Monthly Archives: November 2013

Happy Thanksgiving 2013

Happy low-sodium, low-sugar, low-cholesterol, low alcohol, measured Vitamin K, Thanksgiving!

(Turkey, at least, isn’t on any of the lists of proscribed foods. Cranberries, alas, are.)

Posted in Personal | 1 Comment

Stray Thought

If corporations are people, can we draft them?

Posted in Law: Constitutional Law | 8 Comments

Annals of Town/Gown Relations

Smart university Presidents know how to butter up local government officials.

The online Herald only has the boring version of the story, UM, Coral Gables tout partnership at annual meeting, in which town and gown recited their talking points about their accomplishments in the past year. That story ends, however, with this:

The manager listed his sole complaint, and addressed it to Pat Whitely, vice president for student affairs and a guiding force behind the new SAC and its rebuilt Rathskeller. “Those delicious onion rings that sustained me through my college days are no longer on the menu,” he said. Salerno was a UM student in the 1970s when the old Rat was a hub of activity and for gastronomical pursuits.

Shalala laughed, suggesting she’d look into the omission.

The followup by Howard Cohen is in today’s print edition, Page 3B, and it’s more interesting than spoken equivalent of joint press releases:

City Manager Inspires Onion Rings

For the most part, University of Miami and CoralGables officials had nothing but praise for each other at the annual meeting last week.

The exception: Gables City Manger Pat Salerno found something missing from the Rathskeller at UM’s new $46.5 million Student Activities Center.

“Those delicious onion rings that sustained me through my college days are no longer on the menu,” Salerno lamented. UM President Donna Shalala chucked, suggesting she’d look into it.

The next day, the school announced that onions rings would return as a a special menu item when students hit classes in January. Salerno has a standing invitation to come taste test.

“I will add this item to the city’s list of accomplishments for this year,” he said. “I can’t wait to eat them.”

UM says the new snack will get a new name, too: SalernOrings.


Posted in Coral Gables, U.Miami | Leave a comment

MiamiLaw Legal Fellows Program Wins Award

UM Law’s Legal Corps program was named a Merit Finalist in the 2013 Community Partnership Awards competition.

The University of Miami School of Law launched Miami Law Legal Corps in 2010 to address the significant problem that low-income individuals have obtaining legal representation or otherwise accessing the civil court system to protect their essential needs. This postgraduate fellowship program places newly certified Miami School of Law graduates – called Legal Corps Fellows – in understaffed and underfunded public interest organizations, government agencies and judicial chambers throughout the nation.

The program also provides recent law graduates facing a challenging job market with valuable training, experience and an opportunity to serve. Fellows are given full-time employment for up to six months and a monthly stipend.

“Our model has been extremely successful,” explained Patricia White, Dean and Professor of Law at the University of Miami School of Law. “To date, 200 Legal Corps Fellows have provided tens of thousands of hours of legal assistance and more than 90% of these Fellows have found permanent employment.”

What’s the award about?

The Mutual of America Community Partnership Award annually honors the outstanding contributions that 10 nonprofit organizations, in partnership with public, private and other social sector organizations, make to society. Since its inception in 1996, the Community Partnership Award has recognized 180 partnerships from cities and towns all across America. To learn more about the Community Partnership Award, visit

“All of the 2013 honorees are leaders in society, creating innovative and effective solutions to help those in need,” said Thomas J. Moran, Chairman, President and CEO, Mutual of America. “Through the Community Partnership Award, Mutual of America is proud to recognize, support and help extend the reach of these vital partnerships.”


Posted in U.Miami | 1 Comment

Senate Goes Nuclear (Updated)

nukeAfter years of timidity, the Senate suddenly used the ‘nuclear option’ and amended its rules to kill the filibuster for all nominations other than Supreme Court Justices.

The Republicans — whose pledge to block any appointee to the D.C. Circuit no matter how qualified is what brought on this sudden shift — promised retaliation when they were next in the majority. The Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Grassley promised they’d abolish the filibuster for Justices too.

Meanwhile Sen. Carl Levin, one of the three Democrats to vote to keep the filibuster as it was, warned that the principle set in this vote could just as easily be applied to legislation as to nominations, so that this meant the end of the Senate as we know it.

From a strict matter of procedural nicety, I would have preferred a vote to amend the Senate rules be taken at the first meeting of the Senate in a session, rather than mid-session. Even though the Senate sees itself as a continuing body, there seems to me to be no serious argument that the rules cannot be changed by majority vote at the start of the two-year session. There is and was a credible argument that once the rules were in place, a change to the filibuster rule could be filibustered; as I understand it the Senate voted to overrule the Chair on that point, which is an option under its rules of procedure. And that was that.

One thing I definitely believe: Art. I, sec. 5 of the Constitution states that “Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceeding”; I do not think that this decision, whatever one thinks of it, is or should be reviewable in court. I imagine there will be a challenge, say by some party unhappy with a ruling by a judge confirmed under the new rules, but I confidently predict that it will lose.

Is the death of the filibuster good for us? In the short term, given how it was being routinely abused, yes. In the long term, it is harder to say. On the plus side, it makes the Senate a little less undemocratic; with the filibuster a rump of 41 senators representing under a third1 of the population. On what may well be the minus side, it also makes a President with a majority in the Senate significantly more powerful; and it makes a President with even a bare majority in both houses very much more powerful, maybe too powerful. That is emphatically not the situation today, but things change.

Update: It seems I’m consistent: Back in 2005 I chose not to sign a lawprof’s letter opposing the ‘nuclear option’. That time it was Republicans threatening to use the ‘nuclear option’ against Democrats.

  1. Update2: It seems I forgot just how bad it is. According to Dylan Matthews,

    If senators representing 17.82 percent of the population agree, they can get a majority in the 2013 U.S. Senate. That’s not the lowest that figure has gotten (it hit about 16.8 percent in 1970) but it’s about there. And this doesn’t even take the filibuster into account. The smallest 20 states amount to 11.27 percent of the U.S. population, but if all of their senators band together they can successfully filibuster legislation. of the population could block nominations.


Posted in Law: Constitutional Law | 2 Comments

Strangest (Dumbest?) Procrastination Tool of the Month

Find the Invisible Cow.

I got sent there via Wonkblog which said “Oh my god this is so great”.

I could only stand to play once.

Might have seemed more attractive if I were grading, I suppose.

Posted in Completely Different | 1 Comment