Monday, May 02, 2005

A bit of Reading...

A few of the more interesting pieces of web reading I've done recently:

Legal Education as a Training for Hierarchy
by Duncan Kennedy

Duncan Kennedy is the Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence at Harvard Law School. Kennedy clerked for Justice Potter Stewart at the Supreme Court for a year and has since been at Harvard. Kennedy is at the forefront of the Critical Legal Studies movement. CLS is a no longer popular theory of law as simply rules and institutions tilted toward protection of the interests of wealth, property and power, thus biased against the poor, working classes, women, and minorities. This particular piece is less concerned with the overarching details of CLS. It is an essay on how the field of law hierarchal, and that law schools perpetuate, and indeed force that hierarchy with they way that they structure legal education.

Hugo Chavez and Petro Populism
by Christian Parenti for The Nation

Opinions vary wildly about Hugo Chavez and what he is doing in Venezuela. The general reaction by United States is one of distain (the US allegedly participated in the coup against him in 2002). As a military leader, Chavez led a failed military coup in 1992 and spent two years in prison. Chavez came back as a politician, organizing a new party and was elected President in 1998. The coup of 2002 proved unsuccessful and he regained power, and survived a removal referendum in 2003. Now, Chavez is embarking upon, "building a socialism for the twenty-first century" in Venezuela through Land and Oil initiatives. This article chronicles some of those political reforms.

The Brains Behind Blackmun
David J. Garrow for Legal Affairs

David Garrow is professor of law at Emory University. In this scathing article, Garrow accuses Justice Harry Blackmun of a "scandalous abdication of judicial responsibility." This article is the culimination of Garrow's examination of Blackmun's papers, made public since his death. This article pulls no punches - but to me it seems unpersuasive. The anecdotes and 'memo notes' that Garrow relies upon to make his extreme accusations seem much less than advertised - you have to do a tremendous amount of 'reading-into' the words/stories to make it as extreme as Garrow does. It is, however, an engaging piece, and it is stirring a lot of feathers. In addition, opposing responses from the Chairman of Legal Affairs and two of Blackmun's clerks can be found here.

Psst, Wanna Buy My Skyscraper?
by Daniel Gross for Slate

Interesting piece about how many large corporations have recently been divesting thier skyscraper corporate headquarters buildings. In such a time of booming real estate markets, that seems an odd coincidence. Is this an advanced warning of the burstsing of the real estate bubble? Or simply company's capitalizing on the current market and taking their gains while they can?

The Unregulated Offensive (pay)
by Jeffrey Rosen for The New York Times

Jeffrey Rosen is a law professor at George Washington University. This piece examines the "Constitution-in-Exile" movement. This is a movement of conservatives who (in a synopsis) believe that the US Constitution has been in exile since 1937 when the Supreme Court began approving the New Deal programs. Essentially, they promote a return to pre-1937 Constitutional Law - which of course is a return to Freedom of Conract, Segregation, etc. There is an interesting debate going on as to whether there really is a Constitution-in-Exile movement, or if it is simply a framing by left leading academians to negatively portray the reactionary right. An interesting debate will be going on at the Legal Affairs Debate Club this week about Constitution-in-Exile.

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