Hi everyone! Well, the hiatus went much further than I said it would for reasons that are probably boring to discuss too much. For one thing, this blog initially started out as a class assignment, and we weren’t supposed to make any changes between the deadline and whenever our professors finished grading. Then the hiatus stretched longer as I became immersed in bar prep.
Studying for the bar exam was beginning to suck the joy out of the law for me. Maybe it’s because it’s a lot of memorization, not the kind of legal thinking I enjoy. It was also making my mind feel dull, incapable of forming interesting analysis or thoughts. The kind of thinking I’d need to do in order to analyze and write about developments in Zubik or other cases seemed impossible. After a day of studying, I’d have trouble forming sentences or remembering words. I’d forget what date it is. (Just today, upon hearing of a party scheduled for the 18th, I replied, “See you tomorrow!”) I’d wander the house aimlessly, forgetting what I intended to do, until I eventually wandered outside and walked two miles in repetitive circles around the block. Returning home, with a mind of mush, my hands worked instead, making endless dumplings. Dumplings almost every night. Dumplings upon dumplings, methodically mixing and kneading and cutting the dough, rolling out wrappers, stuffing and folding the wrappers. (But that is a topic for my other blog.)
I needed to read and write and think again, to geekily listen to oral arguments for fun, and remind myself why I love the law.
What to Expect
I’ll write about post-April 5th developments in cases I previously wrote about. I may write about old cases, the ones that grabbed my attention a year ago when I wanted to start a blog. I’m not sure how I’ll treat news and legal developments that are getting a lot of press. Sometimes, I feel ill-equipped to discuss them, like I don’t know enough not to accidentally write something incorrect or hurtful. Sometimes, I just think, “With so many smart people writing about this, what do I have to contribute?” We’ll see how June develops.
To write the sort of analytical posts I want to write may take hours of research, hours I might only have spread out over several weeks (until after the bar exam.) Such posts will likely be far apart, but in the meantime, I’d like to write short things such as quick summaries and collections of links to other posts and media about cases that catch my attention.
When friends and I attempted to start a constitutional law blog last summer, I had a few cases in mind that I wanted to research and write about. Why not do it now? Those cases aren’t in the news as much now as they were in 2015, but I’m still interested. These include Purvi Patel‘s case (and I’ve just found a bunch to read regarding her appeal) and Tamesha Means’s case which was briefly described in this post. I’d also like to write more about the Georgia KKK’s free speech case, since 1) I’ve done a lot of research on it; 2) that case is weirdly fascinating to me; and 3) it’s challenged me, making me revisit, question, and re-question my beliefs.
I’ll also revisit cases discussed in earlier posts. I’m particularly thinking of Zubik v. Burwell, but first I need to read the Supreme Court’s May 16th opinion and the supplemental briefs filed in April.
The Goal: Discussion
This may be a bit of a non sequitur, but before ending this post, I’d like to share a recent blog post and podcast that helped inspire me to start writing again. A recent episode of Pantsuit Politics addressed discussing politics and political disagreements in a respectful, productive, non-judgmental way. I found it inspiring! Co-host Beth Silvers talked about asking people questions as though interviewing them, which I thought was great advice. She later published a blog post on the topic.
My goal remains encouraging discussion and sharing information. I started this blog not to force my views on other people, but to learn what facts I could be missing, what other opinions people hold and why, and what could challenge or clarify my understanding of an issue.
My opinion will be in these posts even if I try to leave it out. If not in explicit words, it will creep into these posts in my choice of facts to include, emphasize, of exclude. It might sneak into my word choice. So I’m going to try not to omit myself entirely, but to just state up front what my opinion is. I’ll also endeavor to ask questions, like I’m interviewing, not judging, of those who might hold other opinions. I’ll still work to present objective information as well as the points of view of every side I can find. For example, in studying cases, I’ll look at the briefs of both sides, the blogs of law firms or organizations representing both sides, and news articles and editorials.
For now, I write this as a placeholder, in case I acquired any followers when I was writing for class, to let them know I’m coming back, and to hold myself accountable (so I actually will write soon). In the meantime, please feel free to get in touch via e-mail or Twitter and let me know what you’d like to discuss or read about!