Archive for the ‘Law’ Category

this pretty much sums it up.


wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings…

raindrops on roses & whiskers on kittens

bright copper kettles & warm woolen mittens

brown paper packages tied up with strings

these are a few of my favorite things…

when the dog bites

when the bee stings

when i’m feeling sad

i simply remember my favorite things

and then i don’t feel so bad!

on the eve of my second-to-last final of law school (ever!), i can’t seem to get this song out of my head.  it’s such a bittersweet feeling to almost be done with law school, while also realizing that two+ months of studying for the bar lay right around the corner.

WHEN THE DOG BITES, WHEN I’M FEELING SAD, i simply remember my favorite things, & then i don’t feel so bad. ♥

no matter how tiring & lonely studying can be, i am thankful for it all.  i am thankful that i get to go to law school, lucky that my fiance & family support it.  grateful that i’m finishing (because i couldn’t have gotten through intact without a lot of prayers).  & i will be eternally glad that i pushed myself to get this j.d. – i have wanted to practice as a lawyer for a long time, and that dream is becoming a reality.


what i never knew i couldn’t live without, until law school

this grind & brew coffee maker (my neighbors must hate the loud rocket-ship-launching grinding sound it makes every morning, and often in the afternoons)

peach black tea (i have gone through SO many boxes of this tea!)

my macbook (which hasn’t failed me yet & saves me from hand cramps in class/on exams!)

orange juice (because all those glasses of oj are the only explanation for why i haven’t gotten sick much in law school – after riding the muni every day with what always seems like a busload of sick people)

these bose noise-canceling headphones (because my upstairs neighbors like to stomp around in boots at 2 am. a lot.)

this bill evans trio cd (it is the perfect mix of upbeat and low-key jazz music that makes for perfect study tunes … i think i must have listened to this about 5,000 times over the last couple years) thanks robert!

wikipedia (when you need a brief recap of that SCOTUS case that isn’t quite fitting together in your notes)

lexis nexis (when you need a good case brief or some major help with that research paper)

my bathtub (when you need a nice, long bubble bath after a long, hard day) …

working for free

it has become common for college students, graduate students, law students, and those seeking permanent paid employment to take on summer, fall, or spring internships that are unpaid.

i have done my fair share of unpaid internships, and i’ve always looked to them for valuable experience that paid jobs could not provide. working hard for the [future] money, i like to say.

this new york times article & this story got me thinking about the issue.

i will keep my own editorial comments on this topic myself, in the interest of finding out exactly how you all feel about these unpaid internship experiences and the employers that so willingly take on summer employees in exchange for free work.

so… [drumroll, please] … i introduce to you the very first poll on this blog!

please participate. i’m interested to hear your thoughts.

may it please the court.


goodness, two of my favorite things: oh, how i love the pursuit of happines [an art blog from nytimes] and how i adore ruth bader ginsberg. 

check out ms. kalman’s newest post here on her visit with and thoughts on justice ginsberg. be prepared to fall in love with her blog too!

reminding myself that it’s all about perspective

perspective   (noun)   \per-spek-tiv\   a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view; to look through, see clearly; true understanding of the relative importance of things.   choosing the right perspective can be key to a good photograph.




as i head into finals… 

the lesson is that you never know in life whether something is going to work out to your advantage, even if it seems to be a terrible impediment.

– justice ruth bader ginsberg, legal times, justice ginsberg remembers her first steps in the law, november 13, 2007

what i wish i had time to read…

the financial times [every single column written by monacle’s editor, tyler brule]. — hilariously elitist.

the associate, john grisham. —  typical law-related book from this lawyer turned famous author. a law school graduate is forced to take a job at a large, brutalizing law firm.

the death of innocents: a reasonable doubt, adam liptak. — discusses the author’s view that america is executing innocent people. i tend to agree.

the nine, inside the secret world of the supreme court, jeffrey toobin. — explores the “hidden” world of powerful change in the supreme court. many of the justices’ positions will open up in the near future. four of the justices are in their 70s, and john paul stevens is 88! [obama expects to leave a major footprint on the court] the author of the nine was a former US attorney and is now a staff writer at the new yorker and senior legal analyst at CNN [proof it will be well-written]. 

outliers, malcolm gladwell. — i pick up this book and read a little more each time i step in a bookstore. interesting chapter on lessons to be learned from a rags-to-riches lawyer story. 

. . . most are law-related. i guess that means i chose the right profession – something i’m deeply interested in!

forecast: gloomy


is it weird that i sometimes hope it will rain [no, POUR] over the weekend so that i won’t be tempted to ignore studying for the sunshine?

that way i can cozy up in my apartment or a coffee shop, listen to sad music, watch it rain outside, & forget there are more exciting things i could be doing with my time. 

yay! gloomy days ahead . . .

animal law – vet malpractice

you know a case will be good when it begins with: 

This is the story of “Poopi,” a dog who tried to sue for emotion distress and failed.

perhaps i’ve been reading too many cases lately, but i laughed out loud at the thought of a judge sitting down at his big mahogany desk to write this opinion, a clever little smirk on his aging face.

the case came out of the ohio court of appeals in 2003. you can find it here: oberschlake v. veterinary associates animal hospital



law school is all about the questions.

professors teach in the socratic method, drilling home that the answers must come from us not them. 

even today, my constitutional law professor (who wrote our textbook, a large supplement to the text, & other law books) asks only questions. does not give any answers. students have expressed their anxiety at his overly-socratic method and he responded today by saying that we must “own” our law educations, not merely seek to fill in the blanks with professor’s words. “we’re not that smart,” he mumbled. 

i disagree with that last part, but he’s right about the rest.

this questioning is SO TIRING sometimes. i read & read & read. go over class notes & book notes & supplementary material. I read some more. and rarely do the answers jump off the page. 

i see problems outside, on the street, in the tenderloin. i see crack/heroine addicts. i see alcoholics. i see despair. 

rarely are the answers as blatant as the questions & the problems & the confusion.


all of this reminds me of a letter rilke wrote to a young poet that i used to read to myself in undergrad when i wasn’t so sure about what to do with myself or my life or the problem that had poked it’s wiry little head up at that moment:

my brain is so full it hurts.

… until next tuesday (last final!)

i am ashamed of my whining

while i’m smack dab in the middle of finals, it’s so easy to complain about the hardships of getting through this final 1L round of exams at a very competitive school with an arguably unfair grading curve. 

when i came across this article today, my trials & tribulations were promptly put into perspective.

here, a woman is worth only half a man

from the deccan herald, jan. 2008

sadly, sometimes i’m right

texan officials started setting execution dates again this week. five death row inmates there are set to go before august. i am not happy to report this.

see previous post for background…

baze v. rees

the supreme court today upheld kentucky state’s three-drug method of lethal injection. 

lethal injection is both the most widely used method for capital punishment in the US & HIGHLY controversial. there are arguments that it creates an intolerably severe risk of pain to prisoners, which is a violation of the eighth amendment (“cruel and unusual punishment”) and is unconstitutional. opponents argue that there are other feasibly safer and more humane ways of administering the lethal drugs for those receiving the death penalty. some also argue that the administers of the anesthesia are not properly trained in this field. 

thankfully, california and other states have taken extra precautions [above kentucky] to try to ensure a safer, less painful process for prisoners. however, none of the current methods are completely airtight. 

in the past few months, many executions have been delayed under a moratorium. this moratorium has been lifted. executions will resume in a matter of minutes, i assume, in texas. (i might be exaggerating a bit here.)

i foresee more litigation in the near future. 

honestly, i’m not sure why it’s worth all the law suits for these states with the most contested lethal injection methods to continue with their procedures – just because they don’t want to follow current practices of the administration of anesthesia, practiced in hospitals all over the country for years, or because they don’t want to require more training for the administers of the drugs. why ignore a safer, easily feasible alternative? can it really be that much more expensive? i think the minimal expense is worth it in this case.

to be honest, i don’t agree with the death penalty at all, and i DEFINITELY do not agree with many state’s current methods, like kentucky.

this is the 21st century. do we really want to leave the option open for those on death row to feel excruciating pain, while rendered paralyzed and unable to let administers know? does ANY criminal act warrant this?

regardless of the fact that in this kentucky case, the petitioners (convicted murderers sentenced to death) did not meet the legal test for proving the unconstitutionality of the state’s method of lethal injection – does this seem wrong to anyone else?

justice stevens felt bound by precedent to uphold kentucky’s method. however, he called for an abolishment of the death penalty altogether.

“state-sanctioned killing,” justice stevens said, is “becoming more and more anochronistic.”  

well put.

making up for lost time

lately, law school has been a big drain on everything in my life. my mood, exercise, sleep, etc. i’m just feeling a bit overwhelmed, you could say.

i suppose i’m trying to finish strong for this final stretch of my first year. hopefully the work will pay off.

as a cure for the legal overload, i’ve been trying to add a little non-legal inspiration to each day.

a few of my favorites:

design*sponge, a blog chock full of inspiration (especially the diy section!)

constant gatherer, an artist (especially these beautiful yarn wreathes!)

3191, daily photos (an old favorite!)


by discovering something new, artistic or creative from someone else’s little corner of the world, i’m finding inspiration again to keep plugging along so that i can – in turn- inspire others.


“the city keeps on going, we just keep on rolling on.” -joe purdy (the city)

i just turned in my final brief for my moot court class — toiled-over, triple-checked, bound in red and blessed.

although, i think i’ll be holding my breath until i hear if it passes the “10-error rule.”

still, it’s quite a relief to be finished.

i have been writing my brief since the beginning of the semester – for TWO MONTHS. i spent part of friday night and a good part of saturday finishing it up. i really did enjoy most of the process. i love researching and writing, and it was fun being immersed in a topic that will go before the u.s. supreme court in a few months. i am pretty positive the side i argued as counsel for the political parties, respondents, will win in court. (my prediction: the court will hold the state initiative unconstitutional, an initiative that established a new primary system in washington state where the voters could vote for any party, regardless of membership with that party or not & where candidates simply self-identify their political party preference on the ballot, without approval from the party they associate with.) but what do i know . . .

one thing i’m becoming more and more sure of: law school is a lot of work. more work than i could’ve ever imagined.

it’s also the full of the most intellectually stimulating activities i’ve ever done. the reading is dense. the papers are complex and time-consuming. the classes are at times frightening, at times hilarious and at times full of a million little light bulb moments -exhilarating.

i will admit, i could use a break.

thank goodness for spring break.

the madness is over…

… and i’ve never felt so content in my life

the insanity of first semester law school finals are over, and while i have NO EARTHLY IDEA what my grades will be, i’m almost positive i didn’t fail. “contentment” doesn’t even begin to describe the happiness i felt after that last civil procedure exam.

i can honestly say that i don’t think i have ever studied much harder or been more prepared than for the dreaded finals that took over my life for a few weeks.

i am now officially on vacation.

i flew to dallas, texas, for my sister’s college graduation saturday. (my sister, the homecoming queen!) had a lovely dinner at nick and sam’s with everyone, and now i am enjoying the good life in fort worth for a few days with some old college friends before heading back to california.

if it wasn’t for this nasty cold i’m still getting over (blaming it on my horrid crim law exam), i would be able to say that i’ve never felt better.

life is good.

taking a brief hiatus

from now until december 15, i will be ridiculously consumed with studying for my first encounter with law school exams.  

i am hitting the books (well, my outlines & practice tests, to be exact) for the next 3 weeks & i won’t have much time to blog.

i can’t wait to enjoy a stress-free holiday break after this grueling first semester

wish me luck!

barrister’s ball

the boyfriend & i got all dressed up & went to the equivalent of a prom for law students last friday night.


the event was held in an awesome gallery/bar/club south of market called 111 minna.

we ate dinner at a peruvian restaurant (highly recommended!) called fresca, on fillmore. we had seafood tapas & loved it! i ate entirely too much.

my favorite part of the night: strolling the streets of pac heights – all lit up with blue twinkle lights on the trees – holding hands with the best boy i could’ve ever hoped to be bringing to a law school prom, feeling wonderfully happy and fortunate to be living in such an amazing city, going to such a great law school with such cool people and dating the boy of my dreams…

i am truly blessed.

♥ ♥ ♥

a harrowing day at hastings

i received this email yesterday around noon…

Dear Members of the Hastings Community:

As many of you already know a student was in crises today. Security responded promptly and there was a strong police presence at the scene immediately. The student was escorted from the ledge of the Tower, is now safe and receiving support from family, a close friend and health professionals. Several members from the administration, nurses and one of the psychiatrists from Student Health were present and conferred with police throughout the process.

This has been traumatic time for our community. The administration and members of Student Health want to remind you that we are available to meet with you should you need support during this time.

Academic Dean

although i do not know anything about the identity of the student that attempted suicide, & i do not know why or what caused them to step out on that ledge, i do know that it is a stressful season for many. the pressures of exams are mounting up. the library is fuller every day. the worry on students’ faces is more apparent as we inch towards december.

i’ve spoken with many students in my section who – like me – are finding it hard to deal with the anxiety, the constant nagging by those darn outlines, never feeling that we’ll be ready for the day when we have to put down on paper what our professors have crammed into this tiny semester. it all piles so high many of us feel it’s eating into other areas of our life to the extent that we feel only other law students understand.

the student body president sent a letter yesterday, as well. included in it:

Today’s near-tragedy brings focus on the reality of anxiety, depression, and mental health issues that affect all of us. We should all be grateful that Hastings community members were there to intervene at such a precipitous moment. By that same token, we need to acknowledge that any and all of us are vulnerable to the pressures and stress of law school. We all need to look out for one another and be ready to reach out to our peers who may need support.

i understand this ledge-student’s feelings: it’s unbearable at times.

there are many ways students can reach out for help when it feels too much to bear… friends in & out of law school, family, health services. anyone.

take an afternoon off. sleep well. eat healthy foods. it all helps.

perhaps a temporary (or permanent) break from law school is what some students really need.

at any rate, i feel compelled to pass on a few pearls of wisdom i took away from this sad, sad day at hastings:

Suicide is forever. It’s an irrevocable act in response to what are usually temporary problems. If you’re depressed or are having other personal problems … there are people who can and will help you.
(excerpted from a letter by a hastings alum)

i am hoping this close call will wake us all up to the fact that we need to be here for one another. law school & hastings’ strict curve breeds competition. competing with our fellow classmates is fine – to an extent. but when part of our community is suffering from a mental illness or such extreme anxiety, as it is evident that some are, we need to be there to encourage and comfort them.

1 down, 4 to go…

i turned in a memo for my legal writing & research class yesterday (worth half of my grade).

i then went out (to the temple bar on polk street) with a professor & some other students in the class to celebrate the fact that we’re officially done with lw&r for the semester.

whew, what a relief!

more time to focus on the other four dark clouds which will loom over my head until december 14th.

let’s pray they’re not thunder clouds…


i can really see where they’re coming from


1L = “1 hell”

i spotted this pumpkin at the hastings annual carving contest. other notable contenders: a “vote!” pumpkin with carvings of obama & hillary, a “hastings jail” pumpkin with a student behind bars, a “planet homicide” pumpkin with melting polar icecaps, a “cup-kin” carving – resembling a really yummy, orange cupcake with sprinkles & a foil wrapper, among others.

i was impressed.

much-needed pick-me-up

weird thing happened yesterday.

after working on a paper for weeks in my legal writing & research class, i actually got the thing back with a grade on it.

law school is funny that way. you work & work & work with little feedback until after finals. (many hastings professors don’t have midterms, like some other law schools.)

the only grade in most of my classes is a final exam. yes, that’s right. one test. one grade for the entire semester.

i was pretty nervous about getting my paper back, but i did just fine. i got a grade i’m pleased with.

i sometimes long for the days in college when i had a test or paper due almost every other class — at least, then, there was some way to track your progress or lack thereof.

in law school, some days i feel completely overwhelmed/lost/confused & other days, i know exactly what needs to be done & i feel confident i can do it. yesterday was more like the latter.

if only for a preliminary boost of confidence, at least all those papers i had to write for my journalism degree are worth something.

current status

i’ll have: completely overhwhelmed with a side of anxiety, please.




the battle for control of the galaxy…uhh, i mean…groceries

for my legal writing course, i have to do research for & write a memorandum regarding a pretty hilarious parody of the star wars movie, called “grocery store wars.”

we’re instructed to consider whether or not the satirical film violates copyright infringement laws or whether it will be deemed as “fair use” by a federal court.

it’s an amusing case with some interesting elements, & i couldn’t help passing along this youtube link so you too can wonder what the heck the producers were thinking when they made this. the spoof is meant to poke fun at star wars’ commercial success & it’s similarities to large grocery stores’ annihilation of small mom-&-pop grocers. the characters include princess lettuce (with donut hair buns), cuke skywalker, lord tader & tofu d2, among others.

may the force be with you all.

overheard in law school…

3L (who, by the mess around him has obviously been in the library for a long time) to librarian: have you looked closely at these new chairs? this is an accident waiting to happen – the metal right here (*points to practically invisible piece of screw sticking out*), it’s sharper than a switchblade!

librarian: yes, sir. i see that, sir. i’ll get right on that.

3L: ok, good.

librarian: you can’t be too careful with a bunch of future lawyers walking around.

3L: one word – lawsuit. you should really take me seriously. you might have a lot of personal injury suits, if it isn’t fixed quickly, m’am. you should consider reading up in this (*points to his Torts casebook*). there are study guides on aisle 32.

3L walks away.

librarian grumbles under her breath.


for my legal writing & research course, we aren’t allowed to use the internet to look up cases, statutes or topics.

“you’re basically learning how to do something you’ll never do again in a million years,” as a 3L oh-so-gently put it.

i’ve been spending a lot more time in the library than i would prefer. thus the grainy photo & somber look…


libraries can be tomb-like places, dark & dreary & dusty. hastings’ library was recently renovated (it re-opened this august), so the above does not apply, despite my somewhat dramatic picture. the carpets are lovely browns & purples. there are lots of comfy, danish-looking chairs to curl up in. natural light fills up many spaces. the books are well-organized. the paint is fresh. the librarians are friendly.

i guess i just get a little nervous with all the clicking of the laptops & the serious looks on everyone’s faces as they contemplate the day’s casebook readings. the quietness of it all is a bit much sometimes.

it seems a little ironic sometimes.

& we’re the lucky ones. lucky enough to be going law school. lucky enough to be going to law school in one of the coolest cities on the planet. i might even go so far as to call us lucky even to have a brain in our heads, clothes, food & shelter.

all we have to do is look around …

we’re literally surrounded by poverty, drug addiction, mental illness, homelessness.

we’re going to great school in a great city, but it just happens to be smack dab in the middle of the ghetto. i’m sorry to say it, but the tenderloin ain’t a pretty place.

i just hope some of us are planning to use our bodies, our brains & our hearts to reach out to people like those around us.

i have to constantly remind myself why i’m here as i get so caught up in the gloomy routine of reading case after case after case. some days it seems never-ending.

i see law school as an amazing opportunity to made profound and principled differences in people’s lives. this will not always be easy.

& i have made a promise to myself to finish law school without misplacing or replacing the passions that got me here.

… no matter how anxious i get sitting in the library, feeling lost in a sea of depressingly nervous overachievers.

g-daddy rocks the house (i am so white)

in light of magic cookie’s post, i thought i’d write one in similar fashion…

actual google searches i did today:

“utilitarianism and retributivism – definitions”
(for my criminal law class – still had NO IDEA the difference between the two from my criminal law casebook)

“how to remove grape juice from suede”
(at least a few times a week, either my tide-to-go pen or google saves me from ruining furniture and/or clothes after clumsy spills)

“are q tips unhealthy”
(this search in light of this article i read.)

“are hornbooks cheating in law school?”

happy googling to all of you.

a sign of things to come

almost all of today & tomorrow, i will be sitting here:


typing notes & reading these:


my brain already hurts.

arrivederci la città dolce

… (goodbye sweet city) …

it’s my last weekend in washington before i head back to california for my brother’s graduation and then on to copenhagen & berlin the next day.

i sense a very jet-lagged few days ahead …

during my last few days in dc, i plan on seeing a few of the museums i haven’t hit yet (national building museum, the portrait gallery), frequenting a restaurant and bar or two that has been on the list (busboys and poets,circa). getting in a couple more yoga classes. having an amazing greek salad at zorba’s once more, of course. strolling through the quaint dupont streets again (referred to in this past post). poking my head in tabletop for one last glance at all of the cool stuff. maybe a walk through georgetown for a stop at the lovely dean&deluca to grab one more bag of their delicious coffee to take home. perhaps a snack of edamame at teaism for the last time. 

and the packing, i guess, will begin soon too.


in reflection on the past few months here, i wanted to share a few notable things i’ve learned:

1.       drivers in washington are CRAZY. they will run you over if you even think about stepping off the curb when your pedestrian light is red – sometimes, even if your light is green. watch out! they also like to honk ALL THE TIME. like every two seconds. they honk even when there is no one around to honk at. (i think this is because they view honking as a safe way to blow off some steam; washingtonians are pretty keep-to-themselves and cordial for big-city folk, so honking is their one, noisy release.)

2.       washington has some great local flavor that tour books and short trips do not do justice to. there are the prerequisite mainstream stores and restaurants, but the regional stuff is there and it’s pretty astounding. the hidden neighborhoods, local pubs, home-based stores were plentiful. discovering the nooks, crannies and gems of the district was quite possibly my favorite part of my time here.

3.       the weather in dc is pretty unpredictable. upon arriving here in early february, i expected spring to be around the corner. no, apparently, winter had only begun. (spring arrived, oh, about a week before i left.) without a car, this proved a little rough to handle some days. with a gazillion snow storms & blizzards arriving after i did, i got plenty of use out of my boots and heavy jackets. there were days when half of my entire closet was ON MY BODY, simply to keep me from getting frostbite. on my walk to the metro in the mornings, i would pop in to a couple coffee shops for a few minutes each, just to un-thaw before heading out in the 20-degree freezer they call a “mild winter storm” here.

moral of the story: east coast weather is VERY different than the west coast. be tough. be apparel-y prepared.

4.       whole foods is the best grocery store ever created. i will miss my weekly excursions of “retail” therapy to the one at 1440 p street to shop for organic-necessities & not-so-necessities. it’s a feast for the eyes and the tummy… the granola, cheese, fruits, veggies and flowers just can’t be beat! 🙂

5.       work-related: inside non-profit organizations, you will find some of the most incredibly dedicated people. at the theatre i have been working for, i’ve been amazed at the calibar of talent that many of the staff members have, and the things they sacrifice (namely: $$$) for the art they believe in. these people are committed to engaging the community in this art, and they will do so at all costs. i sort of walk around captivated by their dedication. they proudly LIVE OUT the kind of allegiance that i’m not sure i could commit a lifetime career to, but one that will affect how i spend my volunteer time and extra money. i hope to support non-profit organizations in some shape, form or fashion – GOD-willing – for the rest of my life. although i heavily volunteered all throughout college for a non-profit, YoungLife, my perseverance has been molded and shaped even further by my job at arena.

non-profits need support.

i am so thankful for this lesson.

6.       as a final point, i realized while in washington that living nearer to family members and the people i love is a conscious decision, and one that will determine (most likely) where i will begin a career as a lawyer, spend most of my weeks and months and years, etc.

this is a decision that i have been forced to make in the past few months, with acceptance letters to both east-coast and west-coast law schools. i let my time here serve as a sort-of “trial run” to see if i could handle living so far away from most of the people i am closest to. (although, i am lucky enough to have good friends dotted around the states.)

i decided to move back to california. attending law school in the golden state was an important choice that came to me easily once i realized living nearer to family was what i wanted and needed in my life. this, of course, does not negate the fact that i love love love the history, intelligence and beauty of the east coast. i can always come back to visit.

san francisco & uc hastings it is!

many more adventures ahead …


i’ve always loved the monuments in dc, but last weekend i was struck by the symbolism in these magnificent, historical representations.

      tree-frame.jpg      up-up-and-away.jpg      out.jpg

i embarked on a gorgeous spring walk around the tidal basin on a sunny sunday afternoon…

frolick through the tulips? yes, i did.
snap photos like a tourist? yup.
bask in the sunshine, smiling broadly? you betcha.


i paused for a few moments at the jefferson memorial. as i was standing next to thomas jefferson’s magestic statue – encircled with influential statements he made or wrote in letters enscribed on the walls around him, sheltering him as he watches the white house – i was reminded that i am so lucky to be an american. (not in the cheesy, believe-everything-our-president-professes-as-truth kind of blind devotion, of course.) you see, i’ve always thought that it’s important to be aware of one’s country’s weaknesses and to invoke change wherever possible, but it’s also important to be proud of where you come from and the core values that make your home so great.

america has it’s problems, but it also has some brilliantly shining principles.

among them…






an inscription on the interior, southeast wall of the statue chamber of the memorial, facing jefferson:

i am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions. but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. as that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. we might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.

(redacted and excerpted from a letter to samuel kercheval by thomas jefferson, july 12, 1816.)

the progressive attitude of our country’s founders is what makes the foundations of our legal system so great.

what a wise man, jefferson was – for believing in america and for fighting to make it strong and just, leaving room for growth and opportunity.

proof that times have changed?

jan02×25x2.jpg buck v. bell, may 2, 1927         

in this court decision, the state of virginia ruled that sterilization practices were legitimate for “feebleminded” and “promiscuous” individuals. this ruling, legalizing compulsory sterilization – an intrusive surgery which halts reproductive abilities –  was in effect until it was overturned in 1974. 

(compulsory sterilization programs are government policies which attempt to force people to undergo surgical sterilization. in the first half of the twentieth century, many such programs were instituted in many countries around the world, usually as part of eugenics programs intended to prevent the reproduction and multiplication of members of the population considered to be carriers of defective genetic traits.)

 c-buck.jpg  –> carrie buck, a woman who was admitted to a state colony for the “feeble-minded” (a catch-all for mentally disabled individuals) became pregnant with a child, which was a result of being raped by her uncle. the pregnancy, sadly, was labeled an act of “immorality” by carrie. the state wanted to sterilize ms. buck without her will, and the issue was brought to court in buck v. bell.the ruling was in favor of the prosecution, and justice oliver wendell holmes was the presiding judge. in support of his argument that the interest of the states in a “pure” gene pool outweighed the interest of individuals in their bodily integrity, justice oliver wendell holmes argued:

we have seen more than once that the public welfare may call upon the best citizens for their lives. it would be strange if it could not call upon those who already sap the strength of the State for these lesser sacrifices, often not felt to be such by those concerned, in order to prevent our being swamped with incompetence. it is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. the principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the fallopian tubes.

holmes concluded his argument with the infamous phrase:

three generations of imbeciles are enough.  

perhaps some of the current and future decisions made on the topic of genetic engineering  will have future generations wondering what the heck we were thinking, as i wonder what justice holmes & the virginia jury were thinking.   we get so excited about making a “better world” for ourselves that we sometimes forget the inherent rights each of us has been guaranteed in the bill of rights and our constitution. 

we should allow history to remind us to be wary. 

… the current play, “KIN, the trial of carrie buck” at the sundial theatre company explores the sad story surrounding ms. buck and the court’s ruling. it follows the account through her eventual sterilization – which was, horribly, without her full knowledge or consent. 

law school update V


a couple weekends ago i traveled back to california to visit law schools… 

with a supportive crew along with me – mom, dad and boyfriend – i visited three northern california schools that i’ve been accepted to. 

mcgeorge school of law, in sacramento: 22-acre law campus nestled in a quiet neighborhood in sac; lots of green grass and space to sprawl out.


university of san francisco law school: atop a lovely hill, occupying a corner of the stunning (and super safe) usf campus, which includes the gorgeous st. ignatius church.


university of california, hastings school of law, in san francisco: smack dab in the middle of the judicial district in a somewhat unsafe area of san fran; state court and federal building surround the campus.


each school had it’s own marvelous selling points, but i ruled out mcgeorge, as the uber laid-back atmosphere & the location weren’t as appealing  to me as usf and hastings. san francisco just can’t be beat – for a number of reasons! 

i still have not made a final decision between the two. i have a feeling that i have labored over this decision much more than any law student since the beginning of time. countless hours of sleep have been lost. SLEEP! PRECIOUS SLEEP! this decision will probably be more difficult than the three grueling years of law school that are quickly approaching.* if i make it through this decision, law school will be a cinch, i tell myself.  

any thoughts or suggestions on this topic before the looming deadlines creep up and steal what sanity i have left? 

*ok, so i’m exaggerating a little bit.

law school update IV

more news from schools have been trickling in…

i heard from two non-california schools, and my decision to stay in my home-state seems to be confirmed more and more everyday:

northwestern university: apparently, that drive to LA for the admissions interview with britney spears’ ex-lawyer for northwestern was a semi-waste of time. (i did meet an interesting celebrity lawyer with whom i still occasionally email from the experience!) northwestern doesn’t want me & i’m ok with it! perhaps they knew i’d be too depressed so far away from sunny california, in gloomy illinois.
university of pennsylvania: i can’t cut it for this ivey league. i didn’t think i’d like living in philadelphia anyways, but thought i’d give this prestigious law school a shot.

the way i see it … i’ve already heard from a handful of fabulous schools who’ve sent me acceptance letters (many of them offering scholarships), so i’m not too disheartened by the rejections from these schools. wherever i end up is where i’m meant to be, i guess.

life is a far too important thing ever to talk seriously about.
-oscar wilde

law school update III

to add to the list …

uc hastings – accepted (woo hoo! … super excited about this one!!)
pepperdine univ. – accepted, with partial scholarship
uc davis – accepted

*** update on my dc adventure to come soon!!