Most important, all you have to do is pass. Unlike on the SAT or the LSAT, there is no need to maximize your score. As one of my law school classmates put it, every point you score above the minimum needed to pass is evidence that you spent too much time studying. I took this excellent advice to heart, and saved a lot of time and aggravation as a result (primarily by not attending any Bar/Bri lectures, and confining my preparation efforts to reading the books and taking some practice tests). If you're reasonably good at managing your time and memorizing legal rules, you can probably do the same thing.Of course, it's the last sentence of that paragraph which is critical. I was lousy at memorizing legal rules -- very good at application of rules I knew, and very good at finding rules via research, but lousy at rote memorization. So, I had to study, study, study.
Monday, June 30, 2008
If you are a recent law school grad, you are probably getting ready to take the bar exam. In my own homestate of Washington the bar exam is held at the end of July. When I was preparing for the bar exam, I studied a lot -- probably more than I ever studied before. According to this post over at the Volokh Conspiracy blog, that was probably a mistake. As Ilya Sommin writes:
Glenn Reynolds over at Instapundit has a quick overview of one of the heretofore overlooked parts of the Heller decision on gun control, handed down by the Supreme Court last week. Both the majority opinion and the dissents embrace the view that the 2nd Amendment protects an individual right -- not a collective right as so many academics and gun-control activists had argued. All nine justices rejected the collective right approach -- what they disagreed about was the scope of the individual right protected by the 2nd Amendment. While that is no small disagreement, the agreement on the nature of the right protected by the 2nd Amendment -- that it is an individual right and not a collective one -- is staggering. Consensus!
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Here's my take on the top five jurisprudential books worth reading for lawyers, judges, legal theorists, and non-specialists alike. All are available in English, although not all were originally composed in English. 1) St. Thomas Aquinas, Treatise on Law. 2) Heinrich Rommen, The Natural Law 3) Alessando D'Entreves, The Natural Law 4) William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England (4 volumes) 5) Georgio del Vecchio, The Formal Basis of Law [Note: I've omitted one of my favorite books on law -- Frederic Bastiat's The Law -- because I've got a link to the online text of the book over in my Essential Law Links.]
Glenn Reynolds over at Instapundit has a great post on the increase in homicides in Washington, D.C. which occurred after the city instituted its now-defunct gun control regime. At the end of the day, gun control laws don't reduce violent crime. They simply prevent law abiding people from owning guns.
Friday, June 27, 2008
The other day a friend of mine asked me what I thought the top five books on conservative political theory were. Limiting myself to those originally published in English (since I am a monolinguist!), here was my response: 1) Russell Kirk, Roots of American Order 2) Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind 3) The Portable Edmund Burke 4) Barry Goldwater, The Conscience of a Conservative 5) Friedrich Hayek, The Road to Serfdom
Thursday, June 26, 2008
That's the basic result of today's Heller decision by the Supreme Court. The text of the decision may be found on the official Supeme Court website here. This is a critically important decision. There is a ton of stuff all over the web about the Court's decision today, but I think that the best overall analysis right now is from Dave Koppel, available here. Koppel's concluding thoughts about the importance of today's decision is worth quoting in full:
Today the law-abiding citizens of D.C. regained their right to defend themselves in their home, and to use the most suitable defensive arm for that purpose. But the bigger winner today was the Constitution itself, vindicated by a majority decision which was faithful to the Constitution’s text, and to the spirit of liberty which animated the American people who drafted and ratified the Second Amendment.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Wow, I've hit the big time! Thanks to Rick Garnett over at the Mirror of Justice blog for recommending my humble little blog! And welcome to any MOJ readers who are visiting. Take a look around and I hope that you find something that will provide food for thought.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Not good news as far as the perception of the Supreme Court among the public at large. Of course, if the Supreme Court justices (particularly the liberal ones) would stick with interpreting and applying the actual Constitution instead of their own pet theories, then the rule of law would benefit and I imagine the perception of the Court would improve. No sign of that happening anytime in the near future, though -- and even less likely if Obama wins and starts stacking the courts with left-wingers and social radicals.
Monday, June 9, 2008
Read it all here, courtesy of the Volokh Conspiracy law blog. In comparing British and American responses to crime, Wilson writes:
In short, American policies were driven by public opinion while British ones were shaped by elite preferences. As a result, victim surveys show that by the late 1990s the British robbery rate was one-quarter higher and the burglary and assault rates twice as high as those in this country. This raises the interesting question of why elite views should be so different from popular ones. Some possible explanations: Elites can more easily protect themselves from criminal attacks; elites tend to have a therapeutic rather than punitive view of crime; elites in parliamentary regimes are protected against sharp swings in public moods. There are a lot of criticisms one can make of prisons, but sending offenders there, provided it is done correctly and without abuse, is an eminently democratic strategy: We deprive guilty people of liberty to make innocent people safer.Hat tip to: Instapundit.