The Deadman Night Rider

A forum for evening students of the SMU Dedman School of Law and other outlaws..

Monday, October 31, 2005


In looking at an issue Judge Alito's nomination has thrust to the front burner, the Instapundit sums up the central message of opposition to spousal notification laws for abortions:

"my body, my choice but our responsibility,"

Friday, October 28, 2005

All politics is local...

This must be true--the Deadman's throwaway post about the Wright amendment has generated a number of reader comments second only to the birth of Liam. The Deadman appreciates everyone's info and opinion (plus we just love to refer to ourselves in the third person).

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Sorry, Kurds--you just dont' have that revolutionary chic

Ah, well--onward we trudge. Before I caught the news about Miers on the radio on the way in this morning, this is what I had planned to blog about: a great article in the Dallas Morning News about the Iraqi Kurds.

It's Tenuous Parallels week here at the Deadman. I was thinking about how a free Kurdistan is alot like the repeal of the Wright amendent (see below)--a great idea that doesn't have a thing in the world to stop it except the naked self-interest of more powerful parties in opposition. For Kurdistan, instead of DFW, the Dallas City Council, and Kay Bailey Hutchinson, it's Iran, Turkey, and, sadly, the US. Also, Southwest Airlines has something going for it that the Kurdish cause doesn't: a good PR campaign. The last line of the DMN article, quoting the niece of President Talabani, clinches it:

"I'm not saying never, but it's not going to happen now and not anytime in the near future. Let's face it. We're not Palestine."

Ms Talabani is right. I mean, c'mon, the Kurds haven't even fielded one good suicide bomber yet. Plus, they are unlucky enough to be oppressed by non-white people and they haven't been able to figure out a way to insinuate Israel into their plight. Without some good ol' fashioned Zionism-baiting, they're just never going to get the kind of support from left-wing intellectuals and rich, spoiled college students from Washington and Oregon that it takes to really make a cause celebre.

Get with it, Kurds! Let's start seeing some charges of colonialism, racism, and Orientalism out there! Until then, your claims for independence are just far too legitimate to be taken seriously...

Couldn't afford the pay cut, I guess...

Well, HM called in the dogs and whizzed on the fire this morning. I can't really blame her at this point. Ah, to hell with it.

W. should just go ahead and nominate James F'n Dobson and get it over with. Maybe that would shut that screeching hag Coulter up for two damn minutes and bring the amen-corner back to heel. Haven't we learned anything from the Dems about letting the lunatic fringe drive the wagon?

PS: I would have linked to Coulter's site, but it's been down all morning. My guess is that she's replacing her regularly-scheduled column with a celebratory screed.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Driving in from Cowtown this morning I saw a billboard that said "What does DFW have to say to Southwest? Welcome." In the corner it listed a website address:

Curious to see what a bunch of rentseeking bastards might have to say, I logged on. I wasn't disappointed. For an object lesson in bloated private bureaucracies using their governmental connections to protect their own inefficiencies by hindering a viable, efficient competitor, have a look for yourself. The website makes a much better case for that proposition than it does for keeping the Wright amendment.

Monday, October 24, 2005

If I were the George Foreman of white lawyers-

I'd name my twin boys Res Judicata and Res Ipsa Loquitor. Res Ipsa Loquitor Appel--now there's a name with some heft. Of course, it's doubtful they would survive to puberty, but then that would allow me to run through several generations: Res Mark II, Res Mark III, etc.

Maybe this deal is getting to me after all...

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Please read my Civ Pro prof's take on Harriet Miers

Man, how great is it to learn Civ Pro from someone like this?

Professor Thornburg should definitely know whereof she speaks, since she worked with Harriet Miers at Locke Liddell. I am pretty sure she was called "little lady" a time or two herself in her professional life, since she's dropped that remark in class a few times. As I've already written, her class is really enjoyable even though alot of the material strikes people as a bit dry.

Friday, October 14, 2005

To the people of a free Iraq, good luck tomorrow

This day was bought with our blood and yours. For both our sakes, make it count.

Still punching

Friday! There’s nothing like a good night’s sleep and a cup of coffee to put some juice back in the batteries—even though I’ve cut down to one cup a day since my blood pressure spiked from 134/57 up to 157/59 this week. I knew I was getting a little ragged around the edges, but I didn’t think it was that bad.

We’re still in there punching, though. I can honestly say this is the most fun I’ve had in a long time and if I’ve got to slog through some long days, then that’s just the cost of doing business. A lot of folks are starting to shed their jobs but I’m not sure I’m to that point yet. So far it looks like I can hack it.

It helps that the work at the law school is such a blast and that all the classes are so different. Civil procedure is like some hybrid between chess and poker—very zero-sum—while Contracts is the opposite—mostly about equitable outcomes. Both of them are really detail-oriented and narrow-scope. Then you get to Torts, which is wide-open. Moral imbalances, ancient doctrines, public policy, philosophy, you name it. Isn’t that just, well, cool? Sure, Legal Writing can be a little nerve-wracking, but that’s where you go from just studying thermodynamics to actually building the rocket.

I guess to sum it up you could say - a little tired, a little ragged, but still: kid, candy store. What we need this weekend is a little rest, a little library time, and a favorable nod from the writing gods. One way or another, we're going to make it through this deal.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Find out which Federal Rule of Civil Procedure you are

OK, so it's not Friday yet, but we had some down time here. Answer a short quiz to see which Federal Rule of Civil Procedure you are here. I turned out to be 12(b), which isn't so bad I guess. At least I wasn't 11. God help anyone who is 13!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Now we know what law profs do with their spare time

I don't know why this is funny, but it is.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Rough week here at the Deadman

For some reason, this week seemed to be about six months long. I can just barely remember Monday now, but I think that's when I first heard about the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. Since then, my beloved SMU Dedman School of Law has been taking a beating in the blog-world. Words like 'pedestrian' and 'undistinguished' are flying. Most of it is pretty easy to shrug off. The bottom line for us here at the Deadman is that Miers is a home-team hero and we're behind her all the way.

It is harder to ignore people like Charles Krauthammer and George Will, two of the leading lights in our little constellation of literati-worship. They only obliquely criticize the school, but it's still hard to be on the business end of their pens. True to form, however, Ann Coulter eschews the kid gloves and comes right to the point by saying that SMU basically puts the 'piss' in piss-ant. Well, allow me to retort (it's movie-quote week here at the Deadman).

One of the reasons SMU gets a #52 rank in the US News & World Reports list is that they'll give guys like me a shot even though we bring down their published GPA/LSAT numbers. You've never seemed to have a problem with us salt-o'-the-earth heartlanders when we're buying your books or tuning into your TV and radio appearances, Ann, but I guess that's just what we less-than-giant brains should be doing: gratefully receiving your wisdom passed down from on high into our grubby, undeserving hands. On that note, I wonder what it is that got you all those TV gigs in the first place--was it the giant brain or the penchant for mixing long legs and short skirts?

You've got alot of nerve telling Harriet Miers she hasn't got the snuff to wear the black robe, Coulter. She was down here in Big D picking commercial litigators out of her teeth while you were still writing 'Carter Sucks' in glitter-pen on your textbook covers. While you were 'fighting the good fight' against the likes of Naomi Wolf on the glam-cam, she was with GW actually putting the rubber to the road.

To quote a redneck 'philospher-king', you can turn in your fez AND your tie-tack, Coulter, 'cause you are off the Auxiliary Friends of the Deadman roster. And for anybody else who has a problem with an SMU alum impertinent enough to sit among the nine, I'll refer you to our sister-blog, the Temple.

Friday, October 07, 2005

The Deadman is part of a trend

NY Times writes about law-bloggers. They didn't mention us specifically, but we're sure they were thinking about us...

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

SMU propagating American jurisprudence?

I’m slowly adding to the list of countries represented by my colleagues. Yesterday afternoon the Russian woman in my section from Lithuania introduced me to a 3L friend of hers from Estonia (she is Russian too, however, not Estonian). In Contracts, I sit next to a guy from Peru and a girl from Colombia. I wish my Spanish was as good as my Russian because I think it would really be interesting to talk to them—my understanding is that they already have law degrees from their home countries and are doing advanced work here. Their English doesn’t appear to be all that strong, so they must be pulling double-time to keep up.

Maybe it’s stupid and idealistic to think that any of this make a difference, but no one can deny that these are all places that could desperately benefit from the principles and values that we just take for granted in our legal system—Estonia and Lithuania are just starting out, and Peru and Colombia are almost hopelessly mired in corruption. Sure, exporting lawyers isn’t the first thing a person might think of to help build up developing nations (some would say it’s an act of war), but I’ve been around enough to see that ideas matter. Everything starts one person at a time.

To borrow (and mangle) a phrase from Steinbeck (Tortilla Flat), I am proud to have known such people.

CORRECTION: My esteemed colleague from Lithuania is indeed LITHUANIAN, not Russian. This was an assumption made on my part, it was wrong, and I offer my apologies.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Nothing like a workout to recharge the batteries

The Deadman had to take a pause for the cause today and squeeze in a workout. The pace, she wears on me. I left work and dragged into campus this afternoon feeling like I'd been beat with a hose. An hour in the newly-finished Dedman Lifetime Sports Center did the trick, though.

Let me tell you, there's nothing like a college gym in the afternoon. Nothing but bad form, quarter reps, and high school football T-shirts (Plano seems over-represented). As usual, the grunter was there. He's always been there, ever since I was a kid back at UT. Grunters don't last too long at commercial gyms, but college gyms still have enough high school carryover that you're sure to see, each and every trip, at least one kid with his back arched all the way up off the bench screamin' like a madman while his poor spotter struggles to wrench the hideously-overloaded bar off his chest as he vainly calls out "It's all you, man!"

Obligatory coup de grace: jump up off the bench after such a shameful spectacle and flex into the mirror with an emphatic "Yeah!"

The best thing about college gyms, though, is that there's never any waiting for the really useful things like squat racks, deadlift platforms, or any dumbbell over 75 pounds. If you're looking to flat bench or do some bicep curls with the 35-pounders, though, be ready for some congestion.

PS--For Kellus and Roscoe: Mia and Ana were definitely in attendance.

Monday, October 03, 2005

SMU alum is the nominee

Here's the link. Miers has both an undergrad in mathematics and a law degree from SMU. I'm sure this is also a big day for Locke Liddell & Sapp, where she was a partner.

The fact that she's never been a judge may make her, in the words of RKellus, an untraceable weapon (or perhaps a pristine bullet?) - but the President reportedly describes her as a "bulldog in size 6 shoes." It's Mixed Metaphor day here at the Deadman. We also don't know what to make of reports that legislators on both sides of the aisle pushed for her to be considered, but we'll see how things play out.

In any event, congratulations to Ms Miers and SMU!