The Yardstick Case Of Pussy Riot

We begin with an amusingly bland description from the intentionally-bland wikipedia: “Pussy Riot is a Russian feminist punk-rock collective that stages politically provocative impromptu performances in Moscow, on subjects such as the status of women in Russia, and most recently against the election campaign of Prime Minister Putin for president of Russia.”* In particular, they seem…

New Great Cases Post: Johnson’s Lessee v. McIntosh

For fans of my “Great Cases” series of posts, I’m finally done with Johnson’s Lessee v. McIntosh. This is a complex case with a lot of intellectual rabbit holes dealing with war treaties, antiquated language, and pre-Revolutionary common law. You’re welcome to come wallow in a national guilt complex, and enjoy a bonus map drawn…

The Norwegian Island of Calm

A year ago, Norway suffered a mass spree killing at the hands of a sociopath with firearms. Seventy-seven people, many of them teenagers, were shot to death and the killer remains chillingly unapologetic. The Norwegian people underwent a massive national outpouring of grief, one shared around world for a time. They were stunned, then angry, then…

R.I.P. Sally Ride

Just the other day we were saying that “It takes cojones to strap yourself to a thirty-six story tall explosive device and ride it literally off the planet.” Well, Dr. Sally Kristen Ride had them. She died today at age 61.

Good Luck Mr. Gorsky

At the moment of this post’s publication, in 1969, human beings began walking on the surface of the moon, for the first time — and they came home safely. That’s a pretty damn remarkable achievement, and one still worth celebrating today.* Recall that between the U.S. and Soviet space programs, eighteen people have died while on…

Democracy Symposium: A Call For Posts

We’ll be having our next LoOG symposium soon, starting on the first Monday in August (August 6). The subject will be “Democracy,” and the first question to our panelists will be, “Is liberal democracy viable?” I’d expect a lot of focus on the United States, particularly with this being election season here, but obviously the U.S. is…

The League Of Ordinary Electors

In a post, and then in a comment thread about the Electoral College, Ryan Noonan develops the idea that the original intent of the Electoral College was for informed, educated people of diverse backgrounds, who hail from around the country, and who are not presently holders of governmental office. Such people, the idea goes, should gather…

Big Thursday Announcements

United States v. Alvarez — Ninth Circuit affirmed, the Stolen Valor Act is unconstitutional. Breakdown is Concurrence plurality by Kennedy, joined by Roberts, Ginsburg. Breyer and Kagan suggest that statute could be re-written to comply with First Amendment, meaning someone in Congress will be going back to the drawing board to pull these two closer to the…

What I Learned About The War Of 1812

I propose this as a collaborative post; I invite all the Front Pagers to add to this article as they see fit. Especially Jonathan McLeod, for reasons that should be obvious in just a moment. I’ve written the entire post from memory and the rest of you are on your honor to do the same.…

DREAM Order

It’s unclear to me whether the inequality symposium is over. But this issue is breaking on the news today and it feels like a long time since our last immigration controversy. So please take a moment to drop by the sub-blog and consider today’s DREAM Order.

Contempt Of Court

One of the reasons I’m (slowly) working my way through the great and politically important cases in the Supreme Court’s history can be seen in high relief in a New York Times/CBS poll released today: Just 44 percent of Americans approve of the job the Supreme Court is doing and three-quarters say the justices’ decisions…

Out Of The Jungle

As a follow-up to my post two weeks ago about California’s jungle primary, the winners, moving on to a run-off, are incumbent Dianne Feinstein and Elizabeth Emken, the spokesperson for Autisim Speaks who earned the California Republican Party’s primary endorsement. In other words, the party favorites won.

The Great Cases, No. 4

This one took me a very long time to write. The subject matter was difficult and complex to research, the opinion dense, and I wanted to do the case justice. I’ve had a lot of professional obligations too. But, after a too-long gap in the series, I present a write-up of which I can be proud,…

Gill Goes As Anticipated

The First Circuit Court of Appeals issued its ruling in the companion cases of Gill v. Office of Personnel Management and Massachusetts v. Department of Health and Human Services this morning. To the surprise of absolutely no one, a unanimous panel found section 3 of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional in violation of the Equal…

See You At Leaguefest!

Your geocacher should read: 36° 8′ 13″ North; 115° 9′ 9″ West. On your navigation device, that’s 3000 Paradise Road, Las Vegas, Nevada 89109. From the airport, tell your cabbie, “Take us to the Hilton, man.” Or when you take the monorail, get off at the LVH. After I’m done with my morning duty in court,…

Jungle Primary In The One-Party State

I filled out my absentee ballot to vote in California’s June primary yesterday. California has recently adopted a “jungle primary” law, in which all candidates from all parties appear on the primary ballot for most political offices. The two top vote-getters compete in a runoff election in November. I noticed that this did not apply…

Hexalogue

A certain kind of religious activist takes it as a given, and as an imperative, that the Decalogue must be displayed prominently on and in public buildings. Gratefully, these folks are rare; sadly, they have influence because few people want to be seen as opposing them. Which is why there are groups like the ACLU and the…

Gestures In Futility, 112th Congress Edition

This is a post about separation of powers and the proper scope and exercise of Presidential authority, Congress’ ability to attempt to direct the exercise of that authority, and a strange attempt by Congress to use its power of the pursestrings to arrogate judicial powers for itself. It is not, or at least does not have…

It’s About Time

Fellow Ordinary Gentleman Elias’ earlier erudite essay has indeed been OBE, exactly as he predicted. In the linked video, the President describes undertaking a personal journey of opinion not unlike mine, which was one of thinking of that civil unions were just as good to realizing that indeed they were not, that nomenclature and the social prestige…

MCA RIP

Adam Yauch, better known as MCA from the Beastie Boys, died today of complications of cancer. He was 47 years old. In my social circles, the Beastie Boys were an unavoidable touchstone of pop culture for nearly twenty years — their wry sense of humor and fun helped mold the attitude of my generation. Our…

An Andy Rooney Moment

Why is it that I need to create a not-less-than-twelve-character username, consisting of at least one capital letter, at least one lowercase letter, at least one punctuation symbol, and at least one number, and then create a unique password of not less than twelve characters, also consisting of at least one capital letter, at least…

Depicting Christians

Over at the Atlantic, Eleanor Barkhorn complains that the closeted young Christian characters of Blue Like Jazz depict rather than shatter stereotypes about evangelical Christians in the movies. For her, the promise of the movie was to present a positive, nuanced, and lifelike view of Christians in the real world and instead resorts to many of the…

Winnowing The Long List

About three weeks ago, we came up with twelve names for the “long list” for choices for Mitt Romney’s running mate, finding thirteen names which each had at least something reasonable going for them. Now, it appears that “experience” is the watchword for Team Romney in picking the would-be veep. Our long list, again, was:

Eating Peas

Fellow Ordinaries Elias Isquith and Mike Dwyer have fired the opening shots in our discussion about the latest budget proposal from that fiscal firebrand from Janesville, Paul Ryan, and Tod Kelly (who has just been knocking them out of the park on these pages recently) has given a much-needed reminder to everyone that minding our manners…