Monthly Archives: November 2009

Jonathan Simon on the Real Target for California Protestors

Jonathan Simon writes that California's protesters should Strike Against Prisons not Education.

(Note: Jon wrote this before the latest round of protests.)

Posted in Econ & Money | Comments Off on Jonathan Simon on the Real Target for California Protestors

A Problem for ‘Plain-Meaning’ Advocates

Advocates of a 'plain meaning' approach to constitutional interpretation may have to conclude that Texas accidentally banned all marriage, as described in this McClatchy report, Texas' gay marriage ban may have banned all marriages

Barbara Ann Radnofsky, a Houston lawyer and Democratic candidate for attorney general, says that a 22-word clause in a 2005 constitutional amendment designed to ban gay marriages erroneously endangers the legal status of all marriages in the state.

The amendment, approved by the Legislature and overwhelmingly ratified by voters, declares that “marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.” But the troublemaking phrase, as Radnofsky sees it, is Subsection B, which declares:

“This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.”

Architects of the amendment included the clause to ban same-sex civil unions and domestic partnerships. But Radnofsky, who was a member of the powerhouse Vinson & Elkins law firm in Houston for 27 years until retiring in 2006, says the wording of Subsection B effectively “eliminates marriage in Texas,” including common-law marriages.

She calls it a “massive mistake” and blames the current attorney general, Republican Greg Abbott, for allowing the language to become part of the Texas Constitution. Radnofsky called on Abbott to acknowledge the wording as an error and consider an apology. She also said that another constitutional amendment may be necessary to reverse the problem.

“You do not have to have a fancy law degree to read this and understand what it plainly says,” said Radnofsky, who will be at Texas Christian University today as part of a five-city tour to kick off her campaign.

Being given to a more of a purpositive approach, I'd be willing to invoke the infamous Holy Trinity decision, and say this clause meant what the voters obviously thought it meant. But would someone who believed in a pure 'plain meaning' approach — like Justices Thomas and Scalia claim to — be able to reach that conclusion?

Posted in Law: Con Law: Marriage | 6 Comments

Super Lawyers Puts UM Law at #20

US News rankings are biased in ways that hurt the U. Miami Law; here's one I would guess is biased in our favor: 2010 Super Lawyers U.S. Law School Rankings by Super Lawyers magazine. They say we are #20 in the country. Would it were so.

I suggest you split the difference between the 71st ranking at USN and this one (71+20)/2 = 45.5. That's probably closer to the truth than either of the other two numbers.

Posted in Law School | 3 Comments

I’m Back

Had a very good time at the OII, had an especially fun seminar with some of the students.

Now I'm back, wading through huge stacks of things that piled up while I was away. No bloggy substance till I make a dent in the piles.

Posted in Talks & Conferences | 3 Comments


I gave my Oxford-sponsored talk in London today; people said nice things after, so I guess it was OK. I had forgotten how much more US audiences indicate by noise and body language whether they like talks. A British audience is far more polite, but also far more reserved; words like “stoic” and “immobile” come to mind. There were interesting questions from the audience; I wish there had been time for more.

I'm going to be at the Oxford Internet Institute on Wednesday, then Thursday I head back home.

Posted in Talks & Conferences | 2 Comments

Meanwhile, in the British News

The UK papers are all, ahem, a-Twitter, about this story: Scientist announces that she is call girl and blogger Belle de Jour.

It seems that one of the leading 'sex bloggers' in the UK took up the oldest profession in order to pay for her 'education habit'—her Ph.D.

Magnanti said she was working on a doctoral study for the department of forensic pathology of Sheffield University in 2003 when she began her secret life. “I was getting ready to submit my thesis. I saved up a bit of money. I thought, I'll just move to London, because that's where the jobs are, and I'll see what happens.

“I couldn't find a professional job in my chosen field because I didn't have my PhD yet. I didn't have a lot of spare time on my hands because I was still making corrections and preparing for the viva and I got through my savings a lot faster than I thought I would.”

Unable to pay her rent, Magnanti's mind turned to other things. She told the Sunday Times she wanted to start doing something straightaway, “that doesn't require a great deal of training or investment to get started, that's cash in hand and that leaves me spare time to do my work in” Her solution was prostitution.

Full Sunday Times story here.

You have to wonder about a world in which a person decides that the optimal way to finance a Ph.D. in informatics, epidemiology and forensic science is hooking, however (apparently) happy. Even at £300 an hour.

(No idea if the fact that she went to high school in Florida is relevant.)

On her blog she says, yes, I paid my taxes. It seems that is what people wanted to know.

Posted in UK | 2 Comments