29 April 2013

The "Informal" UK Supreme Court

The Financial Times recently ran an interesting piece on the UK Supreme Court subtitle: "The most striking fact about this place is its informality. Grandeur and remoteness have been swept away." Students in my "Juristische Technik und Methodik des Common Law" course in Münster my find it interesting.

28 April 2013

Listening to the Supreme Court

Ever wonder what oral arguments in front of the U.S. Supreme Court sound like? Wonder no longer. NPR reports, fittingly via a podcast of a segment from one of its radio programs, that the Oyez Project now has digitized oral arguments heard before the Court dating all the way back to 1955! The manner in which arguments are conducted before the Court have changed dramatically over the past several decades. As a point of reference, take a quick listen to an argument from the early 1960s and then compare that to a recent argument. Today's Justices are much more active with their questioning. That is except for one. Justice Clarence Thomas has famously not asked a question during oral argument for several years now.

20 April 2013

Agency Alphabet Soup

Early on in the massive manhunt for the suspects involved in the Boston Marathon bombing, the Atlantic ran an interesting piece entitled "The Alphabet Soup of Agencies Hunting in Boston." Students in my American Administrative Law course last week heard me say that the structure of agencies in the United States amounted to a web of various agencies with overlapping responsibilities. This manhunt and the agencies involved in it provides an excellent example of what I was talking about:

10 April 2013

A Lawyer Shortage in America?

Normally when one thinks of lawyers in America, one thinks of a glut of lawyers. With good reason. America has more lawyers per person (1 lawyer for every 265 people) then any other country in the world. For comparison sake, Germany has 1 lawyer for 593 people.

But there appears to be a lawyer shortage in some parts of America. The New York recently ran an interesting article about a remote parts of Nebraska and South Dakota where no lawyer can be found for more then a 100 mile radius. The situation is so desperate that the State of South Dakota recently passed a law offering subsidies to those lawyers willing to move these remote parts of the state.

Shakespare famously wrote "the first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." But in South Dakota they are looking to kill, rather they are looking subsidize their existence!