Nov 26
8:32 PM

Scalia/Ginsburg Opera


llustration by Jeff Dionise,
ABA Journal article

2013 Maryland Law grad Derrick Wang wrote an opera based on words from judicial opinions penned by Justices Ginsburg and Scalia. He previewed portions of the work at the Supreme Court in June. An excerpt from a July 2013 NPR article about the opera:

As the plot unfolds, the two justices find themselves locked in a room, and the only way out is to agree on a constitutional approach. A grumpy Scalia fulminates:

“The justices are blind — how can they possibly spout this?
The Constitution says absolutely nothing about this!
This right that they’ve enshrined — when did the document sprout this?
The Framers wrote and signed words that endured without this;
The Constitution says absolutely nothing about this!”

When Ginsburg enters, Scalia implores her, to strains of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” asking why she can’t seem to read the Constitution properly.

“Oh, Ruth, can you read?
You’re aware of the text.
Yet so proudly you’ve failed to derive its true meaning.”

Ginsburg replies with calm reason, asking Scalia to consider a different approach.

“How many times must I tell you, dear Mister Justice Scalia,
You’d spare us such pain if you’d just entertain this idea.
You are searching in vain for a bright-line solution,
To a problem that isn’t so easy to solve.
But the beautiful thing about our Constitution is that
Like our society, it can evolve.”

Our Founders, of course, were men of great vision, she says, but their culture restricted how far they could go. So to us, they bequeathed the decision to allow certain meanings to flourish and grow.

“We are freeing the people we used to hold captive, who deserve to be more than just servants or wives.
If we hadn’t been willing to be so adaptive, can you honestly say we’d have led better lives?”

In his finale, Scalia replies with characteristic flourish, on a soaring high note, followed by this harrumph: “Anyway, that’s my view, and it happens to be correct.”


Nov 25
1:18 PM

Congratulations CA Bar Exam Passers!!

A hearty congratulations from the LRC to the 4,962 (very relieved) people who passed the July 2013 examination!

In 2013, 55.8% of all applicants passed the exam.  The passing rate for first-time applicants was 68% and 21% for repeaters.

The results fall roughly in line with the 2012 examination results which had an overall pass rate of 55.3% including 68.3% for first-time applicants and 18.1% for repeaters. [MF]

Nov 22
12:54 PM

November Trivia!

One week left to enter November’s trivia contest: On October 4th, 2002, the Legal Research Center celebrated the purchase of its 500,000th volume. What was the title of this item?

jay-z-magna-carta-holy-grail1Hint #1: This valuable book can be found on display on the first floor of the Legal Research Center.

Hint #2: Jay-Z incorporated the name of this item into the title of his 12th studio album.

Submit your answers at the LRC Info Station. Correct answers will be entered into a drawing at the end of the month for a chance to win a $5 gift card to Doug’s coffee cart! [MF]

Nov 22
9:41 AM

Breaking the Filibuster Barrier

The nomination of Patricia Ann Millett, a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, to the  U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, was the straw that broke the elephant’s back. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., proposed reconsideration of her nomination, and the Senate voted 52 to 48 to allow a simple majority of its members (rather than the previously required 60) to end filibusters of nominations for executive offices and judicial appointees other than to the Supreme Court. Click here to see how often filibusters have been used since 1968 to block presidential appointments.


Nov 21
7:02 PM

California State Bar News

CaliforniaStateBarOn the eve of the release of July 2013 California bar exam results, here’s a look at some of the latest news from the California state bar:

Committee of Bar Examiners (CBE) voted to indefinitely postpone any efforts to shorten the bar exam from three to two days.

The Board of Trustees adopted some modest changes to MCLE requirements beginning in July 2014:
  1. The substance abuse education specialty requirement is modified to a broader “competence” education requirement. This could be met by education that helps members recognize and deal with any mental or physical issue that could impact their ability to practice.
  2. Establish a formal audit system for MCLE providers.
  3. Require written materials for MCLE courses that are an hour or more in length.
  4. The elimination of bias specialty requirement is broadened to include courses on recognizing bias in society, not just in the legal profession.

The Board of Trustees deferred action on a proposal to increase the MCLE requirement from 25 to 36 hours every three years, asking State Bar staff to further explore the idea and develop a proposal for consideration at a future meeting.

The Board of Trustees voted to move forward with the next steps in implementing new competency training requirements for new lawyers. A new Implementation Committee is charged with devising a timeline and plan for implementing new requirements, which include:
  1. 15 units of practice-based, experiential course work or an apprenticeship equivalent during law school;
  2. 50 hours of legal services devoted to pro bono or modest means clients prior to admission or in the first two years of practice;
  3. 10 additional MCLE hours focused on law practice competency training

The current plan is to phase in the MCLE hours in 2015, the pro bono or modest means requirement in 2016, and the law school competency training in 2017.

You can attend one of state bar’s annual public hearings if you’d like to weigh in on these or other state bar issues:

10 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 5
The State Bar of California
1149 S. Hill St., 7th floor
Los Angeles, CA 90015

10 a.m. Monday, Dec. 9
The State Bar of California
180 Howard St., 4th floor
San Francisco, CA 94105

Individuals who wish to speak at the hearing and/or present written materials should contact Lauren Fletcher at 415-538-2310 or by Monday, Dec. 2.

Source: California Bar Journal, Nov. 2013. [JML]

Nov 15
2:42 PM
Nov 14
1:05 PM
Nov 4
1:54 PM
Nov 1
1:14 PM

LRC October Trivia Winner!

Congratulations to our September trivia winner Katie Lepore!

Question: The University of San Diego School of Law was founded in 1954. What was the original name of the building now known as Warren Hall?


Answer: Thomas More Hall

Stop by the LRC Info Station and answer our November trivia question
for a chance to win a $5 gift card to Doug's coffee cart.  Correct
answers will be entered into a drawing at the end of each month.