Rank Stupidity

I’m not a constitutional scholar, and I didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn last night. But I really struggle to find the ambiguity in this line from the Fourteenth Amendment: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

That statement seems very, very clear to me.

Of course, I’m not an unabashed racist. Maybe if I was I’d be able to be as intellectually dishonest and willfully ignorant as State Legislators for Legal Immigration, and have the gall to argue that this section of the 14th Amendment has been misinterpreted for 150 years.

Actually, check that. Even if I woke up in the middle of the night terrified that dirty foreigners were stealing my country, I’d grab a shovel and start digging a moat around this country before I fixed my mouth to argue utter tripe like what we’re hearing from the State Legislators for Legal Immigration.

In a world full of spurious legal arguments, theirs is truly one of the stupidest things you’re ever going to hear…

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This is an artichoke. Warning: don't eat the whole damn thing.

Remind me to tell you about the time I looked into the heart of an artichoke.

– Margo Channing (Bette Davis), All About Eve

Warning: consumption of artichokes can be hazardous to your health. Especially if you eat the entire thing, leaves and all.

This is a lesson that Arturo Carvajal, a doctor in Miami, learned the hard way. According to Dr. Carvajal, in May 2009 he ate at a Houston’s restaurant in Miami Beach, where he ordered the grilled artichoke special. Having never eaten an artichoke before, he ate the whole thing — including the tough, practically inedible outer portion of the leaves.

After doing so, Dr. Carvajal experienced… tummy trouble. One “exploratory laparotomy” later, he learned that he had artichoke leaves stuck inside his bowel. Oy.

Now, Dr. Caravajal is suing….

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West Wing fans will get a kick out of this. Liberals will get a huge kick out of this. Republican leaders who hope to take back the Senate will cry softly to themselves.

The Tea Party darling and Republican nominee for Senator from Delaware, Christine O’Donnell, has struck again.

Last week, we learned that Christine O’Donnell couldn’t name a recent Supreme Court decision she disagreed with. That was funny and embarrassing, but Lat did a good job defending O’Donnell and pointing out her recovery from the flub.

She’ll get no such quarter from me.

During a debate at Widener Law School, O’Donnell and Democratic Senatorial nominee Chris Coons mixed it up over teaching creationism in schools. Coons, on the defensive because Dems are too dumb to say “creationism is not science” and move on, said that a fundamental principle of this country is the separation of church and state. O’Donnell, after a pause, asked: “Where in the Constitution is separation of church and state?” The crowd laughed, O’Donnell started grinning like an idiot, and, well — watch the clip for yourself, in which O’Donnell shares her thoughts on some other Constitutional amendments…

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Last month, Marin broke down the Paris Hilton defense to a drug possession charge. Put simply, saying “it wasn’t me” when confronted with drugs found on your person strains credulity.

Especially if those drugs are found in your ass. Which is what happened to a Florida man over the weekend…

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Based on our earlier coverage of traffic stops, here are some dos and don’ts for the next time you get pulled over:

Now that we’ve covered the basics of traffic stops, let’s move on to the advanced course….

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There are a lot of angry job hunters in the legal marketplace right now, thanks to lots of debt and little in the way of prospects. They’re desperate, frustrated, and may be dangerous. The Great Recession has turned some of these poor legal puppies into Cujos.

In May, we wrote about a heated exchange between a Massachusetts law student and a potential lawyerly employer. The lawyer, Rose Clayton, had hesitations about hiring the law student as a paralegal and offered to hire him on a trial basis. When he objected, demanding a full-time offer instead, she laid out exactly what he had done wrong. That set him off and the conversation deteriorated into an exchange of unconstructive criticism. The law student, Jesse Clark, ended with this:

It’s amazing that the Ma Bar lets women practice law. Shouldn’t you be home cleaning and raising children? As for your practice, its just Bankruptcy. It’s not difficult, and many Petitioners file pro bono and get discharges.

Clayton posted the exchange online, redacting the student’s name, and Massachusetts Law Weekly picked up on it. And then we picked up on it. Jesse Clark responded on his blog and thus shed the cloak of anonymity.

Noah Schaffer at the Massachusetts Law Weekly’s Docket identified Clark in a second story, which led Clark to create a nude modeling profile for Schaffer.

After corresponding with Clark, my photo and phone number found their way into a Craigslist casual encounters ad. I deflated quite a few, um, hearts when I let the many callers know that it was a prank.

Then all was quiet on the digital terrorism front for over a month. Until this week. Rose Clayton became the victim of a nasty new prank…

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A lot of ink (virtual and otherwise) has been spent the last couple of days grading the performance of Elena Kagan at her Supreme Court confirmation hearings before the Senate. If confirmed, this week is the last time Kagan has to talk to the people, so it’s right to focus on how she did.

But there seems to be a media blind spot when it comes to grading the Senate Judiciary Committee itself. These 19 elected representatives are entrusted with the awesome responsibility of being the people’s voice in a process that ends with a lifetime appointment. Yet few seem to care if these guys are doing a good job — or if they even know what they are talking about. Sure, we’ve got to live with confirmed SCOTUS Justices for the rest of their lives, be we have direct electoral control over the Senators who do the confirming.  Is it too much to ask that we find 19 people in the entire U.S. Senate that actually understand what judges do for a living?

Let’s get this ball rolling. Which Senator best fulfilled his or her duty to all of us, and which ones need to be transferred to Foreign Relations — where only our enemies and allies have to suffer under their stupidity?

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Ann Althouse was a law student once. (Photo by Richard Lawrence Cohen.)

We spend a lot of time telling prospective law students to carefully consider the decision to go to law school. And still they come. We tell prospective law students that law school is expensive and the job market is weak. But still they come, in record numbers.

What makes them come? NPR did a story on the difficult job market for recent college graduates. The article tells us about Hawaii college graduate Ryan Kam’s considered rationale for going to law school.

It’s not pretty. In fact, it’s downright pathetic…

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Some of you apparently feel that your law degrees aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. But there’s no denying that what you learned in first-year contracts class comes in handy — and not just for understanding the gobbledygook in your apartment lease.

Check out what happens when laypeople try to do contract law….

Charge: Seattle man forced pregnant teen to sign abuse contract [Seattle PI Blogs]
Graydon Smith Accused of Forcing Pregnant Teen Girlfriend to Sign “Abuse Contract”
[Seattle Weekly]

Elie here: just wanted to make sure you all know what’s coming.

Few things embarrass me like the Harvard Black Law Students Association. It could be the most credible foil to systemic racism against black law students. It has instead become a convenient tool to be used by those who wish to ignore the racial tensions in our system of legal education.

Don’t believe me? Earlier this week, we learned that a sole white kid called blacks genetically dumber than whites, and Harvard BLSA backed down — stepped and fetched, if you will — in the face of one solitary white person. It’s not the first time (we’ll get to the tragically impotent reaction to Kiwi Camara later). But at a point when the entire law school world would have at least considered what Harvard BLSA had to say, the organization sought to cover their own ass in the media, instead of standing up on the behalf of maligned black law students everywhere.

I cannot and do not wish to speak for all black law students and lawyers. But when confronted with abject racism, I can find the courage to speak for myself. I believe that gives me more balls than BLSA…

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