Monthly Archives: February 2005

The Constitution in 2020

This sounds fun.

The Yale Law School and the American Constitution Society are sponsoring a conference on The Constitution in 2020. We've invited some of the foremost progressive constitutional scholars in the United States to come to New Haven on April 8-10th and talk about the future of the Constitution and our country. This is going to be one of the most exciting conferences in recent years. You can find out the details here and here

(via Balkinization)

Alas, I have a schedule conflict and can't go. And anyway, I'm going to be in New Haven the week before, attending another contender for cool conference of the season.

Posted in Talks & Conferences | Comments Off on The Constitution in 2020

Costs of Length Limits on Law Journal Articles

The other day I worried out loud that the new law review orthodoxy in favor of short articles would have some bad consequences in practice, especially as regards writing by junior faculty. Here's the first piece of real-world evidence that I was right to worry:

Conglomerate: Musings on Page Limits and Tenure Standards With some painful editing, I've gotten my article on VC compensation down to a svelte 25,000 words. All I had to do was take out the stuff that appealed only to people in my field (who also happen to be the only people who will read it other than student editors …). The key turning point for me was when I realized I could take out the empirical and quasi-empirical stuff and publish it as a separate paper in a specialty journal.

This experience makes me wonder … what's going to happen to tenure standards? How many short articles equal a long article?

Here at UCLA, it used to be the case that two articles was enough for tenure. No one really believes that anymore, but at the same time no one knows what the new standard is. Two may still be enough if they're really, really long. With 50 page limits, I'd guess the new standard will be more like four articles, or even six. Plus, no one knows how to count things like symposium articles and book reviews. I suppose in this case, uncertainty is good, as it drives people to “over-comply” to make sure they clear the hurdle. But it does create some anxiety among the junior ranks.

[Note: when I originally posted this, the date and time somehow got messed up, so I later corrected it.]

Posted in Law School | 1 Comment

Unfortunate Acronym

I am not making this up. From the Federal Register:

The BLS plans to have email data collection in place in all States in 2004 or in early 2005. At this time, six volunteer States are testing the procedures and software of email data collection. OES is enhancing the State Survey Processing and Management (SPAM) computer system to improve the quality and timeliness of the data. OES will convert to the June 6, 2003, definitions of Metropolitan Statistical Areas by 2005.

NOTICES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Bureau of Labor Statistics Proposed Collection, Comment Request Friday, February 13, 2004 69 FR 7264-01, 2004 WL 256289 (F.R.) .

Want to bet someone won a round of drinks as to whether s/he could sneak that one by the boss?

Posted in Administrative Law | Comments Off on Unfortunate Acronym

YATA (Afghanistan edition)

Mother Jones Magazine summarizes the state of play regarding various torture allegations in Afghanistan. In addition to allegations of brutalization (“they rammed a stick up my rectum”), there's the usual two forms of coverup: ship people out, punish only the small fry.

From Bagram to Abu Ghraib. Hundreds of prisoners have come forward, often reluctantly, offering accounts of harsh interrogation techniques including sexual brutality, beatings, and other methods designed to humiliate and inflict physical pain. At least eight detainees are known to have died in U.S. custody in Afghanistan, and in at least two cases military officials ruled that the deaths were homicides. Many of the incidents were known to U.S. officials long before the Abu Ghraib scandal erupted; yet instead of disciplining those involved, the Pentagon transferred key personnel from Afghanistan to the Iraqi prison.

The lawyers also fault the military and the Pentagon for failing to track responsibility for the abuses up the chain of command. To date, only 10 soldiers have been prosecuted for crimes involving prisoner abuse in Afghanistan and Iraq—none of them above the rank of staff sergeant. “All of the investigations have looked down rather than up,” says Lucas Guttentag, a lawyer at the ACLU. “Our goal is to hold high-level officials accountable for the policies and practices that caused widespread torture, and to hold them accountable for their failure to stop the abuse once it came to light. This is really about who bears ultimate responsibility.”

Outside investigators, meanwhile, have been almost entirely barred from the Afghan detention centers. The International Committee for the Red Cross has had no access to any of them except Bagram, and even there its representatives have not been able to see all parts of the facility. Former prisoners have said the Red Cross never visited detainees being held in the upstairs cells, including Dilawar and Habibullah. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have not been allowed to visit the base at all; neither has the Afghan human rights commission, which has been asking the U.S. military for access to Bagram and other detention centers for a year. “We expected to have a friendly relationship with the coalition forces,” says deputy chair Hakim. “But what the coalition has done, the abuses, overshadows the friendly aspect of the American intervention. I ask you: What is the difference between the Americans and the Soviet forces who occupied Afghanistan?”

Posted in Torture | 3 Comments

Saving Word Files as Wordperfect

Some time in the last two years those charming wonderful pro-competitive people at Microsoft have removed Word's ability to save a file as Wordperfect. I rarely use Word, and if I need to read a Word file into WP I could always have WP do it for me, but I don't like to be herded like this. Silently degrading my software's capabilities is NOT NICE.

Fortunately, there's Graham Mayor's WordPerfect converter for Word which reinstates the old functionality.

Posted in Software | 2 Comments

Welcome Pura Vida

Welcome to new UM law student blogger Pura Vida! Here's hoping Constitutional Law reveals more of its beautiful mysteries during the coming semester.

Inspired by one of Pura Vida's first posts, here's my favorite unexpected ConLaw hint: Read the entire constitution to yourself out loud. I'm serious. We read too fast, usually. There's a tendency for the eye to skip over stuff. Reading out loud makes us slow down. Besides, the language is so elegant….

(PS If any readers know of any UM law student bloggers not listed in the left column, please let me know in the comments or via email. Thanks!)

Posted in U.Miami | 1 Comment