Saturday, April 29, 2006

Dominick's - What would law school be like without it?

Even though I attended Michigan for undergrad and was of course aware of the existence of Dominick's, until attending law school it rested at the periphery of my consciousness. Since coming to law school, it has become a mental institution (as in, an institution residing in my brain as well as a spot of occasional lunacy). Yesterday I headed there after my transnational law exam, ready to wind down after a week of furious activity - between Tuesday and Friday I took 2 exams and went to Houston for a job interview in between them.

Needless to say, sangria in broad daylight hits particularly hard, resulting in my friend and I singing Aqua and Ace of Base at the top of our lungs from my balcony in the late afternoon.

It also resulted in me going to bed extremely early and waking up feeling refreshed, mentally rejuvenated and ready to attack my papers.

Tuesday was my last exam with all of my fellow summer starters - a strange moment, since the 90 of us had spent three semesters taking classes together. So there was a certain nostalgia about yesterday's drinking at Dominick's - a tiny bit of sadness that everyone is spreading out around the country for the summer, spelling the end of our quasi-unity. There was also a bit of disbelief that we've been in school since the end of May last year - almost one full calendar year.

Today, I'm going to see what the Russian grocery store in town has to offer before burying myself in discombobulated EU directives and regulations, member state legislation and WTO case law.

Life goes on as usual, the brief interruption of Dominick's only a hazy memory reflected in the strange partial facial tan I managed to acquire there yesterday afternoon.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Turtle rights, clone wars, and Constitutional law...

You know you've been studying one subject for too long when you start trying to argue that a Congressional act designed to protect endangered species such as desert turtles violates the Equal Protection clause because it doesn't establish criteria to determine what species are endangered, and is thus not specific enough to withstand an equal protection challenge. Anthropomorphizing animals is a clear sign of impending insanity.

Insanity is further demonstrated when you begin contemplating what rights babies grown in test tubes and never placed in a womb would have under the 14th Amendment. In particular, would a clone grown in some sort of vat have US citizenship without being naturalized? Under the plain language of the 14th Amendment, arguably not - since people grown in vats aren't "born" in the US under a traditionally dictionary definition of "born." Having an army of clones without US citizenship would allow for a lot of leeway, it seems...

I think I need a vacation...

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

End of classes

Today was the last day of classes. It was the end of my third consecutive semester of law school. It is the beginning of the final run towards exams, and a time to evaluate all that has happened this year.

The first thing I'm stunned by is how much I have learned, not just substantively, but also in terms of how to think, analyze and view the world. I have added a level of technical knowledge to my political science and natural science background that has opened up new vistas of research possibilities.

The second thing I'm stunned by is how much I have learned in this single semester. The previous two semesters I struggled to get through readings, somewhat bored and even slightly confused by common law subjects. I realize that I'm more of a code lawyer - I like texts that I can analyze. This semester has been filled with classes I was genuinely interested in - from international trade law through Islamic law.

Moreover, I realize that I read the material much more closely this semester - particularly in the classes of most interest to me.

My first exam is Con law on Tuesday. The last core class of law school. Then comes transnational law, and finally Islamic law. During this period of time, two 25 page papers will serve as my "study breaks" because quite honestly, writing papers is something I have been dying to do since coming to law school. I've missed writing papers and thinking for myself.

There are only slightly more than two weeks left of the semester. Then, I'll be halfway done with law school and embarking on a 7 month research period punctuated by the occasional class. I can't wait.

Saturday, April 15, 2006


Sometimes it takes a while for things to work out. Sometimes you find yourself in such a maelstrom of chaos that you don't really see how things will resolve.

I find myself with exams approaching and a new motivation to study. The chaos begins to recede and things are looking up.

Good things do come to those who wait.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Bye-bye Berlusconi

The Italian election is officially over - Berlusconi lost, Romano Prodi won.

Now the questions looming largest in my mind are how long will Prodi's government last and will I be fortunate enough to witness one of the famous Italian government implosions when I'm in Italy in the fall?

Berlusconi has long been an eccentric and uniquely Italian figure in international politics. Besides owning the three national Italian TV channels and having a multi-billion dollar fortune, Berlusconi's corruption was so openly known that it inspired laughter rather than fear. Nevertheless, it seems that the Italians (by a very narrow margin) had enough.

My sneaking suspicion is that it wasn't Berlusconi himself that caused him to lose the election, but rather the fact that he had the longest-lasting government in the history of Italy. The Italians were bored. They missed the regular government changes. And so they voted him out.

Or maybe, the Italians were fed-up with Berlusconi's support of the Iraq war, conservative policies, and the US. But I prefer to think that the real reason he lost was a national desire for chaotic politics.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Judas - most faithful apostle?

Easter is rapidly approaching. It therefore seems like an appropriate time to bring up the fascinating discovery of the Gospel of Judas. The document, discovered in the Egyptian desert in 1970, was translated and made public by the National Geographic Society. The text describes Judas as having betrayed Jesus on his orders. Instead of traitor, Judas is the most favored of the apostles.

This discovery serves as a reminder that text-based religions undergo a period of evolution during which the texts are not yet finalized. Early Christianity consisted of many beliefs, the majority of which were later declared heretical. The Christianity we know today is an arbitrarily defined one - based on a majoritarian declaration of textual authoritativeness. Even after the initial formalization of Christianity, minority 'heretical' viewpoints often survived for centuries, only gradually becoming extinct. The "globalization" of Christianity undercut its diversity, standardizing religious practice much like McDonalds has standardized its sesame seed buns and beef patties.

For some reason I suddenly have an urge to reread the Name of the Rose...

Monday, April 03, 2006


My mother tells me that I'm at the age where everything is up in the air, I don't know what the future holds in store and that for a few years more I will be in this state of uncertainty and flux. She says these are some of the hardest years for all of us.

This reassures me. I'm 25 years old. I know that I want to do international law, but I don't even know in what capacity entirely. I don't want to limit myself and thus preclude myself from a large section of the job market. I also don't know if I want to stay in the US.

Next semester I'm going to study abroad in Italy. One semester of taking seminars in EU law and doing research will hopefully open my horizons and provide me with some sort of guidance. My parents view this as a unique opportunity, one not to be missed. I agree, but at the same time I'm a little torn. It's not so much the friends I've made here - they'll be here when I get back in January. It's more the classes I'll be missing out on. Once I get back, I'll have 2 semesters left. That's it. Those last two semesters will be less than fun - packed with all of the really important classes I should really take before finishing my law degree.

Even though I'm a bit nervous about the job application process for second summer jobs that will be going on simultaneous to my stay in Italy, and the possible classes I'll miss out on, I'm excited about going abroad again. Besides, how can anyone say no to spending a semester in Firenze, studying in a villa at the outskirts of town?