Sunday, November 14, 2004

A Report

I've been out of town -- I got sworn in to the D.C. Bar on Friday, went to some of the Federalist Society convention on Friday night and Saturday, and then spent several hours with one of my sisters and her husband and child (they live in Virginia and drove up to D.C., where we met at her husband's brother's house).

Some observations from the trip:
  • I have to admit, it's kind of thrilling to meet a federal appeals court judge for the first time, and to receive the reaction: "Stuart Buck?! I read your blog!"

  • On the flight there, I sat next to a guy who works for a book publishing company and sells books to Wal-Mart. I asked him, "So how much difference is there between placing a book in a bookstore versus placing it in Wal-Mart?" His answer: "There's no comparison. If we get a book in Barnes & Noble, we might sell 10,000 nationwide. If I get it in Wal-Mart, we might sell 500,000."

  • There were lots of bloggers at the convention. One of the first people I ran into when I arrived at Scalia's lecture on Friday was Stephen "Feddie" Dillard of Southern Appeal. The room was totally packed, but I found a seat in the very back next to Eugene Volokh (who I hadn't seen in person in a couple of years), on the other side of whom was Cumberland Law School's Michael DeBow (who also posts sometimes at Southern Appeal) and then the Univ. of San Diego Law School's Gail Heriot of The Right Coast.

  • What I saw of the convention was an intellectual treat, as usual. The Federalist Society does more than any other organization I can think of to encourage practicing lawyers to come together and hear high-minded intellectual issues being debated. Where else -- outside of occasional events at universities -- can you go to hear DOJ's top civil rights lawyer debate against an ACLU lawyer? Or Michael Klarman debate with Michael McConnell on whether the rise of Jim Crow laws might have been inhibited had 2 votes switched sides in the debates over the Civil Rights Act of 1875, such that the bill would have banned school segregation? (Yes, Congress came that close to banning segregation in the early 1870s.)

  • Is there anything to the New York Times story that Bush is nominating Alberto Gonzales as AG so as to "bolster Mr. Gonzales's credentials with conservatives and position him for a possible Supreme Court appointment"? Some informed observers think that story was specious and ill-reasoned. Gonzales is already perfectly positioned to be nominated to the Court (if that's what Bush wanted to do), and he'll likely come under serious criticism both during AG confirmation hearings and for whatever he actually does as AG.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

(Yes, Congress came that close to banning segregation in the early 1870s.)Wow. Stuart, do you have a citation where I could go to find out more? Easily available books, something on the web, a transcript of the talk?

11:42 AM  
Blogger Stuart Buck said...

Michael McConnell's 1995 article on that subject isn't on the web. You'll find a brief mention of the 1870s effort to outlaw desegregation here: You'll find a bit more discussion of the bill in the NAACP's brief in Brown v. Board of Education, portions of which are available here:

9:09 AM  

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