Quickpost: On time poverty

Oh, hey.  So I only just noticed that this wasn’t updating to Facesbook automagically.  Let’s see if this fixes it.

I’ve been phenomenally slack lately. Or, rather, phenomenally busy.  A few years ago, I studied full time and worked full time.  I promised myself that I would never be so foolish as to try that again; alas, past performance is predictive of future behaviour and here I am again with a full time study load as well as a full time work load.

This has meant, inter alia, that I have a small swag of either unfinished or semi-started projects that are dying of neglect.

  • There’s my glorious podcast with James: Skype Conversations of Great Import which was supposed to get to episode two on James Bond…
  • There’s my glorious ‘Choose Six’ series where I was trying to choose the best six episodes of a television series.  Unfortunately, this meant rewatching a number of the episodes in order to say something intelligent about them.  I suck.  I can’t believe that I’m too busy to watch television.
  • There’s my equally glorious Chief Justice Series where I was documenting the heroic chief justices of the High Court.
  • There’s AusOpinion and The Other Right, both of which are great little projects in desperate need of some attention but my slackness caught up.
  • There’s my Fantasy Law Review which… actually, this needs a longer explanation.

There are lots of problems with common law.  I went from being Team ‘Damn Legislatures Should Stop Passing Legislation That Interferes With The Great And Noble Tradition Of Common Law’ to being Team ‘Common Law Is Stupid And We Are Stupid For Learning About It’ within the space of about three months.  A lot of that shift centred around the argument that common law was really about defending bad decisions: if a decision was excellent, we’d come to the same conclusion without being compelled.

For a while, I’d been a bit disillusioned with common law theory, not least because the order of cases heard can influence the way cases are decided and the way law develops.  In a sensible system, this ought not to be possible.  We shouldn’t have today’s contract theory simply because decisions appeared before the Privy Council in a particular order.  That’s nuts.

The other thing that was bugging me was a study showing that law journals were crap.  The study showed that law journals, edited by students, were more likely to publish articles from academics from the university who hosted the journal.  Articles published by academics at the same institution as the journal were less likely to be cited (which is a lick-of-the-thumb quality measure).  It was pretty damning.  Add to this a favourite quote by SCOTUS Chief Justice:

Pick up a copy of any law review that you see and the first article is likely to be, you know, the influence of Immanuel Kant on evidentiary approaches in 18th-century Bulgaria, or something, which I’m sure was of great interest to the academic that wrote it, but isn’t of much help to the bar. [Source]

So I was all like: What I want to see is a law journal that publishes cases that I wish would appear before the High Court.  Instead of everybody having to wait around until the ideal case arises, we could just go nuts exploring the legal issues of ideal cases.  I’m waiting for some APS grad — no doubt a 20-something white male — who’ll say something on Twitter about the government, refuse to retract it, and then have disciplinary action taken against him.  Being the rage machine that he is, he’ll try to mount a case about the implied right of political communication, whether that right binds the government as an employer, and to what extent public servants have the same implied right of political communication as everybody else.  An edition would cover one set of facts, would have fantasy written submissions, and a fantasy judgement.  Ditto cases in refugee law, in surveillance law, and in torts.

Unfortunately, that’s a ridiculous amount of work and I never got around to organising the thing.

I think what I’m likely to do is move my political commentary into a weekly, five-minute podcast which I can just smash out on Wednesday night and publish Thursday mornings.  Recording and uploading is comparatively easy to sitting down and writing at length.  Plus, I feel the need to compulsively cite my sources when I write but ranting into a microphone is less diligent.  I don’t know.  I’ll see how I go.

For people keeping track at home, I just purchased another bookshelf.  This time for my partner’s place as I was filling their house up with books.  A freaking stack of them which threatened to topple over.  I bought the bookshelf on Sunday and it’s mostly full already.  My bookshelves at home have overflown again, so I’m off to purchase another.  Fun times.

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