Friday, July 24, 2009

That's My Dad!

Lately my Dad has been sending me nice emails congratulating me on my book news. I thought I'd return the favor - proud of you, Dad!

I feel a little like I'm bringing my Dad in for Career day. When I was little, what I knew about my dad's job is that he wrote and read, all day, every day. The details of his various teaching positions are far less important to me than the image of Dad sitting in his favorite chair, favorite reading light nearby, reading in the evenings. And guess what - now I spend my days exactly the same way, except for the being-attached-to-a-keyboard part.  So I'm not a law professor like my dad - like i said, the details aren't important. What's important is we're both word people, a gift he passed on not just to me but to my brother and sister as well.

Except, um, I don't always understand my dad's words. He teaches 
law and writes law and history books and does stuff like help approve Sotomayor, all of which is waaaaay over my head. (That's Dad hanging out with Chief Justice Roberts. Of, like, the Supreme freaking Court.)

Here's what Dad emailed me today. Um, I don't get any of it at all. But it sounds smart. Good job, Dad!

Unless you are a Federal Courts geek, you probably paid little or no attention to the US Supreme Court’s decision in Haywood v. Drown (129 S.Ct. 2108), handed down at the end of the last term.  It held that a state may not divert section 1983 damage claims against state actors (corrections officers) from courts of general jurisdiction having jurisdiction over comparable claims to a court of limited jurisdiction (the Claims Court).  (The effect would have been to deny such claims altogether, since a state is not a “person” for section 1983 purposes.)  That may sound narrow and technical, even to lawyers, but there are momentous  issues lurking under the surface, chiefly the obligation of state courts to enforce federal rights and the even broader issues of  federal supremacy and supposed state sovereignty.  Anyway, a group of Fed Cts teachers, incl. me, joined in an amicus brief urging that result.  The heavy lifting was done by Steven Vladeck of AU, Lauren Robel of Indiana, and David Shapiro of Harvard.  I didn’t do anything more than a little pedantic editorial quibbling, but I was in stellar company: Judith Resnick of Yale, Erwin Chemerinsky at Irvine et al.


Martha Flynn said...

well, this is awkward. i think i may have a crush on your dad now.

Chris said...

Wow. I want your dad to be my dad.

Also, Syracuse? I grew up in Syracuse! (Well, nearby, but all the punk shows, family gatherings, and near-arrests happened there, so I think it still counts.)