Saturday, July 22, 2017

Update on late-game fouling and the "Elam Ending"

In April I wrote about the proposal from Nick Elam to eliminate late-game fouling basketball by making the end of the game untimed and playing to a target score (+7 of the leading team when the clock is turned off in the final minute). The Basketball Tournament implemented the Elam Ending for its 16-team pre-tournament; it now reports on the results--there was no late-game fouling, some exciting comebacks, and the final time time lasted between two and five minutes of game time.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 22, 2017 at 04:13 PM in Howard Wasserman, Sports | Permalink | Comments (2)

CFP: National Conference of Constitutional Law Scholars

The Rehnquist Center is pleased to announce the inaugural National Conference of Constitutional Law Scholars. The conference will be held at the Westward Look Resort in Tucson, Arizona, on March 16-17, 2018. Its goal is to create a vibrant and useful forum for constitutional scholars to gather and exchange ideas each year.

Continue reading "CFP: National Conference of Constitutional Law Scholars"

Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 22, 2017 at 11:19 AM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sponsored Post: Introducing students to legal research

The following post is by Robert C. Berring, Jr. (Berkeley) and is sponsored by West Academic

The first-year law student encounters a daunting task. If she did not spend a few years working as a legal assistant or did not grow up in a family of talkative lawyers, she will be at sea. Where does one begin to approach the legal system? In the common law courses the student is expected to work with the judicial system and its complex authority structure from day one. Civil Procedure calls upon an understanding of statutory sources. Research and Writing classes help, but their task is equally challenging. Mostly focused on writing, such courses may include a lecture or two on the workings of the system, but things move fast and such courses can hardly be expected to start from the very beginning. Much like someone who arrives late for a movie, our neophyte law student seems to be missing some plot points. Of course, she can pick things up as she goes, but it is a waste of precious student and professor time.

Continue reading "Sponsored Post: Introducing students to legal research"

Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 22, 2017 at 11:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 21, 2017

Hiring Committees 2017-2018

Please share in the comments the following information related to the 2017-2018 law school faculty hiring season:

(a) your school;
(b) the chair of your hiring committee (please note if you have different chairs for entry level and lateral candidates--we hope that this information will be useful for both entry level and lateral candidates);
(c) other members of your hiring committee (again, please note if there is a distinction between entry level and lateral committees); and
(d) any particular subject areas in which your school is looking to hire.

Additionally, if you would like to share the following information, candidates might find it helpful to know:

(e) your committee's feeling about packets/individualized expressions of interest (affirmatively want to receive them, affirmatively don't want to receive them, or don't care one way or the other); 
(f) your committee's preferred way to be contacted (email, snail-mail, or phone); and/or
(g) the number of available faculty positions at your school.

I will gather all this information in a downloadable, sortable spreadsheet. (Click on that link to access the spreadsheet and download it; you can also scroll through the embedded version below.)

If you would like to reach me for some reason (e.g., you would prefer not to post your committee information in the comments but would rather email me directly), my email address is sarah dot lawsky (at) law dot northwestern dot edu.

Remember, you cannot edit the spreadsheet directly. The only way to add something to the spreadsheet is to put the information in the comments or email me directly, and I will edit the spreadsheet.

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on July 21, 2017 at 02:35 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Opinions About Giving Legal Opinions

Nowadays, news reports resemble the sorts of crazy hypotheticals that law professors love (and law students loathe).  And since we love far-fetched hypotheticals, many law professors have taken to giving our legal opinions about the political news item of the day.

In addition to having our own opinions about the latest news, law professors are often confronted by the opinions of their colleagues.  Newspapers, blogs, and Twitter are full of divergent opinions on these topics, and many of us end up having strong opinions about our colleagues’ opinions. 

Given the ubiquity of legal opinions (and opinions about those legal opinions), I’d like to offer five opinions about how I think law professors ought to share their legal opinions with the public.

Continue reading "Opinions About Giving Legal Opinions"

Posted by Carissa Byrne Hessick on July 20, 2017 at 09:12 AM in Blogging, Current Affairs, Law and Politics | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The lawyer, the addict, and the law professors

What did people think about The Lawyer, the Addict in last weekend's New York Times? The piece was written by the ex-wife of a lawyer who died of an overdose; in investigating her husband's drug use and death, the author found a legal profession with high rates of substance abuse.

For now, I want to focus on one small section of the piece, sub-titled "The Law School Effect," which suggests that law school is part of the problem. Prior to law school, future law students are healthier than the general population--they drink less, use less drugs, have less depression, and are less hostile; they also begin with a stronger sense of self and values. Then it all changes in law school, which "twists people’s psyches and they come out of law school significantly impaired, with depression, anxiety and hostility." Following the start of law school, students show "a marked increase in depression, negative mood and physical symptoms, with corresponding decreases in positive affect and life satisfaction."

The piece points to a few factors. One is the way law school encourages students to remove emotions from their decisions. Another is the focus, and the shift in student focus, to status, comparative worth and competition, looking at things such as grades, honors, and potential career income, and away from the idealism that had motivated them to come to law school. The result is that young lawyers succumb to substance abuse when "the reality of working as a lawyer does not match what they had pictured while in law school."

Continue reading "The lawyer, the addict, and the law professors"

Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 19, 2017 at 12:28 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (33)

JOTWELL: Lahav on Kessler on the rise of legal adversarialism

The new Courts Law essay comes from Alexandra Lahav (U Conn), reviewing Amalia Kessler, Inventing American Exceptionalism: The Origins of American Adversarial Legal Culture (Yale University Press). Lahav focuses on the way in which equity practice relied on a non-adversarial, judge-centered system (something Kessler has written about before) and how adversarialism arose from that.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 19, 2017 at 11:11 AM in Article Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Firearms, Federalism, and Full Faith & Credit: Can Congress subject everyone to the "concealed carry" laws of gun-lovin' states?

Those of you who pay attention to the politics of firearms might be familiar with either H.R. 38 or S.146, the House and Senate versions respectively of the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017. If you are a federalism nerd (I plead guilty), then you might also be familiar with the Full Faith & Credit argument in favor of this bill, a theory championed by Stephen Sachs, Randy Barnett, and Will Baude, based on Stephen Sachs' erudite and creative Virginia Law Review piece analyzing the history of Article IV's FF&C clause in the pre-constitutional period, the ratification debates, and the congressional debates of the early republic.

You might not, however, have thought very much about whether or not either the CCRA or Sachs' Theory of Congress' Article IV, section 1 power present any practically sensible theory of federalism. Should Congress have unlimited power to declare that any state's laws, licenses, permits, and so forth, can govern conduct in other states? If not, then how should the Constitution limit Congress's power to define the effects of one's state's rules and actions in other states? Outside of DOMA (where the issue had its fifteen minutes of law review fame), the practical justifications for Congress' Article IV power has not been discussed much by law reviews or judicial decisions, simply because Congress rarely uses its Article IV power.

We should, therefore, be thankful for both CCRA and Sachs for giving us a great opportunity to think about this perplexing issue. After the jump, I will offer my reasons for thinking that, at least as used to justify the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, Sachs' theory is not a very persuasive way to keep Congress' powers within reasonable bounds. The problem springs from what I take to be a more general problem with originalism (whether the "New" textualist version of Solum & Co. or the older more intentionalist variety): The focus on very specific semantic or historical sources does not leave much room for explaining why the theories it unearths make any pragmatic sense. Sachs' theory (if I am reading it correctly) seems to give Congress virtually unlimited power to declare the substantive "effect" of states' "public acts, records, and judicial proceedings" in other states. By allowing Congress (for instance) to export libertarian "concealed carry" rules to (for instance) New York City, Sachs' view of Article IV would destroy any meaningful limits on Congress' power to impose a single, uniform law on the nation, even w.r.t. areas like criminal law where the needs for subnational diversity would seem to be obvious. It is impossible for me to imagine why the U.S. Constitution's framers and ratifiers who were deeply skeptical of national power would adopt such a view -- but, even if my imagination were better, it is absurd to think that we should live under such a preposterously centralized regime without a thought about the practicalities of such rules for no better reason than what a bunch of lawyers said about Mills v. Duryee between 1813 and 1822.

Continue reading "Firearms, Federalism, and Full Faith & Credit: Can Congress subject everyone to the "concealed carry" laws of gun-lovin' states?"

Posted by Rick Hills on July 16, 2017 at 08:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (28)

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Judge Wood is not happy with Jeff Sessions and other appellees

Seventh Circuit Judge Diane Wood issued a fed-up in-chambers opinion, calling out two appellees, including Jeff Sessions, for inadequate jurisdictional statements. The order called out appellees for failing to state in their briefs that the appellants' jurisdictional summary was both "complete and correct" (both appellees certified only one but not the other) and struck appellee briefs in two cases--one by Sessions (or DOJ) and one by the Airline Pilots Association.

Judge Wood identified routine problems with appellants' jurisdictional statements that appellees waive away; many are common problems  in the jurisdictional statements in district-court pleadings that I discuss in class:

in federal question cases where jurisdiction depends on 28 U.S.C. § 1331 , the failure to specify the particular statute or constitutional provision at issue, and in diversity cases, failure to distinguish between citizenship (required by 28 U.S.C. § 1332 ) and residency (irrelevant) and, for organizations such as partnerships, LLPs, and LLCs, the failure to work back through the ownership structure until one reaches either individual human beings or a formal corporation with a state of incorporation and a state of principal place of business.

This is worth sharing with students, who often do not recognize or accept how important these details are. (I also use an Easterbrook opinion, in which he sanctions both sides for botching jurisdictional treatment of LLCs--Update: Per a request, the Easterbrook opinion is Belleville Catering v. Champaign Marketplace from 2003).

Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 12, 2017 at 07:14 PM in Civil Procedure, Howard Wasserman | Permalink | Comments (10)