My Feudal Life

July 29th, 2012

Seeing that I am a property professor, it is only fitting that I describe my vast domain in terms of 16th Century England Feudal Estates.

The Monarchs of our kingdom are the nine noble Justices in robes, sitting upon their thrones in the grand marble palace. Beneath them, we serfs are but mere peons. These regal jurists dispense law in the form of writs of certiorari (not too different from their feudal antecedents), and set the metes and bounds for our life, liberty, and property.

Below the regal monarch are the all-powerful vassal lords, the alchemists of law who receive the wisdom of the Monarchs, and through livery of seisin, bring it to the serfs on the manors. Vassal Lord Balkin, triumphant after the Monarchs granted favor to his taxing knight in battle, proclaims victory in the realm. Vassal Lords Barnett and Kerr, both unvictorious after lengthy feuds, have reached a temporary truce. Vassal Lord Leiter continues to watch from a distance, waiting to attack at just the right moment.

Following my tenure as a Castle-Guard in the feudal (federal?) courts of law where I toiled in the fields to prepare my lord for his circuit, I have been promoted to a Tenant-in-Chief.

Within my estate there are several manors. First, there is Blogdomeshire, residing at, where I control thousands of serfs (RSS Feeds and Twitter accounts) to scour the land to collect all news, gossip, and conjectures about what new business the Monarchs engage in. Second, I have authority over the Oracle at SCOTUS, residing at The wizard, through his cauldron filled with eye of newt and toe of frog, predicts how the Monarchs will rule. Third, I run Harlanus Universitus, located at, where the youth are educated in the ways of our Great Charter, and taught how to engage in mortal combat in the courts of law.

Most recently, I acquired a fee simple subject to a condition subsequent (tenure review) in the Province of Houston, at the South Texas College of Law. I serve in the role of Baron of Class. On this manner reside my student knights. My knights are indebted to suffer Socratic combat with their Baron for ninety minutes, twice a week. At the end of the term, these knights will be forced to do battle to examine their character and mettle (final exam). If victorious, the knights will be granted freedom from the realm, and released with their own freehold estates in fee simple (passing grade). However, this manor does not yet recognize the doctrine of scutage, so these knights cannot buy their way out of service (try as they may).

To quote Holmes, “It is revolting to have no better reason for a rule of law than that so it was laid down in the time of Henry IV.” Oliver Wendell Holmes, The Path of the Law, 10 Harv. L. Rev. 457, 469 (1897). For a less revolting version of my story, see my C.V.