Tuesday Talk*: Revenge of the Slackoisie

In a Tuesday Talk last month, the question was posed whether the groundswell of a new movement dedicated to only getting out of bed when absolutely necessary was a good idea. Why work yourself to death (or momentary discomfort, as those paper cuts really hurt) when it’s only to serve the benefit of others, like corporations, the ultra-wealthy and your parents’ pension), when you can have more fun doing as little as humanly possible?

Charlie Warzel, who promoted the elevation of slackers to cult status, wrote a follow-up to address the “rage of the career defenders.” Continue reading

Intellectual Repression Through Interpretative Dance

For about a decade, Scottish solicitor Brian Inkster and I have had a running joke about being invited to the Clio convention to do “The Future of Law” in interpretative dance. It was funny because it was so absurd, as were the fantastical claims of how the law would change, how the  forward thinkers would reinvent the new normal of law with technology, with empathy, with an entirely new understanding of how the law could serve as a vehicle for progress.

Here we are, a decade later, and while some tech changes have taken hold, not much of substance has changed. The naysayers might chalk it up to lawyers being so conservative and resistant to change, but as Keith Lee pointed out, “It’s not that lawyers are anti-technology, it’s that they are anti-bullshit.” Continue reading

Yale Law Dean’s “Default”

They enter with minds full of mush, so what’s a dean to do but speak of them with a mouth full of mush? Yale prawf and deputy dean Ian Ayres has made his choice, and it’s “they.”

With the start of a new school year this fall, I am adopting a new practice. It is already common for my university colleagues and me to ask our students for their preferred pronouns at the beginning of the semester. In these efforts to thoughtfully ascertain how people choose to be described, not enough attention is paid to circumstances when it is most appropriate not to specify gender at all. I would never intentionally misidentify someone else’s gender — but I unfortunately risk doing so until I learn that person’s pronouns. That’s why, as I begin a new school year, I am trying to initially refer to everyone as “they.”

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At The VA, Critical Care and Critical Race

The scope of my involvement with the Veterans Administration was helping my father, a WWII vet, and my father-in-law, a Korean Conflict vet, deal with the bureaucracy. And that was mostly waiting on hold on the phone, which would be a full-time job in some cultures. When a human finally answered, they tended to be helpful and pleasant provided you could dedicate your life to waiting for them. I suspect the hold was no longer or shorter based on a lack of equity.

Yet, the VA, like the rest of government, is under orders to seek and destroy inequity, and so its resources have been diverted from reducing the wait on the phone to listening. Not to vets, per se, but to vets of a certain stripe. Continue reading

The Point Isn’t To Fix The Law, But Murder It

For a while now, progressive activists have done everything they can to demonize the courts, primarily the Supreme Court given that Trump appointed three justices who, they explain, are partisan hacks determined to do their master’s bidding.

But they’ve cranked up the volume to 11 following the denial of injunctive relief in the Texas SB8 case, which proves to the hysterical that they were right all along. Their outrage had been falling a bit flat up to then because they sky kept not falling. Indeed, the courts had been doing a remarkably good job of being courts until then. Continue reading

Covid Rules And Covid Cops

Vaccinations are good, so who could question the decision of New York City’s intrepid mayor in requiring restaurants to only seat people who have been vaccinated? At this point, the assertion that “vaccinations are good” might irk people who either still harbor doubts or drank dewormer because that makes more sense than a vaccine, which we’re reliably informed causes testicles to swell. But that’s the sort of concern that typically takes one’s eye off the sucker punch about to land on the left side of your head.

It began as a simple request that is becoming part of New York’s pandemic routine: A hostess at a popular Italian restaurant on Manhattan’s Upper West Side asked three would-be customers for proof that they had been vaccinated as required for those seeking to dine indoors.

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Short Take: Minnesota Supreme Court Reverses Noor’s Murder 3 Conviction

It was a dicey case from the get-go, a baby Somalian cop shooting an Aussie blond woman who called 911 to bring him to the alley where she heard a woman scream. So the Reasonably Scared Cop Rule kicked in and, just like that, Justine Damond was shot, and died, by the hand of Mohommed Noor.

Noor was charged and convicted of Murder in the Third Degree, as well as Manslaughter 2. The Minnesota Supreme Court reversed the Murder 3 conviction.

Chief Justice Lorie Gildea found that third-degree murder was an inappropriate charge on the grounds that such a conviction requires that a defendant’s conduct not be directed specifically at the person killed.
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Selling of The Tax Gap Fix

To the motivated believers at the bottom of the critical-thought challenged pyramid, there are two abiding beliefs. Tax the rich and get stuff free. The former, because no one deserves to be better off than they are, and the latter because everything they want and need has morphed into an entitlement. People have a right to health care, food, housing, education, child care and wifi.

And to some extent, they’re not entirely wrong, as the top of the wealth pyramid has gone from merely rich to obscenely rich, and the bottom has watched as the incentives to work hard  and succeed appear to have gone out of reach, with too many unable to afford basic services despite playing by the rules and working hard. There are a great many reasons that make these beliefs more true or false under various circumstances, but that doesn’t change the fact that many believe these two things, tax the rich and get stuff free, is the right thing for the Biden Administration to do. Continue reading

Following The Client Down The Plea Withdrawal Rabbit Hole

Granted, there was always a good chance that defending a person charged in the January 6th insurrection was going to have its pitfalls. It’s the nature of the beast, the working of a mind of someone whose grasp of reality was so distorted that he was inclined to be there, to do whatever he did, to buy into the insanity of the conspiracies and lies, in the first place.

But crazy clients are nothing new in criminal law, and dealing with a defendant’s irrationality is part of the gig.

The first Jan. 6 rioter sentenced for a felony charge began mounting a desperate bid Wednesday to unravel his plea agreement, claiming through a newly retained attorney that his signature on the deal was forged. Continue reading