Archive for the 'Commentaries' Category
It is time to recognize Abraham Lincoln as a principal framer of the Constitution of the United States.
The Declaration of Independence states:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. – That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed . . . .
No Supreme Court case created more backlash than Kelo v. City of New London, which allowed the use of eminent domain to acquire land for redevelopment. Commentators criticized, while voters and state legislatures acted to prohibit or restrict the use of eminent domain for redevelopment projects. Lost is any historical perspective, and how genetic weaknesses in the redevelopment concept provided opportunities for arguably abusive projects. Protest followed, concluding in the rejection of the Kelo decision. This article reviews the origins of urban redevelopment, and how it contributed to the backlash against the redevelopment idea.
Under the Constitution, Congress drives the federal lawmaking process. Yet every year our best new lawyers focus their competitive energies not on landing jobs with the nation’s legislature but rather on judicial clerkships and other prestigious apprenticeships with executive branch agencies, law firms, and academe.
Congress should be concerned. But it needs to understand that this demand deficit is rooted in a supply problem. Unlike the courts, agencies, firms, and academe, Congress lacks an apprenticeship program to capture the interest, harness the abilities, and shape the minds of the law’s young elite, who over the course of their careers will exert great influence on the implementation of the U.S. Code Congress writes.
For the first time in the legal literature, I here set out the full case for a congressional clerkship program analogous to that of the judiciary.
In 1963, the Supreme Court held in Gideon v. Wainwright that the Sixth Amendment requires states to provide indigent criminal defendants with legal representation, noting that “any person haled into court, who is too poor to hire a lawyer, cannot be assured a fair trial unless counsel is provided for him.” Today, in some states, one would think that Gideon had never been handed down. In Mississippi, for example, the state provides no money for non-capital cases, and cash-strapped counties must shoulder the burden of funding indigent defense. As a result, a pre-trial defendant may spend months in jail before his case is resolved, and court-appointed lawyers routinely meet their clients for the first time on their trial day.
Just over ten months have passed since the December 1, 2007 effective date of the Restyling Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The purpose of this essay is to give an overview of how the Restyled Rules have performed so far. Ten months of experience with the Restyled Rules teaches that, while the Restyling Amendments are not merely stylistic changes as their drafters promised, they are not likely to create as many problems as their critics feared they would.
The struggle between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to make history as either the first woman or first African-American president resurrects the unfortunate historic battle between sex and race. The current debate presents striking parallels to the battle for voting rights after the Civil War when infighting between abolitionists over race and sex created deep separatism that pitted allies against each other and diluted their political strength. The potential fallout from this false dichotomy today threatens political credibility and social justice and demands a rethinking of the alleged opposition.