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Monday, September 24, 2007

An Exercise in Machiavellianism

Having seen almost all of Ahmadinejad Fest '07 here at Columbia, I personally believe that the event was a huge success for both Columbia University and all who oppose Ahmadinejad's policies alike. In my opinion President Bollinger really hit the nail on the head with his introductory remarks; he invoked the need for an open intellectual debate to truly disarm malignant ideas, while unabashedly attacking Ahmadinejad for his positions on the Holocaust, Israel, civil rights for homosexuals and women, nuclear proliferation, and more. Bollinger went so far as to directly insult Ahmadinejad, calling him "dangerously uneducated" while noting his resemblances to a "petty and cruel dictator." He reminded all observers that as a prestigious forum for important ideas and debates, Columbia's invitation to the otherwise reprehensible Ahmadinejad does not amount to Columbia's approval of any of those ideas, but merely a desire (if not a responsibility) to engage those ideas on their own terms in order to expose their lunacy. Bollinger noted with some clairvoyance that even if Ahmadinejad danced around every question, it would demonstrate to critical thinkers in Iran that Ahmadinejad is avoiding these questions because he lacks of a reasoned response. This front for attack on Ahmadinejad had been tragically underutilized and the event today was an excellent step in the right direction.

Ahmadinejad started off by registering his disdain for the "insults" that Bollinger had slung, and proceeded to make a few "in my country" statements about manners and the proper decorum when one invites guests. As to what Ahmadinejad substantively said (if the shoddy translator was a fair representation, which is subject to some serious doubt, I imagine), his comments reinforced his image of a dictator armed with a copy of Noam Chomsky's latest book. He started his comments by claiming to be a scholar more than anything and launched into a relatively benign discussion of the purposes of science from an Islamic point of view, with convoluted statements about how science is really the pursuit of truth, which is misguided when it seeks after material truths, which are inferior to the spiritual truths that Islam has to offer. Then, he acted indignant at the "insults" that Bollinger had heaped upon him, but refused to address any of his allegations directly, with the exception of the nuclear proliferation (he claimed total compliance with IAEA requirements).

Most of his comments were an exercise in sleight of hand. He would respond to direct questions with questions of his own that were at best tangentially related to the original question, and almost always seemed to be an evasion of a simply put, direct question to him. His responses had the distinct flavor of a liar who denies undeniable factual conditions in order to advance his clearly illusory image of the world. Essentially, one could tell that he was lying through his teeth, even if you came to the debate from a fairly neutral point of view (and if so, I'd like to meet you). Most of his comments were an exercise in sleight of hand. If asked a question directly on the state of affairs in Iran, he would point his finger at the flaws of the United States. One poignant example was when he was asked about civil rights and capital punishment for women and homosexuals, and he responded that capital punishment existed in America, so why shouldn't it exist for those who had committed grave offenses (he cited drug trafficking as an example here). The moderator pressed the point further and asked about homosexuality very directly, and Ahmadinejad said, "In Iran, we do not have this phenomenon. I do not know who told you that we have it." On nuclear proliferation, he claimed that the United States was the real party responsible for dangerous proliferation, while Iran was only pursuing peaceful energy programs. His strategy is certainly understandable, since he was making some legitimate criticisms of certain American and Israeli policies, but came across as a total hypocrite because of the effective moderator, who ensured that the focus was on his policies, not anyone else's.

On the more contentious issues, the Holocaust and current policy towards Israel, Ahmadinejad attempted to be even more elusive. His comments on the Holocaust amounted to an extreme form of intellectual relativism, in which he claimed that there can be no absolute historical truth, which always gives legitimacy to any further efforts to reexamine the past. Again, he attempted to marshal some other positive value (education) for his Holocaust denial conferences, and other efforts to that effect. He specifically connected Holocaust studies to invoke the need to reexamine policy towards Palestinians and whether their current condition is justified based on the existence of the Holocaust (implying that the Holocaust is internationally accepted as the only legitimate reason for Jews to occupy the state of Israel). However, one major point in this event was that Ahmadinejad acknowledged that the Holocaust occurred as a historical fact. He did call for more investigations, but nonetheless conceded this fundamental point. On his Israel policy, he was asked a direct question on whether he seeks the destruction of the Jewish state currently controlling Israel, and he again responded with attention only paid to the plight of Palestinians and claimed that their condition needs to be defended, but did not answer the question at all.

For a man who was so upset about the "insults" slung at him by President Bollinger, he didn't even have the manners to respond to the questions put to him; he avoided most questions and answered with the voice of a hypocrite for the rest. It seems as though President Bollinger's hope, that Ahmadinejad would be ridiculed and exposed as the "dangerously uneducated...cruel and petty dictator" he really is has come true.

I think Columbia won out on this gamble, but I don't speak for the Federalist Society as a whole, and am more than willing to entertain a discussion for those who disagree. Comments are open.

Continue Reading "An Exercise in Machiavellianism" . . .

Ahmadinejad's Visit

Though there is much uncertainty in the outcome of today's event on Columbia's reputation, I am personally proud of the way that Columbia as a whole is handling this volatile situation. After last semester's unfortunate incident involving the controversial head of the Minutemen and the ensuing counter-rally, there is a lot of pressure on Columbia to protect the integrity of the academic forum it provides.

The principles of freedom of thought, freedom of speech and a free market of ideas seem to require that Columbia remain neutral with regard to any political positions it could adopt. However, in order to retain integrity in its standards, Columbia cannot acquiesce to debate some issue simply because it is controversial; there must be some potential insight into new ideas and perspectives (essentially, some education) gained from engaging in the debate. Otherwise, Columbia risks legitimizing an argument that does not even reach the threshold of a coherent argument.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a polarizing figure, not only because of his nuclear ambitions for Iran, but because of baseless, inflammatory comments he has made towards Israel in the past. Ahmadinejad has denied the Holocaust, and has said something to the effect of "the regime occupying Jerusalem should be wiped off the map." These statements cannot be considered a legitimate point of view on an unsettled historical question or a legitimate policy of genocide. Nonetheless, Ahmadinejad has been routinely ignored and outright derided by world leaders who reasonably want to undermine his power, which has the tendency to create a powerful backlash in the populations that are similarly disenfranchised by global powers. This repression sadly amounts to a failure of global leaders to reinforce the principles of freedom of speech and a free market of ideas, which were once the allure of the American way of life. Instead of allowing Ahmadinejad's claims to fail due to their incoherence, his ideas are blocked from discussion and therefore strengthen his position in the eyes of his already-polarized population.

That being said, Columbia invited Ahmadinejad to speak on the condition that he answer questions directly challenging those statements, hypothetically aimed at exposing the untenability of these positions. By actually engaging him and then disarming his arguments, we are far more likely to de-legitimate his position than by ignoring his claims and letting his rhetoric fester in a population without anyone to contradict his claims. Columbia does risk actually enhancing his reputation if people assume that his invitation implies that his ideas are worth "debating." Because of the respect being accorded to this odious character, people fail to draw the reasonable inference that Columbia has invited him here specifically to challenge him. As far as I am concerned, the University has enhanced its reputation for academic independence (which may incidentally exacerbate its "ivory tower" reputation amongst those who find that a bad thing) and somewhat sober intellectual discourse by inviting Ahmadinejad to challenge him.

As far as the student body is concerned, there is another point of pride, with some serious exceptions. The vast majority of the student body is taking this momentous event rather seriously and are engaging in civil, respectful demonstrations and dialog with their opponents. I am very happy that many people are protesting Ahmadinejad personally, as well as his policies, but I am somewhat dismayed with people who are angered at the administration for inviting him to speak. I understand that this may be motivated by a fear for legitimizing Ahmadinejad's positions (and this may be the case--we have yet to see), and that one might not want to give Ahmadinejad one more quantum of publicity than he already has.

However, some much more disastrous arguments have also been advanced. Some have argued that Ahmadenijad is not entitled to enjoy a right of free speech because he is not American (tell that to every legal or temporary resident who is in America temporarily), or because his policies have resulted in executions that kill innocent civilians or violate due process (by that logic, any President--especially Bush--should be protested with the same vehemence). These arguments smack of fascism; the idea that one can selectively allow only certain arguments to be traded in the marketplace of ideas are even more steps toward a slippery slope to a totalitarian society. It is my fervent opinion that ideas must be defeated on their own terms, or else the backlash effect will only motivate those who are disenfranchised by the current state of world affairs to take up arms for "their side."

We will see how the event plays out. I'm sitting on the lawn in front of the screen right now, and will live-blog any momentous developments if they come up.

Continue Reading "Ahmadinejad's Visit" . . .

Friday, September 21, 2007

Jonah Goldberg Fits My Theory

At National Review's Corner, Jonah Goldberg recommends to readers to "Sign up now for cheatneutral.com." The British site proposes to neutralize one party's infidelities by selling "offsets," in the form of another person's promise not to cheat.
Jealousy and heartbreak are a natural part of modern life. And sometimes, no matter how hard we try, it's just not possible to be faithful.

At Cheatneutral, we believe that we should all try to reduce the amount we cheat on our partners, but we also realise that fidelity isn't always possible.

That's why we help you neutralise your cheating. Your actions are offset by a global network of fidelity, developed by us. By paying Cheatneutral, you're funding monogamy-boosting offset projects - we simply invest the money you give us in monogamous, faithful or just plain single people, to encourage them to stay that way.

When you use Cheatneutral, we'll email you a Cheatneutral Offset Certificate, so you can prove to your loved one that your playing away has been successfully offset. Then, you and your partner are both happy, a broken heart is mended, and you can feel good about yourself again, all thanks to Cheatneutral.

And when you need to cheat again, we'll be here for you.
Of course, this satirizes environmental trading such as the carbon offsets that Al Gore uses to justify his enormous energy expenditures.

But the fact that Goldberg thinks this makes any sense helps to illustrate my prior post about the differences in how libertarians, conservatives and liberals view harms that should be illegal. To recap, libertarians require a defined victim who has been clearly coerced or forced into a position; conservatives think such harm can be done to a generalized order even if all the parties most concerned were consenting; and liberals also require a defined victim, but set the standard of "coercion" at a much lower level, such that a society that sexually objectifies women is deemed to have "coerced" some women into prostitution.

Now we know why Goldberg thinks cheating is wrong -- not because of the hurt it causes a specific person, but because of the generalized moral badness it puts into the ethical atmosphere. Ah, conservatives. Meanwhile, to libertarians it's only cheating if the other person actually is hurt by it; otherwise, it's just an "open relationship." And to the economically literate person, the whole comparison is quite puzzling because the whole problem of pollution is of negative externalities, for which offsets are a (perhaps weak) attempt to compensate, whereas sex with multiple partners has "externalities" only in a public health sense.

Aside from public health, however, there is not much reason for a libertarian to restrict sexual behavior between consenting adults. Professor Richard Epstein's support for a legal prohibition on prostitution is thus an odd lapse in his general libertarianism. He has remarked [1](), "In addition [to public health concerns,] I may be sufficiently old-fashioned, but prostitution seems problematic because many of these men are married. They took vows which said 'exclusive unto thee' and now they're in breach of the marriage contract. The law of inducement of breach of contract is generally a recognition of the inadequacy of direct remedy against the other contracting party. Sometimes you have to go after third parties. Much of the common law responds exactly to those circumstances, when you can't get the right wrongdoer it may well be necessary to accept broad restrictive practices."

As Mary Anne Case has noted [2], this makes a very large assumption: that enough of prostitutes' customers are married men whose relationship entails a promise of sexual fidelity and that such promise is broken primarily because of the availability of prostitutes. (In actuality, the much greater threat of divorce is caused by a spouse's straying through an unpaid, romantic relationship that could form a second marriage; prostitutes, in contrast, are a limited substitute for a spouse.)

Indeed, the law already recognizes the one-to-one harm done by infidelity by finding fault with the adulterous spouse in divorce cases. Environmental harms are more difficult to quantify and find specific victims of. Mrs. Goldberg need not give a damn whether the entire staff of National Review is sleeping around; her concern is with her own spouse. I do care a great deal about everyone who pollutes the air I breathe and water I drink, however, because they all have done a tiny, incremental harm to me. Even if I suffer a harm such as aggravated asthma, I cannot sue any individual one of them, because the harm cannot be assigned to a single person's actions. And so we end up with ridiculous, non-justiciable suits by the state of California against automakers.

[1] 41 UMIALR 49.

[2] 18 HVJLPP 369.
The flaws in this chain of reasoning are almost too obvious and numerous to catalogue. To begin with, not all men are married; surely if adultery is the harm it would be possible to prohibit only adulterous prostitution. Moreover, we do not treat marriage, let alone the vows recited during the marriage ceremony, as an enforceable contract; even if we did, we do not specifically enforce, we do not permit speculative damages; we certainly do not criminalize inducement to breach, indeed, we often permit breach. Moreover, we do not allow free contracting over the terms of the marriage contract; if we did, there are many reasons to suppose that not all couples would bargain for fidelity. What the anti-prostitution argument tells us, however, is the strength of Epstein's commitment to traditional marriage even when it contradicts libertarian principles as well as sociobiological evidence.

Continue Reading "Jonah Goldberg Fits My Theory" . . .

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Posner on Law and the Legal Profession

Professor/Judge/Writer/Philosopher Richard Posner had some interesting things to say about the law and the legal profession in the context of a piece commemorating his late colleague Bernard Meltzer. Check it out if you're interested in legal academia, and the role you might play in the development of the law.

Continue Reading "Posner on Law and the Legal Profession" . . .

Monday, September 17, 2007

Happy Constitution Day

Today is Constitution Day, and unlike the 4th of July, federal employees are at work and law students are in school...some holiday. Despite the Federal Government's refusal to celebrate it's own birth on the appropriate day, Columbia University is presenting a special exhibit of manuscripts from its John Jay collection, which will be displayed in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library on the 6th floor East of Butler Library.

The law school is also throwing a bit of a "celebration," in true law school fashion: pontification. From 4:30-6 p.m. in Jerome Greene Hall, Room 103, Columbia's constitutional law scholars will be holding a roundtable discussion on the Constitution, featuring Professors Kendall Thomas, Sarah Cleveland, Katherine Franke, Philip Hamburger, Suzanne Goldberg, and Jack Greenberg, with Dean Ellen Chapnick moderating.

Continue Reading "Happy Constitution Day" . . .

Monday, September 10, 2007

Murder, Incorporated

During his ACS-sponsored visit to Columbia Law School, Akin Gump partner and Supreme Court litigator Tom Goldstein briefly spoke about appealing the D.C. Circuit's invalidation of Washington, D.C.'s restrictions on gun ownership. His strategy is three-pronged:
1) argue that the Second Amendment is not an individual right, but rather attached to the formation of a militia -- a hoary and well-trod claim;
2) argue that the Second Amendment binds Congress, not the D.C. Council, the point that will be discussed in this post;
3) argue that even if one disagrees with arguments 1 and 2 and believes that the Second Amendment is an individual right that binds the D.C. Council, the law in question doesn't violate that reading of the Second Amendment because it is a reasonable restriction, not an outright ban (notwithstanding its being described almost universally as, well, a gun ban). Technically, the law allows private ownership of some types of weapons, including shotguns and rifles, but bans modern handguns. It therefore may fall within the Second Amendment as interpreted by those advocating tongue-in-cheek originalism -- that is, it may permit the weapons most predominate at the time the Second Amendment became part of the Bill of Rights.

But the argument that interested me was point 2, particularly because Mr. Goldstein suggested that Justice Scalia was the most likely to be sympathetic to it.
This surprised me, because 2 seems like an anti-incorporation claim, and my understanding was that even on this newly conservative Court, Justice Thomas was the only judge still maintaining that the 14th Amendment had little to do with the Bill of Rights and therefore unless they were clearly individual rights, those rights were enforceable only against the federal government, with the states free to run willynilly over freedom from establishment of religion (e.g., the five conservative justices' right not to have to say Protestant prayers in public schools).

However, the D.C. Council -- Washington D.C. itself, actually -- occupies a peculiar position with regard to the 14th Amendment, which is why it took a separate decision to de-segregate D.C. schools (which many of the same Congressmen who passed the 14th Amendment did want segregated). The 14th Amendment applies to the states, whereas the 5th Amendment applies to the District, and somehow Bolling held that a government action such as racial segregation can be so unjustified as to violate Due Process.

Argument 2, therefore, appears to require that the Court to believe that the Founders wrote a Bill of Rights in which a government entity's committing what by a state would be a violation of the 2nd Amendment, would not violate Due Process. The argument is premised on "[t]he fact that the Second Amendment was particularly designed to limit federal interference with state authority[, which] explains why its principles do not apply to state and local restrictions on guns. It similarly explains why the purposes of the Second Amendment are not implicated by laws limited to the District." In other words, if the 2nd was just meant to keep Congress from interfering with the state governments, it can't come into play when Congress isn't interfering with any state government at all. This requires a certain carry-over from argument 1; i.e., to believe argument 2, one must agree that the 2nd Amendment is not protecting an individual right, but instead is a federalism mechanism.

Continue Reading "Murder, Incorporated" . . .

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Consenting Adults and a Conservative-Liberal-Libertarian Split

The New York Times ran two op-eds this past week with rather different views about consensual sexual activity. Sunday's piece by nonfiction author Laura M. MacDonald summarized a 1970 dissertation by Laud Humphreys called "Tearoom Trade: Impersonal Sex in Public Places." It criticizes the use of law enforcement resources to arrest and prosecute men who solicit other men for sex in public places, and is similar to the argument made by Aaron Belkin in the previous day's Washington Post.

The recurring weakness in such criticism is that it ignores the genuine, non-homophobic concern that underlies such police action. After all, police have limited resources and must respond to constituencies. If they waste resources in an area that most citizens consider unimportant -- for example, arresting people for adulterery and other fornication, which in some states remains illegal -- they will be criticized for not spending them on problems that people do care about, such as violent crime. But citizens care about more than just direct crime against themselves or their neighbors; they also care about living in an orderly environment.

At least on this narrow issue, McArthur, Humphreys and Belkin sound like libertarians. Libertarians tend to fall into the camp of believing that police action against public solicitation of sex, or even public sex itself, is improper because it is a "victimless crime," and thus probably not ought be a crime at all.

Conservatives, however, see Law as a handmaiden of Order. Even if conservatives believed that there was no moral problem with homosexual sex between strangers, they still would worry that allowing public restrooms to become open grounds for finding and servicing sexual partners would create a problem of Disorder. Such men would be bringing a private activity into public space, and the presence of solicitation and sex would increase the probability of other ills: prostitution, the use of drugs that lower inhibitions or heighten sensation, violence from inevitable disagreements, etc. Moreover, such activity is an unfair and selfish use of a public space. Two people keeping their stall doors locked while they negotiate or engage in sex are reducing the number of stalls available to those who are in the bathroom for its intended purpose. That we cannot identify a specific "victim," a person who has been significantly harm, does not matter; society as a whole is harmed by Disorder.

The liberal perspective does feel a greater need for a specific victim, but sets the bar for what constitutes a victim lower. Where conservatives may see all the participating individuals in the Tearoom Trade as necessarily consensual, and thus only the large, diffuse group of non-participants as having been vaguely harmed, liberals are more likely to question the genuineness of the participants' consent.

This brings me to the second Times op-ed, columnist Bob Herbert's diatribe against Las Vegas, which is titled "City as Predator." ($elect) Women are the passive victims of this predator, a passivity reflected in Herbert's verbs.

"There is probably no city in America where women are treated worse than in Las Vegas."
"Vegas is a place where women and girls by the tens of thousands are chewed up by the vast and astonishingly open sex trade."
"The report explores what [mayor] Oscar Goodman doesn't appear to understand: the horrendous toll that prostitution, legal or illegal, takes on the women and girls involved. If you peel back the thin, supposedly sexy veneer of the commercial sex trade, you'll quickly see the rotten inside, where females are bought, sold, raped, beaten, shamed and in many, many cases, physically and emotionally wrecked."
"Start with the fact that so many of those who are pulled into the trade are so young — early-20s, late-teens and younger."

There's more, but you get the idea. Herbert doesn't try to argue that sex work is a sin against God, nor does he make an argument about its secondary effects in sowing general disorder to the detriment of society. Instead, he stakes his position on the claim that sex work harms the workers. His only example of a damaged individual is from a Family Division judge:
He told me about a 14-year-old who was seven months pregnant by her pimp. She was suffering from a sexually transmitted disease, had a drug problem, was undernourished and still craved a relationship with the pimp. "These cases will tear your heart out," the judge said.
Indeed they will, but they also are cases that a) occur in cities that are not contemplating the legalization of prostitution, and b) would be prosecuted against johns even if Mayor Goodman did pass his proposal, because sex with a 14-year-old would remain illegal.

Yet Herbert doesn't restrict his point to underage sex workers; even adult sex workers, in his view, are victims. "What is not widely understood is how coercive all aspects of the sex trade are." He's also annoyingly imprecise, referring to "sex clubs" with lapdances, when he most likely actually means strip clubs, which are legal to some extent in almost every state and not peculiar to Las Vegas. If the women are not victimized in a fashion that the criminal law would recognize anyway -- statutory rape, sexual assault, battery -- Herbert still declares them victims of economic exploitation: "Most of the money they receive from johns goes to the pimps, the brothel owners, the escort service managers and so forth. Strippers and lap dancers have to pay for the right to dance in the clubs, and the money they get in tips has to be shared with the club owners, bartenders, bouncers, etc."

In all honesty, I probably would have agreed with Herbert's column had he stuck to prostitution, because I am very doubtful that legalizing brothels and pimping activity is a good idea. However, the notion that strippers necessarily are victimized because they have to pay for the right to dance in clubs and have to share their tips with their employer and fellow employees is slightly ludicrous. Waitstaff, particularly in expensive restaurants, are paid below the minimum wage and expected to share tips, yet I have not heard of Herbert's wanting to ban waiting on tables. And at least in NYC, there's probably some overlap between the women in high-end strip clubs and those at fashionable bars and restaurants: struggling models and actresses who use their attractiveness in order to pay the bills. Certainly some of the drink-mixing and table-waiting skills on offer at certain Manhattan establishments lend credence to the theory that employees were hired for their appearance and charm rather than their ability to get an order right.

The average American probably doesn't fall entirely into any of the three camps. In some situations, she will be loath to prosecute apparently victimless crimes; in others she will be willing to punish infractions that violate Order; in still others she will be convinced that someone who supposedly consented is actually being coerced. I identify predominately as a liberal, yet I'm sympathetic to the conservative argument for enforcing the law against public sex, because I value Order. (Indeed, I think living in New York has increased my appreciation for doing certain things only in certain designated places; having witnessed someone urinating on a street corner helps one imagine how unpleasant it might be to use a restroom stall right after someone has had sex in it.)

Incidentally, does anyone have a theory as to why the editorials like McArthur's and Belkin's -- i.e., sympathetic to the person caught soliciting in a bathroom -- seem to have come out only in response to the news of Sen. Craig's arrest, rather than earlier when Flordia state representative Bob Allen had a similar problem? Is it because Allen's "I'm afraid of the Big Black Wolf" defense for his actions rendered him too unsympathetic?

UPDATE: Sex advice columnist Dan Savage takes a similar view that Sen. Craig is not being unfairly persecuted in having been arrested for his toe-tapping (emphasis added):
However, CASH, as I'm sure you and others involved in the homosexual lifestyle are aware, the kind of man that plays footsie in an airport toilet fully intends to have sex in that same toilet, and a public toilet is a public place -- and public sex is illegal for gay people like you, CASH, and for straight people like me and Senator Craig.

And while I would be the first to argue that most of the men looking to get it on in toilets and other public sex environments are discreet and don't bother anyone -- and I argued just that on CNN last week—some are not discreet and some do bother people. (I also argued that most of the men getting it on in toilets are straight-identified, just like me and Senator Craig.) There were complaints about that particular bathroom at the Minneapolis airport, and the police did what the police are supposed to do when there are complaints -- they responded.

Continue Reading "Consenting Adults and a Conservative-Liberal-Libertarian Split" . . .

A Fresh Start

Welcome to all you first-timers who have just found their way to Ex Post. To those of you who have been here, thanks for coming back.

We here at the CLS Federalist Society are really excited about Ex Post for this upcoming year. Hopefully, Ex Post will be able to serve as a forum and opportunity to exchange ideas, advice, classroom strategies, or simply engage in some healthy debate. Our main goal this year is to significantly increase member contribution to the blog, so PLEASE do not hold anything back if you think it might be appropriate. We believe in literally exercising your free speech.

All you have to do is create a blogger account, send us an email from that email address, and we will add you to the contributors list. If you'd rather not create a blogger account, just send us an email and we will make one of our public ones available to you. There are no length requirements, and sometimes it seems like we don't even have grammatical requirements. All we realy ask is that posts refrain from blatant partisan politics or name-calling, since we at the Federalist Society are a diverse group of individuals with different party preferences as well.

Hopefully, you will find time at least once a semester to post to the blog your thoughts, fears, frustrations, anxieties or questions you may have about law school, legal thought, or anything else that might relate to the law. This will provide opportunities for 1Ls to solicit advice from upperclassmen, provide an outlet for more opinionated discussions than are often possible in a classroom, and will sharpen skills of public advocacy and rhetoric.

We will be collaborating with the American Constitution Society on some topics later in the year, typically involving a debate over a topic on each of our respective blogs. If you'd be interested in that as well, send us an email.

P.S. Look for upcoming details on our blogging contest (prize money for good writing).

Continue Reading "A Fresh Start" . . .