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Life of a Law Student, University of Houston Law Center

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

Lessig on Corruption

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Volokh on Judicial Interpretation, An Unexamined Consistency May Be Individually Suboptimal

Sasha Volokh ends Choosing Interpretive Methods: A Positive Theory of Judges and Everyone Else with this remarkable line:

I do not suggest that a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, but, as an economist, I suggest (less eloquently) that an unexamined consistency may be individually suboptimal.

We were fortunate enough to have Prof. Volokh at the University of Houston Law Center this past year. The rest of the paper is well worth discussion but exams loom. It’s published in the Legal Workshop, a new site that’s off to an auspicious start, featuring op-ed versions of the articles published by the member law journals.

Texas is a terrible place to have a child with Autism, Make it Better

Disclaimer: I’m a little biased on this subject. Two of my best friends in the world were living in San Antonio when their 2-year old son was diagnosed with autism. While there’s no cure for autism, early, ongoing treatment of the disorder can dramatically increase the level of functionality of people with the disorder, often producing healthy, happy, productive, taxpaying, voting members of society.

My friends explored all the options with help from family that had connections in the medical community, that is to say, more resources than most folks in their situation would have at their disposal. It didn’t matter. Texas is a terrible place to raise a child with autism. They moved to Vermont.

While in Texas the best they could do was a version of daycare with only group supervision of autistic children that spanned the gamut from high to very low functioning. The cost was upwards of $2,000 a month. In Vermont they have a team of specialists that make regular house visits to work with their son one-on-one in their own home. The cost is picked up by the state.

The Vermont approach has costs of course. The treatment is funded by tax dollars. We shouldn’t ignore the costs of Texas’ do-nothing approach either. People like my friends leave and those who might consider coming to Texas for a job think twice.

According to a friend of mine who works in the law center, the Law Library was considering a potential hire from out of state and was impressed enough to offer the candidate a job on the spot. The catch? That person had a child with autism and decided to keep looking rather than raise that child in Texas.

I mention these stories because Off the Kuff alerts us that Governor Perry is considering vetoing HB 1919, a bill that would reclassify autism as a neurological disorder rather than a mental illness, requiring insurance companies to cover treatment for autistic children from 3-5 years of age. HB 1919 has passed both houses, but according to the San Antonio Express News, the Texas Association of Business is pushing for the veto.

Read the Full Text of HB 1919

More reactions and analysis from Autism Bulletin Blog, Dig Deeper Texas, A Perfectly Cromulent Blog

Student Loan Repayment Assistance for Prosecutors, Defenders

As previously mentioned in Public Sector Attorney Loan Repayment; U.S. Public Service Academy, H.R. 916: John R. Justice Prosecutors and Defenders Incentive Act of 2007 has passed the house and awaits the Senate. If that sounds a bit hazy, take this opportunity to brush up on your legislative process.

According to the bill’s sponsor, Georgia Democrat David Scott, H.R. 916 aims to do the following:

  • Establishes a program of student loan repayment for borrowers who agree to remain employed, for at least three years, as State or local criminal prosecutors or as State, local or Federal public defenders in criminal cases;
  • Allows eligible attorneys to receive student loan debt repayments of up to $10,000 per year, with a maximum aggregate over time of $60,000;
  • Covers student loans made, insured or guaranteed under the Higher Education Act of 1965, including consolidation loans;
  • Permits attorneys to enter into additional loan repayment agreements, after the required three-year period, for additional periods of service;
  • Requires attorneys to repay the government if they do not complete their required period of service; and
  • Authorizes $25 million per year through FY 2013 after which the program would sunset unless re-authorized.

See WSJ: Uncle Sam Wants You and Will Pay Off Your Loans

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