"Teachers teach nonsense when they persuade students that legal reasoning is distinct, as a method for reaching correct results, from ethical and political discourse in general (i.e., from policy analysis). It is true that there is a distinctive lawyers' body of knowledge of the rules in force. It is true that there are distinctive lawyers' argumentative techniques for spotting gaps, conflicts, and ambiguities in the rules.....But these are only argumentative techniques. There is never a 'correct legal solution' that is other than the correct ethical and political solution to that legal problem. Put another way, everything taught, except the formal rules themselves and the argumentative techniques for manipulating them, is policy and nothing more. It follows that the classroom distinction between the unproblematic, legal case and the policy-oriented case is a mere artifact: each could as well be taught in the opposite way."Here I had a choice. I could stick to my guns and say that his legal nihilism was bunk. Or, I could get a good grade. I choose the latter. I can rationalize it as simply learning to adopt the best interests for my client (here, me) by arguing in such a manner that will appeal to the court (here, Campos).
To what extent is this statement true or untrue? Specifically, use two or more cases we have studied this year (you can use cases from the first semester) to illustrate the extent to which you believe it is or is not true that "the classroom distinction between the unproblematic, legal case and the policy-oriented case is a mere artifact: each could as well be taught in the opposite way."
What was curious was finding what Campos was looking for. He gave us copies of past papers that received top marks. One was written at a fifth grade level. It was a "stream of conscience" of a new associate who was representing one of the clients from one of the cases in the casebook (Nahrstedt v. Lakeside Village Condo Ass. Inc-- the "cat lady" case). The other paper was a discussion of the "decision matrix" (a glorified pro-con list) and did not mention Property Law until the eighth page.
These papers received top marks? Perhaps I should simply turn in a Haiku.
I like hiakus
Sometimes they do not make sense
Instead, I managed to quote Dennis the Peasant and King Artur from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I also included references to "Reverend" Jeremiah Wright. My crowning achievement, however, was referencing Third Amendment case law.
Yes, I am the master of BS.