Justices Sotomayor and Baer discuss the “Future University Community” at U-M

On Monday, surrounded by first-generation students sitting in rows behind her and adorned in a black robe not unlike the one she wears to oral argument, Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor accepted an honorary doctorate of laws from University of Michigan president Mark Schlissel (“Go Blue!” she said, to thunderous applause from an electric crowd, given the snowy weather outside and the early hour). Sotomayor was in Ann Arbor to participate in one of the first events of the University’s bicentennial, a colloquium titled, “The Future University Community.” After receiving her degree, the Justice joined German Justice Susanne Baer for a wide-ranging conversation moderated by NPR journalist Michele Norris.

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Some Thoughts on the Appointment Process

After Justice Scalia’s untimely passing nearly two weeks ago now, the entire political system fell into chaotic disarray. Just as soon as the news hit, congressional Republicans vowed to block any appointment until the next presidential term. Liberals found clips of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) disagreeing with himself while conservatives found the equivalent for Vice President (then Senator) Joe Biden (D-DE) in 1992. Sides have been throwing out ideas related to precedent, democracy, and everything in between. Here’s just a bit of guidance that can provide some clarity on the matter.

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The Girl on the Train: OBB Personenverkehr AG v. Sachs

Adding to its legacy of foreign affairs cases, the Supreme Court decided the case OBB Personenverkehr AG v. Sachs, which focused on the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), a 1976 law, which created limits on suing foreign sovereign nations (or their subdivisions) in U.S. courts. FSIA’s commercial activity exception is the subject of the case. Essentially, the question in this case is whether buying a ticket in America for travel in a foreign country should be considered commercial activity in the United States, for which the foreign travel agency would be liable.

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Death in Florida: Predicting Hurst v. Florida

While Florida may seem to many to be a lawless state where crime is committed without penalty, the state’s justice system occasionally overcompensates and allows judges in trial courts to ignore a jury’s sentence recommendation. In 1998, Timothy Lee Hurst murdered his co-worker at a local Popeye’s as he tried to rob it. The jury in his trial voted to declare him guilty and, along a 7-5 margin, to recommend the death sentence.

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Amateur Hour at USC

This is a blog post for my Political Theory class.

I’ve been a USC fan for the last four years. I obviously now care about Michigan primarily but since I was a freshman in high school I have been rooting for the Trojans from sunny LA. My brother started as a freshman at USC in 2010 and with his first football season came all the classic traditions of USC football fandom: the drum major riding in on a horse and stabbing the ground with a sword, the fight song playing incessantly, and the large empty, reserved space of Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

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Cinematic Motives

This is a blog post written for my Political Theory class. It is not about law but rather about political theory. It is still fairly relevant.

Steven Spielberg is a pretty talented director. He directed Jaws, Schindler’s List, Jurassic Park, Saving Private Ryan, Munich, Indiana Jones, The Color Purple, E.T., War Horse, and Lincoln. I was recently reading an article about Spielberg’s newest project, coming out in 2015, when I started to think: “what reason does this guy have for making another movie?”
I can’t say for certain why Mr. Spielberg is directing another movie (I’m certainly not sad about it, I love his movies), but it certainly can’t be about money. Forbes has estimated Spielberg to be worth about $3 billion, nothing to scoff at. And this money didn’t come recently.