This I Believe: Everyone Deserves Defense

I found out last Friday that my career as a public defender will be starting later than I'd like. Placement is by attrition and people aren't quitting as often as normal in this troubled economy. I'm disappointed, but still committed to being a public defender, albeit later than I had planned.

Derek pointed me to an NPR "This I Believe" essay by a former public defender. It's worth listening to, especially if you don't understand how I could choose a job where I fight for the accused, not the victim.


I passed the Colorado Bar Exam

Results of the Colorado Bar Exam were posted this morning and my name was listed in the list of people who passed. Now I just need to pass the background check, take a professionalism class, and swear in and I'll be a real lawyer.


Stop the bailout in the Senate

The Senate has scheduled a vote for Wednesday night at 7:30 pm on the bailout package. Now is the time to call your Senators and tell them not to support the bailout. Instructions on how to find your Senators and what to say are in my previous post.


Action: Stop Congress from giving away your money

Rumors of my demise are greatly exaggerated. The bar exam is over, though it's still 10 days away from results.

This morning I urge you to take three minutes (literally only three minutes) out of your day to stop this insane $700 billion dollar bailout.

1) Call your Representative. You can look them up here. Be polite and tell them (a) your name and that you are a constituent, (b) ask if they have a position on the bailout, and (c) urge them to vote against it.

Fun bonus game: If they don't have a position, ask out of curiosity how many people have called them supporting the bailout. When they give the answer (my Senator had received a total of ten calls in favor), ask them why they don't have a position when their constituents overwhelmingly oppose the plan. Kindly let them know you'll be calling back to check on the position as it develops.

2) Call each of your two Senators. You can look them up here. Do all the same things you did for your Representative.

All told, each call will probably take less than a minute of your day and with luck, you can stop one of the worst pieces of legislation in recent memory from getting shoved down our throats.

Report back in the comments if you have the time.

UPDATE: According to Politico, the vote is currently 228 Nay, 205 Yes. However, the vote is being held open for the moment, so call again to tell your Representative to vote against it.

UPDATE 2: We have won! 228 against, 205 for!

UPDATE 3: The roll call vote results are here. Be sure to call your Representative to either congratulate or criticize.


The Kooks - She Moves in Her Own Way

I was listening to Pandora the other day and heard an awesome song by the Kooks. Catchy, with a nice acoustic guitar riff running through it, I keep listening to it over and over after buying it from iTunes. If you want to pick it up, click The Kooks - Inside In / Inside Out - She Moves In Her Own Way


How to write with style

Kurt Vonnegut wrote a lovely essay on style. Why should you read it? I'll let him answer:

Why should you examine your writing style with the idea of improving it? Do so as a mark of respect for your readers, whatever you're writing. If you scribble your thoughts any which way, your readers will surely feel that you care nothing about them. They will mark you down as an egomaniac or a chowderhead --- or, worse, they will stop reading you.


Supreme Court Upholds Individual Second Amendment Right

The Supreme Court ruled today in District of Columbia v. Heller that the District of Columbia's ban on possession of a handgun for self-defense within the home violated an individual right to bear arms protected by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. The majority in the 5-4 decision of the Court was written by Justice Scalia, with Justices Breyer and Stevens dissenting.

Congratulations to Alan Gura, Bob Levy, and Clark Neily, attorneys for the respondent, on their successful work to extract a clear ruling from a Court that has avoided the Second Amendment almost entirely since the nation's founding.

While the ruling clearly supports an individual right, it does not answer some important questions like:

  • Does the Second Amendment apply to state governments?

  • What standard of review should courts apply to gun laws challenged under the Second Amendment?

  • Are systems of gun licensing constitutionally permitted?

All of these questions will come up in the future, as this ruling opens the door for challenges to other gun laws. Likely first on the list for challenge is Chicago's prohibition on handguns.

My prediction is that any Supreme Court nominee that doesn't agree with Heller will be swiftly and immediately filibustered. This prediction stands no matter who the President is and no matter who controls the Senate. Congressmen are particularly sensitive on the issue of gun control, especially after the bloodbath following the Assault Weapons Ban, and this will just make them even more sensitive.

UPDATE: Looks like my prediction about Chicago's gun ban being next to be challenged was correct. From the press release at ChicagoGunCase.com:

Following Thursday’s (5-4) ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller that the Second Amendment protects an individual civil right to keep and bear arms, and that a municipal gun ban violates that right, the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA) filed a federal lawsuit (complaint) challenging the City of Chicago’s long-standing handgun ban.

Previous posts on the D.C. Gun Case:
Supreme Court to hear D.C. Gun Case
ABA Journal article on the D.C. Gun Case



Update from Colorado

Sorry for the lack of posting. Since my last post, I have:

  • Graduated from law school cum laude.

  • Temporarily moved to Denver to study for the Colorado bar exam.

  • Set a wedding date and time with my fiancee and booked a venue for same.

  • Started growing a bar exam "playoff beard".

  • Quit my day job as a programmer in preparation for my new day job as a public defender (to commence at some indefinite future time).


New Blog: Trust Me, I'm a Used Car Salesman

My father has started blogging, focusing mostly on auto advice (buying and using, not repairing). Not only that, but he started a radio show too.

Infoporn: Where people go after law school

The National Law Journal has an interesting chart that breaks down where the class of 2005 went after graduation.

Note the steep decline in large firm placement outside of the top 10 schools. Also, Yale sent almost half of it's graduating class into judicial clerkships. That's part of why the clerkship hunt sucks for the rest of us.


Martin Luther King, Jr. on the Law

"It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important."

-Martin Luther King Jr.


How Financial Markets Really Work

With the recent crash in housing prices, the credit crisis, the Fed cutting rates right and left, many people are left scratching their heads and wondering how this all happened. The following short video gives an excellent and detailed explanation:


A Soldier Died in Iraq

He blogged about his experiences.

His message, to be posted in case of his death, is here.

I didn't know him. I didn't read his blog. I only heard about this from a posting somewhere else.

And yet, I was moved near to tears.

Tempus fugit, memento mori.