"And race matters for reasons that really are only skin deep, that cannot be discussed any other way, and that cannot be wished away. Race matters to a young man’s view of society when he spends his teenage years watching others tense up as he passes, no matter the neighborhood where he grew up. Race matters to a young woman’s
sense of self when she states her hometown, and then is pressed, “No, where are you really from?”, regardless of how many generations her family has been in the country. Race matters to a young person
addressed by a stranger in a foreign language, which he does not understand because only English was spoken at home. Race matters because of the slights, the snickers, the silent judgments that
reinforce that most crippling of thoughts: “I do not belong here.”"

Justice Sonia Sotomayor

She continues:

In my colleagues’ view, examining the racial impact of legislation only perpetuates racial discrimination. This refusal to accept the stark reality that race matters is regrettable. The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race, and to apply the Constitution with eyes open to the unfortunate effects of centuries of racial discrimination. As members of the judiciary tasked with intervening to carry out the guarantee of equal protection, we ought not sit back and wish away, rather than confront, the racial inequality that exists in our society. It is this view that works harm, by perpetuating the facile notion that what makes race matter is acknowledging the simple truth that race does matter.

Chief Justice Roberts’s reply is something that only someone with immense privilege can say:

To disagree with the dissent’s views on the costs and benefits of racial preferences is not to “wish away, rather than confront” racial inequality… People can disagree in good faith on this issue, but it similarly does more harm than good to question the openness and candor of those on either side of the debate.

This is the more sophisticated form of the dudebro argument that tries to place everything on a theoretical level, denies personal experience, and ignore the real-world impacts on people. I’m surprised his next argument wasn’t to accuse Sotomayor of a logical fallacy.

I can’t stand that awful Elizabeth Warren quote going around.

First, the Supreme Court hears about 70 cases a year; at its height, it heard about 150. That’s less than 10,000 since 1946.

Second, there have been 30ish justices since 1946 and that includes ones FDR appointed who were “anti-business” (whatever that means). So, the spread between being in the top 10 most “pro-business” and least “pro-business” is not huge. Also, in one of their analyses, Ginsburg is more pro-business than Scalia which is hysterical.

Finally, let’s not act as if things would be fine if SCOTUS was less pro-business.  The Supreme Court isn’t the problem, capitalism is the problem.

"I want the US government to stop killing people in countries around the world. I want it to stop terrorizing populations. I want it to stop incinerating children. I want it to stop using war to give corporations money and Americans a false sense of security. I want it to stop creating anti-American violence in the name of fighting it."

"Bloodless Liberals" by David Mizner

Every week or so, I return to this essay. It makes the point that the Deleuze quote I posted a few days ago was making: human rights are nothing in and of themselves; we must create the situation for them to have meaning and that’s much more difficult than waving around human rights law to stop violations.

"Human rights — what do they mean? They mean: aha, the Turks don’t have the right to massacre the Armenians. Fine, so the Turks don’t have the right to massacre the Armenians. And? It’s really nuts. Or, worse, I think they’re hypocrites, all these notions of human rights. It is zero, philosophically it is zero. Law isn’t created through declarations of human rights. Creation, in law, is jurisprudence, and that’s the only thing there is. So: fighting for jurisprudence. That’s what being on the left is about. It’s creating the right."

Gilles Deleuze

Seriously, read this essay.

Important guide for BDS/Palestine activists. Most of it is focused on issues around Palestinian activism, but there is some good stuff in here for any activists on a college campus. 

"International law defines a combatant and thus a legitimate target in terms of direct participation in hostilities and an imminent threat. It’s more complicated than that, as I’ll show later, but this is enough for Chamayou to fire off two key questions: How can anyone be participating in hostilities if there is no longer any combat? How can there be any imminent threat if there are no troops on the ground? The drone, praised for its forensic ability to distinguish between combatant and non-combatant, in fact abolishes the condition necessary for such a distinction: combat itself"

It makes what in my view is an extremely unconvincing case for your enterprise. Your belief that there’s anything unusual or unique about what you’re proposing to do is mistaken. What you are proposing to do is to grant law degrees at a high price to people who in most cases will not be able to obtain employment, legal or otherwise, that justifies the cost of their investment in those degrees, while paying yourself a high salary out of the money these people pay for the privilege of attending a seriously overpriced institution, that will leave them worse off than they were prior to their enrollment.

Naturally you find this evaluation of your conduct outrageous and reprehensible, but “it is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” (Upton Sinclair).




We learned something new today. Er.


These are all unenforceable, so I don’t really see the point of this post.

If you look hard enough at most states, I’m pretty sure they all have laws on the books that are illegal but were never removed for various reasons.

Effective immediately, Larry Sager will resign as dean of the University of Texas Law School. He confirmed to the Texas Tribune this afternoon that he signed a letter of resignation.

"The fact of the matter is, and there’s no two ways about this fact, that I resigned now because I was asked to by the president of the university," he said.

Sager sent out a letter to faculty earlier this afternoon describing his efforts to keep top-notch professors at the school. 

He announced over the summer that after the 2012 school year he would step down as dean of the state’s largest law school.

What the hell? Anybody know any of the background on this?


Well, I have to ask the obvious: Do you want to be a lawyer?? Law school is three years of your life and costs well over $100,000. A good chunk of that is unsubsidized loans (e.g., that’s very bad). If you’re going to law school to satisfy your inner enviro-idealist, how will you pay that back?

Besides those logistics, are you prepared to compete for a job with other lawyers? Lawyers are a vicious and tenacious lot. And the job market is saturated with out of work, hungry lawyers. Will your resume hold up in the market? 

I know a lot of law graduates who’ve been in the market for over two years. TWO YEARS looking to become a lawyer. Many have barred in multiple states - an additional financial and time burden outside of tuition and the three years dedicated.

They’re getting by in the non-profits, but, man, they are really struggling to make ends meet. So, the market is flush with both laid off, careerist-lawyers and fresh-out graduates. Not to mention a fresh crop of grads will be released next spring. There are too few jobs out there and the trends don’t look too good.

Granted, environmental law is a niche. There aren’t a lot of environmental lawyers out there as it’s a specialty field. The more narrow the field, the less unemployment.

Still, the state of the industry doesn’t look good.

By the same token, law schools are scrambling to justify the high costs of attendance in light a terrible job market. And there’s been a plethora of bad press questioning the value of a law degree.

In fact, students are suing law schools to get their tuition money back. One student went to the media shortly after he asked for and was denied that his tuition money be returned. He wrote a letter to the dean of Boston College and the media picked up his story. Hell broke loose.

The NYTimes has been running a series of stories questioning the value of a JD, as well. See: “Is Law School a Losing Game?” and “What they don’t Teach Law Students: Lawyering.”

With that, I point to a solid piece by Paul Campos that argues against getting a law degree using statistics. Campos is a contributor to “Lawyers, Gun$, and Money.” Here’s his abridged argument:

POINT ONE: …Contrary to the standard narrative within legal academia, which assumes an increasing or at least steady demand for legal services relative to overall economic growth, the demand for legal services within the American economy has been declining, relative to the rest of the economy, for the past two decades….

POINT TWO: The rate at which American law schools are producing aspiring lawyers far outstrips the demand for new lawyers, and this has been the case for many years now. …

POINT THREE: The cost of law school is, in economic terms, arbitrary….In other words, over the past quarter century, the relative change in the cost of acquiring a law degree has borne no rational relationship to the relative change in the value of a law degree.

POINT FOUR: There is, to this point, almost no sign that this arbitrary relationship between the change in the cost of acquiring law degrees and the change in their value is going to move toward a more orthodox economic relationship, in which the decreases in value trigger decreases in price. Law schools continue to raise tuition at far faster than the rate of inflation…

POINT FIVE: These otherwise unsustainable trends are being maintained by a combination of unlimited federal educational loan money and, to a lesser extent, poor information regarding the actual relationship between the costs and benefits of acquiring a law degree….

Campos unredacted piece is well worth your time and I highly recommend you give it a go; even if you’re not considering a JD…

At some point in the next two years, I’ll have to decide between going for a JD or a PhD. Both seem equally interesting and with equally poor career choices.