Record Review: The Bachelor Week 3

Welcome back to The Bachelor, where everything is made up and the points don’t matter. A quick refresher: instead of closing with the typical rose ceremony, Episode 2 cut off just after Nick had sent home Liz for running her mouth about their one-night stand months earlier. Voiceover of his concerns about the women abandoning him plays over footage of Nick wrinkling his brow.

Episode 3 opens at the pre-elimination cocktail party, where Nick drops the “bombshell” about Liz’s departure.  He expresses his concerns, but while we hear disembodied voices saying that “the girls are going crazy” and “it makes you question what Nick’s intentions are,” we don’t actually see anyone looking too bothered. Multiple women assure Nick that they don’t care, and one woman (who almost certainly has a name; I just don’t know it) even asked why what Liz did was any different from the maneuver Nick pulled when he rolled up to Kaitlyn Bristowe’s season. On the whole, it kind of seemed like it didn’t matter. So, in that case, what is the value-add of delaying the rose ceremony other than annoying the crap out of me?

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Record Retrospective: Senate Should Not Subject Judicial Nominees to Simplistic Political Litmus Tests

Editor’s note: 30 years ago today, The Record printed this excerpt from a speech delivered by Abner J. Mikva to the D.C. Bar Annual Meeting in 1985. Chief Judge Mikva served on the United States Court of Appeals in the D.C. Circuit, first in Seat 11 and then as Chief Judge. Merrick Garland would eventually replace him in both seats. Chief Judge Mikva passed away last year.

In 1979 I was called by the Attorney General to tell me that President Carter was going to nominate me for one of the new judgeships on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. I remember wondering what the President’s timetable was, and how long it would be before I moved to my new offices down the street. What naivete!

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J-Term Diary: Commuting in the Philippines

I ride the train to work every day. I’ve always heard that this train is an awful way to travel. But the traffic is so bad. 25 minutes on the train compared to 90 minutes in traffic. How bad could it be?  When I tell people I commute on the train, they say “Wow,” or “I’m sorry,” or “And you survived!” I understand now.

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Record Review: The Bachelor Week 2

Oh boy. This week’s episode checks basically every box you could have on a Bachelor bingo card: a helicopter, wedding dresses, full-on boobs, “not here to make friends,” questioning motives, a slap across the face, a contestant getting booted early, and a to-be-continued instead of a rose ceremony.

The episode begins with a date card that says “Always a bridesmaid.” What a great way for the ladies to head into the date feeling insecure and inadequate! Naturally, the activity is a wedding photoshoot series with each of the twelve participants dressed up as a different kind of bride (or bridesmaid). There’s an 80s wedding, a Las Vegas wedding, a biker wedding, a shotgun wedding (our favorite aspiring dolphin trainer Alexis is tricked out with a fake pregnancy belly. “I had no idea what a shotgun wedding was!” she cheerfully announces, as she waves a literal shotgun), and, of course, an Adam and Eve wedding. The “dress?” Leaf-covered bikini bottoms and breast-length hair extensions. I think it says a lot about the personal journey I’ve been on with this program that I wasn’t fazed at all by that particular development. It now seems totally normal to be required to show sideboob on national television to win over a man ten years your senior.

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Record Review: The Bachelor Week 1

Each season’s premiere episode of The Bachelor tends to follow the same pattern: it documents the current Bachelor’s pre-show love journey (and affirms his commitment to finding The One) and then it introduces a parade of semi-interchangeable ladies. All you need to know at the beginning is that there are two treatments on the first night: a woman either has potential or is a punchline.

Before we can meet the women, however, we learn about Nick. Specifically, ABC has the task of convincing their viewers that Nick is taking the process seriously; if he isn’t there for the right reasons, the whole thing falls apart. And so we get to witness a conversation between Nick and some of the least qualified people in America to discuss finding love: previous Bachelors from this very franchise. Chris Soules, Sean Lowe, and Ben Higgins are ostensibly there to give Nick advice about the show, but they’re really there to pull the viewers into the alternate reality ABC has painstakingly crafted.

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Record Review: The Bachelor Season Preview

This season of The Bachelor just might be the most self-referential (and self-indulgent) yet, and I am READY.

For those of you who have been living under a rock for the past ten years and are new to the franchise, here’s the basic premise: a dude who has been selected as The Bachelor lives in a mansion with 25-30 women who compete for his love (sometimes literally, such as in obstacle courses) as he eliminates “contestants” week by week.

After enough time passes and enough champagne is consumed, some lucky Ashley (or Ashlee, or Britney, or Lauren) gets to be engaged to him for like three months until they’ve amassed enough Instagram followers that Chris Harrison, who hosts the show, tells them they can break up. One of the other Amandas (or Kaylees, or Laurens — there were four Laurens last season!) who came in second or third or fourth is selected to be the next season’s Bachelorette, and the process continues, but with 25 whiskey-drinking dudes named Chad and Trent and Brad, and way more promos about people getting punched in the face. You get the idea.

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An Exit Interview with Dean Minow

After eight years as the head of Harvard Law School, Dean Martha Minow is stepping down from her role to return to teaching and research at the Law School. Her resignation is effective as of this July. The Record talked to Dean Minow about her thoughts looking back and looking forward. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and organization.

The Record: What made you decide to step down as dean?

Dean Minow: I made the decision just before the holidays. I want to participate in the events of the day. And I’m late in a contract for a book. So I’m looking forward to working on all of that.

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Record Review: Gilmore Girls Revival Surprises, Delights

gilmore-girls-netflix-winter-posterFor many reasons, 2007 was not a particularly good year for me. As I was a teenage boy then, most of these reasons involved teenage girls, one in particular. However, another reason that 2007 was lame was because that year marked the end of the original run of Gilmore Girls.

Thankfully, Netflix has brought back Lorelai, Rory, Emily, and all the rest of Gilmore Girls in the four-part mini-series Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. In total, there’s six hours of fast-talkin’, pop-culture referencin’, Stars Hollowin’ goodness.

Look, if you’re reading this and you loved Gilmore Girls, you should absolutely watch A Year in the Life. In fact, you’ve probably watched it already. Write in with your thoughts.

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Doing The Right Thing

I recently had lunch with a non-lawyer colleague whom I have long respected, and he asked me a very interesting question. He wanted to know if, during my 43-year legal career as a transactional lawyer, I had ever found it difficult to do the “right thing.” I understood the reason for his question.

During the Great Recession of 2008, I often asked myself what all of the attorneys had been doing when their clients were bringing so many toxic transactions to the public markets, causing so much damage to our economy, and resulting in their clients paying billions of dollars in fines and settlements to various regulatory agencies.

I had no trouble answering his question — I told him that I had never found it difficult to do what I thought was the “right thing.” I then told him some true stories about some of my experiences. He encouraged me to write them down so that I could share them with others, so here they are. Note that the names have been changed to protect both the guilty and the innocent.

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Diverse Voices in the Law

In a new poster series, affinity groups at Harvard Law School are featuring the following professors for the diverse perspectives they bring to the law through their backgrounds and scholarship:

Profile: Laurence Tribe

“Gosh, there is so much stuff,” Laurence Tribe says, as I begin our interview in the library of his home in Cambridge with his partner Elizabeth on a chair beside him. And we are off to the races.

Tribe, 74, is Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School, and the United States’ preeminent constitutional law scholar. A.B., Mathematics, summa cum laude, Harvard College. J.D., magna cum laude, Harvard Law School. Carl M. Loeb University Professor, Harvard University. Lead counsel in 37 cases before the Supreme Court of the United States. Author of 12 books and more than 85 scholarly articles – including the most cited legal text or treatise of the 20th century, American Constitutional Law. Nearly a dozen honorary degrees. Constitutional consultant to the Marshall Islands, Czechoslovakia, Russia, and South Africa. And avid Twitterer, on occasion tweeting more than 20 times a day. Check him out at @tribelaw.

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The Blood Price

The battle-cry of the American Revolution: “give me liberty or give me death!” Reflecting upon my first year living in America and upon what I have learned in criminal law, I find it hard to believe that Americans truly value liberty. What I see is the human spirit crushed under the yoke of an overly oppressive criminal justice system.[1] I fail to understand how to logically reconcile over-criminalization and mass incarceration with the famous American love of freedom.

The rhetoric justifying this draconian criminal system does not help. Classmates speak of deterrence and signals – which is simply a way to sugar coat what is truly happening: we are scaring people into submission. But is this the sort of human we wish to foster? A being whose conduct does not flow from virtue but from fear. This is our vision of humanity’s highest form or greatest potential? Do we want a society of craven and vindictive worms that curl up lest they get stepped on? The idea that we must design our society according to such a vision reveals a troubling pessimism regarding human nature and a profound lack of ambition regarding the possibilities for society.

And this is all for the laudable (and supposedly necessary) goal of self-preservation. But the emphasis on preserving society neglects the more important antecedent question: is it the sort of society that is worth preserving? What if the methods through which our society ensures its survival creates the sort of society that is undeserving of survival?

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Whom to Blame For Trump? You

A few days ago, I spoke to a Harvard Law alumnus, inter alia, about the recent presidential election. The alumnus had supported Barack Obama, worked as a plaintiff-side civil rights litigator, and also happens to be black. Ordinarily, he votes Democratic. Yet this year, he voted for Donald Trump.

There are many people to blame for Trump’s victory.[1] But one among the blameworthy is you, dear reader. The Democrat. The liberal who’s too cool to be a Democrat. The leftist who’s too cool to be a liberal.[2] When the American Left has lost a black Harvard-Law-educated civil rights attorney to Donald Trump,[3] it has done something very, very wrong.

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People I Blame* For Trump

  1. The Republican establishment since 1960
  2. The media
  3. James Comey
  4. Minorities who voted for Trump[1]
  5. Democrats/liberals who didn’t vote
  6. Mark Zuckerberg
  7. Jill Stein voters
  8. Whites who voted for Trump
  9. Liberals who couldn’t stop labeling every Trump voter and/or white person a racist
  10. Liberals who didn’t call out the people in group 9

*The ordering is somewhat arbitrary, but I do mean to say that I saw each of these individuals/groups as but-for causes of Trump’s victory.


[1] A friend of mine would have replaced 4. with “Women who voted for Trump” (and I imagine 8. with “Men who voted for Trump”). I suppose that exposes our respective biases.