Blawg Review

It's not just a blog carnival; it's the law! ~ a fool in the forest

Previewing Blawg Review #26

Tom Mighell is Senior Counsel and Litigation Technology Support Coordinator with the firm of Cowles & Thompson in Dallas, Texas. Well beyond his jurisdiction, Tom Mighell is highly regarded as the publisher of the Internet Legal Research Weekly newsletter, as well as the Internet legal research weblog, Inter Alia, among other things.

Tom is a speaker and author on Internet and technology issues at national conferences, including the ABA Techshow 2005, as well as solo and small firm conferences. He also serves as a consultant to attorneys and small business owners on issues of Internet security, privacy, and computer maintenance. Even among those who know their way around the Internet, Tom Mighell's the go-to-guy for the latest tips and tricks for technology-assisted legal research.

Tom was recognized in 2004 at as one of the two Best Legal Blogging Experts, and Inter Alia was picked Runner-Up in the Best Overall Legal Blog category. Dennis Kennedy said it best:
I usually tell bloggers-to-be to look at Tom's blog to get a good idea of how to post quality content on a regular basis. Inter-Alia.Net provides a steady stream of useful information and Tom's generosity in mentioning the blogs of others is unparalleled.
We've been looking forward to Tom Mighell's Blawg Review #26 with much anticipation and high expectations. His "Blawg of the Day" is a regular feature that brings Tom's loyal readers back to Inter Alia day after day for links to the latest and greatest legal blogs.


a powerblog review by Lynne Meyer

AutoMuse, a blog written by E. L. Eversman, covers its subject matter from a unique perspective. In fact, according to E.L., it's currently the only place of its kind on the Internet.

As you might guess from the title, AutoMuse is an automotive blog. E.L. is the chief counsel for Vehicle Information Services in Bath, Ohio, USA. And the blog is also a "blawg," covering legal topics as well.

E.L. calls it "just downright useful information" for consumers, attorneys, car people and anyone seeking specific information, including automotive-related legislation, the conflict between insurance companies and collision repairers, diminished value and a disinterested opinion of how cars hold up after use. Says E.L.:
"I always thought it was odd that there were lots of reviews about new cars, but no one ever bothered to provide information about whether it would be a great vehicle after 3 years and 25,000 miles. I try to accommodate that need as well as provide a wide range of auto-related information."
Since Vehicle Information Services pretty much owns this market segment, anything AutoMuse provides is new territory.

Despite this being a "blawg," AutoMuse covers a very wide range of topics that appeal to industry insiders, consumers, lawyers and others. The writing style is straight forward and there's everything from security breach notification laws and the design and handling of the Thunderbird Convertible, to the "Can-I-Sit-Behind-Myself Test."

On the topic "Security Breach Notification Laws Get Insurer Attention," E.L. reports that the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) notified its members about 19 newly enacted state security-breach notification laws, warning more states will likely follow suit. E.L. remarks that "given the amount and extent of personal information insurers collect in claims processing, I shudder to think what information identity thieves could get if they hacked into insurer files."

About the aforementioned seat test, E.L. reports, "I'm 6' tall, and in many cars, I can't comfortably sit behind myself. In the Mazda5, I didn't have a problem."

Blogging has proved to be a superior medium for raising awareness of and rallying support for a very important issue in the U.S.:
"Until I started blogging about problems between insurers and collision repairers over fixing vehicles, most people weren't aware that we don't have used motor vehicle safety standards. In other words, if your brand new car is involved in an accident two days after you buy it, it may not meet any of the crashworthiness or safety standards it had to meet upon leaving the factory after it's repaired and returned to you."
Even though E.L. had raised the issue in other ways, including being published in legal journals, quoted in trade publications, and as a frequent speaker, there was little response until the blog. "Since I began blogging about this, however, I've gained the support of automotive engineers, auto manufacturers, collision repairers and some attorneys to help me find a mechanism to ensure that used motor vehicles continue to meet a level of ongoing safety. I owe this all to the power of blogging."

You'll find a lot more at this informative blog, including roundups of automotive-related posts from around the blogosphere, known as the Carnival of the Cars. Finally, we'd like to point out that AutoMuse has achieved recognition, by being named in the recent Forbes Best of the Web blog awards in the category of Automobile blogs.

Head on over and check out this informative resource, AutoMuse.

Previewing Blawg Review #25

It's been three weeks since Todd Chatman kicked off "back to law school" month at Blawg Wisdom and, now, he's back to wrap it up with Blawg Review #25, at the blog he calls ambivalent imbroglio.

Ambivalence describes "simultaneous conflicting feelings," from German, ambivalenz, coined in 1910 by German psychologist Eugen Bleuler (on model of equivalence, etc.) from Latin ambi- "both" + valentia "strength," from prp. of valere "be strong" (see valiant). A psychological term that by 1929 had taken on a broader literary and general sense. Ambivalent was first recorded 1916.

Imbroglio means a "confused entanglement" dating from 1750, from the Italian, imbroglio, from imbrogliare "confuse, tangle," from in- "in" + brogliare "embroil," probably from M.Fr. brouiller "confuse".

Feeling ambivalent about his imbroglio three years ago when he started blogging, he reached out to the blogosphere for direction:
So what to do now? Where to go from here? I'm something of an academic fugitive, on the run toward... what? Over the course of the next few days (and weeks?), I'll be trying to figure that out, although the process has already reached something of an advanced state. Right now, the options include law, library school, becoming a journalist/freelance writer, or heading off into the wild and wooly world of work with some non-profit like Vote Smart or Public Citizen. And the point here is that if you have any thoughts on any of this (academia, English as a profession, law, law school, libraries, becoming a librarian, library school, working for non-profits, these non-profits in particular, job searching and career changing more generally, etc.).... If you have any thoughts as this process continues, please do share by clicking the comment button below.
Over three years later, still no comments, but a lot has happened.

Crime & Federalism

a blawg reviewed by Mark Draughn

On Windypundit, I rant about civil liberties and legal issues and frightening police behavior. Because of these interests, I end up reading a lot of blogs by criminal defense attorneys. However, I've noticed that these attorneys themselves don't rant much about civil liberties, at least not in the same way I do. I guess that's because the justice system is something I observe, but it's something they're a part of. They may not like what they see, but it's the reality they have to work with everyday, and ranting about reality is for madmen. They have a client in peril, so they usually leave the ranting to outsiders like me.

This brings me to Norm Pattis at Crime & Federalism. Pattis is a criminal defense lawyer, but he's also a mad ranter like me. Check out his recent post on the Kelo decision, in which he comes within a hair's breadth of saying it's time to start shooting people:
Kelo is bad, terrifying law, the sort of law over which a person should think incendiary thoughts. We revolted against Britain over far less.
I guess a guy who's being hunted by one of his own clients is entitled to a little hyperbole now and then.

Pattis also does civil work, often suing misbehaving cops. He owns a rare book store. He writes fiction, and he's republishing one story in serial form on the Crime & Federalism site. Oh, and if the name "Norm Pattis" sounds familiar, it might be because he's been commenting on legal issues for the news media, although he's in recovery for that now.

The main show, however, is someone named Mike. He founded Crime & Federalism and describes it this way:
According to a report of the American Bar Association, there are over 3,300 federal crimes. These laws are interspersed in 50 titles of the United States Code. Also, the violation of federal regulations is often made criminal: the ABA estimates that the violation of at least 10,000 regulations is a federal crime.

We used to be able to count on one hand when Congress could define or punish crimes. Now no one can know the extent of potential criminal liability under federal law. This blog will explore what happened.
[Citations have been removed from most quoted content for clarity. See the original postings for more information.]

Mike summarizes his views and his concept of federalism like this:
I think there are two main types of federalists: the Heritage-Federalists and the Cato-Federalists. Our different approaches on policy, especially on crime and federalism, can be illustrated by comparing two different discussions on overcriminalization.

In Measuring the Explosive Growth of Federal Crime Legislation, sponsored by the Heritage Foundation, former Attorneys General Edwin Meese and Richard Thornburgh criticize Congress' willingness to criminalize garden-variety crimes, e.g., car jacking.. Some of the reasons they disagree with the growth of the criminal code include Congress' stepping on the toes of sovereign states, and the high economic cost to pay the law enforcement officers (including generous salaries and pensions). However, not once did Mssrs. Meese or Thornburgh talk about how unjust it is for a person's conduct to be covered by overlapping federal and state laws.

Heritage-Federalists are still down with the establishment, the only difference is they prefer smaller units of governments. Powerful states are fine, a powerful federal government is less desirable.

Cato-Federalists are more of the anti-establishment wing. We are as concerned with individual rights as the ACLU. We differ with the ACLU on many issues, though, because unlike the left, we think that less government leads to greater individual liberty.

Heritage-Federalists care about federalism because it strengthens the states. Cato-Federalists support federalism because it will help individual liberty flourish. It's two different worldviews.

Mike, 23 November 2004
Much of Crime & Federalism, especially the middle stuff, consists of summaries of legal briefs, decisions, and other kinds of things I don't really understand, such as Ken Lay Week or this discussion of pin and string cites. Mike's style changes several times, probably in response to changes in the kinds of work he does as he emerges from the legal education process.

Some of Mike's earliest stuff asks a lot of big questions about the law. Here is one of the most amazing things I've read about the Bill of Rights:
...Alexander Hamilton [...] thought a bill of rights would be unnecessary and dangerous...

Alexander Hamilton cited the preamble to the constitution, "We the people of the United States [ ] do ordain and establish this Constitution" as proof that we did not need a bill of rights. Since we created a government of limited powers, then why do we need a contract protecting our rights. "Here is a better recognition of popular rights than volumes of those aphorisms which make the principle figure in several of our state bill of rights, and which would sound much better in a treatise of ethics than in a constitution of government."

Moreover, Hamilton feared "declar[ing] that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why for instance, should it be said, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed?"

Can anyone today argue that Congress would lack power under the Commerce Clause to regulate the press? What did we learn about the Commerce Clause that Alexander Hamilton missed?

Mike, 12 April 2004
I never thought of it that way. If—as is apparently the case these days—the Commerce Clause really gives Congress the power to regulate carjackings and toilet flushes and what farmers grow for their own consumption, then of course the Commerce Clause gives Congress the power to regulate the press. It's only the First Amendment's revocation of that power that keeps them from doing so.

Mike characterizes the modern meaning of the Commerce Clause this way:
The only way to understand the Court's Commerce Clause jurisprudence is by turning to chaos theory. Chaos theory tells us that if a butterfly flaps its wings in Hong Kong, it may cause a hurricane in Texas.

If I sneeze in California, it may cause an earthquake in Missouri. Hence, Congress has the power to criminalize my intrastate sneezing because it may substantially affect interstate commerce. (After all, an earthquake can cause billions of dollars in damage. Everyone has heard of the million dollar man. But had you heard of the billion dollar sneeze?

Even one dollar spent in Utah will have a substantial affect on interstate commerce since this dollar will travel across the country many times.

Hence, the Commerce Clause confers upon Congress to regulate any activity it likes, so long as it does not offend the Court in so doing.

Mike 1 July 2004
Crime & Federalism covers a lot of topics. In a later post, he characterizes his earlier blog self as "quite the dilettante" for thinking himself qualified to write about some of those subjects. In a comment, Norm Pattis reassures him, "Dilettantes of the world unite! We have nothing to lose save our shame."

Besides, Mike brings a fresh point of view. Consider this comment about criminal defendants who get acquitted on "technicalities":
If an eighteen year old male who had sex with a 17 year and 9 month old female, was charged with statutory rape (in a state where the age of consent was 18), would we say he was charged under a mere technicality? If I committed some strict liability offense about which no reasonable person would know, who would say I was charged under a technicality? No one. Everyone would say, "You broke the law. Now go to prison where they serve chunky peanut butter."

How come only criminal defendants take advantage of technicalities? When prosecutors overcharge an indictment, or send people to prison for 10 years for importing lobster tails in plastic rather than paper bags, it's somehow consistent with wholesome morals and an effective criminal justice system. Why are constitutional rights technicalities where as criminal laws are the law?

Mike, 28 July 2004
I think that's pretty neat. I'm going to use that line of reasoning next time I get into that argument.

Mike's also annoyed by complaints about big-spending criminal defendants, and for exactly the same reason as I am:
Riddle me this: Why does it anger so many people when a criminal defendant spends massive amounts of money? Do they not know how much money the prosecution spends? This story from CNN is illustrative:
Prosecutors in the Kobe Bryant case spent nearly $400,000 trying to get the NBA star convicted of raping a woman at a Vail-area resort last summer, documents show. That includes nearly $75,000 for expert witnesses and travel, more than $78,000 to investigators and more than $35,000 for a broadcast news clipping service.
Once you factor in the salary and benefits for the investigators and prosecutors, the bill would likely reach 1 million dollars. Which is, by most educated guessers, what Kobe Bryant spent defending himself.

Mike, 15 September 2004. [The CNN link was dead.]
Benjamin Franklin once said, "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." Mike's New Year's Eve post from 2004 has a twist on that:
Disavowing the rights of criminal defendants on the ground that these rights so important to them will never be relevant to you, is immoral. Those who would allow the government to unconstitutionally abrogate the rights the rights of others but jealously guard their own deserve neither freedom nor safety.

Mike, 31 December 2004
What the heck, here's one more thing Mike and I agree about. Living in the land of the Nicarico case, this strikes home:
This excellent article entitled "Innocence Lost" discusses numerous cases of innocent people being freed from prison. As you might expect, none of the prosecutors apologized for falsifying evidence, withholding evidence in violation of their ethical and legal duties, and putting lying police officers on the witness stand. At the least, I expected to see a prosecutor ask: "How could this happen? How could I have done a better job? How can I prevent this from happening again?" Instead, what you get is this:
The strangest thing happened to John Stoll this past spring. After 20 years in jail for an infamous crime he did not commit, a judge said it had all been a mistake, and he was set free.

“You win some, you lose some,” the prosecutor shrugged, refusing to offer any admission of error or hint of an apology for all that her office had put Stoll through.
Mike, 16 November 2004
Read more of this review, first published on Windypundit.

Mike Cernovich is a Contributing Editor of Blawg Review, but he had no idea we'd be lifting this review. I confess to posting it here shamelessly just to make him and the reviewer, Mark Draughn, look good — and as a birthday gift for Norm Pattis.

Previewing Blawg Review #24

When Jay Williams started blogging at Jaybeas Corpus he promised to work his hardest to give the blog a purpose. And so it began, this documentary of the adventures of a law student and his three-legged cat in Washington, DC. Irreverent, insightful, and unpredictable, this humble law student's blog is always a good read.

From the start he promised not to get into the details of his personal life, but Jay's post on the eve of Hurricane Katrina, The Big Easy, is one of the most personal posts you'll read on a law blog. Typically, you won't find a lot "about" Jay Williams on his blog, except in posts where he writes about others.

Not unexpectedly, Jay put a lot of hard work into Blawg Review #24.

"Be afraid. Be very afraid," he warned us.

Editor's Note: Jay Williams has taken down his blog previously hosted at Jaybeas Corpus, so we are hosting a replacement copy of his presentation of Blawg Review #24 here.

Update your links to Blawg Review #24 to point to this post:

Monday, September 19, 2005

Blawg Review #24

Welcome, everyone, to another back-to-school edition of Blawg Review. I’m your humble 2L host, Jaybeas Corpus. I’ll forego the introduction and just invite you take a look around the blawg to get an idea of what goes on here when I’m not contributing to legal blogging history by putting together issue #24. There are many extremely good submissions this week, so let’s get to work.

Law students are returning to school across the country (and the world), and our biggest challenge is usually just getting back into the groove of classes. We work best when things are routine and we know what we can expect in each class. The more things we can plan out, the better. With that in mind, as a service to 1L’s and 2, 3, and 4L’s who may have forgotten, here are the six steps for making it through your classes. Feel free to modify as time (and content) permits.

Step 1 – Check the News

We all want to sound like we know what’s going on in the world when we’re talking to our friends. Not only that, but you never know when Renee Zellweger might find a new beau, and you definitely want to be the first to know. Particularly with morning classes, this is a great way to wake up and get your mind working. Here’s a sampling of some of the recent news stories bloggers have been blogging about:

Hurricane Katrina: Now What?

With the floodwaters finally receding and talk of rebuilding picking up, legal bloggers spent a lot of time in the past week discussing the various legal implications of the disaster. Jury Geek guest-blogger Philip Monte suggests that jurors, particularly in the south, may become “even more cynical and suspicious than they are at the present time,” not only in Katrina-related cases, but also in more general cases. These type of biases, he adds, may extend out to oil companies.

Professor Becker and Judge Posner at the Becker-Posner Blog have different solutions on how to determine the amount of compensation for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Judge Posner would focus on those who could not have afforded insurance, while Professor Becker takes the position that the government should use the same standards as it uses for welfare, Medicaid, and other such programs. (Consider my description to be the LegaLines version of their arguments – I got the very basic point across, but if you just rely on my description, there’s no way you’ll completely understand.)

Raymond Ward saw the Katrina devastation firsthand and, along with many other attorneys, has relocated his practice elsewhere. He provides links to discussions and commentary about the effects of Katrina on the Gulf Coast legal community.

Texas Public Defender, host of Injustice Anywhere, is none too happy that a 73-year-old woman was arrested for looting in New Orleans and faced a $50,000 bond. While a subsequent judge decided to release her on a personal recognizance bond, the PD still wants to know what’s going to happen to the original judge.

Finally, in the “Hmm, This Could Get Interesting” department, Tom McKenna, a Virginia prosecutor, suggests that Mayor Ray Nagin and Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco could find themselves under Louisiana’s negligent homicide statute for their actions (or inactions) in response to the hurricane, especially in light of the charges against two nursing home operators for not evacuating many of their residents.

The Vioxx Verdicts

The legal community is still abuzz about the $253 million verdict against Merck & Co., Inc. This week, Evan Schaeffer at Legal Underground shares the transcript of his recent presentation on a panel discussion about the issue. Additionally, David Swanner at the South Carolina Trial Law Blog provides excerpts from an interesting Q&A with Mark Lanier, the attorney who won the case, and also links to the entire discussion.

Who Is John Roberts?

If there was any one topic addressed the most this week among legal bloggers, it was clearly the John Roberts hearings. Is anyone really surprised? While the media and Congress essentially view his confirmation as a foregone conclusion, that didn’t stop us from voicing our opinions not only about Roberts, but also about the process. As many have come to expect, SCOTUSblog has an exhaustive run-down of each day, as well as provides several round-ups of what other blawgs are saying about the Roberts hearings. I recommend going to the main site and browsing through the recent Roberts posts. To get an idea of the kind of impressive work they’re doing, check out this liveblog of day four of the hearings.

Juris Slacker, hearkening back to the Clinton impeachment hearings, suggests we should call Roberts “Slick Johnny.” I’m pretty sure that’s not an insult.

As for the utility of the hearings themselves, Underneath Their Robes provides a good roundup of opinions, noting how skillfully Roberts managed to not answer anything. UTR also lobbies for the following question to be posed to Judge Roberts: “How does it feel to be the fifth-hottest [male] federal judge in the United States?” Watch out, Alex Kozinski, Roberts’ publicity is only going to help him in the rankings. Of course, if news photographers keep managing to take pictures like this, Judge Kozinski might not have much to worry about.

Jane Woodworth takes issue with the line of questioning many of the senators utilized, basically trying to get Judge Roberts to say how he would “mangle the law” in order to get to an outcome that particular senator wanted. Regardless of the outcome of the vote, Ms. Woodworth observes that these hearings have certainly exposed “a strong disconnect between the job of the Courts, and what many politicians want the Courts to do.” Zing!

So now that it looks like we’ll have a new Chief Justice in the near future, what about that pesky other opening to the Court? Iowa law professor Tung Yin takes a stab at a prediction.

With all the talk of Judge Roberts’ past writings, what happens when a well-known (or even not well-known) legal blogger is nominated for a major judiciary position? Professor Bainbridge poses the question, and Ezra Klein provides a look into the future with a transcript from the Glenn Reynolds confirmation hearings.

One thing’s for sure, though: if IrishBrooke wants to follow in her great-great-great-great-uncle’s footsteps, she might want to start avoiding posts such as this one.

Step 2 – Find Funny Articles

One of my favorite hobbies is sending a funny link to one of my classmates (see step 4, infra), with the sole purpose of making him laugh out loud in class. I have succeeded in this once. This step works well after reading the news, because there are times where the news will depress you, and you need something to cheer you up. Aside from the standards of The Onion, Homestar Runner, and Fark, many bloggers also provide us with comedy gems.

The J-Walk Blog provides a link to and an excerpt from, a wonderful site that provides kids with helpful summaries, comic strips, and animations “explaining” our legal system, particularly the criminal justice system. Personally, my favorite section is “Toons.” Be sure to read some of the comments posted there. Here’s a gem: “Seriously, I can’t believe I have to do all this webpage for part fo [sic] detention.”

If Law For Kids isn’t amusing enough, you can always read up on Tony’s brush with (geeky) stardom last week. Maybe you’re not amused, but I sure was.

In the “this is really only funny to a specific group of people” category, check out some commentary over at The Patent Baristas, entitled “France Moves to Protect Strategic Yogurt Interests.

Step 3 – Shop Online

This is a very important step, as it not only keeps you from paying attention in class, but it also allows you to spend that loan/savings money that was specifically earmarked for your education. Be careful about whipping out the credit card in class, though – you don’t want to make it too obvious.

Evan Schaeffer provides us this week with the opportunity of a lifetime on eBay – the chance to own an actual 10 Commandments display ordered to be removed by a real-life federal judge! If you have $6,500 to spare, make sure to get your bid in by September 21st!

Apparently realizing the utility of shopping online when you should be doing plenty of other more important activities, Mr. Schaeffer shares some of the ultimate lawyer (and lawyer’s children) gifts. You’d better believe my children will wear an “attorney work product” bib.

Step 4 – AIM

AOL’s Instant Messenger (and other similar programs) has revolutionized the way law students make it through class. AIM allows you not only to chat with friends, but to be bailed out by classmates when you’re called on while shopping for “mess ipsa loquitor” bibs for your future children. Much like blawgs, AIM is a great way to debate issues with colleagues through the eloquence of the written word.

Hillel Levin provides a prediction of what will happen when the recent Pledge of Allegiance case makes it to the Ninth Circuit, and also responds to what other bloggers have said and predicted.

If there’s one thing law students love to debate, it’s Justice Scalia. Love him or not, it’s one of my (and many other students’) greatest joys in law school to read some of his scathing dissents. Richard J. Radcliffe over at Law Religion Culture Review provides a first-hand account of Scalia’s recent speech at Chapman University, which (not surprisingly) garnered a bit of controversy and media coverage.

MIbLAWg has an excellent podcast explaining why more people should participate in the discussion over the Michigan Supreme Court, known to many as one of the most “radical” courts in the United States. Enrico Schaefer, the host, also explains how blawgs make it possible for these types of discussions to occur in a truly public way.

Likelihood of Confusion’s Ron Coleman responds to another blogger’s criticism of “general search warrants” being used in India to fight illegal file-sharing.

Finally, when we’re not debating hot-button issues or sharing the latest articles from The Onion, we’re complaining about law school to each other, usually over AIM. Aside from reading Justice Scalia’s dissents and buying stuff with Westlaw/Lexis points, complaining about law school is a favorite pastime. Instead of just complaining, the [non]billable hour provides a slew of suggestions on how to make law schools better. Bruce MacEwen, host of Adam Smith, Esq., thinks along the same lines, and suggests that law schools across the country provide classes on “law firms as businesses.” Nicole takes a more practical approach, questioning the economic sense of her school’s parking enforcement system.

Step 5 – Learn!

By now, there are about 15-20 minutes left in class. You know everything that’s going on in the world, your friends have all signed off, and you’re out of money. You have nothing left to do but actually learn about some legal issues facing the U.S. today. Don’t fret, though – class is almost over...and hey, some of the issues can be pretty fun.

Trademark/Copyright Law

In the realm of trademark law, Abnu at Wordlab can’t help but wonder if the good folks at LEGO are taking their brand name a little too seriously with the disclaimer at the intro to their website, encouraging people to refer to their products as “LEGO bricks or toys” and not “LEGOS.” However, their efforts to prevent “genericide” don’t stop there.

Enrico Schaefer notes that the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that the presence of a trademark in a web page’s URL post-domain path does not violate federal trademark law.

Kevin Thompson of Cyberlaw Central summarizes a recent case between Blizzard, Inc. and two computer programmers who reverse-engineered some of Blizzard’s software to create their own game server for Blizzard games. The 8th Circuit determined that the granting of summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff’s breach of contract claims was proper.

Legal Ethics

In the often-murky world of legal ethics, many waited years for the Illinois Supreme Court to reverse the $1 billion+ judgment for the plaintiffs in Avery v. State Farm, only to see the pivotal vote be cast by a justice who had questionable ties to State Farm. The plaintiffs have now argued that they were deprived of due process. E.L Eversman at AutoMuse has some good commentary on the issue.

Criminal Law / Criminal Procedure

Grits for Breakfast breaks down the debate over the new gun carry laws enacted in Texas, particularly how many prosecutors are creating their own rules about how to enforce it.

J. Craig Williams of May It Please the Court criticizes three rulings from the Ninth Circuit, which essentially give border inspectors the right to “pretty much take your vehicle apart and put it back together, even if it ends up with a hole in it or not all the parts reattached,” and wonders how 9/11 affected the outcome of these cases.

Step 6 – Whatever You Do, Try Not To Fall Asleep

Fighting off sleep is hard to do sometimes. You might find yourself in that weird ethereal world where things are more bizarre, but also make a lot more sense. If you find yourself in this netherworld, I would wager you could reach some sort of state of transcendence if you read the Harvest Moon Haiku, presented by David Giacalone at f/k/a.... Deep, man, deep.

Well, that just about does it for this episode of Blawg Review. I certainly enjoyed putting it together, and I hope you enjoyed reading it just as much.

Oh, and if any law professors are reading this, I can assure you that your students aren’t doing any of the above-listed activities (except learning). This is especially true if you’re one of my professors. I really need that participation bump.

Blawg Review has information about next week's host, and instructions about how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.

Professor Bainbridge's Dogs

Did you catch Professor Bainbridge's dogs in the The New Yorker this week? See why his dogs hate the blog! ... w00f!

Editor's Note:

4th Annual
"Howl"oween "Paw"rade
October 29, 2005
Downtown Bainbridge, NY

Sounds bitchin'. Might the Perfesser's dogs be getting dressed up for "Howl"oween this year?

Previewing Blawg Review #23

David Gulbransen is blogging from an undisclosed location in London, England, where he's working on a secret project, and hanging out at the Brick Lane Festival this weekend, all the while gathering posts for Blawg Review on Preaching to the Perverted.

Dave claims to have had a normal childhood in a mid-sized Midwestern town. He went to college at Indiana University, and now, against his better judgement, he says, he's a law student in Chicago. How he manages that from London, England, perhaps we'll find out by reading his blog. Oh, he also has a full-time job doing something as a technology professional. Apparently, he never sleeps.

Anyway, it can't be easy for Dave, researching Blawg Review this week from a country that might not have a decent internet connection and probably even makes him pay for local telephone calls. Dave, who likes to write his name with an exclamation mark, might be cracking under the pressure.
You know you are cracking...

...when you dream about Civil Procedure.

I had a dream that I had died and I was being judged to determine if I would go to Heaven or Hell. It turns out, it's all about personal jurisdiction and choice of law.

In my dream, when you die, you go to a Court of the After Life, where each side files these special motions to try to wrestle jurisdiction over your soul. It all hinges on minimal contacts--of sorts--and "fair play and substantial justice". A balancing test, really.

If you have more good contacts with people, Heaven gets jurisdiction and can apply their law, which is relatively forgiving. If you have more bad contacts with people, you're in Hell's court, where the law is a little more strict constructionist.

Well, I lucked out and ended up in Heaven's Court (hey, it was my dream) and then went on to be Solicitor General for God.

*insert maniacal laughter here*
In the words of Dave's blog tagline "wise up, suckers" and take a few minutes to submit your best law-related post, or recommend a great post from another law blogger you'd like to see on Blawg Review.

The Irish Trojan's Blog

Brendan Loy, a second-year law student at Notre Dame, began blogging in 2002, writing about football (his blog, named The Irish Trojan's Blog, combines Notre Dame's football team, the Fighting Irish, with that of his college team, the Trojans of the University of Southern California), his cats, his dog, his fiancée Becky, the Red Sox, politics, "The Lord of the Rings" and weather.

It's his blogging about the weather lately that has garnered attention in the blogosphere and in the New York Times, especially this prescient post about Hurricane Katrina:
"At the risk of being alarmist, we could be 3-4 days away from an unprecedented cataclysm that could kill as many as 100,000 people in New Orleans," Brendan Loy, who is 23 and has no formal meteorological training, wrote on Aug. 26 in his blog, "If I were in New Orleans, I would seriously consider getting the hell out of Dodge right now, just in case."

Mr. Loy's posting that Friday afternoon came three days before the hurricane struck and two days before the mayor of New Orleans, Ray C. Nagin, issued an evacuation order. Posts over the next several days, in aggregate, seem now like an eerie rewriting of the tale of Chicken Little, in which the sky does in fact fall.

In the cooperative and competitive world of blogs, Mr. Loy's has gotten some serious praise. Mickey Kaus, whose kausfiles blog is featured on, wrote on Friday that "Loy's blog for the past week is a pretty extraordinary document," adding that "it should maybe be in the Smithsonian, if you can put a blog in the Smithsonian."
Brendan's seen a lot of traffic at his blog today, and he took the opportunity to add his own postscript to the New York Times article, a follow-up to a press report that only a blogger can do. Check it out.

And take a look at The Irish Trojan Hurricane Katrina Wiki where Brendan aggregates links on the topic so he can take back his blawg from Katrina and get back to his school work. After all, he's on his way to the Supreme Court of the United States. He doesn't yet have the qualifications to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, but there might be an opportunity for Brendan Loy as the head of FEMA.

Previewing Blawg Review #22

This week's Blawg Review #22 proves again what many lawyers have known for years—if you want something researched thoroughly, get a smart law student on the case. Ambib has put together a completely readable "back to school" issue at Blawg Wisdom.

There's probably everything a law student needs to know about current topics of interest to lawyers—from breaking news about the nomination of Judge John Roberts for Chief Justice of the United States, and several posts from lawyers and law students personally affected by Hurricane Katrina, to advice from lawyers and law professors.
Law students, professors, and practitioners who blog are constantly writing posts that consist entirely or predominantly of advice to law students and recent law school graduates. However, since these bits of advice appear all over the web and at random times, it's hard for any one law student to know where to find them.

Enter Blawg Wisdom.

The idea behind Blawg Wisdom is simple: Gather together as much advice from blawgers as possible about law school and beginning a career in the law. That's it. Blawg Wisdom is an advice aggregator.
So, check out Blawg Review #22, the "back to school" issue at Blawg Wisdom. There's even some helpful advice for law students from Professor Bainbridge on Wine. In what might be a first, a law student allowed the Professor to hand something in late for Blawg Review this week, and gave full credit for the work. Like I said, smart law student.