The Deadman Night Rider

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

Monday, February 27, 2006

So did you just wake up one day and decide to write this?

That's what Prof. Steinberg asked me today about my paper for the Yale writing competition. I had to admit that that was about the size of it. I guess most people submit things they've written for class, law review, etc. Not too many "walk-ons", evidently. Anyway, this prof taking the time out to read my paper and comment on it even though I'm not in any of his classes is another example of why I've been so impressed by the faculty here. Prof Walls, my legal writing instructor, was just as gracious and proofed the whole damn thing. It really surprises me how willing they both were to help.

So far, the paper hasn't generated any tangible returns, but I keep finding competitions that it qualifies for, so at some point the law of averages has to kick in. The next one is for the international section of the Texas State Bar--maybe we'll get lucky and score a skin off of that one.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

An odd feeling

I sat in today with the University Park Police Department to watch the inimitable Kellus provide them with some legal education. I have to say that it's a bit strange to watch someone you've seen in another life feverishly going over debate cases in their underwear instruct a room full of police officers on how to keep their searches and seizures from being thrown out on 4th amendment grounds.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Red Dawn Redux

The iconographic 80s movie Red Dawn featured the following famous lines from a shortwave radio broadcast:

And now a few words for our allies behind enemy lines...
The chair is against the wall. The chair is against the wall.
John has a long moustache. John has a long moustache.

To our own brothers and sisters behind enemy lines, the Deadman says:

International Shoe. International Shoe.
Traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice. Traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.

Keep up the fight.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

More proof that law professors have too much time on their hands...

I guess a classic is a classic. I read part of our assignment for Contracts this morning, which included the apparently wildly famous case of Sherwood v. Walker. The short version is that Walker sold Sherwood a cow (named Rose 2nd of Aberlone) for slaughter for $80 because Walker thought she was barren--if it had been certain that she was a breeder, her value would have been about $800. There is some evidence that Walker bought her thinking there was still a chance she could breed, but he did know Walker thought she was barren. Anyway, when she was weighed in at the yard, they discovered she was pregnant--so Walker crawfished on the deal. The court found for Walker on the basis of mutual mistake and voided the contract.

Personally, I think Sherwood got screwed on this deal--he bargained for a chance, after all--but evidently this has become the case that every 1L reads to introduce the concept of mutual mistake. I fired up Lexis to find out if anyone else thought the case came out wrong, and found all sorts of references to this poem written by Professor Brainerd Currie about the celebrated Rose of Aberlone. Clocking in at an impressive five stanzas and over 2,500 words, the poem is no mean feat, including lines like these:

To the cattle-yard with its sinister scale,
The better to finish the dreadful sale.
She was put in charge of good George Graham
(Were there cows to be weighed? Well, he would weigh 'em).

Or, my favorite so far,

Now, one of the Bench's keenest students
Of animal law and jurisprudence
Was Michigan's Mr. Justice Morse.
If a case involved a hind or a horse
They would call on him--for that was his forte--
To deliver the judgment of the court.

Well, I guess now we know what these guys are doing outside of class instead of grading exams and thinking greath thoughts. With that, I'll now get back to what I should be doing.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Stand Fast Demark

Anyone wishing to defile themselves by viewing images of Muhammad in clear violation of the Quran and sharia law may do so here. It may take a while to load, because it seems like only a couple of sites on the whole worldwide web are brave enough to keep them up.

The Deadman says, Denmark, Stand Fast!

Friday, February 03, 2006

The necessary man

Here's an article from Slate pondering the implications of the victory of Hamas in the recent Palestinian elections. The big question mark is how far Hamas will go in keeping their promise to impose sharia law--will they ban alcohol, enforce the hijab, etc.? Here's a joke that's supposedly making the rounds:

With fundamentalist Hamas in charge, all police stations in the Palestinian Authority are being shut down. From now on, all complaints will have to be filed directly to God.

George Will (I think it was George Will) made the point that Iraq was desperately in need of two men: a George Washington and a Thomas Jefferson. It seems to me, though, that before the Islamic world is going to see any real progress, the man they really need is a Martin Luther.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Drama club

The guys at BarelyLegalBlog talk alot about how law school is like high school, by which they usually mean cliques, recurring stereotypes, etc. In the evening program we don't get as much of that as the day-trippers do--probably because we're just not here as much. Everybody converges on the library an hour or so before class to cram in some prep or stuff down some food, then it's lectures and meetings, and a footrace to the parking garage to zoom home, cellphone pasted to ear. I think the fact that almost everyone is married also raises the general level of discourse--there are no flirtations, budding romances, or torrid breakups to inject drama into the process (it's also still too early for vengeful rivalries to have broken out).

That said, I have managed to have a real Drama Club week this week at the Deadman. On Saturday, I played the part of a client in the Client Counseling Competiong sponsored by the Board of Advocates (law school's analogue for the debate team). I put in a Golden Globes-worthy performance as Sam Robinson, hepatitis C-positive production line manager looking to make a discrimination case against his employer. Too bad about the IV drug use that gave me the Hep C, but, oh well. Then last night, I finally got to put my fake case to bed by settling a claim for my fake client with another student representing her fake client. We've been researching this case, which came complete with ten pages of fake facts including family background, financial info, business descriptions, and more, since last semester, when we wrote an extensive memo on it. I am bound upon pain of honor code violation not to disclose the terms until tomorrow night, so I'll have to leave that as a cliffhanger for now.

In a couple of weeks I might even get to dust off the old speech and debate skills. The Board of Advocates (as above) are sponsoring a Closing Arguments competition based on that same damn memo for the fake case we settled last night. Of course, we're all going to get frog-marched into the moot court competition later in the semester, so it's really just a matter of time anyway.