Unfinished Thoughts and Corresponding Links

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Despite my best efforts, I didn’t manage to write posts about all the topics that caught my fancy during my turn as Student Blogger of the Month. So I’m treating (subjecting?) you to some quick hits on topics that I wanted to blog about but didn’t get to. What this boils down to is linking to some of the contents of my “blog” folder in my Internet bookmarks. I’m sharing these because I think I found some interesting topics that I didn’t get a chance to write about in a complete post.

Government thoughts

1)         I tried several times to put together a post inspired by a Chuck Klosterman article in Esquire entitled “You Say You Want a Revolution.” I never quite managed to make it work. In his article Klosterman wondered “what would have to happen before the American populace would try to overthrow its own government?” A little less dramatically, I wonder what would have to happen for the citizens of the country to amend our Constitution? We’ve had several events in the recent past (Bush v. Gore and the elections that led to it, the Clinton impeachment and perjury situation, Hurricane Katrina, 9-11) that might have been an impetus to fundamentally change the way our federal government works by amending the Constitution. But, we, as a country, have not chosen to take that step. What type of event would have to happen to lead to a Constitutional Amendment that could actually be ratified? Continue reading “Unfinished Thoughts and Corresponding Links”

AIG, Bailouts, and Suffering Stupidity

Posted on Categories Business Regulation, Uncategorized2 Comments on AIG, Bailouts, and Suffering Stupidity

 

File:Crown.png“A beggar’s mistake harms no one but the beggar. A king’s mistake, however, harms everyone but the king. Too often, the measure of power lies not in the number who obey your will, but in the number who will suffer your stupidity,” writes R. Scott Bakker in his latest novel, The Judging Eye. 

Bakker’s proverb seems to apply to the current economic situation (climate, recession, downturn, depression, hiccup, what are we calling it again?) and especially the continuing outcry over AIG’s payment of $160 million in bonuses after accepting more than $170 billion in bailout money. Continue reading “AIG, Bailouts, and Suffering Stupidity”

That Must Have Been Some Presentation

Posted on Categories Labor & Employment Law, Sports & Law3 Comments on That Must Have Been Some Presentation

The NFL Players Association new executive director, DeMaurice Smith (left), “wowed . . . player representatives with an hour long presentation,” but prior to his election was “a relative unknown quantity in NFL circles,” according to a report by Sports Illustrated‘s Don Banks. Prior to his election, Smith was a “trial and litigation partner at Patton Boggs who concentrat[ed] in white-collar criminal defense and ‘bet the company’ tort liability trials.”

So, a white-collar defense attorney who was a relative unknown in NFL circles is now leading the NFLPA into an uncertain future that features a collective bargaining agreement that expires in 2011, a year without a salary cap in 2010 (under the terms of the current CBA), and an uncertain (at best) worldwide economic climate.

I don’t know that Smith wasn’t the best choice, but I do know that the other candidates — former players Trace Armstrong and Troy Vincent and sports attorney David Cornwell — had strong ties to the NFL. Armstrong and Vincent both are former NFLPA presidents. Cornwell represented several NFL players in a federal lawsuit against the NFL seeking an injunction preventing the NFL from suspending the players for violating the NFL’s drug policy.

I’m skeptical that this is the right time for the NFLPA to bring in an outsider. The NFLPA is only looking for a new executive director because of the unexpected death of Gene Upshaw, who led the NFLPA for twenty-five years. Smith is seemingly taking a hard line with the NFL on the upcoming negotiations and is already talking of “prepar[ing] for war” and “not go[ing] back” to a salary cap if the 2010 season is played without one. Hopefully, Smith’s presentation went beyond hard-line rhetoric and laid out a plan that will ensure the labor peace and economic prosperity that are Upshaw’s legacies. As a fan of the NFL (the Packers, not the Steelers, sorry Professor Schneider), I hope the players made the correct choice for their executive director.

Why Century School Book Is Better for Your Brief Than Times New Roman

Posted on Categories Legal Education, Legal Writing6 Comments on Why Century School Book Is Better for Your Brief Than Times New Roman

Students, would you like to make it easier for your professors to retain the information presented in your typed assignments, papers, briefs, and tests?

Professors, would like to retain more of the information that your students are presenting to you in their typed assignments, papers, briefs, and tests?

Then please read what the Seventh Circuit has to say about its “Requirements and Suggestions for Typography in Briefs and Other Papers.”

For starters, “[t]ypographic decisions should be made for a purpose. The Times of London chose the typeface Times New Roman to serve an audience looking for a quick read. Lawyers don’t want their audience to read fast and throw the document away; they want to maximize retention.”

Students don’t want their audience (professors) to read fast and throw the document away either. Maybe the fallback format requirements of “15 pages, double-spaced, Times New Roman, one inch margins” shouldn’t be the fallback? What else does the Seventh Circuit have to say about our old friend Times New Roman? Continue reading “Why Century School Book Is Better for Your Brief Than Times New Roman”

Independence and Accountability in Wisconsin’s Lower Courts

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All methods of judicial selection must account for and balance the competing goals of judicial independence and judicial accountability. Judge James Wynn, Jr. and Eli Mazur described judicial independence as an “immunity from extra-legal pressures” and judicial accountability as the judiciary’s “responsiveness to public opinion.” A method of selection cannot treat independence and accountability as having equal importance. Independence — immunity from extra-legal pressures — must come at the expense of accountability — responsiveness to public opinion, a form of extra-legal pressure.

The three primary methods of judicial selection in the United States are appointment (either by the executive or the legislature), election, and merit selection.  Appointment is viewed as the best method for promoting judicial independence.  Election is viewed as the best method for promoting judicial accountability.  And merit selection attempts to split the difference by having the executive make an appointment from a pool of candidates selected by representatives of the public.

When the issue of judicial selection comes up in a public forum, the focus of the discussion is typically on how to select judges to a state’s highest court.  Wisconsin experienced a public debate on the selection of Supreme Court Justices last spring because of the content of the campaigning and the influx of special-interest group spending during the Supreme Court elections of 2007 and 2008.  Judge Diane Sykes summarized the public debate that appeared in Wisconsin’s major newspapers in her speech published in the most recent issue of the Marquette Law Review. Continue reading “Independence and Accountability in Wisconsin’s Lower Courts”