Thursday, June 28, 2007

This just in...

Court strikes down school integration plans

Here she comes...

The decision in Seattle School District should be coming down today. Keep an eye out for it. I'll post comments later in the day.

Friday, June 15, 2007

For consistency's sake

While this is old news, Washington passed a new law during this year's legislative session that will subject drivers talking on a cell phone to a fine of $101. Generally, I think that the government oversteps its bounds when it restricts the freedom of individuals. However, enacting such legislation is more than justified when it involves what may be an inherently dangerous activity that poses risks to other individuals. I'm not going to discuss the merits of the law and will assume that statistics concerning the safety concerns of cell phone usage are accurate. My general complaint about legislation is the arbitrariness and inconsistency of the law. While driving and talking on a cell phone will be against the law starting next summer, driving while using a hands free device will remain legal. This was an arbitrary decision.

Numerous studies have shown that, contrary to intuitive belief, using a hands free device provides little, if any, safety benefit. While a quick Google search has shown one study coming to the opposite conclusion, that study was also funded by GM, the owner of OnStar. This past winter I was in the Law and Legislative Process seminar in Olympia and know for a fact that the legislature was specifically confronted with testimony concerning these claims. They nevertheless decided to enact the bill. If they truly wanted to fix the problems and make our roads safer, they did not go about it properly. Instead they chose to remain inconsistent.

There are several tenants of the legislative process that should remain sacrosanct: promulgation, clarity, and consistency (feel free to add more as this is only a sampling). It is unjust to punish an individual for violating a law that was not in existence at the time of his actions. It is equally inequitable to punish a person for an activity while an equivalent activity goes unpunished. The latter principle is known as the doctrine of horizontal equity: those in like positions should be treated similarly. While discussion of horizontal equity is prevalent in debates on tax policy, this new law demonstrates its applicability elsewhere. The justice system should remain consistent in its punishment and the legislature should not make arbitrary laws that two like activities differently.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

FedSoc Lawyer's Chapter Upcoming Activities

I spoke today with Andy Cook, the new President of the FedSoc's Lawyer's Chapter here in Seattle. For those of you interested, UW FedSoc members are invited to a speech at noon on June 22nd by Cleveland State Law Professor, and well-dressed, David Forte
. The speech will be entitled "The Ten Commandments and the Constitution." Please RSVP with Andy by tomorrow at andyc [at] biaw [dot] com. The event will be hosted by the WAC.

The Lawyer's chapter also has some othere vents planned for this summer (including a discussion of
Community Schools v. Seattle School Board planned for July 9th) and I'll keep you posted as I learn more.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The year ahead

As the incoming President, one of my first tasks will be to fill the void created by Orrin Johnson's graduation. For those of you who are not familiar with the blog, Orrin has posted here a few times. I have been busy finishing the quarter and settling into a new city and summer job. But things are settling down and I expect to start writing more. I hope others will join in. If you would like the ability to post on the blog, please contact me and I can set you up with access.

More on Maleng

Unless I am mistaken, I think Jason neglected to post one link:

Great writing. I guess he must have needed a distraction the week before finals. The University of Washington is planning a symposium on Mr. Maleng during the next school year. Students interested in serving on the planning committee need to fill out this form. I hear an Orrin Johnson Memorial Symposium is in the works for the 2009 school year.

Friday, June 01, 2007

It's in the P-I...a tribute to Norm Maleng

Here are some other links to stories about one of our bar's finest: