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Black Law Students / Re: Post Your Interesting News Articles Here
« on: September 11, 2008, 06:09:51 PM »
And the heavy:

By Robert Barnes
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 9, 2008; Page A21
The Supreme Court yesterday ordered briefs on the question of whether it should reconsider its June decision that it is unconstitutional to impose the death penalty on those who rape children.
The state of Louisiana and the Justice Department have asked the court to reconsider the 5 to 4 decision because the court was not made aware of what they consider a crucial development: that Congress in 2006 made child rape a capital offense under military law.
No one presented that fact -- it seems none of the parties knew at the time that it existed -- when the court said in June that there was no evidence of a national consensus in favor of putting child-rapists to death. The court further found that in its "independent judgment," child rape could not be compared to murder in terms of warranting the death penalty.
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote the opinion, joined by Justices John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer. It provoked a sharp dissent from the other four justices and was among the most controversial of the term. Presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama criticized the ruling.
The decision overturned the death penalty for Patrick Kennedy, 43, who was convicted of raping his 8-year-old stepdaughter in Louisiana in 1998. Justice Kennedy noted in his opinion that Louisiana is one of six states that allowed the death penalty for the crime.
Louisiana did not note in its briefs the little-known change Congress made to military law provisions or the addition of the provision to the Manual for Courts-Martial by President Bush, in an executive order.
The Justice Department admitted its error in not seeking to join the case or advising the court of the law.
This summer, the department and Louisiana asked the court to rehear the case.
"The United States regrets that it did not previously bring those pronouncements to the court's attention," Acting Solicitor General Gregory G. Garre wrote in a petition. "Because the court did not have a complete description of the relevant legal landscape, the court's decision rests on an erroneous and materially incomplete assessment of the 'national consensus' concerning capital punishment for child rape. That error undermines the foundation for the court's decision."
The court yesterday requested briefs from Kennedy's attorney, the state of Louisiana and the Justice Department "addressing not only whether rehearing should be granted but also the merits of the issue raised in the petition for rehearing."
The court gave the parties a relatively short time frame, indicating that it wanted to rule on the issue at its opening conference of the term, scheduled for Sept. 29.
The court has several options, including rehearing the case, adjusting its opinion or simply denying the rehearing request. It would require the vote of at least one of the justices in the majority to rehear the case.
The existence of the military law came to light only because a civilian Air Force lawyer, Dwight Sullivan, noted it in his military law blog after the decision. "The Supremes Dis the Military Justice System," Sullivan wrote on his CAAFlog blog. His report led to a front-page New York Times article on the omission.

Black Law Students / Re: Post Your Interesting News Articles Here
« on: September 11, 2008, 06:03:46 PM »
The Light:

Books a weighty issue for law schools
Could companies like Amazon offer an alternative to heavy tomes?


A typical law student lugs around 28 pounds of books worth about $1,000 per semester. In creating cutting-edge future lawyers, some legal professors say, paper is a problem.

"It's strange that kids that text message and carry iPods and BlackBerrys in their left hand carry in their right hands these heavy tomes called law school books," said Ronald Collins, a scholar at the nonprofit First Amendment Center in Washington, D.C. "The left hand is the future and the right hand is the past."

Are electronic books the future? Could companies like and Sony have the answer to heavy book bags?

To address such questions, representatives from law schools around the country, combined with book publishers and e-book device makers Amazon and Sony Electronics Inc., are expected to gather in Seattle on Sept. 27.

Abandoning the centuries-old paper course book is on the agenda.

It's becoming increasingly clear that the halls of academia are full of opportunity for Seattle-based Inc. to market its Kindle e-book reader.

And Amazon's presence at the Seattle workshop has gotten the attention of publishers.

"We realized that the most important element here was getting the publishers, and the first one we asked was Amazon," Collins said. "There's no way to better get the attention of the others than to ask the big kid on the electronic block."

The attendees will come from law schools including Seattle University, Stanford, Vanderbilt, New York University, Harvard, Columbia, Georgetown, St. Louis University, Elon University, Florida State, Rutgers-Camden and Washburn University.

"What this workshop will do is bring the reformers of legal academics together -- the most distinguished scholars who have built their reputations on pedagogical reforms," said David Skover, Seattle University law professor and co-organizer of the event.

Attendees also hail from the National Conference of Bar Examiners, LexisNexis Law School Publishing, Carolina Academic Press, Oxford University Press, Adobe Systems Inc. and Microsoft.

"There's a growing movement now in legal education to include serious skills training at a more intensive level than what the academy has done for a century now," Skover said. "Many of us see the print book as a major constraint on any change."

Skover and Collins have co-authored several papers on the subject. In a recent memo to precede the workshop, they wrote, "Law students are burdened by the cost, weight, excess and contents of print casebooks."

The memo contained facts such as the weight of the books, and that a typical first-year law student confronts more than 8,700 pages of text.

"The vast majority of my traditional colleagues are wedded to the printed case book," Skover said. "People often teach as they were taught."

Collins, 59, put it more bluntly: "One of the main obstacles to this whole reform is people over 40. ... In terms of the print world, I'm more than willing to put the dagger in its heart. I have no problem at all because it's going to happen."

Traditional publishers, of course, are not as quick to write off the print book. And, it would be years before paper was phased out.

But changes in how students research and buy books are already happening. For example, students increasingly buy from Internet retailers. And publishers are hurting from used book sales, Collins said.

"When you think that ... every course book that a law student buys in three years can pretty much be kept in one Kindle or one Sony reader, that is remarkable," he said. "That's remarkable!"

Buzz about reforming legal education is not new -- but attention to print as a problem is gaining momentum. The topic of casebooks came up during a panel discussion at the 2008 Association of American Law Schools convention.

"This old case-based method is too limited," Skover explained. "The method largely does two things: teaching students how to analyze cases and teaching students how to develop doctrine. But that's not enough; that's not all that lawyers do."

Electronic books are more flexible. For example, speaking of his own classes, Skover said, "A book can be out of date on the day it is received."

One idea for a new product, Collins said, would be to give law professors the ability to create their own electronic books in less than 45 minutes, picking specific cases, theories and lectures.

As for which device will be dominant for electronic book delivery? It doesn't matter, Collins said.

"Will it be Kindle? Will it be the Sony reader? I don't know," he said. "There are deficiencies with Kindle, there are deficiencies with the Sony reader. But these are technicalities; they're technical matters that can be resolved."


You can request that they tape your class. At the bottom of the email about Saturday classes it tells you how make the request.

Happy Birthday in advance!!!!

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: this sucks..Yale vs. NYU full ride
« on: September 09, 2008, 05:12:57 PM »
Oi! You people are cluttering up the place! Stay with the burning issue of the moment...

Should Shivenstein go with Yale or NYU full ride? I say Yale because I really think he has a shot at teaching.

and I am kinda prestige whore....

How could/can the administration think that Saturday school was/is an appropriate solution?

Where is this announcement? I heard soem folks discussing today, but can't find it anywhere.

Caught up in Civ Pro (about 50 pages) and four chapters for LRW, and an article for Crim.

Annnnd, evidently forgot about my Contracts reading.

Caught up in Civ Pro (about 50 pages) and four chapters for LRW, and an article for Crim.

Yay! Got back yesterday in the late afternoon to a house with no power. Sooooo happy to be back, and the power came on just as it was getting really dark!

Unfortunately, I have learned the hard way to leave nothing in the fridge when you evacuate. The stench from week old broccoli will take some removin'.

I figure the bars will be open, that's good enough for me. Bring cash!

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