SharksWithLasers -- Seth Cooper

A CUTTING-EDGE BLOG FOR THE WORLD OF THE 21st CENTURY, Currently operated by Seth L. Cooper, a 27 year-old attorney in Seattle (sethlcooper at comcast dot net)

Saturday, March 13, 2004

ATHEOCRACTS ATTACK! The Wall Street Journal has an excellent editorial in their Sunday, March 14 issue, entitled "Secular Absolutism." The subtitle: "The irreligious left tries to impose its religious views on everyone else." Quite so! And they've had a number of successes as of late...

As the editorial notes, the California Supreme Court's recent decision upholding a law that blatantly infringes upon the free exercise of religion by Catholic charities, which are now required to provide contraceptives to employees. Further, in a major letdown, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to take up a case in Connecticut, where the Boy Scouts were denied a place on the state workers' voluntary-donation plan, which is otherwise generally available to all charitable groups.

The WSJ editorial authors are quite correct that the ACLU is on a vendetta against the Boy Scouts, ever since their oh-so-close 5-4 victory in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale (2001). For some reason, the ardently secular left--including many who are die hard civil libertarians on free speech--just don't seem to understand the importance of free association. To me, free association is fundamental to a democratic society. It is an essential component to liberty. Furthermore, a group's message--yes, including its speech--is most definitely affected by the makeup of the group's membership. Attacks against BSA are also being waged in San Diego at present.

The editorial neglects to mention the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in Locke v. Davey (2004). I was surprised and disappointed by the court's ruling there, which essentially says its okay fior government to discriminate against speech based upon its religious content (even though its unconstitutional for government to discriminate against speech based upon its content). Fortunately, the holding appears to be sufficiently narrow that it will likely be seen as a mere anomaly in the continuing line of viewpoint neutrality decisions in the high court's first amendment jurisprudence.

(North Seattle, WA)
I DID NOT KNOW THAT... Reid McKee over at Moteworthy has an interesting post about an early use of the "penumbra" term/concept in a 1950's U.S. Supreme Court opnion by Justice William O. Douglas. Most people, of course, are familiar with the use of that term in Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), the contraceptives case that ushered in a marital "right to privacy," from emanating penumbras from various provisions in the Bill of Rights. The "right to privacy" identified in Griswold, of course, has long since been unhinged from any sort of marital context.

(North Seattle, WA)

Thursday, March 11, 2004

COOP SPORTS BRAG ITEM -- BENCH PRESS RECORD! Despite worries that my health has largely deteriorated over the last ten days--due to the tediousness or two roundtrip flights, some mild sickness, sleep deprivation, jet lag, dehydration, hunger & malnutrition and stress--I had a terriffic workout today. After some much needed sleep, I started the morning with the egg & egg whites, threw in the protein bar, had the creatine, plus extra water and an XS drink...and I was back to my normal self! Maybe its just my youthful resilience!

330 lbs. is the new magic number. I benched it on the second attempt today. Twice before have I reached the 325 mark--once during college and once right at the beginning of law school. But now I'm in new, uncharted territory!

And yes, I am now back home--and its wonderful being home. It was a pleasant surprise to come home to such beautiful weather. As much as I like the Twin Cities and the state of Ohio, I didn't realize how much I missed the trees, the water and the mountains...

(North Seattle, WA)

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

AT LONG LAST: I'm sitting here in one of those cushy offices you can rent out in airports. For the first time in the last few days of travel, I find that I'm not having to scramble across an entire airport to make my flight. On all the previous occasions, it seemed I would arrive at the airport, only to have to make a trek across the entire airport, to the furthest possible terminal.

FYI, in the last week, I've found myself in the states of Washington, Illinois, Minnesota, Georgia, Ohio and Kentucky.

(North Kentucky)

Monday, March 08, 2004

KEEPING PEOPLE FROM DOING STUPID THINGS: Saturday morning and early afternoon was spent at Seattle University School of Law, as I was invited to participate on the legislative panel for the Choices Conference. The conference is designed for law students who are interested in exploring various career paths using their legal education. Since my current work often has me serving as a legislative liaison, they asked for my participation. Seeing as Prof. James Bond was moderating the legislative panel, I gladly agreed to give up my Saturday morning for a worthy cause.

A scheduling mix-up caused me to arrive an hour earlier than was required of me, and although it did cause me to lose a precious hour of time to sleep in, it nonetheless enabled me to listen in on the technology panel prior to my own gig. It was an interesting panel on a fascinating, growing area of the law.

The three other members on my own panel clearly outranked me in experience in the working world. One panelist was the chief counsel to Governor Locke, the other two worked for local government. The all seemed to identify with my remark that much of my job simply involves keeping people from doing stupid things. Of course, much of any attorney’s work involves this.

(Columbus, OH)