: The Blawgraphy
Life of a Law Student, University of Houston Law Center

Please note: I'm no longer updating this particular blog, but keep it around for archival purposes. Visit me at the current blog at

Reaping what we’ve sown: Virginia Tech & the dismantling of the U.S. Mental Health Complex

Bernard Harcourt, guest-blogging at the Volokh Conspiracy, draws some damning correlations between historical trends in Mental Health Commitments and the Virginia Tech Shooting:

It’s impossible to make sense of the debate, though, without understanding the extent to which we’ve dismantled our mental health system in this country. Brick-by-brick, cell-by-cell, we deconstructed what was once a massive mental hospital complex and built in its place a huge prison. The sheer magnitude of transformation is absolutely remarkable.

See SSRN: Harcourt, From the Asylum to the Prison: Rethinking the Incarceration Revolution – Part II: State Level Analysis

Because of these sharply different populations, it’s not clear yet what to conclude from my study — and it’s far too early to draw public policy implications. But a few things are clear.

The first is that we should not be surprised that there are so many persons with mental illness behind bars today. We deal with perceived deviance differently than we did in the past: instead of getting treatment, persons who are viewed as deviant or dangerous are going to jail rather than mental hospitals.

The second is that we should not be surprised that our mental health systems are in crisis today. The infrastructure is simply not there. This is evident in states across the country where persons with mental illness are being housed in jails rather than treatment facilities.

What is also clear is that Seung-Hui Cho probably would have been institutionalized in the 1940s or 50s and, as a result, the Virginia Tech tragedy may not have happened. According to the New York Times, the director of the campus counseling services at Virginia Tech said of Cho: “The mental health professionals were there to assess his safety, not particularly the safety of others.” It’s unlikely we would have taken that attitude fifty years ago.

Gordon, How Not to Succeed in Law School (Funniest Law Review Article Ever)

Via Shannon Quatros at the Brown Boy Blog and Nancy Rapoport whose list of favorites has proven to be a very fertile ground of procrastinatory materials.

James Gordon III, How not to Succeed in Law School (.pdf)

This settles it – Twain was right, there is no humor in heaven. I’ll be unpacking some of the highlights in the days to come.

Studying for Law School Exams

Finals are looming. The mildly comatose look you see on people’s faces in the library has taken on a more frenzied or stricken appearance depending on whether that particular person is currently in the ‘despair’ or ‘determination’ leg of the circle of rationalization.

Each student, like the intellectual snowflake that he/she is, will find his or her own way in exam time. In a recent post, Ana unveils her own particular brand of self-loathing – Shoot me now…

I don’t do outlines – I never include enough details when I’ve tried.
I don’t do other people’s outlines – accuracy is kind of an issue on these.
I don’t do commercial outlines – it weirds me out to see the use of different terminology.

During the semester I read all of the material in a timely manner. Then, a few days before the final, I go back and read all of it again.

I’ve tried other methods and this is the one that works the best for me, but can I just tell you – IT SUCKS RIGHT NOW.

Dear God, woman….

Legal Comic: A Texas Law Firm You May have Missed


Dave Blazek’s Loose Parts: A Texas Law Firm You May have Missed

NPR: David Ginsburg, 95, Looks Back on 70 Years as a Lawyer in Washington


David Ginsburg, 95, retired Friday after seven decades of service in Washington. Ginsburg arrived in the capital in 1935, an idealistic young lawyer passionate about the possibilities of government.

He worked on Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, clerked for Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas and, later, was executive director of the Kerner Commission on race riots.

NPR: A Lawyer Looks Back on 70 Years in Washington

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