September 18, 2012
More on Justice Scalia
I’ll add a little bit to Joe’s post on Justice Scalia, Is Originalism Hitting Its Sell-By Date? "October 1 may be the first day of the post-Scalia era." The Hill is reporting on Jeffrey Toobin’s new book, The Oath. He describes Justice Scalia as “furious” and “enraged” that Chief Justice Roberts changed his vote on the health care decision. The book describes the ideological struggle on the Court to revise constitutional analysis. But there is more.
The recent book by Justice Scalia and Bryan Garner, Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts, has received criticism by a number of individuals. One of those critics, Judge Richard Posner, apparently stung Justice Scalia enough to respond. The Chicago Tribune describes Posner of accusing Justice Scalia as “making flawed arguments based on sloppy research.” Scalia struck back yesterday by saying "You can get away with it in The New Republic, I suppose, but not to a legal audience." Oh, I don’t know. I think anyone can say anything to anyone. Judge Posner is a known quantity where people take notice of his statements whether on or off the bench.
Other quotes from the Tribune:
"We are textualists. We are originalists. We are not nuts," he said.
Can I get that on a tee shirt? And on Roe v. Wade:
What's more, the court's subsequent decisions on abortion are based on the judge-made theory of "substantive due process," which guarantees certain fundamental rights like privacy. It's "utterly idiotic," Scalia said.
The entire article is worth reading. [MG]
August 10, 2012
D'oh, OED Gets Hip By Adding New Words
The venerable Oxford English Dictionary has added several words reflecting both popular culture and the speed at which the Internet creates new expressions. New additions include D’oh, Bling, Bromance, Frankenfood, Infomania, Muffin Top, Twitterati, and my favorite, Illiterati. Nina Platt over at Pinhawk.com should be thrilled that Whovian (Defined as: A fan of the British science-fiction television series Doctor Who. "That Whovian is totally geeking out right now.") has also reached recognized status. Count me in on that one. I bought pretty every episode that is available on DVD and watch them regularly. Getting back to D’oh, I would have thought that Homer Simpson’s plaintive expression would have made it years ago.
There is a nice slideshow with all of the words at the San Francisco Chronicle web site. [MG]
November 22, 2007
Comtemporary Accounts of the 1621 Thanksgiving at Plimmoth
There are only two contemporary accounts of the 1621 Thanksgiving: First is Edward Winslow's account, which he wrote in a letter dated December 12, 1621. The complete letter was first published in 1622, and is chapter 6 of Mourt's Relation: A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth (see related post on Plimmoth Plantation source materials).
Our corn [i.e. wheat] did prove well, and God be praised, we had a good increase of Indian corn, and our barley indifferent good, but our peas not worth the gathering, for we feared they were too late sown. They came up very well, and blossomed, but the sun parched them in the blossom. Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.
The second description was written about twenty years after the fact by William Bradford in his History of Plymouth Plantation (see related post on Plimmoth Plantation source materials). Bradford's History was rediscovered in 1854 after having been taken by British looters during the Revolutionary War. Its discovery prompted a greater American interest in the history of the Pilgrims, which eventually led to Lincoln's decision to make Thanksgiving a holiday. It is also in this account that the Thanksgiving turkey tradition is founded.
They began now to gather in the small harvest they had, and to fit up their houses and dwellings against winter, being all well recovered in health and strength and had all things in good plenty. For as some were thus employed in affairs abroad, others were exercising in fishing, about cod and bass and other fish, of which they took good store, of which every family had their portion. All the summer there was no want; and now began to come in store of fowl, as winter approached, of which this place did abound when they came first (but afterward decreased by degrees). And besides waterfowl there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc. Besides they had about a peck of meal a week to a person, or now since harvest, Indian corn to that proportion. Which made many afterwards write so largely of their plenty here to their friends in England, which were not feigned but true reports.
March 30, 2007
Quote It! Gandhi on Patron Service
customer library patron is the most important visitor on our premises.
He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him.
He is not an interruption in our work - he is the purpose of it.
We are not doing him a favour by serving him. He is doing us a favour by giving us the opportunity to serve him.
- Mahatma Gandhi
Editor's Note: OK, so I edited the quote. [JH]
December 01, 2006
Quote It! On Research
"If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn't be called Research." Albert Einstein
November 15, 2006
Quote It! On Amateur Indexing
"Incidentally, I have seen some of the indexing done by amateurs, and I can assure you they are more misleading than helpful. I am reminded in this context of a book whose index referred to the "great mind of Mr. Justice Jones." On turning to page 19, the text read "Mr. Justice Jones had a great mind to hold the defendant in contempt of court." -- Julius J. Marke, The Law Librarian and You - Are You Missing the Boat?, 40 N.Y.St.B.J. 347 (1968).
November 10, 2006
Quote It! On Independence
"Those who won our independence by revolution were not cowards. They did not fear political change. They did not exalt order at the cost of liberty." -- Justice Louis D. Brandeis, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357, 377 (1927).
October 25, 2006
Quote It! On Indexes
"Sir Frederick Pollock used to say that a man who would publish a book without an index ought to be banished ten miles beyond Hell where the Devil himself could not go because of the stinging nettles." -- Roscoe Pound, review of Edward H. Levi's classic, An Introduction to Legal Reasoning (1949) in 60 Yale LJ 200 (1951).
In Levi's defense, his 74 page classic was a reprint of his article published at 15 U. Chi. L. Rev. 501 (1948). [JH]
September 27, 2006
Quote It! On Interpretation
"I take judge-made law as one of the existing realities of life." -- Benjamin Cardozo, The Nature of The Judicial Process 10 (1921).
September 19, 2006
Quote It! On Due Process
"Due process" is, perhaps, the least frozen concept of our law -- the least confined to history and the most absorptive of powerful social standards of a progressive society. - Felix Frankfurter in Griffin v. Illinois, 351 U.S. 12, 20-21 (1956).
September 15, 2006
Quote It! Stare Decisis
[T]houghout the history of the Court, stare decisis has had only a limited application in the field of constitutional law. And it is a wise policy which largely restricts it to those areas of the law where correction can be had by legislation. Otherwise the Constitution loses the flexibility necessary if it is to serve the needs of successive generations." -- William O. Douglas, in New York v. United States, 572, 590-591 (1946).
September 04, 2006
Quote It! On Labor
"Substantive rights and duties in the field of labor-management do not depend on verbal ritual reminiscent of medieval real property law." -- Associate Justice Robert H. Jackson, NLRB v. Rockaway News Co., 345 U.S. 71, 75 (1953).
August 31, 2006
Ouote It! On Religion
The First Amendment grew out of experience which taught that society cannot trust the conscience of the majority to keep its religious zeal within the limits that a free society can tolerate. I do not think it any more intended to leave the conscience of a minority to fix its limits. Civil government cannot let any group ride rough-shod over others simply because their "consciences" tell them to do so. -- Associate Justice Robert H. Jackson, Douglas v. Jeannette, 319 U.S. 157, 179 (1943)
August 24, 2006
Quote It! On Politics and the Judiciary
"Scarcely any question arises in the United States which does not become, sooner or later, a subject of judicial debate; ... " -- Alexis De Tocqueville, Democracy in America, vol. 1, ch. 16.
August 17, 2006
Quote it! On Knowledge
"Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it." -- Samuel Johnson, in James Boswell 1 Life of Johnson 527 (Ingpen ed, George Bayntun, 1925).
August 09, 2006
Quote It! On Absolutism (and Its Contemporary Pretenders)
"There is one thing that stands out in all legal history, and that is that the lawyer is the inveterate and uncompromising foe of absolutism. Any absolute ruler is pretty certain to run afoul of lawyers and judges and Cromwell found that out." -- Roscoe Pound, editorial, The Reader's Digest Article, 15 NACCA Law Journal (May 1955) at 25.
And any pretender to absolute power will also run afoul of lawyers and judges and Bush found that out. [JH]