Friday, October 6, 2006
I taught Moore v. Regents on Wednesday. As always, the fascinating factual scenario presented by the case sparked a great discussion. Every time I teach the case, though, I'm struck by the very poor reasoning in the majority opinion. It sucks. It is really, really bad. It is so simplistic, mechanical, and wrong that I suspect that it was drafted in crayon. Most of the points made by the majority are absolutely demolished by Justice Mosk in dissent. The California Supreme Court knew that this was a tremendously important case, and it is a sad statement about the quality of that court that it couldn't produce an opinion that at least had some intellectual content beyond "we don't want to recognize property in the body, but we don't really know why." I don't mean to suggest that there aren't good arguments for the result reached by the court -- problems of commodification and economic coercion, among others, are very strong arguments for rejecting a claim of property in the body. These good arguments, however, are completely absent from the majority opinion. Therefore, I, D. Benjamin Barros, hereby resolve never to require my property students to again waste their time by reading the majority opinion in Moore, unless, of course, I change my mind. I'll cover the case and the issues presented therein, but I don't have the time to use the case as an instruction tool about poor legal reasoning. Life's too short to read bad law.
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