A Law Student's Attempt to Understand It All.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Lesbian-on-Lesbian Action

As an Ancient History major, I have heard a few corny history jokes with "Lesbian" in the punch line.

The term Lesbian originally referred to the people who lived on the Greek island Lesbos. Indeed, they were an important player in the Peloponnesian War. This knowledge, however, does not stop me from snickering every time the "Lesbian ambassador" was mentioned in class. (To be fair, I also snicker when my law professors say "but for" or "duty.")

Now, the AP is reporting that three Lesbians (of the island) are suing a Lesbian (homosexual women) group.
"My sister can't say she is a Lesbian," said Dimitris Lambrou. "Our geographical designation has been usurped by certain ladies who have no connection whatsoever with Lesbos," he said.
First, the line "My sister can't say she is a Lesbian":This must bring a chuckle. What more is there to say for that phrase? Second, I love the euphemism, "certain ladies." How politically correct and respectful!
Lambrou said the word lesbian has only been linked with gay women in the past few decades. "But we have been Lesbians for thousands of years," said Lambrou[.]
Lambrou has a point here. The homosexual community has usurped many words for their own identification. Other words have been thrust upon them. Either way, the modern speaker has a minefield to navigate lest he somehow refer to homosexuality. "Gay" once simply meant merry or happy. Lesbian referred to a person from the tiny Greek island. "Queer" simply meant odd or unusual. "Faggot" is really a term for kindling. Indeed, anyone who reads Foxe's Book of Martyrs will get quite a surprise if they did not know the true definition of faggot.

It will be interesting to see how this case turns out. Greece has long been known for its openness to "alternative" sexual choices. Thus, the courts may be reluctant to condemn in anyway the homosexual community. Yet, the Greek people are very proud of the heritage and land too. I would not want to grow up on Lesbos and have my sister thus teased for being a "Lesbian." Which side will win the tug of war?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Murderer On Campus

Fellow blogger Rocky Mountain Neo-Con broke a major story at my alma mater. It seems that the Metro State Political Science Department will be inviting a former Iranian "Revolutionary" (read, "Murderer/Terrorist") to speak to my former school. The full story can be found here and here.

Metro is a great school. The professors care deeply that the students learn the material. Further, the school has a philosophy that the professors need to have real-world as well as academic credentials. But it appears that the Political Science Department is determined to undermine the school's credibility.

I remember Dr. Oneida Meranto (the PhD is suspect: it is in "Native American Studies" and the only school that offers a doctorate in that field is UC Berkley) and her diatribes against "white Christian males." Indeed, she was so radical that even very liberal friends of mine found it difficult to sit through her lectures. Once, when on tour through the American Indian History Museum, one of these liberal students expressed their boredom and lingering doubt that all of the Christians were "that bad." He received an "F" in that course. For his privacy's sake, I do not fully disclose who this person is, but I can personally vouch that he was a solid B student and in now way deserved the F. Indeed, he was a socialist and we rarely agreed on anything. The problem was that he dared to question, even in the slightest, Meranto's philosophy. You can imagine the issues I had when I took her course.

Yet, there are good people in the Political Science Department too. Dr.
Norman Provizer taught me more about Constitutional Law than I learned in the course with the same name in law school. He is also an nationally-renowned expert on jazz. Dr. Robert Hazan, the chair of the department, is a kind and generous man who actually gives a fair reading of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Indeed, he was born in Turkey and gives an insider's view to politics for the entire middle east.

Perhaps poli-sci simply attracts extremists and weirdos. I cannot explain why my alma mater has so disgraced its name to allow a terrorist to speak to the school. It makes me ashamed to say I went there. Perhaps the school will wake up one day.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Christian License Plates

My friend Dan pointed me to this CNN story. A Florida state representative has proposed a bill to create a new license plate which reads "I BELIEVE" and bears the image of a stained-glass window featuring a cross. (photo credit: AP)

There were some interesting quotes in the article.

The problem with the state manufacturing the plate is that it "sends a message that Florida is essentially a Christian state" and, second, gives the "appearance that the state is endorsing a particular religious preference," said Howard Simon, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida.
This is the boilerplate, standard response by the ACLU on any indication of Christianity in the public sphere. My guess is that Mr. Simon had not even seen the proposed plate. Even if he had seen it, his response was not reasoned out based on these peculiar facts. Instead, the response is the product of a kneejerk reaction to any cross seen in public.

What is more interesting is what Rep. Kelly Skidmore (D) said:
It's not a road I want to go down. I don't want to see the Star of David next. I don't want to see a Torah next. None of that stuff is appropriate to me," said Skidmore, a Democrat who voted against the plate in committee. "I just believe that."
Why are there two references to Judaism? This double reference may be a slip of the tongue but it smacks of anti-Semitic animus. She may have wished to refer to either the Star and Crescent or the Koran of Islam. (Often, politicians use the “Big Three” of monotheism when discussing religious access.) Yet, she mentions Judaism twice about a case of a Christian symbol, which is suspicious.

Simon, of the ACLU, said approval of the plate could prompt many other groups to seek their own designs, and they could claim discrimination if their plans were rejected. That could even allow the Ku Klux Klan to get a plate, Simon said.
This is a true problem when allowing the state’s imprimatur to be lent to a cause or issue. The actual example (A KKK license plate) is highly unlikely, but often used when someone wants to shut down the free access side of the argument. “Should we let the KKK or Nazis do it too?” is nice and pejorative so as to make the idea seem ridiculous.

Normally, I would say Florida is wasting time and money on the idea. However, the bill has little chance of passing, given the recent history of similar plates. The best way to look at is to realize any day a legislature is arguing about irrelevant topics is a day they cannot pass new taxes.


I just scheduled my interview with the Colorado Supreme Court justice. I am so excited. As for other postings for the next few weeks, I may be intermittent due to finals. I hope you understand. Keep checking up on the blog because you never know when I will be posting something in an attempt to procrastinate studying.


I'm currently trying to work on the "final" paper for Property. The honor code and paper instructions both prohibit me from discussing the paper topic here for now. (I will divulge it after the deadline has passed.)

The great rule of persuasion is "Know thy judge." That is, know who they are, what they think, and what arguments would work best on them. I have thus been researching Paul Campos. It seems he has made some interesting comments recently that stand against academic freedom. See Brain Leiter's scathing reply to Campos.

Further, the man is a legal nihilist: the law is nothing but arbitrary pronouncements from the bench. There are no rules or logical conclusions. It's all vanity and navel contemplation.

This paper should be interesting.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Genetics and Privacy

Lawmakers are close to passing a bill to prohibit insurance companies and employers from discriminating on the basis of genetic information. (HT: Dan) Their reasons for restricting the use of DNA and genetic encoding information in the determination for insurance or employment stem from a concern of the right to medical privacy and the infancy of medical knowledge on genetics and disease.

The right to medical privacy and the doctor-patient privilege is sacred to our modern society.

The fear is that a company will do a DNA “background check” on its employees or applicants to determine how many useful years of work and an estimate of healthcare costs of a person. Thus, if a person were to be genetically predisposed to breast cancer or a cardiac disease, then the company may not hire that person to save on the bottom line.

The insurance fear is tangential to the employment fear: people with “bad genes” will not be able to buy health insurance because they are “too great a risk” for the insurance companies. Remember, insurance companies are primarily investment corporations that take the premiums of their clients and invest that money in the markets for profit. The more they pay out, the less money they invest and consequently, the less money they make.

Further, medical knowledge on genes and disease is in its infancy.

Some genes seem to flag a greater probability of getting a disease, but that flag is not dispositive. A person can have a “bad gene” and never get ill, and conversely, a person with “good genes” could succumb to breast cancer. There are too many variables to the health of a person (exercise, diet, employment, emotional health, etc.) to use genetics as a deciding factor in employment or insurance decisions.

The reality of our world is that entities crave quantitative data for every decision. Statistics are in vogue with academia, the media, and the man on the street. Every week there is a new statistical study on the effects of caffeine and alcohol on health. USA Today is famous (or infamous) for its colorful charts. The RBI stat in baseball is the most overused and over-analyzed stat in all of sports. Companies are using credit scores in their determination for hiring candidates. In short, our culture has shed its ability to decide abstract ideas based on evidence and philosophies in favor of easy, mathematical decisions based on numbers. Turning to genes and the probabilities of disease are just another story in this line.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Friggin Drama UPDATE

So, there was a great backlash against the change in exam rules. Many people marched up to the dean's office to complain. Others simply stood around, complaining. Still others were jubilant that the exam would be shorter and could not see past their self interest to understand why their classmates were upset.

Isn't this the true reaction that most groups of people will have to adversity? Some complain and moan, but do nothing. Others see the change in their favor and belittle those who believe otherwise. Finally, some take action and go.

This time, I did not take action. For me, my interest lies in the shorter exam. A nine-hour exam steals my energy for two days afterward. However, as I mentioned in my previous post, I prepared for a take home exam. Either way, I gain in one respect and lose in another. So, I took no action.

The amount of drama and caucusing that resulted from this last minute change amazed me. You would think that the Dems and GOPers were fighting in the House of Representatives over funding the Iraq war. Name calling. Raised voices. Frustration. Note to the world: when it is exam time, do not provoke the law students.


Now, as I post this, I just received an email from our con law professor. She has declared that the exam is back to the original nine-hour-at-home format. However, she did mention writing more questions and "changing the exam." Call me paranoid, but it appears to me like we are going to be punished via more questions on the exam for our challenge to her authority.

The fun continues.

Friggin' Drama

Today my con law professor announced a drastic change in the rules for our exam. Instead of an all-day, take-home exam, we would face a three-hour, in-class exam. Further, she was not sure if the exam would start at 8:00 or 13:15. (Side note, I use the 24 hour clock). All of this was announced at the end of class today— one week before the exam. We will only meet one more time before the exam.

To say the least, I prepare for a nine hour take-home exam much differently than an in-class exam of a third of the time. What bothered me more is how the exact exam time and length was left in the air. Since everything is in flux, I fear the exam even more. One week before exams is no time to change the rules.

If that was not enough, she refuses to answer “any questions of substance that may be part of the exam.” That means the con law professor will not answer questions about con law. One student did try to ask a question about the right to contract and the amount of judicial review the court would exercise on a law prohibiting contract provisions. He was flatly denied. Her reasoning:
“If I answer, then you will suppose that I will not ask such a question on the exam. If I refuse to answer, then you will deduce what will be on the exam by my silence. That would be unfair.”
Hopefully, we could reasonably deduce that some sort of con law doctrine will be on the con law exam. So, as long as she answers any and all questions on the substance of con law, we would still have no indication of what exactly the exam will cover. Of course, this is logical and this professor hates logic.

I am counting down the days…

One last note: I noticed that much of this blog has thus far dealt with my life at law school. This is because I literally live at the school right now as I study for the upcoming exams. Perhaps, once this semester is over, I will be able to explore other topics.

Hang in there with me.

Monday, April 21, 2008

In Demand

So, I have two jobs line up for the summer. One is part time, the other has not been determined yet. One is with the Solicitor General for the state. The other is for a Justice on the state supreme court. Most likely, I will find a way to do both (if they are willing to share me). Both people will give FANTASTIC experience.

Who knew that I would be in such demand?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Who Am I?

I am a Christian. More specifically, I am an Evangelical Christian. Christ is my Savior, Redeemer, King, and Friend. I strive to live my best for His glory. Yet, I am fallible and still a work in progress. I am a Baptist (more technically Anabaptist) theologically but I typically attend nondenominational churches. Paul’s doctrine of the “Liberty in Christ” guides my actions.

Politically, I stand at the line between “Very Conservative with Libertarian Leanings” and “Conservative Libertarian.” The government exists only to protect life, liberty, and property. The government should not attempt to socially engineer its subjects. Being a “Christian nation” is an effect of our culture and society following the truths of Christ, which cannot be effectively mandated by law alone (see Europe’s “state churches”). However, the practice of religion in the public sphere (schools, courts, etc.) is a fundamental right of liberty and ought not be banned by an elitist judiciary. Further, abortion is homicide, and needs to the condemnation of the law (i.e. the government would be protecting life).

I am a native Coloradoan. I am proud of my home state and the rugged individualist attitude it exemplifies. As the major outpost between the coasts, Denver offers most of amenities of a major city with the ability to drive twenty minutes and be in the middle of a beautiful national park. Unfortunately, Colorado is moving away from a Wyoming attitude and more towards a California mentality. This is unfortunate. Rather than valuing freedom and self reliance, citizens are moving towards government dependency and regulation.

I am a law student. At the time of this posting, I am the newly-elected president of the school’s chapter of the Federalist Society. As a law student, I am overworked, over-caffeinated, and argumentative.

More of me will come out as this blog goes along— that is the purpose of a blog. However, this is a good introduction for now.


Today I registered for the fall term.

After the first year, the law school only requires two specific courses, and then a few courses from general categories. The specific courses are Evidence and Legal Ethics. The general categories are Seminars (2 credits), Practice (these courses presently include all clinical courses, Trial Advocacy courses, and Law Practice Management).

I was able to satisfy half of those requirements. I will be taking Evidence (a prerequisite for nearly every class) and the Seminar is going to be taught by a State Supreme Court justice. That is a good thing. I missed out on Legal Ethics (well, I’m waitlist spot number 23), but I will take it in the spring term instead.

I think I am trying to work myself to death. I am registered for 19 credits of classes. Then, I plan to join the law review (if I am accepted) and possibly the moot court too. I am president of the school’s Federalist Society chapter and active in the Christian Legal Society. I might be stretching myself too thin. No matter what, I will continue my dependence on caffeine.

I am not entirely sure which specialty to pursue. I really like appellate advocacy, where I can argue about the law (rather than facts at the trial level). I am also interested in Water and Property Law for same policy-motivated reasons. If I was looking only to make money, I might go into Intellectual Property. I don’t enjoy criminal law that much.

Either way, it is another load off of my mind. I am set for the next term. Now, off to preparing for the summer job.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The First Post

This is the first post of the new blog. I really wish I could write more right now, but I have a million things to do. I am a first year law student ("1L"). Finals start in two weeks.Yes, I started a new project when I was already busy. Get over it.

Later, I will tell you a little about myself, the purpose of this blog, and the secret to understanding women. Okay, I can't come through on the last item. But hey, two out of three isn't bad.

Oh, and hopefully my writing style will improve over time.