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Poetic Justice

Published May 26, 2016 by Anne

Is the U.S. Constitution poetry? Maybe, maybe not. However, we do know that the Preamble is best memorized through song. Moreover, even this English major didn’t quite grasp structure until her Con Law class.

We enjoyed, although did not entirely buy, Q&A: Burt Neuborne on “Madison’s Music,” a Bold New Approach to Interpreting the Constitution, National Book Review (May 2016).

See also the ambitious The U.S. Constitution Is a Poem, (that certainly settles the question), Geoffrey Wessel, Overthinking.com (September 17, 2015).

Is it fiction? Kind of, yes. See Constitutional Law as Fiction: Narrative in the Rhetoric of Authority, Lash Larue, Penn State University Press (1995).

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Defunded and Fee-Funded

Published January 12, 2016 by Anne

Connecticut probate courts have been defunded.

That’s right, the legislature will no longer pay for them. Never mind the poor souls who accidentally die in testate, never mind the vulnerable people who are in need of guardianship. Never mind that probate court is supposed to be a public service.

Instead of funding the courts, the legislature raised fees. Thus, the rich (assuming they don’t have enough warning to plan to die elsewhere, and assuming they lack wills) will pay extremely high fees, which supposedly will fund the rest.

This seems to be one decision that will have an adverse effect on both the wealthy and the poor. See Connecticut’s Probate Fee Change Could Drive Out Wealthy, Some Say, Luther Turmelle, New Haven Register (January 4, 2016), and Defunding of Probate Courts Punishes the Poor, Judge Lisa Wexler, Greenwich Time (August 29, 2015). Who’s it good for?

Hail to the Chief Judge

Published January 8, 2016 by Anne

In this day and age, there is a lot we could say about the folks running certain state courts of last resort. Suffice it to say, we will miss the good example set by the pioneering Chief Judge Judith Kaye of New York, who passed away today.

She was smart and innovative, interesting and interested.

Her obituary appears in the New York Times.

Magic 8 Ball

Published January 4, 2016 by Anne

Welcome back! This is our 8th year (if you count the past year, in which we posted nothing, except to our facebook page).

You may notice the new format here on WordPress, and the new url. If you go to the old url, you will be redirected here (thanks, Tom).

Want old posts? We may put a few best-of up here. Otherwise, try to remember a few details and we may be able to dig up the text from our personal archives.

Is there still a need for court-o-rama? That’s a good question, one we’ve asked ourselves over the past year. The answer is yes. Too many blogs highlight wacky cases, while very few look at court administration. However, these two realms overlap all the time — witness the case of former Judge Tracie Hunter, or the internationally (in)famous Kentucky clerk Kim Davis. In both instances, race, sex, and religion trumped boring old court administration facts. Plus, we know you want to hear about haunted courthouses every Halloween, and probate court weddings every Valentine’s Day.

So there you have it. We’re here, we’re back, we’re ready to blog. Send us your stories, feedback, and if the freelance fashion blogger who contacted us (yes, that really happened) has the scoop on judicial robes (why are Maryland’s a different color?), we’d love to know about it.