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Black Law Students / More on Black GOP Candidates
« on: June 27, 2006, 12:31:11 PM »
Black candidates paint new picture for GOP politics
African-American voters in Ohio, Pa. and Md. being asked to rethink Democratic allegiances
By Jill Lawrence

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Two years after the 2004 presidential election, Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell still faces accusations that he made it hard for Democrats to vote. Here at a public housing community center, however, black ministers — many of them Democrats — are showering him with applause, laughter and amens.

The Republican candidate for governor, an imposing 6-foot-4 in this small, packed room, is sharing his experiences as a black person in America. His father was a meatpacker, he says. He grew up in public housing, selling peanuts and helping at a funeral home. He worked in the civil rights movement, and he challenged the lending practices of white bankers in Cincinnati.

He did not, he says, try to suppress minority turnout in 2004. (“Do you think Mrs. Blackwell raised a dumb child? Why would I suppress the black vote when I understood how well I do in the African-American community?”) In fact, he says, a record number of blacks voted in Ohio in 2004.

When he's done, several Democratic pastors say they might vote for Blackwell for governor this fall over Democratic U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland. Henry McNeil, pastor of Alpha & Omega First Baptist Church, says Blackwell closed the sale. “I didn't come with a made-up mind. It was made while he spoke,” says McNeil, who backed Democrat John Kerry for president in 2004.

Voters like these are making Democrats edgy this year. In Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland, some African-Americans are rethinking their party loyalties in light of black Republicans running for high office.

Black support for Republicans is normally so low that the GOP declared victory when President Bush won 16% of the black vote in Ohio in 2004 (5 percentage points above his national share). Now, three black Republican contenders could scramble the usual patterns:

•Michael Steele, 47, Maryland's lieutenant governor and a former international investment lawyer, is running for an open U.S. Senate seat in a heavily Democratic state.

•Lynn Swann, 52, a broadcaster and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, is trying to oust Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell.

•Blackwell, 58, a former Cincinnati mayor, diplomat, Cabinet undersecretary, state treasurer and two-time Ohio secretary of State, is up against Strickland.

Blackwell points out that of the three, only he has repeatedly won statewide office on his own. He does acknowledge a certain kinship, though: “We're all in this historical moment, in a position to have breakthrough candidacies.”

That's not to say they are shoo-ins. Swann in particular has a tough climb; recent polls show him 10 to 20 points behind Rendell. Even so, “I don't want people thinking I'm only doing this to make the Republican Party look like it's diverse,” he says. “My intent is to win.”

Blackwell is contending with a difficult climate for Republicans in Ohio, where GOP Gov. Bob Taft was convicted of four violations of state ethics laws, and the biggest public corruption probe in state history has ensnared other prominent GOP figures.

Though their candidates are leading in all three states, Democrats are stepping up outreach efforts and showcasing black candidates elsewhere on the ballot — among them nominees for state auditor and state Supreme Court in Ohio and a lieutenant governor hopeful in Maryland.

Political observers view the three GOP campaigns — win or lose — as a watershed. Republican outreach to minorities, a priority for national party Chairman Ken Mehlman, “has gone a good bit beyond just tokenism,” says John Green, director of the Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron.

Green says black candidates perceive opportunity in the GOP, and the party sees them as potential winners. Parts of the growing black middle class “find the Republican Party congenial,” he says, as do black voters who have conservative religious or moral views.

Blackwell opposes abortion and gay marriage, says he wants to cut taxes and government spending, talks up the power of the free market to help the black community, and vows to defeat the “social, cultural and political forces that have tried to run God and faith and religion out of the public square.”

A University of Cincinnati poll on May 25 had Blackwell 6 points behind Strickland and pulling one-third of the black vote. The poll's margin of error was +/-4 percentage points.

Steele faces token opposition in Maryland's primary Sept. 12. Polls show Rep. Ben Cardin is ahead in the Democratic nomination race and does best against Steele. But Kweisi Mfume, a black former congressman and NAACP head, is also running. An Mfume loss could alienate black Democrats.

If that happens, “it's going to be very dicey because blacks are going to have to choose between a white candidate and Steele,” says Ron Walters, director of the University of Maryland's African American Leadership Institute. Blacks make up about a quarter of the electorate in Maryland.

A March poll for Maryland Democrats found that 22% of black voters supported “Republican Michael Steele” against “a Democrat,” and a majority of black voters were “open” to backing Steele.

Steele's goal is 20%-25% of the black vote, and he's going after it aggressively. He was a guest on a syndicated radio show hosted by former Democratic presidential candidate Al Sharpton. He even showed up at a fundraiser for a black Democratic congressman, his “good friend” Albert Wynn, to prospect for votes. “I turned a few heads,” Steele says, laughing.

A former state GOP chairman, Steele says he has been trying for years to ease “strained” relations between Republicans and African-Americans. “Sometimes you run into a great deal of resistance,” he says, but blacks are beginning to respond to the party's focus on opportunity and ownership because “they are looking for those things.”

In Pennsylvania, Swann says of black voters that “you can't win them if you don't start talking to them.” Even so, he is running the most traditional GOP campaign of the three so far. “He is more likely to be seen at a chamber of commerce than an urban African-American church,” says political scientist Christopher Borick, director of Pennsylvania's Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion.

Terry Madonna, director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa., says Swann's rise from humble beginnings and opposition to abortion and gay marriage could appeal to black voters.

“Many of us are surprised that he's not put on a full-court press,” Madonna says.

Swann spokesman Lenny Alcivar says that full-court press is “about to happen” after a period of intensive fundraising. He says Swann recently hired a deputy campaign manager for outreach and plans to “hit very hard” on black radio, visit black communities and speakmore about education and crime.

Here at the community center in Ohio, Blackwell is putting his own full-court press on three dozen black ministers. He speaks of new jobs, the promise of ethanol, the importance of two-parent families, homeownership and black-owned businesses. He appeals to them as leaders — “you have not been sideline sitters” — who deserve two parties competing for their votes.

“I have never, ever asked someone to vote for me just because of the color of my skin,” Blackwell says. “This is about performance. This is about who can best respond to your interests.”

Democratic candidate Strickland says Blackwell is not that person. “Ken Blackwell was purposefully involved in efforts to suppress the vote” in 2004, he says, and should let someone else supervise this fall's election. He also says Blackwell's support for mandated restrictions on state spending would cripple investment in areas such as education.

“I have great confidence,” Strickland says, that when African-Americans weigh his agenda against Blackwell's ideas, “they're going to do as they most often do, and that's vote for the Democrat.”

In this room, some Democrats aren't so sure. Tarone Claybrook, pastor of Heartreach Ministries, says he votes “about 70% Democratic,” but Blackwell is “the top possibility for me. I like his passion. I like his direction.” Carolyn O'Neil, associate minister of Tabernacle Baptist Church, says she's impressed by Blackwell and his ideas about “how to get the black community into the economic race.”

Some of the Democrats may vote for Strickland in the end, but Blackwell has achieved his preliminary goal of getting them to think about their choices. “I'm still undecided,” says Democrat Robin Woodberry, youth pastor at New Bethel Baptist Church. “I will be in prayer.”

Black Law Students / For the SCOTUS Nerds...
« on: June 26, 2006, 09:51:58 AM »
I'm going to try my best to be there.


The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy and its Washington DC Lawyer Chapter invite you to the 2006 Supreme Court Review

9:00 - 10:30 a.m.
Thursday, June 29, 2006
National Press Club Ballroom
529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor
Washington, D.C.

This event will begin promptly at 9:00 a.m. and end promptly at 10:30 a.m.

There is no charge for this event. Please RSVP to by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 27.


Drew S. Days, III, Morrison Foerster LLP; Professor of Law, Yale Law School; former Solicitor General of the United States

Tom Goldstein, Akin Gump Straus Hauer & Feld LLP

Carter G. Phillips, Sidley Austin LLP; former Assistant to the Solicitor General of the United States

Nina Pillard, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center; former Assistant to the Solicitor General of the United States

Paul M. Smith, Jenner & Block LLP

Kathleen M. Sullivan, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges LLP; Professor of Law and Former Dean, Stanford Law School

Black Law Students / Vermont Campaign Finance Case
« on: June 26, 2006, 09:02:30 AM »

Today the Court handed down its decision in Randall v. Sorrell (2006), better known as the Vermont Campaign Finance case.

The Decision

Black Law Students / Sands, You'll Enjoy This...
« on: June 26, 2006, 08:46:32 AM »
ABA Violates Antitrust Consent Decree: In case you missed it, here's yesterday's DOJ press release regarding the ABA's antitrust consent decree:


ABA Acknowledges Consent Decree Violations and Agrees to Pay $185,000

WASHINGTON -- The Department of Justice filed a petition today asking the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to hold the American Bar Association (ABA) in civil contempt for violating multiple provisions of a 1996 antitrust consent decree. The consent decree prohibited the ABA from misusing the law school accreditation process. The Department also filed a proposed order and a stipulation in which the ABA acknowledges the violations alleged in the Department's petition and agrees to reimburse the United States $185,000 in fees and costs incurred in the Department's investigation. The proposed order is subject to court approval.

"The Antitrust Division takes compliance with court decrees very seriously," said Thomas O. Barnett, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department's Antitrust Division. "No one is above the law and those who do not comply with their obligations under court orders must be prepared to face consequences."

In June 1995, the Department filed an antitrust lawsuit against the ABA in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. In its complaint, the Department alleged that the ABA had allowed its law school accreditation process to be misused by law school personnel with a direct economic interest in the outcome of accreditation reviews, resulting in anticompetitive conduct. In 1996, the court entered an agreed-upon final judgment prohibiting the ABA from fixing faculty salaries and compensation, boycotting state-accredited law schools by restricting the ability of their students and graduates to enroll in ABA-approved schools, and boycotting for-profit law schools. The final judgment also established the framework of structural reforms and compliance obligations that are the subject of today's filing.

According to today's petition, and as acknowledged by the ABA, the ABA violated six structural and compliance provisions in the 1996 consent decree on one or more occasions. Those provisions included requirements that the ABA:

Annually certify to the court and the United States that it has complied with the terms of the final judgment;

Provide proposed changes to accreditation standards to the United States for review before such changes are acted on by the ABA's Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar;

Provide briefings to certain ABA staff and volunteers concerning the meaning and requirements of the decree;

Obtain annual certifications from certain ABA staff and volunteers that they agree to abide by the decree and are not aware of any violations;

Ensure that no more than half of the membership of the ABA's Standards Review Committee be comprised of law school faculty; and

Include on the on-site evaluation teams, to the extent reasonably feasible, a university administrator who is not a law school dean or faculty member. The ABA is a national professional association for lawyers headquartered in Chicago. The ABA's Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar is the only national accrediting body for law schools.

Black Law Students / Our Good Friend Addington Again
« on: June 26, 2006, 08:18:01 AM »
Cheney’s Cheney
New Yorker Magazine
Issue of 2006-07-03
Posted 2006-06-26

This week in the magazine, Jane Mayer profiles David Addington, the Vice-President’s chief of staff and longtime legal adviser. Here, with Blake Eskin, Mayer discusses Addington’s unorthodox reading of the Constitution and how it has shaped the Administration’s approach to the war on terror.

BLAKE ESKIN: Most people have never heard of David Addington. Why is he important enough to be the subject of such an in-depth piece?

JANE MAYER: Addington has been the single most influential legal thinker, according to other Administration lawyers, in shaping the Bush Administration’s legal response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. He has left almost no paper trail, and has avoided all public scrutiny—as far as I know, he’s granted no interviews to reporters, and he even avoids having his photo taken by the press. It seemed important to me to hold the creator of these policies accountable, so that the public could understand better who is behind them and how he thinks.

How did David Addington get to know Vice-President Cheney, and how long have they worked together?

They met on Capitol Hill in the mid-eighties, when Cheney was a Republican congressman from Wyoming and Addington was a young staff lawyer working for the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs committees. So they have worked together for about two decades. Their partnership was cemented when they worked together on the Minority Report on the Iran-Contra affair. Both Addington and Cheney took the idiosyncratic position that it was Congress, not President Reagan, that was in the wrong. This view reflected the opinion, held by both men, that the executive branch should run foreign policy, to a great extent unimpeded by Congress. It’s a recurring theme—pushing the limits of executive power and sidestepping Congress—in their partnership. One example is their position that the President, as Commander-in-Chief in times of war, had the inherent authority to ignore the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which Congress passed in an effort to make sure that Presidents don’t violate citizens’ right to privacy by spying on them without warrants.

After meeting and working together in Congress, Cheney and Addington continued their partnership at the Pentagon, where, during the Presidency of George H. W. Bush, Cheney was Secretary of Defense and Addington was his special assistant and, later, general counsel. There, Addington was known as a powerhouse, a stickler who controlled access to Cheney and marked up others’ memos in red felt-tipped pen, returning the memos for rewrites that would make them sharper—and more protective of executive power.

At the Pentagon, the two exhibited a similar pessimism about world affairs, in particular about the possibility that Mikhail Gorbachev represented true change, and also an unusually deep interest in “continuity of government” planning—how the government survives in the event of a doomsday attack. Addington kept the constitutional provisions for Presidential succession in his pocket at all times, a colleague told me.

Yet you write that some people—including some conservative Republicans—question whether Addington really respects the Constitution.

Some constitutional scholars have questioned whether Addington, in his eagerness to expand the powers of the Presidency, which he and Cheney see as having been unduly diminished since Watergate, gives enough weight to the legislative and judicial branches of the federal government. Some have suggested that he has aggrandized the powers of the President in such a way that the executive branch ignores the system of checks and balances set up by the Founding Fathers, so that its actions are unchecked and unaccountable. Bruce Fein, a Republican legal activist, told me that he regards Addington as an adequate lawyer but an inadequate student of American history, because he believes that Addington has failed to understand that the Founders designed the U.S. government specifically to insure that the executive would not have unlimited power. Fein suggests that the Founders, unlike Addington, understood the perils of concentrated power. They had seen in George III, among others, what tyranny meant.

What is the New Paradigm?

It’s a shorthand term that comes from a memo signed by Alberto Gonzales but believed to have been written in part by Addington, in which the authors articulated that the attacks of 9/11 required a legal response beyond the confines of ordinary criminal law and ordinary military law. Instead, they said, a “new paradigm” was called for, allowing the government to emphasize detection and prevention of crime, at the expense of more traditional notions of due process. Their aim was to stop terrorist attacks before they were perpetrated. To do so, they felt they needed to interrogate, detain, and try terrorist suspects in ways that would not be permissible under U.S. or international law. The New Paradigm has come to refer to all of the novel legal policies that the Bush Administration has forged in its approach to the global war on terrorism.

Following the September 11th attacks, the Bush Administration released memos asserting the President’s right to decide, among other things, how to wage war and treat prisoners. How much of this came from Addington?

Some lawyers in the Administration believe that, as one told me, “It’s all Addington.” While Addington, of course, could not have written every memo, his “fingerprints,” as Lawrence Wilkerson, the former assistant to Colin Powell, put it, were all over these policies.

Addington was merely the legal counsel to the Vice-President until last fall, so it is curious that he exercised so much influence. But, according to other lawyers who deal with national-security issues in the Administration, Addington exercised enormous influence in part because he was seen as Cheney’s representative, and Cheney was the epicenter of power on these matters.

Addington also had a forceful, aggressive, and, some say, bullying style that allowed him to dominate legal debates. In interviews, other lawyers told me how he dismissed their views, mocked their softness if they championed international law, and worked secretively and, one of them said, viciously, to outmaneuver critics.

Another reason Addington gained so much influence after 9/11 was that, unlike many other top Administration officials, he was not only a lawyer but also an expert on national-security law.

You argue that the September 11th attacks did not change Cheney and Addington’s expansive views of the power of the executive branch so much as allow them to implement their long-held views. What led you to this conclusion?

At least fifty sources were interviewed for this story. And those who knew Cheney and Addington during the Vietnam War and Watergate told me that, ever since then, both men have wanted to correct what they saw as a weakening of the Presidency. Cheney has participated in the writing of two reports reflecting this view, and he talked about it in a recent press conference. In many ways, 9/11 gave Addington and Cheney the chance to implement their views on the need for a stronger Presidency, since in times of war the President’s powers are greatly augmented.

Other Presidents have taken extraordinary legal measures during wartime—the suspension of habeas corpus under Lincoln, the internment of Japanese-Americans under F.D.R. Is there anything different about the Bush Administration’s assertion of executive power?

All Presidents, it is said, overreach during wartime, but, according to Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., whom I had the pleasure of interviewing for my article, the Bush White House has done this differently. While earlier Presidents have, as you say, suspended ordinary laws, he suggests that earlier Presidents did not assert that this was their inherent constitutional right. In contrast, Schlesinger says, the Bush White House has taken these infamous aberrations and woven them together into a doctrine of Presidential power.

Last week, the U.S. Army recovered the bodies of two American soldiers who had been tortured. How does the Administration’s position on torture affect its ability to respond to such brutality?

Torture and abuse are perennial problems in all wars, but one could argue that, because the Bush Administration has blurred the lines concerning what sort of treatment of captured enemies is permissible, they have forfeited some of the moral high ground that the country could ordinarily occupy on this issue. It’s harder to condemn the outrageous treatment of our soldiers now that we are accused of treating detainees deplorably.

David Addington doesn’t speak to reporters, and he refused your interview requests. After speaking to many people about Addington, what would you like to ask him now?

I’d like to ask him whether, in his view, there is anything that the President cannot legally do in the service of national security. Bruce Fein, the Republican legal activist, suggests that, in Addington’s view, the President could kill someone in a public park if he deemed the person to be an enemy combatant. I’d like to hear Addington’s thinking about why such an extreme view might be justified, and also why it is that, according to colleagues, he sees no political downside to these extreme views. For instance, he has repeatedly argued that there have been no political costs associated with Guantánamo Bay. Yet even President Bush has acknowledged that the Defense Department’s camps there have hurt the image of the U.S. abroad. It would be interesting to hear why Addington doesn’t agree with the President on this.

Black Law Students / POSTWHORE: Lacoste Hits 2000
« on: June 23, 2006, 12:44:13 PM »
2000 Bitches.

Retarded and racist white folk only push me deeper and deeper into the pro-AA camp.  The conservatives are going to disown me.  Whatev.


June 19

Law Schools and Diversity Standards
The United States Commission on Civil Rights took up affirmative action at law schools during a five-hour session Friday highlighted by political posturing, jousting over statistics and moments of incivility.

A George Mason University law professor — joined by a number of the commission’s own members — aired concerns that the American Bar Association, which oversees the accreditation of law schools, is pressuring institutions to practice unlawful racial preferences in admissions. Two other professors invited to address the group engaged in a broader debate about the costs and benefits of affirmative action at law schools.

David Bernstein, the George Mason law professor, said the bar association “wants law schools to violate the law” by mandating that institutions use racial preferences in their admissions policies or face accrediting penalties. Steven R. Smith, chair of the Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, vehemently denied the allegations and defended his association’s written standards by saying they don’t require schools to use quotas or even use race or ethnicity in their admissions decisions.

The ABA recently revised its diversity standards and will go before its House of Delegates in August for approval. Smith, whose association was scheduled to appear last month before the Education Department’s National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, told the civil rights commission that he was looking for feedback on the updated standards.

The passage under scrutiny comes from the ABA council’s longstanding Standard 211, which, in the updated version, would be titled “Equal Opportunity and Diversity,” rather than “Equal Opportunity Effort.” The text reads: “a law school shall demonstrate, by concrete action, a commitment to providing full opportunities for the study of law and entry into the profession by members of underrepresented groups, particularly racial and ethnic minorities, and a commitment to having a study body that is diverse with respect to gender, race, and ethnicity.” There is also a new proposed section of the standard that would read, “a law school shall demonstrate by concrete action a commitment to having a faculty and staff that are diverse with respect to gender, race and ethnicity.”

Smith, who is dean of the California Western School of Law School, said the changes to the standard, including the inclusion of the word “diversity,” are meant to give schools more guidance and reflect the Supreme Court’s 2003 decision in Grutter v. Bollinger, which upheld the affirmative action admissions policy at the University of Michigan Law School as a way of promoting equal opportunity.

Smith said the importance of diversity is clearly articulated in former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s majority opinion. “We will see schools being more creative in how they promote diversity,” he said.

Still, Smith found his defense a tough sell to the mostly conservative commissioners, many of whom questioned the need for a change in language. ( Federal law dictates that the president choose four members of the eight-member panel and Congress the other four, and that the commission have no more than four representatives of any political party at a time. But that can result in Republicans appointing “independent” members who are highly skeptical of the use of race, and Democrats doing the reverse when they control the selection process.)

Gerald A. Reynolds, chairman of the panel, told Smith that “it seems wholly inappropriate to force values on a school.” A number of commissioners also disagreed with Smith’s assertion that law schools are in agreement over the importance of racial diversity.

Bernstein and a number of commissioners said they take issue with the “diversity” addition and the inclusion of “race” in the standard. Richard Sander, a law professor at the University of California at Los Angeles, focused his comments not on institutions’ consideration of race but on the negative effects he sees affirmation active having on black law school students. He said the most recent data available — which are from 1991 — show that black students are 2.5 times more likely than white students not to graduate law school, and four times more likely to fail the bar on their first attempt. “We are essentially setting them up for failure under this system,” he told the commission.

Sander argued that a cascade effect is in place, in which the top-tier law schools, using what he calls a “racial double-standard,” admit minority students who, in a race-blind system, would be accepted into second-tier schools. The second-tier schools thus admit what Sander says are unqualified minority applicants because the schools feel pressure to have a diverse student body. If minority students at first-tier schools struggle academically, they can become disheartened and dropout, he said.

Sander’s argument is predicated on the idea that a student is better off flourishing at a lower-ranked school than floundering at a more elite institution. Richard Lempert, a University of Michigan law professor, disagreed with Sander’s premise. He said that black students are better off at elite law schools because of the doors the schools open. “We need to tell people what the risks are of failure and let them decide for themselves,” Lempert said. “If there is no affirmative action, blacks are less likely to get high-paying jobs and careers that lead to judgeships. Someone who you think will fail might be on bar review, and someone who you think will pass the bar review might fail.”

Lempert’s argument that there is still a “moral imperative” for affirmative action is based largely on studies he has conducted over the past 25 years at Michigan. He said the numbers show that although minority students generally entered with lower credentials and left with lower grades than their white counterparts, few flunked out and most enjoyed fruitful careers. The bar-passage rate was not substantially lower for those students, his work shows.

But like many of Smith’s arguments in favor of affirmative action, most of Lempert’s comments fell on deaf ears. Commissioner Jennifer Braceras went so far as to question Lempert’s motives: “I’m concerned you are justifying affirmative action because of your own white guilt,” she said.

“I don’t feel guilty at all,” Lempert responded.

“It’s not about what’s best for black students. It’s about aesthetics,” or having the looks of a diverse campus, another commissioner, Abigail Thernstrom, asserted.

Reynolds, the chairman, said that if the point is to give black students a fair shot in the admissions process, why not lower the bar for everyone and “do away with the conversation of racial preferences?”

Lempert maintained that the high price of law schools and a sometimes “hostile environment” once a minority student enrolls can also lead to higher-than-average dropout rates. Sander responded by saying that “there’s a crushing process of discovery in the first or second years for black students who realize they are there because of affirmative action.”

Added Thernstrom, who is a political independent but a frequent critic of the use of racial preferences: “If [students] are saying, ‘You’re an affirmative action baby,’ the admissions policy is generating the stereotypes.”

But Michael Yaki, one of two Democrats on the panel, came to Lempert’s defense, saying: “We create the stigmatization. When we are saying, ‘they are going to fail,’ we perpetuate the stigma, and it bothers me to the core.”

There were testy moments throughout the briefing, as speakers questioned each other’s motives, as well as their credentials. Commissioners interrupted each other, hands were raised and ignored, and feelings appeared to be hurt. Despite the occasional incivility, there was one point of unanimous agreement: the need for more data on minority student performance once in law school. “More transparency is always better,” Braceras said.

Many pledged to support proposed legislation from Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) that would force schools to release more information about graduates and incoming students. “My sense is that black students aren’t always aware that they fall into the desperate category,” said Ashley L. Taylor, Jr., one of the panel’s four Republicans.

Both Lempert and Sander called for the commission to bring together a group of politically neutral social scientists to sift through existing data on affirmative action in law school, to which Thernstrom asked: “Is there such a thing as a neutral social scientist?”

Black Law Students / HELP: Advice on Career Path
« on: June 19, 2006, 10:53:57 AM »
So here is my dilemma.

Part of me wants to be an appellate litigator.  Working either for the government or for a small public interest firm, I dream of wrestling with intellectually challenging questions of law in both briefs and oral argument.  I know that very few who set out on this path succeed and become top notch appellate litigators.  For me to get to where I'd want to be I'd have to commit to doing extremely well at HLS, making law review, and getting some top notch (probably corporate) summer jobs.

But another option presents itself.

After reading the accounts of Cory Booker, Barack Obama, and Bill Clinton, I realized that if I wanted to get into politics as an elected official (a dream of mine for some time) I would need to begin planning for my run NOW.  Obama decided against the guaranteed SCOTUS clerkship in order to go back to Illinois and get on the ball.  Booker moved to Newark and started networking during his 1L at Yale.  Clinton was off and running soon after his stint at Yale.  The message I've been getting lately from these examples and from those peers' whose opinions I hold in the highest regard has been quite clear: choose to be either a lawyer or a politician and run with it.

I figure I can probably get elected in my old hometown of Charlotte if I work diligently enough.  Through school, family, church, and other social institutions I have a great base of contacts in the city and I love it dearly.  If I decided to run for office there I would certainly need to begin to reify those contacts now. 

This path would likely require me to forgo the big firm job to work in Carolina and make ties to the power elite and party officials.  I'd be looking to secure a U.S. Attorney's Office or State AG job, I assume.  I've considered the firm track down there (Charlotte has some great firms) but I know little of finance, banking, and securities and what little I do know bores me to death.  Plus, I'd probably make more connections in state government or at the USAO down there than working for a firm.

The only problem is that these two career paths, litigator or politician, seem mutually exclusive.  If I want to be an appellate litigator I will likely spend lots of time in firms, with the federal government, or in clerkships.  There will be few opportunities to be in Carolina and to make the connections I need to make.

What do y'all think I should do?  Go full steam ahead for elected office or shoot for the stars and hope I land somewhere on the appellate track?

Black Law Students / Law School Jokes
« on: June 15, 2006, 07:17:20 AM »
You Might Be a Law Student If...

You start using insults like the following... (only the first was actually used in a casual conversation).

You're so retarded they can't even execute you.

You're so childish they can't even execute you.

Your mother's so fat she holds a joint tenancy by herself.

Your mother's so fat her manufacturer was strictly liable for not making her beep when backing up.

You're so old Rehnquist took you to his junior prom... and you were a senior.

Your mother's so old, Scalia cites to her.

Your mother's so old, she can't be the measuring life.

Your mother's so old, insurance companies value her life estate at 5 cents.

Your mother's so fat she's always in diversity jurisdiction.

Your mother's so fat Prosser and Keaton have a section on her... Massachussetts has a doctrine about her.

Your mother's so fat Congress reorganized her under the Department of Homeland Security Act.

Your mother's so fat, the neighbors need an easement to go around her.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 19(e): Mandatory Joinders. Your mom.

You're so fat, Posner has 10 volumes describing you as an economic waste.

You're so stupid you have your own reasonable person standard.

You're so ugly, you're ALWAYS dismissed with prejudice.

You're so ugly, it's unconscionable.

You're so ugly, Judge Friendly has defined you.

You're so ugly, even Wigmore won't consider you.

When others look at you, it violates the 8th Amendment. When you look at yourself, it violates the 5th.

You're so ugly, it's against the Geneva Conventions to post your picture.

Not guilty by reason of YOU.

You're so abnormal I could patent you. Actually, Michael Jackson is infringing.

The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in truthfully shouting your name in a theatre and causing a panic.

Hey, is that an easement in your pants or are you just glad to see me?

Black Law Students / Racist or Not?
« on: June 14, 2006, 03:03:48 PM »
Hey All,

A young white peer of mine just emailed me this email below.  My question:  Is this only funny to her because the guy is Black?  Most self-promotional websites are full of hyperbole ("most motivational speaker in history!!!").  I bet if dude wasn't writing books titled "Mocha Love" she wouldn't find this funny.  I have half a mind to put her on blast in front of everyone in our email group.  Advisable or not?


Summer '06
Crazy co-worker stories

Chapter 1

So, there is this guy who sits in the cubicle across from mine, and spends his day online dating. At about 2pm, he gets on the phone line (the federal phone line) and calls the women he's scammin' on. You think first dates are painful? I have been through about ten with this man.

Who is he, you wonder? Me, too. Then a helpful colleague directed me to this website! Meet my crazy co-worker, and have a laugh on me: <>

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