Posted by: Patrick Allen Foster | October 4, 2013

Some Non-Shutdown-Related Links

The Supreme Court

1. The US Supreme Court doesn’t officially open for business until next Monday (10/7), but this past week SCOTUS did publish orders granting review to eight cases, including “a long-running copyright dispute in Hollywood over the screenplay for the Oscar-nominated 1980 movie, Raging Bull,” according to SCOTUSblog. (H/T: Prof. Althouse.)

2. The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals released opinions in 16 cases on Monday. This was unusual in so far as normally the Court of Criminal Appeals might average between 2 and 5 opinions per day, and generally no more than 7 in one day. And the 16 cases released on Monday (9/30) came after the court released 19 decisions on Friday (9/27) and 8 decisions on Thursday (9/26). (Find opinions here.)

Maybe it’s an end-of-the-fiscal-quarter thing. I really don’t know.

The state won in all of the cases referenced above, except that in State v. Barish, released on Friday, the appellate court reversed the felony murder conviction, affirmed the especially aggravated robbery conviction, and remanded. Also, in State v. Robinette, the court affirmed the convictions but remanded for a new sentencing hearing.

Of the 43 cases decided by the Court of Criminal Appeals over this three-day period, I counted 2 dissenting opinions. In State v. Harr, Judge Tipton dissented in part to say that he would have sentenced the defendant to full probation without the 45 days of incarceration ordered by the trial court. In Franklin v. State, where the panel majority upheld the trial court’s summary dismissal of the petitioner’s (time-barred) post-conviction petition, Judge Ogle wrote a short dissent.

3. Should you go to law school, the flowchart.

4. In Wired, an interview with director Alfonso Cuarón about his new film, Gravity.

5. In The Atlantic, a critique of Breaking Bad.

6. In The New Republic, Helen Vendler remembers Seamus Heaney. An excerpt:

Heaney’s own style went through many changes while remaining recognizable across time. Brought up a Catholic, he was no longer a believer as an adult, but he also remarked that one cannot forget the culture in which one was raised. He attended no church, but by his own wish was buried at a Catholic Mass: there is no other way to bury someone from the Catholic tradition in Ireland. The readings reflected the poet’s multiple debts to foundational texts…

In short, the readings were as mixed as Heaney himself, and the chosen music was secular (not liturgical or hymnic) played on two instruments—one from the folk tradition and one from the classical orchestra. It was a sober funeral, with the family—Marie Heaney, Michael, Catherine, and Christopher—in the first row of the pews, patiently shaking hands with hundreds of mourners at the end of the service. A public funeral, with the president and the Taoiseach in attendance, and the video cameras everywhere. A private funeral, with Heaney’s two sons and two of his brothers among the pallbearers. An austere funeral, with a single spray of white flowers on the coffin.

Read the whole thing, which is not so very long. (H/T: Morgan Meis, 3 Quarks Daily.)

7. Sinéad O’Connor’s open letter to Miley Cyrus.

(The letter reminded me of this piece that Michael Agresta wrote about O’Connor in The Atlantic, almost exactly one year ago.)

8. What your style of beer says about you.

9. I can see good sides and bad sides to this: Tyler Cowen points to this BBC article about “commercial surrogacy” in India. From the BBC:

Vasanti is pregnant, but not with her own child – she is carrying a Japanese couple’s baby. For this she will be paid $8,000 (£4,967), enough to build a new house and send her own two children, aged five and seven, to an English-speaking school – something she never thought was possible.

“I’m happy from the bottom of my heart,” says Vasanti.

She was implanted with their embryo in the small city of Anand in Gujarat and will spend the next nine months living in a nearby dormitory with about 100 other surrogate mothers, all patients of Dr Nayna Patel.

There are up to 10 surrogate mothers in each room. The women have their meals and vitamins delivered to them and are encouraged to rest.

I…really don’t know what to say.

Also: “the money they earn is huge by local standards. Vasanti’s payment, which she receives in instalments, dwarfs her husband Ashok’s monthly income of about $40 a month. Some mothers come back again after giving birth once. Three times is the maximum Patel allows.”

Much more at the link.

One of the commenters (Marie) at Marginal Revolution had a good line: “Margaret Atwood, eat your heart out.”

Image Credits: (1) Photo of US Supreme Court building by “dannymac15_1999,” March 2012, and used under a CC BY-ND 2.0 license. Source: Flickr.
(2) xkcd.com. Used under a CC BY-NC 2.5 license.

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