Author: denvirj

Marshall

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Heroes / Legal Fictions

Michael Asimow  of  Stanford Law School shares with  us his review of the new film Marshall: This enjoyable and inspiring movie is a worthy contribution to the courtroom movie genre.  You’re going to love it. The movie memorializes the great Thurgood Marshall (who later won Brown v. Bd. of Education and sat on the Supreme Court). The film brings to life a forgotten rape case in Connecticut that Marshall tried early in his career when he was the […]

Trump’s Constitution

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Democracy's Constitution / Repairing The Systen

In a year of shocking images, those from Charlottesville still  chill me the most. Certainly those of “alt-right”  marchers chanting “Jews will not replace us”, but even more so those of armed thugs attacking peaceful  #BlackLivesMatter demonstrators in full view of  quiescent police officers,  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/25/us/charlottesville-protest-police.html?ref=oembed   Eerily similar images from Germany in the 1930’s quickly come to  mind. While there is still a controversy over whether the police were ordered to “stand down” by their superiors, […]

Small Revolutionary Acts

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Heroes / Repairing the System

How does social reform happen?  History books tend to portray social reform as a tidal wave  that sweeps away an unjust and obsolete status quo, but I think reform is better understood as the  cumulative result of  individual acts of opposition to concrete injustices people encounter in their own lives. Only with hindsight can we  assess the importance of any one action. Even  an idle question posed  in a conversation between old friends might turn […]

The Psychology of Equal Protection

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Repairing The Systen / The Supremes

A  brotherly difference of opinion about cake portions  presents the  same type of  issue that the Supreme Court will soon decide in an important  case. They both involve examples of inequity. Nicholas Kristoff  reports  that scientists have found that monkeys  are very sensitive to   unequal treatment.  If you give one monkey  tastier food, the others resent it. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/03/opinion/sunday/what-monkeys-can-teach-us-about-fairness.html?_r=0   But Kristoff  also gives us a lot of examples of situations where humans protest  unequal […]

True Grit

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Book/film List / Legal Fictions

If you had to choose a law partner from the characters in Better Call Saul, who would you choose? I’d pick Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn).  When you consider the alternatives it’s really an easy decision,  When he’s not busy playing sycophant,  Howard (Patrick Fabian) is a tyrant.   Chuck (Michael McKean) is paranoid, arrogant, and more than a little weird.  And then there’s charming Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk), the one  with a moral screw missing. But […]

Creating the Future

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Heroes / Repairing The Systen

James Lorenz died  earlier this year. In the late 1960s  Lorenz  showed  himself to be one of the most important  social entrepreneurs of the second half of the Twentieth Century.  A 26 year old associate in a Los Angeles corporate firm, Lorenz not  only dreamed up the idea of  a network of local legal services  offices placed all over rural California  to serve its farmworkers, but also attracted  the political support necessary to get his […]

Fake Justice

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Repairing the System

Donald  Trump has ushered in the era of “fake news.” The only question is whether we should view Trump himself as  its creator  or its victim.  Now we see a parallel problem with Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions– Is Sessions the enemy of “fake evidence” or its champion?  This NYT article by Jim Dwyer suggests he is its champion. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/11/nyregion/dental-molds-forensic-dentistry-research-bite-marks.html By “fake evidence” I mean prosecution testimony that purports to be backed by scientific expertise, […]

Never Reward a Bully

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The Sjupremes

Constitutional law expert Cass Sunstein has just given the Democratic Senators some advice on how to handle the Gorsuch vote.   http://www.newsday.com/opinion/commentary/the-best-strategy-for-democrats-on-neil-gorsuch-1.13322437 Sunstein  outlines five options before choosing the  one that suggests they  vote against any nominee who they feel puts in jeopardy basic constitutional protections, a description he believes   Gorsuch warrants; but that they shouldn’t go so far as to filibuster his confirmation if he has the support of a majority of the […]

Shameless Self-Promotion

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Heroes / Repairing the System

Back in 1969 I worked  in a legal services office in the Imperial Valley  on the California-Mexican Border.   Most of our clients were Mexican-Americans who had the usual poor people legal problems–rent arrears,  welfare, and  consumer debt. For instance, I  found  I had a large number of clients who were being dunned for unpaid bills at the County Hospital. Since my employer,  California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA),  believed that we should not only represent […]