The United States stands alone in its permissive laws regarding gun ownership among major industrialized powers. But the United States is also one of the most heterogeneous countries on the planet. Are those two factors related? Could it be that our fear of each other inspires pro-gun laws that one doesn’t see in less diverse cultures?
There’s an argument that the Second Amendment itself was adopted to defend slavery. Please note: I don’t agree with this argument. I think the Second Amendment was adopted because we’d just fought a war that we couldn’t have won without the martial powers of citizens militias. That’s why “A well regulated Militia” is right in the text of the Amendment (a phrase modern gun nuts are quick to gloss over). But it’s clear that widespread gun ownership helped white plantation owners keep control of their slaves. And the right to bear arms was certainly useful when it came time to “settle” additional territory away from the people who were already living there. Gun rights, who has them, and who does not, are inextricably tied to our history of racial oppression.
Do these “race-war” justifications for gun ownership still apply to our modern understanding of the right? A new study suggests that they could…
* A prosecutor managed to shoot out the window of the D.A.’s office while playing with another prosecutor’s gun. The boss is mad, but really, what’s the point of having guns if you can’t treat them like toys? [Waco Tribune]
* Typical traffic stop turns into anal cavity search because clenching your buttocks during a pat down is probable cause for a prostate exam. [KOB 4]
* Lawyer informed by judges that “not everything on the internet is reliable.” [IT-Lex]
* Texas has hired Texas Law grad Steve Patterson as its new athletic director, poaching him from the same position at Arizona State. I wonder if Todd Graham will slimily bail on another school and join his old boss at Texas when Mack Brown is unceremoniously fired. [CBS Sports]
* Michelle Mumford, the former Milbank associate who went public with her negative experience of being pregnant working in the firm’s litigation department, is now the admissions dean at BYU Law. If any institution is sympathetic to pregnancy, it would be the Mormon Church. [The Careerist]
* Professor Pamela Karlan explains how political gridlock is the result of the Framers’ failure. I refuse to believe a gathering of slaveholding farmers didn’t construct a perfect system. [Boston Review]
* Judge tells lawyers they can’t withhold their fee structure as confidential when he can look it up in other cases. Was their theory that the judge was stupid? [South Florida Lawyers]
* Harry Belafonte is suing MLK’s kids to establish ownership of a few documents. Why won’t the King kids jump in de line? [CNN]
* Bad news for Charleston Law: South Carolina has decided to pass on taking over the school. To InfiLaw and Beyond! [The State]
* Sometimes advertising creates some strange bedfellows. This story brought to you by the U.S. News rankings. [PrawfsBlawg]
* School sends in a fake masked gunman to scare kids as part of a lesson. This will end well. [Jezebel]
* Maryland’s Attorney General is a terrible backseat driver. Do with that information what you will. [Lowering the Bar]
* Sullivan & Cromwell is bringing in Jeffrey Wall, an assistant to the Solicitor General, to be co-head of its appellate practice. [Blog of the Legal Times]
* Some advice that you wish someone imparted back in the day. [Legal Cheek]
* The government shutdown wasn’t as much about tearing down government as it was about creating a paradoxical dictatorship of freedom. Time to brush up on your Carl Schmitt, y’all. [Concurring Opinions]
* The legal issues involved in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The traffic laws governing flying cars not included. [The Legal Geeks]
How did we get to the point where activities conducted on someone’s private property can somehow fall under the jurisdiction of a public school? The short version is this: concerns aboutactual criminal activity on school grounds led to tighter controls being built into policies. A few school shootings upped the ante and provoked disproportionate reactions from several legislators. And just in case no one felt the new weapon and violence policies erected to prevent the unpreventable weren’t being taken seriously enough, the government “helpfully” tied these new rules to federal funding.
“Playing it safe” just isn’t good enough anymore. Every administrator is compelled to err on the (uber-ridiculous) side of caution because to do otherwise might result in angry parents, or worse, the loss of federal funding. Anything that bears a slight resemblance to a gun is treated as the real thing — a weapon powerful enough to kill someone — even if that “weapon” is a Pop Tart, four fingers and a thumb or drawn on a piece of paper.
The illogical extremes seen in these earlier incidents has been surpassed by Larkspur Middle School of the Virginia Beach School District….
* Maryland gubernatorial campaign promising to build another law school. Newsflash: Ray Lewis has retired! You don’t need more lawyers! [Baltimore Sun]
* The Daily Beast’s Josh Rogin mocked a stand-up act over Twitter last night. He was punched in the face for his efforts. The comic was arrested. Punching Rogin for criticizing the act was uncalled for. Punching Rogin for working for the Daily Beast on the other hand… [IT-Lex]
* Marissa Alexander, the Florida woman sentenced to 20 years for firing a warning shot at an abusive husband, is getting a new trial. Since George Zimmerman got a decorative fruit basket for actually killing someone a few miles away, Alexander has to like her chances. [First Coast News]
That sounds awesome! A bank robbery with a sawed-off shotgun, a high-speed chase, and shooting blindly at the authorities. Best GTA mission ever. Way to go Trevor!
Wait… that wasn’t a GTA mission? You’re telling me the crazy bastard in this story wasn’t Trevor, but a 64-year-old attorney turned amateur bank robber? I’d heard of bank robbers becoming lawyers, but the other way around is a new twist. Maybe Spencer Mazyck can make a new “Stealth Lawyer” video about it. Except I guess this guy wasn’t all that stealth since he got caught. He probably didn’t realize there were no more Pay ‘n’ Sprays.
Armed bank robbery. Man, those “million-dollar law degree” guys are really working hard to prove how much you can make with a J.D., aren’t they?
Ed. note: Above the Law will be signing off early to begin the ATL/Kaplan Bar Crawl Review. Follow along on social media (Twitter and Facebook) or on the liveblog post after NS, or better yet, come out and join us!
* A Facebook “Like” is protected by the First Amendment. ATL Likes this. [The Atlantic]
* An interview with Alan Page of the Minnesota Supreme Court, and formerly a Defensive Tackle for the Minnesota Vikings. Page’s hometown has a bust of him on display. Not so impressive until you realize he’s from Canton, Ohio. [Coverage Opinions]
* If you’re looking for some more legal content related to International Talk Like a Pirate Day, check out Buried Treasure: Finders, Keepers, and the Law. [ABA]
* A list of everything you should be doing with your time instead of getting a law degree. [Yahoo!]
* A warm welcome to Chris Geidner as the new legal editor of BuzzFeed. In addition to some great content, like his amazing profile of Edie Windsor (first link), stay tuned for “25 Ways Justice Alito Is Like This Cat.” [New York Observer]
* If you’ve upgraded your iPhone to iOS 7, you’re probably annoyed right now. Here are some tips to help preserve your battery life. We can do nothing about fixing how ungodly ugly it is. [Tuaw]
In Washington, D.C. on Monday, Aaron Alexis gunned down twelve people. As if designed to preempt the scripted reactions of those who fight for an anemic interpretation of the Second Amendment, the Navy Yard massacre included no assault weapon. Alexis committed his crimes in a virtually gun-free zone. His background had been checked in order to gain the active security clearance he held prior to the shooting. While I’m usually game for a good discussion of the proper limits of the Second Amendment, that alone cannot sensibly be the focus here.
Neither is the matter so simple as switching the sound bite of choice from “gun control” to “mental health and gun control.” Most states, as well as the feds, already substantially limit lawful access to firearms by the mentally ill. Even Texas does.
If the law can deprive felons of their Second Amendment rights, gun control measures that restrict the rights of entire classes of potentially dangerous citizens are not off the table. Even as a conservative, my defense of your individual right to bear arms stops right about when you start having auditory hallucinations. But it’s long past time to start responding to horrors like what occurred this week at the Washington Navy Yard with less talk about guns and more talk about mental illness . . . .
The old saying goes, “you can’t judge a book by its cover,” and it usually preaches that people are different on the inside, and generally for the better. That’s kind of a stupid saying when you think about it because a cover is an image specifically selected by the author and a publisher to entice people to read the book. It’s designed to reflect the book. If anything, a cover misleads the consumer into buying a book that’s not as good as the cover. So if you’re judging a book by its cover, there is only a risk that the reality is going to be worse.
This is all a roundabout way of pointing out that a business structured around a couple of guys who affirmatively choose to dress up like evil clowns and sing “F**k Celine Dion and f**k Dionne Warwick, you both make me sick, suck my dick,” have been sued for sexual harassment.
The allegations are kind of crazy, and claim other criminality as well….
* The death toll of the latest mass shooting at the Navy Yard is 13 (including the gunman, military contractor Aaron Alexis), and people are rallying for stricter gun control laws before we’ve even had time to mourn. When will we ever learn? [New York Times]
* Today is Constitution Day, and Justice Antonin Scalia would like to remind you to celebrate — except if you think it’s a living document. If that’s the case, you can just “[f]ugget about the Constitution,” because that thing is dead, baby. [Blog of Legal Times]
* Please sir, we want some more! The Judiciary Conference has been forced to plea poverty to President Barack Obama due to its teeny tiny itsy bitsy post-sequestration budget. [National Law Journal (sub. req.)]
* Congrats to Kimberley Leach Johnson, the first woman to climb to the very top of the ladder at Quarles & Brady. That makes her the only eighth woman currently leading a Biglaw firm. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]
* And congrats to Matt Johnson, outgoing chief counsel to Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas), on his return to the private sector. He’ll be taking his talents to the lobbying firm, McBee Strategic Consulting. [The Hill]
* From second career choices to no career choices: if you want to go to law school after working in another field, you should consider if it will help or hinder your applications. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]
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The holiday season is upon us, and yet again, you have no idea what to get for the fickle lawyer in your life. We’re here to help. Even if your bonus check hasn’t arrived yet, any one of the gifts we’ve highlighted here could be a worthy substitute until your employer decides to make it rain.
We’ve got an eclectic selection for you to choose from, so settle in by that stack of documents yet to be reviewed and dig in…
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