenthal responded with the long history of the criminalization of sodomy. Scalia began to lose his patience. "Excuse me, counsel, I thought that you were going to say that homosexual mores haven't changed in the past twenty years, but you're responding by talking about tradition." When Rosenthal again attempted to produce a coherent answer, Scalia offered "Can't you bring forth some evidence? Like the failure of congress to enact homosexual protection laws?" At this point Scalia realized that he was going to have to drag Mr. Rosenthal by the ears through his own arguments.

Ginsburg asked Rosenthal about the adoption laws of Texas, and he assured them he knew nothing about them, and had no idea whether or not homosexuals could adopt children, and refused to answer (or even to dodge) Ginsburg's question about what he would answer if they could. Even when Breyer assured him that homosexuals in Texas can and do adopt children (which seemed to make Scalia cringe again), counsel refused to acknowledge that this hurt Texas's position that homosexual intercourse was injurious to the children of a society. Finally Scalia stepped in and asked him "MIGHT there be a difference between people's embracing conduct and not prosecuting it?" Counsel mumbled and waited for another question.

Breyer, in his best law-professor voice, demanded to know exactly what rational basis Texas was using. Counsel started to talk about the possibility that Lawrence's conduct had been non-consensual (nowhere in the record) and Breyer demanded a "straight answer" as the courtroom tittered and Breyer apologized.

Still, Breyer said, the state had to have some basis more convincing than "I do not like thee, doctor Fell, the reason why I cannot tell." Rosenthal offered something about marriage and something about children, Breyer showed him why neither of those reasons were good. "You need a rational basis," Breyer said, for why it's immoral, other than "it's immoral". Scalia finally jumped in, arguing that "it's immoral" was a rational basis for a law of morality, and somebody (Rehnquist?) suggested that "we should appoint you two counsel."

Breyer then wanted to know whether Texas could forbid "the telling of really bad lies at the dinner table." Counsel looked baffled. "Don't you think," Scalia tried, "that laws a state can constitutional pass are based on what kind of laws it has traditionally passed?" As counsel nodded his approval, Stevens asked how he felt about interracial marriage, a traditionally banned behavior until Loving v. Virginia. Counsel liked this question, as he could then reiterate the importance of marriage. Scalia didn't like counsel's answer and reminded everybody that there was a constitutional text that "had something to do with the civil war" and "said something about race".

Souter forced counsel to admit that Texas had not singled out homosexual conduct for special disfavor until the 1960's. After counsel mentioned (again) the "centuries" of tradition of Texas's anti-sodomy law, Souter asked him what Texas's sodomy law was in 1803. Scalia leapt in for the save. "It's a trick question!" he screamed. (Texas wasn't a state in 1803 at all).

Unsatisfied with his first hypothetical, Breyer wanted to know if a state could forbid the teaching of German. Even Scalia couldn't think of a retort. Finally, before counsel for texas went into his closing statement, warning us that legalizing sodomy could result in (gasp) the lowering of the age of consent, Souter squeezed in one last toughie. Who, the Justice wanted to know, is being harmed by this sodomy? Souter said that the drug-use analogy that counsel Rosenthal and counsel-in-spirit Scalia seemed to like would only apply if there was some evidence that sodomy was bad for you. Rosenthal pled ignorance to the facts but pointed out that Texas had some amicus briefs that said that petitioner's amicus briefs were wrong. "For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert."

In all, Rosenthal looked like a southern legislator misplaced through time and space. He repeated logic that he must have known to be circular, as if he cared more about the sound byte than the substance. It was as if he had forgotten that he had to convince five of the Justices on the court, with O'Connor unreadable, Kennedy anything but sympathetic, and Ginsburg, Souter, Breyer and Stevens almost openly hostile. My personal suspicion is that Texas did not actually want to win this case, but merely to put on an act of trying for the sake of public appearances. I can think of no other explanation.

Texas's council's performance was so unconvincing that when Smith took his remaining four minutes of time, the Justices didn't even ask him any question. Smith reminded them that it was Texas who had to prove facts for the record (it could not simply speculate about otherwise illegal things that Lawrence might have done), walked them through the health-effects testimony, and pointed out that Texas hadn't even mustered that dubious claim in its brief. Scalia covered his eyes.

A final note worth mentioning was the protestor, Frank, and what looked like his family that were in front of the court as we were lined up. They (even the youngest girl) carried signs with titles like "God Sent the Sniper (Amos 3:6)," "God Blew up the Shuttle," "Fags Doom Nations," "AIDS is God's curse," "Fag Court," and (bafflingly enough) "No Special Laws for Fags"

Finally (really finally) I want to thank the Chief Justice, (or whoever is really the power-that-is) for working so hard to let so many people in to see the arguments. I'm told that only 25 people were able to see the Eldred case, for example. The Court did everything it could to make sleeping on a rough sidewalk in chilly weather without a blanket a comfortable and worthwhile experience, and (in so far as I am concerned) succeeded handily.

[Will, 5:09 PM]
The Best Is Yet To Come:

Amanda and I made it to see Lawrence v. Texas this morning. We arrived at the Supreme Court at midnight last night and were persons 69 and 70, respectively. We were two of the last four people admitted. A long long post on the matter will come this evening, but at the moment we're dashing back into the city for Justice O'Connor's book-signing. If you're in the DC area, it's at the Olson's on 7th north of the National Gallery. Doors open at 6:30.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

[Will, 6:11 PM]
I decided to sleep this morning instead of attending arguments in FEC v. Beaumont, so there won't be an update today. In a few hours, though, Amanda and I will be heading back to the courthouse for Lawrence v. Texas. Hopefully, we will have much to report.

Monday, March 24, 2003

[Will, 11:36 PM]
SC Report I, Redux, Part Two:

Is the numbering system here getting silly? The other case I saw today was Wiggins v. Smith, a death penalty case about the ineffectiveness of counsel. A bevy of students from Catholic Law School were watching the case with us; apparently their professor had required them to write up briefs the week before and they're delivering their own mock oral arguments next week. Neat.

Anyway, Wiggins had a terrible life-- sexual abuse, physical abuse, and foster homes-- and may or may not have killed somebody. At trial, counsel didn't present much evidence of the terrible circumstances of his upbringing. His lawyer maintains that this was a tactical decision-- there were enough loose ends in the prosecution's case that he thought that he could give the jury the shadow of a doubt about the murder itself. Bringing up this terrible stuff, he worried, would sicken the jury, or at least cause them to believe that Wiggins was a hateful and violent man.

Or so counsel's counsel argues. Wiggins's counsel, on the other hand, argues that the lawyers for Wiggins (the public defender switched on him in mid-stream) didn't present the evidence because they didn't know about it, and that this failue to investigate is ineffectiveness. Wiggins won in the 4th circuit, so the Court is in a tight spot. It likes to defer to the lower court's findings of fact, but it also likes to grant extreme deference to lawyers to make tactical decisions.

Breyer, luckily, asks the question that is puzzling the entire gallery, about this strange "bifurcated" sentencing procedure supposedly unique to a few-year-span in Maryland. Essentially, it seems, counsel gets to argue the "did he do it?" phase, and then only later argue the "are there mitigating factors?" stage. Wiggins's trial never got a second stage because the bifurcation motion was denied. Souter and Kennedy and Breyer and Ginsburg all think that it got denied because counsel's motion was pretty bad (hidden implication: because he didn't investigate!), while counsel's counsel insists that bifurcation motions don't really depend on the merits.

Scalia is obsessed with a strange passage in a deposition or testimony from the allegedly incompetent lawyer, with a "that" of unclear reference. (Textualist-Scalia quote of the day: "I don't care if that's the way the 4th circuit read it. If they did, they read it wrong. That's not the way it reads!") Breyer is obsessed with the sexual abuse. It looks like counsel did know most of Wiggins's history, but probably not the sexual abuse. Breyer repeats many times how bothered he is by this, then lapses again into the Yoda-like trance he takes up for most of both cases, except when he emerges for his brilliant, if roundabout, questions.

The entire court seems quite ticked off about the inadequate record in this case. Breyer can't figure out whether he's got the documents that the transcript is talking about, and counsel refuses to tell him. Scalia can't figure out why they didn't ask the lawyer questions about what he didn't know, rather than only asking him what he did know. Scalia also insists that the trial court judge misread the law, declaring counsel incompetent because he "could not find any evidence that he had not investigated" when he should have "found evidence that he did not investigate". Wiggins's lawyer insists that the fact that the trial court judge found the lawyer incompetent implies that he also knew what the law was, read it correctly, and applied it, without happening to explicitly mention that in his 247 page opinion. Scalia is not convinced, but is he ever?

The counsel for the government makes the very good point that the duty to investigate is not the same as the duty to know, and that the post-trial investigation was essentially the same as the pre-trial investigation conducted by counsel, and isn't it the thought that counts?

The two cases (this one and Nguyen and Phuong, blogged below) made an interesting pair-- both cases involved criminal defendants found guilty, but with serious challenges about whether their trial was fair. My intuition, which is-- as I mentioned before-- not well-honed at all, is that the Court will reverse both the Ninth Circuit and the Fourth Circuit, finding that Wiggins's Counsel was more-or-less competent (the Rehnquist-Scalia-Thomas axis will convince Kennedy and O'Connor on this one, if nobody else), but finding that you really can't let the Ninth Circuit go including random guys from Guam on its panels.

(Another great Scalia-exchange: the lawyer for Nguyen and Phuong arguing that Guam territorial judges are highly subject to political pressures, mentions an amicus brief in which a Guam judge argues that he feels his "neutrality is constantly called into question." "If he feels that way," Scalia retorts as he bobs up his chair, "he should resign." "Actually," counsel replies, "I think he wants you to make him an Article III Judge." Scalia laughs his evil laugh. "I'll bet he does.")

Where does that leave us? Two hours later and it's all done with. And I'm highly impressed by Stevens's bow tie. I'll hopefully return tomorrow for FEC v. Beaumont, and-- god willing-- Lawrence v. Texas on Wednesday. Also, Justice O'Connor will apparently be having a book-signing at the Olson's downtown in D.C. on Wednesday evening. Now, until tomorrow. . .

[Will, 10:58 PM]
SC Report I, Redux:

Okay, so I'm no Dahlia Lithwick. But since I did attend oral arguments in the Supreme Court today, I'm going to report on what I saw. Keep in mind that I was heretofore a Supreme Court virgin, so . . .

The first case was Nguyen and Phuong v. US, a fascinating little jurisdictional case. Apparently the Ninth Circuit went out (metaphorically, we are told) to try a drug case in Guam, (a statute provides that the Ninth Circuit is in charge of overhearing appeals from Guam, which does not have Article III trial courts) and while they were there, the two Ninth Circuit judges picked up a Guam judge, who doesn't have life tenure.

Phuong and Nguyen were convicted unanimously, and there is no doubt that the two judges alone could have properly tried the case by themselves. But the government does stipulate the composition was improper. What, then, is to be done? Nobody raised an objection until now.

Scalia and Rehnquist (and, by inference, Thomas) think it's not fair to let defendants fail to raise their objections until now, and they think the "clear error" doctrine is stringent enough that this is an easy case. Stevens wants to know, what would happen if the third man were not a Guam judge at all, but rather a British judge, or even the President of the Guam Bar Association (I believe it is Souter who later suggests the Guam President of Tourism. They're running with this).

Breyer points out-- through a serious of progressively more belabored hypotheticals-- that the due process argument is a bit of a red herring. The citizens of Guam don't have any right to an Article III court at all, beyond what the statute grants them. Kennedy keeps this up. He's not interested, he says, in what happens to the people of Guam, but doesn't having this Guam guy on the court impugn the integrity of the Ninth Circuit, which has to follow caselaw signed by this guy?

O'Connor and Ginsburg ask questions that I've either forgotten or didn't understand. Thomas also asks a question(but see the UPDATE below), but spends the rest of the time reading a book. Breyer later gets worried that throwing out this conviction on constitutional grounds will make it impossible for Magistrate Judges to try a case (they aren't Article III Judges either). Stevens, on the other hand, is worried that upholding this conviction will lead to the Ninth Circuit issuing waiver forms for every case in Guam. ("You don't mind if we give you the President of the Guam Bar Association instead of a real judge, do you?"). He's particularly worried that local lawyers will feel pressured into signing waivers rather than angering the courts. Counsel for the U.S. says tough luck. Stevens looks unconvinced, and he's the one with a vote.

The breakdown? Hard to say. Scalia, Rehnquist and Thomas look decidedly unmoved. Stevens will sympathize on both constitutional and statutory grounds. My suspicion is that a majority (Ginsburg, Kennedy, Stevens, Breyer, and Souter, plus or minus O'Connor) will find that the convictions are invalid on statutory grounds, and a minority will find the convictions invalid on Constitutional grounds (Kennedy and Stevens?). But that's a guess. See above for Wiggins.

UPDATE: Two federal law clerks inform me that I am mistaken, that Justice Thomas most certainly didn't utter a word (other than his rather engaged tittering with Justice Breyer about something). It's definitely possible (likely, even) that I am mistaken, and that the question I am thinking of came from somebody else. I hadn't yet gotten to recognize the justices' voices fully by that time.

[Will, 1:10 PM]
SC Report I:

Most of my thoughts are too irreverent at the moment (Stevens's puckishness, Scalia's predatory nature, Kennedy's gravitas, etc.) to post without a bit of reflection, but I will try to report on the cases tonight. For some info, see Amanda's Blog.

Saturday, March 22, 2003

[Will, 10:50 AM]
Blogger Lite:

I'm going off of radio contact soon for the first half of spring break-- in Washington D.C. With any luck we're going to camp outside of the Supreme Court and get to see Lawrence v. Texas. Of course, I'll post some thoughts then, but they won't be too complete because note-taking is banned in the audience gallery. I'm a little concerned that Saddam's brilliant counter-attack will strike D.C. while I'm there, but . . . we'll see.

Friday, March 21, 2003

[Will, 4:56 PM]
The Ever-witty Easterbrook:

A propos of nothing, I just finished reading the two appellate decisions in the pledge cases (I really ought to be writing my final paper on judicial selection). I think the Nnth Crcuit is completely right-- "under god" fails every test the Court has offered. Nonetheless, Easterbrook wins the "best line" competition:
Plaintiffs observe that the Court sometimes changes its tune when it confronts a subject directly. True enough, but an inferior court had best respect what the majority says rather than read between the lines. If the Court proclaims that a practice is consistent with the establishment clause, we take its assurances seriously. If the Justices are just pulling our leg, let them say so.

At some point, I'm going to write about the alarming use of history in court cases. It's good stuff, so far as it goes, but I'm unconvinced that a page of history defeats a book of logic.

[Will, 3:12 PM]
For Example:

Here's a post from Shonda at Diotima.
"We believe in acting courageously, especially as allies with those who have little or no voice and little or no power." How much of a voice does an unborn baby have? How much power do the victims of partial-birth abortion have?
I guess what Planned Parenthood is trying to say is, "We believe in acting courageously, when it's convenient, and as long as the powerless we are helping are not innocent babies or oppressed women in Iraq."

Cute. I'll leave the oppresed women in Iraq bit alone for now-- I happen to fairly sympathetic to the Diotimans on that score. But honestly, I think the whole argument is over whether or not a fetus is a human being. If it's not, after all, then obviously the fact that it has little voice and little power is immaterial. Snails, dogs, and toothbrushes all have very little in the way of voice or power, but (by and large) aren't entitled to courageous defense. Accusing abortion providers of being immoral baby-killers is one thing-- it rests on an empirical/philosophical question we haven't been able to resolve. But accusing them of being inconsistent on this score is just dumb. It presumes the exact thing that pro-lifers have yet to prove.

[Will, 12:06 PM]
Sleeping with the Enemy:

I've just added diotima to the links at the right-hand side of the page. Ordinarily, I agree with Eugene Volokh that one needn't comment on blogrolling or un-blogrolling somebody. Nonetheless, I'm going to do so this time. Partially this is because this may be the first time I've added a link of something that I rarely agree with.

Diotima is Sara Butler's blog(she has a sidekick, a Ms. Shonda Werry). Sara Butler is a 3rd-year student at the University of Chicago. Now, on the one hand I think she gets a bad rap around here, as I've said before. But on the other hand, a lot of the things posted here seem very repetitive and unconvincing, although it looks like the worst offenders are Ms. Werry's, rather than Ms. Butler's.

At any rate, just wanted to make clear what should already be obvious. The webpages we include at the side are things we find interesting, or read fairly often. No endorsement is expressed or implied.

[Will, 12:15 AM]
A Sad State of Affairs:

From the New York Times
"This is one of the most worthwhile things I have ever done in my life," said Elliot Rubin, a 54-year-old English teacher, who sat under arrest in one San Francisco intersection, hands cuffed behind his back.

Forgive my being cynical, but do you know those people for whom their wedding day is the happiest day of their life? They make me sad too.

Thursday, March 20, 2003

[Will, 11:04 PM]

A surprisingly large amount of cool information comes from my school's ACLU listserv. Apparently a large number of people have just been arrested at the corner of Chicago and Michigan. Dan Lichtenstein-Boris would like law students or lawyers to call him at 773-834-6923. These appear to be anti-war demonstrators.

[Will, 1:11 AM]
Crooked Heart:

Without warning us, Amy Lamboley has started a blog.

[Will, 1:09 AM]
Great Minds:

Somebody actually came to this blog for "destroying oil wells war crime". What's even better, we're the top hit for that search.

[Will, 1:01 AM]
War Crimes:

Here's some more confirmation on war crimes from Slate. Here's my previous post.

[Will, 12:47 AM]
And we're off:

Here's Bush's announcement. Up until now I've avoided blogging any coherent thoughts on the war, largely because I don't have them. I still don't have them, but I thought I'd post them here anyway.

Three years ago I would have against this war. It's corny to say that 9/11 changed everything. I've written before about the annoying tendency people to have to claim that their pet policy is particularly relevant to the terrorist attacks. Still, I think that this question-- what to do about the middle east-- is uniquely relevant to the terrorist attacks. In particular, there's a line Tom Friedman wrote that convinced me: "If we have learned anything from September 11, it is that if you don't visit a bad neighborhood, it will visit you."

The middle east is a bad neighborhood. Now, I think Bush's war is messed up. I think Blair's war has the potential to make the world a better place. It's too early for me to tell yet which war we're fighting, and it's not my decision to make. I'm probably going to criticize plenty of Bush actions, especially the Kurd sellout if he can ever get the Turks to buy. Still, I'm in favor of this war in principle. I think it's okay for the most powerful government in the world to attempt to liberate people oppressed by dictators. I don't think this requires proof of some direct threat from Iraq. I think it's the general threat, that an ignored middle east will eventually become impossible to ignore, that justifies doing something, though I admit that my confidence is low that Bush will wage this war as it should be waged.

Maybe those aren't very Libertarian answers. Maybe I'm not always a Libertarian.

[Will, 12:27 AM]
A new voice:

An interesting new blog.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

[Jonathan, 9:09 PM]
For the sake of continuity and saving face, I present the following:

I wonder what happened to my brother.

[Will, 6:24 PM]
From oral arguments in U.S. v. American Library Association:
Olson: Justice Scalia-- I mean, Justice Souter--
Souter: You do me a great honor but I--
Souter: I am Souter.
Olson: I think I was expecting the next question.
Scalia: I wasn't even leaning forward.
U.S. v. American Library Association

[Will, 3:25 AM]

An excerpt from "six nonlectures" by ee cummings:

Fine and dandy: but, so far as I am concerned, poetry and every other art was and is and forever will be strictly and distinctly a question of individuality. If poetry were anything-- like dropping an atombomb-- which anyone did, anyone could become a poet merely by doing the necessary anything; whatever that anything might or might not entail. But (as it happens) poetry is being, not doing. If you wish to follow, even at a distance, the poet's calling (and here, as always, I speak from my own totally biased and entirely personal point of view) you've fot to come out of the measurable doing universe into the immeasurable house of being. I am quite aware that, wherever our socalled civilization has slithered, there's every reward and no punishment for unbeing. But if poetry is your goal, you've got to forget all about punishments and all about rewards and all about selfstyled obligations and duties and responsibilities etcetera ad infinitum and remember one thing only: that it's you-- nobody else-- who determine your destiny and decide your fate. Nobody else can be alive for you; nor can you be alive for anybody else. Toms can be Dicks and Dicks can be Harrys but none of them can ever be you. There's the artist's responsibility; and the most awful responsibility on earth. If you can take it, take it-- and be. If you can't, cheer up and go about outher people's business; and do (or undo) till you drop.

[Will, 3:20 AM]

Ordinarily I would delete the "Grrr" but now that Jonathan has linked to it . . . I'll leave it. It was there as a test post to Blogger, trying to circumvent a publishing error.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

[Jonathan, 8:41 PM]
I personally can't think of a better way to die.

[Will, 7:46 PM]

[Will, 7:19 PM]
The Slate Conspiracy:

Eugene Volokh has written for Slate. It's a highly worthwhile piece on slippery slopes vis-a-vis Iraq.

[Will, 6:01 PM]
Crimes against Oil?:

From the text of Bush's speech last night about Iraq:
And all Iraqi military and civilian personnel should listen carefully to this warning. In any conflict your fate will depend on your actions. Do not destroy oil wells, a source of wealth that belongs to the Iraqi people. Do not obey any command to use weapons of mass destruction against anyone, including the Iraqi people. War crimes will be prosecuted. War criminals will be punished.

I assume the ordering of these clauses is ambiguous (and no doubt will be more so when translated) intentionally. Is Bush saying that destroying oil wells is a war crime? It appears to be. This is from the International Criminal Court, Elements of Crimes:
Article 8 (2) (a) (iv): War crime of destruction and appropriation of property

1. The perpetrator destroyed or appropriated certain property.

2. The destruction or appropriation was not justified by military necessity.

3. The destruction or appropriation was extensive and carried out wantonly.

4. Such property was protected under one or more of the Geneva Conventions of 1949.

5. The perpetrator was aware of the factual circumstances that established that protected status.

6. The conduct took place in the context of and was associated with an international armed conflict.

7. The perpetrator was aware of factual circumstances that established the existence of an armed conflict.

[Will, 5:47 PM]

Which Supreme Court Justice are you?
I am, surprise, O'Connor or Kennedy. My lowest choices are Ginsburg and Stevens.

[Will, 5:39 PM]
Clayton Cramer:

So as any of you who regularly read The Volokh Conspiracy will know, Eugene has recently inducted Clayton Cramer, a semi-celebrity in the blogosphere. The latest inductee was Jacob Levy, who has been-- IMHO-- a great addition. Indeed, his blog is the reason I started reading blogs. I'm worried that Mr. Cramer, on the other hand, will spoil what I consider to be the understated and uber-rational tone of the volokh conspiracy. I haven't read enough of his stuff to judge for sure, but the reason I haven't is, well, that I've not been very impressed with what he's written. Hope he proves me wrong.

[Will, 5:36 PM]

Clayton Cramer suggests that France "is not our ally" once this war is over. This seems like a needlessly absolutist position to take. Indeed, the most defensible defense I've seen of Bush's relatively hot-headed approach has been the knowledge that other countries will follow our lead once war becomes inevitable. There's nothing wrong with being against war, so long as it can be prevented, but wanting to win it once it can. Anti-war protestors also hope our troops will make it home safely. If anything, this is proof that one can be anti-war without being anti-American. Wounded patriotism shouldn't sabotage a national coalition, even if it is too little or too late.

[Will, 5:30 PM]

My brother suggests that dogs should be made out of chocolate. But then wouldn't they die when they licked themselves?

[Will, 5:28 PM]
Hope from the Guardian:

Just when I was beginning to get sick of the position-without-a-position from the New York Times, the Guardian comes to the rescue (although, not, it's granted, from the editorial page). They have, first of all, this wonderful speech from Tony Blair-- (an excerpt):
To fall back into the lassitude of the last 12 years, to talk, to discuss, to debate but never act; to declare our will but not enforce it; to combine strong language with weak intentions, is a worse outcome than never speaking at all.
Then the Guardian also publishes this Clinton op-ed, which is less fun to read, but might be more persuasive to the British public; I don't know.

[Will, 5:18 PM]
Back in Action:

Apologies for the radio silence, but now that my differential equations final is done with . . . here I am.

Sunday, March 16, 2003

[Jonathan, 9:55 PM]
It would be cool if dogs were made out of chocolate.

At least then they'd taste better when you ate them.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

[Jonathan, 7:16 AM]
Among other papers, I turned in my How to Save the World essay. The assignment was to write a satire... I got a few points off.

One of the marks said that my last paragraph bordered on the absurd. It's a real shame I couldn't reach the subtlety and realism of Jonathan Swift's proposal to eat babies, huh?

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

[Will, 3:47 PM]
Evaluations redux:

This is another evaluation of me, although it's from a class where I was a student (Econ 203):
How productive was class discussion?
Not at all. One student would ask stupid questions every so often that would lead us off topic for 30 minutes at a time. Other than that, no one ever really talked.[guilty as charged-- ed.]

And another great comment from the same class:
Is there any topic in this course you wished you had had previous background in?

[Will, 3:39 PM]

My father once warnedme not to pay any heed to good evaluations unless you were willing to pay equal heed to the bad ones. All the same, course evaluations are out (they can be accessed only off of the U of C or a proxy server), including the class I TA'ed for. Though I'm trying not to worry too much about the approval of a bunch of first-year students, in the interests of full disclosure, here is what they had to say:
TA was very good at clarifying: 2
TA was able to answer all my questions
TA was accessible and helpful: 13
Grading was tough[I wish-- ed.]
TA wasnt effective, couldnt understand him [I have my guess as to who this was-- ed.]
Would have liked the homework to be graded differently, he never showed how to correct it[This criticism is definitely fair-- ed.]

Thursday, March 06, 2003

[Will, 1:50 PM]
Why I want to clerk for this man:

Dahlia Lithwick, on Justice Kennedy:
Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose love of free speech borders on the obscene . . .

Note: IMHO, an obscene love of free speech would be more along the lines of Justice Brennan's, who often brought in so many different activities as expressive conduct that many real free speech protections had to be reduced. Kennedy's jurisprudence seems to me to be reasoned and balanced, albeit with a very weighted scale (but hey, I like that weight). I still, however, can't figure out how he differentiated Legal Services v. Velazquez from Rust v Sullivan.

[Will, 11:08 AM]
Kitty Litter:

How Appealing has posted emails from me and Amanda Butler regarding the Seventh Circuit kitty litter case. (Okay, it was really a liability case.) They are available here. Further blogthoughts from Amanda are here.

Note: For the record, neither Amanda nor I attends the University of Chicago Law School . . . yet.

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

[Will, 6:41 PM]
Give Peace a Chance:

I really hate to cover up the poem below, but somebody asked me a question so I have to answer it here. Still, scroll down and look at the tale of Ben Saintclair.

Anyway, Kathleen asks (The 5.3.03 post, her hotlink seems broken, but here it is), whether/why a shopping mall owner can kick people out for wearing "peace" shirts.

As usual, Eugene Volokh deals with this well, but I'll try to sum things up here. First of all, it's worth noting that it looks like the protesters were doing more than just wearing shirts, they were bothering customers, which is what prompted a complaint to management. Copies of the complaints are here.

But that's not important. Suppose the cases was really as simple as the NYTimes reports it. Kathleen questions the "It's like a house justification," somewhat rightly so, by pointing out that the same justification is not allowed to keep black people out of the mall. Here it's worth remembering that race is different. So is religion, and a few other things. A shopping mall owner cannot discriminate on the basis of race or color, but he *can* discriminate on almost any other basis he wishes. The case that establishes this broad property right is Lloyd v. Tanner which overruled the case from four years earlier, Amalgamated Food v. Logan Valley. In fact, this may be one of the few free speech issues where the law is actually clear-- so far as free speech laws are concerned, private property is not a public forum. This is different from the distinction used for discrimination-type law, where certain types of private property can be "public accomodations" (like a hotel or a restaurant). In general, free speech rights apply mostly to public fora (and to a limited extent to other public property), but not to private property. The best example might be a T-Shirt that says "Fuck the Draft". The Court held that the First Amendment protects your right to wear this shirt inside a public courthouse, even if people may be offended by it. Yet when the Maitre'D at Seasons demands you cover the shirt with a blazer, you have no First Amendment claim against him. Ditto shopping malls.

So. Racial discrimination is one thing, and speech is another. The former applies in places of public accomodation, which can be private property. The latter applies to a limited extent on public property (non-public fora) and to a much greater extent in public fora. If you own a lunch counter, you have to serve black customers, but you don't have to take any lip.

Now, go read about Ben Saintclair (below).

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

[Jonathan, 11:42 PM]
I hate to break the intellectual tone of the blog, but I really wanted to show this to someone. This is why I should never be allowed to write poems:

A man once lived named Ben Saintclair, who had an illness utmost rare. Take as much as you can bear of the fateful tale of

Ben Saintclair

From noon to ten, Ben's pain did blare.
But after that, his pain would flare.

Ben's pain would rage most anywhere.
On the ground, or in the air.
Cross the sea to St. Pierre,
But still would ache poor Ben Saintclair.

He'd been to Dr. Bombonare,
Provider of his primary care.
Ben's concern for his welfare
Had made the Doc a millionaire.

The good rich Doc did so declare,
"Greetings, my friend Ben Saintclair!
How do you, my patient, fare?"
Ben just groaned and took a chair.

"Doc, it hurts; it's just not fair.
It hurts me if I'm here or there.
It hurts all over, everywhere!"
Said the sick man Ben Saintclair.

"Hmm..." said Dr. Bombonare.
"Here are choices two: a pair.
Want to stay or take Zolnair®?
Untested pills, so please take care.
Unless, of course, you're fine right there.
"No!" said Mr. Ben Saintclair.

Later, Ben, well, he did stare
At the side effects of the new Zolnair.
"Effects include: a loss of hair,
Nausea, and skin may tear."
Ben's life was a harsh nightmare.

Don't end up like Ben Saintclair.
Read fine print, if you dare.

[Will, 5:11 PM]
This Just In:

Graduate students in the math department have just sent my University's president the following letter:
Dear President Randel:

We would like to express our indignation with the new University policy which will require all foreign students to pay an additional fee.

We think that charging foreign students an extra fee for expenses related to keeping tabs on foreign nationals is blatantly discriminating and unjust. We realize that the University faces increased costs to comply with government regulations. However, if the goal of these new regulations is to increase security for everyone, it seems only fair that everyone would share the expenses involved.

Foreign students should be made to bear the costs of tracking foreigners no more than people suspected of a crime should be made to pay the costs of their investigation.

We strongly believe that the main mission of the University is to foster the freedom of academic inquiry. Unfair, unnecessary and divisive policies such as the proposed tax on foreign students have no place at a highly respected institution of learning. We hope that the administration of the University of Chicago will do the right thing and will reconsider this decision.

In general, I'm strongly in favor of the rights of immigrants and foreign nationals, but here I think the students are ignoring the fairly clear case of economic externalities. By coming here, foreign students put a cost on the university, a cost that they do not take into account when making their choice. That is the definition of an externality. By taxing foreign students (it could just as well subsidize all non-foreign ones; would it be as easy to complain about that?) the university forces them to take account of the costs they will impose on the university. Why isn't that just?

The students make the misleading argument that collective benefits (increased security) should be borne by all who are benefitted. Maybe so. But if that were true, then the costs should not be borne by the university community, but by the u.s. population as a whole. In any case, the reason to consider where to allocate the costs is to try to find a way to internalize any externalities-- to make people pay for making choices that hurt other people, and to pay them for making choices that help other people. Non-foreign students are making no choices, and ergo need neither subsidies nor penalties. Foreign students, sadly enough (and I am not commenting on the wisdom of the government policy here) impose a cost on the rest of the university when they choose to come here. They should pay for that cost.

[Will, 5:02 PM]
Victor's Little Secret:

The best line from Stevens's opinion:
Whatever difficulties of proof may be entailed, they are not an acceptable reason for dispensing with proof of an element of statutory violation.
The court is due to issue more opinions tomorrow. Will one of them finally be VA v. Black?

[Will, 1:51 AM]
Wake Up:

Rumor has it that two students here committed suicide recently. One seems to be fairly well confirmed, but the other may well be a bit of chaff from the gossip mill. I will report more when I know it. This latest rash prompted one of my friends to write "Wake up, Chicago, you're failing to take care of people." But I don't think that's so, for two reasons.

One, it's not within the university's duties or even capabilities to keep its students from killing themselves; it can keep us well-fed, it can nurture us, heal us if we're sick, try to keep the streets safe, and even talk to us if we come forward and are feeling blue. But it can't stop us from killing ourselves; suicide is, ultimately, a very personal decision even if it's often the wrong one. I, for one, am not willing to sacrifice the great degree of autonomy the U of C gives us; suicide prevention measures should fall to one's friends and family, not to one's school.

Second, Chicago does care. A few editorials were bandied about in the Chicago Weekly News a month ago about the U of C not caring about its students, but . . . it does. The folks in housing do try really hard to build communities that people can be happy about (if they just kicked out aramark and slashed dorm prices, I might even have stayed in the dorm), and more importantly, the university itself creates a place where . . . well . . . where learning stuff is rewarded. Chicago cares, but it can only comfort us with the currency it has-- the life of the mind.

I'll write more as I know more; as it stands it's late and I should go to bed. One last thought, though. Chicago's suicide rate this year is fairly high for a university of its size; one should take into account the possibility for selection bias, though. I suspect that the U of C tends to attract a less social, more introspective type of student; perhaps the suicides aren't a sign that the U of C is working us to death (it isn't, honestly) but rather that there's sometimes an unpleasant borderline between death and discovery. Yes, we should try to keep our friends and classmates alive, but don't let's blame the University of Chicago. Nobody comes here without having some idea of what they're getting into.


Apparently there has been only one suicide. This is good, at least. Secondly, Amanda Butler defends nightline. (This was the anonymous, confidential, student-run advice line. So do I. She's right. I'm wrong. The university shouldn't have shut it down. Maybe it's worth a letter or editorial in the maroon. Anybody want to write one or should I?


[Will, 12:46 AM]
Let me be the first to say:

MLA sucks. It's University of Chicago-form all the way.

Monday, March 03, 2003

[Jonathan, 10:51 PM]
This is all so very impressive. Getting blogrolled, I haven't the slightest idea what that is, but it sounds quite important. So congratulations. All right, I'll be honest, I have an idea what it is, but it's still very slight. Quite slight, right.

I do not like Tartuffe. Well, on its own, it's quite an agreeable play. A sunny disposition and fun to be around. But when one has to write a paper with proper MLA-form citations, one grows bitter. And I am one.

[Will, 6:58 PM]
Old News:

Amanda Butler's blog has been blogrolled by How Appealing. Amanda has, however, made the tactical error of titling her blog "to get there you follow highway 58" (from All The King's Men; her blog is also the top google hit for the phrase) rather than "Amanda Butler's Blog" which puts her very, very, low on the alphabetical blogroll. Ahh, well. Marketing isn't everything.

[Will, 3:21 PM]
More Sex is Safe Sex:

Steve Landsburg of Slate, also a professor at Rochester, has some interesting chapters up on his website. In general he provides very interesting/thought-provoking economic analyses of everyday life, although sometimes the assumptions and simplifications he makes are enough to make him seem almost parodic. Still, it's definitely worth reading what he has to say about sex. An excerpt:
Yet the entire problem...would vanish if our sexual pasts could somehow be made visible, so that future partners could reward past prudence and thereby provide appropriate incentives. Perhaps technology can ultimately make that solution feasible. (I imagine the pornography of the future: ``Her skirt slid to the floor and his gaze came to rest on her thigh, where the imbedded monitor read `This site has been accessed 314 times'.'')


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