Friday, May 30, 2008

First week!

Just finished my first week at the internship!  Super-fantastic is all I can say.  The people are all really nice and helpful.  And I love being in an environment where no matter how high up in the ranks the person is at the office, they're talking to me like an equal.  The boss of the whole office comes in to the mini-library (where the other intern and I do our work) on a pretty regular basis to find out if we know about something that he's fuzzy on (today the question was if we'd taken a bankruptcy course) or just to chat about the crazy case he's hearing.  Okay, the case itself isn't so crazy, but one of the attorneys is.  I watched part of the hearing, and this guy is picking little fights with his opposing counsel, talking back to the Commissioner (who is basically the judge, and who you don't talk back to) throwing mini-hissy fits, and breaking all sorts of evidentiary rules.  He made a snide comment in response to a witness' answer to a question (which was stricken from the record and he was asked to discontinue his commentary) and he apparently had some issue with opposing counsel nodding while taking notes to which the Commissioner asked that he act in a professional manner, please.  His questions are so objectionable that I was ready to start objecting.  So basically, I got a little dose of "How NOT to try a case - 101."

Anyway, aside from watching the rather entertaining hearing with the crazy attorney, I also finished my first assignment this week.  I got to write out the opinion for a case that has already been decided.  Which means that once it's gone through all its editing stages it will be put in the Mass. Appellate Tax Board Reporter.  =)  The case was pretty cut and dry, this guy was trying to say his land had been overvalued so his taxes were too high, the assessors provided evidence of five comparable sales to show that there was no overvaluation, and he provided evidence of...nothing.  He went in and complained, and then apparently in the middle of his testimony he stopped, said he was just going to go to the Appeals Court, got up, and walked out of the hearing room.  So, needless to say, without any evidence and without even a complete testimony, the valuation from the assessors was upheld.

My current assignment is more research-based.  I'm kind of at a dull "look through cases and make sure I'm not missing anything" stage, but I think I'm almost at the stage where I can start writing up my findings.  But boy did all that research make my Friday drag on.  The highlight of the day was when my supervisor came in and said that I had done pretty well with my first draft of the opinion I wrote.  He only looked it over and will be doing a more thorough edit in the near future but in general it looks good.  So that's nice to hear.

Let's see...oh, one more thing that's cool.  I can arrange my hours for the week however I want!  I can go in really early and then leave really early, go in later and just stay later, work an extra couple hours earlier in the week if I need to leave really early at the end of the week, whatever!  Well, okay, not whatever, I don't think I can go in at midnight and work until 8 am, other people still have to be there or I can't ask questions!  But anyway, I think the best part is that there's no set time for me to arrive in the morning, so even though I aim for 9 so I can leave at 5, if I get delayed and I'm there at 9:15, no big deal.  This morning I actually decided to go in at 10 because I had been out with friends last night and felt the need to sleep an extra hour.  It's glorious.  I love it.

Well, I think that's all the cool stuff about my job so far.  I'll keep you all posted.  Time to relax.  The job may be awesome, but I'm still tired.  =P
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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Now that I've had time to think about the world...

I wanted to write about this as soon as I learned about it in Con Law, but the rest of law school got in the way of my ability to think about it.  Now I've been reminded of it by browsing through news feeds to try and allay my boredom.  So here's the thing.  I've been against this "war" for a long time.  Notice the quotes?  Yeah, because when we came to the war powers unit in class, I learned that it is not, in fact, a war.  Congress has not declared war, and only Congress has that power according to the Constitution.  And you know who I'm actually angry at for that?  Congress.  Yes, I'm angry at the President for wanting to use the forces in the first place.  But Congress did not do their job.  Congress has the power to stop him and they didn't.  And they violated the very thing they enacted to force them to do their job, which they enacted in response to what happened with Vietnam.

See, back in the 70s, Congress passed what was called the War Powers Resolution.  In it, they essentially put in a great deal of limitations on the President's power to send armed forces into conflict.  This was to force them to do something if the President was using armed forces and essentially fighting in a war without Congressional authorization to be at war.  One way it forces them to do something is that there's a six month limit for use of forces if a war has not been declared.  If the 6 months are up and Congress hasn't done something to authorize these forces, then the AUTOMATIC response according to the resolution is for the troops to be brought back.  The idea was, if you can't decide between war and peace, the automatic response is peace.

Obviously it's been longer than six months.  So why are we still fighting?  Well, I'll tell you.  It's because the War Powers Resolution is not being enforced.  As our Con Law professor likes to point out - what is the difference between a contract and a promise?  Enforcement.  What is the difference between a legitimate piece of legislation and a useless piece of paper?  Enforcement.  The Presidents don't want to enforce it, most feel it's unconstitutional.  Maybe it is, but only the Supreme Court could decide whether it's constitutional or not.  But they only get a chance to interpret the Constitution when a law is passed that might violate it AND someone sues on the basis of the constitutionality of that law.  And since Congress is using a little exception that was written into the Resolution, even though the purpose was to FORCE THEM TO DECLARE WAR because they were avoiding their constitutional duties, the Court doesn't have reason to touch it because no one's suing on it because it's not really being enforced.  Congress is using the exception of a "special statutory authorization" to use forces by enacting special statutes (which didn't require the same level of public support as a declaration of war would) authorizing the use of forces "as necessary" in Iraq.  And guess who gets to decide if the forces are necessary?  Yes.  Congress gave a statutory authorization for the President to take the power he's not supposed to have and use it to fight a "war" without a proper declaration of war so that they can sit back and not do their job.

There was a purpose to that clause in the Constitution.  The Founding Fathers deliberately vested the power in Congress to declare war because they did not want to vest that power in one person.  They knew war.  They were soldiers.  They didn't want it to be easy for the country to get into a war.  They didn't want the President to have king-like power, that's what they just got away from.  So they trusted that a body made up of multiple people, representing the general population across the country, would take the time to deliberate and determine if a declaration of war was necessary.  Meanwhile, if we were actually being attacked, the President would be permitted to respond without a declaration from Congress, but that response would not be the beginning of a war unless Congress said so.  It would be for the purpose of neutralizing the threat.  So the point was supposed to be that without that declaration, actual WAR would not happen once the threat was neutralized.  So after Vietnam, Congress recognized that checks and balances don't work if the body that's supposed to provide the check doesn't do it.  The War Powers Resolution was passed in recognition of that failure.  And still, Congress is not providing the check they're Constitutionally required to provide.  And the Founding Fathers are turning in their graves.
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Monday, May 19, 2008

Now it's official...I'm really bored.

You don't have to read the whole survey. I didn't realize it was so long. But I filled it out, so I figured I'd go ahead and post it.

Where do you see yourself in 6 months?
Living with Vanessa, getting ready to wrap up my fall quarter of 2L law classes.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
As an associate in a big law firm, hopefully by then I will have at least purchased a condo so that I won't be squandering my money away renting a place that will never ever ever actually be mine.

Are you more open and directive or quiet and observant?
I'm quiet and observant at first. I like to know who you are as a person before just talking - lets me decide how much I can safely tell you about myself. I know that sounds like I'm not very trusting of people and, well, it's true.

If you could date a Hollywood star, who would it be?
I guess Hollywood means actors, not singers or speed skaters so...I don't care that he's much older than me, Johnny Depp is really f-ing hot and that's all there is to it.

Boxers, Briefs or Commando?
Boxers. Most guys I know "re-wear" jeans before washing them. Actually, most people I know re-wear jeans a few times before washing them. Gotta have something in between in that case. And briefs just don't look right.

When you relax at home, do you turn down the lights?
All my methods of relaxing require light. Especially reading, which is my favorite way to relax. I suppose I could turn down the lights when watching a movie but it's bad for your eyes to look at the light from the TV without ambient light so I don't usually do that.

If you've had a bad day, what cheers you up more: an episode of Will and Grace? or chatting with a friend?
Well, first of all, for me it would be an episode of Friends as I'm really not a fan of Will and Grace. But, even in light of that, probably chatting with a friend is better. Although I often retreat and don't talk to people when I'm upset so I'm more likely to just watch Friends.

If you were to buy a dog, what would it be?
I don't like dogs. But I guess if for some reason I were to get one, I'd probably get a Lab. They're alright.

If you had the choice between struggling financially and driving a hot car or having excess money, but taking the bus, which would it be?
Excess money and the bus. Especially here, everyone in Boston uses the T whether they have money or not. Seriously. People in suits, going to work. I've seen it.

Would you rather be a Criminal Judge or a Doctor?
First, there is no such thing as a "criminal judge." You're just a judge, and you do both civil and criminal trials. And, under the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution, "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district where in the crime shall have been committed..." thus it is unconstitutional for the judge in any criminal case to make a determination of guilty or not. And I'm assuming the essential point of differentiating between the invented position of "criminal judge" and doctor was that someone's life is in your hands, but as the judge does not actually have that power, ESPECIALLY in capital crimes, this is not actually a valid comparison. In some states with the death penalty, after a jury has determined that the person has committed a capital crime, the judge does make a determination as to whether the crime shall be punished by death or just by life imprisonment, but as not all states have the death penalty and not all states that have it make the determination like that, that fact still doesn't help this question any.

Alright, now that I'm done criticizing the question - I'd still rather be a judge, otherwise I'd be in med school, not law school.

Would you rather have 4 beers or a shot of Jagermeister?
Beer is gross. The shot of Jagermeister, even though that stuff is gross too, I know how to take shots without tasting them, and I don't think I can drink 4 beers without tasting them.

Would you rather bungee jump or sky dive?
Neither, but if I have to choose I'd go sky diving. Something about trusting a giant rubber band scares me more than trusting a parachute, since people have been trusting parachutes for a lot longer than they've been trusting giant rubber bands.

If you have to have your wisdom teeth pulled, would you rather get local anesthetic or get "put to sleep"?
I already had them pulled, and I was put to sleep. Although actually I had to be put to sleep because they had to take the buds out before they broke through the gums, my jaw was too small and they were going to mess up all the beautiful work my braces did.

Do you sleep on your side, back or chest?
Usually my side, sometimes my back.

You're financially strapped and you find a wallet with $500 cash in it.
Do you:
a) Take everything
b) Take the money and leave the wallet
c) Try to notify the owner and give it all back
d) Try to notify the owner and give it back w/o the cash, saying it was gone when you found it.

I lost my purse once. And then I got it back. It restored my faith in humanity, and if I ever have the chance to do that for someone else, I'm certainly going to.

I didn't have any cash in the purse at the time, other than a small change purse with like, a dollar in it or something. The change purse was missing - and the loss of the change purse itself made me more sad than the loss of the money inside because it was a gift a friend had brought back from Peru.

Would you rather own a pet scorpion or a pet tarantula?
Um. Yeah, both are arachnids, and I have arachnophobia. So, no.

If you are in a room with a person who smells really foul, would you openly say or do something to indicate that the person smells bad, or would you grin and bear it?
I'd probably get as far as I could from them. Bad smells make me ill. But I wouldn't say something.

If you went to jail and had to sit in the drunk tank with other people, are you most likely to stir up a conversation with the other people, or just keep to yourself in a corner?
I'd sit in a corner.

If you were to show yourself in Aspen Colorado on the ski slopes, would you wear Oakley sunglasses or Versace?
Sunglasses are too easy to lose to spend so much money on them. I have 10 dollar sunglasses I got at a stand just outside Faneuil Hall, but on the ski slopes I'd probably be wearing ski goggles, no particular brand, to keep the snow from flying in my eyes.

How did you and your number 1 become friends?
My dear Christen? We met in Sophomore year of high school and the rest is history.

How late did stay up last night and why?
I was awake until 2 am. I was at Amanda's until midnight and I think I had too many non-decaf Irish coffees while there. I didn't have enough alcohol to balance out the caffeine so I watched some TV and then thought about random things until I fell asleep.

What's the connection between you and the last person you texted?
Nessa! I met her at law school and now she's my best friend in Boston. I texted her at midnight so I could be the first to say Happy Birthday.

Do you like someone?
Ugh. Well, yes, but I shouldn't anymore. The whole thing was just a mess. And that's all I'm going to say about it.

Have you ever been hit by the opposite sex?

Have you ever kissed someone whose name started with an S?
Why, yes.

How's your life lately?
Well, I'm tired of relaxing and recuperating from 1L year, and looking forward to starting my internship next week. But, generally good.

Do you know anyone that is currently locked up?
I know of a couple people but not anyone that I knew well enough to really think about it unless I'm telling stories about the scandals that went on in my high school.

Have you ever dated someone longer than a year?

What do you think about the current gas prices?
They kill me every time I visit home because that's where my car is. But when I'm in Boston, I don't really think much of them at all, I ride the T every day with my nice little monthly pass.

If you had a sex tape and someone offered you 3 million dollars to sell it to them would you?
Um, no.

Have you ever been so drunk that you blacked out?
I don't even like to be drunk enough to get sick. I hate being out of control of the situation, and getting sick is the first sign of being out of control. I stop there. If I even get to that point in the first place.

Do you think that you’re a good person?

Have you ever loved someone so much that it hurt?

Are you happier single or in a relationship?
Well, since all the relationships I've ever been in obviously didn't work out, I guess I'm happier when I'm free to find the right person, but I think I'll be happiest once I find them.

Last time you ate a homegrown tomato?
Last year, I think? I have had some really great organic tomatoes recently. I love living a block away from Whole Foods. Can't afford all my shopping there, but I can at least go get quality produce.

Ever ordered from an infomercial?
Not over the phone, but I have bought "as seen on TV" products once they appear in Walgreen's or Target or something. Does that count? Oh, and very soon I'm going to order a pet nail filing contraption for my cat so he doesn't scratch Vanessa's new couch when we move in together.

Do you believe in love at first sight?
"It takes no time to fall in love, but it takes you years to know what love is..."
Yes, I'm quoting Mraz, but I think that line is really the truth of the matter. You can fall hard real fast, but it's not real love until it's had time to grow.

When is the last time you took a nap?
May 9th, after I got home from my last 1L exam. Haven't needed a nap since because I have nowhere to go until my internship starts so I just sleep until I'm not tired.

Who was the last person you talked to on the phone?
Amanda, yesterday.

To send you a myspace message?
Nancy from high school. She found me out of the blue!

To send a friend request?
Nancy couldn't remember how to spell my last name so I had to request her after she sent a message so that doesn't really, I think it was Seth.

What was on your mind mostly today?
That I should really do something, but I'm feeling sleepy and lazy.

Whose bed did you sleep in last night?
Mine. Where else?

Ever kissed anyone 18 or older?
Duh. I'm 25. At this point it's, if not illegal, at least very wrong if they're NOT over 18.

Have you kissed anyone in the last week?

Do you miss anyone?
Actually, I miss Vanessa. She's working too much! We need to celebrate her birthday and make double hair appointments!

What does your 8th text message say and who was it from?
Haha, awesome. It was from Peapod giving me an ETA for my grocery delivery.

What are you listening to?
I'm watching Sex and the City. So, the sounds of the show.

Is there one place you'd like to visit?
Always France, if I have to pick just one place.

Have you held hands with anyone in the past 48 hours?

Do you like Winter time?
I like it in Boston. I know, others think I'm crazy because it's cold, but I like cold. And I like snow. It's pretty. And snow helps lessen the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder which used to be the main reason I didn't like Winter.

Do you own uggs?
Only because they are really freaking warm. Gotta have winter boots, and that's what you can find now.

Do you regret anything?
I learn from my mistakes instead of regretting the decisions I made then. It's all part of learning and growing and becoming a better person.

What are you excited about?
Starting my internship!

Plans for today?
I'm going to watch Juno and otherwise be a homebody.

What are you doing tomorrow?
Maybe I'll go to Harvard Bookstore and sell some used books.

Do you like to cuddle?
Yes, but not when it's time to sleep. I need my space when I'm sleeping.

How many different people of the opposite sex have you cried over, and who?
You are so not getting names. And I'd rather not count. Let's say more than 5.

Where is your number one person on your friends list?
Back home in Portland. But always just a phone call away.

Do you want to dance?
Yeah, but I don't like gross guys hitting on me in dance clubs so I stay away from them and just dance around in my apartment using my hairbrush as a microphone.

Who do you not get along with?
People that give me a bad vibe and make me uncomfortable. I've learned one too many times that when I get a bad vibe, there's a valid reason. I'd rather not be friends with someone that gives me a bad vibe even if there's no reason than ignore the bad vibe and have there be a reason.

Last movie you watched?
Pirates of the Caribbean. The 3rd one. Last one I watched for the first time was On the Waterfront.

What are your plans for the weekend?
I think some law school friends and I are getting together for one last round of drinks on Friday before we all start our internships or return to classes. Other than that, I don't have any plans yet. It's only Monday, after all.

Whats your hair look like today?
Well, since the cat doesn't really care how it looks, it's back in a low ponytail so I don't have to deal with it.

Suppose you see your bf/gf kissing another person:
Knowing my temper...there'd probably be throwing of things, there would be some yelling and screaming and angry crying, and I'm sure a break-up would ensue.

Something interesting happen lately?
I might be on TV. That's pretty interesting. See previous blog.

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Damn I'm bored...

Alright. I've decompressed. Can I start my internship now?

One more week? NOOO!

I'm so bored...

I keep inventing projects to keep myself busy. I deep-cleaned my apartment. The other day I sold the monitor from my old desktop that had been sitting collecting dust ever since I gave Christen the tower after her computer died. I also cleared some books off my bookshelf that I never intend to read again. I think I'll take them up to Harvard Bookstore sometime this week and resell them. Anyway, now I have some space for my law books. The ones I intend to keep, that is. No casebooks, just the ones I might have to refer back to.

I have been spending time with some friends, so that's been good. Although Vanessa vanished. Well, she didn't really vanish, I know where she is. She has a job as a manager at a restaurant, which she kept doing part-time during school (I still don't know how she did it...) and she doesn't like "idle time" so I knew she'd be diving into work there until the internship starts. And yes, she'll be working part-time at the restaurant while doing the internship too. Sounds crazy to me, but if it makes her happy to stay that busy, then good for her.

But yeah. All in all, I'm ready for my internship to start. Going from 70-80 hours a week of nothing but law to...nothing at all is really not as easy as I thought. I got used to being busy. Well, intellectually busy. Crosswords and puzzles and playing online word games with my mom are great to keep my mind at least stimulated, but it's not the same kind of stimulation. Oh, and I've been browsing through a lot of news feeds. Finding some really random articles. That's fun.

Oh! Speaking of news, I did have a fun moment at a nearby sports bar last night. New England Sports Network (NESN) was there asking people to answer a question about the Red Sox on camera. I decided to go ahead and make a fool of myself by answering a question. I guess they're going to go edit the footage and air it during one of the games sometime next week. So...if you have access to NESN, I might be on TV next week. And there's my 15 minutes of fame!

Anyway, the funniest part was when they handed me this contract - just a standard thing that gives them the right to show my face on TV, blah blah. I insisted on reading it before I signed it. The guy explained it to me, and I was like, "yeah, I'm a law student, I'm going to have to read it before I sign anything," and he laughed and said that was fine. Is this me now? I guess so. Although I still don't read the "end user license agreements" that you have to agree to every single freaking time you install a computer program. But even our contracts professor admitted he doesn't read those. What am I going to do, not install the computer program? Probably not. All they really say is that you can't make copies of the program for profit, which I wouldn't do.

Well, I think it's late enough now to go to bed. Next update will probably be after my first day at the internship unless something significantly exciting happens between now and then.

Oh, and to Jenn - still crossing my fingers for a beach-worthy day. =)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

California Court Affirms Right to Gay Marriage

The ruling, striking down two state laws that had limited marriages to unions between a man and a woman, paves the way for California to become the second state to allow same-sex marriage.

View Original Article


Please do not take this post as an opportunity to tell me you think gay marriage is wrong.  I'm aware this is a hot-button political issue, but I am only writing this post to celebrate what has happened today, celebrate what it means to me and note that it is a step towards equality.

Besides, I live in Massachusetts.  It's been legal here since 2003.  See Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, 798 N.E.2d 941 (Mass. 2003).  Thus, you telling me your opinion on what happened in California won't affect me in the least and will only serve to annoy me.

If you wish to celebrate equality with me, then you are welcome to post those comments.

Thank you for your consideration.
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Sunday, May 11, 2008


The wonderfulness of being done with my first year of law school is really sinking in now.  Especially since my internship isn't starting until the 27th, so I have two whole weeks where not only am I done with classes...I have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING I have to do!  I can watch movies, read for fun, go on walks when it's nice, hang out with friends (those that are staying in Boston this summer), play video games...whatever I want!    And two weeks is the perfect amount of time to have nothing to do before I get bored and antsy.

Yesterday I spent 8 hours hanging out with a couple of law school friends who live near me.  We all loved that we had the freedom to do that with nothing hanging over our heads.

Anywho, I'm going to start a movie now.  Yay!
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Friday, May 9, 2008

I'll never be a 1L again...

Thank God.

I'm so mentally exhausted.  I got plenty of sleep during study week and in between the exams so I'm not physically exhausted.  But my brain just can't compute right now.

Anyway.  Yes.  Exams are over.  Immediately after I was very excited, cheering and hugging and jumping up and down with the best of them.  But then while at the bar trying to celebrate the exhaustion took over and I just wanted to come home and not have to DO anything.  Plus there's a party later so I have to save my energy for that celebration.  Everyone else at the bar was kind of low-key and tired anyway, I think most people had a plan to go home and rest for a bit and then really celebrate after refreshing themselves.

So anyway, this is more the customary "I'm so glad I'm done" post than anything right now.  I'll talk more about how the exams went and all that when I feel more up to going through the mental process of recalling the details and discussing things.  Right now I'm going to take a nap.  Or put on a movie and glaze over, at least.

Trust me, I may not sound all that excited, but I am.  Internally I'm thrilled, I'm just too tired to show it.

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