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Let's have a party of the first part!!! - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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Let's have a party of the first part!!! [Sep. 25th, 2003|01:20 pm]
[Current Mood |giddygiddy]

Criminal law continues to be a painful experience, and like many people caught in a hostage situation, we are learning to rely on each other for help and support. Frequently quite openly during class. Last night I was overtaken with the fit of the giggles when I realized that the past few moments of the Prof speaking had sounded to my just like Charlie Brown's teacher. Scott glanced at me and whispered, "what?" I put my hand over my mouth and answered.

"Wah wuwah wu wahwahwah."

He snickered, and so did the people around us.

Still, it's not that the old guy isn't sharp, he's just dreadful at conveying information. Later in the evening Scott raised his hand and made a comment on a point of law. Prof. F nodded.

"That's very good, Mr. Taylor. You should consider law school."

Scott, ever the smartass, responded, "Yeah, I'm thinkin' about taking criminal law."

Without missing a beat, Prof. F shot back, "There are some excellent students in the day class."

Ooo, score one for the old guy!


Constitutional Law is an entirely different kettle of fish - it's making everything else in law school seem remarkably concrete and simple in comparison, there are mornings when I read the assignment and admire that an entire page of text has not made a single impact on my brain, we're still in the arcanities of the Commerce Clause, and yet I am growing to love it.

Yesterday Prof. G was waxing about the stunning results of Garcia, a case in which the Supreme Court basically told the states that sovereignty issues were not justiciable. I raised my hand and commented on how stunned I was to see the court assign all duties for self-policing directly to Congress, and it was essentially like telling someone who was being bullied that their only source of protection was the bully, that the Supreme Court had abdicated all oversight of the separation of sovereignties, essentially telling the states that States rights were completely at the mercy of Congressional largess. Prof. G pointed out that a lot of people have no use for States Rights because they regard states as parochial, corrupt, and generally backward. (Afterward I chatted with him and mentioned that I had grown up in Oregon, which was very progressive, and that we regarded the Federal government as the heel draggers.)

Anyway, after this exchange Sarah turned to me and whispered, "Thank you." She's smart, and we rely on each other for those missed phrases in lectures, but she was completely baffled by the politics of the case. And looking around I realized that a lot of people are having the same issue - in Torts and Contracts and Property we've been looking at law as a reasonably concrete, if sometimes obscure, set of rules. There isn't much in the line of philosophy or politics there. Constitutional Law, on the other hand, is jammed with philosophy and politics.

I came home last night all bouncy. I love this! This is what I went to law school for! Yay!

[User Picture]From: moominmuppet
2003-09-25 10:25 am (UTC)
I came home last night all bouncy. I love this! This is what I went to law school for! Yay!

Wow, you sound amazingly like my best friend forestfire here... That's her great love, too.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2003-09-25 12:22 pm (UTC)
Oooo. I'm adding her to my friends list!!!
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[User Picture]From: of_little_note
2003-09-25 11:16 am (UTC)

State Sovereignty

Alabama would still be equal, but separate (if slavery were even outlawed) if their Soverignty were left intact.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2003-09-25 11:25 am (UTC)

Re: State Sovereignty

Oh, there definitely need to be limits, no doubt. Garcia, though, did more than just the usual "everything is interstate commerce" routine to get around state sovereignty. It openly said, there's nothing that Congress can impose on you that we will examine, short of outright hostilities (it's a 1985 decision, if memory serves). It hasn't been upheld intact, but it was pretty radical, and parts of it are still good law.
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[User Picture]From: zigurat
2003-09-25 01:41 pm (UTC)
Stop before it's too late. Don't pound your malleable brain with that hammer. No. Stop. Wait.

But seriously, don't go getting the idea that the law is generally exciting. After that brief high you get the first time you see an issue, it quickly sears an ugly callous in your brain. There can be no love for thought and ideas after law school. The closest you will get is some vitriol, to which you either grow addicted or avoid, because you disgust yourself.

Oh, sure, a new area of the law can be briefly stimulating, but you'll find out that it's really just the same old kettle of fish guts pretty quickly. Then you'll realize what you've done to yourself. Now, you can win those arguments with relative ease. But you no longer get a thrill from coming up with that brilliant strategy. You might not even want to try. You've permanently seared an enjoyable aspect of your life into dead, still flesh with a hot iron.

And if you haven't, then you've learned nothing in law school.

This is too good not to post in my own journal.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2003-09-25 07:45 pm (UTC)
Wow, do YOU sound like a midlife crisis waiting to happen!

I know lawyers who feel this way, and others who continue to love their work. Perhaps it is naive of me to think so, but I believe that starting later in life with a better idea of what this is all about will help me avoid the disillusionment of which you speak - after all, this IS my midlife crisis. And, worse case scenario, by the time I reach that bitter, regretful stage after practicing for 10-15 years, I'll be ready to retire anyway!

You shall not rain upon my parade! Be gone, dull care!!!!

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[User Picture]From: zigurat
2003-09-26 06:10 am (UTC)
Oh, the thrill shall be gone much sooner than that, my dearie, my dear.

Behold, the rain cometh, and ye shall in no wise avoid its cleansing wrath!

The commitment to help people can keep the dream alive. Well, until you realize that there's really no changing the balance of power. The only way to keep it fresh is to make it all about the individual. This is probably why I'm quite so gloomy--I don't get to do so. And frankly, in my field, that itself is no picnic. There is a mountain of work to make the smallest difference for the individual, which really solves a problem in only the rarest of circumstances.

Or, let me put it this way--I do not envy your position either for its bright start, nor for its road to follow.

But enjoy it nonetheless. That is our lot in this quickly waning life.

Gee, am I gloomy or what?
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2003-09-26 09:08 am (UTC)
Now do you understand why I named my journal thus? 'Tis countenances like yours that force my determined grip upon joy.

I think you're right about the happiness coming from helping individuals. And this is the reason why I would like to get back into immigration. they are uphill battles, but they are worth fighting.

BTW, my ex spent a number of years certain that he wanted to get out of the grind of day-to-day lawyering (his specialty was environmental law) and get into administration, and he ws finally given the opportunity, made the director of the Oil and Gas Liaison Office.

He hated it. Couldn't get anything done. Felt like his skills were atrophying. Got out of it as quickly as he could. Now he's overseeing superfund sight cleanups as a civil attorney for the U.S. Army and liking it much better. He doesn't complain about not being in the position to get things done, because he learned that as the "ground troop" he had a lot more say.
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[User Picture]From: zigurat
2003-09-26 09:18 am (UTC)

Yes, I also believe that ground troops do, in reality, have a lot more say. Until they are fired.

I really have heard that immigration lawyers are much happier than most.

I don't want to get into administration. I want out. I want to do the "do my own thing" thing. And I can help people as I see fit and on my whim. I want the lottery. If you win the lottery, you had better tell those buggers to cut me in!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2003-09-26 10:28 am (UTC)
Alas, lottery was not one, and I continue to slog along, wage slave.

His career has been a series of successes followed by changes of administration that forced him out, followed by even larger successes. He's actually one hell of an attorney.
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[User Picture]From: zigurat
2003-09-26 12:03 pm (UTC)
Sounds like it.
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