Thursday, April 27, 2006

It's A Family Motto

5 Reasons Today Is Showing Me The Money

5. Fed Chair Bernanke hints they'll stop raising the federal funds rate.
4. Summer Office got my grant paperwork faxed in on time.
3. Forecast: 78 and Sunny.
2. Last session of Legal Research and Writing. Ever.

and the number one reason today is showing me the money...

She's out here for the weekend!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Look Mom! No 'Roids!

As much as I hate Barry Bonds for tainting the integrity of baseball and for disrespecting the Justice system, it was pretty cool to see him hit his 710th homerun last night.

It wasn't a "splash hit" and did somewhat flail over the fence. But, I thought it really impressive to see the guy drive a pitch to the opposite field with two jello knees and a splintered elbow. Even without the benefit of steroids anymore, he's still strong as hell.

Having said that, it will be a sad day when he surpasses Ruth in the record books. I only hope that he reaches the mark away from the friendly confines of AT&T Park. Arrogance begets arrogance and he rightly deserves the ire of fans on the road when it happens. A fitting tribute, in my humble opinion, for bringing HGH taint to the legitimate steak-and-cigar produced records.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Hearts On Fire

What? I need a reason to post this? I spent the last four years of my life in Philly. Plus, I wanted to try out this YouTube feature.

In truth, though, I think the training montage below from the fourth installment is the standard by which all others remained judged. But if, as spoiler sites suggest, Balboa is going to get a crack at the Heavyweight Champ in the forthcoming Rocky VI, the footage of whipping the Italian Stallion - already labeled washed up above thirty years ago - into shape could be utterly phenomenal. Or a miserable failure.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Crazy Train

At times this year, I've wondered whether I might be one of those "alternative usages of the law degree" people. I admire the American entrepreneur and worship at the altar of the free market.

And at other times, I've found reason to believe that I really do want to practice law in all its intense, adversarial glory. Last night, our Moot Court oral arguments, was one of those times.

So, I tried my best to look like a lawyer while doing it.

I didn't walk away with a job offer for Summer 2007 - like my co-counsel did. But, in being told by a litigation partner at Latham that I was "first rate" and "could be raking in millions" doing this work, it's nice to know there's a flexible career path ahead.

With that experience complete, only two weeks of class and three finals stand in my way until I head back East. Among other things, that means in 28 days, I'll never have to use the phrase "long distance relationship" ever again : )

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Par For The Discourse

Prof. Property: Around the 1970s, Courts and Legislatures started realizing that maybe sex discrimination wasn't such a good thing. A number of States have since passed statutes setting fairer standards for apportioning marital assets after a divorce.

Solidarity: But, in calculating the equitable distribution of a property settlement, why should we only consider the wife's opportunity costs of forgone income and her contributions toward expense during the marriage? Couldn't we also look at the opportunity benefit and say that the marriage made her better off than some baseline?

Feminine Mystique: It's a good thing that you're taken, S. Because you've got no prospects in here anymore.

Skater: The communal property theory is a BS argument, anyway. Of course the guy could have gotten his degree and performed these market activities without her help. What? But for the marriage, he wouldn't have these skills?

Prof. Property (noting the host of stunned women itching to respond): Yeah...Let's go ahead and continue this discussion next time.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

That's Right, Iceman. He's Dangerous.

Dear Mr. Cruise,

If you don't stop acting like a freaking lunatic, you're going to ruin the Aviator wearing experience for everybody.

Is that really what you want?

Some people thought your epileptic fit on Oprah was career suicide. But, I stuck with you. Some people ridiculed your fanatical devotion to Scientology. But, I was willing to give you leeway before judging something I knew little about.


If you ever give an interview like this again, I am going to forever retire my Top Gun DVD and discard my most cherished eye shielding accessory. I want no part of your placenta eating clambake.


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Manifest Destiny

My parents and brother were out here these past few days for an extended weekend. Our first time together for holiday travel in years, it was a great excuse for me to treat the time as my own mini-vacation.

I played tour guide - since the weather played nice - and took them on day trips to the Napa Valley, Monterrey Peninsula, and Half Moon Bay. It was also Little Brother's first time out West. So, we made the obligatory trip on the Golden Gate, walk on the Wharf, and argument over the feasibility of swimming to shore from The Rock.

It was great to see Mom in high spirits. She is a woman who has always loved to travel. On account of the same 'need to get them in' refrain, Mom and Dad have already sketched out monthly trips from here until January. It's bittersweet for me to see. This is something they have always wanted to do after finishing their careers. But, not under these circumstances and not so soon.

These kinds of activities give her strength and resolve. An emotional woman even before being dealt these ragged cards, I can sense that the veil is very thin. My heart hurts for her. Her faith, friends, and family have been her rock through this. But, with her Irish grit and work ethic, I have no doubt she's coping and managing better than I ever could.

In all, having her and them out here was a reminder for me of the perfectly obvious.

California is beautiful. California is lush. California is civil.

California is not home.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Affirmative Action Reaction

Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Pena (1995)

"I believe that there is a "moral [and] constitutional equivalence" between laws designed to subjugate a race and those that distribute benefits on the basis of race in order to foster some current notion of equality. Government cannot make us equal; it can only recognize, respect, and protect us as equal before the law. That these programs may have been motivated, in part, by good intentions cannot provide refuge from the principle that under our Constitution, the government may not make distinctions on the basis of race."


"There is no moral or constitutional equivalence between a policy that is designed to perpetuate a caste system and one that seeks to eradicate racial subordination. Invidious discrimination is an engine of oppression, subjugating a disfavored group to enhance or maintain the power of the majority. Remedial race-based preferences reflect the opposite impulse: a desire to foster equality in society."

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Are We There Yet?

On another day lost to rain, I spent almost an hour watching live webcam feeds of Manhattan.

I'm not kidding that it was more exciting to me than actually being in the suburbs. I'm counting the minutes until I live there.

Monday, April 10, 2006

¿Que Bandera Tu Prometes Lealtad?

Dear Guest Workers,

You undermine your own call for greater inclusion into American society when you hold rallies in Spanish and tote Mexican flags.

I agree that America is a nation of immigrants. I agree that labeling these extremely hard working people as felons is counterproductive and probably offensive. But, being American is more than a right to freely work and wire money across the border.

I am all for diversity and cultural appreciation. But, that seems to me entirely different from what is being fought for here.

I think being proud of where you come from is something for which no one should have to apologize. But, shouldn't there also be a cursory showing of being proud of the place you now inhabit?

Teddy Roosevelt offered the following still timely words on the subject.

"In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the man's becoming in very fact an American and nothing but an American."

That is all.



Saturday, April 08, 2006

What Would Jesus Do?

"Well, I went out," Beltran said. "I just took my time. Like I say, at the beginning, I don't feel like doing it, but I just put myself in the situation of what would God have done in a situation like that. You know, I'm a Christian guy, and after getting booed the first two days, and all of a sudden you come through and get a hit and all of a sudden they want you to go out in a curtain call, I put myself right there and I do believe God would have gone out."

- Carlos Beltran, on the gutwrenching decision of whether to acknowledge the tough love of New York fans.

I'm not a spiritual man. But, maybe I've been missing out if the good book provides crucial guidance in matters like these.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Return To Normalcy

*This post has been revised on account of tonight's inclement weather.*
I visited Stanford one year ago this weekend. The place really did sell itself. I think I went to one student panel and spent the rest of the time in Napa, San Francisco, and Monterrey.

So what if it's pouring on admitted students who hardly dressed for these conditions. We've got other cache besides sunshine and palm trees. Right?

Thursday, April 06, 2006

99 Problems In Your Legal Analysis

I got two choices y'all pull over the car or
Bounce on the devil put the pedal to the floor
Now I ain't tryin to see no highway chase with jake

Plus I got a few dollars I can fight the case
So I pull over to the side of the road
I heard "Son do you know what I'm stoppin' you for?"

"Cause I'm young and I'm black and my hat's real low
Do I look like a mind reader? Sir, I don't know.
Am I under arrest or should I guess some mo'?"

"Well you was doin' fifty five in a fifty four"

Following United States v. Whren (1996), the question of police intent in the stopping of a motor vehicle is wholly irrelevant. Writing for the majority, Justice Scalia states that "subjective intentions play no role in ordinary, probable cause analysis." Provided there is any substantive hook, the police are free to use any pretext - no matter how minor a traffic violation - to give legitimacy to their 'Driving-While-Black' practice. Stopping Young Hov' for exceeding the posted speed limit by 1 mile per hour is presumptively reasonable and a sufficient justification to conduct a 4th Amendment seizure.

"License and registration and step out of the car
Are you carryin' a weapon on you I know a lot of you are"

"I ain't steppin' out of shit all my papers legit

I'd step out of the Escalade Roc-A-Fella, if I were you. This is an incremental inconvenience given the nature of the stop already conducted. Even if the police choose not to arrest you for a violation of traffic code - which may itself be an option depending on the jurisdiction and context of the offense - Terry v. Ohio (1968) and subsequent progeny give the police authority to detain you briefly for reasonable suspicions and to take any related prophylactic measure. Even though Terry was a case about someone who may be likely to commit a crime, a person can be asked to step out of the car for the less preventive reason of Officer safety. Under this 'concern for safety' umbrella, the police have wide latitude to obtain compliance for a number of non-intrusive measures. It is always permissible to frisk someone when they are legitimately stopped - this is the spirit of Harlan's concurrence.

"Do you mind if I look 'round the car a little bit?"
Well my glove compartment is locked so is the trunk and the back

Jay Z is right to a certain extent. The police officer authority to search the car is quite narrow in scope given the available fact pattern. But, along the same lines of the earlier reasoning, law enforcement can legitimately search the areas of the car that pose lingering danger. Though the purpose of the stop was to cite the rap artist or investigate some suspicion, the Officer has the discretion to do what he wants to feel safe. If that means that the cop wants to search around the driver's seat and any area within arm's reach, that decision will likely be upheld. United States v. Sharpe (1985). Searching the backseat is a bit fuzzy, though, and the trunk would probably still be off limits. Unless, of course, something in the brief exchange between 5-0 and Music Mogul provided the necessary probable cause to justify the search.

And I know my rights so you gon' need a warrant for that

Wrong. There is no Constitutional requirement for searches to be supported by warrants. The 4th Amendment only stipulates that searches be reasonable - and the touchstone of reasonability is whether there is probable cause or reasonable suspicion. The warrant clause of the Amendment only requires that they issue "but upon probable cause." This is a protection against the vague and offensively broad attainders issued during the Colonial period by the British.

"Aren't you sharp as a tack? are some type of lawyer or something?"
"Or somebody important or somethin?"
"Nah, I ain't pass the bar but I know a little bit
Enough that you won't illegally search my shit
"Well see how smart you are when the K-9's come"

Sniffing dogs do not present a problem for the 4th Amendment following Illinois v. Caballes (2005). Stevens opines that suspicionless dogsniffing is not even considered a search for Constitutional purposes - the practice does not reveal any information but that which the individual has no lawful right to possess. There is no legitimate expectation of privacy in Jay-Z's "raw" in the trunk.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Fool In The Rain

Well there’s a light in your eye that keeps shining
Like a star that can’t wait for the night
I hate to think I’ve been blinded baby
Why can’t I see you tonight?

And the warmth of your smile starts a-burnin’
And the thrill of your touch gives me fright
And I’m shaking so much, really yearning
Why don’t you show up, make it all right?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Clouded Judgment

I'm not making this up. Stanford actually pits itself as the "world class law school in paradise." It's a legitimate selling point, I guess. Except when it's not.

The good people who come up with such things have got to be somewhat nervous at the thought of the coming Admit Weekend being the Philadelphia style washout that today is.

Sheesh. It was hard enough to leave my girl and Mom in New York. But, I never thought I'd be leaving the good weather behind too.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

My New York Times

I realize that I haven't posted about Mom in a while.

I admit that's been partly intentional. But, the truth is that it was too easy to lapse into a more comforting reality far away in the Stanford bubble.

Sunshine and distilled phone calls colored the true gloss of things. Even being home, it's easy to forget sometimes. She sounds the same. She looks the same. She shops the same.

But, things aren't the same. They silently get worse with every passing day as her own cells rebelliously grow and uncontrollably advance.

Conversations between us still weigh heavy with last lessons, advice, and existential "think-of-me-whens." What's a son to do but smile, hug, and try to appreciate these offerings?

I had a great week home for many reasons. Many of which go without saying if you know me. Though, it will be the suit shopping with Mom (and Dad, too) that I'll remember most. When she started crying during the fashion show, I could see as clear as day that it was for next round of fittings for exciting occasions that she will probably never see...