Wednesday, February 28, 2007

LSAT Train to Clarksville

I'm really swamped right now, but I just couldn't let this post by David Bernstein at the VC slide. He writes: "As I've suggested before, the best way to judge the 'rank' of a law school from the perspective of students is by looking at the quality of its student body, primarily through the most objective factor available, LSAT scores."

Huh? Classroom contribution and legal abilities judged by the LSAT? Over the past 2 and a half years I've always said that I knew I'd come to Boalt after seeing a copy of Boalt Briefs in Booth on admit day. The fact that we had an energic new dean coming in, a top 5 reputation, etc., were all factors as well. But again, it was the sense of humor of the students, and their really diverse backgrounds. During admit day, I did not meet a single person who had worked at a law firm. Nothing against that, I just appreciate the people who didn't go into freshman year of undergrad thinking they were God's gift to the legal system and joined every single pre-law society on campus. Spare me. Boalt did!!!

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Progress Report: Jerry McNerney

You may recall that a strange thing happened last November: an incumbent Congressman from California’s “safe” 11th District, Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, lost his seat to Jerry McNerney, a political novice. The Pombo family made its fortune through ranching and land sales (you still see the name on billboards selling tract homes out there); McNerney is a wind-power executive with a background as a national security contractor. A largely grass-roots effort brought McNerney into power; the Democrats at Boalt went precinct walking to help in this cause.

So how have McNerney’s first six weeks in Congress shaped up?

In January McNerney gave dull-sounding but competent testimony on the House floor on the need to scale back tax breaks for domestic oil producers and support renewable energy. This is good common sense, although the high price of oil practically makes it economically viable to fuel your car with cabbage. McNerney has co-sponsored legislation supporting plug-in hybrid vehicles and a cap-and-trade system. Seems he isn’t intimidated by curmudgeons telling him it’s a pipe dream.

The one caution I have is that as a recent wind power executive, McNerney should walk the line about making sure his incentives don’t seem to line the pockets of himself or his buddies, especially given all the wind he’s created about overhauling ethics rules. I know, the Republicans have not exactly done this either, but if we want clean government, it should start at home.

McNerney’s district was once a world-leader in wind power generation; now California has been eclipsed by Europe and the mid-west. About the only thing the creaking windmills at Fayette along the Altamont Pass are still efficient at is chopping up endangered birds, which brings us to…

Endangered Species Act
Here is where McNerney can make one of his greatest contributions: don’t be Pombo. Pombo was out to eviscerate the Endangered Species Act or require 100% compensation for diminutions in value. I think it’s not unreasonable to provide some compensation to those whose property is sacrificed to the public goods of a clean environment and biodiversity. However, extinct is forever, even for the modest fairy shrimp of the vernal pools that dot the 11th District. Pombo also proposed legislation to sell large portions of the National Park Service. Bad idea. The jury is out on McNerney; let’s hope he sets a better balance.

Alternate Water Sources
McNerney co-sponsored, with my Congresswoman, Ellen Tauscher (10th District, D-Alamo), a $50m increase in Federal Water Pollution Control Act to fund a pilot program allowing for development of alternate water sources. This is probably a good idea, especially in the Greater Bay Area, where housing and farming needs are at odds over how to use water. Thinking creatively about water is sensible, since all it could take is one dry winter and then we’d really be hosed. Focusing on energy only as a resource subject to shortages would be short-sighted.

However, McNerney should also work to get Federal funding to improve the levees of the San Joaquin-Sacramento Delta, parts of which are in his district. It is well-known that a good El Nino storm or two could turn Sacramento into the next New Orleans.

McNerney has co-sponsored Rep. Murtha’s H. Res. 18 to redeploy troops from Iraq. I won’t editorialize, but McNerney was critical of the Iraq war during his campaign, so he seems to be following the will of his constituents. His son enlisted in the military after 9/11.

The “100 Hours” Bills
McNerney co-sponsored virtually all of the Democrats’ raft of bills in the new Congress (minimum wage, lower student loans, stem-cell research, lower prescription drug prices, etc.).

McNerney is showing that his fortes are in energy and natural resources. It’s too early to get a comprehensive view of whether he will be an effective legislator (i.e. can he work in a bipartisan manner? can he compromise for the sake of the bigger picture?). For now, he should get the benefit of the doubt.

McNerney’s victory may also suggest trends:
-the high water mark of the post-Kelo property rights movements; McNerney’s defeat of Pombo coincided with voters’ rejection of Prop. 90, which concerned compensation for takings.
-the ascendancy of the middle, a belt of moderate districts separating a liberal urban core from a conservative rural periphery.
-a move towards contested elections. Lord, wouldn’t that be a welcome change in this state?

Get This MPRE-Party Started

I have the Bar/Bri outline. I will read 30 pages of it at some point. But I'm starting to see people reading it around the library. SOMEONE brought it with him to the Clever Steamboats 22-0 rout tonight. What gives? I thought you only need like 3 days of studying to pass. Should I miss the Shakedown this week? It is this week isn't it? I'm not going to make an ass of myself again.

Also, good luck to any Boalties retaking the Bar today and tomorrow. And a special good luck to a certain former 3L who's taking it for the first time.


Monday, February 26, 2007

Gracist At Heart

Today's Gracism of the Day is brought to you by my utter hatred of Nacy Grace. Thank you for reading.

While discussing Anna Nicole Smith's will, which apparently has not been perfected, "I can write a will on this paper and say Howard K. Stern is the executor and throw it up in the air. And that's all that's worth." The concept of holographic wills, much like binding treaty obligations, eludes Grace.


Sunday, February 25, 2007

Two things DS is sick of

Number One: All this Al Gore for President talk. DS thinks it's obvious the man has risen above politics. He was a big environmental supporter while in the Senate, but that wasn't his sole focus. Now, it is. Isn't it clear that Gore thinks his main calling now is as an environmental advocate? How could he ever become President on such a single-focus platform? He can do far more good for the environment as a private advocate than a public official.

Number Two: Governor Schwarzenegger breaking his leg skiing . . . in Idaho. Okay, this is a bit of an old topic, but I got to thinking of it again with the latest California Snow commercials . This is a Governor who loves to talk about how California has the best snow and about how we should buy California grown products. So, why was he skiing in Sun Valley Idaho and not in California? Why does he have his vacation house there and not in California? Seems like a Governor who is trying to tell us to spend our money on California products should do so himself.


Liveblogging the Oscars

Circa 6:45 PM -- Cameron Diaz IS hot. Anyone who disagrees is blind. You know who you are.

The End.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Boalt Hall Ghost Stories

I cannot believe I haven't posted on this topic yet. Right now, the library is haunted by a persistent moaning. Ok, in reality, the air pressure in the main reading room is higher than it is in the rest of the library, so air pushes out on the doors, cracking them open and whistling past them. Why is the pressure higher in the main reading room? [insert gunner joke].

So, I suppose the reading room ghost story is debunked, but has anyone heard any others? Does Dean Prosser still stalk the halls? Does Chief Justice Warrne still occasionally whisper wisdom
to Con Law students? Inquiring minds want to know!


Strange Bedfellows

Can’t sleep. Too pissed off about Lynne Stewart and Mumia Abu-Jamal. I hope they have to share a cell. Checked out my hometown newspaper online. Struck by this story about a private defense attorney in Windham County, VT who is and/or was the target of an obstruction-of-justice investigation. She admits to telling her client that if the witnesses against him didn’t show up, he would be acquitted. Police think she may have said more. The client sent a variety of communications to the victim “encouraging” her not to testify. An undercover cop called the lawyer, pretending to be a witness, to see if she would try and dissuade him from testifying. The call was recorded without her knowledge, but pursuant to a warrant. The client has pled to domestic assault, probation violations, and obstruction. The lawyer has not been charged.

Criminal defense lawyers all over the state are apparently up in arms. According to the article, they’re worried about a “chilling effect.” Here’s what I think: we should definitely try to “chill” efforts to intimidate witnesses. Criminal defendants deserve zealous representation, but defense attorneys have no special mandate to break the law just because it might help their clients. All of which brings me back to: Lynne Stewart. Did anyone go to her presentation? Did any protesters hand out highlighted copies of the transcript (p.29) where she giggles about the trouble she could get in if she got caught passing messages for her client? (Thanks to John Steele’s comment below for the link.)

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

I'll Show You "Higher Level of Discourse"

Wow, about half a dozen people from three different Bay Area law schools have forwarded me this e-mail exchange between a Hastings 1L and his property professor. It's a gem. I post it in its entirety in the comments below. One of the forwards notes that this guy wore "a corduroy blazer with elbow patches, spectacles and a leather tote, raising his hand in every class and attempting to squeeze in the biggest word he could in his commentary." Apprently his e-mails are no exception.

Who does he remind you of? Any words to describe him? I vote on Kenny Bania. As an aside, when things like this get out, it always makes my decision to come to Boalt all the wiser. I just love all you guys so much!!!! At least you're way too smart to create an anonymous gmail account with your name.

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Abrams in the Outfield

The only legal commentator that I remotely respect is Dan Abrams of MSNBC. I don't like the shrill prosecutor that's often on with him, but he actually understands the issues, dumbs it down for people, and tends to get things right.

Nancy Grace, on the other hand, took exactly 3 seconds to remind me why I hate her so much. This is roughly the exchange between the commentator and her regarding the Cal court order requiring DNA testing of the kid, and the potential enforcement of that order in the Bahamas.
Grace: "That's like a French court telling a Georgia court what to do. I won't even tell you what that Georgia judge would do to that French order."
Commentator: "Well there's actually a convention on this, if there is another court that's heard the issue and it's reasonable then generally you follow the other court."
Grace: "Jack...I like you...but come on, a 'convention?' There are lots of 'conventions.'"
Memo to Grace: Treaties ratified pursuant to the U.S. Constitution are the supreme law of the land. Although I don't doubt you when you say a Georgia judge would not follow the constitution or federal laws.

Oh and I hate Rita Cosby. To paraphrase Skipper J: She has the looks for radio and the voice for print.


"I want the firetrucks out there!"

I've been watching the Anna Nicole Smith hearing. It seems like Judge Seidlin is one of the few members of the judiciary who is brave enough to shake off the chains of civil procedure and courtroom propriety and just go with with his heart. Or is this just how it goes down in Florida?

I'm tempted to make snide comments, but I don't actually know what is supposed to go on in a hearing like this. The only measuring stick I have is what Judge Seidlin says would normally happen at this point - and I'm not sure he is a reliable source. Can anyone clue me in - or direct me to a good source for info - about the normal procedure of a hearing like this (I don't even know what it is called). Also, who are all these lawyers in the courtroom?

Anyone else notice that unusually good looking woman under the white phone?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


The Clever Steamboats are now 2-0. The "No-Explodes" imploded against the offensive juggernaut of the Steamboats. Final score 12-4.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Almost a Great Article

UPDATE: All three briefs are provided here.

The New York Times ran a good, but not great, article on patent litigation today. Apparently, the first biochemical permanent injunction hearing post-eBay is coming up, and in Oakland to boot before Judge Wilken (Boalt '75). I say good, but not great, because the article does a fantastic job of providing the personal and business sides of the story, but it leaves out any sophisticated discussion of the legal issue. As the Intro to IP class is (hopefully) now aware, the availability of injunctions drive much patent litigation. The Supreme Court recently stepped in to correct the Federal Circuit
and restore the equity roots to the injunction decision in the eBay v. Mercexchange case.

So far, the general rule has been: if you compete, you're enjoined. If not, you get damages. But here we have our first post-eBay case with competition and a public interest angle. What does equity require here? According to the court's calendar, the hearing was continued, but it does not say until when. For whatever reason, I'm having trouble accessing NDCal's PACER database right now, but I'll try to get the briefs and a hearing date for you, loyal readers. In the meantime, the case number is C-04-5429.

Ha, now we'll see whether people prefer class certification to patent remedies or not. At least the top post is no longer debating semantics re: MILF & cougar.

Open Sesame

I just found this treasure trove of information about the Cal Bar ON OUR OWN SCHOOL'S WEBSITE. I had to use google to find it though.


Sunday, February 18, 2007

From Each According to His Ability...

So, I’m looking at Dean Ortiz’s email to 3Ls that we can now request our class rankings for purposes of clerkship applications. This is a bit perplexing to me. I’m almost sure I recall applying for clerkships SIX MONTHS AGO. Why am I getting this lecture from her again, and at a time when the information she’s (grudgingly) making available can do me little good? Maybe there’s a good reason; I just can’t think of it.

As long as I’m taking a break from my writing requirement to vent on this general subject, I’d like to comment on this purported prohibition on telling anyone your class rank for any purpose other than an application for a clerkship or academic job. Putting aside questions of constitutionality (which I don’t pretend I’m qualified to answer), this prohibition is pretty strange. More than that, it is, like our P, H & HH grading system, somewhat clandestinely redistributive.

high-rankers from disclosing to most employers deprives them of a benefit. Almost certainly, some of this benefit redounds to low-rankers, who can legitimately replace a piece of bad information with a piece of school-mandated uncertainty. So we have, in effect, a subsidy from high-grade-achievers to low-grade achievers. How you feel about this should depend on your views about the relative deserts of high- and low-grade-achievers. But it should also depend on the fact that our result is inferior to a full-disclosure regime in terms of the “employment welfare” of Boalties as a group. In the aggregate, employers wanting to know as much as possible about candidates will view the absence of ranking information about Boalties as a disadvantage. As others have pointed out, a similar analysis applies to our imprecise grading system (although I believe the subsidy in that case is "paid" mainly by middle-exam-raw-score achievers to low-exam-raw-score-achievers).

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Helen of Mod T

This week is random acts of kindness week, and inspired by this ATL post, I want to give a shout out to our transfers. First, you guys abandoned your friends, classmates, professors, etc. at your prior law schools to move to this concrete bunker. I would too if my future professional prospects improved that dramatically, but's a sacrifice worth recognizing.

Second, there were some debates in comments about which class is hottest. In any such debate, I dare anyone to get facebooks from two different years and then to compare members of the same class. E.g., take this year's and last year's facebooks and compare the Class of 2008. You will see why I'm giving props to the transfers. With that said, there's still plenty to gripe about re transfers.

Edit: Moving this to the top because, well, I'm not in a "legal" mood, so I want to eclipse Tom's post.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Cougars and Steamers and MILFs, Oh My

First and foremost, Boalt's proud Cleveland Steamboats (IM officials have changed our name from Steamers) are now 1-0 thanks to a default by the Social Workers. The highlight of the game: my bloody elbow and 2 RBIs. The other highlight of the game? A certain ASP badass cranking one 200-250 feet.

If you have any sense of decency, you will not read beyond this sentence. But a debate is raging in the halls of Boalt. Those who have taken, or are in Legislation may be called upon to provide their interpretative skills. A certain website that I cannot find, defines a Cougar, and then lists Stiffler's mom from American Pie and Mrs. Robinson from The Graduate as examples of Cougars. The urban dictionary definitions are here.

Some argue that those two are not Cougars. They are MILFs. The contention is that a Cougar cannot be married or have kids. Urban dictionary definitions here.

Personally, I (convincingly) argue that these two terms are the flip sides of the same coin. The core definition of a Cougar is an older woman who preys on younger men. All that no marriage/no kids stuff is superfluous. Similarly, the only core definition of MILF is just what it stands for. The emphasis, however, is on I. It's a subjective label. If she satisfies the M conditional, then beyond that there's very little that's objective about it. The Cougar label, however, can be attached by 3rd parties. Thus, the two are not mutually exclusive.

By way of illustration, Mrs. Robinson was CLEARLY a Cougar because she seduced poor old Dustin Hoffman (who's in love with Robinson's daugher, a Cal student!!!). The fact that she's a mom, doesn't mean I'd like to f*ck her. Anyway, discuss.


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Cousin Balco

I'm loathe to post more about sports, but I want to point out that the lawyer who leaked the information in the Balco case has agreed to plead guilty. The reporters are off the hook...the First Amendment is still safe.

For 10 bonus points, what hit sitcom spun off from "Perfect Strangers?" No internet searches allowed.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Improving the Business Law Curriculum

Here's an email from Prof. Talley. I've enjoyed what I've been able to take from the business law courses, so I thought I'd pass it around.


The Dean has asked [Prof. Talley] and Professor Fried to develop a set of curricular priorities in the business law curriculum. Part of this process involves collecting information from students about their priorities (e.g., what courses should be taught, what shouldn't, how often, etc).

That's where you (hopefully) come in. I've attached a spreadsheet survey that I would very much appreciate your taking 5-10 minutes to complete. I cannot offer monetary compensation, or grade adjustments, but I GUARANTEE that the survey results will have an impact on what our proposal to the dean looks like, and thus what future business law offerings are.

Please feel free to forward this document to any current law students. Responses should be emailed to Edwin Bish, at ebish [ at ]

Many thanks. I appreciate your time. Email [Prof. Talley] if you have questions.


Monday, February 12, 2007

How many R-S-T-L-N-Es are there in "Pat Sajak is a moron?"

DS was forwarded this Pat Sajak-global warming blog by an ELQ member. Read it. DS won't copy the entire post here because it takes up too much space.

Sajak agrees with the majority of scientists that the earth is warming. But he points to Nancy Pelosi and her big-jet flying ways, as evidence that either (1) she must not think global warming is man-made because she is unwilling to change her behavior, and, thus, no one else should believe in global warming or (2) she's a hypocrite.

As to (1), Sajak doesn't really come out and say he doesn't have to believe in global warming because Pelosi doesn't either (if Pelosi did, she would clearly be doing everything she can to reduce her footprint). He follows the Bush Administration's tactic of forcing a conclusion without stating any facts. C.f. the way Americans confused a supposed link between Iraq and Al-Qaeda with a link between Iraq and 9/11. Take a look at the following passage:

Take the case of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Since 9/11, the Speaker (whoever he or she might be) has been provided with a private jet for security reasons. I happen to think that’s right and proper and prudent. However, she’s arguing for a larger jet which would accommodate family and others and would allow for non-stop travel to her California home. I think that’s probably reasonable, too. But wait a minute! How can a believer in man-made global warming be so utterly unconcerned about accelerating the coming catastrophe? . . . Shouldn’t she be arguing against a private jet and perhaps closing down one of her homes or moving her family within a few blocks of her office?

This is a great passage. It implies that Pelosi doesn't really believe in man-made global warming, because she cares more about getting to SF in one shot than she does about the environment. But that's not really true. First of all, there is no "coming catastrophe." The same scientists convinced the earth's warming is man-made predict temperature increases between 3 and 7 degrees Fahrenheit, and sea level rises between 7 and 23 inches by 2100. These are numbers are alarming, but not catastrophic. Sure, some of the many islands making up the Maldives may disappear, but that's about it. Humans and our settlements can withstand a sea level rise of 23 inches. We can also withstand a temperature rise of 7 degrees, though this will be more difficult.

More importantly, just because someone isn't doing everything in his/her power to reduce their footprint, doesn't mean they don't believe in man-made global warming, or that Sajak doesn't have to believe the science. He does. We do. It is real. Which brings DS to Sajak's second point -- that Pelosi, and others that aren't changing their behavior are hypocrites.

Here, DS couldn't agree more with Sajak. Although there is no, as Sajak says, "impending disaster" to avert, this is a real crisis. DS doesn't think man-made global warming is the same as the new nuclear arms race (as some scientists seem too -- see doomsday clock counts down), it still presents serious problems. Environmental refugees will be the norm in the coming century. This all forces the question: What are you willing to do? If you believe in man-made global warming, morally, you are required to reduce your footprint. How much, though?

This is where Sajak misses his mark. He wants believers to change their entire way of life.

Why are [believers] still driving that big car or living in that big house? In fact, why are they driving at all? Why haven’t they moved into a minimalist home within walking distance of their office? . . . Anyone who truly believes it and still uses anything more than the lowest-wattage single bulb or drives one mile more than absolutely necessary is nothing short of a monster!

DS doesn't really buy this. Like losing weight, the best way to make certain, lasting changes is to slowly alter your lifestyle. DS can't give up peanut M&Ms cold-turkey, he has to ween his way off them. Likewise, he can't entirely offset his carbon emissions (he is a student), he has to buy the "around-towner" terrapass now, and will upgrade to a more expensive option once he graduates.

You don't have to move to within walking distance of your job (or school). But, if you believe in man-made warming, you do have to do what you can. REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE. DS still can't believe how many Boalt students he sees throwing away recyclable material. There are simply steps you can take to reduce your footprint.

Buy Local. Reuse plastic grocery bags when you go to Safeway or Whole Foods. Walk when you can (don't drive on local errands unless necessary). Replace light bulbs with energy efficient varieties. Turn off lights and electronics when not in use. Hang your washed clothes instead of drying them. Many of these things are not only better for the environment, but much cheaper as well, which is great for students.

So, if you think global warming has a man-made component start helping now. Because, as the old saying goes, you're either with us, or you're against us. That, and you don't really want to be with Sajak on this, do you?

Friday, February 09, 2007

Bringing Your Gayness on the NBA

Former NBA player John Amaechi revealed this week that he is gay, becoming the first NBA player (active or retired) to come out of the closet. While some have applauded Amaechi’s decision to come out, most of the sports world has greeted the news with a yawn. I think it’s great that Amaechi has gone public, but my guess is that within two weeks most of the world will have forgotten the sexual orientation of a less-than-mediocre NBA player who last played in 2003.

The more interesting story here is not simply that Amaechi has come out, but rather the reaction of the rest of the league. A few players and coaches have openly supported Amaechi—including Tracy McGrady, Grant Hill, former Amaechi coach Doc Rivers, and (somewhat shockingly) Isiah Thomas. Others, like Chauncey Billups, have said something along the lines of, As long as he plays well, I don’t care what he does in his private life. Fair enough.

Several others, however, have been less kind. Take Shavlik Randolph (a Duke grad, FWIW) of the 76ers: "As long as you don't bring your gayness on me I'm fine. . . . As far as business-wise, I'm sure I could play with him. But I think it would create a little awkwardness in the locker room." Or the 76ers Steven Hunter: “For real? He's gay for real? . . . Nowadays it's proven that people can live double lives. I watch a lot of TV, so I see a lot of sick perverted stuff about married men running around with gay guys and all types of foolishness.” And then there’s Lebron, who is in some respects the NBA’s most important and visible player: “With teammates you have to be trustworthy, and if you're gay and you're not admitting that you are, then you are not trustworthy. So that's like the number one thing as teammates . . . we all trust each other. You've heard of the in-room locker room code. What happens in the locker room stays there. It's a trust factor."

My problem is not so much that these players made these comments—athletes live in a macho, intolerant world, so macho, intolerant words are hardly a surprise. No, my problem is that, aside from a few “tsk, tsks” in the media, these players have been subject to zero disciplinary action. No private or public reprimand, no fines, no required retractions of the quotes, no teammates or coaches calling out Randolph or Hunter for their blatantly stupid comments.

And don’t think for a second that the NBA is above punishing athletes for their words. Why just this very week the Bulls Tyrus Thomas said the following about participating in the NBA dunk contest: "I'm just into the free money. That's it. I'll just do whatever when I get out there." The Bulls stated that the comments were "a poor reflection on Tyrus individually and a poor reflection on the Bulls organization," and then fined Thomas $10,000 and required him to make a public apology. Players are also often fined for things such as criticizing officials.

So, what we’ve learned here is that admitting that you play basketball for money is a punishable offense, but homophobic comments are not. Not exactly a surprise, then, that no active player has come out of the closet, even though statistically it is almost guaranteed that several NBA players are gay (and Amaechi hints at such, but doesn’t reveal names).

It is no great revelation to say that it will be incredibly difficult for an active athlete to come out of the closet. But until coaches and management mandate changes in locker room culture, it will be nearly impossible. NBA Commissioner David Stern could have pushed this process forward by using this opportunity to make clear that the NBA will not tolerate homophobia. Instead, Stern cowardly commented that "[w]e have a very diverse league. The question at the NBA is always, 'Have you got game?' That's it, end of inquiry." The 76ers organization has been silent regarding Randolph’s and Hunter’s comments.

The changes necessary for sports to be welcoming of a gay athlete are simply not going to come from the players—they must come from the top down. Jackie Robinson did not break into the Major Leagues because that was what the players wanted. Rather, the Dodgers owner, Branch Rickey, decided that he wanted Robinson on his team (for moral and business reasons), and his players, and opponents, would just have to live with it.

So again, good for Amaechi, but shame on (most of) the coaches, executives, owners, and Commissioner for not taking a strong stance on this issue. I’m never really sure if the sports world leads the way on certain social issues, or if it is merely a reflection of society’s current stance on such issues. But I do know that when a player is brave enough to play NBA basketball as an openly gay athlete, it will be an important milestone, both for the gay community and society generally. Unfortunately, until those at the top have the courage to forbid intolerance throughout the league, I doubt a player from the bottom will have the courage to reveal his true self.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Gossip Column

An OBVIOUSLY* female commenter writes below:
I know we're supposed to be doing our best to perpetuate the "white & nerdy" stereotype a la Weird Al, but can this blog ever discuss something sex, for example? I want Disco Stu and Armen to post about sex. Sex in general. Or sex at Boalt (of which there is allegedly none). Whatever floats your boat. Either way, Valentine's Day is coming up and many hapless Boalties could use at least a vicarious experience. Thank you in advance.
Personally, I've never gossiped on this blog. Strangely, at any moment in time, I'm sitting on tons of dirt on people. So, I'll continue to keep the vault doors shut. But that doesn't mean I can't open it up to you guys. Every so often, whenever I'm prodded to action, I'll create an open thread dedicated to "social" topics.

Speaking of which, I hear today's bar review is at the Down Low in honor of the semi-annual Boalt-Haas-Goldman Shakedown. Nothing scandalous has ever happened at the Down Low.**

* Guys just don't give a rat's ass about Valentine's Day.

** This statement is false.


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Complex Civil Litigation Thoughts

Bad day for Wal*Mart. The Ninth Circuit upheld the district court's class certification. Being the Ninth Circuit, it's a 2-1 opinion. The Judge Kleinfeld opinion ends in a particularly stinging way (somewhat undercutting the dissent's earlier "respectfully") :

The district court calls this class certification “historic,”31 a
euphemism for “unprecedented.” In the law, the absence of
precedent is no recommendation. This class certification vio-
lates the requirements of Rule 23. It threatens the rights of
women injured by sex discrimination. And it threatens Wal-
Mart’s rights. The district court’s formula approach to divid-
ing up punitive damages and back pay means that women
injured by sex discrimination will have to share any recovery
with women who were not. Women who were fired or not
promoted for good reasons will take money from Wal-Mart
they do not deserve, and get reinstated or promoted as well.
This is “rough justice” indeed. “Rough,” anyway. Since when
were the district courts converted into administrative agencies
and empowered to ignore individual justice?
Seems to me that Judge Kleinfeld's already filled the boiler with coal for the en banc or cert petition.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Spending time gardening and doing trademark searches

On my way back to the Boalt Lawyer Factory from a gorgeous, warm weekend spent outdoors, an ad on the radio lifted my spirits considerably. See the web version at nolo's homepage.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Super Ramble

Well, start trash talking. I hate the Bears...with the passion of a thousand hot white burning suns. I actually hate the bears because of their maniacal fans. Same reason why I hate the Phillies. (Speaking of which, did anyone else catch the story on the Penn Law kid shooting up his roommates? I wonder what pushed him over the edge, Yale, Army, or Penn Law?)

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Newsflash: Main Campus Royally Fucks Us

E-mail from Chancellor Birgeneau:
Colleagues, students, and friends:

I am proud and excited to tell you that a partnership led by UC Berkeley has been selected to receive an unprecedented $500 million from global energy firm BP to lead the way in research to develop new, clean, renewable sources of energy. With this remarkable support, the work Berkeley will undertake will be transformative for our nation and, indeed, our planet.
This is the worst news possible for the law school. The bid requires the use of Calvin Lab, that building that stands at the site of the proposed new building between Haas and Boalt. Well, kiss that plan goodbye for at least half a generation. Although nothing is finalized, our Plan B is to have a glorified bomb shelter in the courtyard. Basically it'll be 2 stories underground and a few stories above ground. Sigh. How much to buyout the I-House?


One L Search for Everlasting Employment

Greetings Boalties.

It has come to my attention (ok - no one should have been ignorant of this) that 1L's are freaking on jobs. The CDO doesn't really help; even people that HAVE jobs get stressed after talking to the CDO.

I wanted to open up a thread on the 1L Search. What have you 1L's learned? What do 2L's and 3L's have to offer in terms of advice?

It isn't too late to figure these things out. Externships for the ND Cal. are coming up soon, and PI/PS day is right around the corner. And we have all seen those 1L's strutting their stuff in their fancy new Target brand suits.

As for you 1L's that have landed a job through an interview (or having gone to high school with the son of partner so-and-so), what advice can you offer classmates on interviews?

Post away (and feel free to vent your anger/stress/despair as well)!

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