September 13, 2016

I'm saying this for the last time.

I'm teaching my last semester at the law school. Every class I teach I'm teaching a case for the last time — sometimes a case that I've taught 30 or 50 times. Yesterday, I taught Marbury, a case I've taught about 100 times and the first case I ever taught. It means nothing, I don't think, to the students, but there's something transcendent for me.

113 comments:

Marc Lowenstein said...

congratulations!

Alice Aforethought said...

Congratulations too!
If it wasn't for teaching, there wouldn't be much difference between my academic job and retirement. I kind of like it as long as I don't have to do too much of it.

khesanh0802 said...

Happy and sad moments I am sure. All that accumulated knowledge and experience will soon be on the sidelines. I hope we will continue to benefit. Treasure the moments, Ann!

Kevin said...

It's great that you're aware of the importance, and can consider how your views may have changed over time.

Kind of an Alt-sessment of your teaching career.

Original Mike said...

I honed my material for decades, adding and weeding to distill it down to what I considered the essentials. Then it didn't matter anymore.

AJ Lynch said...

Congrats Professor and good luck for a fun-filled retirement.

I have maybe three years left in me but I have never been much for Marbury until he won his 1st NBA title in 2015.

wholelottasplainin' said...

Alice Aforethought----what a great moniker!!!!

mockturtle said...

I remember Marbury vs. Madison from my college Poli Sci. Nice to know the landmark cases are still being taught! Congratulations on your retirement. Hope you enjoy yours as much as I'm enjoying mine!

mockturtle said...

Alice Aforethought----what a great moniker!!!!

X2

Birches said...

Good for you! But the law students in Madison will be worse without you.

Will the blog retire too?

rhhardin said...

I retired via email, as suits telecommuters.

rhhardin said...

I kept doing the same thing after I retired, though. Math moves with you.

surfed said...

Big Congrats. Inlove my retirementbfrom teaching. I loved covering Marbury vs Madison (albeit at a lower academic level) with my foreign students - immigrants and refugees. They liked the Bill of Rights better... Anyway, retirement is grand. Enjoy Professor.

cf said...

Ring them out like a finely crafted bell, Ann, each one of your singularly "last lessons". Ring them out with perfect pitch, poise and power.

all the best.

eric said...

We will still be here if you are.

Rob said...

Good for you. A friend just retired from teaching law, and he's thrilled with the extra three hours a week it freed up.

rhhardin said...

Don't automatically assume that social security should be applied for right away.

Though it's a pretty complicated calculation with spouses and former spouses in the picture, who have a claim on the money too.

If you've always been single and have the money, definitely wait until you're 70 1/2, unless you're likely to die quickly.

Stephen said...

When we boomers pass from the scene, who will be left to quote Paul Bowles?

"Because we don't know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, an afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four, five times more, perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps 20. And yet it all seems limitless."

Here's hoping that you have a farewell tour worthy of all that has gone before.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

I notice the phrase "at the law school." The Altexit is signed, sealed, but not delivered!

EDH said...

After all these years you must have a huge drawer full of confiscated fake fangs, chattering teeth and other joke shop paraphernalia.

Tommy Duncan said...

Ann, I'm hopeful your blogging will serve you well in retirement by providing a continuing sense of purpose and intellectual stimulation. Of course, slugs like me don't help in either regard. But we do appreciate your patience with us.

I suspect you will have a lovely garden over the next few years, mosquitoes permitting.

And, of course, remember the Dinah Shore ads from your youth. (Please pardon this deplorable display of exceptionalism.)

See the USA in your Chevrolet
America is asking you to call
Drive your Chevrolet through the USA
America's the greatest land of all

Yancey Ward said...

Honestly, I don't know if congratulations on retiring are due or not. I guess we could ask you in a year if they are wanted. Though 15 years younger, I also notice the passing of things I will likely do for the last time with a great deal of ambivalence.

David Begley said...

Last semester teaching at Wisconsin. Maybe a chapter in the first Althouse novel.

Remind those students that Marbury was all about a federal job,

And you better have Meade video that last class. If those Badgers don't give you a standing O they belong in that basket of Deplorables.

buwaya said...

Congratulations!
Waiting for der tag myself. Soon.

Humperdink said...

Congratulations professor. I hope this means you will have more resources (read: time) to spend on your garden and your lovely blog. I enjoy it more than I care to admit.

I hope to retire in the coming year also (you and I are the same age). Just need someone with a large checkbook to wander in and buy my business.

PB said...

2017 means: Freedom!

Bob Ellison said...

Retirement is a bad idea.

Keep the blog going! And if you write a movie script, I'll submit music proposals.

Big Mike said...

I've been retired for a year. Very easy to get used to having a week consisting of six Saturdays and a Sunday.

Gahrie said...

Marbury is a strange case.

John Marshall was already the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, but also continuing to fulfill the duties of Secretary of State under the lame duck Adams. Adams signed a bunch of commissions for judicial offices at the last minute, and it was Marshall's job to deliver them. His failure to deliver all of the commissions led directly to Marbury filing his case. It is unimaginable that Marshall would not recuse himself today, I am shocked that there was apparently no effort to do so then. Marshall then used the controversy he had created to grant himself the power of judicial review, and do so in a way that prevented Jefferson and Congress from disputing that power. (They got the result they wanted, Marbury didn't get the job)

John Marshall has long been on my list of dead people I would like to have dinner with, so I could ask him about this.

So what is your opinion on Marbury Althouse?

The Cracker Emcee said...

"Good for you. A friend just retired from teaching law, and he's thrilled with the extra three hours a week it freed up."

Now that's some quality sarcasm. Congratulations, Althouse. On the whole it seems you've decided to use your powers for good.

mockturtle said...

John Marshall has long been on my list of dead people I would like to have dinner with, so I could ask him about this.

Having dinner with the dead is a great idea. They don't eat much.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Congratulations on the successful completion of this life chapter, and best wishes for all the adventures yet to come! I hope to continue having a window into your fine mind and a seat at the table at Salon Althouse.

BN said...

"I'm saying this for the last time..."

No, Perfesser, we will always be your students.

Re Marbury, it was decided rightly wrongly.

Right?

BN said...

Or wrongly rightly maybe.

coupe said...

The case highlights how politics in America, from the beginning, is much like prostitution, drug addiction, and gambling.

A veritable basket of deplorables...

TWW said...

So was Marbury wrongly or rightly decided?

BN said...

"...is much like prostitution, drug addiction, and gambling."

What isn't?

Brent said...

Congratulations on the end of a life season. Best wishes for the next.

traditionalguy said...

You will be missed more than you know. A good teacher is extremely rare.

Greek Donkey said...

I would pay for an online version of one of your classes - so maybe you will be teaching some of these again.

Linda said...

So happy for you - enjoy!

Birkel said...

Enjoy the next phase in your life with Meade.
God bless you both.

Tank said...

Enjoy it, then move on.

Their loss.

Quaestor said...

Marbury v Madison means nothing to your students??? Am I right in concluding that admission standards at UW have slipped as of late?

Remind me not to retain a UW Madison law graduate for any legal work more complicated than registering a Deed of Trust. Sheeh!

MayBee said...

Good luck. Here's to a new kind of new beginning!

ALP said...

I am curious if you will consider moving, leaving Madison, once you retire. For my part, I cannot wait until I am freed from having to live near a major job center. Small town living, here I come - one of these days.

JCC said...

Life begins at retirement, even if you loved your job.

I was one of those 60 hour a week guys, stayed late and started early. I worried about retirement, how would I handle the suddenly empty hours?

It took about 5 minutes to adjust.

While working, we would spend the weekend doing the yard, trimming the trees, waxing both cars, putting up aluminum siding...never seemed to run out of time though, for all of the chores. Now? I have a full day...I'm going for haircut. No time for anything else.

So, lots of changes, but good ones coming for the Professor.

Jason said...

It's amazing you got this far without grasping individual religious liberty and the First Amendment.

But hey, Thank heaven for tenure, eh?

Christy said...

Wow! Congratulations! What decided you?

Kathryn51 said...

Congratulations! I hope this doesn't mean the end of the blog (you hinted at it at one time). Actually, I hope this means that you be blogging along the lines of what you did this past summer.

As for Marbury V. Madison, my Con Law professor was a partisan Democrat (his wife was on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals) and his passion for the subject didn't arise until he could expound upon the glories of the FDR Supreme Court, including Wickard v. Filburn.

FleetUSA said...

Congratulations. I would have loved to be in your Con law classes. Also, Congrats fellow NYU grad. As I have noted before I was Tulane (JD) and NYU (LLM Tax -- the best in 1971).

We love that you will continue the blog going forward.

MadisonMan said...

Enjoy the wind-down! How exciting to be on the threshold of something new!

Comanche Voter said...

Ah well, 50 years on I remember my law professors at Boalt. Some I revered; others have faded from memory--for good and sufficient reason. Several of my law school friends went on to teach at UCLA and at Michigan (the Michigan professor was Editor in Chief of the law review) The fellow at Michigan Law retired two or three years ago after more than 40 years.

Most law professors--at least the good ones--leave a mark on their students. That said, the professor who first taught me to think critically (which is what law school is supposed to do to you) was a professor of American Literature when I was a freshman in undergraduate school. You take your mentors and inspirations where you find them.

In any case Ms. Althouse, congratulations to you as you wind things up.

Todd Galle said...

Certainly congratulations are in order. I just had a meeting with my hierarchy where they assigned me a task which they hoped will be completed a year after I hope to retire. I'll complete it before I leave, not fair to hand a multi year project off to a successor.

rcocean said...

Why now? Why not wait till the end of the academic year in June 2017?

BTW, given what the supreme court has become why should anyone, who's not a leftist or lawyer, think of Justice Marshall as a hero?

Andy Jackson had the right attitude: "John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it!"

rcocean said...

Its hard to improve on Jefferson:

"But the Chief Justice says, 'There must be an ultimate arbiter somewhere.' True, there must; but does that prove it is either party? The ultimate arbiter is the people of the Union, assembled by their deputies in convention, at the call of Congress or of two-thirds of the States. Let them decide to which they mean to give an authority claimed by two of their organs. And it has been the peculiar wisdom and felicity of our Constitution, to have provided this peaceable appeal, where that of other nations is at once to force."

—Thomas Jefferson to William Johnson, 1823. ME 15:451

Ann Althouse said...

Don't worry, it's not the end of the blog!

sane_voter said...

Professor,

have you thought about recording some lectures on your favorite topics at your home and posting them on youtube for posterity?

Ann Althouse said...

"Marbury v Madison means nothing to your students???"

I meant that it doesn't mean anything to them (I don't think) that it's my last time teaching the case.

David Begley said...

The last Althouse lecture is a You Tube must.

mockturtle said...

Don't worry, it's not the end of the blog!

Thank heavens! I've grown rather addicted to it.

sane_voter said...

An Althouse legal lecture would be more entertaining and educational than those bloggingheads videos with Bob the condescending liberal.

Michael K said...

I quit teaching last year. I stayed on a couple of more years because of the students who seemed to enjoy my methods. The disorganization of the LA County Hospital and the electronic medical record were finally too much.

I feel sorry for the students whose medical education is far less practical than mine was.

They no longer use microscopes and look at real slides. They all use laptops and look at photographs of slides.

The number of patients they get to examine is quite limited. Many will learn only from actors and actresses who are called "standardized patients" as they act out various clinical syndromes. The physical findings, however are imaginary.

I have written a book about my career beginning with medical school, if anyone is interested.

I hate to give up teaching, as I'm sure Ann is, but the world moves along.

“The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.”
Omar Khayyam.

mockturtle said...

I am curious if you will consider moving, leaving Madison

And moving to Marbury [MD]!

rcocean said...

I can remember a crowd of law students laughing at Palin for saying the "Separation of Church and State" wasn't written in the Constitution. I hope Althouse's students aren't that dumb, but I doubt it.

ken in tx said...

Best wishes to you, But a word of warning. After retiring from teaching, I lost a lot of motivation for doing things I used to enjoy doing, like visiting museums and historical sites. Unconsciously, I had been always thinking that I would use what I learned in the classroom someday. Now that thought is no longer there.

ndspinelli said...

Too bad you're afraid to fly. It's a beautiful world.

hawkeyedjb said...

Good for you. I'm glad to hear the blog will keep going, at least for now. I've been thinking of retiring sometime soon. But I won't retire from commenting.

Jon Ericson said...

A rude commenter says: Congratulations and Go Get 'Em Tyger!

Leslie Graves said...

Congratulations!

Charles Kramer said...

Say it isn't so!! I can't believe that students will no longer have the experience I had. (But then I did the math and it has been 25 years.)

Jupiter said...

Just in time, I'd say. At the top of the market. Most of what you are teaching will be dust in the wind if Clinton lives long enough to appoint a Justice.

Moneyrunner said...

Academic Freedom Dying Because Profs Too Scared to Use It: Report. “Universities are trapped ‘worshipping at the altar of progressive opinion’, and individual scholars self-censor to avoid the wrath of their peers, according to the publication by Civitas, an independent think tank.”

The cowards are leaving the battle.

gadfly said...

So we are down to the inevitability best described as: "Old professors never retire ... they just lose their class." But then again age 65 is not old. Enjoy the trip paid for each year from no longer making mandatory graft payments to AFT local 223. Do you think Scott Walker will cheer?

And a loyal reader, I can only hope that The Ego Has Landed softly in her nest.

Bill said...

Don't worry, it's not the end of the blog!

W h e w ! I feared UW Law School's loss would be ours, too.

grackle said...

Welcome to the wonderful world of retirement! I retired in ’98 and have been having a ball ever since! And I am so glad you will continue the blog. Now for some less happy thoughts -

Random suspicions:

Hillary has Parkinson’s and it is progressing faster than they had hoped. The plan was to get her into the Whitehouse before the symptoms got too bad. Then Slick Willie could segue gracefully into a third term with Hillary merely a figurehead limited to publicly signing bills and other documents but with Slick Willie behind the scenery controlling events.

If Parkinson’s is her illness they will not be able to hide it for long. We’ll hear about it after the election, either with her in office or having lost and with Trump as the victor.

I believe short of a “black swan” event(Google it) that Trump will win in November. The MSM is also realizing that a Trump win is likely. Therefore the MSM will be using eliminationist rhetoric against Trump even more than they are now. They will do their utmost to demonize him and his supporters. I’m thinking there is at least a 50/50 chance of another assassination attempt on Trump. He had better be careful when he appears in public. Others have similar thoughts – see the URL at the end of this comment.

A desperate MSM means that Lester Holtz, the moderator of the first debate, MUST find some method during the debates to bring Trump down. I believe Holtz may interrupt Trump to fact-check everything Trump says on the spot, a la Candy Crowley with Romney, as has been suggested by various MSM types. This might work against someone other than Trump but we have seen how Trump easily dispatches talking heads when they try to bulldoze him that way. Trump ain’t Romney.

This election has taught me a lot. It has taught me that pundits I had respected before now, Krauthammer, Will, Kristol, etc., have feet of clay. I learned that they are more interested in theory than in change. I learned that they will betray any principle, any political figure, in order perpetuate their cherished place in the opinion hierarchy, preserve the status quo and justify and preserve their pet viewpoints on issues. They’ve lost me for good. They no longer have anything to offer me.

I have increasingly sought my news and information from alternative sources, one of which is here:

http://tinyurl.com/h6u2bqf

mockturtle said...

Grackle, I hope you are wrong about Lester Holt. I think he has a lot more integrity than most MSM anchors.

Sebastian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James Griffin said...

Ann- Law and lawyers are better because of you! Yes, Marbury is a fantastic piece of judicial engineering: "activism" through supposed judicial restraint.

Kindest wishes, JBG

Sebastian said...

""Good for you. A friend just retired from teaching law, and he's thrilled with the extra three hours a week it freed up." Now that's some quality sarcasm." Right: sarcasm, not hyperbole.

Soon, AA will be free to tell us what she really thinks.

Marcus Carman said...

Best wishes Professor. UW loses a great faculty member, but the blogosphere keeps a dynamic voice.

Curious George said...

Congratulations Althouse!

Laslo Spatula said...

One: congratulations, Althouse -- you made the next step in your life on your own terms.

Two: curious to see how the blog changes. I don't mean that as changes of viewpoint -- I mean that as how you write when your Day-Cycle becomes your own, unconditionally.

Three: there is no three, that's all I got.

Four: see Three: really.

Five: More pen-and-ink drawings? I love those.


I am Laslo.

richardsson said...

I retired from community college teaching in 2010 at age 61. For me, it was an almost instantaneous decision at the end of that Spring semester. It was now or never (then.) I didn't retire a moment too soon. I saw it all coming: white skin privilege, social justice warriors, safe spaces, adult coloring books, and cheating. The faculty was changing but not improving. Ditto the students. It was such a relief. I remember it was the same feeling my mother had when she retired in 1973, she saw that everything would soon turn to shit in the elementary schools.

You won't regret it. Best wishes.

chuck said...

Congratulations, and now begins that strange time when you do not need to work to live. It is an odd historical anomaly and you should enjoy it while you can.

sunsong said...

Wow! Wishing you the best...

David said...

There were little wispy hints.

Can't wait to see what you decide to do next.

Though it's not your present plan, perhaps at some point daily blogging will not be part of "next." That will happen someday, and unlike your students, it will matter a great deal to us.

Since I graduated from law school before you did, I won't say that I wish I could have taken some of your courses. Some artsy half hippie high school chick who was much smarter than we suspected would have been very hard on the law school versions of our selves.

madAsHell said...

Don't worry, it's not the end of the blog!

Whew....dodged a bullet there!! Cuz....I was looking at methadone!!

Kathryn51 said...

Ann Althouse said...
Don't worry, it's not the end of the blog!

Reassuring news. As I said earlier, I hope you will be able to do more blogging as you have this past summer. Before I retired (about a year ago), I was up at 5:00 a.m. for work; now I sleep in - but try to get up by 7:30 a.m. (Left Coast) so that I can read - and perhaps post a comment - on your blog.



Quaestor said...

I meant that it doesn't mean anything to them (I don't think) that it's my last time teaching the case.

Thanks for the clarification, Professor Althouse. I got a bit hyperventilated over that one.

Bay Area Guy said...

Congrats, Althouse. All good things must end, and you've the earned the right and power to do or not do whatever activity you choose.

I hope your students recognize what a damn fine education they received from you.

Joan said...

What a great way to announce you're retiring. Congratulations, and enjoy this last semester! (Oh, how I wish I could say the same, but I'm a bit behind you...)

grackle said...

… I hope you are wrong about Lester Holt. I think he has a lot more integrity than most MSM anchors.

We’ll see. I know next to nothing about Lester Holtz, just that he’s a talking head and I don’t trust any of them. I’ll bet that the MSM is very worried about the upcoming debate. They probably know that Trump’s poll numbers went up after every primary debate, although someone else was frequently declared the winner by the pundits.

My theory is that Trump won those debates because they are more hostile interview than debate and Trump is very good in interviews – that I can tell you.

jaydub said...

AA is always very precise in her wording. She said she was teaching her last class at the law school, but didn't say she was retiring or even leaving the law school. Must be more to come?

james conrad said...

AA is retiring huh, well i guess it is time. It will not be easy, expected time to adjust will be in the 2-4 year range. GOOD LUCK! on your new path.

Rick said...


Momentous change, good luck.

Rusty said...

Well. Good luck Althouse. Just don't look upon those endless empty hours as an abyss and then jump off a bridge.
No. Seriously. Have fun. Visit Meades' grandkids.

chrisnavin.com said...

Congratulations!

Owen said...

Congratulations, and thanks for the blog. It's another kind of garden, and I am glad you plan to keep it going.

Part of the fun --and much of the learning-- comes from the commenters, whom I thank also.

tastid212 said...

Glad your blog will continue, Professor. How do you think your posts will change once you stop teaching (even though the classroom was always off-limits)? I look forward to seeing more of your photographs - esp w/ your wide angle lens!

Mike Sylwester said...

What's Marbury?

Bad Lieutenant said...

Are you going to package your curricula so that people can go on the web and learn how to be lawyers without having to bother to go to law school? Do you have the rights to do so? Or does UW own your IP?

CJinPA said...

Enjoy retirement, Prof. Bit of a downer knowing there will be one fewer voice of reason at U. of Wis.

MaxedOutMama said...

I'm bummed. I hope you are happy about it, and what retirement will mean for your future.

But I'm bummed. I liked thinking that there was an Althousian law prof out there. I imagined myself enjoying your class.

I find this so surprising - maybe it says something about me. Maybe I'm just getting old. I think younger profs are generally not the same due to social pressures.

damikesc said...

Why did Marbury hate your city so much? Madison might be weird, but seems like an odd choice for such disdain...

Bill Peschel said...

My congratulations, too. I was "retired" by my newspaper at 52, and while I'm into full-time writing, part of me feels like I've fallen away from the culture. Fortunately, Weird Al played Hershey last night, and it felt good being amongst his tribe.

I remember "MvM" from my Con Law course (part of the Poly Sci program) at UNCC. I still have the textbook, and the notes from the cases. The teacher made us break down each opinion and the discussions were fascinating. Reading Roe v. Wade was an eye-opening and depressing introduction to seeing how the real world works.

Best of luck to you, AA. I look forward to a few more years of this.

James Pawlak said...

Maybury" was the first step towards nullification of the "Separation Of Powers" and taking from the People the sole authority to amend or change the meaning of the Constitution through its democracy-based amendment provisions.

shake-and-bake said...

When I retired, people asked me whether it was difficult to leave the practice of law after so many years. I told them it was about as hard as checking out of a Motel 6.

Bruce Hayden said...

I haven't found it that easy to retire completely. Clients call up begging me to do this or that. Maybe this year.

Someone above pointed out that calculating when to start taking Social Security is hard. The calculations though are easy, esp if you are only talking a minimum number of years difference in working. I just ran the three figures out that they give you, month by month, summing the benefits, and, for me, the three lines crossed at 79 (this ignores compound interest rates and the small amount benefits will rise with continued pay ins). Which means that if I die before 79, I am ahead by taking at 62, and behind if I take at 72 or something. Now, if I live to a hundred, I would have made maybe a third of a million more by waiting. That is the bet my father made, and has won as a result., with maybe 15 years beyond the cross over and counting. I picked 62 because, even if I live as long as he has, I need the money more than I will later, esp since my passive income continues to increase, and I see no reason why it won't continue to do so. Each to his own.

The easy way to do this is to use a spreadsheet. Put the three figures across the top, then run the months down the side, starting with the earliest SS retirement date, going month by month as far as necessary. I went to 100. Copy and paste are your friend here, as well as Excel's willingness to guess when you expand ranges. Can think of several ways to make this easy. Then, insert the first payment in each column, at the appropriate month. Then, in the next month down, enter an equation starting with "=", followed by clicking on the previous entry, "+", the payment amount. You can make that latter easier by clicking on the previous entry and then anchoring the row (which means putting a "$" before the row index in the equation). You then copy that cell, and paste it into the rest of the column. Excel (and other spreadsheets) very kindly adjusts the row numbers appropriately in the equations it pastes. And, this works here where you select the cell below all the way to the bottom, and then paste the single cell into this. Actually takes less time than to describe it, if you are experienced with spreadsheets.

Bruce Hayden said...

Let me add that in a different time, you would need to calculate the net present value of the payments by social security to do this right. This essentially means discounting the future payments with the current interest rate back to the present. Spreadsheets provide this functionality fairly easily, as well as other financial functions that do this for series of payments. But effective interest rates have been close enough to zero in recent years to make this unneeded, at least in my mind. At worst, not simplifying like this would push the crossover points out beyond the 79 I found in my case.

TWW said...

You are making a mistake unless: 1. you are bored, 2. you are ill, or 3. You have something new; firm, real and substantial to do.

Anthony said...

Congratulations on your retirement. As a former student of yours from a little over five years ago, I immensely enjoyed the courses I took with you, particularly Religion and the Constitution. I still read this blog regularly and I look forward to reading about what awaits you.

Karga said...

I took early retirement in 1998 and I found out soon after it was a great mistake. I made up by starting something new and at 76 I am glad I did. Hope you will also find out something to do beyond this blog which I enjoy reading though I never comment as I found out we cannot change anything and most of all we can never detach ourselves from our biased view of this beautiful planet. I will continue being here.