Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Speaking Freely

I exercise my free speech rights nearly continually, and the government is my biggest target.  Fortunately for me, “criticism of the government and advocacy of unpopular ideas . . . are almost always permitted” under the First Amendment.  So whether it’s my books, articles, blogs, or podcasts, my keyboard is rarely at rest, and my big mouth is rarely shut.  (In fact, my contrarian jabbering as a child led my mother to accurately predict my careers as both lawyer and writer.)  But I sometimes forget how lucky I am – lucky not only compared to citizens of other countries who can be imprisoned or even killed for speaking out against their governments, but also compared to others here in the United States.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Sports and Courts: What Judges Can Learn from the NCAA

In the criminal justice system, our government agents—police, prosecutors, and judges—are supposed to follow certain rules when trying to convict us of crimes.  However, when they break those rules, there are usually no consequences for the rule-breakers.  The result, of course, is that there is little incentive for government agents to know and follow the rules that supposedly govern them.  And, as every five-year-old child in America knows, a rule without a consequence really isn’t a rule at all.  As some prosecutors mockingly say, “It’s more of a suggestion.”