February 9, 2004

So is this a blawg or not? If a lawprof writes a blog, is it only a blawg if she (or he) writes about law? That's kind of abstract for me, so let me say something about law, so you won't have to wonder too much about whether this counts as a blawg and not merely a blog--as if you care. ("Blawg" to me just sounds like someone saying "blog" in a mock-fancy accent--like "po-tah-toes.")

I'm preparing my conlaw class this morning, and it's all about the abstract and the law. Why is it that judges are so concerned about having real, concrete cases and refusing to decide questions in the abstract? Do they really seem like the sort of people who are unusually concerned about the realities of the world and reticent about thinking abstractly? Or are they just worried that they really are way too abstract and separated from the realities of the world and need to insist that the litigants drag sufficient reality into their abstracted worlds to tamp down the levels of anxiety they would otherwise feel about carrying out their roles?

As a lawprof, I hope the students find the questions about concrete cases compelling enough, and also as a lawprof, I've got to worry that my function is way too abstract and separated from the realities of the world as well. Thus, the concerns of the judges mesh well with the concerns of the teachers. Accordingly, they decide real cases and we embrace the case method of teaching, depending on their concrete cases to drag sufficient reality into our abstracted worlds.

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