Politics

Professors Richard Epstein and John Yoo

The topic of whether (and how) to reform legal education remains very hot. The latest New York Times story — by David Segal, who isn’t very popular among law school deans right now — has sparked much online commentary.

And it’s not over yet. What do Professors Richard Epstein and John Yoo — two of legal academia’s most colorful characters, rock stars in Federalist Society circles — think of the current state of law schools here in the United States?

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* Rod Blagojevich is sentenced to 14 years but his hair will be out in seven if it behaves. [Sentencing Law and Policy]

* Jerry Sandusky was re-arrested. This dude needs to be put in the Hannibal Lecter cell. Can’t you hear this guy saying, “A pizza boy tried to deliver to my house once. I S’ed his D after luring him with jellybeans and a Good & Plenty.” [Deadspin]

* Has the Leveson Inquiry into News of the World been “hijacked” by celebrities? Aren’t they the only ones that matter? [Lady of Law]

* The RIAA is about as neutral as a spider regarding something it’s caught in its web. [Simple Justice]

* Should being a world-renowned liar get you barred from practicing on character and fitness grounds? [Reuters]

* When going to the dentist feels like going to the spa, you might be spending too much time in the law school library. [Life in the Law School Lane]

* Obama’s pivots on tax cuts show why he’s the Republican frontrunner for the 2012 nomination. [Going Concern]

Two months ago, to the day, I wrote that the Occupy Wall Street people would be occupying K Street if they had even the slightest clue about how power is really wielded in this country.

I suppose two months is pretty good turnaround time for a leaderless mob that votes by consensus and uses hand signals to express when something makes them uncomfortable.

Today, the Occupy D.C. movement heads for K Street. And the denizens of Gucci Gulch are terrified!

Well, maybe the lawyers aren’t terrified. People who live and work in D.C. and have a basic understanding of the right to peaceably assemble aren’t overly concerned with the prospect of protesters, though I’m sure they aren’t looking forward to the inconvenience.

But the real estate companies that own the buildings under attack from Occupy K Street, yeah, those people are totally freaking out….

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Professor William Birdthistle

Welcome to Lawyers & Economics, a new video series on financial topics by Professor William Birdthistle of Chicago-Kent College of Law. Professor Birdthistle, who teaches corporate law, has been preparing well-received videos for his students on a variety of subjects related to economics and finance. We’ve previously linked to some of his work, which received positive reader feedback, so we thought we’d give you a bit more.

After the jump, here’s a short primer on the Greek debt crisis, which remains ongoing. Watch it, so you can sound enlightened the next time this topic comes up at a cocktail party.

It features not just Professor Birdthistle but also a television actor you might recognize, who left Hollywood to become a law student….

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[T]he dislike [for legal academics] is a result of law professors being too much in the world. You see, law professors — and I should disclose here that I am one — very nearly run the world, or at least certain parts of the U.S. government. When you include Justice Anthony Kennedy, who taught nights, they make up the majority of the Supreme Court.

– Professor Noah Feldman, in an interesting and provocative Bloomberg opinion piece (via Overlawyered), responding in part to David Segal’s latest New York Times piece criticizing legal education.

(Additional excerpts and discussion, after the jump.)

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* Facebook settled with the FTC over its privacy violations. Mark Zuckerberg will be adding a “dislike” button to the site so he has an appropriate way to deal with this. [National Law Journal]

* The lawsuit seeking to overturn gay marriage in New York will proceed. Eric Schneiderman just got disinvited from more holiday parties than he can even count. [New York Times]

* On appeal, Dechert will get to walk away from the Dreier drama without losing a single dime, but not if Marc Kasowitz has anything to do with it. [New York Law Journal]

* Herman Cain’s defamation lawyer, Lin Wood, is apparently living on a very nice planet where “guilt by accusation” isn’t already the norm in the realm of politics. [Washington Post]

* What’s with all of the child predator attorneys flocking to New Jersey? Solo practitioner Tobin Nilsen got 12 years for trying to have sex with a 7-year-old girl. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

* We suspected as much: it appears that the “poop tattoo” story is, er, “full of crap.” [The Smoking Gun]

* What’s the first Michael Jackson lyric that Conrad Murray will hear in jail from his fellow prisoners? My vote: “I want to love you, pretty young thing.” [Hollywood Reporter]

* Herman Cain wants the media to get off his d*ck about his alleged extramarital affairs. He’s got plenty of other women who he’s “never acted inappropriately with” for that. [Volokh Conspiracy]

* Anyone can be a law student stripper if they try hard enough, but it takes a special kind of gal to pose as a paralegal and strip for prisoners. [Riptide 2.0 / Miami New Times]

* Corporate socialism and you: a business primer for New York, courtesy of David Cay Johnston. [Reuters]

* The “first ever” original jurisdiction standings? An interesting read if you’re a con law nerd. [Odd Clauses Watch]

* After bopping her on the head with a hatchet, you can be damn sure that your neighbor is never going to let you borrow a cup of sugar again. [Legal Juice]

Justice Elena Kagan

The latest issue of New York magazine contains a very interesting profile of the U.S. Supreme Court’s newest member, Justice Elena Kagan, penned by Dahlia Lithwick. Here’s the bottom-line summary of the piece (via Ezra Klein):

“While Kagan is assuredly a liberal, and likely also a fan of the health-reform law, a close read of her tenure at the Supreme Court suggests that she is in fact the opposite of a progressive zealot. By the end of Kagan’s first term, conservatives like former Bush solicitor general Paul Clement (who will likely argue against the health-care law this coming spring) and Chief Justice John Roberts were giving Kagan high marks as a new justice precisely because she wasn’t a frothing ideologue. The pre-confirmation caricatures of her as a self-serving careerist and party hack are not borne out by her conduct at oral argument, her writing, and her interactions with her colleagues. In fact, if her first term and a half is any indication, she may well madden as many staunch liberals as conservatives in the coming years.”

That’s just the overview. Let’s delve into the details a bit more….

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Thanksgiving is just a few days away. But at the U.S. Department of Justice, there might not be a lot to be thankful for. Most of the DOJ-related news floating around right now is depressing.

A court-appointed investigator, Henry F. Schuelke, just issued what the New York Times described as a “scathing” report on one of the DOJ’s most prominent prosecutions in recent years. Schuelke concluded that the prosecution the late Senator Ted Stevens “was ‘permeated’ by the prosecutors’ ‘serious, widespread and at times intentional’ illegal concealment of evidence that would have helped Mr. Stevens defend himself at his 2008 trial.” Ouch.

(The good news, from the Department’s perspective: a recommendation against criminal prosecution of the DOJ officials involved in the case. That’s something to be thankful for, I suppose.)

Alas, that’s not all for depressing dispatches out of the Department. Let’s discussing the hiring freeze, and the state of Honors Program offers….

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Down on your luck? Feel like cheering yourself up by, say, arresting a judge? Or perhaps you just fancy seizing a courtroom for the day? Well, the “Freeman-on-the-land” movement could be for you.

“Freemen” argue that the law can be circumvented by, for example, evoking an ancient text and then sending an affidavit to the Queen.

Here’s a clip of them in action (go to 4:21 for the hilarious pseudo-legal speech)….

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