Side Effects: A New Take On The "Moral Attorney"

A popular theme in many law-related films is the idea of the “crusading moral attorney.” The archetypal example of the “moral attorney” is Frank Galvin, played by Paul Newman in the 1982 film, The Verdict. Frank Galvin is an attorney, defeated in his own personal life, who takes on a case he will certainly lose because he is guided by moral and not legal standards. Three decades later, Steven Soderbergh of Erin Brockovich fame, introduces a film that replaces the quintessential “moral attorney” with the new and novel “moral psychiatrist.” When the law fails him, the “moral psychiatrist,” played appropriately by Jude Law, suffers a breakdown of his own personal life, and consequently stumbles down an extremely unforgiving path for purposes of moral retribution. Side Effects, is a brilliant repackage of the classic law-related film where moral integrity ultimately triumphs over legal remedies. By: Elizabeth Han


Anthony Weiner Approaching Politics' "Mendoza Line"

  Baseball enthusiasts are familiar with the concept of the “Mendoza Line,” the point at which a player’s paltry batting average costs the team more than the benefit of his ability in the field. Named after Mario Mendoza, a standout shortstop who rose to fame in the late ‘70s for his infield skill, the line is said to be in the neighborhood of .200 (Mendoza himself hit for a career average of .215). Fall below that, the theory goes, and no amount of spectacular defensive play can continue to justify a spot in the lineup. The phrase is often invoked by indignant sports talk-radio callers, who, if they were managers, would have sat so-and-so down weeks ago because so-and-so can’t hit. It might also be invoked by political commentators following Anthony Weiner’s bid in the mayoral race. Even in New York, a city that has a way of separating the


Is America Asking For Revenge?

Upon news of the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial, President Barack Obama released a statement urging Americans to reflect calmly on the events that transpired and concluded that “we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken.” As Americans, have we resolved to put our utmost faith and confidence in the judicial system as to not yearn for some sort of self-help, or vigilante justice? Twitter was buzzing when news broke that Zimmerman had been acquitted by a jury of all women in connection with the shooting death of then 17-year old, Trayvon Martin. Questions arose, “do these women not have children? Do they not have compassion?!” And, unfortunately, even more unsettling than those contemptuous remarks, were the abhorrent threats made against Zimmerman’s own life. In a country where the standard of proof in criminal cases is beyond a reasonable doubt, to protect against “getting it wrong,”


Dull No More: Spitzer Enters Comptroller Race

Five years after resigning from office, former New York governor and Forum guest Eliot Spitzer recently jumped back in to New York City politics, making a last-minute entry in the City Comptroller race.  Though Spitzer made frequent media appearances and wrote a regular column for Slate following his resignation, this is his first attempt to hold public office since March 2008. “This is about public service,” Spitzer said at a campaign event in Union Square on Monday, surrounded by cameras and voters. It would seem, then, that the former governor has grown tired of sitting on the political sidelines. When he visited the Forum in November 2010, he told professor Thane Rosenbaum that “dull looks pretty good sometimes,” referring to his uncharacteristic (and unexpected) reprieve from New York politics following the scandal that caused him to resign. Now, almost three years later, he has decided to “get off the bench”