Thursday, September 29, 2005
The question in the case is whether, after a suspect invokes his Fifth Amendment right to counsel, in custody and under interrogation, police officers can continue to question him (including threatening the death penalty, for which he was not eligible at the time because he was a juvenile) and use the resulting confession as evidence?
The petitioner's (Maryland's) brief, in its facts, mentions the line, "I bet you want to talk now, huh?" but, in what I believe is not such a smooth move, leaves out the this was uttered by the detective because a document listing the charges and DEATH PENALTY were placed in front of Blake. As far as I can tell, Blake asks a few minutes later whether he can still speak to the cops.
The bright line rule set forth in Edwards is that once the suspect has invoked his 5th Amendment right to counsel, all interrogation must cease until the suspect has consulted with counsel OR the suspect seeks out and initiates contact with police. Interrogation includes any behavior designed to incite the suspect to act.
Blake looks like an open and shut 5th Amendment case. Blake wins. Maryland loses. The reason that this is my flagship case of the 2005-2006 Supreme Court term is because I want to know:
Why the hell did the Supreme Court take this case?
Is anyone else alarmed about what this means for Miranda? Particularly in light of the new changes on the Supreme Court? Roberts wasn't on the Court that decided Dickerson. And as many critics have pointed out, just because he 'has no quarrel' with a decision, or believes that a decision is 'entitled to deference' as settled law, doesn't mean that he won't start tearing shit up when he gets there.
The respondent's brief has not yet been filed, but the petitioner's brief and petitioner's reply brief are posted. The case is scheduled to be argued on November 1.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Friday, September 23, 2005
I've been batting around the idea of returning to religion and
specifically, the Catholic Church. I read a 200-page history of the
development of the Catholic Church as an establishment that led me to
Now, Pope Benedict intends to send investigators to find and throw out any
priests who identify as homosexual, and the Catholic Church is now pretty
much crossed off my list. It seems odd to me that the Pope wants to fire
celibate homosexuals, but the Church is more than willing to protect
pedophiles. Being homosexual does not make one more likely to abuse
children. Being a homosexual who does not commit homosexual acts is
actually not a sin, according to the Church. Nevertheless, the Church is
seeking to become more conservative than ever.
The whole country, apparently, has swung far to the right. NPR had a
feature yesterday on the popularity of fundamentalist churches and the
disappearance of progressive religion in this country. Secondly, I read
part of an article by Cass Sunstein in Harper's Magazine this month, and I
learned that Stevens is actually a Republican moderate. I never knew
that, nor would I have guessed that. Sunstein points out that it's not
Stevens' decisions that have changed, but rather, the Court has changed so
far to the right that a Republican moderate like Stevens is on the left.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
I definitely needed an extended period of time after the bar exam to relax. I needed time to come down off the bar exam, pack and move, get job things straightened out, and work on my tan.
All of those things were accomplished by, oh, August 28.
Now I'm just going crazy. I've developed a diligent television-watching routine. The amount of TV I watch in a day is truly shocking. I've been catching up on movies and shows that I missed, on DVD. I can't even bring myself to read anymore, because I do it every single day.
I miss law school. There, I said it. I miss walking the halls and being swept up in 45 minute social detours. I miss sitting down for a quick meal and inadvertently becoming engrossed in a conversation that manages to both inflame my passions and leaving me questioning my own principles. I miss being in my house, and my bed, surrounded by my friends. I miss my grocery store, my gym, my walk to school, my bars, the old man who seemed to hate his dog but walked him every single morning at the same time past my house. I miss throwing a ball around in the grass outside the law school. I miss knowing that everyone I needed to see was either in the building or a short walk away. I miss sending one-line emails; emails never needed to be more than one line because we saw each other all the time.
It's funny, really, that the less you see someone, the less you have to say.
Soon, I'm going to crash at a friend's house instead of Mom's. The time has come for me to get out of here and start getting focused on the next phase. The work-related things that are up in the air mean that other things are too, things like housing and income and whether I'll be able to pay my bills next month. Because all of those things are up in the air, I haven't even started thinking about the other Big Things that come along with this next phase. I think most people in my life assume that I'm naturally social and outgoing. That's not necessarily the case. I have to gear up for investing time and energy into developing really rewarding relationships with my coworkers. I have to invest the time and mental energy into getting accustomed to a new community. I have to get ready for having a life that doesn't include coffee breaks whenever I feel like it, or skipping an afternoon because the weather's nice.
It's going to be scary and exciting, and it's time to get started, even though it means that I have to quit TV cold turkey.
Sunday, September 18, 2005
1. Dude, I totally dig tattoos, especially the armband ones. HOT. Guy at the gym lifting weights next to me this morning with the armband tattoo made me nearly knock myself out mid-crunch. And I'm the only person I know that loves nipple piercings on men. Not all men can do it, mind you, but the ones that do - what's not to drool over?
2. When I was cruising around town in Lilith the Ford Contour today (can you believe that bitch is still kickin'? me neither) "More Than A Feeling" came on the radio, and I cranked that shit up and SANG, as I was sincerely pumped up when I heard it. It's one of my favorite car songs of all time, along with, "Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet." PUMPED. UP.
As an aside, I have one of the "Would You Rather" books, and it's hysterical, and one of the questions is, Would You Rather live in a world where... a) the convention of singing 'Happy Birthday" was replaced with "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet" by Bachman Turner Overdrive OR b) where congressional debate was settled by dodgeball contests?
I sense that the Roberts hearings wouldn't be any more interesting if it were settled via dodgeball. If you have not seen the show Arrested Development, you MUST see it, because it really is funny. I only watch it on DVD, and it's better than crack. Anyway, in one of the episodes, Buster recounts how he was taught to drop to the ground and curl up in a ball if someone threatened him. At the end of the episode, he does, and the actor totally perfects the move - he manages to drop to the ground and curl almost instantaneously. Now that's art, right there. To bring this large tangent to an end, I think Roberts might be the type of guy who would pull a move like that in a dodgeball tournament. Yes? I mean, he can't even answer questions. How could he take a hit with a dodgeball? I choose the answer A.
And here, take one for the road: Would you rather live in a world where there was a rapper-like East Coast / West Coast feud of mimes, OR where the pledge of allegiance was changed to the lyrics to "Eye of the Tiger"?
Thursday, September 15, 2005
By golly, she's right.
I have this emotional quirk that prevents me from dating a guy that I'm not already sure that I really like, but by that time we're pretty good friends, so why ruin a good thing? This helps me 1. never get rejected and 2. always have wonderful men around me. I know that I do this, but for some reason, it wasn't until today that I really and truly realized that it might be a problem. Mr. STF busted right on through that by being absolutely relentless in the beginning of our torrid affair last summer. I kept trying to avoid it, but he didn't leave me much choice, and so we dated, I was smitten, and then I moved.
My friend is right. I have far too many guy friends who take me out to dinner, or to movies, or who ply me with fine wines. (Oooh, what a problem, huh? Yeah, I know.) I need to just date. I can't keep waiting for men who are going to be that aggressive (although I lurrrrrv that quality in a man) to convince me to date them. I need to just do it. I'm capable of it. I don't need any more 'friends.' I don't need to keep men away from me because I'm convinced they won't like me. Let those assholes figure it out for themselves, damnit.
After lunch and shopping, we picked her two kids up from daycare in the minivan (woohoo!) and I spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening playing with her son. We had a great time, he and I. Dad came home, and I fielded the same, "Got a boyfriend?" "Why are you still single?" questions. I continued to play with the little one (he's 3) after dinner, but things came to a screeching halt when, as he was sitting in my lap, he started poking and grasping my ample bosom.
"What's that?" he asked.
Mom and Dad were both amused and mortified. I, not wanting to somehow drastically alter this child's future development regarding body image and/or sexuality, kept silent, waiting for a wise parent to interject. They giggled.
Mom explained that they were boobies, and that he had them, too, and she pointed to where they were on his body, as he had no shirt on. He looked closely and said, "Yes, I have them too!" He then peered at my face, spotting the freckle on my cheek, and said, "This one too!"
To be sure, his own little nipples looked like freckles. But I fear the man will go the rest of his life being strangely attracted to freckled women. Despite admonishment, and the fact that I had grabbed his little hands to prevent him from futher inspection of my mammaries, he started discreetly nudging them with his knee. Which just cracked me the fuck up. He's a sneaky one, that kid.
And hey, he promised to call soon. And he insisted on waving goodbye out the window as I left. Which makes him much more of a gentleman then most of the men who've recently prodded my breasts.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Watching Feinstein was interesting. I thought she asked good questions, but I was disappointed with how quickly she moved on. Roberts really stuck to his "I like females; I married one and my wife gave birth to one" approach to inquiries as to some of his prior writings about women and gender discrimination. She also inquired as to his views of federalism and striking down acts of Congress. Those two are the issues of most interest to me in regards to Roberts as a candidate. I was disappointed that Feinstein asked the question, let Roberts answer, then moved on to the next question. I think there were quite a few times when Roberts gave really weak responses that warranted some hard-hitting follow-ups that Feinstein did not pursue. His remarks on the fact that maybe making more lawyers out of homemakers was not a good thing amounted to the fact that it was all one big 'lawyer' joke, and it lightened the day at the office, and that was really just the spirit of the office to make jokes about too many lawyers. Lawyer joke? That's the first one that I've heard (and believe you me, I've heard a lot) that includes the term "homemaker" but I'll have to keep it on hand for a good chuckle next time we're having a bad day at the office.
I think there are several possibilities as to why Feinstein let him off easy here. It's possible that Roberts' remarks are actually being taken out of context and made to look nastier than they are. It's also possible that Feinstein was less interested in harassing Roberts (like Biden did) and was more interested in pinning him down to an answer for now. Biden was pretty aggressive, and since confrontation makes me nervous [I'm a bad lawyer] I had to look away a few times. The part of Biden's questioning that I saw had some merit, and on the points that had merit I think it was good to be aggressive. But I think that there were times when Roberts validly exercised his right not to answer questions regarding his political views on hot-button issues, and Biden ridiculed him, referring to the "Ginsburg rule" that Roberts invoked - that is, Ginsburg testified to more things than Roberts did because she wrote about them and thus had to answer to them. So Biden kept chasing Roberts around on that one.
Hoenstly, I'm glad to see Roberts refusing to answer questions on that basis. I think that the judiciary has become far too entangled with Congress's agenda (see, e.g., Terri Schiavo, the new habeas corpus bill) and I like to see justices sticking to their guns on their autonomy and responsibility to the courts and litigants outside of political affiliations. There's no doubt that the personal views of justices come through in their cases, but I think that the appearance of an independent judicial power is critical. I don't think it is much of a secret, any more than with any other justices, as to how Roberts will fall on the Supreme Court, and I think it's sufficient to pin Roberts down on stare decisis. I will be eating my words when he manages to overturn Roe and Casey and single-handedly repeals the 19th Amendment. Aside from that, I'm glad that there is some line-drawing as to the accountability of justices. I honestly think it's necessary in the mainstream media right now.
Sen. Sessions canonized Roberts in his 'questions' that were all rhetorical. I need to get back to CSPAN now so I can see more of this excitement. Whoot!
[Addendum: CSPAN just cut off Schumer and referred me to CSPAN 3 for additional coverage, which sucks because who really has CSPAN 3? At least, I don't think I have it. Anyway, Feingold was AMAZING with questions regarding Hamdi, Hamden, and whether Korematsu is good law, etc... I'm definitely in love with Feingold. IN. Love. Schumer was really good too. Roberts did too much dodging with them.]
[Also, to add to the 'lawyer joke' pile that Roberts is amassing, Roberts's response to his use of the phrase, "illegal amigos"? Chalk it up to the desire to appeal to diverse masses. Politicians use Spanish words when speaking to Latino crowds, he explained. That phrase was merely just a reference to common political usage, Roberts insisted. You know how it is. Just referrin' to those silly politicians using those furrin words. More office hijinx. Schumer kept trying to ask him whether he believed that was the most appropriate phrase to use? Roberts said it was. Schumer replied curtly, "I must disagree with you on that," and moved along.]
Monday, September 12, 2005
Roberts says Supreme Court justices play limited role: 'They are servants of the law, not the other way around.'
Friday, September 09, 2005
I was concerned that I would not be home in time for the O.C., but my escort for the evening assured me he'd have me home in time. I grew up in a very politically active community and missed being part of the action, so part of me was intrigued about what political activism looks like as a young professional. I had to peel myself away from the 2001 Super Bowl game (luckily I've seen it already) and ditch the denim skirt, Tshirt, and flipflops for something more appropriate. Then I realized that I gave my mom the last remnants I had of my cash (which I never carry) for my Luna bars and mini-Cokes (snack foods are essential).
I stood perched outside on the sidewalk in a skirt and open-toed heels waiting for my date and hoping I didn't look out of place in the GHETTO that my mom's neighborhood has become. There were families milling about and a group of about 8 firefighters hanging out taking reports from the fire next door. It was one of those awkward social situations in which I'm in close proximity to a lot of people I don't really know because the neighborhood has had such high turnover, but who are standing close to me and live next door to me. So I was doing that avoiding eye contact thing, trying to stand comfortably without sinking my heels into the sidewalk or the grass while emergency response teams crawled all over the place.
Finally my date arrived and we went off to the event. It was an informal, comfortable event. There was beer. Enough said.
For the first time in my life, I felt like I had some sort of social status thrust upon me by virtue of my education. I grew up in a working class family and have never really felt comfortable in such potentially pretentious social situations. I've always felt like I was smart enough and hard-working enough, but felt like I was lacking that social veneer that others possess that makes me uncomfortable. Last night, when I looked around, I think I realized that somewhere along the way I had surpassed something. I'm not sure what, exactly. I didn't feel uncomfortable or out of place, but I also wasn't particularly driven to impress anyone. For some reason, I think that my overpriced law school education has somehow validated me. It's hard to articulate any more than that without using derisive words that I don't want to use.
I suppose I will use an example that had my mom laughing so hard she choked. I was in a group of people and talk turned to politcking at polls, and the art of the political handshake. The host of the event smoothly mentioned that he just happened to be reading a biography of Theodore Roosevelt, and the host wasn't sure if we read a lot of biographies or not, or whether we had read this one, but the book mentions that Teddy at one time held the Guiness Record for most handshakes in a day. One of the individuals in my conversation group was just a little older than the rest of us, and is a political player in the state, and asked the host who wrote it. The host stumbled a bit, not sure of the author, but invited him inside to look at his biography collection.
During this conversation, I looked on with a detached amusement. I was enjoying participating in the conversation, but the part of me removed from the conversation was just processing how much I don't want to be like that. I don't want to name-drop biographies to look impressive, which in actuality achieved the opposite result for this guy. Then I giggled in my head, thinking about how much fun it would be to reveal, at a political party function, that I am currently working my way through a biography of a Marxist guerrilla because I saw a movie on it and Gael Garcia Bernal is just sooooo cute?
"Welcome to the world of intellectual elitism," my escort said to me the next day, when I revealed my personal astonishment at the tenor of the event. It's true, I suppose. I think I'm good at identifying good people in a crowd. For instance, one of the smartest people at that party was someone who has been working towards a college degree for several years now and is in restaurant management. I hope my intellectual elitism remains finely tuned enough to weed out the vapid educated individuals from the intelligent hard-working individuals.
Thursday, September 08, 2005
- The O.C. season premiere is tonight! I cannot wait!
- The Pats start tonight right after the O.C.!
- Finally, after more phone calls, I was assured that I am not starting work next Monday, and will eventually get something via mail or email. Let's hope this happens sooner rather than later, so I can stop being convinced that no one knows I exist.
How race shaped Bush's response to Katrina.
Don't rebuild New Orleans.
UPDATE: Ok, so what do I do? I still haven't heard anything. I sent in my acceptance letter three weeks ago. I was told that I would hear from them NO LATER than August 31. I have a right to be a little concerned, right? Is it appropriate to continue calling people who have not returned my calls? I know they have more important things to do, like defend clients, so I don't want to be a waste of time, but my polite and deferential methods have not yet worked. Also, is it safe to assume I will not be starting on the Sept 12 start date?
P.S. I do. not. ever. want to hear the Red Cross or a public defender agency bemoaning their lack of resources. Ever. again. I'm a 25 year old woman with a J.D. and willing to engage in hard labor, I'm begging them to put me to work one way or another, and yet both refuse to acknowledge me. Never have I regretted being a sucker for a cause more than I regret it now.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
So my question is, how long do I wait before I just start looking for another job? I'm really wondering what the hell else I am supposed to do right now, short of hopping on a plane, then getting in a cab, and marching directly into the office, chaining myself to a desk until someone agrees to tell me what is going on.
Perhaps now I know how some clients feel about their attorneys.
Monday, September 05, 2005
I'm also still batting around the idea of switching over to the BlawgCoop with Ambivalent Imbroglio, who was nice enough to get me started on it months ago, but since then I have not had the time or the high speed internet to actually make the switch. Who knows what is to come?
Thursday, September 01, 2005
I wonder how I would feel if my mayor ordered the police to stop saving people in order to start shooting looters. I wonder how I would feel if the National Guard were arriving in droves, only to serve the same purpose.
You want to stop the looting and violence? Get the people who have been perched on the roof of submerged cars for 4 days now. Get people off the tops of houses. Get people out of the Superdome. Fuck the TV sets and jewelry. People are DYING.
Of course, the problem is, there is no city to go back to. The people who have to be saved have nowhere to go, nothing to bring. And it's not going to be like that just for a few weeks... it's going to be like that for a very long time. There are only so many weeks you can live in the Astrodome wearing only the clothes on your back.
It seems I've been doing a lot of waiting in the past few months, and I'm really starting to get annoyed. I'm ready to go, I'm ready to work, and no one else seems ready. I don't even know that I could go to the Gulf Coast for two weeks because I don't actually know my start date yet, which I was supposed to know no later than yesterday, and all of the people associated with making my offer have been on vacation since the time that my acceptance letter was due. So who, exactly, is receiving these letters and making the assignments? "Call back on Sept 6" does not make me happy. And I understand the Red Cross is swamped right now, so I'll be more than happy to march down to the office and refuse to leave until they deploy me. But don't solicit volunteers to contact you via phone and email if you will not respond to those forms of communication.
I never thought I'd get bored with doing nothing, but that time has come. I'm bored out of my mind. I'm so bored that I can't even watch TV or read the books I checked out from the library. It's not as warm anymore, so going swimming isn't really an option, but I would really like the time in the sun. Sometime over the past week, summer started officially disappearing, and now it's fall. There's no longer any excuse to be lazy. I need to get up and do something; I need to know whether and when I'm moving; I need to know whether I'll be in New Orleans or in an office next week. I'm ready to go, and all this uncertainty is irking me.
One great thing about fall is pumpkin spice coffee. Yum. My favorite flavored coffee of all time is the Holiday Spice coffee that Borders sells in the winter. It's hands down the best spiced coffee ever. I'm going to go drink some coffee and resume my day job on the couch.