小北的不老歌

Monthly Archive: February 2007

Where am I and Why am I not Updating this Blog

Where am I: I am in Chicago, i.e., home with wife and kid, for spring break.
Why am I not updating this blog: I am in Chicago, i.e., home with wife and kid, for spring break.

Seriously, spending some time away from law school and back home is therapeutic. Unfortunately I cannot avoid outlining a few lectures that I missed earlier this month and reading dozens of newly submitted law review articles during this time, so I guess my only alternative is to blog less often this week.

This is how much Anna has grown since the last time I saw her . . . which was a week ago.

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The Chinese are the highest and best quality players in the world

Quote from NYT, on gambling in Las Vegas in Lunar New Year:

But Mr. Weidner said his company’s top priority was its clients, some of whom the company ferried here from Asia on its fleet of private jets. “This is a merit system here,” Mr. Weidner said. “The highest quality players will get whatever they want. The Chinese are the highest and best quality players in the world, so they’ll have preference. We don’t care how tall you are, how short you are, how fat you are, what color you are. Green is the most important color.”

I wonder why.

Versus v. Against

I read somewhere recently that, internally, the Supreme Court justices refer to case names as “[Plaintiff] against [Defendant]” instead of “[Plaintiff] v. [Defendant]” or “[Plaintiff] versus [Defendant],” and the procedural rules of the Court require attorneys arguing cases before it to adopt the same practice during oral arguments. I thought this was quite strange, as all case names are printed in the format of “[Plaintiff] v. [Defendant],” including the Supreme Court decisions, in official reporters.

So I thought I would test this theory in class. My jurisdiction professor clerked on the Supreme Court and, amazingly, I just realized today that he too referred to cases by saying “[Plaintiff] against [Defendant].” I wonder why I never noticed him doing this before — maybe this is one of the secret handshakes of some sort that go unnoticed unless you belong to that particular group.

My admiration for the professor’s achievements notwithstanding, “jurisdiction and choice of law” is, quoting the opening statement of a jurisdiction outline I found on the Law Review’s repository, “the ultimately lame class.” I have already been confused beyond hope, especially when it comes to choice of law issues.

大年初一

午夜过后不久从芝加哥动身,连夜开回密歇根,开到印第安纳时再度遭遇暴风雪,算是保持每周末长途跋涉都能遇见大雪的记录。一路紧攥着方向盘在满天飞舞着雪花的夜里努力地分辨道路的走向,生怕一头栽到沟里去,原本三个半小时的路,开了近五个半小时后才到学校,发现一盘CD放了一路,都来不及换,手指因为用力握方向盘的缘故已经僵硬。回想起一路看见的翻在路旁和沟里的汽车,觉得实在侥幸。

下午在杂志社里一连开两个会,倒还迅速,一个小时全部解决问题,新的编委会一共二十来个人,第一次开全体会议,讲一讲工作安排,才得知夏天还有批改一年级申请法学评论的写作比赛这么个差事,看来暑假实习完也没什么休息了。之后Articles Office第一次对一篇交来的论文进行最后一轮评审,很快就把它给据掉,于是大家高高兴兴地散会,各忙各事去了。

说到论文评审,密歇根法学评论的做法是这样的。每篇文章交进来,由一个Article Editor初读一遍,明显不合格的先行筛除,过了初读这一关的文章,由一个Article Editor先详细读一遍,不过关的立刻据掉,好的则转给另一位Article Editor再细读一遍,如果第二位Article Editor也认为是篇值得发表的论文,就提请全办公室的人,所有人再细读一遍以后一起评议,经充分讨论后,由一共六个人,加上总编辑一共七个人,进行投票,取得五票就算是通过了,之后通知作者本人文章已经被接受。

上周我读到一篇论文,很是喜欢里面提出的见解,转给另一个人读了以后他也觉得很好,于是提交给全办公室共同评议,约定今天下午由全体七名成员评议并投票表决是否给予发表。我昨天晚上心血来潮,上westlaw查了查该问作者以前的大作——觉得他这篇文章写得相当得出色,所以好奇,想看看他还发表过其他什么论文可以拿来读一读。谁知发现他十五年前发表的一篇文章和手头这篇十分雷同,内容观点论据都如出一辙,令人十分恼火,因为这是十分不负责任的表现。于是发信给其他人,让他们在读这篇文章的时候也看看这个人之前发的那篇文章。今天大家碰头以后,讨论不到五分钟就进入投票程序,一致否决。

之后埋头苦写一门课的期末论文,这门课的教授要求每个人去自学一些外国法律,然后基于自学的内容来写篇比较法学方面的文章。我写的是中国的反分裂国家法,拟了个十分有吸引眼球嫌疑的题目,叫做”One Nation under Gun, Indivisible?: Understanding the Anti-Secession Law of China”,争取春假前后写完初稿。

就这样忙碌地过了一个年,觉得日子过得越来越琐碎平淡但也越来越喜欢记录和咀嚼平平常常的事情,所以流水帐一般记录下来以供日后回味和品尝。

编辑部的故事

习惯了叫《法学评论》为“杂志社”了,最近在图书馆地下三层杂志社编辑部的办公室里耗了不少时间,期间的逸闻趣事以后慢慢写来,先就记得的写两则。

会议室里墙上钉了块海报板,上面乱七八糟用图钉戳着些文稿。有一次好奇,凑上去看看究竟是些什么东西,发现其中有一篇二十年前这个杂志社发表的一篇学生论文,作者名为Ann Coulter,再一看脚注,二十年前她居然在这个杂志社也做Article Editor的事,不知道该说什么好(Ann Coulter是美国比较著名的——或者说臭名昭著的——一个极端保守派名人)。估计是有好事之徒在她成名以后去把她的论文给翻出来钉在板上供后来者瞻仰。

* * *

Articles Office里收藏着一枚图章,轻易不拿出来用,因为上面刻的字是:“这份垃圾根本不值一读,浪费我们的时间。” 只有在读到实在狗P不通的文章以后才会请出这枚图章,盖上个戳,再扔到废纸篓里,借以泄愤。我们新的一拨人马上任以后还没有动用过这枚图章,但有一篇几乎够格了。可惜不能在这里具体描述这篇文章是如何的荒诞可笑。。。

情人节之后

和萍儿有一搭没一搭地说话,说到情人节的话题。

“老公,情人节都没给你打电话,真不好意思,想起来都十五号了。”

“嗯,没事。”

“不过我还是给你买了个礼物。”

“喔?什么啊?巧克力?”

“不是,是猪肉脯。”

“好啊。中国特色。”

“不过我已经拆开来吃掉了一些。”

“没关系。”

“就算这是我们共同的礼物,我把你送给我的那半吃掉了,剩下是我送给你的。”

“好好,拿来吃掉吧。”

于是在第十个情人节之后两天的晚上,两个人一边看boston legal一边把剩下的猪肉脯消灭干净,并商量着下周去买菜还去捎些回来。

收工

书也看完了(囫囵吞枣),笔记也整理完了(乱七八糟),杂志社的审稿工作方面也解决掉了若干文章(不知所云),居然晚上十点就可以收工了(喜出望外),回宿舍看Boston Legal的DVD去也。

So the Crunch Begins

I got back to Ann Arbor late Sunday night from what was going to be my last weekend trip to Chicago for a while, and went down to the Articles Office to check out a few submissions to read. Submissions are already starting to pour in. We get more than 2000 submissions a year, and can publish only about 15, all 8 issues in the year combined. This means on average we have to pass up more than 100 articles to find one that will eventually be published by us — the chances of me finding one tonight aren’t that great. But I figured if the scholars spent weeks or months writing this stuff, it’s probably worth a few hours of my time reading it.

So… off to reading, followed by sleeping… and dreaming about Anna.

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Sometime this weekend, between Anna’s rubber duckie and her chuckles and thinking about the upcoming months without them, I almost decided to quit the Articles Office, or even the MLR altogether, so that I can spend more time with her and Ping in Chicago over the weekends. Ping thought differently, and said that I should make the most out of my law school experience while I have the opportunity to do so. I agreed, and was secretly grateful for her support. At least we will both be in New York this summer (assuming that Ping will accept her offer from here).