Jan 17, 2013

Stephen Colbert on what happens when Constitutional Liberties Are In Conflict

Makes sense.

[tweet https://twitter.com/StephenAtHome/status/292129020554907649]

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Jan 17, 2013

Video: Mayor of Vilnius, Lithuania Runs Over Illegally Parked Car In Tank

This is ridiculous. Look at the face of the guy whose Mercedes Benz was crushed.

H/T Moin Y.

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Jan 17, 2013

Second Day of Class

Well the first day of class I almost taught the wrong subject–Property I instead of Property II.

Today, on the second day of class, I accidentally walked into the wrong room.

Though, when I saw everyone had a Civil Procedure book, I promptly turned around and went next door.

Eventually I’ll get it right. Class went very well though.

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Jan 17, 2013

When was “8th November in the second year of the Queen”?

Sir_John_Holt_by_Richard_Van_BleeckKeeble v. Hickeringill (remember the duck hunt case in property) was issued from the Queen’s Bench by Lord Chief Justice Holt (this guy) in 1707. But when did the underlying act occur. The opinion begins?

Plaintiff declares that he was, 8th November in the second year of the Queen…

So when was that? Queen Anne ascended to the throne on March 8, 1702. Thus, the second year of the Queen would have been 1704. This case lingered from 1704 till 1707 for a resolution. Slow justice for a duck hunt. The Dukeminier text notes that the case was “argued several times.”

Interestingly, Queen Anne’s sister-in-law was Mary II, who married William III. William and Mary became joint monarchs following the Glorious Revolution. Anne ascended to the throne after William died in 1702.

Update: My friend Josh Chafetz, who specializes in all things British history, writes in with a correction:

Actually, it was probably 1703. 2 Anne runs from 8 March 1703 to 7 March 1704.

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Jan 17, 2013

How much oil does a fin whale yield?

In Ghen v. Rich (remember the whale hunting case from Property), the court notes that killing a fin whale creates roughly 20 barrels of oil.

Fin whales are on average about 90 feet long, and can weigh over 70 tons. By point of comparison, an African elephant weighs roughly 8 tons.

fin2g

A barrel of crude oil (I could not find the exact weight of an actual barrel of whale oil) weighs roughly 300 pounds. 20 barrels is roughly 6,000 pounds, or 3 tons. Therefore, roughly speaking, 70 tons of whale blubber yielded 6 tons of oil. That’s less than a 10% yield. That is a lot of whale blubber that goes unused.

And how much was the oil worth? $71.05 in 1881 dollars. That is roughy $1,500 today.

 

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Jan 17, 2013

“Chevron Step Zero or Step minus alpha 13.6″

It’s Chevron all the way down to Justice Breyer in Arlington v. FCC.

The question is just whether Congress intended them to have a degree of discretionary power. But all the arguments that we hear still count against you. So if you want to go into the Chevron Step Zero or Step minus alpha 13.6, I mean, fine.

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Jan 17, 2013

Don’t Name Laws After People — Including Aaron Swartz

Ted Frank’s Law states: “My rule of thumb is a strong presumption that any law named after a victim is poor public policy enacted by legislators who confuse voting against a law with voting against an innocent person.”

I invoke Ted Frank’s Law with respect to proposals to name a law amending the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act after Aaaron Swartz. Even though I would agree with this law–especially a law that chips away at an overbroad statute that empowers aggressive prosecutors–I remain steadfast in opposing naming laws after deceased people.

See my previous coverage of Ted Frank’s Law herehereherehereherehere, and here.

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Jan 17, 2013

Who is the fastest-reading Justice in NFIB v. Sebelius?

Which Justice read their handdown in NFIB v. Sebelius from the bench the fastest?

In last place was Justice Ginsburg. Justice Ginsburg’s handdown of her ACA dissent was roughly 2,300 words. It took her 20 minutes and 2 seconds to read. That is about 115 words per minute.

In second place was Justice Kennedy. Justice Kennedy’s handdown of his dissent was roughly 1,700 words and took him only 10 minutes and 24 seconds to read it. That is about 163 words per minute.

The grand prize winner is Chief Justice Roberts! Chief Justice Roberts’s handdown of the ACA opinion was roughly 3,400 words long. It took him 20 minutes and 25 seconds to read. That is about 167 words per minute.

In case you were wondering, the Chief and Justice Kennedy read more than 50% faster than Justice Ginsburg.

Why, you may ask did I run these numbers? I have now gone through, and time-stamped all of the audio of the handdowns, to mash them up with stuff going on outside the Court (the timing is really interesting). When comparing the Chief’s handdown and Justice Ginsburg’s handdown, I was shocked at how few words she said in about the same period of time as the Chief!

 

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Jan 17, 2013

Prop2 – Class 2: Mechanics of Adverse Possession

Today we will cover Howard v. Kunto (pronounced Koonto, please), O’Keefe v. Snyder, and adverse possession against the government.

Today’s lecture notes are here. Today’s live chat is here.

Announcement: Today at 5:00 p.m. in the Emilie Slohm Dining Room on the 6th Floor the Library, I will be speaking at a Federalist Society event along with my former Property Professor, Ilya Somin from George Mason University School of Law. We will be talking about Kelo v. City of New London and eminent domain–the power of the government to take private property. We will study this case at some length in this class, and you probably studied it in constitutional law as well. I would encourage you to attend if you can. Plus, there will be free Torchy’s Tacos!

One of your STCL classmates made this amusing flyer:

image (1)

 

Howard v. Kunto

This is the Hood Canal, the site of Howard v. Kunto.

Hood_Canal_07771

Here are some maps that help explain this case.

Texas law allows tacking. Section 16.023:

Sec. 16.023.  TACKING OF SUCCESSIVE INTERESTS.  To satisfy a limitations period, peaceable and adverse possession does not need to continue in the same person, but there must be privity of estate between each holder and his successor.

Texas law allows disabilities in a few situations. Section 16.001.

Sec. 16.001.  EFFECT OF DISABILITY.

(a)  For the purposes of this subchapter, a person is under a legal disability if the person is:

(1)  younger than 18 years of age, regardless of whether the person is married;  or

(2)  of unsound mind.

(b)  If a person entitled to bring a personal action is under a legal disability when the cause of action accrues, the time of the disability is not included in a limitations period.

(c)  A person may not tack one legal disability to another to extend a limitations period.

(d)  A disability that arises after a limitations period starts does not suspend the running of the period.

Adverse Possession Against the Government

Here is a 2008 NY Times story discussing a person’s attempt to adversely possess land from the government.

In a city where nearly every millimeter of land is spoken for, Darren Miller thought that he could grab nearly 10 acres at no cost, throw a fence around it and run a lucrative business from it. And that no one would care.

He didn’t even try to keep it a secret. According to prosecutors, Mr. Miller allowed hundreds of truck drivers to park on his annexed land in south Brooklyn, charging them a few hundred dollars a month for the space (“The best deal in town,” one trucker said).

The authorities said that Mr. Miller also ran a “chop shop” and used the land as a dumping ground for construction debris. He kept a sign on the his fence: “No trespassing. Violators will be prosecuted.”

On Wednesday, it was Mr. Miller, 47, of Queens, who was facing prosecution, on charges that included trespassing, illegally dumping toxic waste, and dismantling cars without a license, all on land that prosecutors said belonged not to him, but to the city, the state and a private developer.

Mr. Miller’s lawyer, Vincent M. Gerardi, said his client’s claim to the land was sound, and based on the legal doctrine of “adverse possession,” in which someone can claim title to property he has used for a specified number of years. Mr. Miller, his lawyer said, is a small-business owner who simply made good use of a wasted patch of land.

That land is worth more than $200 million, and the city has plans for it, prosecutors said. The Brooklyn district attorney, Charles J. Hynes, said that Mr. Miller, who pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in Brooklyn Criminal Court, had given “new meaning to the word chutzpah.”

According to Mr. Gerardi, Mr. Miller, who operates his own dump truck, has been using the parcel since 1995. In August 2005, the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development sent Mr. Miller a letter saying that he was illegally occupying the property.

He responded that he was claiming the land, which he had “enclosed and maintained” for “over 10 years,” Mr. Gerardi said. Under the law, claims of adverse possession can be made if an individual uses someone else’s property continuously for 10 years.

But city lawyers assert that such claims cannot be made against land “acquired for a public purpose.” In court papers, the city’s Law Department said that the disputed parcel was obtained by the city in 1968 through condemnation for the Fresh Creek Urban Renewal Project. To make matters more complicated, though the city owns most of the parcel, some parts belong to the state and others to a private developer, the authorities said.

Since 2005, when the housing department notified Mr. Miller that he was illegally occupying city property, he and city agencies have fought two battles in the courts. Whether he can claim title to the land is still being decided. His arrest on Tuesday was the result of separate legal action to stop him from using the lot as a dump.

Ultimately, Miller was convicted.

O’Keeffee v. Snyder (Adverse Possession of Chattels)

This is Georgia O’Keeffee, as photographed by her husband Alfred Stieglitz

Stieglitz,_Georgia_O'Keeffe,_1918

O’Keeffe’s painting Cliffs

The other painting: Seaweed.

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Jan 17, 2013

Prop1 Class 2 – Efficiency and Fairness

Today in class we will be talking about Ghen v. Rich and Keeble v. Hickeringill, through the lens of economic efficiency and fairness.  We will use this resource about the Coase Theorem in class (courtesy of Professor Frank Buckley at George Mason Law).

Today’s lecture notes are here. Today’s live chat is here.

Announcement: Today at 5:00 p.m. in the Emilie Slohm Dining Room on the 6th Floor the Library, I will be speaking at a Federalist Society event along with my former Property Professor, Ilya Somin from George Mason University School of Law. We will be talking about Kelo v. City of New London and eminent domain–the power of the government to take private property. You will study this case in Property II and probably in Constitutional Law, and I will likely bring it up at some point in class. I would encourage you to attend if you can. Plus, there will be free Torchy’s Tacos!

One of your STCL classmates made this amusing flyer:

image (1)

 

Ghen v. Rich.

Here is the harvesting of a finback whale.

Finback_whale

Fin whales are on average about 90 feet long, and can weigh over 70 tons. By point of comparison, an African elephant weighs roughly 8 tons.

fin2g

Fin Whale

 

This is a bomb lance harpoon.

Bomb_Lance_Harpoon_for_whales

And a patent diagram of an 1878 bomb lance:

408px-DImg

Another patent diagram from 1879.

408px-Bomb_Lance_Patent_2

 

408px-Bomb_lance_patent_3

More pics of bomb lances. It was basically a harpoon with a rocket attached to it.

Bomb_Lance_1

Bomb_Lance_2

This is a bomb lance gun.

Bomb_lance_gun

Here is a drawing from 1897 showing the firing of a bomb lance (Frank T. Bullen, The Cruise of the Cachalot (1897)

Bomb_lance

 

This is what a captured whale looks like:

Captured_fin_whale

Keeble v. Hickeringill

Here is Edmund Hickeringill (courtesy of the British Musuem)–doesn’t he just look like a jerk!?

hickeringill

This is Lord Chief Justice John Holt who was the Lord Chief Justice of England, the author of the opinion in Keeble v. Hickeringill.

Sir_John_Holt_by_Richard_Van_Bleeck

Here is a plan for the duck decoy.

Keeble

The ducks get caught in these nets over the pipes.

Decoy_in_action

 

Duckdecoypond

BoarstallDuckDecoy

Here is a dutch video showing the ducks getting cut (fast forward to about 1:05)

I suspect many of you have tried this kind of duck hunting.

DuckHuntBox

Images courtesy of dukeminier-property.com and Wikipedia.

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