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On Gun Control

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So the Supreme Court finally weighed in on what the second amendment actually means. So what does the decision mean for the rest of us?

The decision in Heller doesn't really change a whole lot from a practical point of view. It basically endorses the status quo: that the government has the right to reasonably regulate ownership, possession, and use of firearms. This has been pretty much the standard interpretation of the second amendment among the lower courts, absent further guidance from the Supremes. Heller draws some lines around what constitutes "reasonable regulation", but for the most part, not all that much has changed.

From a rights-based standpoint, it's a very curious decision, because Justice Scalia has basically invented a new constitutional right out of whole cloth--the constitutional right to self-defense with a firearm (there has always been a common-law right of self-defense, the exact parameters of which vary by jurisdiction). It is, to my mind, much more of a stretch to find a constitutional right to self-defense with a firearm in the depths of the second amendment than it is to find a right to privacy in the fourth amendment. As others have noted, this is pure judicial activism, no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

I personally think that the opinion got it badly wrong and bends himself into pretzel knots trying to explain away the militia preamble.

There's also the question of whether or not the second amendment applies to the states by operation of the fourteenth amendment. I would think that it does, though I'm not one of the nine people who are qualified to make a definitive statement on that subject.

There will be, of course, considerable litigation about where exactly do the lines of 'reasonable regulation' fall.


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So apparently the state of Oregon has been trying to assert copyright over their statutes.

What I find baffling is the motivation for trying to do so....

So these guys out in Europe are building a a super huge particle collider, right? So these other guys are trying to sue to stop it from going into operation, ok?

The reason given is a new one in law—apparently they’re concerned that the collider will accidentally make a mini-black hole, and that mini-black hole will become somewhat larger than mini as it consumes the entire Earth.

That’s not likely to happen though. We think.

Bush's Commutation Policy

From the Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog: A Law Professor’s Inside Take on Bush’s Commutation Policy:

Judge Gonzales told me three things about President Bush’s policy in considering requests for commutation. First, that President Bush would not consider commutation if he believed that the case had already received full and fair consideration by the jury and the courts who heard the case. Second, that the President would not consider the request until he had a recommendation from the Department of Justice. Finally, he said that the President would not act on any request for commutation until all judicial avenues in the case had been exhausted.

The whole thing is worth reading.



In exactly one month, I will be sitting down somewhere with 12,000 other terrified applicants to take the New York Bar Examination.

Yeah. Miles to go before I sleep, indeedy.

links for 2007-01-22

links for 2007-01-21

There's Only Trouble and Desire

I’m watching one of my favorite movies on the television as I write this. What’s kinda curious is that I actually haven’t seen this movie in something like 15 years, and I’ve actually read the script more than I’ve seen the movie.

I was curious to see what my reaction to the film would be; Hartley’s films use highly stylized language and line readings, and they frequently veer into minor surrealism. Would the movie hold up over time or would quirks of the film be revealed as nothing more than gimcrackery?

Even though some of the gimmicks come off as stage-y, the movie as a whole really does hold up, and it has more emotional depth and resonance than I remember. Of course, fifteen years ago, I was young and stupid (as opposed to now, which I guess I could call “rapidly heading towards middle-aged and stupid”). In some ways it’s a very dated object, in that it has many of the hallmarks of indie filmmaking of the early 1990s, but that should hardly be counted as a failing (Lawrence of Arabia has many of the stylistic hallmarks of its era, but that hardly makes it any less of a great film).

Anyway, in other news:

  • I’ve upgraded the software that runs this blog to MovableType 3.34 (the very latest and greatest version), in large part because of some long-overdue speed bumps (made possible mostly by the fact that it’s finally possible for mere mortals to use MT under FastCGI).
  • A friend of mine recently sent an email with his resume and cover letter to a law firm; he got a rejection note in 28 seconds. That is not a typo.
  • This looks like a great art show.
  • For some reason, all the fact patterns in my recently-completed trial advocacy course seemed to take place in the same city. It also seems that this is a pretty dangerous city—we had fatal car accidents, bar fights, arsons, suicides, cocaine deals, and then some. I did learn a lot about life insurance, though…
  • Sometimes I don’t understand Wall Street. Apple introduces a product that’s not going to ship for six months and the stock goes up more than 11% in two days. Then Apple announces a billion dollars in profit in a quarter and the stock drops 5%. Go figure.
  • So there’s this new carbonated tea drink called Enviga on the market that claims to burn calories, and I had one tonight. It’s actually almost drinkable, but the aftertaste is goes far beyond vile to some bizarre disgusting place. There’s also a lot of caffeine in the sucker…
  • Art Buchwald, one of the only men to ever check out of a hospice while still breathing, is remembered in the Post. With his passing, we lose a great, if somewhat underappreciated, man of American letters.

And for those of you playing at home, I’ve gotten up to “Bartok” in the song list. This is gonna take a while…

Think of the Synergies!

I should probably open a law firm with this man, for the name alone.

(via the wsj law blog)