Imaginary girlfriend?"> 8

Imaginary girlfriend?">What’s worse than an Imaginary girlfriend?

How about a scam date who’s creates the illusion that your subscribtion to paid dating sites is succeeding?

A lawsuit was filed earlier this month in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles by plaintiff Matthew Evans, who contends he went out with a woman he met through the site who turned out to be nothing more than “date bait” working for the company.

The relationship went nowhere, according to his suit. Evans says Match set up the date for him because it wanted to keep him from pulling the plug on his subscription and was hoping he’d tell other potential members about the attractive woman he met through the service.

On the one hand, this business practice seems clearly wrong. On the other hand, it raises the question of just what these paid subscribers are entitled to. There’s no guarantee that they’ll meet someone they like, fall in love, and live happily ever after, is there? Are they entitled to genuine “market reactions” to their datability — whatever those reactions might be?

Follow up questions include: Would a single “real” bad date really be better than two or three pleasant enough “fake” dates? Is this really so much worse than “real” dating using a paid “wingman”? And is’s sham date worse than going on a “real” date because one’s parents or friends pester one to do so, rather than out of actual romantic interest in the person dated? The ethical boundaries here seem to be not so clearly defined.


Froomkin’s U.S. Constitution Quiz

constitution1.jpgOver at, Michael Froomkin (law, Miami) has an interesting quiz about the U.S. Constitution. Sample questions:

Could Congress constitutionally abolish the entire armed forces and the Pentagon, leaving the nation defenseless?

May Congress pass secret laws? If so, may (must?) the courts enforce them?

Is there anything in the first seven articles of the Constitution that prevents the federal government from awarding you a $1 million personal bonus?

What is the minimum number of justices constitutionally required to form a Supreme Court?

If Congress sets out to minimize the President’s powers, can it abolish his entire staff? Evict him from the White House?

Many more questions over at


Does this insight apply to law professors as well?


Some years ago (I’m guessing sometime around 1997 from internal references, as historians would say), I saw in a newspaper a quote attributred to “Veteran horrormeister and Scream 2 director Wes Craven”:

After you stop moaning about being stereotyped as a horror guy, you can say, “I’m employed doing interesting movies that can be called, in some sense, auteur work. Nobody’s telling me what to do, I have final cut and there’s virtually no limitation except my imagination, and I have to stay within a certain subject matter. But you can put as much comedy as you want in the movie, as much romance or philosophy; anything, as long as you scare the bejesus out of people six or 10 times.”

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No bull

You may want to call your attorney all sorts of names. But whatever you do, don’t call him a pit bull. That kind of characterization would “demean all lawyers and thereby harm both the legal profession and the public’s trust and confidence in our system of justice.” Thus writes the Florida Supreme Court.

Now had Harriet Miers been confirmed as a Justice, surely she would have intervened and set those Floridians straight. She is, after all, a “pit bull in size six shoes” herself. So said her hero and boss, George W. Bush.

Who, come to think of it, owes his job to the Florida Supreme Court.

Which just said that you can’t refer to lawyers as pit bulls.


Is Anonymous Blogging Possible?

anonymity2.jpgHoward Bashman at How Appealing muses whether anonymous blogging is really possible:

These days, however, most users of the internet understand that every bit of information communicated electronically leaves electronic fingerprints that can be used to trace the source of the information, even if the source hoped to remain anonymous. To be sure, there are ways to anonymize emails and other forms of communication, but they tend to be complicated to use and difficult to figure out. . . .

I doubt whether anonymous blogging is possible. It surely isn’t possible if the blogger conducts email correspondence with others and fails to mask his or her internet protocol address. Plus, even the act of logging on to a blogging service provider, such as TypePad or blogger, leaves electronic fingerprints, and I’d have to assume that “UTR” had a TypePad subscription, enabling someone to subpoena the blog owner’s identity and/or payment information. So, to you anonymous bloggers out there, have fun, but don’t fool yourselves into thinking that simply by not providing your identity you are doing an effective job of remaining hidden.

I generally agree that it is very difficult to blog anonymously, but it is certainly possible if a person is careful.

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Is this right?

A refrain I sometimes hear is that “there are no conservative organizations for law students, except for the Federalist Society.” For one recent example of this, see this comment at Confirm Them:

Most law schools (I went to a top 25 school) have a large, strong liberal activist groups which include the ACLU groups, Gay-Transgender groups, Environmental Groups, American Constitution Society (the anti-Federalist Society), and various “Human Rights” groups. The ONLY conservative group on most law campuses is maybe the Federalist Society and a Republican group here or there.

I don’t think this is correct, based on my own observation. At Columbia when I attended, there was a number of conservative or conservative-leaning student organizations: Christian law student society, Catholic law student society, LDS (Mormon) law student society, pro-life organization (Coalition for Life), plus the Republican student organization and the FedSoc. And I may be forgetting one or two. In any case, there’s at least six conservative organizations at that bastion of conservative thought Columbia University.

My current employer is Thomas Jefferson law school. It’s a school that an observer would almost certainly characterize as leaning left. Again, there is more than the FedSoc. TJSL has a Republican group, a Christian law student society, and the FedSoc; it also has an LDS law student society in the process of organization. (I know, because I’m their faculty advisor).

Over the tiny sample size that I’m particularly familiar with, the accusation that the FedSoc is the only conservative organization on campus is quite clearly not true. But perhaps my own lack of data is hindering me here. Are there any schools where the FedSoc is truly the only conservative voice on campus?

(Note — The broader argument — that left-leaning student organizations outnumber right-leaning organizations — is true at both of the schools with which I’m familiar, and I see no reason to believe it’s not true in many other schools. I’m speaking to the particular statement, which to me seems hyperbole, that the FedSoc is the only conservative organization at law schools.)


Journalist Privilege and Law Enforcement Leaks

freespeech1.jpgIn a very interesting case, U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer recently held a Washington Post reporter in contempt of court for not revealing the source of a leak in the investigation of Wen Ho Lee. [Click here for the court’s opinion.] The case involves a civil suit by Lee against a number of federal agencies for violating the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. § 552a. Lee was a scientist employed by the Department of Energy and was being investigated by the FBI for espionage for China. Ultimately, the espionage case collapsed and Lee pled guilty to one count of mishandling computer files.

During the investigation, Washington Post journalist Walter Pincus published a few articles about the Lee investigation, identifying him by name and discussing extensive details of the investigation, including “his and his wife’s employment histories, their financial transactions, details about their trips to Hong Kong and China, details concerning the Government investigation and interrogation, and purported results from polygraph tests.” Pincus indicated that anonymous government sources supplied him with the information.

Lee has sued the government for violating the Privacy Act, which prohibits government agencies (including the FBI) from disclosing records about an individual. Lee sought from Pincus who his sources were. Pincus raised the journalist privilege, claiming he should be sheilded from being forced to disclose.

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A frightening idea

tenco.jpgFrom a message to a conservative e-mail listserv:

I just received a suggestion from [name redacted] that Judge Roy Moore be nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court. What a great idea. Let’s all call President Bush and our congressmen, representatives and senators, supporting this suggestion.

It’s hard to think of a worse candidate. Whatever one thinks of Alito, Roberts, Souter, Scalia, Thomas, Ginsberg, Breyer, whoever — and I disagree with much about the politics Alito, and with various decisions and statements of each of the Justices — at least it’s clear that they all share a basic understanding of how the rule of law operates.

The same cannot be said for Moore.


Weird Searches for Our Blog


I recently blogged about where hits to our blog come from, and one of the major sources of hits to a blog are searches via Google and other search engines. In our site meter stats, you can see what search terms people use to visit our blog. I’ve looked at these on occasion, curious about what brings people to our blog.

Most of the very common search terms are obvious –- “opinions,” “concurring,” “law,” “legislating,” and “paparazzi.” But then there’s also “naked” and “celebrity” –- we have Kaimi to thank for that, as he posted a post entitled “Naked celebrities make the best magazine covers” about a ranking of the best magazine covers of the past 40 years, with the nude John Lennon and nude Demi Moore covers as #1 and #2 respectively.

Here are some of the more interesting searches I discovered:

SEARCH: Contents of the Dead Man’s Pocket

I have no idea what this is possibly about or how it led a reader to our blog.

SEARCH: aals meat

This one’s my fault – I posted on the AALS meat market.

SEARCH: chemical changes that of apple without a peep


SEARCH: peep shows

My fault – I named a post Airline X-Ray Peep Shows.


I’m certain that this person was very disappointed upon learning my post was about airline screening X-rays.

SEARCH: Unbeknown to you the sun has jumped the gun

Totally baffling!

SEARCH: humorous curses

I have no idea what post this linked to, but perhaps I don’t want to know . . .

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