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Founding Principles

The Tenure Paradox - Robot pimp

Slap on the Wrist for "Non-Consensual Sex" - Lampshade, Esq.

Intelligence: The Gathering - Graphic and Gratuitous

Grads are the New Illegals - Robot Pimp

Meet Entitlement Eric - Robot Pimp

Wherein I Solve World Peace - Lampshade, Esq.

A Necessary Delusion - Shadow Hand

Do you even need to shave overhead? - Lawyerlite

LSAT Jenga - Publius Picasso

http://www.constitutionaldaily.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1573:legal-reasoning-redux-5&catid=38:there-and-never-back-again&Itemid=65

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Is the 17th Amendment Unconstitutional?

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There's been a growing movement lately suggesting that the 17th Amendment, which provides for the direct election of senators, should be repealed. For a "let's repeal and amendment" call, it's not actually that crazy.

Just look at judges. There's some arguments for having elected judges, but also some very good ones for having them be appointed. Likewise, goes the theory, we might be better off having one of the two houses of Congress not directly elected by the people, but rather one step removed, so that members of the senate could be chosen by a slightly less politicized method.

But, that's not what Michael Mannheimer (Northern Kentucky) is talking about. He thinks there's an argument that the 17th Amendment is unconstitutional. It goes basically like this:

Article V guarantees all states equal suffrage in the Senate. For those of you unfamiliar with our founding document, Article V sets out the rules for amending the Constitution. So, Article V is basically saying that no amendment can deny states their equal suffrage.

The next piece of the argument is that "the states" and "the people" are different under the Constitution. Not really a controversial point of view.

So, the 17th Amendment takes the states' representatives in Congress and gives those seats to the people. Senators are now chosen not by the state, but by the state's citizens, and that's a pretty important distinction.

The real key to Mannheimer's argument is interpreting "equal suffrage." Since no states can appoint senators, they are all equal. But, Mannheimer argues that the equality and suffrage parts are two separate concepts. The states cannot be denied equal standing with the other states, nor can they be denied suffrage.

Interesting to think about, but entirely academic. No Supreme Court would ever strike down a constitutional amendment.

[Prawfs' Blawg]

UGA Law Prof Complicit in Torture?

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University of Georgia School of Law is under fire for one of its latest faculty additions.

Former deputy attorney general Larry Thompson has been hired as a permanent member of the faculty, and some people aren't too happy about it. In 2002, Canadian Maher Arar was detained by police during a layover at JFK airport, suspected of having ties to al Qaeda. Arar was then deported to Syria where he was jailed and tortured for a year. Syria later released Arar, proclaimed him completely innocent, and allowed him to return to Canada.

Thompson did not make the deportation decision himself, but did sign off on it.

Wondering why a Canadian citizen suspected of ties to a terrorist group wouldn't simply be detained in the United States? Or sent back to Canada to be investigated by Canadian authority? Speaking on Arar's extraordinary rendition, Senator Patrick Leahy said:

We knew damn well, if he went to Canada, he wouldn't be tortured. He'd be held. He'd be investigated. We also knew damn well, if he went to Syria, he'd be tortured. And it's beneath the dignity of this country, a country that has always been a beacon of human rights, to send somebody to another country to be tortured.

It's because Jack Bauer doesn't like the cold.

 

Maria LaHood, senior staff attorney for the Center on Constitutional Rights and Arar's counsel during the affair had this to say about Thompson's appointment:

The notion that Mr. Thompson should be held out as a model for future law students when in fact he should be, at a bare minimum, investigated for his role in Mr. Arar’s rendition to torture, is astonishing.

It's important to remember that 2002 was a crazy time. The Twin Towers had just come down, everyone was afraid of reprisal attacks as the US went into Afghanistan. People still thought we might catch OBL that decade. It's easy to see how in that atmosphere a deputy AG might sign off on the extraordinary rendition program.

But, it's also pretty easy to see how we, as a nation might say "We understand why you did it, and there were enough mitigating circumstances that we're not going to punish you, but you damned well don't get to teach our nation's future caretakers of the justice system. Sorry, find another job."

Then again, we're dealing with a legal education system where 45% of students cheat, but less than 1% are ever disciplined. Where schools routinely publish false or misleading employment data, and then as a defense claims that the ABA hasn't required them to produce better numbers, or that US News hasn't asked for it, as though integrity needs to be demanded from a third party and not simply offered up voluntarily.

UGA probably didn't know about the Arar incident. They probably saw deputy AG on his resume and gave him a job. It's not really astonishing that Thompson would be invited to teach law students, it's just sad.

[CBC]

It's a Lot Like Football (The Difference Between Strauss-Kahn and Polanski)

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New from The Philadelphia Lawyer, a look at the most under appreciated player in the justice system, the calendar.

Read it here: It's a Lot Like Football (The Difference Between Strauss-Kahn and Polanski)

Judicial Nominee Would Apply Law to Facts

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From Senator Barbara Boxer's Twitter feed:

I agree w/ #GoodwinLiu – he believes that the role of a judge is to apply relevant precedents to the facts of each case. Period.

Liu is a professor at UC Berkeley and a nominee to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, finally getting his confirmation vote before the Senate.

A few hours earlier, Boxer Tweeted this:

American Bar Association gave #GoodwinLiu “unanimously well qualified” rating based on integrity, competence & judicial temperament.

On March 31, Boxer sent a letter to ABA President Stephen Zack, scolding the organization for its complacency in allowing law schools to report bad salary data, "which may be false at worst and misleading at best. [...] the ABA allows law schools to report salary information of the highest earning graduates as if it were representative of the entire class."

So, first she accuses the ABA of basically giving its blessings to if not outright fraud, then at least highly unethical behavior, but now suddenly thinks the ABA is a reliable source for judging integrity?

Well, what else do you expect from a member of the [either political party] party?

Page 246 of 338

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