Patterico's Pontifications

5/30/2010

Souter Speaks to HLS Graduates

Filed under: Law — DRJ @ 8:30 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Justice David Souter gave the commencement remarks at the Harvard Law School graduation last week. Here is the text of his remarks in which he referenced the United States Constitution, constitutional, or unconstitutional 58 times.

Given that the study of Constitutional Law is no longer a required course at Harvard Law School, I wonder how much the new grads got out of that speech.

— DRJ

53 Responses to “Souter Speaks to HLS Graduates”

  1. How many HLS students do you think don’t take con law (or corporations, offered just as often)? Maybe if everyone was taking it anyway, they should have other things be required?

    pizzathehut (c70387)

  2. “Maybe if everyone was taking it anyway, they should have other things be required?”

    Great logic dude.

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  3. pizzathehut,

    I marvel at your determination when it comes to this topic so here is the Harvard Law School course catalog for 2009-2010. Out of the hundreds of courses offered each semester to the 1770 HLS students, there are approximately 15-20 courses on Constitutional Law — although most appear limited to a narrow aspect rather than a traditional Con Law survey course. Do you think all the HLS students take one of these courses and do they sound like traditional Con Law courses to you?

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  4. This is the same approach that had everyone describing Obama as a “Con Law Professor” even though what he was really only a lecturer on a very narrow subject within the context of Con Law.

    shipwreckedcrew (436eab)

  5. PTH, YAAFM.

    HTH.

    HAND.

    ATFP!

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  6. Taking con law would cut into their study time on international law.

    Icy Texan (f1c4ae)

  7. Does anyone ever listen to commencement addresses? Have any ever been worth listening to?

    Alan (7130c5)

  8. “traditional Con Law survey course.”

    This is what you mean by ‘traditional con law survey':

    “Constitutional Law: Separation of Powers, Federalism, and Fourteenth Amendment”

    You can tell from reading the descriptions.

    The 2010-2011 catalog lists six sessions offered a year. This is tied with corporations for the most offered courses.

    “Do you think all the HLS students take one of these courses and do they sound like traditional Con Law courses to you?”

    I think nearly all HLS students take that course, along with other standbys that they all know are “required” — by employers, their career plans, etc… — such as evidence and corporations.

    “Taking con law would cut into their study time on international law.”

    I think this exemplifies the tack that will be taken in the attack on Kagan promoted in misleading ways.

    pizzathehut (688568)

  9. Is there a course on Sharia Law?

    Da'Shiznit (f56a3c)

  10. Taking CL would cut into their time protesting US customs and tradtional, as well as, take away time from glorifying Marx, Stalin, Mao and the French.

    We disgusting low brow Amercains are nothing more than dirty swine awaiting enlitement don’t you know.

    It is incredible what post war degenerate, vile, jealous scum the intellectual class was — but surpirsingly they convinced us of the arguement in spite of our overwhelming success as a nation ….

    Da'Shiznit (f56a3c)

  11. There’s a three credit elective on Middle Eastern law. I would think that not offering instruction on a major piece of law would be quite deficient.

    pizzathehut (688568)

  12. This is what you mean by ‘traditional con law survey’:

    “Constitutional Law: Separation of Powers, Federalism, and Fourteenth Amendment”

    No, that’s what DRJ means by “most appear limited to a narrow aspect rather than a traditional Con Law survey course.”

    Some chump (967a70)

  13. “No, that’s what DRJ means by “most appear limited to a narrow aspect rather than a traditional Con Law survey course.””

    What do you think a ‘traditional con law survey’ covers? Would it surprise you that other individual rights are taught separately (in more detail). That other rights are taught elsewhere (like the 4th amendment, taught in criminal procedure, etc…).

    pizzathehut (a230ba)

  14. “No, that’s what DRJ means by “most appear limited to a narrow aspect rather than a traditional Con Law survey course.””

    What do you think a ‘traditional con law survey’ covers? Usually those, plus some more of the individual rights. Some schools break them up into two courses — roughly corresponding to the main part of the constitution (federalism and separation of powers) and then the rights in the amendments. HLS organizes it similarly, moving the 14th into the half of the survey, and having the 1st covered in another part.

    pizzathehut (4856f8)

  15. pizzathehut:

    I think nearly all HLS students take that course, along with other standbys that they all know are “required” — by employers, their career plans, etc… — such as evidence and corporations.

    You can think it but you haven’t proven it. For instance, how big are the Con Law classes? If there are 15 Con Law course each semester and they fit the 11-to-1 student-faculty ratio at Harvard Law, then at most 165 students can take Con Law each semester and 330 students can take Con Law each year. Over 3 years, that means at most 990 students can take Con Law. Where does that leave the other 780 HLS students?

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  16. “You can think it but you haven’t proven it.”

    I’ve offered evidence. One of the course’s description said enrollment was capped at 100. Does this mean the other sessions are more? Could be. Even if they’re the same, that’s 600 students per year. Enough for everyone.

    Do you have *any* evidence that significant numbers aren’t taking it?

    The other piece of evidence that nearly all take it? That it was never a requirement, yet several sections are offered. Just like other not required but strongly encouraged courses that just about everyone takes. Ask around a law school.

    pizzathehut (0899fc)

  17. Only one of the Con Law offerings I saw indicates a space limit and that says 80 students, not 100. You assume the rest allow more students but that doesn’t fit with Harvard’s student-faculty ratio. So what is your basis for that assumption?

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  18. “Only one of the Con Law offerings I saw indicates a space limit and that says 80 students, not 100″

    So it’s a large lecture. At least you know not to apply the 11:1 ratio to the other sections of the same course. Try looking at the 2010-2011 course catalog. Also, stop trying to defend this. Just ask around and you’ll realize you’re stabbing at nothing.

    pizzathehut (ae4236)

  19. I agree this may not be Kagan’s fault but I don’t agree that eliminating Con Law as a required course (or replacing it with international courses) at one of America’s premier law schools is “nothing.”

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  20. “I agree this may not be Kagan’s fault but I don’t agree that eliminating Con Law as a required course (or replacing it with international courses) at one of America’s premier law schools is “nothing.””

    Dear god. She did not eliminate con law. In fact she added a course that promoted con law. She did this by reducing time spent on other parts of the 1L curriculum:

    “Room for the new first-year courses will be created by devoting fewer class hours to the traditional first-year curriculum (contracts, torts, civil procedure, criminal law, and property)”

    A headline that states “Dean Kagan Eliminited Con Law (Updated)” Could be made more accurate (and briefer) by stating “Dean Kagan Promoted Con Law”

    pizzathehut (8bb588)

  21. “A headline that states “Dean Kagan Eliminited Con Law (Updated)” Could be made more accurate (and briefer) by stating “Dean Kagan Promoted Con Law””

    PTH – You could do it that way on your own blog, but it wouldn’t be accurate. Why are you defending this? Why are you just throwing up speculative alternative defenses when she gave the reasons why she did it?

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  22. “Why are you just throwing up speculative alternative defenses when she gave the reasons why she did it?”

    Speculative? I’m looking at what she did:

    http://www.law.harvard.edu/news/2006/10/06_curriculum.php

    Not some wacko CNS news article that lies about what she did.

    Face it. She added a course that in part was meant to promote con law.

    pizzathehut (ad9e3d)

  23. “Face it. She added a course that in part was meant to promote con law.”

    PTH – Funny that dropping Con. Law as a requirement was not described in that announcement. Why do you think that was?

    You should write about it on your blog.

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  24. Her curriculum change added more study of statutes and legislation. How does that promote the study of Con Law?

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  25. “PTH – Funny that dropping Con. Law as a requirement was not described in that announcement. Why do you think that was?”

    Because it didn’t happen. Con law was not required (though of course it is encouraged and most students take it). You’re being misled by DRJ’s headline and blog post.

    What was described was lowering times for other required first year courses:

    “Room for the new first-year courses will be created by devoting fewer class hours to the traditional first-year curriculum (contracts, torts, civil procedure, criminal law, and property) “

    pizzathehut (ad9e3d)

  26. “Her curriculum change added more study of statutes and legislation. How does that promote the study of Con Law?”

    Here is the explanation from the link:

    “”Legislation and Regulation”: This course will introduce students to the world of legislation, regulation and administration that creates and defines so much of our legal order. At the same time, it will begin to teach students to think about processes and structures of government and how they influence and affect legal outcomes. The course will introduce students to, and include materials on, most or all of the following topics: the separation of powers; the legislative process; statutory interpretation; delegation and administrative agency practice; and regulatory tools and strategies. The course will naturally lead into, and enable students to get more out of, advanced courses in the 2L and 3L years, on legislation, administrative law, a wide range of regulatory subjects (e.g., environmental law, securities law, telecommunications law), and constitutional law.”

    pizzathehut (ad9e3d)

  27. That is not the study of Constitutional Law. Studying government, history and philosophy can help people understand the Constitution but that doesn’t make them Con Law courses, any more than studying “legislation, regulation and administration” makes that a Con Law course.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  28. “That is not the study of Constitutional Law”

    It “leads to, and enables students to get more out of” constitutional law. It introduces several subjects they’re going see in constitutional law, such as delegation and separation of powers. It “begin[s] to teach students to think about processes and structures of government.” Those are essential concepts in constitutional law.

    You really should just quit fighting this and stop buying the crap that CNS is feeding you.

    pizzathehut (688568)

  29. DRJ – PTH appears to have picked up the Nedia Matters story line on this. They are hangong their hat on the following:

    “Courses in both the second and third year are all elective, but we strongly recommend four courses that are prerequisites to much advanced work: Corporations, Taxation, Constitutional Law, and Accounting; and one or more courses with a clinical component. In general, the upper-level curriculum allow second- and third-year students to explore a broad spectrum of subjects, combining seminars, courses, clinics, individual needs and interests.”

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  30. It does happen to be the truth and what Harvard says. You do know the harvard law curriculum is famous. Famously developed like one hundred years ago and the most significant change was the changes that Kagan and others added. Changes that, among other things, promoted con law.

    You don’t have to resist this just because it contradicts the lies that CNS are giving you. Find something else to object to.

    pizzathehut (017d51)

  31. Harvard thinks Con Law should be an elective like Corporations and Tax Law, and PTH and I disagree on whether that’s a good idea.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  32. “Harvard thinks Con Law should be an elective”

    It’s been that way for over 100 years. Recently, Dean Kagan implemented changes to promote Con Law and mandate introductions to con law subjects. Stop spinning this DRJ. It doesn’t cure your errors, your credulity in the lies of others, and your misdirection on this topic.

    pizzathehut (7de3b7)

  33. Give me a link to your claim that it’s been an elective for over 100 years.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  34. By the way, if Kagan wanted to promote Con Law as you claim, why didn’t she try to make it a required course instead of “promoting” it through introductory courses? Perhaps HLS students are in need of remedial or introductory courses to Con Law, but making it a required course should be easy if you’re right that “nearly all HLS students take that course.”

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  35. “Give me a link to your claim that it’s been an elective for over 100 years.”

    Oh. I read it on some piece of crap website. Just kidding.

    There’s lots of reading about Harvard’s 100 year old curriculum. You can start with reading about Dean Langdell and the curriculum he instituted. Several of the articles discussing the change at harvard note that this is the first change to the traditional curriculum.

    Do you just find it difficult to believe that students would, for over 100 years, all on their own, take a course in one of the most interesting topics in law, as taught by luminaries in the field? Without being forced to?

    [note: fished from spam filter. –Stashiu]

    pizzathehut (6ce957)

  36. “Give me a link to your claim that it’s been an elective for over 100 years.”

    I read it on some piece of crap website. Just kidding.

    There’s lots of reading about Harvard’s 100 year old curriculum. You can start with reading about Dean Langdell and the curriculum he instituted. Several of the articles discussing the change at harvard note that this is the first change to the traditional curriculum.

    Do you just find it difficult to believe that students would, for over 100 years, all on their own, take a course in one of the most interesting topics in law, as taught by luminaries in the field? Without being forced to?

    pizzathehut (4856f8)

  37. So you don’t have a link. I couldn’t find one either.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  38. “By the way, if Kagan wanted to promote Con Law as you claim, why didn’t she try to make it a required course instead of “promoting” it through introductory courses? ”

    This curriculum change was the result of a 3 year process led by Martha Minnow. You can read more about it, but leading a place like Harvard law isn’t just like flipping a switch and saying ‘make it so.’

    You really should just quit worrying about this. This is not the evidence that Kagan is the boogie monster you think she is. Find something else.

    pizzathehut (4856f8)

  39. Do you just find it difficult to believe that students would, for over 100 years, all on their own, take a course in one of the most interesting topics in law, as taught by luminaries in the field? Without being forced to?
    Comment by pizzathehut — 5/31/2010 @ 1:54 pm

    Yeah, it’s like in nursing school where Anatomy and Physiology is one of the most interesting topics so there is really no need to make it required.

    Wait… they make it required because it’s a necessary part of the knowledge base for practicing the profession. My bad.

    Stashiu3 (44da70)

  40. “Yeah, it’s like in nursing school where Anatomy and Physiology is one of the most interesting topics so there is really no need to make it required.”

    You see what else is required, right?

    “Wait… they make it required because it’s a necessary part of the knowledge base for practicing the profession. My bad.”

    There’s lots of those. I presented evidence that students take those because they see them as requirements anyway — evidence, corporations, etc..

    It’s just a different approach. I really don’t see why people worked up. Other than the fact that they’re reacting poorly to being lied to by some nutcase website.

    pizzathehut (ad9e3d)

  41. This fellow is a Moby, of course. Sigh.

    Eric Blair (f89659)

  42. And no website or genuine reference. This person just *knows* things.

    Eric Blair (a30317)

  43. What’s ungenuine about harvard’s actual website and statements?

    [note: fished from spam filter. –Stashiu]

    pizzathehut (022af3)

  44. I presented evidence that students take those because they see them as requirements anyway — evidence, corporations, etc..
    Comment by pizzathehut — 5/31/2010 @ 2:15 pm

    No, you made assertions and never backed them up. Not the same thing.

    Stashiu3 (44da70)

  45. ” No, you made assertions and never backed them up. Not the same thing.”

    I presented evidence of the school saying they were encouraged. I showed the number of sections offered being consistent with everyone taking it. The course descriptions further the idea that these are foundational courses that should be taken. Is it really that hard to believe that people would not skip this course?

    pizzathehut (de7003)

  46. You already know I stopped taking your word on anything long ago.

    Stashiu3 (44da70)

  47. Is it really that hard to believe that people would not skip this course?

    Is it really that hard to believe that people might skip an elective course?

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  48. ” Is it really that hard to believe that people might skip an elective course?”

    Of course they might. I’ve been saying that by and large, they don’t. The ones that skip it, too bad.

    pizzathehut (ad9e3d)

  49. So is Souter a textualist?

    For that matter is pizzathehut?

    Why does anyone doubt that President Obama is an expert Harvard(!) lecturer…?
    Don’t you own a TV?… the guy can lecture for hours. And hours. Saying nothing useful.
    I stopped listening to President Obama months ago.

    By the way, Justice Souter’s speech tells us more about him than we know about nominee Kagan.

    Steve G (7d4c78)

  50. To be clearer, pizzathehut is imdw who has also used a couple of other names recently. I told him that an anonymizer was not foolproof. This is his final warning to use a consistent name and not attempt to pose as a separate commenter, even on unrelated threads.

    And yes imdw, I knew shortly after those comments what you had done but kept quiet here until Patterico said to warn you about the rules. I think you’re a dishonest little creep and hate the way you talk to DRJ who has been nothing but civil with you, so I waited for Patterico to decide how to handle it because I didn’t want the decision made from emotion. Break the rules again and I will make an exception to my own rule about not getting involved in bannings. You can ask the old Andrew if an anonymizer stopped him from being banned… wait, I guess you can’t, can you?

    Stashiu3 (44da70)

  51. Using an anonymizer is always the first sign of someone commenting in good faith. Raaaaaacist!!!!!

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  52. I have trouble keeping the irritating trolls straight. Wasn’t this guy banned or told to apologize for being a jerk?

    They think they are so smart, don’t they?

    Good catch, Stashiu3.

    Eric Blair (a2fddf)

  53. Should we be thankful that Harvard doesn’t require constitutional law in its curriculum? Otherwise we’d be having Alinsky like professors as well as Justice Barak of Israel type professors, distorting the minds of those lawyers on the central tenets of our republic.

    eaglewingz08 (326e65)


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.4259 secs.