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Thursday, January 16, 2003

Congress Shall Have The Power

And, per yesterday's Eldred decision, it's a broad one. I'm not going to talk about the case here (no time and little need; the blog coverage and commentary has been beyond excellent), except to mention something tangential-yet-related that I haven't yet seen mentioned in this context: the critical importance of judicial compensation and appointment issues. Decisions like this drive home the need for incentives and processes designed to put our most rigorous thinkers on the courts, particularly appellate tribunals. It is not unusual for the gatekeeping role of the judicial branch to impact decades, even centuries, of social and commercial relationships. Moving deftly from the sublime to the ridiculous, I was too busy researching, writing and meeting about other things to sit down and read the Eldred decision and dissents yesterday. It's times like this when the power of the blog world comes home to me with all its force. With only intermittent, five minute intervals at my disposal throughout the day, I could nevertheless take in the penetrating analyses of legal scholars, professionals and activists well versed in all the nuances. What an enormous treat and privilege. Huge thanks again to Donna Wentworth for serving as a human conduit to so much of the discussion. It occurred to me during these Eldred breaks that journalists preparing their January 16 articles really should be availing themselves of this wealth of expertise and source material. This morning I was happy to see at least one did. David Streitfeld's L.A. Times Business Section piece (Entertainment Industry Breathes Sigh of Relief Over Court Action) includes writings from Larry Lessig's blog. (I have no idea whether Mr. Streitfeld tried to to talk with Professor Lessig directly, but journalists must be starting to appreciate when someone they can't reach for comment turns out to be a blogger.) The article also quotes Siva Vaidhyanathan, Bruce Sterling, Joe Kraus (of Digital Consumer) and Carey Ramos. More reading not to miss: Larry Lessig's late night thoughts about the silent five, and perspectives from Howard Bashman and Ernie Svenson on the role of the Supreme Court. (Thanks too to Howard for noting the Court's perhaps inaugural citation to The Green Bag.)

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