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  • Oct 09 2018

    Kavanaugh’s Confirmation Hearings a Display of Political Grandstanding (September)

    By: Cavett Feazel

    Following Justice Kennedy’s announcement on June 27, 2018, that he would be retiring from the Supreme Court at the conclusion of the 2017 term, President Trump and company began the replacement search. Having compiled a list of potential nominees during the 2016 presidential election, the President stated that it would be someone from that list. Brett Kavanaugh, a 12-year veteran of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, was on that list and on July 9th was announced as the nominee.  

    Supreme Court confirmation hearings offer a rare chance for our lawmakers to question the country’s greatest legal minds on constitutional theory and legal analysis. While some insight is gleaned, the divisive nature of politics tends to obstruct any open discussion from the nominees. Of course, as now Justice Elena Kagan put it in 1995, confirmations hearings have become a “vapid and hollow charade.” The temperament and rhetoric surrounding Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination has been inimical and often puerile in fashion. This shouldn’t be surprising as appointment of the next Justice will not only shape the legal landscape for decades to come but is likely to sway the Court right of center, something Democrats fear will result in a reversal of the progressivism accomplished over the past few decades. This unruliness was demonstrated by the more than 200 arrests on Capitol Hill during the hearings.

    To be clear, the uncouth nature of today’s confirmation hearings is not a partisan issue; it affects all citizens and demands a return to respect for the nomination process, courtesy to the other side of the aisle, and a restoration of principled and honest inquiry. The hearings of modern times have all but turned into political grandstanding. Senator Corey Booker (D-NJ) and Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), both rumored frontrunners for the Democrat presidential candidacy, are two prime examples observed during these hearings.

    Senator Harris asked Kavanaugh if he “ever discussed special counsel Mueller or his investigation with anyone,” or “anyone at Kasowitz Benson & Torres, the law firm founded by. . .President Trump’s personal lawyer?” On its face this is a valid question attempting to delve into whether Kavanaugh’s personal views on the Russian treasure hunt account for his nomination. However, the interaction between the Senator and Judge reveal that Harris’ intention wasn’t a sincere inquiry into the Judge’s qualifications or personal relationship with the President. Rather, her intention was political gain. When asked by the nominee for a roster of those who work at the law firm, Senator Harris replied, “I don’t think you need to know. I think you need to know who you talked with.” What a helpful retort. The Senator, fully aware that it’s precedent for nominees to not offer up their personal views in fear of being “borked,” a reference to Robert Bork’s failed nomination to the Court, continued to press the nominee on his personal views on whether certain cases were decided correctly so that she could later tweet about his refusal to answer, knowing full well no nominee, conservative or progressive, in that seat would oblige those questions.

    Senator Booker’s show of theatrics is worthy of a Razzie from Rotten Tomatoes, although his supporters may believe an Oscar is in order. Either way, it’s clear he was using these hearings to drum up political support. During the hearings Senator Booker threatened to release Committee Confidential documents proclaiming himself Spartacus with a straight face. He went on to release the documents and proclaim to the press, “I broke the rules yesterday. . .whatever the consequences are, here I stand.” Unimpressive pomp. It’s unsurprising that Senator Booker used these hearings to bolster his political fame; remember that this is the same man who cried “tears of rage” over President Trump. At least Senator Harris displays some sincerity; Booker doesn’t even attempt to feign it.

    After all is said and done, Judge Kavanaugh will occupy the chair four seats to the left of Chief Justice Roberts on Monday, October 1st when the Court’s 2018 term begins. Those who support a progressive judiciary may be mortified that President Trump will have placed two Justices on the Court before the halfway mark of his first term, but those who favor a more conservative approach to judicial interpretation are soaring with joy. Justice Gorsuch and soon-to-be Justice Kavanaugh will stand as President Trump’s most important act as the 45th President of the United States.

  • Oct 09 2018

    Dr. Love (September)

    Dear Dr. Love,

     

    I’ve been single for a while and now I’m just starting law school. I think I’m ready to get back into the dating game and find the one. How do I balance dating and law school?

     

    Sincerely, Hopeless Romantic Law Student

     

    Hopeless Romantic Law Student,

     

    You’ve asked an important question. You’ll soon learn, law school is hard. Dating is an adventure. Dating while in law school…now that’s some *insert poop emoji*. A law school relationship isn’t like a typical relationship. It requires a different level of maturity and commitment. You’ll either be dating someone that is or isn’t in law school. We’ll start with the latter.

     

    Dating someone who isn’t in law school while being in law school is a challenge. It can be done but a challenge nonetheless. Law school requires a heavy amount of time, emotion and energy – similar to a relationship. Because law school is so demanding and time consuming, your partner is likely to start feeling neglected and as though they are not a priority. The best way to combat this is to ensure that your significant other knows they are important to you. When you finish for the day, set aside some time to talk to them. Not just texting but an actual phone call (or FaceTime if applicable).

     

    Equally important, take an interest in their day and what they have going on. You will be surrounded by the study of law ALL DAY, so when you’re with them try to not talk about law school. Most importantly, it’s the little things that count. Little surprise gifts like their favorite candy, a scented candle, a neck tie, or even a t-shirt of their favorite tv show or band. You want your partner to know they are appreciated. Little signs of affection go a long way

     

    Dating someone who is in law school is an entirely different ballgame. There are plenty of Do’s and Don’ts. If you can manage to land an upperclassman kudos to you! It’s likely you’ll be dating someone in your section or one of the other sections. First, law school is just like high school. Your business will not stay secret for too long. The more you hang out in public, the sooner people will jump to the conclusion that you two are dating. Dating someone in your section is a delicate endeavor. Here is a person that you will be around nearly CONSTANTLY. There won’t be room for “wyd” or “what did you do today?” It will take more to get to know them.

     

    But, I understand. The heart wants what the heart wants. If you plan on dating someone in your section, it’s important to give your partner their space. You don’t have to constantly be around them. A major DON’T…it is imperative that you do not date them and sit next to them in class. If you do then you will be placing yourself around this person at all times, seemingly never giving them any room to breathe. You have to give that person space while also making the effort to get to know them, and at the same time manage the heavy weight of law school.

     

    First ask yourself, are you truly emotionally ready to take on the task of furnishing and maintain a new relationship? Dating while in law school is tough, but getting over a breakup while in law school is hard beyond compare. It can leave you feeling depressed, alone, and wanting to give up on law school. So, before you begin ask yourself if are you truly ready.

     

    -Dr. Love

  • Oct 09 2018

    [BR]unch with [BR]ooks (September)

    By: Professor Brooks

    Every law professor has their area of expertise. For some, it’s civil procedure. For others, it’s evidence. For me, it’s brunch. I am excited and honored to return to The Civilian this year as your guide to Baton Rouge’s brunching and lunching scene. I have bravely faced more plates of French toast than you can imagine in service of bringing you, the reader, my opinions of the best places in this city to enjoy the greatest meal of the week.

     

    For this first column, I decided to do a starter guide to four top Baton Rouge brunch options, all of which are within easy reach of the Paul M. Hebert Law Center.

     

    The Chimes

    Where: 3357 Highland Road

    When’s Brunch: Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am to 2 pm

    The Brooks Bite: The Chimes brunch is a Baton Rouge institution, which means it comes with a particularly long wait for Sunday Brunch – especially on home game weekends. (The wait is worth it, though!) This is my go-to place to bring out-of-town visitors for a classic Baton Rouge brunch experience. My favorites include the Grits & Grillades ($13, a Creole classic of braised beef or pork rounds in a thick gravy ladled over a bowl of grits), the poached eggs Pontchartrain ($14), and a truly excellent Irish Coffee ($6.50).

     

    The Ruby Slipper Café

    Where: 3535 Perkins Road

    When’s Brunch: Every day from 7 am to 2 pm (3 pm on weekends)

    The Brooks Bite: Ruby Slipper is a New Orleans-based franchise catered around serving classic brunch options. It’s a solid brunch menu, featuring plenty of sweet and savory entrée options, and the restaurant serves surprisingly large portions. I do find myself wishing that the drinks options were a bit more reasonably priced, and you definitely want to make a reservation through their app because it gets crowded quickly, but these are minor critiques of a really solid brunch restaurant. Personal favorites include the Eggs Cochon ($14, Eggs Benedict meets pulled pork biscuit), the Migas ($12, a spicy cheesy egg scramble served with tortilla chips), and the bananas foster pain perdu ($12, pain perdu is “French toast” made with French bread, and they don’t stint on the caramelized bananas).

     

     The Overpass Merchant

    Where: 2904 Perkins Road

    When’s Brunch: Sundays from 11 am to 4 pm

    The Brooks Bite: Overpass Merchant is a great brunch option for those seeking a hearty “true” brunch – late morning to early afternoon – as opposed to a breakfast-y brunch. (TL/DR: A great place to nurse a post-game-day headache.) I prefer their outdoor patio seating to the interior, as indoors tends to get loud and crowded. Personal menu favorites include the house mix Bloody Mary ($5, and the best in Baton Rouge, in my opinion), and the truly massive Buttermilk Biscuit basket ($9, and seriously, it could be an entrée by itself).

     

    Bistro Byronz

    Where: 5412 Government Street

    When’s Brunch: Sundays from 11 am to 3 pm

    The Brooks Bite: Bistro Byronz has by far the largest and most varied brunch menu of my preferred haunts, and it is definitely the most “savory” (as opposed to sweet and pastry-heavy) of the brunch options on this list. My brunch go-tos are the Poché Etoufée ($12.95, which is a classic eggs Benedict combined with a crab meat etoufée), the Bread Pudding Bitez ($5.95, a starter sampler of bits of bread pudding with dipping sauces, definitely satisfies the sweet tooth), and the Brunch Burger ($11.95, a burger served with a poached egg on top and lots of hash browns). I round this out with a frozen mimosa ($5.50 for a glass or $20 for a pitcher).

     

    In future columns, I and some “mystery diners” will do in-depth reviews of Baton Rouge brunch hotspots – if you’d like to join in on one of these excursions, or if you have tips of places we should try, you can reach me at jeffbrooks@lsu.edu.

  • Oct 09 2018

    Student Spotlight: Henry Pittman (September)

    Student Spotlight: Henry Pittman

    Interviewer: Bret Guepet

    Year: 3L
    Section: 3 (no one cares anymore)
    Relationship Status: Taken
    Hometown: Metairie (He tried to say New Orleans but I called him out)
    Undergrad Major: Political Science (useless)

     

                It was a fantastically humid Friday afternoon. I parked my vehicle at the Law Center, and began my stroll to the Chimes Restaurant around the corner. About halfway there, a black Jeep blew by me heading in the same direction. The driver was a golden-topped young man with a pair of round, harry-potter-esque glasses. Turns out, it was the man I was heading to interview: Henraldo Pittfire (Henry Pittman for short). He suggested we sit at the bar; I obliged. The following interview was the product of soggy french fries and half a beer.

     

    Q: I just got a haircut before I came to interview you. Did you notice?

     

    A: Really? It looks great.

     

    Q: You’ll be a good lawyer. How does it feel to be in your final year of law school?

     

    A: Pretty good, dude. Taking a lot of easy classes. Some tough classes. Feels pretty good, dude.  

     

    Q: To build on that, what’s your all-time favorite smell?

     

    A: I like when I get my car washed and they put that little vanilla wafer in there.

     

    Q: I have no idea what you’re talking about. If you had to go on America’s Got Talent, and your life depended on making it to the next round, what sort of act would you put on?

     

    A: I’m like a really good singer.

     

    Q: What would you sing?

     

    A: What’s that..uh..I’ve been working on “These Eyes” by Guess Who [sings a little snippet for me]

     

    Q: Changing directions – I notice you’ve got a small gold hoop earring. Taking the criminal defense route?

     

    A: Yes. I feel like I can really relate to my clients with this look. That’s why I got it in Cozumel.

     

    Q: Might want to snag a tetanus shot. You’re dating someone in law school, correct?

     

    A: Yeah. Going pretty well. She gives me all of her notes and stuff, so.

     

    Q: I would never do that… She’s definitely smarter than you are, right?

     

    A: Yeah, way smarter.

     

    Q: Has anyone ever told you that you look like the child of Macaulay Culkin and Haley Joel Osment?

     

    A: No, but I’ve gotten Elton John a few times. It’s really offensive though…all of them.

     

    Q: So there’s some talk about you stealing Johnston Burkhardt’s look. Would you like to comment on that?

     

    A: Yeah it’s like Johnston, then me, then Jeff Brooks all rocking that look. Have people really been talking about that?

     

    Q: Moving on. Would you rather smell a fart at all times that no one else smelled, or smell like a fart at all times that you can’t smell?

     

    A: Oh dude, smell a fart at all times. I don’t want to smell like a fart.

     

    Q: Gross. Finally, do you have any really good bad advice for the 1L’s?

     

    A: Only use your absences on Fridays so that you can go to Earl’s on Thursdays. Also, don’t even worry about OCIs because you’re going to want to go to France this summer. Jobs are not that important.

  • Oct 09 2018

    THE NUN Review – Devilish Fun With A Devilish Nun (September)

    By: Sean-Patrick King

    When “The Conjuring” was released in 2013, I doubt even the most avid horror fans suspected this sleeper-hit to spawn its own devilish cinematic universe. After the financial success of two spin-off/prequels featuring an absolutely adorable little doll by the name of Annabelle, “The Conjuring” cinematic universe has returned to terrify audiences with its fifth—and certainly not last—installment, “The Nun”. Margarita in hand, I braced myself for what was billed to be the “darkest chapter in ‘The Conjuring’ universe.”

    To be honest, the early reviews of “The Nun” had prepared me for an absolute train wreck of a film featuring dimly-lit corridors, dreary jump scares, and only a shortchange of appearances by our beloved title character. With a Rotten Tomatoes score of 27%, this presumed Razzie contender had set the bar far below its predecessors, a bar “Annabelle” likely does demonic pull-ups on for breakfast. However, after a tense and atmospheric opening scene featuring The Bar Exam the demon Valak hunting down a rather young looking Rose McGowan nun and leading her to an untimely demise, I was pleasantly surprised, a little bit spooked, and ready for a second margarita.

    “The Nun” tells the story of Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga, sister of Vera Farmiga who stars in the original Conjuring films), an almost-nun who has yet to take her vows. Along with Father Burke (Demián Bichir), a sometimes-successful exorcist, Sister Irene is contacted by the Vatican to investigate the incident from the opening scene. What follows is approximately 86 minutes of people being buried alive, praying while crying, and running around screaming. It makes for a fun, yet bumpy, ride.

    For what the film lacks in plot and character development, “The Nun” makes superb use of creepy and gothic cinematography. In fact, the movie’s Hitchcock-inspired aesthetic serves as possibly the most interesting and compelling aspect of the movie, besides our demonic Nun-friend. The main action of the film takes place in 1952 at the secluded and very haunted-looking Cârța Monastery in the Transylvania region of Romania, because of course it does. Creepy corridors abound, the Abbey seems to be the prime location for the inaugural season of Ryan Murphy’s Romanian Horror Story. With plenty of opportunities to float through long hallways, torment nuns in perpetual adoration, and dwell in a cellar scrawled with the Latin phrase “Finit hic deus” (for those who don’t remember from Legal Traditions, “God Ends Here”), it is no wonder our title character calls this place home.

    The nun, also known as the demon Valak, the defiler, the profane, the marquis of snakes, khaleesi of the great grass sea, protector of the realm, lady regnant of the seven kingdoms, breaker of chains, and mother of…wait, that’s someone else…looks unquestionably stunning in a floor-length black gown designed by Lucifer himself. The outfit includes an exquisite monochrome tunic with a pair of Spring/Summer ‘17 Saint Laurent YSL Black Logo Espadrilles. My soul was SNATCHED each time Valak made a sickening appearance on screen.

    While the film attempts to provide Valak with some backstory by explaining Valak was summoned in the Dark Ages by a clearly problematic Duke, the writers are most certainly setting the stage for another Valak spin-off set in the Dark Ages. One can only hope this inevitable tale will provide Valak with far more opportunities to petrify moviegoers.

    Even though “The Nun” is, ultimately, a forgettable tale which fails to conjure up the terror of its predecessors—as well as this year’s horror masterpiece, “Hereditary”—”The Nun” provided for a somewhat satisfying horror experience that had me ready for the Halloween season.

    Final Rating: three out of five stars. While you definitely won’t walk out of the theater feeling as if you’ve wasted $12.00 on a movie ticket, this is a film best enjoyed from Redbox.

    What to Drink While Watching: Strawberry Lemon Spritzer, because just because you’re in law school doesn’t mean it isn’t still summer…or something like that.

    • 3 oz. Moscato
    • 2 oz. Sparkling Mineral Water
    • 2 Cut Strawberries
    • Lemon Garnish
    • For an Extra Kick – 1 oz. Belvedere Vodka
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