Author Archives: Michael Froomkin

Performance Piece

From the Miami Light Project:

Join us this Friday at The Light Box at Goldman Warehouse for a performative piece with Xavier Cortada that brings Americans together towards a common purpose to uphold our Constitution!

Miami Light Project
presents

“Oath”
by
Xavier Cortada

with the participation of
Marcos Daniel Jimenez
Former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida

on
Inauguration Day
Friday, January 20th, 2017
11:30 am

at
The Light Box
at Goldman Warehouse
404 NW 26th Street
Miami, FL 33127

“Oath” is a performative piece that brings citizens together towards a common purpose: to uphold our Constitution. As part of Cortada’s performance, Mr. Jimenez will administer this Oath to all those present at noon (the exact time that the President-Elect takes office):

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute my role as Citizen of The United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Reading of the US Constitution:

Between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm, individuals will gather to simultaneously read the United States Constitution out loud in English, in Spanish, and in Haitian Creole.

“Oath” serves to launch Culture of Resistance, a 48-month, socially-engaged performance project by Xavier Cortada  based at Miami Light Project.
Unfortunately, I can’t go, but I like the concept.
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An Extreme Virulence of Facts

In the course of reading an article full of things I didn’t agree with–such as the assertion that “legal scholars have generally overlooked robotics,” with our Robot Law book cited as an honorable exception when it is instead the leading edge of a trend–I came upon an arresting sentence:

[T]he law is characterised by an increasingly central role played by facts, in the sense that there is ‘an extreme virulence of facts, which have the vigour to affect the law and shape it.’

The quoted part is attributed to P. Grossi, ‘Sulla odierna fattualità del diritto’ Giustizia civile, I, 13 (2014). I wonder if it has the same connotations in the original Italian?

In the US, one might be tempted to ask whether facts are indeed more central than they used to be. It could surely be argued, for example, that the move towards statute and away from common law has been largely a victory of rules and theories over facts.

But lets not bother with picky details. I prefer to luxuriate in the idea of an ‘extreme virulence of facts.’ Not perhaps the best name for a band, but it would be a heck of a good name for a blog.

And perhaps it is also an apt description of what starts January 20 at noon?

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Soon to be a Major Motion Picture

David Weinberger has a theory:

My conspiracy theory: The purported dossier on Trump says the Russians have been cultivating him for five years. Suppose they were pressuring him to run. As a true patriot, Trump knew how disastrous it would be to have a Russian puppet as President. So, Trump did everything he could as a candidate to make himself unelectable: in his announcement speech he called Mexicans rapists, he made fun of the disabled, he called McCain a loser for being captured. He just kept upping the ante. And then we elected him.

Put differently, let me pitch a movie idea to you. It’s The Manchurian Candidate meets The Producers

Made me laugh, at least.

Posted in Trump | 3 Comments

The New Tilt Against China

Surely someone has noted by now that the first corollary of a putative Trump tilt towards Putin’s Russia is a tilt against China?  For just as Kissinger and Nixon opened relations with China as a counterweight to the USSR, so today is a tilt towards Russia a way to push against China.  In that context SecState nominee Rex Tillerson’s scary and bellicose words about denying China access to the islands it has built up in the South China Sea not only have a simple logic, they seem almost predictable.

If Vietnam gets a kind word, we’ll know for sure this is the strategy.

It is both crazy and not.  The South China sea situation is perhaps the nastiest and likeliest to blow flashpoint in the US political-diplomatic landscape, with only the perennial middle east giving it competition.  Yes, even Pakistan and North Korea are less scary right now.   So if you think think China is problem #1 — ie that Putin will be satisfied with Crimea, or in any case can be deterred from Poland and the Baltic states, then allying with Russia to leash China might seem to make crude sense.  Doubly so if you are thinking trade war.

If, that is, you are trigger happy.

Time to ratchet up the worry meter to ….

Posted in Politics: International | Leave a comment

Foreign-Born Americans

I live in a place where 51.7% of the population was born in another country. But I know that is not typical. I had in fact vaguely imagined that in much of the rest of the US the overall fraction of the population that was was foreign-born was shrinking. According to this interesting chart (p.3 of the presentation), that seems not to be the case.

It seems I vastly over-estimated the immigrant population in the 60s and 70s — perhaps because everyone my grandmother knew in New York seemed to have been born abroad. Indeed, if one assumes that the charted trends depicted above continued for six more years to 2016, then for the bulk of the population alive today the percentage of immigrants around them is at a lifetime high, even if it has not yet reached its late 19th century/early 20th century modern peak.

Being first generation, and generally pro-immigration, I’m more than fine with this, but it does perhaps help explain why anti-immigration policies have had some traction — just like they did in the 1920s. Last time around that animus led to the Immigration Act of 1924, setting up strict quotas on immigrants, and basically barring Asians.  (In addition to its many many other defects, that statute, as amended, would later come to bite my father when he sought to regularize his visa status in the wake of the Chinese Revolution and his loss of a student visa caused by successfully defending a PhD.)

Posted in Immigration | 2 Comments

Oy Vey

Intel chiefs presented Trump with claims of Russian efforts to compromise him – CNNPolitics.com

Speculative. But surely only a matter of time?

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