Monday, June 23, 2003
Con Law: Constitutional Law is everyone's favorite and most hated law school class - at the same time. It's a favorite, because it's the most historically interesting class, but more so because it's impossible to be wrong - meaning even if you never read Marbury v. Madison, you can at least argue your way to a "B" minimum - provided you throw in a few catchphrases which you can look up on your way into the exam ("penumbra", "trimester" and "similarly situated" to name just a few). It's the most hated for the same reason - how can you study for a class that has so many wishy-washy precepts? It's hardly like Property Law, where the rules are fixed, and have been so for the past millenium ("adverse possession is 20 years - next"). Con Law is nearly wholly dependent on a court's politics, and the three-part, six-part or ten-part tests they devise to figure out whether some law or act has violated some group's rights can become maddening. Hell, no one can even agree whether to interpret the Constitution as a living, breathing, growing document, or whether you have to go with the "Founders' Intent" -- whatever that means. Anyway, as you both point out very nicely in different ways, with the Michigan case, the discrimination is obvious, but the judges bend over backwards to say it's not, or if it is, then maybe it's okay because the end (it's clearly not the means anymore) is diversity. So then, why not straight quotas as a solution? Take the latest census, adjust upward 10% for hispanics and blacks, 20% for Native Americans (because the Census, too, is discriminatory and under-represents minorities), and 30% for those of the aforementioned minorities in wheelchairs, and just take flat figures of each group. Done, simple, stop your griping.