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Overlawyered, which chronicles what it self-assuredly refers to as "the high cost of our legal system," took notice of this little-mentioned Supreme Court decision in its December 11 entry. Describing the ruling as a "gigantic expansion of liability," the author, Ted Frank, observes that doctors can be expected to react in one way and one way only: by telling patients simply not to drive. If this works, who knows? It just might alleviate those two-hour traffic jams on the way home from work, decrease carbon emissions, and get people to (gasp!) read instead of driving to the mall to cash in on holiday sales.
Then again, this is the Massachusetts Supreme Court, which likes to agitate the establishment with its progressive rulings — remember its landmark ruling on gay marriage in 2003? It still hasn't caught on in the way gay rights advocates have hoped, though if it enraged Pat Robertson, that's good enough for me.
Perhaps cronyism does have its limits, even in George W. Bush's America. Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, has abandoned his bid to appeal his conviction for perjury and obstruction of justice in the now infamous CIA leak case involving outed CIA agent Valerie Plame. Bush may have overturned the sentence of his former assistant, but that still doesn't undo the conviction, which stands.
The Wall Street Journal's law blog has an appropriately sarcastic December 11 entry (even more so than the one you're reading right now) which details the many reasons as to why Scooter is dropping his appeal. Could it be that the luster of terror threats has waned in recent months and now Bush Co. is off concocting new ways to scare America into mindless submission? Or has Scooter simply accepted his status as the administration's sacrificial lamb?
It is Christmas Eve, and with the last-minute rush to get all your presents wrapped, it's easy to forget that Christmas is not (or isn't supposed to be) an exercise in debt accruement but a religious holiday celebrating the birth of a savior. Much has been made of the "war on Christmas" in recent years by pundits who can't stand to see menorahs in airport lobbies and shopping malls, but the religious debate extends beyond which holidays get named on the calendar and which ones undergo politically correct euphemisms.
Legal Theory Blog has a fascinating entry on using religion as the basis for lawmaking by Michael J. Perry of Emory University School of Law titled "Religion as a Basis of Lawmaking? Herein of the Nonestablishment of Religion." The separation of church and state is increasingly under attack from various fundamentalist groups, and it is worth understanding why those who do believe in it continue to uphold one of the most basic concepts of American law.
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