Waiting for Sincere Apology

One of my section mates from 1L went to Seoul, Korea this summer for the Korea Summer Program. Having been fascinated with Korean culture and society, he has asked me further questions on Korea from time to time after his return to the States. Because I spent most of my childhood in Korea, I was always able to give him satisfying answers instantly. However, one day, he asked me a question that I could not readily answer – why can’t Korea and Japan get along? Japan invaded Korea in 1910 and dominated Korea for 35 years. During the Japanese occupation, a great deal of atrocities took place. Korean girls and women were kidnapped and sent to Japanese military camps as comfort women. These ladies were forced to sleep with approximately 30-40 Japanese soldiers a day. Koreans were experimented on in a secret military medical experimentation unit called “Unit 731.” They


Is There Really Justice for All?

By Malissa Eng In Norman Jewison’s 1979 movie, “And Justice for All,” Al Pacino plays defense attorney Arthur Kirkland.  Unlike most attorneys, his main concern isn’t with winning cases.  He is much more interested in his clients and the stories they have to tell.  Through the movie, we learn the extent of corruption within Maryland’s judicial system and the noble steps that Kirkland takes to make moral changes within the system. The movie begins with Kirkland in jail for contempt of court after punching Judge Fleming.  The Judge, abiding by a Maryland statute, refused to look at evidence that proved Kirkland’s client innocent because it was submitted three days too late.  Kirkland’s client asks him why it should matter if it was a difference of three days or three years if everyone is already convinced of his innocence.  The truth is that the legal system loves distinctions.  It loves efficiency.


Moral Revenge Gets Complicated

By Jodie Shihadeh In the true spirit of winter break, I’ve been catching up on seeing all the quintessential “mom” movies — those movies you wouldn’t “mind” seeing if you “had” to go with your mom or other similar parental figure. What appears as an excuse to spend time together is really a sneaky opportunity for you to see those movies you secretly want to see but would never suggest to see with your friends. This is how I recently came to watch the film, “It’s Complicated,” featuring Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, and Steve Martin. The film’s plot fits the “mom-movie” profile perfectly. It depicts Streep’s character finding personal revelation and emotional growth through her clumsy yet entertaining dual love affairs — one with her dashing ex-husband (Baldwin) and the other with shy, slightly nerdy, new guy (Martin). Cute men, cute plot, cute houses and children. What better way to


The Illusion of “Animal Law”

Why is it that, given the long arm of the law, animals consistently get the short end of the stick?  When we talk about morality and the law, the first thing that comes to mind for me is the gaping hole the law has left for the majority of the earth’s living creatures.  But are animals members of the moral community?  The law is continually expanding to cover subjugated classes, but has failed to do so with respect to animals.  Science now tells us that animals are indeed sentient—they have feelings and they know pain.  They impact our lives in myriad ways.  And yet there is no place for them in the law. Society tends to think of itself as advancing, yet the way we treat animals is an anachronism.  Actually, even that is unfairly biased in favor of society; today—since the advent of factory farming,—animals are treated worse than


The Problem with Legal Education

By Renato Petocchi Many who graduate from colleges around the country find themselves unable to transition into the working world successfully. It isn’t surprising then that many who graduate from law school find themselves without any actual knowledge of what it means to be a lawyer and face the same problem. Among the many problems with law school is the concept of the curve. Specifically, all first year grades and some second year grades are curved. This results in a situation where you can be right but still be wrong (because you are “less right” than a better answer from somebody else). Theoretically, this system could also leave some with virtually no legal knowledge whatsoever depending on the sum of the abilities of the students in the class. If everyone in the class doesn’t know a topic, then none are penalized for their ignorance. Perhaps legal education’s greatest problem is


The Power of Truth

By Diana Uhimov The lyrics “when the truth is found to be lies, and all the joy within you dies, don’t you want somebody to love, don’t you need somebody to love…” drown out a teenagers Hebrew lecture as he listens to the Jefferson Airplane song, Somebody to Love, on his walkman during class, in the Coen Brothers’ 2009 film A Serious Man. The film centers around the protagonist, Larry’s search for answers about why, despite always doing the “right thing,” his life suddenly seems to be falling apart. Larry, a physics professor who had been living his life as if everything was as certain as the mathematical equations he taught to his students, fails to realize that his relationship with his wife has disintegrated, and he barely knows his own children. When his wife decides to leave him for another man, he goes to a lawyer who, unequipped to


A Sympathetic Serial Killer

Posted by Michael Kanatake Who sympathizes with a serial killer?  In Showtime’s hit television drama series Dexter, the audience does just that.  The series centers on Dexter Morgan, a serial killer who works for the Miami Metro Police Department as a blood spatter analyst.  Dexter is a sociopath.  He is unable to feel any type of human emotion except for when he kills his victims.  His inability to experience emotions is due to a traumatic childhood event as he witnessed the brutal murder of his mother and was locked in a shipping container for three days with his mother’s body.  Harry Morgan, the police officer who rescued Dexter from the bloody shipping container, adopted Dexter and realized early on that Dexter had sociopathic tendencies.  Harry understood that because of Dexter’s past, he would become a serial killer and thus teaches Dexter a set of rules and principles that Dexter should


Truthiness & TRC's

For the first time this semester, I can finally button my bottom blazer button and strut alongside Thane. We agree on something; the truth about truth and reconciliation commissions is that they don’t work. These commissions have failed in numerous post-conflict transitional countries — namely, El Salvador, Chile, Haiti, Peru, and, most recently, Northern Ireland (they can’t even get their TRC off the ground). The reason for these failures is quite simple: the truth alone is insufficient to achieve restorative justice. Victims need vindication, they need moral revenge, and they need retribution. In 1996, the Haitian National Commission of Truth and Justice drafted a confidential list of alleged perpetrators who took part in the oppressive regime led by Raoul Cedras from 1991-93. After this list leaked to a Haitian newspaper, the government feared the publication of the list not only would force those named to go into hiding or flee


The Michael Scott Paper Company

By J. Copeland Michael Scott, regional manager of Dunder Mifflin’s Scranton branch (The Office on NBC), refuses to let professionalism or the ‘9 to 5’ attitude distort his moral judgment. Ok, he might lack the social skills and cultural refinement we expect from our superiors, but he has some redeeming qualities. For Mr. Scott there is no distinction between what is business and what is personal, there is only right and wrong. Throughout his tenure as regional manager Michael has had trouble making the most routine of business decisions. His relative incompetence is partly to blame, but on the other hand it is always more than ‘just business’ to him. He doesn’t seem able or willing to reduce his co-workers to some objective performance measure or see them as soulless revenue generators. While Michael is stuck in moral crisis mode, others watch in puzzlement as to why he just can’t


Scarface

By: Aaron Retter In the movie Scarface, Tony Montana, a poor Cuban native, built a million dollar drug empire in South Florida. We like and hate Montana. We like him because, well, because he takes care of business. But we hate him because he is too impulsive. In class we discussed that professionalization permits one to detach from one’s moral bearings. For instance, assassins sleep peacefully at night because they divest themselves from their depraved behavior. What one does from 9-5—their profession—is an isolated pursuit independent of one’s morality and conscious. This theme is important because it has helped to explain the way in which serial murderers, and even those who participate in genocide, live with themselves. As mentioned in numerous posts, Furtwangler’s music helped Nazis to escape to a beautiful place in order that they would not confront the reality of their actions. In a century that has seen