Multimedia bonus: It's a Wonderful Life

In connection with my recent post, "Other people's children," I am pleased to offer a full-length video of It's a Wonderful Life:

President Ramsey's accolades and the business of education

President James Ramsey

Business First of Louisville has named Dr. James Ramsey, President of the University of Louisville, as its large company business leader of the year.

This news, celebrated by the entire UofL community, warrants notice for reasons besides the natural (if rather venal) desire to curry favor with the boss. Business First chose our university's president as a business leader. Our university's own press release highlighted President Ramsey's leadership in hiring top researchers, boosting economic development, improving the university's academic profile, and beautifying the campus. Business First and the university named two specific projects: the Cardinal Covenant (which enables low-income students to attend college and to graduate free of debt) and the Signature Partnership (which commits the University to improving education, health, social welfare, and economic development in Louisville's West End).

President Ramsey's honor reminds all of us at the University of Louisville, and in higher education generally, of the fundamentally important relationship between education and business. Though our university is not operated for profit, it must be run as a business. And running our university as a successful business, as President Ramsey has done, enables us to contribute to the higher training, useful education, and economic well-being of the community we serve.

Beginning to see the light


From Big Sandy to Big Muddy: An occasional Cardinal Lawyer series on Kentucky life and culture

Marc Swanson's unsettling and sometimes shocking exhibition, Beginning to See the Light, has reached its final month at the 21C Museum Hotel:

Marc Swanson: Beginning to See the Light, comprises artwork made for several different exhibitions over the last five years, reuniting in this context to present a broad overview of the artist's œuvre. Swanson's sculptures, paintings, installations, and video projects combine disparate references to art history, music, mythology, and his own personal lore, providing a body of work that explores ongoing themes such as autobiography, duality, and desire. For this exhibition, Swanson has embarked on a meditative process that is not merely a nostalgic portrait, a history, or a looking back, but a contemporary struggle forward to know one's self, presenting us with an exquisitely vulnerable portrait of an artist.

The emergency protective order process in Jefferson County

Metro Office for Women Center for Women and Families
Louisville Law

Alumna Cindy Haynes (2007) has graciously delivered the following report, The Emergency Protective Order Process In Jefferson County, to my office. This May 2007 report is designated "A domestic violence initiative project of the Women’s Law Caucus at the University of Louisville Law School and the Louisville Metro Office for Women in collaboration with the Center for Women and Families." Gabriela Alcalde served as reporter. The report was commissioned by Tina M. Lentz, director of the Louisville Metro Office for Women.

The remainder of this post excerpts from the preface and introduction to The Emergency Protective Order Process. I am very pleased with the participation of Cindy Haynes (who served as president of the Women's Law Caucus during the 2006-07 school year) and her counterparts among our Law School's students and graduates. I also invite you to download the EPO report.

Other people's children

Editor's note: This article first appeared in the December 2007 issue of the Louisville Bar Association's Bar Briefs.

Holiday season approaches, and with it our cherished traditions return. One of my rituals will be watching, for the fifty-seventh time, It's a Wonderful Life.

I know what the detractors say. This movie is overplayed. It's "Capra-Corn," the prime instance of director Frank Capra's excessive sentimentality. Science fiction writer Connie Willis, in her story "Miracle," discards It's a Wonderful Life in favor of Miracle on 34th Street, which (unlike Wonderful Life) emphatically does not let an evil deed go unpunished. I don't care. It's my favorite Christmas movie, and I mean to watch it again.

One scene always has particular resonance for me. At his very nadir, George Bailey resorts to praying (something he admits to doing only rarely). A belligerent man seated nearby slugs George. Evidently, one Mr. Welch is upset with the way George has berated Mr. Welch's wife:

And the next time you talk to my wife like that you'll get worse. She cried for an hour. It isn't enough she slaves teaching your stupid kids how to read and write, and you have to bawl her out . . . .

Teaching other people's children to read and write. If we lay aside the premises of the argument between Mr. Welch and George Bailey — it isn't nice to trash people over the phone or, for that matter, to slug them in person — we'd see that this scene from It's a Wonderful Life defines an essential truth about education. Teachers at every level do their best, at often substantial personal sacrifice, to serve other people's children.

Kyle Vaughn on Cardinal Cam

Kyle Vaughn

Kyle Vaughn, a second-year student at the Law School, is currently the headline feature on the University of Louisville's Cardinal Cam.

Kyle, who is from Louisville, holds a bachelor of science degree from UofL in justice administration. He is pursuing a law degree because he feels strongly about public service and helping people. Watch as Kyle and some of his fellow law school students perform community service by restoring a house for Habitat for Humanity.

In addition to watching Kyle's video at right, you may visit Kyle's Cardinal Cam page. Kyle's video is also available on YouTube.

SSRN status report


As an update on my earlier stories (November 2 and December 3) on the University of Louisville Legal Studies Research Paper Series, I am pleased to share Professor Virginia Smith's latest report on our Law School's performance on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN):

  • We are currently ranked #43 among U.S. law schools.
  • We have 20 authors who have uploaded a total of 159 papers.
  • There are 5,557 subscribers to our research paper series.

Louis Brandeis: The People's Attorney

Multimedia bonus

Courtesy of a tip from Scott Campbell, I am pleased to present a brief clip from Louis Brandeis: The People's Attorney. You may also view the video courtesy of the Savings Bank Life Insurance Co. of Massachusetts.

The preview image displayed in the media player depicts the documentary's cast.

Building scholarly reputation in the age of Law 2.0


Professor Tony Arnold has enjoyed great success on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) with his paper, The Structure of the Land Use Regulatory System in the United States. Professor Arnold's paper recently ranked among the ten most frequently downloaded papers in SSRN's Law School Research Papers — Legal Studies Series.

Tony Arnold

The land use regulatory system has been criticized for causing or failing to solve social problems and for perceived inherent defects, such as inefficiency, inequality, and environmental harm. These criticisms fail to understand the land use regulatory system in the United States as a dynamic, functional, adaptive system.

This paper systematically analyzes the: 1) functions; 2) location and scale; 3) components; 4) processes; and 5) values of the land use regulatory system in the United States. If we are to improve our land use practices to be fairer, more efficient, and more ecologically responsible, we must understand how land use planning and regulation function and change over time.

Particular attention is given to the role of land use regulation as a mediator between people and places, between communities and power, and between freedom and boundaries. Additional attention is given to the broad array of forces shaping land use decisions, the “thinness” of land use law as a set of rules and limits (contrasted with its role as a source of tools, authority, and discretion), and the “patchiness” of land use regulatory authority in the United States.

This paper also examines a specific issue of law and policy: the extent to which the land use regulatory system can value and conserve ecosystem services — the humanly beneficial services that nature provides. The paper explores both barriers to and opportunities for accounting for ecosystem services in land use planning and regulation.

Holiday reception and classroom dedication

Nathaniel Currier and James Merritt Ives, American Homestead Winter (1869)

Holiday reception and classroom dedication — Friday, December 7, 2007