The Southern University Law Review is excited to announce its 2017 symposium titled "Fourth Amendment Searches and Seizures after Utah v. Strieff" on February 3, 2017.
This year the law review is very interested in helping the legal community and the general public understand how new developments in the law affect citizen interactions with the police and criminal justice system. Our symposium will focus on developing issues in criminal procedure arising from the recent United States Supreme Court decision of Utah v. Strieff. As the Supreme Court expanded the power of the police to conduct searches, we hope that this gathering of criminal justice scholars and advocates will lead to a better understanding of how the decision will impact the law going forward. The Law Review invites a broad discussion of topics related to the case.
Those interested in participating in the symposium should submit an abstract of no more than 500 words, accompanied by a CV, to email@example.com. The board anticipates notifying the selected speakers at the end of September.
Kareem Abdul Jabbar spoke at the DNC last night, primarily to introduce the story of army Captain Humayun Khan, who was one of 14 Muslim-Americans who have died in combat since 9/11. Khan's father later spoke movingly of his son's sacrifice and his devotion to American ideals.
Abdul Jabbar opened, however, with a scathing jab at Donald Trump, which you can see in the video below:
As an advocacy teacher, I feel the need to analyze the joke for effectiveness (yes, I realize that is like dissecting a frog, which is why I saved my comments until after the video).
First, it is obvious that the joke was a big hit with the people in the room, who erupted in laughter and applause. Like most good jokes, it took a beat before the audience realized what Abdul Jabbar was implying. Then, the shared "aha" moment made it all the more enjoyable.
The joke also worked because it was delivered in a deadpan by a much admired figure. A snarkier or more confrontational tone might have caused it to fall flat, even in a room full of Trump detractors. For maximum impact, it had to be delivered with a slight tone of regret, rather than outright accusation.
But how did it play at home? Did Clinton supporters have the same reaction when watching on television? Were independents or undecided voters at all swayed? Did Republicans see any humor in it, or did they react only with outrage?
My sense is that the joke was extremely effective in further "defining" Trump in a negative light. Given that defining your opponent is often the key to a successful campaign -- a tactic taken to new heights, or lows, by Trump himself -- I think that the video worked very well.
Still, I am not an objective observer. What do others think?
THE UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE COLLEGE OF LAW invites applications from both entry-level and lateral candidates for two full-time, tenure-track faculty positions to commence in the 2017 Fall Semester. Candidates should have a particular interest in either business law teaching, including business associations and contracts, or transactional clinical teaching in business, taxation, intellectual property, community economic development, or health care that offers students transferable legal skills.
A J.D. or equivalent law degree is required. Successful applicants must have a strong academic background, expertise and experience relevant to the position, and a strong commitment to excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service.
In furtherance of the University’s and the College’s fundamental commitment to diversity among our faculty, student body, and staff, we strongly encourage applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and others whose background, experience, and viewpoints would contribute to a diverse law school environment.
The Faculty Appointments Committee will interview applicants who are registered in the 2016 Faculty Appointments Register of the Association of American Law Schools at the AALS Faculty Recruitment Conference in Washington, D.C. Applicants who are not registered in the AALS Faculty Appointments Register are advised to send a letter of intent, resume, and the names and contact information of three references by September 30, 2016 to:
On behalf of Michael Higdon, Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee
The University of Tennessee College of Law
1505 W. Cumberland Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37996-1810
All qualified applicants will receive equal consideration for employment and admissions without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical or mental disability, or covered veteran status. Eligibility and other terms and conditions of employment benefits at The University of Tennessee are governed by laws and regulations of the State of Tennessee, and this non-discrimination statement is intended to be consistent with those laws and regulations. In accordance with the requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, The University of Tennessee affirmatively states that it does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, or disability in its education programs and activities, and this policy extends to employment by the University. Inquiries and charges of violation of Title VI (race, color, and national origin), Title IX (sex), Section 504 (disability), ADA (disability), Age Discrimination in Employment Act (age), sexual orientation, or veteran status should be directed to the Office of Equity and Diversity (OED), 1840 Melrose Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37996-3560, telephone (865) 974-2498. Requests for accommodation of a disability should be directed to the ADA Coordinator at the Office of Equity and Diversity.
The New York Times editorial board (and I'm guessing Brent Staples had a lot to do with this), has a lengthy editorial up about President Obama's speech last night. It's called "Obama and the Long March." What particularly interests me is the way it focuses on Obama's ideas about constitutional history and the implementation of constitutional ideals. Here's an important part of the opening:
[Obama's] presence on the podium was also a valedictory for an exceptional man and president who will be remembered for eloquently defending the founding precepts of the country — even as he used those precepts to expand the mandate of inclusiveness and broaden the definition of what it means to be an American.
And this is where the editorial links Obama's ideas about the Constitution to his past speeches and to his vision of political action:
At the very start of his journey to the White House, he delivered a speech on race in 2008. He placed his story in the context of a great nation born with a great moral failing, one that seemed impossible to correct: “Words on a parchment would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights and obligations as citizens of the United States. What would be needed were Americans in successive generations who were willing to do their part — through protests and struggle, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience and always at great risk — to narrow that gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time.”
The image is, of course, the Washington Monument, which I chose because stretching back to before the Civil War it was one place that inspired oratory about Union and constitutionalism and it has continued to do so. This is one of the physical monuments supporting an expanded vision of constitutional principles and action. Of course there are so many other places to think about here -- among my favorites is Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg, where the ideas of Union and equality that underlay the War were put into action.
In four separate states, plaintiffs have filed class action lawsuits challenging the so-called "tampon tax," the state sales tax imposed on feminine hygiene products. Over at Feminist Law Professors (here and here) there are two interviews: one with Dana Brooks Cooper, the attorney who represents the Florida plaintiff in the challenge to that state's tax, and one with Zoe Salzman, the attorney who represents the New York plaintiffs (that suit was filed before New York prospectively changed its law).
One highlight from the interview with Ms. Cooper:
Crawford: For law students who might be reading this interview, can you describe the kinds of things did you do in law school to prepare you to become a litigator and take on a case as big as this tampon tax case?
Cooper: Be active in clubs, volunteer for non-profits and political campaigns, read your damn local newspaper, know your representatives, pay attention to policy, use this time to get familiar with the issues that matter to you at the local, state and national levels. This may sound strange, but find out what your values are. * * *
True story – I know an attorney who makes over $1 million a year, is a good trial lawyer, awesome husband and father, and devours everything he can get his hands on that helps him give better service to his clients and generally improve every aspect of his life. But he is almost completely politically ignorant. He is frequently embarrassed when he runs into our local and state officials because he doesn’t know who they are or where they stand on issues that are life and death to his own law practice (tort reformers). His ignorance can be extremely costly. To me, he’s practicing without a good 25% of the information he needs to do a good job in front of a jury and lead his firm into the future. No serious litigator or business owner would ever knowingly hamstring himself like that. But that is what ignorance of policy, politics, and current events is – a deficiency. It’s a weakness.
One highlight from the interview with Ms. Salzman:
Crawford: One interesting thing about this case is that the New York Department of Taxation and Finance seems to have made a very deliberate decision to tax tampons and pads, whereas adult diapers, incontinence pads, condoms and hair regrowth treatments like Rogaine are not subject to tax. Why do you think the Department decided to tax tampons and pads? Do you think there was a discriminatory intent?
Salzman: President Obama has speculated that the tampon tax exists because men—not women—wrote the tax codes. We need discovery in our case to get a better sense of how, and by who, that decision came to be made in New York, but there is no question that it was a very deliberate decision to treat tampons as luxury items and Rogaine as a medical necessity.
For those who missed it, earlier this year President Obama was asked about the tampon tax by YouTuber Ingrid Nilsen. Here is a clip from that interview:
Digging through my photos for a couple years back I realized that I have another photograph (again, apologies for the low quality here -- the lighting was terrible the day I was there) of a place in Philadelphia where a national political convention took place. It's a bunch of condos now, I think -- but used to be a music hall and was the right size, I guess, for this early convention. Though it was soon surprised by another music hall. After I started looking into the sites where political conventions have been held, I realize that they used to be in buildings that are a lot smaller than now (no surprise). Also, Baltimore was a very popular site for the nineteenth century. I've got to dig through my Baltimore photos because I have some of one of the churches where one national convention met.
In March, the ABA Section of Legal Education's Council approved for notice and comment revisions to the ABA Standards 316 and 501 related to stricter bar passage rate requirements, admissions and attrition. Here are the key provisions:
Standard 316. BAR PASSAGE At least 75 percent of a law school’s graduates in a calendar year who sat for a bar examination must have passed a bar examination administered within two years of their date of graduation.
Standard 501. ADMISSION (a) A law school shall adopt, publish, and adhere to sound admission policies and practices consistent with the Standards, its mission, and the objectives of its program of legal education. (b) A law school shall admit only applicants who appear capable of satisfactorily completing its program of legal education and being admitted to the bar.
Interpretation 501-3. ATTRITION A law school having a non-transfer attrition rate above 20% percent bears the burden of demonstrating that it is in compliance with the Standard.
(For those wanting more detail, a marked up copy of the Standards (showing a comparison of the old rule and the proposed new rule) and the comments submitted regarding the proposal are available here.) Several thoughtful comments have been submitted related to these proposed standards, but this post is devoted to a comment submitted by Don LeDuc, the President and Dean of the Western Michigan University Cooley Law School. Mr. LeDuc has written to express his vociferous opposition to the proposed changes to ABA Standard 501 and 316.
It should not be at all surprising that Mr. LeDuc opposes any tightening of the rules regarding admissions given that he presides over the law school that admitted the statistically weakest law school entering class in history in 2015. What is surprising are his outlandish claims that it is an “unproven assertion” that bar results are tied to admission factors, and it is a “flawed premise” “that factors involved in law school admission decisions can be used to predict bar examination success.”
From an email message which I received earlier today:
The Faculty of Law at Queen’s University invites applications for one tenure‑stream appointment, to begin July 1, 2017. While the primary focus of this search is for a tenure-track appointment at the rank of Assistant Professor, a tenured appointment at the rank of Associate Professor may be considered for a truly outstanding candidate. Nationally and internationally recognized as a leading law school, Queen’s Law has a distinguished record of outstanding teaching and research. Located in historic Kingston, Ontario, Queen’s Law has a proud history of a high level of faculty and student engagement. Queen’s Law has a curriculum and research profile that includes Canada’s largest international law program, operated at the Queen’s University Bader International Study Centre at Herstmonceux Castle in the UK. The Faculty leads Canadian law schools in interdisciplinary study opportunities, including programs that combine JD studies with Business, Economics, Public Administration, and Industrial Relations. The Faculty is also home to vibrant LLM and PhD programs that draw students from around the world, leading research groups such as the Centre for Law in the Contemporary Workplace, Feminist Legal Studies Queen’s, an interdisciplinary Colloquium in Legal and Political Philosophy, and five clinical programs in Poverty Law, Prison Law, Business Law, Elder Law, and Family Law. Please visit the Queen's Law website at http://law.queensu.ca/faculty-research/join-our-faculty for the complete job posting, including selection criteria, qualifications and application details. The University invites applications from all qualified individuals. Queen's is committed to employment equity and diversity in the workplace and welcomes applications from women, visible minorities, Aboriginal people, persons with disabilities, and LGBTQ persons. Inquiries and applications: Dean Bill Flanagan, Faculty of Law, Macdonald Hall, 128 Union Street, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada K7L 3N6; Telephone: (613) 533-6000, extension 74285; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://law.queensu.ca/
You know what we haven't had in these parts recently, if ever? An easy trivia question. So I thought I'd try one of these, which I think will be pretty obvious. I had thought that the practice of holding acceptance speeches out doors was a new invention. I don't ever remember hearing about it before Obama gave his 2008 speech in Denver. Turns out there were others -- I just hadn't heard about them, or if I'd heard about them I forgot about them. Kennedy's 1960 acceptance speech was in the LA Memorial Coliseum. And before that a nominee gave an acceptance speech before -- it is alleged 100,000 people -- in the stadium I picture here. (The reason I say alleged is because the stadium lists a capacity of something like 50,000 people today -- though I understand that it used to be larger and there were temporary stands added to the stadium. But still, 100,000? I'm doubtful.) Who was it, when, and what stadium is it? I don't think I'm making this too easy by saying that one of my favorite lines -- though not the one for which the speech is known -- is "the immortal Dante tells us that divine justice weighs the sins of the cold-blooded and the sins of the warm-hearted in different scales." (Sorry about the quality of the picture -- this isn't the best of the ones I took, but it's one of the few where the location isn't completely obvious from signs in the picture.)
In an article in the Valparaiso Law Review, reported here, here, and here, former University of Chicago professor Al Alschuler descibes “eight falsehoods” in Judge Easterbrook's opinion in the Illinois Gov. George Ryan case.
Alschuler's explosive article, titled "How Frank Easterbrook Kept George Ryan in Prison," is here.
The law is enmeshed with fictions. The judiciary as truthseeker disdains perjury yet imports hypothetical realities to attain justice within strict legal frameworks. The legislature mandates meanings to common words that often approach the realm of fantasy. Assignment of fiction within the law has provoked robust academic attention and debate regarding its utility and propriety.
Legal fictions have roots in Ancient Roman law in which praetors (magistrates) bound by laws could use equitable principles to alleviate harsh legal consequences. America advances legal fictions through the common law to soften rigid legal rules. Today, our courts and legislatures continue to fashion new legal fictions—possibly theorized as each party’s attempts to usurp the other. Examples of legal fictions abound from constitutional interpretation to granting remedies by expanding rights.
Professor Garrett Epps, contributing editor for The Atlantic and Professor of Law at University of Baltimore School of Law, will present the keynote address for American Legal Fictions.
Please submit an abstract no longer than 500 words by August 22, 2016, to be considered for participation. We welcome interdisciplinary submissions from students, professors, and practitioners. Selections for participation will be announced on a rolling basis. For participants also selected for publication, a completed paper will be due by October 17, 2016. Savannah Law Review’s Spring Issue will include selected written submissions to American Legal Fictions. American Legal Fictions will take place at Savannah Law School on September 16, 2016, with a variety of roundtable presentations, panels, and speakers. Topics for the event include: Legal Facts as Fiction, Identity Fictions, Myths of Justice, and Power of Fictions in Right.
This is an exciting topic -- and if you haven't had the chance to visit Savannah and the Savannah Law School, this is a great opportunity to do so.
The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law seeks a 75% FTE faculty fellow to serve as the Associate Director of its LL.M. in Lawyering program. The position will work under the direction of the Associate Dean for International Programs to assist in marketing of and recruiting students to the LL.M. program, mentoring LL.M. students from orientation to graduation, managing administrative aspects of the program, and teaching LL.M. specific courses such as the LL.M. tutorial, the Legal English Workshop, and coaching the international arbitration moot. This is a one-year contract eligible for annual reappointment. The position includes UMKC’s customary employment benefits (medical, dental, etc.), but also includes access to an H1-B visa for those who are not U.S. Citizens or permanent residents and tuition remission for the UMKC J.D. program (when taken part-time during the fellowship).
The School of Law seeks applications from those with a strong commitment to educating lawyers for the twenty-first century and who desire to join a collegial, innovative, collaborative community. Useful, but not required, past experiences include: marketing and recruitment (especially for a law school); an LL.M. from a U.S. law school; teaching, mentoring or coaching (including ESL and academic support); participation in moot court, trial advocacy or other legal competitions (especially international arbitration); and legal practice (particularly in an international or cross-cultural setting).
UMKC is the urban law school of the University of Missouri System and is located on a beautiful landscaped campus in the Country Club Plaza area of Kansas City, Missouri. It is the only law school in a diverse and vibrant metropolitan area of more than two million people and offers courses leading to J.D. or LL.M. degrees for approximately 500 students. It benefits from its metropolitan location, the presence of 150 federal agencies, a large and academically talented pool of student applicants, a strong university with opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration, a dedicated faculty and staff, and strong community and alumni support.
UMKC is an equal access, equal opportunity, affirmative action employer that is fully committed to achieving a diverse faculty and staff. The university will recruit and employ qualified personnel and will provide equal opportunities during employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, status as a protected veteran or status as a qualified individual with a disability. To request ADA accommodations, please call the Director of Affirmative Action at 816-235-1323.
I want to provide an overview now and I'll be talking about various pieces in future posts. The book is about proslavery thought in the South from Nat Turner's rebellion in 1831 to the opening of Civil War. It opens with the Nat Turner rebellion -- but my primary focus in the first chapter is on a William and Mary professor, Thomas Dew, who wrote an important and widely read proslavery pamphlet in the wake of the rebellion. My primary focus in the first part of the book is proslavery thought in southern universities. I follow the evolution of ideas from Dew's pamphlet in 1831 down to secession, at schools around the south from UVA, Washington College, VMI, Hampden-Sydney, and Randolph Macon in Virginia, down to UGA, Alabama, and Ole Miss -- with cameo appearances from a number of other southern schools. I also discuss the antislavery thought that appears in schools, especially at UVA and Washington College. I have a couple of faculty who're particularly important -- in addition to Thomas Dew, my major subjects include Henry Ruffner of Washington College (an anti-slavery advocate), Albert Taylor Bledsoe, a professor at UVA, and James Holcombe, a law professor at UVa. The proslavery faculty increasingly focus on the role of hierarchy and slavery in history, and the economic importance of slavery.
The second part shifts to the ideas of proslavery thought in more public settings -- like Congress. I focus in particular on the debates around the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. (The anti-slavery response to the Act has been well-covered, but I'm more interested in how proslavery ideas, history, political theory, and economics, were mobilized to support the Act.) The middle part also focuses on how the anti-slavery writers understood and responded to the historical and empirical arguments about slavery.
The final part turns to proslavery ideas and actions in the judiciary and among lawyers. While I suspect that the first part will get the most attention, this is my favorite part of the book because it traces how ideas were put to use by actors at the center of southern power. Part three looks at several key judges -- Thomas Ruffin of North Carolina and Joseph Lumpkin of Georgia -- as well as some less-well-known judges and lawyers, to see how they used proslavery arguments as part of their decisions on issues from criminal law to torts, to emancipation and trusts. I also discuss judges like John Archibald Campbell, who wrote several articles on the legal history of slavery, John Catron, who issued an anti-slavery decision when he was a judge in Tennessee (shocking, I know), and Ebenezer Starnes who wrote an epistolary novel about a slave-owner who brought a slave to England. The slave couldn't wait to get back to slavery in Georgia. It was a terrible piece of literature, but is illuminating of Starnes' world-view. (I discuss a number of the sources here.)
My favorite chapter centers around Thomas Cobb, a lawyer from Athens, Georgia, who wrote the most comprehensive proslavery treatise of the pre-Civil War era. He synthesized decades of work on history, "science," economics, and law to create a zealously proslavery argument. Cobb was not some closeted academic; he was an activist scholar. Following Lincoln's election, he traveled to the Georgia capital to make a speech in favor of secession -- and then he took to the battlefield to defend the Confederacy. Cobb died at Fredericksburg in December 1862. The upshot of the final section is to illustrate how ideas of slavery, property, and political theory appeared in legal arguments -- from treatises to opinions to legislative debates -- and how those arguments help illuminate the minds of southerners as they moved towards secession.
I hope this will intervene in a series of debates. The first is growing literature on slavery and universities. There's been some fabulous work on this -- some of it goes back decades, such as Drew Faust's A Sacred Circle: The Dilemma of the Intellectual in the Old South -- but a lot of it is recent, such as Craig Wilder's Ebony and Ivy. Wilder's focus is on northern schools, where proslavery ideas--particularly "science"--and funding from slavery are even more surprising than in southern schools. And then there's Michael O'Brien's expansive Conjectures of Order, which is more intellectual history that sweeps across the old south, though it deals with university faculty. Building on that outstanding work, I have been able to delve the proslavery political theory, history, and legal ideas of southern faculty more deeply than have other scholars. I hope that this will help show the detail of those ideas and how they shift over time -- often, I think, in response to anti-slavery advocacy -- and to show how much the academy was linked to ideas in circulation elsewhere in the south. There were complex and important -- as well as extremely disturbing -- ideas on those campuses.
Second, I hope this will help expand our sense of the sophistication of pre-Civil War jurisprudence. Where so many people treat American jurisprudence as though it began in 1870, the judges and lawyers here reveal that there were extensive historical and empirical arguments, as well as political theory, decades before that. And it may very well be that the post-war historical and empirical jurisprudence owes its origins to those hotly contested debates over slavery. Third, I hope this will add detail to how ideas circulate between popular culture and legal thought. The proslavery ideas built up over time in terms of depth and sophistication in and out of the judiciary. Judges drew on common tropes and added to them. This reflects the close connections between judges and their culture.
Finally, I hope this causes us to realize how close arguments about property rights lie to the center of debates over secession.
You can read some of it on books.google now. And I hope if this interests you that you'll recommend it to your school's library. I look forward to talking about more specifics -- such as the content and reach of Thomas Dew's thoughts, proslavery ideas in graduation addresses, the increasing belief that slavery was consistent with natural law in the 1850s, the role of Frederick A.P. Barnard in slavery at the University of Alabama and Ole Miss, Thomas Cobb's proslavery legal treatise and role in secession, lesser-known jurists and their prolsavery writings, and finally property and constitutional thought in secession debates.
The “Ethicist” column in the New York Times Magazine was originated by a humorist, but it has lately been written by Kwame Anthony Appiah, a highly regarded philosophy professor at New York University. The format is the same; readers send in their real-life ethics quandaries, and Appiah provides them with advice. His answers are usually insightful and sometimes provocative, although I think that they are too often hedged with what the letter-writer “might” do or “probably” should consider. Even so, the “Ethicist” is the first page I turn to in the Magazine (after I have finished front section, the Sunday Review, and the Book Review).
Appiah’s current column, however, is disappointingly weak, and he missed an opportunity to dispense some meaningful ethics advice.
The question was about the letter-writer’s obligation to a dying friend, who had long ago fathered a child with a woman other than his then wife. The friend seems never to have told anyone else about the child, including his two adult children:
I believe I am the only person in his circle of friends and family who knows that he has another child with another woman. That child is probably close to 30 now. My friend has had no contact with the child since birth and almost no contact with the child’s mother. This appears to have been the way they both wanted it.
The letter-writer’s question is whether to defy the dying man’s wishes and tell the known children about their secret half-sibling, either now or after their father passes away.
Appiah does not provide a firm answer, saying only that the friend’s request for secrecy will not “have the same gravity” after his death. It would also “be good to be clear about his reasons” before deciding whether to override them. The equivocation was not necessary, as I believe there is a clear answer to the ethics question, although Appiah did not touch on it.
The friend’s conduct toward his secret child was profoundly unethical. Even if the child’s mother wanted no contact with him – a questionable assertion, which is almost always the favored excuse of a defaulting parent – that does not mean the child felt the same way. Nearly all children want some contact with their fathers, and every single one is entitled to financial support. The friend’s neglect of his own child was, to put it as politely as possible, dishonorable.
This implicates the letter writer’s obligations as well, because he or she has been designated as “trustee of the trusts he established for his two children.” But as the letter writer knows, there are actually three children. An out of wedlock child has equal rights to inheritance in every state, and thus the secret child has a valid claim on his or her father’s estate – which is at least sufficiently extensive to warrant the establishment of trusts. Most states also have “pretermitted heir” statutes, which provide for children even if they have not been named in a parent’s will, so long as they have not been specifically disinherited. We may assume that the latter did not happen, given that the existence of the child has been kept secret (hence, no mention in the will).
I would therefore say that the letter writer will have an ethical obligation – and perhaps even a legal obligation – to inform the secret child of his or her potential inheritance. This will necessarily also alert the two known children of their half-sibling, while at the same time righting a long-standing injustice.
NOTE: I will answer some possible questions after the jump.
It's Friday in late July, so time for something a little different. You know what I haven't had -- I think ever? A modern courthouse trivia question. So digging into my files from a couple of years ago, where is this courthouse? I don't think I've ever had a courthouse trivia question from this state before, though I've had other trivia from it.
Ted Cruz’s non-endorsement speech at the Republican National Convention drew boos from Trump delegates and (it has been reported) a rebuff from Sheldon Adelson, but it strikes me as a very astute tactical move that puts him in a great position for a future run at the presidency.
As a teacher of trial advocacy, I can only congratulate him on the adroit maneuver. Let’s look at the decision tree.
Consideration 1: One of two things will happen in November: Donald Trump will either win or lose.
Consideration 2: If Trump loses, then Hillary Clinton will be president and Republicans will immediately begin planning for 2020. In that scenario, Cruz would be uniquely insulated from Trump’s loss, and in an excellent position to claim the mantle of traditional Republicanism, while Trump’s endorsers will have to explain their support for his unorthodox positions on NATO, free trade, and the “big tent.” This puts him in a great position to seek the 2020 nomination.
Consideration 3: If Trump wins, his presidency will be either successful or unsuccessful.
Consideration 4: If Trump’s presidency is unsuccessful, Cruz will be in a good position to challenge him for the nomination in 2020, unlike those who joined the Trump train. See Consideration 2, above.
Consideration 5: If Trump’s presidency is successful, then no Republican would challenge him in 2020. The next open nomination would be in 2024, at which point nobody would care very much about a twenty minute speech from eight years earlier. And even if they do remember, Cruz will have had eight years to mend fences and rebuild alliances.
All of this is highly contingent, of course, and lots can happen in the coming years (or even in the coming months). Still, you have to give Ted Cruz a lot of credit for seeing a possible path to the presidency that has eluded most of his fellow GOP hopefuls.
(We cannot rule out the possibility that Cruz’s motive was mostly personal. He has many good reasons to be angry at Trump. But Cruz is also a very shrewd strategist, so it seems pretty certain that he was also jockeying for a future intra-party advantage.)
Franz Kafka is credited with observing that “the meaning of life is that it stops.” This recognition — that life’s one certainty is certain death — has been the source of great artistic, scientific, political, and personal inspiration. How we have lived over the course of our days — our individual and collective histories — and how we will be remembered by those who survive us — our legacies — are bridged not only by our achievements and relationships but also by cherished items of property that we have accumulated and decided to pass on. This type of possession often has a narrative that endows it with meaning. By incorporating a personal property narrative into testamentary documents, a decedent can transcend her mortality by infusing it with her morality.
This Article starts by discussing connections between property law and language, explaining how property theorists have used metaphorical and narrative language about “things” to explore the political and economic communities the property creates among the people who have interests in those things. The Article then explores various inheritance texts, both fictional and legal, to demonstrate the multiple ways narratives and inheritance intersect and together “transmit traditions, cultural values, and ideologies.” The balance of the Article explores the potential for stories about cherished possessions to democratize inheritance law and enhance its purposes. It does so, first, by proposing model language to assist individuals and individuals and their lawyers in drafting conveyances that acknowledge the narrative power of cherished possessions. Having surmounted this procedural hurdle, the remaining sections argue that the current practice of trivializing personal property dispositions, either by relegating them to separate non-binding memoranda or not dealing with personal property at all other than in a general or residuary clause, are missed opportunities. Building from empirical studies that show how individuals identify with personal possessions, often because of the memories associated with those items, this Article argues that including these family histories in testamentary documents can help make estate planning more accessible and meaningful to a broad range of property owners. Encouraging personal property dispositions that include narratives also benefits survivors; psychological research shows a relationship between family stories and resilience, and sociological studies support the idea that sharing stories aids in bereavement. Finally, using this narrative approach as a strategy for encouraging broader participation in estate planning will benefit the inheritance system more holistically.
If you teach trusts and estates or property (or are interested in the relationship between property and memory), I think you'll be very interested in this. One thing that this makes me wonder about is whether intestacy needs to (or could reasonably) adapt to account for such important personal property. But more importantly, building off Deborah's article, I wonder if we should "read" wills using her insight by looking at the value of devises. That is, I think that even when testators do not leave explicit statements regarding property, their choices about distribution of property leave important statements about property. This is one way historians have used wills to draw distinctions between New Englanders in the eighteenth century, Quakers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and those in the Chesapeake. And I suppose one other question that Deborah's paper invites is how devises of human beings in pre-Civil War wills affected -- and tells us about -- African American families. One under-studied subject is how wills of slave-owners divide slaves at the death of testators. Those divisions reflect both the testator's desires for which of his (or her) family members receive humans and also how those testators treated African American families. One of the things that really struck me when I first started reading wills of slaveowners lo' those many years ago was how much data they contain about African American families, too -- such as the names of enslaved people and often their family relations (parents, children).
Deborah's article makes me think again that we're on the brink of a real expansion of trusts and estates scholarship. We're asking much broader questions than have been traditionally been asked about the subject and we're building a critical mass of people interested in areas from psychology to gender, pedagogy and of course doctrine.
University of Akron Law Dean Matthew Wilson, who joined Akron in 2014, has been named interim president of the university. He will serve for 18 months as the school searches for a new leader. Akron Law Professors Sarah Cravens and Ryan Vacca have been appointed as interim co-deans.