I am celebrating the holiday season in the traditional manner for legal academics: grading exams.
And my oh my there are a lot of them this year.
I had thought originally I would tie myself to the mast of public humiliation by posting daily updates about my progress, thinking this would give me an incentive not to slack off, but that plan ran into two snags.
First, it seems that a few people haven't taken the exam yet, for medical reasons. Since I didn't tell the class in advance how many questions were on the exam, and I grade question-by-question rather than an exam at a time, there's too much risk that someone might figure out the number of questions from my postings, and that might somehow be seen as unfair by someone.
Via TalkLeft: The Politics Of Crime, a pointer to an inspiring judicial decision to dismiss a criminal case in light of systematic long-running proprietorial misconduct. (I have not followed the case, so I'm taking the judge's decision at face value. For what it's worth, Judge Carney was appointed by George W. Bush in 2003, so he's unlikely to be a flaming liberal.)
It's increasingly clear that something very very bad happened to the US Justice system during the Bush administration. We've known about the guys in DC for some time, but it's gradually becoming clearer just how much it also happened in the hinterland. To its discredit, the Obama administration has been too slow about cleaning up the distributed rot.
In this particular case, though, the man at the top is gone: In the Central District of California, the holdover resigned Sept. 1; no replacement has yet been named, much less confirmed, and the office is run by an Acting US Attorney. New leadership is needed; then we can see if that's enough or if we need further housecleaning.
(For a local example of a similar problem with proprietorial ethics, see this.)
So happy, the state ranks as the third happiest in the nation, according to a Centers For Disease Control and Prevention survey that accumulated four years worth of data from 1.3 million people who participated in the poll.
Or, at least they were happy — the data were collected before the collapse of the real estate bubble. (And some were polled before Hurricane Katrina — which may explain why Louisiana came in first, before even Hawaii.)
Well, I, for one, am not happy today. I have a rotten cold and just this afternoon received a monster pile of 120 exams to grade — with more coming when the people with medical excuses take their.
Susan Crawford is back at U. Mich. Law from a year as Special Assistant to the President for Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy on the National Economic Council. And that means she's blogging again — starting with a Q&A about the last year.
It was fun, she says, but she promised her Dean she'd only be away a year.