December 12th, 2004


Richard Epstein

I went to the Chicago Children's Choir's Christmas Show tonight, which was very enjoyable. 

In the lobby, upon arrival, I noticed a tall gentleman who looked familiar.  I said to my wife, hey, that guy looks like Richard Epstein.

It is Richard Epstein, she said.

So I went over to say hello.  My theory about talking to celebrities is this: movie stars are inundated by fans, and get tired of them, but academic stars are not so inundated, and they are usually glad to talk a bit.  Just be sensitive and don't make yourself a nuisance!

Here's a current Supreme Court "takings" case for which he has co-authored a brief.

Rhyme of the Day:

He's terribly influential
But his fans are not torrential.


Just Punishment

William E. Perry has a great article in the TOC Navigator on the confusion the Supreme Court is causing in our criminal justice system.  It seems the Court is in the process of reversing its own ruling from 1990 about how punishment should properly be determined.

At issue is the procedure of sentencing criminals.  Is it constitutional for judges to decide on their own?  Is it constitutional for juries to decide on their own?  Is it constitutional for sentences to be strictly spelled out by statute, giving judges and juries no choice in the matter?  Well, the Supreme Court of the United States seems to be see-sawing on this topic.

Bill Perry was an Arizona prosecutor for 21 years.  At the close of the article he writes:

"I retired from prosecution because of the Ring decision. It is impossible to do cases of great moment when you don't know what the rules are and what they will be. If the United States Supreme Court can change its ruling about a matter of the utmost importance after a scant twelve years, the system is so chaotic as to be meaningless."

Rhyme of the Day:

I don't know which process is proper,
But I fear that the Court's a flip-flopper.



Asthma Vaccine

It's most peculiar, but scientists think they might be getting close on a vaccine for asthma.

Well, I hope they get it to work.  And I promise the drug companies right now, in front of witnesses, that I will not complain if they charge a lot of money for the stuff.

Sell me the shot,
And charge a lot -
I'll just be glad,
Not mad!