Intent: Searching for Meaning in the Constitution

Herewith a description of the ETS Pictures documentary, Intent: Searching For Meaning In The Constitution (2006):

IntentWhat does the United States Constitution tell us about the defining political issues of our day? And how do we interpret the document to find those answers? This one hour documentary examines the meaning of the Constitution through the lens of several interpretive perspectives, and it investigates how differing views of the document impact today's political debates. In order to illustrate the impact of Constitutional interpretation on the real world, "Intent" focuses on four case studies. From medical marijuana, to warrantless wiretapping, to gun control laws, to "eminent domain" land seizures, "Intent" examines Constitutional tensions between individual liberty, and government authority. Program interviews range across the political spectrum - from Elliot Mincberg of People For The American Way, to Roger Pilon of the CATO Institute, to the American Conservative Union's David Keene. Noted academics such as George Washington Law School's Mary Cheh also make appearances.

Beyond food and evil

Organic produceI am pleased to present this RealPlayer video  of my presentation at the Duke Law Journal's 37th Annual Administrative Law Conference. This year's conference, staged on February 2, 2007, focused on the administrative state's regulation of food.

I also invite you to download and read the finished product: Jim Chen, Beyond Food and Evil, 56 Duke L.J. 1581 (2007):

Comfortably metrotextual

This column originally appeared in Bar Briefs, the monthly newspaper of the Louisville Bar Association. It subsequently appeared on MoneyLaw, a weblog affiliated with my Jurisdynamics Network. That post prompted Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh, to respond with a splendid online article called Pittsburgh: A Metrotextual Community.

Louisville skylineThe University of Louisville's mission statement directs this university to "be a premier, nationally recognized metropolitan research university with a commitment to the liberal arts and sciences and to the intellectual, cultural, and economic development of our diverse communities and citizens." No word in this sequence has proved more controversial than metropolitan. After all, what would be lost if our university deleted the word metropolitan and strove simply to be "a premier, nationally recognized research university"?

I welcome and embrace our school's designation as a metropolitan research university. We strive to be a metropolitan law school. We are, to coin a phrase, comfortably metrotextual.

Moot court and mock trial success stories

University of Louisville School of Law

I am very pleased to report two items demonstrating the prowess of the University of Louisville in moot court and mock trial competitions, at the undergraduate and law school levels, and the contribution of Law School students to our university's overall success:

  1. The University of Louisville wins the Kentucky Mock Trial competition

    Congratulations to UofL's Kentucky Mock Trial teams. Both teams advanced to the semi-final rounds, with the team of Dustin Thaker, Christopher Roby, Tonya Appleby, and Colleen Clemons winning the competition. UofL's other semi-finalist team consisted of Ben Weigel, Courtney Clark, Mac Adams, and Diana Kolze. The team was coached by Shelley Lemons.

A big day of programming at the Law School

The Law School is staging two public programs today, Tuesday, November 13:

The body of an American

Mary McHugh and James ReganTomb of the Unknown

Today we observe Veterans' Day. There is perhaps no finer tribute than John Dos Passos's "The Body of an American," the concluding chapter of 1919, part two of the U.S.A. trilogy (1930-36).

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


The moonbow at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park is one of only two regularly occurring moonbows on earth. It can be seen on clear nights when the moon is full. Photo credit: Kentucky Photo Library.

Kentucky music

Photo credit: Susan McKee, Along the Kentucky Music Trail: Country music and more in the Appalachian Mountains.

The Cardinal Lawyer launches Big Sandy to Big Muddy, an occasional feature on life and culture in our beloved Commonwealth of Kentucky. The Big Sandy River forms part of the eastern boundary of Kentucky, where our state meets Ohio and West Virginia. Big Muddy, of course, is the Mississippi River, which defines our state's western edge. In between, a deep and diverse culture thrives. and In between, rich cultural life abounds. For the benefit of newcomers — and, for that matter, of longtime residents who have not yet exhausted Kentucky's cultural riches — this feature endeavors to highlight the treasures that make Kentucky home.

Becca O'Neill and Rwanda's quest for "a sense of order and basic justice"

Becca O'NeillBecca O'Neill, a second-year University of Louisville law student, spent this past summer in Kigali, Rwanda, as one of the first two Americans to intern at Rwanda’s National Service of Gacaca Courts. The Gacaca system represents Rwanda's effort to achieve “a sense of order and basic justice” after militias in 1994 killed an estimated 800,000 to 1 million people. More than a decade after genocide ravaged their country, Rwanda citizens live among people they know to have killed their mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, and children.

Luke Milligan wins the Cardinal Lawyer contest

Visiting assistant professor Luke Milligan has won the Cardinal Lawyer's contest announced in William Rehnquist and William Wordsworth.

William Rehnquist and William Wordsworth: A Cardinal Lawyer contest

William Rehnquist William Wordsworth

I invite readers of The Cardinal Lawyer to identify the William Rehnquist opinion that quotes a poem by William Wordsworth. Hint: Rehnquist did not credit Wordsworth. You need not supply a full, formal citation. Just name the case, the poem, and the specific words quoted in United States Reports.

The first person to supply the correct answer will receive her or his choice of a Louisville Law insignia item: a candy jar, a travel mug, or a flash drive.