Tuesday, January 24, 2006

This and That on Tuesday, January 24, 2006.

Blog Archives
I noted a while back that I was working on creating archives to past posts here at Kierkegaard Lives. I notice that Seth noted just Sunday that Blogger makes it very difficult to do such a thing. My solution was to create a separate blog just to post those "Archives" on. I finally completed going through the old posts and uplinking them in the Archives blog. As a result, you'll notice over on the sidebar that there are now links to various categories of posts. Which category (or categories) each post goes into is solely within my whim, and may not always make sense to you. You'll have to deal with it. It's the best I could do. I even got a message from Blogger noting that my "Archives" blog will have to be reviewed because it has characteristics of a "Spam Blog." Perhaps if they made archiving easier such things wouldn't happen. Anyway, let me know if you have any problems or suggestions for improving the archives.

**UPDATE: January 27, 2006: I'm temporarily removing the archive links from the sidebar. Shortly after I finished spending hours and hours compiling the archives and getting the "secondary" blog links all set up, the secondary blog that I was using for archiving was deleted by Blogger. My efforts to get an explanation all week have, thus far, yielded absolutely nothing. I received no warning, no request for information, nothing. They just deleted the archives. So until I get it straightened out, I'm removing the dead links from the sidebar.

**UDATE: February 17, 2006: As I noted in a post today, I finally (nearly a month later) got a response from a real live person at Blogger "Support" and have been able to restore the Archives. I've added the links back to the sidebar. Thanks to Samantha at Blogger Support.

Alito Passes Committee

Ok, so perhaps I'm being a bit cynical in saying that Alito passing the Judiciary Committee is the most obvious news ever. But it's close. If you want details about the vote (which was strictly party line), you can go to any of the following links and read to your little heart's desire:

Associated Press
NY Times
Jurist
SCOTUS Blog
TalkLeft
Firedoglake

Enjoy. More coverage when the vote goes before the entire Senate. It looks like the Republicans are pushing to get that done before next Tuesday's State of the Union, so watch for coverage of that later in the week.

Lawyer Seeks Dismissal of Criminal Case Because of NSA Surveillance

TalkLeft is reporting that what is believed to be the first filing seeking dismissal of criminal charges based upon the NSA Surveillance program has been filed. The details are in this story in the TimesUnion. According to the article:

An FBI sting case that targeted two members of an Albany mosque should be dismissed because the investigation originated from a national spying program that may be illegal, an attorney for one of the defendants said in a motion filed in U.S. District Court.
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The challenge of the government's case against Yassin Aref and Mohammed Hossain, who are accused of taking part in a plot to sell missile launchers to terrorists, may force federal prosecutors, and a U.S. District judge, to address a national debate unfolding about whether the National Security Agency violated any laws by eavesdropping on U.S. residents.

Terence L. Kindlon, Aref's attorney, filed a nine-page motion late Friday asking for all evidence in the case to be thrown out, and for a dismissal of the indictment. While defense lawyers in the case have been requesting access to classified evidence for more than a year, the new motion specifically targets the NSA program.

"The government engaged in illegal electronic surveillance of thousands of U.S. persons, including Yassin Aref, then instigated a sting operation to attempt to entrap Mr. Aref into supporting a nonexistent terrorist plot, then dared to claim that the illegal NSA operation was justified because it was the only way to catch Mr. Aref," Kindlon's motion said.

Kindlon's motion was filed several days after the New York Times, citing anonymous sources, reported that the NSA spying program may have prompted the FBI to zero in on Aref and Hossain. An analysis on the spying program by Harvard Law School Professor Laurence H. Tribe, a noted legal scholar on constitutional law, is attached to Kindlon's motion. Tribe's report, which was solicited by U.S. Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., calls the NSA eavesdropping program "as grave an abuse of executive authority as I can recall ever having studied."

Inasmuch as this seems to be the first filing bringing the legality of the NSA program into controversy in an actual case, the developments here could be interesting. As they say, stay tuned.

Professor Kerr's Thoughts on First Year Law School Grades

Knowing some people who are still in law school, and knowing that first semester first year grades have recently come out, this post over at Volokh Conspiracy might be an interesting read. It's about how much (or how little) you should make of those first semester first year grades. I don't disagree with much of Kerr's thoughts, except that I think he may go a tad too far in downplaying the importance of such grades. His advice is all sound, and the long-term importance of those grades may be just as he suggests. But in the short-term, there's little doubt that those grades will have an impact, at least in the minds of some potential employers, on interviews for summer clerkships, etc. And even upon graduation it's not unlikely that employers will at least pause if they see low grades in some of those first semester core classes. Following Kerr's advice could well put people in a position to at least get an interview, though, and then an opportunity to explain what happened or why those first semester grades shouldn't be weighed too heavily.

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