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Inside Legal Blogs

[By Jeff] This week, we examine all the news already covered in every other law blog. Were keeping tabs on all the developments in the law blogging community, processing it all, and digesting it here for your dining pleasure. Our top stories: the National

Law Journal gives the blogosphere a spanking, Ruth Bader Ginsberg catches 40 winks, and we weigh the pros and cons of
robots rights.
Last weeks National Law Journal featured an article on the scholarly merits of law blogs. The article, which mostly dismissed the scholarship of law blogs, precipitated a major frenzy across the blogosphere. The TaxProf her own husband. They reached the solution to swap kidneys, which raised a novel legal question. Can a kidney swap count as a gift for taxation purposes? Maule says no way, as both women (and their poor husbands) will receive something in return. I actually couldnt get through the entire post. Though the story is pretty interesting, tax law is impenetrable. On a not-so-boring note, last week, Anna Nicole Smith, the buxom star of FOXs When Animals Attack, met the U.S. Supreme Court. That sounds like one of those classic TV crossovers like Scooby Doo meets the Harlem Globetrotters. It, however, is not. More than one media outlet made a point of mentioning that Anna Nicole showed up in court fully clothed. The SCOTUS Blog even pointed out that she wore a black dress, with a modest opening at the throat. The best coverage of this case comes to us from Wonkette, which has had quite a field day with the story. The issue before the Supreme Court is whether the state or federal courts have jurisdiction over the disputed fortune of the late Howard Marshall II. Wonkette has focused more on the ghetto-fabulous aspects of the case. They were practically giddy over the double-entendre potential of Chief Justice John Roberts comment about the substantial assets involved. The Anna Nicole case is certainly unusual for the Supreme Court. Probably not since Larry Flynt graced the honorable court in 988 has anything quite so interesting occurred. Every now and again, Clarence Thomas will tell his legendary 2-inch pianist joke, but thats about it in the excitement department. Things get so boring that even the Justices have a difficult time staying awake. The Associated Press reported last week that Ruth Bader Darth Vader Ginsburg fell asleep during a case involving gerrymandering in Texas. So it was hardly surprising when the Volokh Conspiracy posted the results of a poll that revealed Americans know next to nothing about their Constitutional rights. More Americans can name all five main characters on The Simpsons than can name their rights protected by the First Amendment. Thats not so bad, considering that The Simpsons has a few more good years left and Congress will have completely done away with the First Amendment just in time for the midterm elections. This doesnt mean all that Constitutional guff isnt significant. Last week, the High Court rendered a decision in Scheidler v. National Organization for Women that is sure to provoke controversy. The Crime & Federalism blog offers a much better analysis than I could. What I can glean from it is that abortion protesters are now allowed to affect commerce at abortion clinics as long as they arent involved in robbing or extorting money from the clinic. The abortion issue ties into another topic, which was mentioned last week in the

Blog posted a thorough analysis of both the article and the reaction from the blogging community. Law professor Ann Althouse of the blog Althouse sees the NLJs dismissive article as a slap in the face. Professor Doug A. Berman of the Sentencing Law and Policy blog points out that blog entries, including some of his own, have been cited by judicial opinions. The PrawfsBlawg takes a more conservative tack, asserting that law blogs occupy a middle ground between purely scholarly pursuits and idle online chitchat. I didnt expect many law bloggers to agree with the NLJs presumption that blogs arent scholarly, but some did. Law Professor Brian R. Leiter from the blog Leiters Law School Reports sees the blogosphere as a source of some scholarly information, but relegates blogging at large to the category of leisure activity.
The Australian law blog Other Interests put together a thought-provoking post about why lawyers, in general, are pessimists. This may be through no fault of their own, according to psychologist Martin Seligman, who argues that a little pessimism behooves an attorney and that law firm culture would beat the optimism out of anybody. Another reason attorneys see the world through a glass-half-empty perspective is because they are required to deal with issues such as live-organ-transplant taxation. Professor James Edward Maules Mauled

Nanotechnology Law blog. If fetuses have

been granted legal rights, could artificial life forms someday be granted the same rights under the law? It might sound a little sci-fi, but I think its about time we start lobbying for robots rights. Many of them work under harsh conditions, including on the surface of the planet Mars (not very pleasant). They work long hours with little or no vacation time (with the exception of Johnny Five from Short Circuit). They dont even get lunch breaks. Even WalMart employees are allowed to fish for loose candy underneath the vending machines. Our mechanical brothers have toiled long enough! Jeff is a writer from Los Angeles, CA. Currently, he is the moderator of the message boards at, the largest insider source of law firm information.

Again blog addressed a matter involving two women who are swapping kidneys. Each of the women has a husband in need of a new kidney, but neither is a blood match with