Thursday, June 29, 2006

Rich folks get more sleep

MSNBC gives us this little tidbit:

Rich folks get more sleep

People with less money may have more worries keeping them awake


NEW YORK - In a study of sleep characteristics in 669 adults in Chicago who were compared by sex and race, investigators found that blacks got less sleep than whites, while men got less sleep than women.


In addition, the wealthier you are, the more sleep you're likely to get, Dr. Diane S. Lauderdale of the University of Chicago and her colleagues found.


In other news, Al-Associated Press is reporting that the unemployed have more leisure time than those with jobs. Apparently, the working want officials who will pursue an aggressive policy of "time redistribution."
Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The AP breathlessly reports...

That J.K. Rowling says two characters will die in the last Harry Potter book.

Excuse me for being the one to say, "who cares?"


If there's any sense of justice in her books, one of their spells will backfire like a .338 RUM with a plugged barrel.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Scotus poll #2

One more while you're here:


What should be, in your opinion, the most important criterion in selecting a Supreme Court nominee?
Experience as a judge / paper trail
Clearly articulated judicial ideology
Obscure ideology / stealthiness
Credentials - education / clerkships / professional experience
Reputation for powerful intellect
Reputation as consensus builder / collegiality
Race and gender / identity politics
Free polls from Pollhost.com

Scotus poll

Last year, Justice O'Connor announced her retirement July 1. This year, the speculation is again flying fast and furious as we approach the end of the Supreme Court's term. The names of Justice Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, Scalia and Kennedy have all been mentioned as possible retirees over at ConfirmThem by various commenters. So what's your best guess?

How many Supreme Court vacancies will there be at the end of this term?
Zero
One
Two
More than two
Free polls from Pollhost.com

In which they reap what they have sewn

For those who believe that a decaying spirit manifests itself in physical appearance, comes this bit of evidence supporting their position. Apparently bad morals lead to bad fashion. Luckily, bad fashion also represents bad planning, so criminals end up victims of the dreaded baggy-pants apprehension.


Update:
Appears the article is for WSJ subscribers only, but just to give you the article's flavor:

...Denny Fuhrman, a 58-year-old police officer in Lynnwood, Wash., was escorting a handcuffed suspect to his patrol car one afternoon in 2004 when the youngster twisted free and took off running.

As he bolted, the baggy blue jeans he was wearing fell down around his ankles, sending him tumbling onto the pavement of a busy street. "He was rolling around in traffic, looking like a fish out of water," recalls Mr. Fuhrman...

Monday, June 19, 2006

New life for old cannons

I love hunting whitetail deer. Here's an interesting idea from someone else who loves hunting whitetail: with artillery. No word on how the choice of weapon affects the venison.


Update--I stand corrected:

"Meat recovery was very reasonable for this 120 yard shot. Although the holes look big, there was very little extended meat damage."


Hat tip: Moe Lane at RedState
Saturday, June 17, 2006

Prediction time

Over at Res Publica they're making predictions on possible Supreme Court vacancies and nominations at the end of this term. I might as well put my two cents in writing before all the fun (or complete lack of it) takes place.

I'm betting on one vacancy, from the retirement of Justice Stevens, who will cite the desire to spend more time with his wife. The President will nominate Michael McConnell, who will further distance himself from his earlier criticism of Roe and skate to an easy confirmation (easy in light of the importance of the vacancy as the possible Roe-destroyer). I'm guessing 65-70 votes for confirmation after a 12-6 committee vote.

Gaudium et spes

Congratulations to my old friend Nigel Tufnel in Boston on his engagement.

May the Lord's Joy be with you and T during this happy time. And may you both have Hope in abundance, for the Lord will be with you and supplying your marriage with many graces.

It is difficult for many of us to figure out how exactly God wishes us to serve Him, but the two of you have now found the answer. You will strive to love each other as Christ loves the Church, and learn to die to self in order to serve the other. Even though the 'death to self' part can be hard, never despair. Remember, "Those who love God's law have great peace, and for them there is no stumbling block." And also, the Lord will make your sacrifices sweet: "O Lord, what delights there are in the love of Your sacred commandments! All delightful sweetness seizes the heart seized by love of Your law."

You are both in our prayers. Hope to see you soon.

Bush Stole the Election!!!

I guess some stories are just too much fun to fade away. The champions of "vote early, vote often" and the "keep 'em coming" ongoing Washington gubenatorial election just love to point fingers. Paranoia about the VRWC lives on. But still, as I read this unhinged rant from RFK, Jr., I had to keep asking myself, "why now?"

Normally, I'd just assume the answer was more of the same: liberal detachment from reality, desire to joust with windmills, etc. But low and behold, about half way down page 1, I came across a more definitive answer:

''It was terrible,'' says Sen. Christopher Dodd, who helped craft reforms in 2002 that were supposed to prevent such electoral abuses. ''People waiting in line for twelve hours to cast their ballots, people not being allowed to vote because they were in the wrong precinct -- it was an outrage. In Ohio, you had a secretary of state who was determined to guarantee a Republican outcome. I'm terribly disheartened.''

You had to know that the prospect of a Governor Blackwell would scare the heck out of the Dems on the national level. Well here, apparently, is their plan to keep Blackwell on the defensive and question his credibility, in a state where the GOP has a definite credibility problem right now.

Luckily, as even RFK points out, not even the Dem propaganda machine (the MSM) was willing to go bat on this issue:

The national media, with few exceptions, did little to question the validity of the election. The Washington Post immediately dismissed allegations of fraud as ''conspiracy theories,'' and The New York Times declared that ''there is no evidence of vote theft or errors on a large scale."

My gut is that this effort will backfire. More importantly, it shows me just how important the Dems view Blackwell to be, and how much he could mean to the GOP on a national level down the line.

Cross-posted at RedState (originally posted 6/01/2006).
Friday, June 16, 2006

Mets are set for the long haul

OK, so we're up 9.5 games in the NL East and the All-Star break still isn't in sight. Like most Mets fans, I'm feeling pretty good about our chance to make some noise in October this year. Beltran is hitting to his contract, not his past performance, Delgado been the big bat in the middle of the lineup the Mets needed, Wright is meeting and exceeding expectations, and even Jose Reyes is managing to get some walks (now if he'd stop hitting fly balls...). Coming off of a 9-1 road trip the Mets offense looks like a juggernaut, pummeling even the ace of our opponents staff (Myers) and scoring in the first inning in 8 straight games. That's how you put your opponent on its heels.

Meanwhile, the pitching has been more than good enough. Dumping Julio for El Duque looks like genius now. Glavine and Pedro have done what they get paid the big bucks to do. And the back end of the rotation is looking young and capable with Bannister (before the injury) and Soler (more recently) looking major league ready.

So after we win the Series this year, how do the Mets pursue dynasty?

Well, reviewing the free agent options that are expected to be on the board this winter, there are a few interesting possibilities:

Alfonso Soriano could be brought in to fill the Mets biggest hole at second base. Valentin is filling in nicely for the time being but he is not the future. With Floyd's body in decline, and the ever-present threat that his productivity might finally start to drop off, the Mets would do well to add another RBI producing bat. Especially if they make the expected move of letting Floyd walk and giving Milledge his shot.

One never knows how a rookie will produce, and expecting him to be a run-maker in the middle of the lineup like Floyd is setting the bar too high. People forget what a service Willie did for Wright by keeping him at the bottom of the lineup while he got his major league bearings. I was at wits end with the hysterical-crew, with leaders like Benigno, who wanted him in the cleanup slot his third week with the Mets. I'm convinced that Willie deserves credit for bringing David along slowly, which has enabled him to take on additional responsibilities without hitting the wall the way so many young players do.

The same should apply with Milledge next year, which means a bat like Soriano's could play an important role in the offense. Ultimately, I think this move will not happen for three reasons: (1) he's probably going to be traded and locked-up by another team before the post-season; (2) the Mets could really use a left-handed bat at second base to preserve the great balance they've had in the lineup this year, since a righty in Milledge will be replacing a lefty in Floyd; and (3) I think Nady will emerge as someone who can handle the 6-slot responsibilities that Floyd currently occupies, and do it well. That said, despite Soriano's obvious appeal, I think the Metties will still be in the second base market after Soriano's off the board.

The guy who I think makes a lot of sense for the Mets is Adam Kennedy. He's proven himself capable of hitting .300 in the past, and is a lifetime .280 guy. He's a left handed bat, 30 years old, a gold-glove caliber fielder, and can likely be had for a lot less money than the big names that will be out there this winter, which will save up money for pitching. As a 7 or 8 hitter he would be more than adequate, a huge upgrade over say, Anderson Hernandez.

Starting pitching is where the Metties need to make some hay. Glavine and Pedro are doing the job, but next year will almost certainly be Glavine's last and Pedro's penultimate campaign. Top-of-the-rotation talent needs to be acquired that will go beyond the next two years. Pelfrey is being considered a top-three type pitcher right now, but even if he pans out as such in a couple of years, we'll need another playoff type starter next year and another one the year after that. The obvious name right now is Barry Zito, and I think the Mets need to throw money at him. He's been dependable, sucks up tons of innings, hasn't shown a lot of drop off from his earlier years (a la Mulder), is a lefty among a sea of young Met righties, still has another 5-10 years left in his arm (in all probability), and has a great rapport with Mets pitching coach (and former A's pitching coach) Rick Peterson.

So there's my wish list for this off-season to keep the dynasty going: Kennedy and Zito. The year after another starting pitcher might be needed for Pedro, if he retires post-'08 as he's already indicated he's considering, and we'll have to see how LoDuca's body is holding up behind the plate. But that's two years away. First, I want to enjoy the ride to post-season meaningfulness this year, and see the pieces put in place to maintain success into 2008.


Cross posted at Shea Hey Kids

Justice McConnell Will Not Overturn Roe

As the Supreme Court's term comes nearer to completion and rumors of impending vacancies continue to swirl, the conservative blogosphere is alive with predictions and plans. Over at ConfirmThem, the questions continue to be asked, answered, and re-asked: "Who should the President nominate?", and "What are the proper criteria for selecting a nominee?"

First there are criteria relating to qualifications: academic backgrounds, clerkships, professional accomplishment, status in the judicial community, and judicial philosophy as evidenced in written opinions, articles, testimony and speeches. Then there are the political criteria: gender, race, religion, marital/family status, support among the base, intensity of Democratic opposition, ABA ratings, etc. While there is general agreement that all of these factors come into play, their relative importance is the subject of much debate.

I don't claim to know how the White House will prioritize the criteria, but I think we can draw some conclusions based on the three Supreme Court picks the President has already made. First, identity politics has played less of a role than many pundits predicted, with two white males being confirmed. While there is much speculation that the President will pick a woman or a minority for the next vacancy, the same speculation existed when the President nominated both Roberts and Alito. Second, the President seems to want someone just conservative enough to satisfy the base without risking an all out war in the Senate, and a potentially damaging loss. He obviously miscalculated support from the base with the Miers nomination, but the general idea still holds. Otherwise, we might have seen Edith Jones, Janice Rogers Brown, and William Pryor instead of Roberts, Alito and Miers.

So where does that leave us with the next pick? Of the names most frequently mentioned on the rumored short list--Callahan, Mahoney, Williams, Sykes, Estrada, Cantero, Easterbrook, McConnell--it is almost certain that Callahan and Mahoney would provoke another Miers-like rebellion from the base. Williams, Sykes, and Cantero would not be under consideration if not for identity politics. While I would not be shocked if any of the three were chosen, the President has twice selected more qualified candidates over affirmative action picks. My instinct is that the trend will continue, especially in light of the Miers debacle. An Estrada nomination would be an all-out war, so I doubt he'll get the nod, if the past is at all indicative of the future. That leaves Easterbrook and McConnell as confirmable, heavyweight candidates who have at least some support from the base. My personal concern is that McConnell will get the nod, given he is 7 years younger than Easterbrook, has a good deal of support from conservatives and liberal academics alike (at least he had it during his COA nomination), and would be an extremely difficult nominee to derail.

I use the word "concern" because, as a strong pro-life advocate, I think that McConnell could turn into a disaster on abortion. I know McConnell has his fans among pro-lifers, primarily for his WSJ article denouncing Roe ("Roe v Wade: Still Illegitimate at 25") and for signing a petition calling for a Constitutional Amendment making abortion illegal. But Judge McConnell, in his hearings for the 10th Circuit, repudiated the position that the Supreme Court can overturn Roe:

Chairman Leahy. Is there anything in the Constitution that would prevent, for example, Congress from regulating private decisions about family planning made within the confines of a marriage?

Mr. McConnell. Certainly, there have been a whole series of Supreme Court decisions on those [family planning] rights, which, by the way, I have defended and not criticized... I happen to agree with them.... [A] lot has happened in the 26/27, however many years it's been since Roe v. Wade... At the time when Roe v. Wade came down, it was striking down the statutes of at least 45, if not all 50 of the States of the Union. Today it is much more reflective of the consensus of the American people on the subject. I believe that the doctrinal analysis offered in Planned Parenthood v. Casey has connected the right much more persuasively to traditional legal materials, and then the weight of stare decisis simply indicates that this is an issue that is settled. It is as thoroughly settled as any issue in current constitutional law.


Some view this as mere obfuscation, an attempt to throw Senate Democrats off the trail. "Settled law" is settled, in other words, until our shiny new conservative Supreme Court has the chance to overturn it. So reasoned the PowerLine blog in a pro-McConnell piece:

"virtually nothing in modern constitutional law is truly "settled." To say that Roe is as settled as other issues in constitutional law is not to say much. Any sophisticated reader of Judge McConnell's statement would never mistake it for a pledge of fealty to Roe as precedent."

Apparently the Democrats in the Senate were wise to this possible pro-life chicanery, because they continued to press the issue in McConnell's hearing:

Senator Cantwell. In a statement of pro-life principles, I think it was a 1996 document you signed, and I want to understand if I'm interpreting what you just said correctly, `A constitutional amendment is needed, both reversing the doctrines of Roe and Casey and establishing the right to life protected by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments extended to the unborn child.'' Is that what you---

Mr. McConnell. Senator, now that the abortion question is completely settled, the only avenue for any change is through constitutional amendment. This is going to take, what, two-thirds votes of both Houses of Congress, three-quarters of the States. Senator, it is not going to happen.

Roe is not merely settled law, but "completely settled." So the Supreme Court can't overturn it? Nope, afraid not, Judge McConnell replies. Only a constitutional amendment could take away the "right" to an abortion.

This testimony is enough to convince me that Judge McConnell is not the right man for pro-life conservatives. The only question that remains is squaring McConnell's pro-life statements (WSJ article, pro-life petition) with his testimony in the Senate. I would argue that the petition, his WSJ article and his testimony are not contradictory, but rather complementary. His article states that Roe was reasoned incorrectly, his testimony shows he thinks Casey redeems Roe and supports it as legally binding and valid, and the petition shows that he'd like to undo the "right" to abortion democratically because he doesn't think there is anything the courts can do about it. In the article, he states:

"The reasoning of Roe v. Wade is an embarrassment to those who take constitutional law seriously... The Supreme Court brought great discredit on itself by overturning state laws regulating abortion without any persuasive basis in constitutional text or logic. And to make matters worse, it committed these grave legal errors in the service of an extreme vision of abortion rights that the vast majority of Americans rightly consider unjust and immoral."

He does not address the issue of whether the Supreme Court could have "committed these...errors in the service of an extreme vision of abortion rights," i.e., crafted Roe, if they did have a persuasive basis in constitutional text or logic. The type of persuasive basis he alludes to in his Senate testimony: "I believe that the doctrinal analysis offered in Planned Parenthood v. Casey has connected the right [to abortion] much more persuasively to traditional legal materials." Note that he does not mention Casey at any point in his WSJ article, or address whether Casey bolstered Roe's prospects. Saying Roe was a constitutional embarrassment doesn't mean that the Roe/Casey two-headed monster can't continue to stand, as he suggested in his testimony that it will.

As for the petition, here is the most applicable section:

"The right-to-life of the unborn will not be secured until it is secure under the Constitution of the United States. As it did in Brown v. Board of Education (when it rejected the Plessy v. Ferguson doctrine of "separate but equal" as an adequate expression of rights secured under the Fourteenth Amendment), the Supreme Court could reject the "central finding" of Roe v. Wade, that abortion-on-demand is required by an unenumerated "right to privacy" protected in part by the Fourteenth Amendment. The claim that such a correction of error would damage the Court's authority is belied by the experience of Brown v. Board of Education, and by the fact that the Court has corrected its own erroneous interpretations of the Constitution on scores of other occasions.

A more enduring means of constitutional reform is a constitutional amendment both reversing the doctrines of Roe v. Wade and Casey, and establishing that the right to life protected by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments extends to the unborn child. Such an amendment would have to be ratified by three-fourths of the states: a requirement that underlines the importance of establishing a track record of progressive legal change on behalf of the unborn child at the state and local level.

The petition is clearly calling for a Constitutional Amendment as the solution to the Roe problem. It mentions the option of the Court overturning Roe as merely a possibility ("the Court `could' reject..."). It is quite possible that Judge McConnell signed this petition with the understanding that it was calling for something other than the overturning of Roe by the Supreme Court. In conjunction with the words of his Senate testimony ("now that the abortion question is completely settled, the only avenue for any change is through constitutional amendment") that conclusion seems hard to avoid.

Judge McConnell is an impressive intellectual, confirmable, and has his admirers among conservatives and academics alike. He is an attractive possibility for the Bush White House. Unfortunately, since I believe the Supreme Court has the duty to overturn Roe v. Wade, I hope the President ultimately chooses someone else.

Hat tip: McConnell resources by Andrew at ConfirmThem

Comments on the "Florida Controversy"

Watching the controversy at Ave Maria School of Law from afar, you are struck by the one-sidedness of the discussion. Opponents to the current administration of Dean Bernard Dobranski and the Board of Governors are doing all the talking and agitating, stirring up student anxiety by leaking their discontent to the student body and the press, and making a public call for the dismissal of the Dean. In their haste to implement a “scorched earth” policy (recently punctuated by Charlie Rice’s letter calling for a schism in the law school—in other words, who cares if the current institution dies?), the “we know better than the Board” portion of the faculty doesn’t seem to care how their public discontent affects: 1) prospective students, 2) the current student body, 3) potential donors to the school, and 4) the press the law school receives. While the guerillas want to blame the administration for the “problems” listed above that are the fallout of the controversy, the fact is that the controversy is of their own making. Thus, the ramifications of the controversy are their own responsibility.

The spark that set the insurgency in motion was the decision by the Law School to consider a move to Ave Maria, Florida. By the way, you read that correctly: “consider a move.” Not: “announce a move,” “rev up the moving vans,” “make plans to hit South of the Border on the way down I-95.” No: consider a move.

I’m no insider, but it’s pretty obvious that the move must have some potential benefit—likely more financial backing from the Domino’s folks and better facilities, since the town and university are brand spanking new—or the Board of Governors wouldn’t have been considering it at all. Well, based on the hysterical reaction to the announcement that the school is considering moving, there must be some obvious reasons that the move would be a colossal blunder. So what are they? Well, from the WSJ article, the one-sided “Whose AMSOL” blog and the Wikipedia entry, I can gather these as the primary “reasons” against moving:

1) Current students don’t want to move.

A curious point, since the Dean and Board say a move couldn’t feasibly take place until after the current students are gone. I don’t know why current students would feel the need to speak for all possible future students. Can’t the future applicants make up their own mind whether the mission of the school is more important than the all-consuming Florida vs. Michigan debate? Or even if—gasp—Florida is preferable to Michigan? I can’t tell the future, and don’t know if future prospective students will be indifferent to the two sites, will prefer Florida to the tropical Ann Arbor climate, or would prefer to stay in Ann Arbor. Maybe they would actually like to be near AMU, in a Catholic University environment, in a town that will have Catholicism at its core. Nah.

The point is current students don’t need to decide for future applicants who can make up their own mind.

2) Moving AMSOL would “take a flourishing institution and uproot it in an early stage. ... It's like moving a young plant; it might not survive the transplant.''

Um, no. In the age of airplanes, you take the three hour flight to Naples and de-plane. You walk into the brand spanking new facilities waiting for you and you’re ready to go. Whether or not certain individuals would prefer to stay in Michigan is another question altogether. Of course, as with any employee whose employer moves, the option is theirs—move or look for a new job.

3) According to the Board’s own consultants, the ABA won’t like a move and could consider it a “major change.” There will be “special scrutiny” (according to the leaked information that miraculously found its way onto Wikipedia) if there’s a lot of faculty turnover.

Well, I for one have no idea how the ABA will approach this situation, if it comes up. But I’ll tell you this: if the Board decides to move, the insurgents have done the university a huge favor (that’s sarcasm) by leaking the consultant’s findings, and including a veiled threat of a walkout of professors. Red-flagging it for the ABA is a move that clearly has the interests of future students at heart.

In the interim, I trust that the Board will take seriously the impact a move would have on their standing with ABA. Accreditation is no small matter, and I'm sure those who have the responsibility to make this decision will give it the weight it deserves. Of course, I'm probably just a stooge for trusting the Board, since they're a bunch of suits that Tom Monaghan pushes around at will. After all, when have you ever seen folks like this guy, this guy, this gal, and this guy demonstrate integrity? Then there's this guy and this guy. Is there any question that Tom wanted a rubber stamp when he "packed the Board" with these mediocrities and shrinking violets?

4) Tom Monaghan’s support is a problem / Tom’s pulling the strings / Tom’s driving away other donors / Tom sucks, etc.

This is my absolute favorite. I know there are a whole slew of billionaire donors waiting around to bankroll AMSOL if Tom walks away. Why, there’s—um, uh, um, never mind. Are you kidding me? Oh yeah, I forgot about the generous offer that was made by the guerillas at AMSOL’s founding, according to Wikipedia:

“Safranek...Falvey and Kenney…offer to contribute their own money to the project and work for a year uncompensated …”

See that, who needs billionaire donors? We have committed, well-off professors who are willing to go without compensation. Need facilities? A multi-million dollar operating budget? Massive funding for scholarships to get a fledgling organization off the ground? Connections that bring in nationally renowned conservative and Catholic figures to sit on your board? No problem. Safranek and Falvey will foot the bill through their pro bono work, along with the mythical 'big money' that’s just waiting for Tom to get out of the way.

Back in the real world, there’s a glut of accomplished lawyers, even committed Catholic lawyers, who would love to be professors. On the other hand, there’s a decided deficit of billionaires who, by their own ingenuity and industry, were able build corporate empires over the course of a lifetime, and then devote the fruits of their labor to building Catholic educational institutions faithful to the magisterium. By the way, we pretty much know there aren’t any others like Tom, else the revolutionary guard would have already started a new school, and the UDM crowd could have set their troublemaking timer back to 6 or 7 years.

Tom Monaghan, not the insurgents, set in motion an institution that has the vision and backing to be an agent of cultural change in American Catholic circles. The Law School has the potential to be a catholicizing influence on our nation’s legal culture. Charlie Rice’s proposed “new school” in Ann Arbor has the backing to run for a few years as the Good Ship Lollipop, with a self-congratulating back-slapping crew who will then be looking for actual employment within a decade. It is impossible that the members of the faculty cannot see this fact.

Questions that need to be asked of the insurgents: What if there are benefits to obtaining more of Tom’s financial support? Or of being located near AMU? Or of having a catholic town as the law school’s home? Or of recruiting students to Florida over Michigan? The insurgents response is to stick their fingers in their ears and shout “Na-na-na-na” as loud as possible.

Therefore, I can only conclude that for reasons of their personal convenience, the muck-stirring members of the faculty and whoever else has teamed up with them (for reasons other than peer intimidation) are simply trying to threaten the law school into abandoning a rational decision making process in favor of a "stay-in-Ann-Arbor-at-all-costs" policy. Whether that’s in the interest of the law school is clearly secondary to their personal desires, and whether the culture-changing potential of a previously dynamic Catholic institution is thrown under the bus is also inconsequential compared to their personal subjective preferences.

Now, I’m a weak man. I don’t have any great virtue to stand on. And I’m someone who can be pretty easily angered (hence this article) and tend to just strike back at those who are doing the wrong thing rather than turn the other cheek. But maybe the most ironic part of this intra-AMSOL dust-up is the difference in examples being set by the two camps.

In this corner, we have the “shout it from the rooftops” guerillas, calling Dean Dobranski, in essence, a stooge, an incompetent manager, a man driven by a conspiratorial agenda instead of his charge. And when they can find the time to stop the insults and demands for the dissolution of the law school, they like to present themselves as more pious than the Administration. You know, calls for the community they’ve driven asunder to “come together,” and sanctimoniously concluding adversarial emails with the Memorare. I’m sure Our Lady is thrilled to be invoked in the “no-confidence” crowd’s recriminations.

In the other corner, we have the Administration, primarily the Dean, who continues to run the law school, attain ABA accreditation about as fast as it can be done, oversee a school that in the span of a few years has students passing the bar at a higher rate than the local “top-10” competition, and continues to get top flight conservative Catholic thinkers onto the Board. Thanks to the Ann Arbor zoning board, he’s been stripped of having AMSOL’s affiliated University nearby. As a result, he’s in the unenviable situation of running a ship that may receive an order to change course when the crew wants to go straight ahead.

While the “no confidence” crowd prefers to throw bombs and doesn’t have to make the hard calls, Dean Dobranski has to do his job and figure out how to deal with the cancer of division. As always, ripping things apart is easy. Leading and keeping things together is hard. So what has he done? It would have been within his legitimate authority to reprimand or remove the insurgents. Rather, he has elected not to expose the selfishness of those who have shown no compunction about subverting his authority. Which side is acting in a more “Catholic” fashion I’ll leave to your judgment, but I’ll warn you in advance, the Dean doesn’t proclaim Our Lady’s support with each email.

Here’s to you, Dean Dobranski. You’ve kept your eye on the ball—running the law school—while your opponents hoped to drag you into the muck of mutual recriminations. I hope to attain one fraction of your self-confidence, thick skin, and trust in Providence over the course of my lifetime.

And on that note, one more “back to the real world” reality check for the no-confidence clan, particularly those running it: in the private sector, the world most people live in, if someone spent half of his day plotting against the boss instead of doing his job, he’d be fired. I know the legal-academic fiefdom doesn’t admit of the need to serve one’s employer, but I guess it’s worth a reminder nonetheless.

Since ending combative tracts sanctimoniously seems to be the order of the day, I guess I’ll follow the MO. Here’s a little bit of scripture for you:

"Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. (Luke 17:1-2)”

Now I don’t know if recruiting students to join a rebellion that threatens legitimate authority, creates a culture of discontent, and tears down a law school founded as a Catholic leaven in the legal culture, would meet the description of “causing a little one to sin.” I hope for the guerillas’ sake it does not. But if I were them, I might keep saying Memorares just in case.

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