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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Note-spotting

Here at Prawfsblawg and elsewhere, a brief flurry of attention descended on an anonymous case comment in the Supreme Court issue of the Harvard Law Review, which began, modestly enough, "The history of the Fourteenth Amendment is one of hierarchy and capitalism."  Dan called the comment "very bizarre" and "jarringly out of place," although he rightly found unfortunate the kind of piling on that commenters treated the piece to on the VC.  I agreed that the quality of the piece was problematic, but also found the very fact of its being "jarringly out of place" somewhat refreshing amidst the very competent but wholly routinized case comments one normally finds in the Supreme Court issue: "like setting loose Little Richard in the middle of a cotillion or bringing a mutt to a dog show -- or performing "Super Freak" at a child beauty pageant," to quote my earlier post.

I raise all this because I am reading the latest issue of the Harvard Law Review (not available online yet, but when it is it will be here) and reading a Note titled, after an inscription on a statue in Cambridge Common, "Never Again Should a People Starve in a World of Plenty."  It's unusually thinly sourced for a Harvard Law Review Note -- not that I'm encouraging people to use more footnotes!  And it has a certain voice ("There is injustice everywhere.  The last place there should be injustice is in the justice system.") and theme that . . . . well, I find myself wondering whether we have found our anonymous author once again.

I don't mean to be unduly gossipy about this sort of thing; it's worth a two-paragraph blog post and not more.  And I am not knocking the observation that injustice is bad; heaven forfend.  Just the same, I'm curious whether this is the same author.   

Posted by Paul Horwitz on May 14, 2008 at 12:57 PM in Article Spotlight | Permalink

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Comments

Can someone explain/defend HLR's policy of anonymous notes? Are there any other law reviews that cling (loaded word, I know) to this anachronism?

Posted by: curious | May 14, 2008 2:53:53 PM

The official explanation, at least as I recall from 10 or 11 years ago, is that other students on HLR put so much work and thought into editing/shaping/lovingly crafting a student piece that it's really a collective effort on behalf of the law review itself. I never quite bought this theory.

Anyway, I'm glad to see that someone -- at long last -- has the courage to take a firm stand against injustice in the justice system.

Posted by: Stuart Buck | May 14, 2008 3:28:04 PM

it's worth a two-paragraph blog post and not more.

Funny that you say that in the third paragraph.

Posted by: Stuart Buck | May 14, 2008 5:37:06 PM

It's not.

Posted by: hlr | May 15, 2008 9:28:36 PM

Well the piece singlehandedly validates my decision to subscribe to the so I could keep it in my 49th floor corporate law office and seem smart. I wish I had gone to Harvard so my own moralizing student work would have actually been read and commented on. Of course then maybe the firm wouldn't have let me have this job, and I wouldn't have $200 to send to UNICEF.

Posted by: Corey | May 16, 2008 1:56:41 PM

There's actually a 1-800 number for UNICEF in the article? Is this what HLR has come to?

Posted by: mk | May 21, 2008 5:31:01 PM

Is it possible that this note is a parody of the earlier case comment? Just wanted to put that out there, although I think the answer is "no, this note is entirely serious in all its self-righteous glory."

Posted by: Ted | May 21, 2008 6:36:37 PM

It's not the same author as the other one. The other author's Note was deemed unpublishable.

Posted by: Guest | May 21, 2008 11:09:13 PM

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