Saturday, January 14, 2006

Historical Revival

Andrew Sullivan gives a Malkin Award nomination to Mark Levin for arguing that Ted Kennedy is worse than Joe McCarthy:
From Clement Haynsworth, William Rehnquist, Bob Bork, and Clarence Thomas, to Jeff Sessions, Bill Pryor, Charles Pickering, and Sam Alito -- and scores of others -- Kennedy has played the role of McCarthy for 40 years, and always to a fawning press. He's a greater menace than McCarthy ever was.

Okay, the crazy points are obvious--no need to rehash them. But I just want to ask one thing: Clement Haynsworth? I mean, are we still talking about him? Or did Levin just want to complete his 4-4 parallel structure? I guess it could be worse--he could have brought up Harold Carswell.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Children of Immigrants

UC-Davis Law Professor Kevin Johnson excerpts from a stellar article on the subject. The kids in question are people who came to America, illegally, as minors. They have no papers, are at constant risk for deportation to a "home" they cannot even remember, and face tremendous challenges in trying to succeed in America.

Consider this:
Fermin was born at the height of El Salvador's civil war 17 years ago. When he was 11, his mother finally saved enough money to bring him to Los Angeles, where she had lived since he was 4 years old.

"She wanted me to have more educational opportunities," Fermin says. "It's the only way out of being low-income."

Fermin has taken advantage of those opportunities. He will graduate from high school this spring at the top of his class. After that, things get more complicated. Along with 65,000 other new graduates nationwide, Fermin will leave high school with a diploma, but without citizenship papers.
For Fermin, it means taking four city buses each day to get to school and back -- as an undocumented immigrant, he can't get a driver's license. When Fermin entered the American public school system six years ago, he did not know a word of English. Today, he is preparing for the California Academic Decathlon. He hopes his team will do well -- but even if they do, he won't be joining them at the state competition in Sacramento. Fermin fears that if he travels without papers he could be detained or deported.

While the majority of undocumented students will give up on school, Fermin is determined to go to college. But his immigration status complicates that prospect.
First, Fermin must come up with application fees as high as $250 per school. His family income is low enough to qualify him for a waiver, but his immigration status makes him ineligible. He's also ineligible for state or federal financial aid.

"Everyone tells them, 'Go to school, get good grades,'" says Jessica Quintana, director of Centro Community Hispanic Association in Long Beach. "Then the reality hits. It's so easy just to give up at that point."
Jessica, 18, received a standing ovation at her high school graduation in honor of 13 years of perfect attendance. But the applause couldn't make up for the letter she'd received earlier that year from the design school she dreamed of attending. It told her not to bother applying unless she could produce proof of citizenship.

"I had everything -- the grades, the desire to learn," says Jessica, 18. "It put a stop to all my hope when I realized I was limited."

The infuriating part of this is that these are exactly the kids we'd be salivating over putting in the American workforce--if they were White Europeans (or potentially East Asians). America's immigration policy is heavily slanted in favor of highly educated foreign nationals (most of whom come from those two regions), and stacked against the mostly brown and black "huddled masses" fleeing third world poverty and anarchy. One can make the argument that this is the way it should be--but there is no excuse for denying opportunities to kids who have worked hard facing hurdles we could never dream of to reach the pinnacles of academic excellence. And reading a story like this makes me what to slap all the smug conservative pundits who have destroyed entire forests with self-assured paeans to the power of "hard work," "good grades," and "staying out of trouble."

Far from "rewarding illegal immigration" as some allege (I'm looking at you, Mitt Romney), putting these children on a level playing field is the embodiment of the American dream. These children had no control over the decision to come to America. There isn't some conspiracy amongst Nicaraguan 12 year olds to overwhelm the American work-force with cheap labor. And for the kids we're talking about, it's amazing that "taking American jobs" even comes up as an argument. This is literally the only debate in American politics where some of the world's brightest and most hardworking youth are assumed to be a future drag on the national economy. Give me a break.

There is legislation in congress right now (I believe it's called the DREAM Act?) that would be the first step toward rectifying this injustice. I urge everyone to pressure their representatives to pass the bill and restore the dormant American dream.

Got To Love The VC

Watch how they shift from funny-sad (lawsuit by the family of a man killed after a patented Benihana "flip the Shrimp into the mouth" maneuver went horribly wrong) to funny-angry (Russian Politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky going 14th century on his views of Condi Rice). Best shot by Volokh:
Zhirinovsky, it turns out, also writes: "The civilized world should think and decide whether unmarried political leaders should be forbidden from coming to power. Now in the Soviet system this was all developed to an A+ level. Leading positions were open only to family people, free from inferiority complexes." And a lovely bunch of family people they were.

At the moment, the link to the article in question isn't working for me, but Ann Althouse has a good excerpt.

Just a brief word on Dr. Rice, by the way. It is impressive how she is one of the few remaining Bush administration officials to have a relatively positive public image (in America at least). Compared to Donald Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzalez, or Dick Cheney, she's far and away the only one who isn't politically radioactive at the moment. Perhaps "most popular Bush official" is a bit of a backhanded compliment. But her disavowals not withstanding, it does make her a legitimate threat should she try for the 2008 presidency.

"Hecklers Shouted 'American'"

Where did a political candidate encounter this? Iran? Saudi Arabia? Venezuela? Okay, at worst, it's France.

Nope--it's Canada, where Harvard Professor Michael Ignatieff is running for parliament. Ignatieff, a Canada native, was director of the Carr Center for Human Rights prior to his political leap. He's running on a platform calling for greater Canadian involvement in foreign affairs.
"Nothing in Canadian foreign policy seems absolutely essential or necessary," Ignatieff said in an October lecture at McGill University. "We have no coherent system of triage. We do not have a way to distinguish the vital and essential from the merely important or fashionable. We do a little development. Not enough. We do a little governance promotion, [but] not enough to be a serious competitor of the Scandinavians. We promote U.N. reform, half-heartedly, knowing that we cannot hope for much, since we are not on the Security Council and the Americans don't much care for reform in any event."

For Ignatieff, Canada is stuck in a transitional phase, where the relationships that drove it during the Cold War (NATO and the United Nations, for example) are fading from importance. What is needed now, he believes, is not lightly armed Canadian peacekeepers in Cyprus, but well-equipped and trained combat-ready troops enforcing peace in Afghanistan. Canada's economy is still heavily dependent on trade with the United States and increasingly relies on exports of natural resources such as wood, minerals, and natural gas. "I don't want us to be the Saudi Arabia of the north," says Ignatieff. "We have a kind of Canadian standard of excellence, the question now is 'Are you a global standard?' If you're not at a global standard, you've got five years [to catch up]."

I actually like the idea of Canada increasing its role in global affairs. Anything to take the burden off American shoulders, basically, is fine by me, as long as the country is relatively friendly and democratic. So I guess I'm rooting for Ignatieff.

But what have we come to when "American" is a slur in Canada? Maybe our global standing has fallen a bit too far.

With a tip of the hat to Daniel Drezner.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Judges Gone Wild!

Is it just me, or are conservative justices going insane? I know, I know--some of you think they've always been insane. And for some judges, I'd be inclined to agree. But seriously, there have been a few judicial moves recently that are off-the-charts nuts.

First, we had Alabama Supreme Court Justice Tom Parker assaulting his colleagues for not ignoring Supreme Court precedent in Roper v. Simmons. I noted then that Parker's unrepentant call for inferior court judges to just ignore the Supreme Court was wrong and dangerous. But at least it was confined to one guy (in a case he'd recused himself from, no less).

But now, we have an even more extreme case. Talk Left directs us to a Michigan judge who is refusing to give poor defendants attorneys during the appellate process. What should have been a slam-dunk anyway under the 1963 case of Gideon v. Wainwright was nonetheless decided explicitly by the Supreme Court last June in Halbert v. Michigan, striking down as unconstitutional a Michigan law that...barred judges from giving poor defendants attorneys during the appellate process. The judge has expressed the opinion that the Court's decision was wrong, so he won't follow it. How simple.

Now, these cases are bad enough from a rule of law perspective. But look at where conservatives are picking this battle. Roper, on execution of juveniles. Gideon, on giving people the right to counsel, for Christ's sake. What's next? A judge eliminating the jury trial?

You cannot be a serious legal commentator and not tell me that these moves are not infinitely more dangerous than whatever "activism" is going on in the federal courts.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Rape From The Perspective Of Its Victims

Feministe directs me to a very interesting (and very disturbing) post regarding rape victims who don't seem to regard what happened to them as rape. Here is one of three examples given (the women writing here was a prosecutor in the jurisdiction this case came through):
Victim's male acquaintance breaks into her apartment and grabs her. He is in a rage because she had refused to go out with him. He roughs her up a bit, including belting her across the face and throttling her. He then forces her at gunpoint to drive him to his house, where he keeps her overnight. He specifically tells her that he will shoot her if she tries to escape. He is distraught and talks repeatedly about how much he loves her. He talks about wanting to live with her in Mexico. Her survival strategy was to pretend to go along with his plans. She wanted to gain his trust. When he had sex with her that night, she "went along with it" in order to survive.

After finally escaping, she went to the police. She expected that he would prosecuted for kidnapping, assault and threatening. She was, however, shocked when I brought a rape charge against him. She didn't feel that she had been raped because she had "gone along" with the sex. When I questioned her, however, she said that she had "gone along" with it because she thought (quite reasonably under the circumstances) that he would blow her brains out otherwise. But, to my shock, in her mind, she herself felt that it was not a rape because she had not resisted in any way. (Under the law in my jurisdiction, sex that occurs during the course of a kidnapping is rape, and even if that were not so, I think the physical threat against her was sufficient to make this a rape.)

I think the majority of us would not hesitate to say that this event was a "rape." But I wonder specifically about why the woman here isn't one of them. And more generally, I'm frightened by an admittedly anecdotal trend that I'm observing where men--or at least younger men--are more likely to unambiguously call something a rape than women are.

In my Philosophy of Law class last term, we discussed a Maryland rape case called State v. Rusk (289 Md. 230, 424 A.2d 720 (1981)). Here are the facts of that case, as reported by the Maryland Court of Appeals:
At the trial, the 21-year-old prosecuting witness, Pat, testified that on the evening of September 21, 1977, she attended a high school alumnae meeting where she met a girl friend, Terry. After the meeting, Terry and Pat agreed to drive in their respective cars to Fells Point to have a few drinks. On the way, Pat stopped to telephone her mother, who was baby sitting for Pat's two-year-old son; she told her mother that she was going with Terry to Fells Point and would not be late in arriving home.

The women arrived in Fells Point about 9:45 p.m. They went to a bar where each had one drink. After staying approximately one hour, Pat and Terry walked several blocks to a second bar, where each of them had another drink. After about thirty minutes, they walked two blocks to a third bar known as E. J. Buggs. The bar was crowded and a band was playing in the back. Pat ordered another drink and as she and Terry were leaning against the wall, Rusk approached and said "hello" to Terry. Terry, who was then conversing with another individual, momentarily interrupted her conversation and said "Hi, Eddie." Rusk then began talking with Pat and during their conversation both of them acknowledged being separated from their respective spouses and having a child. Pat told Rusk that she had to go home because it was a week-night and she had to wake up with her baby early in the morning.

Rusk asked Pat the direction in which she was driving and after she responded, Rusk requested a ride to his apartment. Although Pat did not know Rusk, she thought that Terry knew him. She thereafter agreed to give him a ride. Pat cautioned Rusk on the way to the car that "'I'm just giving a ride home, you know, as a friend, not anything to be, you know, thought of other than a ride;'" and he said, "'Oh, okay.'" They left the bar between 12:00 and 12:20 a.m.

Pat testified that on the way to Rusk's apartment, they continued the general conversation that they had started in the bar. After a twenty-minute drive, they arrived at Rusk's apartment in the 3100 block of Guilford Avenue. Pat testified that she was totally unfamiliar with the neighborhood. She parked the car at the curb on the opposite side of the street from Rusk's apartment but left the engine running. Rusk asked Pat to come in, but she refused. He invited her again, and she again declined. She told Rusk that she could not go into his apartment even if she wanted to because she was separated from her husband and a detective could be observing her movements. Pat said that Rusk was fully aware that she did not want to accompany him to his room. Notwithstanding her repeated refusals, Pat testified that Rusk reached over and turned off the ignition to her car and took her car keys. He got out of the car, walked over to her side, opened the door and said, "'Now, will you come up?'" Pat explained her subsequent actions:
"At that point, because I was scared, because he had my car keys. I didn't know what to do. I was someplace I didn't even know where I was. It was in the city. I didn't know whether to run. I really didn't think, at that point, what to do.

"Now, I know that I should have blown the horn. I should have run. There were a million things I could have done. I was scared, at that point, and I didn't do any of them."

Pat testified that at this moment she feared that Rusk would rape her. She said: "[I]t was the way he looked at me, and said 'Come on up, come on up;' and when he took the keys, I knew that was wrong."

It was then about 1 a.m. Pat accompanied Rusk across the street into a totally dark house. She followed him up two flights of stairs. She neither saw nor heard anyone in the building. Once they ascended the stairs, Rusk unlocked the door to his one-room apartment, and turned on the light. According to Pat, he told her to sit down. She sat in a chair beside the bed. Rusk sat on the bed. After Rusk talked for a few minutes, he left the room for about one to five minutes. Pat remained seated in the chair. She made no noise and did not attempt to leave. She said that she did not notice a telephone in the room. When Rusk returned, he turned off the light and sat down on the bed. Pat asked if she could leave; she told him that she wanted to go home and "didn't want to come up." She said, "'Now, [that] I came up, can I go?'" Rusk, who was still in possession of her car keys, said he wanted her to stay.

Rusk then asked Pat to get on the bed with him. He pulled her by the arms to the bed and began to undress her, removing her blouse and bra. He unzipped her slacks and she took them off after he told her to do so. Pat removed the rest of her clothing, and then removed Rusk's pants because "he asked me to do it." After they were both undressed Rusk started kissing Pat as she was lying on her back. Pat explained what happened next:
"I was still begging him to please let, you know, let me leave. I said, 'you can get a lot of other girls down there, for what you want,' and he just kept saying, 'no'; and then I was really scared, because I can't describe, you know, what was said. It was more the look in his eyes; and I said, at that point -- I didn't know what to say; and I said, 'If I do what you want, will you let me go without killing me?' Because I didn't know, at that point, what he was going to do; and I started to cry; and when I did, he put his hands on my throat, and started lightly to choke me; and I said, 'If I do what you want, will you let me go?' And he said, yes, and at that time, I proceeded to do what he wanted me to."

Pat testified that Rusk made her perform oral sex and then vaginal intercourse.

Immediately after the intercourse, Pat asked if she could leave. She testified that Rusk said, "'Yes,'" after which she got up and got dressed and Rusk returned her car keys. She said that Rusk then "walked me to my car, and asked if he could see me again; and I said, 'Yes;' and he asked me for my telephone number; and I said, 'No, I'll see you down Fells Point sometime,' just so I could leave." Pat testified that she "had no intention of meeting him again." She asked him for directions out of the neighborhood and left.

The trial court convicted Rusk, the Court of Special Appeals reversed the conviction by a vote of 8-5, but the Court of Appeals reinstated it by a vote of 4-3.

In class, we discussed whether or not Rusk should have been convicted based on these facts. All the men in the class said yes, absolutely. The women, however were split. They offered many of the same explanations that the woman in the first case presented--she didn't actually resist, she could have done other things, and in this case that being "scared" wasn't enough to make it rape. Again, I find this to be a relatively clear cut case. But why was it that the primary dissents came from the women in the classroom?

This pattern flies in the face of most recent feminist scholarship. They tell us that letting women tell their stories and privileging their perspectives will provide insights into criminal law that currently are missing. Classically, feminism posits that it is men that generally "don't get" rape, or minimize it, or restrict applying it to only the most extreme cases. I don't dispute that as a general matter, but these recent observations do seem to throw a wrench into the equation. Part of it may be that a male student at a progressive liberal arts college feels compelled to assure his peers that he is "tough on rape", much like a Democrat has to go to great lengths to be "tough on crime." No man wants to be that creepy guy defending Rusk here. Even if privately some might defend or rationalize him (and there is no real way to determine who is genuinely appalled and who is performing), there are significant social costs that are incurred when a man steps out to defend him normatively. That may explain part of the problem, but I don't think it answers everything. While it may tell why the male opinion is so uniformly condemning, it doesn't explain the deep rift amongst female students. At some level, there has been a divergence from the classic thought on the matter. Women are denying that rape happened even as the men around them are adamant that it occurred.

Feministe quotes a male attorney who is playing the role of "creepy guy" defending the rapist. And I don't dispute that such men exist. I'd even agree that they represent a "mainstream" viewpoint, tragic as that is. His argument that the views of these women shows that the above actions don't constitute rape is BS, and the Feministe gals are right to shoot it down. But in doing so, they also dodge an issue that does have to be addressed. Community standards shouldn't act as rape shields. But where it is true that the community of women don't view naked sexual violence against them as "rape," that poses deep problems for the feminist enterprise as a whole. And where men are actually more aggressive in pointing out and pursuing the act than are women, that suggests that our anti-rape and women's rights strategies as a whole are coming at this from the wrong way, or at least are incomplete.

The question is: what social signals are we sending to women that are causing this misperception? And of course, how can we correct them? But it is also: what has caused men to re-evaluate rape in manner more consistent with the feminist enterprise? And how can we harness that power to bring about broader change?

My thesis on gender issues (and I make similar claims on race) is that there exists a cadre of men who, to some extent, buy what the feminists are saying about rape and other issues and who are willing to lend their support to progressive remedies to the problem. However, the growing focus on standpoint theory and feminism solely from the perspective of women ("the victims") has alternatively discouraged, disoriented, and/or disempowered these men from feminist political movements. They simply don't know what their "place" is in the fight. And with the stakes so high, and the knowledge that one mis-step will blow their progressive bona fides like a landmine, they find it safer to cheer passively from the sidelines rather than take a frontline position in the battle. I don't question the massive benefits that standpoint theory and perspective-based feminism has brought to the philosophical table--indeed, I'd credit many of their breakthroughs with enabling the sort of feminist-friendly consciousness one sees in many progressive males today. It is a sad irony, not an inevitable consequence, that such theories are now drinking from their own skulls and hampering the very type of political coalitions they so desperately need.

As such, I call for men everywhere to examine what they can do as men to end sexist oppression, in rape and in other issues. This isn't designed to compete with female efforts to do the same, but compliment them. In a patriarchal society, men possess most of the power--which may be bad holistically, but gives us disproportionate ability to affect change in the short-term. If rape is an area where we can do more than our female peers, then we have an obligation to advocate on rape. This makes sense from a feminist perspective anyway--the end goal always has been (or should be) to be our brother and sister's keeper, not to push each other away. An independent effort by men to strike out in favor of women is a critical step toward realizing that dream.

Stringing Me Along

In legal (and, I presume, other academic) literature, there is a form of footnote known as a "string cite." A string cite lists a bevy of articles and authorities in support of a given proposition. It often serves as an overview for a particular field. For example, I might write in an article:
Critical Race Theory emerged in the late-80s and early-90s as a powerful new force on the progressive legal scene.[n1]

I might then put in that footnote:
[n1] For an sampling of some of the early works in the CRT movement, see, e.g., Derrick Bell, The Supreme Court, 1984 Term--Foreword: The Civil Rights Chronicles, 99 HARV. L. REV. 4 (1985); Derrick Bell, Racial Realism, 24 CONN. L. REV. 363 (1992); Richard Delgado, The Imperial Scholar: Reflections on a Review of Civil Rights Literature, 132 U. PA. L. REV. 561 (1984); Richard Delgado, Storytelling for Oppositionists and Others: A Plea for Narrative, 87 MICH. L. REV. 2411 (1989); Barbara J. Flagg, "Was Blind But Now I See": White Race Consciousness and the Requirement of Discriminatory Intent, 91 MICH. L. REV. 953 (1993); Neil Gotanda, A Critique of "Our Constitution is Color-Blind", 44 STAN. L. REV. 1 (1991); Ian F. Haney Lopez, The Social Construction of Race: Some Observations on Illusion, Fabrication, and Choice, 29 HARV. C.R.-C.L. L. REV. 1 (1994); Cheryl I. Harris, Whiteness as Property, 106 HARV. L. REV. 1707 (1993); Charles R. Lawrence III, The Id, the Ego, and Equal Protection: Reckoning with Unconscious Racism, 39 STAN. L. REV. 317 (1987); Mari J. Matsuda, Looking to the Bottom: Critical Legal Studies and Reparations, 22 HARV. C.R.-C.L. L. REV. 323 (1987).

At some level such footnotes are mere exercises in form. They show that the author has read the relevant literature, knows what s/he is talking about, and provides a jumping off point by which a relative novice could learn more about the field.

But string-cites can also be a major boost to a young author. Obviously, there were many more articles on CRT written in the time frame I outlined. By picking these particular articles, I am implicitly saying that they are the key or crucial "must-reads" on the topic--the cream of the crop if you will. Sometimes this isn't the case--Richard Delgado has talked about "aren't I hip" citations to trendy scholars that serve only to shield hidebound professors from charges that the field has passed them by. But by and large, it is an incredible honor to find oneself in a string cite surrounded by the luminaries in ones field.

In blogs, we have a rough equivalent in "round-up posts." A blogger, commenting on a "hot topic", will first provide a string of links to the other major posts on the subject. Sometimes this isn't a big deal--especially one there are only a few posts out there to choose from. But if your teeny little blog makes it into a list populated by giants, it feels like a major coup.

All this leads up to this post by Illinois Law Professor Lawrence Solum on the link between blogging and legal scholarship. He starts with a round-up that includes my post Blogging as Scholarship as Struggle. That post was the only one listed by a non-legal academic. My fellow citees? Law Professors Paul Caron (Cincinnati), Christine Hurt (Marquette), Orin S. Kerr (GWU), Dan Markel (FSU), Larry Ribstein (Illinois), and Dan Solove (GWU).

It is an honor to be placed in such illustrious company. I only wish I had more insightful or thought-provoking comments to place on the post!

Today in Anti-Semitism

From Andrew Sullivan's Quote of the Day II an anti-American and anti-Israel rally:
Crowd: Israel is the enemy of Allah.

Man: May the hands of the infidels be chopped off.
Man: All together now: Death to America! Death to Israel!

Crowd: Death to America! Death to Israel! Death to America! Death to Israel! Death to America! Death to Israel! Death to America! Death to Israel!


Speaker: Today, the impure world Zionism, in the modern Age of ignorance, has emerged with the same (polytheistic) ideology, but with new methods. It wants to take over the fields of economy, of culture, and politics, as well as the military, throughout the world.
We, the pilgrims who have come to the house of God, condemn the plots and the measures taken by the international Zionism - the deceitful Satan who spreads heresy, polytheism, and idolatry, enslaving human beings with a new method. It abuses the divine religion of Moses. It takes Satanic measures, and arouses the world's hatred towards this divine religion, and its true followers. We denounce these criminal acts. We call upon the world of Islam and the free peoples to take significant measures to thwart the Satanic policy of this camp.

Crowd: Allah Akbar. Allah Akbar. Allah Akbar.

Via The Moderate Voice, the latest anti-Semitic upsurge in Russia comes in the form of synagogue stabbings.
A man armed with a knife stabbed and wounded 11 people, including three Israelis, in a Chabad synagogue in downtown Moscow on Wednesday.

A spokesman for the Jewish community in Russia said that four of the wounded were seriously injured in the attack, which occurred around 5:30 P.M. (1430 GMT). The spokesman said that the wounded were taken to hospital, and that some of them were undergoing surgery.

Polyakova Synagogue Rabbi Yitzhak Kogan, who is also an Israeli citizen, was among the injured. A witness said Kogan and several security guards wrestled the attacker to the ground and held him until police arrived.
An initial investigation revealed that a skinhead wearing a leather jacket told the guards at the entrance to the synagogue "I will kill people. I will kill Jews," before bursting into the synagogue.

Ha'aretz also gives a chronology of the latest anti-Semitic acts in Russia.

In Venezuela, Hugo Chavez:
"The world has enough for all, but it turned out that some minorities, descendants of those who crucified Christ, descendants of those who threw Bolivar out of here and also crucified him in their own way in Santa Marta, there in Colombia. A minority took the world's riches for themselves,"

Some people have defended that last one by saying that the Jews didn't fight Bolivar, so he must be talking about someone else. The argument proceeds to note that since mainstream scholars no longer subscribe to the view that the Jews killed Christ, he must be talking about the Romans. Of course, the Romans didn't fight Bolivar either, so this is somewhat inconsistent. I think that the plain meaning of the statement is as an anti-Semitic slur.

In Canada, Anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic actions are on the rise in major universities:
Speakers from the student club Zionists at McMaster shared their frustration over anti-Israel literature on campus. The group was formed three years ago in response to anti-Zionist activity on campus by the group Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights.

As well, Betar-Tagar's director of campus affairs, Jonathan Jaffit, showed photos from Israel Apartheid Week at the University of Toronto earlier this year.

Signs displayed on campus at the time included, "Globalize the Intifada," "JNF out of Canada" and "Zionism = Racism."

Flyers displayed and distributed included the logo of the Fatah-affiliated Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade militia, which has been named by the Canadian government as a terrorist organization.

Independent documentary filmmaker Igal Hecht presented a documentary about anti-Israel vitriol at York University. The film, Protest, which aired on Vision TV in 2003, showed confrontations between Arab and Jewish students that went from verbal to physical.

In the film, one student warns that Jewish students should be cautious on York's campus, while another doesn't recommend the campus to Jewish students.

Uri Nachim, Betar-Tagar's co-president at York, remembers how in his first year, discussions between Arab and Jewish groups centered on how Israel and Palestine could peacefully coexist. Now, he said, the debate is about whether Israel should exist at all.

Dina Glatter, a York student, recalled an event organized to honour the Israel Defence Forces that was stormed by protesters, and signs saying, "IDF = Gestapo" remained in a central campus location for a week before being removed.

I am particularly curious about the call to "globalize the Intifada". How would one go about doing that? Who would one suicide bomb in Canada, or France, or America? Is there any plausible answer to that besides "the Jews"?

In Paris, 3 Jews are assaulted by African and Arab men.

So I open the floor. What do we do about it? What's sustaining the rabid anti-Semitism that continues the world over, and how do we combat it?

Books At My Doorstep

Or across campus, in my case. My latest Amazon binge just arrived in the mail today. Unfortunately, since the campus post office is on the other side of Carleton, I had to pick up the books between classes--which meant adding three very heavy books to my already bulging backpack. Ouch.

Anyway, the three additions to my happy bookshelf are Assassin's Gate by George Packer, Critical Race Theory: The Cutting Edge, edited by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, and And We Are Not Saved by Derrick Bell. The first of these is very exciting, because I have heard universal raves about this book from virtually everyone who has read it, and it seems to be the most through explication of many of the suspicions I've had about the Iraq over the past several years.

The last of these books, by contrast, is particularly tragic. Derrick Bell, as you may well know, is the founder of the Critical Race Theory movement--a philosophy of which I am somewhat enamored with. And not only that, he is coming to Carleton College to speak at our convocation next friday. And where will I be on that auspicious day? Driving to Seward, Nebraska for my first debate tournament of the term. Oh cruel world--why do you toy with me so?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Blogroll Updates

Apropos my last post on law blog rankings, Pepperdine Law Professor Roger Alford asks the obvious question--why are so few of those blogs on the blogroll of a law geek like myself?

Having no good answer, I resolved to update the list. And so, I welcome ACSBlog, Conglomerate, Ideoblog, Mirror of Justice, Opinio Juris, Sentencing Law and Policy, and TaxProf Blog to my prestigious roll. Try to contain your enthusiasm.

Do The Math

Opinio Juris and Tax Prof Blog have both issued lists of the most popular law blogs (in the latter case, law professor blogs). They compiled their list by looking at the Ecosystem Traffic Rankings, and listed in order any blogs found in the top 2,500. Just to massage my ego, I decided to see where I'd fall (this blog almost definitely doesn't qualify as a pure "law" blog, but humor me).

My rank is 2,036, which would put me last in the group (but still would make the cut). That's pretty cool. I should also note that this is coming off one of the weakest blogging months I had in quite some time--when I blog full strength, I average closer to 200 hits a day (rather than 178 currently). So if anything, my position at the moment is understated.

But I was curious to note that my traffic ranking was considerably better than my link ranking (4,042). But upon further inspection, my blog actually had one of the smaller variances. The two blogs bookending me, for example, had link ranks of 5,726 and 1,266, but the blog with a traffic rank of 2,038 had a link rank of 35,796--way out in the hinterlands. What gives here?

Going by link count ranking instead of traffic reshuffles the deck--but perhaps not as much as one might expect. Here's the original list using traffic counts (with my blog added) from Opinio Juris:
1. The Volokh Conspiracy (#46)
2. How Appealing (#146)
3. Balkinization (#189)
4. Professor Bainbridge (#192)
5. Sentencing Law and Policy (#367)
6. TaxProf Blog (#371)
7. (#420)
8. Conglomerate (#448)
9. PrawfsBlawg (#475)
10. Concurring Opinions (#524)
11. ACSBlog (#762)
12. Leiter's Law School Rankings (#765)
13. Appellate Law and Practice (#1083)
14. Southern California Law Blog (#1084)
15. Opinio Juris (#1183)
16. Ideoblog (#1194)
17. ContractsProf Blog (#1225)
18. CrimLaw (#1378)
19. Business Law Prof Blog (#1820)
20. The Debate Link (#2036)

Here's the list via link rankings:
1. The Volokh Conspiracy (#10)
2. Professor Bainbridge (#61)
3. Balkinization (#164)
4. How Appealing (#245)
5. (#823)
6. Conglomerate (#1248)
7. Concurring Opinions (#1337)
8. Southern California Law Blog (#1155)
9.PrawfsBlawg (#1564)
10.CrimLaw (#2059)
11.ACSBlog (#2130)
12. TaxProf Blog (#2175)
13. Sentencing Law and Policy (#2726)
14. Opinio Juris (#3326)
15. Ideoblog (#3866)
16. The Debate Link (#4042)
17. Appellate Law and Practice (#4628)
18. Leiter's Law School Rankings (#9050)
19. ContractsProf Blog (#10479)
20. Business Law Prof Blog (#12577)

I'm not saying that link-counts are a better barometer of a blog's worth than daily hits. In fact, I'd probably lean toward hits as the best measuring tool, though both have their uses. It is interesting to see, though, which blogs are linked disproportionate to their hit-counts, and which ones are read more than linked.

It's interesting to see that the majority of these blogs fall into the latter category. With the exception of the top-most blogs (Volokh, Bainbridge, Balkin), every blog on the list has a better traffic ranking than link ranking. Somebody must be filling that space--there must be blogs that get better link rankings than traffic rankings. Are these just blogs with inflated counts due to game-like "link swapping" and blogring membership? Or is something else at work here?

I Like It

Mark Schmidt wants to reframe the "lobbying scandal." Step one: Don't call it a "lobbying scandal"
That's the other side's frame. This is not a lobbying scandal. It's a betrayal-of-public-trust scandal. Lobbyists have no power, no influence, until a public servant gives them power. That's what DeLay and the K Street Project was all about. What they did was to set up a system by which lobbyists who proved their loyalty in various ways, such as taking DeLay and Ney on golf trips to Scotland, could be transformed from supplicants to full partners in government.

"Betrayal-of-the-public-trust scandal" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue. But the sentiment is right. Abramoff is a very sleazy guy, no question. But he only got to where he was because members of congress--people who are elected to serve the people--let them in the back door, front door, side door, and open windows. At the end of the day, this isn't about lobbyists. Lobbying is not even all that bad, intrinsically (as has been noted before, it's even a constitutionally guaranteed right). It's about congressmen abusing their position of power to get enriched by said lobbyists. It's the congressmen who need to go down. The lobbyists are just prosecution witnesses.

Link via Kevin Drum.

Monday, January 09, 2006

The Missing Blog Women

The lonely Christine Hurt of Marquette University tackles the subject (H/T: Volokh). An excerpt:
Blogging requires little capital, education, or skills. So, even if women were being denied access to capital or to educational opportunities, women could still blog. Women would not have to petition a dean for money or go to a bank or even ask the dean for research support. Some blogging platforms are free, and most are cheap. The barriers to entry of blogging are as close to zero as one can imagine. The questioners at the panel referred to time, and free time could be seen as a barrier to entry to blogging. However, I have come to believe that we all make time-based choices and we can make time for new activities if we want to do so. I don't piddle; I don't drink coffee or do the NYT crossword except on airplanes. I don't watch TV now that Rome is over and I exercise just enough not to die. This leaves me some time to blog.

I too exercise just enough not to die. Or so I think--at 19 your body can propel itself on Grilled Cheese, Blue Powerade, and the occasional Apple indefinitely.

For those interested in the particular stats, Dan Solove has them. 25% of law bloggers are women. 34% of all law professors are women, but only 25% of tenured ones are. The trend line looks good though--45% of newly hired academics are women.

Wow, It's a Good Thing I Don't Blog Anonymously

I've probably annoyed a few people with the posts I've written on this blog. Frankly, I don't think I'd be doing my job if I didn't. But if I hadn't stopped blogging anonymously in the very earliest days of the venture, this penchant for aggrevation might have gotten me in trouble.

John Cole tallies another marker on his Bush-regret chart.

Pretty Please

I'm always amazed at those who, in what they appear to think is a very clever riposte, tell pro-war bloggers (like myself) that we should have "asked the Iraqis" first. I'm always curious how the proposed that be done? Should we have commissioned a poll? I'm sure Saddam would have been very receptive to that. Maybe we could have had him run the poll! I can call out the results now:
0% for invasion, 100% for eternal Ba'ath rule. 100% say life in Iraq is "divine", 0% say it is excellent, good, fair, or poor. 98% say Saddam Hussein is God, 2% say he's mortal. Whoops, those 2% got executed--100% for "God." Woohoo! Perfect score!

The odds that we could have gotten a response from the Iraqi people that would have been clear enough to assuage the anti-war left is nil. Besides, it's a disingenuous claim anyway. Even had they made a clear request for a military intervention, I don't think the left would support it. How do I know? Simple: I don't see any DKos post advocating for a US invasion of Myanmar:
For proof of how grim things have become in Myanmar, consider how locals talk about America's invasion of Iraq. There is no griping about violations of Iraqi sovereignty, no carping about the mysterious absence of weapons of mass destruction, no horror at the bloodthirsty insurgency that has ensued. Only one criticism is ever voiced: why hasn't America invaded Myanmar too? A monk, a taxi driver, a student, all shyly ask your correspondent whether America might not be prevailed upon to topple their dictatorial regime next. The country is stuck in such a rut that the prospect of a foreign invasion is a fond hope, not a fear. [The Economist, "The Mess the Army Has Made--Myanmar," 7/23/05]

So let's hear it, folks! I'm waiting for a pro-war march by the left to send our boys back to Southeast Asia. After all, we asked first, and the locals said: go for it.

Incidentally, I've been asked before why, given that I supported the war in Iraq, why I didn't support and/instead a war in North Korea, Sudan, Iran, or any number of other countries. The answer is complex. First and foremost, Iraq is what was on the table. Advocating blindly for an intervention in Sudan that wasn't going to happen would be an exercise in futility. Iraq wasn't. Second, there is at some level a cost-benefit analysis I did--I'll admit it--based on how much good the US could do versus the costs it would inflict on us. Some countries, like North Korea and Iran, could have inflicted catastrophic losses on American forces. Just because I'm an idealist doesn't make me insane--I want to make sure we're being practical in our foreign adventures. An Iraq war, done right and competently from the start, could do amazing good at minimum cost. And in spite of this administration's incompetence, I still believe that it was possible.

In any event, the point is at some level moot. We're there, and we have an obligation not to abandon them now, regardless of whether we had the duty to assist them in the first place. The latter question is an important debate--there is much to be said for both sides. The former, though, is no question. There is no option but victory.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Test of Will

According to CNN, the two declared candidates to replace Tom DeLay as House Majority Leader are John Boehner (OH) and Roy Blunt (MO).

I don't know much about the former. I have vague recollections of him being important in the Gingrich Revolution--#4 in the House Leadership or something--but then falling out of favor. It seems he's primed for a comeback (or, depending on your perspective, payback).

I do know of Representative Blunt, however. A member of the dirty thirteen, Blunt is cut straight from DeLay's mold--K street connected, sleazy, money-grubbing, hackish, and corrupt as hell. in fact, many consider him to be DeLay's protege, and by all accounts the student has learned well from the master.

Who Republicans choose in this race will speak volumes about how committed they are to the K Street Crowd. Will they try and clean house (so to speak)? Or will they keep on going for more of the same?

Conditions of Victory

Here is why I'll never join the anti-war movement (abbreviated version here). At a forum hosted by Representative Bob Filner (D-CA), "Citizen Smash", AKA the Indepundit, asking the anti-war congressman about victory in Iraq. Specifically, he inquired:
Are you committed to the success of our military in Iraq, or are you resigned to failure?

He proceeded to clarify "success" as "a stable, representative government that is capable of protecting itself against threats, without outside assistance."

Representative Filner didn't buy that definition. He proposed a different metric for success:
...Look, if you define success as "democracy," you know, why -- why would you choose Iraq to go anywhere, anyway? I mean, why are we supporting Saudi Arabia, or whatever? So, success can't be "democracy." Success can't be "lack of autocracy," because we support autocrats other places.

Success, it seems to me for these guys, is control of, not only the -- the strategic positioning, but the oil. So, success for me would say, "we don't need your lousy oil." We could start -- we could put -- we can run this whole country off renewable energy, right this minute.

And, we -- we wouldn't even care what happened in Iraq. Like we don't care what's going on in Africa, and we don't care what's going on in Saudi Arabia, we don't care what's going on in all these other nations... [emphasis added]

That is, to say the least, morally appalling. It defines victory wholly in terms of what benefits us, with not even a nod toward Iraqi lives or their future. And the end result is that "we wouldn't even [have to?] care what happened in Iraq." In other words, the end result is crypto-isolationism, where the status of the rest of the world is immaterial and irrelevant to American interests, where we are wholly independent and removed from the sufferings in the impoverished world.

Some might try to salvage the good Representatives rhetoric by saying that he wants to aggressively promote human rights in all countries, as opposed to singularly focusing on oil-producing nations. That may be, although it is difficult to ascertain this from his website, as it contains no mention of his foreign policy views. The problem is that I have yet to see a concerted and aggressive effort by anti-war congressional Democrats to bring about real human rights change elsewhere in the world. That's not to say that I think Representative Filner and his cohorts doesn't care about Human Rights violations in Iraq or Afghanistan or where-ever, because I'm sure they do. It's that I think the temptation of complacency will become to great--even if they supports strong action in the abstract, I don't think they have the political fortitude to aggressively pursue their enactment as real world policy. Which means that the end result is isolationism--and frankly, I'm not convinced that's a prospect that bothers Filner and his allies too much. Moreover, regardless of whether Filner is willing to invest in alternative methods in the long-term, it still tells us nothing about why he doesn't consider a stable, democratic, and secure Iraq to be a victory in the short-term. There does not seem to be any reason to substitute oil politics for democracy in the present case, even if we may wish to challenge the tactics we used to secure those ends. In other-words, regardless of why we went in, we should go out leaving in our wake freedom and democracy, not Hybrid cars. To make such a selfish standard of victory is a slap in the face to the Iraqi people, and there is no other way to interpret it.

It is unfortunate that much of the commentary is rote-repetitive "Democrats are stupid!" (I of course exempt my Moderate Voice colleague from this attack). It's unfortunate because Citizen Smash himself is a serious blogger who, as far as I can tell, seriously believes in this mission not as a partisan issue but a moral one. The only way we're going to win this war is if we view in that light. Even John Kerry, with his "Pottery Barn" principle, accepted this (at least through the 2004 election campaign): "You break it, you buy it." But as I noted with regards to Bush's latest Iraq speech, the political discourse surrounding Iraq has, on both sides, largely consisted of political extremists seeking to use the events to partisan advantage. The people who are hurt are American soldiers left bereft of competent policy, and Iraqi civilians who have been given no indication that the progressive left cares about their future. This isn't sustainable, and I blame our whole political community for sending them down this road to hell. They deserve better.

Blogging As Scholarship As Struggle

Major points to anyone who can identify the allusion.

Anyway, Paul Caron blogs on an AALS panel on the quite salient topic (to me anyway) of blogging by law faculty members (H/T: Orin Kerr). The three panel participants were Larry Solum (Legal Theory blog), Vic Fleischer (Conglomerate), and Randy Barnett (Volokh Conspiracy).

There seemed to be a fair amount of trepidation about blogging by junior faculty, most manifest in the fear that senior faculty might get offended by a comment and retaliate come tenure time. Other issues were time management and self-regulation. However, Professor Fleischer pointed out that blogging can also raise a young scholars profile and get her/him invited to conferences, test-run new ideas, and get immediate feedback. So while I recognize the concerns, I think that for the careful pre-tenure professor, blogging can still be a professional perk.

On the more meta-level, I agree with Professor Solum that blogging will not transplant but complement traditional scholarship. I know this argument has been made before, but to briefly reprise--blogging is fast and allows for immediate reactions, while traditional scholarship is slower but more meticulous. Both have functions--and its been interesting to see how law journals are incorporating smaller, quicker, bite-sized pieces into their publishing (the Yale Law Journal's Pocket Part, for one). In any event, it sounds like an interesting discussion--wish I could have been there.

UPDATE: See also Dan Markel.