Monday, September 06, 2010

Is blogging now officially a "mainstream medium"?

The question in the title of this post is inspired by this new piece in The National Law Journal, which is headlined "Law School Report: A look at professors who have made blogging a mainstream medium." I am flattered and honored to be included among the impressive list of lawprof bloggers profiled by Leigh Jones in the article, which starts this way:

Somewhere between fusty law treatises and Twitter lie law blogs, many of them written by the top legal scholars in the country.  Just five years ago, the notion of law professors delivering quick and cogent commentary to the masses — with the opportunity for instant feedback, no less — was a novel concept.  Today, it is rare for law schools not to have at least two or three professors on faculty who regularly tap away at their blogs, often with their morning cup of coffee or after they've put the kids to bed at night.

The National Law Journalhas profiled some of the pioneers in law blogging. Their online endeavors keep readers current on topics ranging from Sixth Amendment rights to tax law, from faculty appointments to securities fraud.  Their work has given legal scholars a greater voice in the public forum and brought recognition to the schools they represent.

I ask the question in the title of this post because I am wondering if I now need to consider myself part of the MSM.  To quote a great Seinfeld episode, "Not that there is anything wrong with that."

September 6, 2010 in On blogging, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Second Amendment lawsuit already filed against new Chicago gun regulations

As detailed in this brief report, a lawsuit has already been brought challenging the new gun regulations that were adopted in Chicago last week. Here are the basics:

As trader on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange who owns a farm is among a handful of people suing the city of Chicago and Mayor Richard Daley, claiming the new gun control ordinance infringes on their constitutional rights.

Chicago aldermen passed the ordinance last week, just four days after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Chicago's longtime handgun ban on June 28.  The suit, filed Tuesday, asks the U.S. District Court to declare the ordinance "null and void" and prohibit the city from enforcing it.

The ordinance requires anyone who wants to keep a handgun at home to obtain a Chicago firearm permit, take firearms training and have no convictions for a violent crime, unlawful use of a firearm or two or more charges of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Each weapon must be registered, and owners can only register one weapon each month, according to the ordinance.

The National Rifle Association immediately threw its support behind the lawsuit.  And the Illinois Association of Firearms Retailers is among those named as a plaintiff in the suit.

Thanks to David Kopel via The Volokh Conspiracy, I see that the complaint in this suit is available at this link.

Some old and new related posts on state litigation and McDonald

July 7, 2010 in Second Amendment issues, Weblogs, Who Sentences? | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Not sure why comments are not showing up today....

but I've now reported the problem to the magic tech wizards behind Typepad and hope the problem will resolve itself ASAP.  My sincere appologies for anyone who has tried to post a comment only to see it vanish into cyberspace.

UPDATE:  Here is what the Typepad has now said in response to my inquiries:

We're currently investigating issues with commenting on some blogs. We apologize for the inconvenience -- we know how important commenting is for our bloggers.

Our engineers are working on this and we hope to have this resolved soon -- we will follow up on this ticket as soon as we have more information on this. Additionally we will keep our status page updated with any new information: http://status.sixapart.com

For now, it may help if you or your readers click on the Preview button and then Post.

March 28, 2010 in Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Full Senate passes bill to reduce (but not eliminate) crack/powder disparity

As detailed in this AFP report, the full "US Senate Wednesday unanimously approved legislation to reduce 20-year-old sentencing disparities for offenders caught with crack cocaine versus the drug in its powder form."  Here are more of the basics:

The bill, which must still pass the House of Representatives before President Barack Obama can sign it into law, cuts the 100:1 ratio in the amount of powder cocaine versus crack cocaine that trigger the same sentence.

The legislation as introduced would have cut the ratio to 1:1, but dealmaking to ensure its passage resulted in a compromise ratio of 18:1.

This statement from FAMM President Julie Stewart provides more of the (compromise) story and explains why even those eager to see more done on this front are still likely to favor final passage of this (partial) sentencing reform:

After 24 years on the books, 15 years of trying, 7 Congresses, 10 hearings, three Sentencing Commission reports, and 75,000 defendants sentenced...today, the U.S. Senate voted -- unanimously -- to make crack cocaine penalties fairer....

If the bill that left the Senate on its way to the House today becomes law, it will take 28 grams of crack cocaine to trigger the five-year sentence and 280 grams to hit the 10-year penalty.  And people sentenced for simple possession of crack cocaine will no longer be subject to a five-year mandatory minimum.

This is a big improvement over current crack sentencing penalties. It could lower sentences for almost 3,000 people each year.  However, the bill is not retroactive and would not help anyone who is already in prison serving a crack cocaine sentence.  So, after working on this issue for almost as long as FAMM has been in existence, I'm not thrilled that this is all we got....

[G]iven the politics of the day (and the past 15 years) the Senate bill is likely to be the best we can get.  To their credit, there were a number of Democrats and Republicans who supported an even better version of this bill, but not enough.  It was clear that nothing short of this compromise would actually make it out of the Senate. Without a Senate bill, crack sentencing reform would be dead once again.

The bill now goes to the U.S. House of Representatives where it will meet some obstacles.  But because the Senate unanimously approved the bill, it increases its chances that it might make it out of the House.  We'll be working closely with House members to see if we can improve the bill....

Since 1995, when Congress killed the reform of the crack sentencing guidelines, nearly 75,000 people have received federal crack cocaine sentences.  We will not allow another 75,000 to be sentenced at the current unjustifiable levels.

To prevent that, however, we will accept some compromises that are hard to swallow.  I don't look forward to that, but I won't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.  Too many people have already suffered, which is why we will support this imperfect bill.

Some related recent posts:

March 18, 2010 in Drug Offense Sentencing, Mandatory minimum sentencing statutes, Weblogs, Who Sentences? | Permalink | Comments (16) | TrackBack