From a recent WSJ:
An Australian appeals court ruled last week that a Melbourne man can sue his doctors for misdiagnosing him as transsexual. In 1988, apparently on the advice of his medical team, he underwent a sex change. But he claims that he was left “a mess” as a woman and has now resumed life as a man—with the help of further surgery. He says that he never should have had the first operation because he had demonstrated “above average” masculinity.
02 Sep 05
I went to Corcoran state prison last week with my attorney to meet a client. Corcoran is in the central valley, about 180 miles north of Los Angeles and 45 miles south of Fresno. To a good approximation, there is nothing in Corcoran. Except the prison.
(These photos are pretty bad but you don’t really want to be seen waltzing around the outside of a prison in a clear attempt to get quality snaps.)
This was my first visit to a prison. Corcoran is a high-security facility housing about 5000 inmates with 1700 staff looking over them. We met our client in a meeting room with a one-way mirror that always had a guard behind it.
I can’t talk about the client or the case obviously. But we spent the whole day with the guy and one thing that struck me was how acclimated he had become to prison life. While clearly he would’ve preferred to not be in prison, he was blase and even glib about elements of prison life—the atrocious food, theft of one’s belongings, threats on one’s life, being put in solitary confinement (aka “the hole”). As if it were all just par for the course.
I guess if you’re an inmate and you want to make it through 15, 20, 25 or more years without going totally bonkers, you have to accept prison for what it is to you: normal. In his words, “these are not positive people walking around here.”
06 Sep 05
Prof. Litigation: Who can tell us what happened in today’s case? How about ... (consults seating chart) ... Mr. Rivera.
Mr. Rivera: Uh ... I’ll take a pass today.
Prof. Litigation: OK. How about ... (finding name of adjacent student on chart) ... Ms. Holden.
Ms. Holden: I’m sorry, but I didn’t read it.
Prof. Litigation: Ah ... (finding next name) ... Ms. Jenkins?
Ms. Jenkins: I really don’t know.
Prof. Litigation: OK ... (in admirably even temper) ... Mr. Goldstein?
Mr. Goldstein: I didn’t read it either. Sorry.
Prof. Litigation: What’s that?
Mr. Goldstein: (more sheepish) I didn’t read it.
Prof. Litigation: Ah, I see ... who’s next ... (irritation creeping in) ... Ms. Ogilvy?
Ms. Ogilvy: Um ... I don’t know.
Prof. Litigation: (balanced between annoyance and fascination) Then ... Mr. Lewis?
Mr. Lewis: (accurately describes case & averts academic crisis)
07 Sep 05
How silly of me. Here is a beatufiul overhead view of Corcoran prison, if you’re rolling with Google Earth.
08 Sep 05
California Bar Rule 3-120. Sexual Relations With Client
(A) For purposes of this rule, “sexual relations” means sexual intercourse or the touching of an intimate part of another person for the purpose of sexual arousal, gratification, or abuse.
(B) A member shall not:
(1) Require or demand sexual relations with a client incident to or as a condition of any professional representation; or
(2) Employ coercion, intimidation, or undue influence in entering into sexual relations with a client; or
(3) Continue representation of a client with whom the member has sexual relations if such sexual relations cause the member to perform legal services incompetently in violation of rule 3-110.
So if I’m reading this correctly, having sex with a client is not a per se violation of the rules. You can have sex with all the clients you want, as long as it’s not a condition of your representation, everyone freely consents, and it doesn’t affect your, uh, performance.
It’s true we have the toughest bar exam in the nation. But membership has its privileges.
10 Sep 05
I don’t like to pick on my colleagues, but seriously folks, there are some faux pas that you should really tend to before you take that big firm job. I mean, if you’re offered that big firm job.
Questionable choices on the gentlemen:
1. Button-down collars. These are for professors and New England physicians. Not you.
2. True or false: any pair of shoes that are black, leather, and not sneakers qualify as dress shoes. False is the correct answer.
3. Purple, pink, or yellow shirts. Does anyone wear pastels on “Law and Order”? No.
4. Cuffed pants have not been hip for about 15 years.
Questionable choices on the ladies:
1. Heels so high you can’t walk in a straight line. Don’t wear shoes outside your skill level.
2. Heels 1/2” short of qualifying for the fetish ball. Avoid.
3. Cleavage and miniskirts. Nuff said.
Questionable unisex choices:
1. What’s with all the black? This is Los Angeles.
2. Overapplication of scented material.
3. Showing up at all.
14 Sep 05
If you’ve taken con law you really must read The Brethren by Bob Woodward. I’m reading it now and it’s incredibly good—an inside look at the Supreme Court in the 1969-75 terms.
One of my problems with my con law casebook & professor is that every decision was presented as this neatly packaged product of consistently evolving judicial thought. The reality—as one might expect—is much messier. The Sup Ct is just another high-school like political environment, with all the whining, slacking, tantrums and cliquishness you’d expect.
The book covers the arrival of Rehnquist on the court. In honor of the man, a few excerpts.
Rehnquist slipped into the [weekly meeting of all the justices] one day and took his seat. He pulled a magazine from his stack of papers. The National Lampoon had just released its February issue. The centerfold was entitled “Amicae Curiae”—Friends of the Court—and it depicted ... all nine of the Justices engaged in a variety of sexual activity.
The Chief [Warren Burger], naked except for holster and pistol, was on the floor licking the boot of an otherwise naked young woman.
Brennan was standing in front of two very young girls holding his robe open.
Stewart was measuring the throat of a young woman with a ruler, apparently in preparation for oral sex.
Rehnquist, clad in a woman’s bra and red garter belt, was parading before the others cracking a black whip.
White, a blindfold partially covering his glasses, was apparently engaged in some taxing sexual activity, though the cartoon did not make it clear what that activity was.
Powell was kneeling naked, his hands bound together, while a black woman in underwear marked “Exhibit A” flogged him.
Marshall stood by the side of the bench doing nothing but looking up at Douglas, who sat alone on the bench with a naked young boy at his side.
Blackmun was sodomizing a kangaroo.
Chuckling, Rehnquist passed the issue around the table.
20 Sep 05
More on Rehnquist from The Brethren:
Rehnquist didn’t share [Chief Justice] Burger’s concern with appearances and formality. He was very casual. During the nice weather, he and his clerks sometimes ate lunch in one of the two enclosed courtyards ... as they were picnicking in shirtsleeves one day, Burger’s messenger, Alvin Wright, set up a small table with silver service and a white linen tablecloth. Moments later, Burger came out with his clerks, Burger, his jacket on, poured the wine ... as they gazed on the solemnity at the Burger table, Rehnquist’s laughter grew almost uncontrollable. He and his clerks had to dash inside.
That said, Mr. Casual’s personal judicial obsessions were on full view from the moment he set foot in the court:
The liberals found it hard not to like the good-natured, thoughful Rehnquist. They could even bring themselves to respect his crisp intellect and diligence ... His extreme legal philsosophy worried the liberals. Rehnquist had a very narrow view of the Fourteenth Amendment ... the Court had for nearly a century used this amendment to ensure basic freedoms for all citizens. In Rehnquist’s view, the amendment was misapplied when used to give rights to prisoners, women or other groups ... Even more chilling to the liberals was Rehnquist’s ideological commitment to keep the federal courts out of certain types of cases.
And he predicted the future correctly:
It was only recently that activism on the Court had become “liberal” activism, Rehnquist reminded them. Only forty years before, the Court’s activists were conservatives. The balance was once again shifting back, Rehnquist said.
23 Sep 05
I had occasion to read a pile of Rehnquist opinions this summer as part of some academic research I was conducting for a professor. Some of the ‘greatest hits’ from Rehquist’s dissents on equal protection, one of his least favorite clauses in the constitution:
Sugarman v. Dougall, 413 U.S. 634 (1972)
[Court votes to strike down statute discriminating against aliens. Rehnquist dissents.] Native-born citizens can be expected to be familiar with the social and political institutions of our society; with the society and political mores that affect how we react and interact with other citizens. Naturalized citizens have also demonstrated their willingness to adjust to our patterns of living and attitudes, and have demonstrated a basic understanding of our institutions, system of government, history, and traditions. It is not irrational to assume that aliens as a class are not familiar with how we as individuals treat others and how we expect “government” to treat us.
Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986)
[Court votes to strike down race-based peremptory challenges. Rehnquist dissents.]I cannot subscribe to the Court’s unprecedented use of the Equal Protection Clause to restrict the historic scope of the peremptory challenge ... In my view, there is simply nothing “unequal” about the State’s using its peremptory challenges to strike blacks from the jury in cases involving black defendants, so long as such challenges are also used to exclude whites in cases involving white defendants, Hispanics in cases involving Hispanic defendants, Asians in cases involving Asian defendants, and so on. This case-specific use of peremptory challenges by the State does not single out blacks, or members of any other race for that matter, for discriminatory treatment.
J.E.B. v. Alabama, 511 U.S. 127 (1994)
[Court votes to strike down gender-based peremptory challenges. Rehnquist dissents.] The two sexes differ, both biologically and, to a diminshing extent, in experience. It is not merely “stereotyping” to say that these differences may produce a difference in outlook which is brought to the jury room.
25 Sep 05
Before I put the full flame on—do people really not know about the ludicrous “temporary fee” being assessed on professional students this year ($700) and next year ($1000)? This is on top of your already dramatically enhanced tuition bill & professional fee for the next two years.
I’ve brought it up with a bunch of folks since the start of school and everyone’s like “wha?” Are we really that laid back? Don’t you want to know how you can recover your $1700?
27 Sep 05
In August, Dean Schill sent an email out to all UCLA law students announcing that the Regents had decided to assess an extra-special “temporary fee” of $1050 on UC professional students (except public health, public policy, and international relations) for the 05-06 and 06-07 school year. Because the Regents were late in announcing this fee they decided to only collect 2/3 of the fee ($700) this year, and the full $1050 next year. Total for the next two years: $1750.
Why the fee? In July 03, a class action complaint was filed, Kashmiri v. Regents of the University of California. The complaint alleged three counts of breach of contract against the Regents. The largest of these was the claim that the Regents had promised professional students entering in fall 2002 that their fees would stay consistent throughout their graduate program. After the big budget cuts that year, the Regents raised professional fees dramatically.
The lawsuit alleged this was breach of contract and sought a refund of overcharges already paid. The Kashmiri class also sought & received an injunction against the Regents in Aug 04 to prevent them from collecting any more of the alleged overcharges until the case had been tried.
As a result of the injunction, the Regents didn’t collect as much revenue in 2004-05 as they expected to. $13.5 million less, in fact. And they expect to have a shortfall of $9 million this year due to the injunction. Total $22.5 million.
Here’s where you come in, dear reader. The Regents considered a few options for recouping this money. First was to assess a temporary fee of $75 on every student in the UC system. That seems pretty reasonable, yes? But no. This was dismissed as “not feasible, given the political environment”.
Option 2: charge a one-time fee of $3200 on each professional student. This would’ve put blood in the streets for sure.
Option 3: a temporary fee of $1050 on professional students only, for two years. This is the option the Regents went with. How did they justify it? By their reasoning, non-professional grad students had an Educational Fee increase of $1050 last year, and professional students didn’t. So it only seems fair that now we get our Educational Fee raised by the same amount. Right?
This overlooks the fact that in 2004-05, the Professional Fee was raised from $9473 to $14,473. That’s FIVE THOUSAND BUCKS for those of you averse to math. (Current and past fees for all UCLA programs is available here.)
More perplexing, the temporary fee only lasts for two years: in 2007-08 they will switch over to a system-wide fee of $60 per student to recover the remainder of the injunction costs.
Does this just strike you as, like, a total rip? The Regents screwed up. They breached a contract with the Kashmiri class. OK, there hasn’t been a judgment on the merits yet, but when a judge grants a temporary injunction, it’s an indication that he thinks the plaintiffs are likely to prevail.
Professional students in general, and law students in particular, get charged more because we derive more economic value from our UCLA degree. Fair enough. But the Regents could’ve made a reasonable system-wide fee of $75 to recover the injunction costs. They chose not to, in order to avoid some vague political unpleasantness. Apparently it is more politically pleasant to raid the piggybanks of professional students yet again.
But wait! That’s not all. You might say to yourself, “if the Regents win the case, they have the right to collect the disputed fees from the Kashmiri class, correct?” Correct. But according to the minutes of the May 2005 Regents’ meeting:
[T]he University believes its position in this case is correct ... Even if the University ultimately prevails in the litigation, however, at the end of this current term the majority of students who have benefitted from the injunction prohibiting collection of fee increases ... will have graduated, and it will be very difficult to collect the revenue at a later date.
Meaning, if the Kashmiri class wins, they win. If the Kashmiri class loses, they still win!—because the Regents will not pursue enforcement of a winning judgment.
So, your Regents are up there in San Francisco, charging you an extra $1750 to fix their contract breach, and spending a nice chunk of the money to defend a lawsuit which is apparently moot.
I will leave you with a link to the minutes of the May 2005 Regents’ meeting. This is the smoking gun—a look into the mind of the Regents, and what they think of law students in particular. There is too much poetry to cite it all, but this one stands out:
Regent Lee believed that while it was important for the University’s business schools to
maintain their [quality advantage], it was less important for its law schools, in view of the abundance
of lawyers in the nation. He observed that it would help protect jobs in this country to
charge higher fees to law students and lower fees to students in less well-represented
fields such as nursing.
Memo to Regent Lee: WTF!?
30 Sep 05
Epilogue 8: Buy my book
Epilogue 7: Recessionaires cont'd
Epilogue 6: Schill quits UCLA
Epilogue 5: recessionaires
Okay, I lied. Epilogue 4
Epilogue 3: The End (really)
Epilogue 2: Nov 2007
The eagle has landed
Seduced by the dark side
You've been in law school too long when...
I have only five more class days
The lone gunman
The last spring break is over
Someone saved your life tonight
Dean Schill & the Pussymobile
Help me yet again