Larry Lessig

* Who says bipartisanship is dead? Senators McCain and Gillibrand hammer Obama’s nominee for Navy Undersecretary. Gillibrand went after her specifically over prosecuting sexual assaults. [Breaking Defense]

* Lawyers per capita by state. For everyone who says lawyers make the world worse, note that Arkansas has the fewest lawyers per capita and do with that information what you will. [Law School Tuition Bubble]

* A bunch of rabbis were arrested for plotting to kidnap and torture a guy into granting a Jewish divorce. This is a thing? [Wall Street Journal]

* Professor Larry Lessig thinks the administration should have made originalist arguments in the McCutcheon case to salvage campaign finance limits. First, I don’t see why this would have worked. Second, someone in Washington has to be an adult and resist the urge to make stupid arguments just because someone might listen. [The Atlantic]

* An agent is facing 14 felony counts for giving improper benefits to college athletes. For all the alleged cheating, you’d think UNC would be better at football. [Forbes]

* A Texas judge ordered a teen to move back in with a sex offender. This was a poor decision. [USA Today]

* Upon hearing former NYC Mayor David Dinkins saying, “You don’t need to be too smart to be a lawyer, so I went to law school,” the dean of New York Law School said, “So you went to Brooklyn Law School?” Which of course Dinkins did. What is wrong with NYU’s Tribeca campus? [NYLS (exchange begins at 23:00)]

* Is this related to the law? Not really. Is it the cast of Archer doing the video of Danger Zone? Yes…

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* Marshall University is no longer a defendant in a case about a student shooting bottle rockets out of his anus. So from now on your sum total knowledge of the Thundering Herd involves the movie We Are Marshall and “shooting bottle rockets out of anuses.” [West Virginia Record]

* Documentary filmmaker files suit seeking declaratory judgment that “Happy Birthday to You” is in the public domain. Why hasn’t everyone just accepted Larry Lessig’s new birthday song? [New York Times]

* Men tend to think professional dress is one part white/blue shirt and one part brown/black/navy slacks. There’s more to it than that. Well, if you want to look good at all, there’s more to it than that. [Corporette]

* Market realities catch up with law school plans. Pour a little out for the proposed Arlington Law School. [ARL Now]

* Rough legal question: Should the U.S. refuse to send a child to a country employing Islamic family law? [Volokh Conspiracy]

* A federal judge ordered HHS to give a little girl a lung transplant. Popehat wonders who lost out on a transplant in this exchange. I’m wondering why there aren’t more lung donors out there. [Popehat]

‘Read me some Camus to cheer me up.’ — Hayley Franklin, 3, after hearing new birthday song.

Ever notice that movies and TV shows go out of their way never to sing “Happy Birthday To You” on-screen? Well that’s because Time Warner owns the copyright and rides that cash cow to the tune (hah!) of $2 million every year. Every unauthorized rendition of the song is technically worth $700 in royalties payable to Time Warner.

Time Warner’s zealous enforcement has even raised concerns that YouTube may have to take down videos of kiddie parties singing the song.

How can we break Time Warner’s stranglehold over our annual celebration of our own impending mortality? A New Jersey radio station (WFMU) decided to write a new song to replace “Happy Birthday To You” and brought in Harvard professor Larry Lessig to judge the competition.

A video of the new song that you’ll come to love appears after the jump. And by love I mean, “listen to, laugh, and hope to purge from your memory”….

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Is it wrong to hire on the basis of physical appearance?

* Interested in going to law school this coming fall? It’s not too late to apply, frighteningly enough. [Inside the Law School Scam via Tax Prof Blog]

* Don’t say we didn’t warn you. Even graduates of Harvard Law School wind up homeless. [Concurring Opinions]

* Sorry, I don’t like bike dudes; so many cyclists are rude, irresponsible, and annoying, to both pedestrians and drivers. If I were king, they’d go to prison; but I’m not, so we’ll have to settle for reeducation. [New York Times]

* What does Bruce Springsteen think of Obamacare? [Althouse]

* A few jurisdictions have laws against “attractiveness discrimination.” Try to guess which ones, then click on the link to see if you’re right. [What About Clients?]

* Larry Lessig and Ilya Shapiro debate the value of disclosure requirements in the campaign finance context. [Lean Forward / MSNBC]

Update: Check out Part 2: The Conservatives.

As we were planning Above the Law’s Elena Kagan confirmation coverage, we got to thinking (always a dangerous thing around these parts): What if Supreme Court nominees didn’t have to defend themselves to the American public? What if the U.S. Senate’s constitutional privilege of “advice and consent” was revoked? What would the Court look like if the nominees didn’t have to even pretend to be moderate?

It’s a thought experiment that we’re sure has been done countless times before. But we’ve never done it, so we’ll plunge ahead.

Here are the rules: (1) The nominee should be unconfirmable. (2) The nominees on the right should make Elie angry; the nominees on the left should make Lat uncomfortable. (3) Mealy-mouthed moderates need not apply.

We decided to keep the five-four ideological balance of the current Court. Sure, we know that some people think that without the Senate, Presidents would nominate apolitical justices who have no discernible political slant. Sadly, apolitical justices = yawn.

In this post, Elie picks four pinko commie scumbags. In a future post, Lat will select five right-wing fascist nutjobs. Should be fun…

So, who are the SCOTUS nominees in the administration of President Elie Mystal?

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Dean Elena Kagan strikes again. From an HLS press release:

Lawrence Lessig law professor Larry Lessig.jpgRenowned legal scholar Lawrence Lessig has been appointed to the faculty of Harvard Law School, and as the faculty director of Harvard University’s Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics. The announcement was made jointly today (Dec. 12) by Harvard University Provost Steven E. Hyman and Harvard Law School Dean Elena Kagan.

Lessig — a widely acclaimed expert in constitutional law, cyberlaw, and intellectual property — comes to Harvard from the faculty of Stanford Law School. Prior to joining the Stanford faculty in 2000, he was on the faculty of the University of Chicago Law School and Harvard Law School.

Dean Kagan and HLS have been on a tremendous hiring spree. One source sums it up: “Can we get a list of who’s left — not counting federal judges like Posner, Easterbrook and Calabresi — that Kagan hasn’t scooped up in the last few years? Dworkin? Ackerman? Epstein?”

Says a second: “Dean Kagan is a juggernaut. In spite of losing about 25 percent of its endowment, Harvard is apparently not in a hiring freeze.”

More discussion, including words from Professor Lessig, after the jump.

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Copyright_night_ripper_illegal_art.jpgStanford law professor Larry Lessig had an editorial in the Wall Street Journal’s weekend edition, “In defense of piracy.” Lessig starts off hating on the lawyers who went after the mother in the dancing baby/YouTube/Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” case. (Background here.)

How is it that sensible people, people no doubt educated at some of the best universities and law schools in the country, would come to think it a sane use of corporate resources to threaten the mother of a dancing 13-month-old? What is it that allows these lawyers and executives to take a case like this seriously, to believe there’s some important social or corporate reason to deploy the federal scheme of regulation called copyright to stop the spread of these images and music?

The answer: Crazy copyright law.

Lessig goes on to defend others whose creativity is derived from others’ creativity, like Danger Mouse and mash-up artist Girl Talk, whose latest album samples from 300 different songs. No rights acquired.

Midway through, the editorial goes into “Braveheart” mode. There’s a war going on, says Lessig– the “copyright wars.” Kids these days are sharing copyrighted material through peer-to-peer networks, while the art world is embracing a rampant remix culture.

This war must end. It is time we recognize that we can’t kill this creativity. We can only criminalize it. We can’t stop our kids from using these tools to create, or make them passive. We can only drive it underground, or make them “pirates.” And the question we as a society must focus on is whether this is any good. Our kids live in an age of prohibition, where more and more of what seems to them to be ordinary behavior is against the law. They recognize it as against the law. They see themselves as “criminals.” They begin to get used to the idea.

That recognition is corrosive. It is corrupting of the very idea of the rule of law. And when we reckon the cost of this corruption, any losses of the content industry pale in comparison.

That’s heavy. Lessig’s suggestions for ending the war, saving our lawless kids, and encouraging creativity, after the jump.

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Draft Lessig 2 Change Congress Professor Lawrence Lessig Larry Lessig Above the Law blog.jpgA brief update on an earlier story. Last week, we mentioned that celebrity cyberlaw prof Larry Lessig, of Stanford Law School, was contemplating a congressional bid. His prospective campaign would be centered on the theme du jour of Change (in this case, of Congress).
Many ATL commenters didn’t think highly of the idea:

“He has NO chance against Jackie Speier.”

“He can’t exactly self-fund, and the primary is just over three months away. I like the fellow well enough, but this seems foolhardy.”

“Jackie Speier has this thing locked up. She has name recognition, prior elected experience, the endorsements of everyone who matters, party money, and a compelling story that involves getting shot several times by crazy people. Beat that.”

Professor Lessig apparently decided he couldn’t. For his official statement on why he decided not to run, see his website.
P.S. Are we sure Professor Lessig couldn’t have pulled this off? After all, he is a former Supreme Court clerk (Posner / Scalia). Those folks can do anything they set their formidable minds to!
From Larry [Lessig08.org]
Lessig Decides Against Run for Congress at Internet Speed [The Lede / New York Times]
Larry Lessig: I’m not running for Congress [The Iconoclast / CNET]
Earlier: Following in Obama’s Footsteps? Professor Lessig Considers Running for Congress

Draft Lessig Change Congress Professor Lawrence Lessig Larry Lessig Above the Law blog.jpgThe stereotypical law professor might be viewed as too disengaged from the “real world” to be a good politician. But as Barack Obama shows, it’s quite possible to move from legal academia into political life.
Now another prominent young law prof — who, by the way, is an outspoken Obama supporter — is contemplating Congress. From a Stanford Law School source:

Larry Lessig is considering a congressional run to replace Tom Lantos. Seems to have sparked a lot of energy and attention here on campus and in the Silicon Valley the last day or two.

No discussion yet about what happens to his Con Law class if he decides to run.

As Professor Lessig recently told the WSJ Law Blog, he wants to change the political process, primarily by reducing the influence of money and lobbyists on policy decisions. And what better way to reform the system than from within?
If you’re interested in expressing support for Professor Lessig, check out the links collected below. The Draft Lessig Facebook group already has over 3,000 members — but surely they’d welcome more.
Lessig ’08 [official website]
Draft Lessig – Change Congress
Draft Lessig for Congress [Facebook]
Law Blog Q&A With Lawrence Lessig [WSJ Law Blog]