Posts Tagged ‘Legislation’

In Defense of my Hometown

May 21, 2011

One day last semester we covered Arthur v. City of Toledo in legislation.  I was born in Toledo.  I grew up in the Toledo area before heading off to college.  This was a case about my hometown.

In brief, here’s what the case is about.  Public housing was located in the inner city.  The local housing authority authorized the extension of sewers to allow the construction of public housing outside of the inner city.  The local voters, by referendum, repealed the authorization.  People sued over the referendum claiming it had been racial motivated.  The Sixth Circuit allowed the referendum results to stand because racial motivation had not been proven.  Not that there wasn’t racial motivation in not wanting public housing outside the inner city, just that the plaintiffs had been unable to prove it.

As I sat in class during this discussion, I felt like raising my hand and explaining, for the record, that Toledo is not a racist community.  I didn’t.  I just sat there trying to read my classmates minds.  “Bunch of racists up there in Toledo,” I was sure they were thinking.  Well, there’s not.

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1L Down

May 10, 2011

The last exam is done, the books are on the shelf, and the first year of law school is over.  One down, two to go, but first it’s summer break.

I’m Back

May 5, 2011

Where, you might be wondering, have I been the last three months?  In two words: law school.  I got bogged down in the grind that is reading, class, and outlining.  A few highlights:

Grades came out the first week of February.  I did pretty well.  Contracts was the outlier.  It was ugly.  Sports teams will say after a particuarly gruesome game for them that they’ll watch the tape once and then throw it out because there’s nothing they can salvage.  That’s how I felt when we went over the first semester exam.  My conclusion was that I hadn’t yet figured out how to take a law school issue spotting exam by the Monday before Thanksgiving.  Luckily the rest of my grades made up for it, and because contracts is a year long course, the its grade isn’t factored in until the end of this semester.  So for a semester at least I’ve been quite pleased with my class rank.

Classes went okay this semester I think.  Another semester of contracts was fine.  Having gotten the theory last semster, this semester we delved into the actual specifics like offer and acceptance, warranties, terms, and all their friends.  Constitutional law wasn’t what I expected.  I’m not sure what I expected, but the class felt like it was just the equal protection and due process clauses of the 14th Amendment rather than the whole constitution.  We spent two months on those.  Con law has the problem of being too big for just a four credit course.  I think I would have just picked the topic list differently.  Legislation was a bit different.  The professor even said as much.  At its heart, I guess it could be described as how to interpret statutes.  But we thew in a lot of civil rights, lobbying, direct democracy, and election law too.  The professor said the course would cover the legislative process from the election of legisators to the enacting of a bill into law. It did do that, but it felt a bit like a grab bag.  Property was okay.  The professor loved policy justifications.  I don’t.  Plus, she’s been in academia her whole career.  I prefer professors who’ve had some real world experience.  The class didn’t always click for me, but I think that was largely my fault.  Legal writing felt like discussing how to ride a bike, then being given a bike and told to ride it, and then, surprise, surprise not being ready for the Tour de France.  It was very much an interative process: write, meet with the professor, revise, repeat.

This semester really felt like a grind.  It was hard for me to get excited about the classes.  The new car smell was gone.  It wasn’t exciting to be back on a college campus like last fall.  It was just a lot of repeitive work: read, class, outline.  Over and over and over again. Plus, I wasn’t having much luck finding a job for the summer when all my classmates seemed to have lined up awesome opportunities.

But around the middle of April, my luck finally changed.  It was the best week of my law school career to date.  It started with a last conference with my legal writing professor.  I should say our previous conferences had such gems as me being asked, “You’re not a writer, are you?” and “Do you know what a comma splice is?”  Not my finest moments.  My hopes were not terribly high.  But the professor actually like my brief!  He even said that one of my arguments had changed his mind!  Latter in the week I had a third interview witn an intellectual property law firm in town.  It wasn’t much of an interview: after five minutes of small talk, they offered me a job for this summer.  There is the very real expectation that I should be able to keep working there during the school year, next summer, and after graduation.  Finally, the week ending with me meeting the university president, E. Gordon Gee, at a scholarship lunch.  So that was a good week.

Now I’m in the middle of exams.  Property was Monday, con law is tomorrow, and legislation is next Tuesday.  I’m ready for the semester to be over.  I’ve been ready since I found out I had a job for the summer.  After exams there’s the law journal competition/application process, and then orientation for work is the final week of May.  After a year of reading, going to class, and outlining, I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work.

Back in the Saddle Update

January 18, 2011

It was a good weekend.  Saturday I participated in the Hocking Hills Winter Hike and Monday I went to the auto show in Detroit.  As for studying:

Read for constitutional law – Done!

Read for legislation – Done!

Legal writing – Not done on the weekend, but done today

Work on resume – Not really done.  Looked at my resume and still need to decide if some tweaking is in order.

Weekend Study Resolutions, Presented by Back in the Saddle

January 14, 2011

First week of the second semester, done. 

Read for constitutional law – One of the things about constitutional law is that it’s always changing.  The Supreme Court keeps issuing new decisions.  fortunately, rather than revising the casebook each year, there’s an annual supplement.  The case I need to read this weekend is from the supplement.  It’s close to forty pages.  I’m hoping that’s because the page layout is smaller. 

Read for legislation – We’re going to be reading a case study of last year’s health insurance reform, so I’ve got a summary the professor’s research assistant put together.  I’m actually looking forward to this one because I’d like a nice summary of how the law was created.

Legal writing – Need to read the next two chapters of the book for next week.

Work on resume – I did a mock interview this week. It went well and I got some great feedback, including on my resume.  That’s what I want to work on.

Of Foxes And Life

January 7, 2011

For constitutional law, the first day assignment was to read the US constitution, and for legislation, the first day assignment was to read about the legislative process.  Both of those make sense as great places to start the class.  I don’t know if I could think of a better starting point.

For property, we started with a fox hunt in the early nineteenth century.  In Pierson v. Post (2 Am. Dec. 264), one fellow is busy hunting a fox.  Just has he’s about the claim his prize, another fellow comes along and snatches the fox away.  Naturally, the first fellow wants the fox back, and the second doesn’t want to give it up.  The result (on appeal, no less): a fellow does not possess a fox unless they physically hold it or have mortally wounded it.  And with that, so starts property.

Interestingly enough, the notes after the case reveal that Professor Bethany Berger discovered that the case wasn’t really about a fox.  The first fellow was nouveau riche, the second fellow old money.  The second fellow didn’t approve of the first fellow flaunting his wealth through the fox hunt, so he snatched away the fox.  Such is life.  (55 Duke L. J. 1089)