Sorry to have fallen behind; life and other things occurred.
Like… Arizona passing odd laws: like their anti-illegal immigration law (still not sure how the law enforcement goes about stopping to identify who’s illegal without causing a whole host of other problems and not to mention where Arizona’s going to get the money to enforce their law and the litigation involved; granted, there is a whole context as to why Arizonan state gov’t decided to pass the law, there had to be a better way to do it without irritating people) and their law to end ethnic studies (primarily out of fear the ethnic studies is about producing anti-Americans).
I’m no immigration law expert, but from what I scanned of the Arizona law is that it leaves much to be desired, since it leave room for abuse and then, if law enforcement can’t or won’t enforce it, some civilian can sue the municipality or state for not enforcing the law – more room for abuse.
As for the ethnic studies issue, speaking as someone who has taken one or two ethnic studies courses back in college:
(a) Arizona really is freaking crazy about that issue (apologies to Arizonans out there, but seriously!).
(b) I’d suggest that their governor and legislators take an ethnic studies class and figure out that ethnic studies do not teach people to be anti-American; if anything, it’s about understanding how complex our country is; it’s also not about “segregating” people either (and if anything…, maybe encouraging each other to take classes that aren’t about our own cultures and moving beyond what we think we know might improve race relations – or even a lack thereof – in this country); good grief.
(c) (insert eye roll here).
I’ll step off my soap box now.
The news of Justice John Paul Stevens’ retirement and the selection of his replacement took a lot of attention.
(a) There was, of course, coverage on who was Stevens and his legacy (see Adam Liptak’s article from the NY Times).
(b) There were articles about the folks on the short list and even a last minute addition to the short list (I liked this article in the NY Times about Judge Sidney Thomas of Montana, appellate judge of the 9th Circuit; he seemed refreshingly different – empathetic, smart, and not from the usual parts of the country).
In the end, President Obama has selected US Solicitor General Elena Kagan; we might have a fourth woman on the US Supreme Court – quite something to think about.
Of course, all the criticism came right away, from all sides. Frankly, the one argument that I have found most hypocritical is the one on how Kagan’s lack of judicial experience is a lacking. Let’s not forget that, before 1972, a lot of US Supreme Court justices had no prior judicial experience – and that the last one in that category was the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist.
Plus, Kagan’s not exactly comparable to Harriet Miers, President George W. Bush’s original pick to replace Justice O’Connor. (I’m not exactly saying that a Harvard Law graduate is better than anyone else; it’s just that the former Harvard Law dean might have more thoughts on constitutional law issues than a corporate lawyer like Miers was).
Strangely, though – with the selection of Kagan, four out of the five boroughs of NYC might be represented on the Supreme Court. I doubt that this is what most people had in mind as “diversity,” but it is funny to think that NJ has more representation on the Court before Staten Island will (in the form of Alito and even NJ-born Scalia). See the article by James Barron of the NY Times on this subject. The Daily News had some article on the subject of Staten Island feeling left out, but I’m not going to make suggestions.
The sad news that NBC is canceling “Law and Order,” so that now, it only ties “Gunsmoke” as longest running tv drama. Articles include:
Personally, I think NBC has to figure out how to fill the 10pm-11pm time slot and they’re not going to have any good transition without L&O, which – with its current cast – was a lot more entertaining than its still-extant spinoffs L&O: SVU and L&O: Criminal Intent. NBC couldn’t even plan a cancellation with enough advancement to let L&O have a proper series finale? Come on!
Plus, many questions! Are we really going to lose the most entertaining legal crew in the form of DA McCoy, Exec. ADA Cutter, and ADA Rubirosa? Will Cutter ever realize he can only go so far with his kooky legal ethics? Will we ever get a closing argument from Cutter or Rubirosa? What will we do without McCoy as the DA who wonders what is he getting into with the DA thing?
And, what about Detective Lupo? Is he still taking night classes at Triscribe’s alma mater law school? Is he ever going to graduate?
Good read in the NY Times:
Really good stuff from Michael Kimmelman on who “owns” art? Of the fight for art is for nationalist or political purposes, does the art really matter for the “owner”? ex., the dispute between Greece and Great Britain over the Elgin Marble (or, to Greece, simply the Parthenon marble, more or less stolen from Greece). Isn’t it about giving people the opportunity to see the art? I especially liked how Kimmelman closed the article: “We’re all custodians of global culture for posterity…. Neither today’s Greeks nor Britons own the Parthenon marbles, really.”
Recent museum visiting:
at the Morgan Museum and Library; saw the Magna Carta, the basis of the concepts of rule of law and basic rights like right to trials and juries. (The Magna Carta is staying in town due to delays in shipping it back to England because of the Icelandic volcano ash cloud).
Recent play viewing:
Watched the roving Shakespeare at Columbia University: King’s Crown Shakespeare Troupe did “Measure for Measure.” Cool stuff; the college kids were so talented. Plus, the play’s about how a bad law can cause serious problems.
Recent television viewing:
“Hamlet” on “Great Performances” on PBS – David Tennant (the 10th Doctor of “Doctor Who”) as Hamlet and Patrick Stewart (Capt. Jean-Luc Picard of “Star Trek: The Next Generation”) as Claudius. “Great Performances” website has the capability of letting the viewer watching the movie on-line temporarily; check it out while you can!
“Lost” — the road to the series finale is paved with much confusion. I can live with some mysteries left as mysteries, but that last episode – where the back story of Jacob and the Man in Black is somewhat revealed – was strange and left wanting.
Plus, finally got to watch an episode of “Justified” on FX. Entertaining. Very Leonard Elmore. Much violence. But, strong acting and writing. And, the lead actor, Timothy Olyphant – it doesn’t hurt that he’s easy on the eyes.
APA Heritage Month continues:
Tammy Duckworth, on Washington Post’s website, on leadership. (hat tip to Angry Asian Man blog). I liked this quote from Duckworth, currently US Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs and an Iraq War veteran (link to transcript):
Being a leader is identifying who you are, bringing your strengths, but also identifying the strengths of the people that you’re working with and really building on that and pulling together a team. And just forgetting about what other people are saying about how you should be and how you’re supposed to be, just bring your own strengths to it.
Last, but not least, another hat tip to Angry Asian Man blog (but I’ll also say that I got an e-mail from NAPABA about this too): NAPABA wanted people to reach out to the Senate about the confirmation proceedings on Goodwin Liu’s appointment to the 9th Circuit appellate court.
As with Kagan, the opposition’s trying to argue that Liu’s lack of judicial experience is some kind of concern and how his academic writings somehow are problematic of how he’d be as a judge. I don’t think either argument works, and hope that we’ll have a second Asian American at the appellate level soon, without the politics driving people batty.