Archive for February, 2008

Hiatus, and Good Luck!

Sua Sponte will be on hiatus for spring break until Monday, March 10th.  Good luck to everyone madly working on the journal competition, and enjoy your break!


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February 29, 2008

Happy Leap Day everyone!  In celebration, the NYT runs a history of the leap year.  (Via Today’s Papers.) A big happy birthday to everyone born on this day in 1988, 1984, 1980, 1976, and all other leap years throughout the course of history.

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A week or so ago, I posted about Britney Spears’ reported marriage and what sorts of legal issues it might bring up.  Some of you might’ve thought me a little kooky, but I’m not alone!  Over at The Faculty Lounge, Prof. Kevin Maillard (Syracuse) describes Spears as “a walking legal subject unto herself.”  Professor, I agree.  And I’ll also go out on a limb and say that putting otherwise abstract legal concepts into the context of popular culture does in fact help students retain information better than they might through reading 18th century cases.

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More Subtle Sexism to Consider

On CNN’s website right now is an article about accomplished people under 30 years old: http://ypwr.blogs.cnn.com  Five young people are profiled, and only one of them is a female.  The four young men’s accomplishments include authoring a successful memoir, a career as a conductor, and admirable contributions to the world of politics.  The female is praised for her achievements driving race cars.  While I applaud her accomplishments, I can’t help but wonder if her inclusion in the group has less to do with her success as an athlete, than her success as an athlete in what is usually a boy’s club.  My concern is bolstered by the fact that the young woman’s profile is peppered with her accomplishments in relation to her gender, e.g. “youngest female to ever win a USAC main event.”  The other youths are lauded for their triumphs standing alone, not as their triumphs as males.  Is CNN basically saying, look what this girl did! Despite the odds! (The odds being two x chromosomes.)

Liz Westbrook

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Today begins the annual 1L coffee binge… I mean Journal Competition. In wishing good luck to all my fellow competitors, I wanted to say a couple words about cheating. No, I’m not talking about the need to rid your apartment of anything other than your Bluebook, Dictionary, Thesaurus, Writing Manual, and Style Manual. I’m not talking about shredding those handy Lexis-Nexis Handouts that teach you how to do electronic citations or deleting the PowerPoint teaching you where to find what in the bluebook. Not throwing away personally prepared materials or whiting out any notes that you may have made to yourself in your bluebook.

Instead, I’m talking about the cheating you CAN and WILL get away with, just like baseball players: the use of performance enhancing drugs! (more…)

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GW Law and Clemens

So after all that hullabaloo with Clemens asking to go and then presenting his case before Congress, it looks like he may have screwed himself in the end.  Congress (specifically the House Committee on Oversight and Governmental Reform) sent a letter to the Department of Justice recommending that they look into whether Clemens’ testimony was perjurious (NY TimesESPN).  The letter doesn’t make any references to McNamee, Clemens’ accuser, which may hint that Congress believes him and not Clemens.  This is only surprising (to me at least) because both Pettite and Knobluach corroborate McNamee’s story that he told and injected Yankees players with HGH, but during the hearing the sides were split along political party lines.  Democrats sided with McNamee and Republicans with Clements, but I guess the Republicans either changed their mind or didn’t care to fight this time.

Anyway, a really cool part in both the Times and ESPN articles is that GW Law’s very own Todd D. Peterson (also known as “TDP”) is cited (see near end of articles).  It’s always pretty cool to see professors from your school cited in articles or seen on TV, it helps to make me feel like the 40K I shell out each year is worth it.  Further examples of well-known professors whose accomplishments I find particularly interesting are Prof. Jack Friedenthal, who writes the Civ Pro books, Prof. Jonathan Turley, who is perpetually on TV, and Prof. Gregory Maggs, who is probably best friends with a few Supreme Court Justices Anyone else wanna chime in with cool accomplishments by their profs that I overlooked or don’t know about?

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Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York penned an op-ed in the New York Times this morning where he announced he would not run for President.

I listened carefully to those who encouraged me to run, but I am not – and will not be – a candidate for president. . . . If a candidate takes an independent, nonpartisan approach – and embraces practical solutions that challenge party orthodoxy – I’ll join others in helping that candidate win the White House.

The implications of this decision are many, I think.  Although with McCain and Obama as the likely nominees there was no room in the ideological spectrum for a Bloomberg candidacy, Bloomberg can still have a large influence on this election.  The number of Americans that were attracted to Bloomberg’s no nonsense style of governing make up in large part the critical swing voters that decide elections.  If Bloomberg were to endorse a candidate, many Independent and swing voters would follow him and vote for that candidate.

In addition, this decision could further fuel speculation that Bloomberg would seek to do for state government what he did for city government and run for Governor against Eliot Spitzer in 2010 or beyond that.


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