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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Funky T-town Update

Rick's post below links to an article about Justice Alito's visit to Florida. During the course of a speech he gave in St. Pete's, Alito quipped:

One of the things I am asked is if I believe in a living Constitution," Alito said in his speech, referring to a thought that the Constitution can reflect the times. "Umpires face this very same problem. For example, do we want a living strike zone?"

The idea of a living constitution is getting some airing as I write (and not simply from Ethan). Here at FSU's College of Law we have the privilege of hosting Prof. Peter Rubin from Georgetown. Peter is in town for the day meeting and speaking with students as part of his role as ACS founder and spokesperson. Also in town for the day is Jerry Reichman, who is giving the Lillich Memorial Lecture this afternoon, after having already presented a provocative paper at a faculty lunch workshop.

Tomorrow is equally busy: Scott Shapiro from Michigan is presenting at a lunch workshop followed by the inimitable Kate Litvak in the afternoon, on the subject of Sarbanes-Oxley and the Cross-Listing Premium. Kate is talking to students (and others) in Jon Klick and (visiting blogger) Jonah Gelbach's Empirical Legal Studies seminar, which has also hosted (Prawfs alum) Yair Listokin (Yale), Joanna Shepherd (Emory), Eric Helland (Claremont McKenna), and is slated to host Daniel Ho (Stanford), and Albert Yoon (Northwestern).

More exciting news is that good great things are also happening on the hiring and retention front at FSU. In addition to hiring Kelli Alces at the entry level, FSU has enticed both Manuel Utset (formerly of Utah) and Wayne Logan (formerly of William Mitchell via a visit at William and Mary) to accept senior posts--they came to FSU on a reverse look-see, that is, they came with offer in hand and accepted during their visits this semester. (Btw, check out Wayne's very interesting op-ed in the National Law Journal on the subject of federal prosecutions of sex offenders who fail to register in states to which they migrate.) And just recently, FSU has also lured Dino Falaschetti, a rising law and economics star, to join at the senior level. Dino's hire is particularly valuable to us as FSU builds its Law, Economics and Business Center and in light of Jon Klick's absence next year as he visits Penn and Columbia. Additionally, Gregg Polsky, a youngish senior tax scholar from UMinn, will be coming on a reverse look-see in the next year or two, as will Michael Z. Green, from Texas Wesleyan. On the retention front, Jim Rossi has turned down a senior offer at Illinois to stay at FSU as our dean of research, and Curtis Bridgeman, who's only in his 3d year of teaching, turned down a tenured offer from Ohio State to stay at FSU, where he will become the James Edmund and Margaret Elizabeth Hennessey Corry Professor. Also of note: both JB Ruhl and Jim Rossi have visits lined up at Harvard in 2008. It's a sunny day in T-town...now, about that living strike zone.

Posted by Administrators on March 14, 2007 at 04:37 PM in Funky FSU | Permalink


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We've got a living strike zone. It's well documented that it's changed over time and that the operational strike zone (the ones umpires call) is different from the original written strike zone (the one in the rule book).

Posted by: AF | Mar 15, 2007 1:15:46 PM

Posts like this make me miss Tally (this seems to be the common nickname among students). Ruhl was a fantastic lecturer and I miss my time at that school very much.

On a different subject, I suppose I agree with that interpretation of the Constitution, but only to the extent that every judge has a different idea of its outermost boundaries despite attempts to standardize. But hey, that's part of the game, right?

Posted by: jps | Mar 15, 2007 10:14:17 AM

The Constitution is not a strike zone any more than it is a suicide pact. The contours of the strike zone do not matter much to the ultimate goal so long as it is consistently applied. This is not true of the Constitution.

Posted by: bill | Mar 14, 2007 10:29:56 PM

Boy, you guys sure have a good thing going at FSU.

Regarding the Alito quote, do you think we can expect televised oral arguments with Alito's (and hence the correct, of course) strike zone superimposed over the screen? Will SC arguments become known as "the practice of inches"? The "federal past-time"? Will the clerk have the discretion to determine whether opinions in close cases are "errors" or "hits"?

Will the Justices start using steroids?

Now that we have all those pesky interpretation issues sorted out, there are so many practical questions.....

Posted by: jonah gelbach | Mar 14, 2007 5:00:35 PM

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