Saturday, January 26, 2013

John Roberts' summer vacation

"Debts that can't be repaid won't be."

-- Michael Hudson --

62 comments:

  1. Was Michael on of the Hudson Brothers?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cifygqN2p8

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    1. LOLOL.

      Dean O'Brien is such a winner that he has a connection to SCOTUS. What do you people have? Nothing. Again, winners vs. losers.

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    2. What is the issue here? I'm sure that Justice Roberts regularly hires one or two outstanding students from this program to clerk for him.

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  2. So Roberts is an unscrupulous, uncaring, asshole.

    We already knew that.

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  3. Careful, Professor Campos, Obama could curry favors with the Judicial branch by taking you out with a drone. All perfectly legal you understand. If there is any pesky legal question after the fact they will take it to the Supremes for a ruling!

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  4. This is presumably what the New England School of Law's trustees were talking about when they relied on the school's "special relationship with numerous members of the United States Supreme Court" purportedly created by Dean O'Brien when justifying O'Brien's ludicrously high salary. I guess I would admit to a warm fondness to someone who paid me a lot of money to teach a very brief course in exotic places over the summer; I'd probably let them call it a "special relationship" too.

    I'm sure numerous NESL graduates become SCOTUS clerks based on this "special relationship."

    http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Don-t-trust-me-Do-2483872.S.77918549

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  5. In your Salon piece, you mentioned that John Glover Roberts, Jr. may be blissfully ignorant of the law school scam. Here is an apt quote below, with regard to the entire indu$TTTry:

    "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."
    - Martin Luther King, Jr.

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  6. These "courses" must appear on many a résumé:

    "Studied under the chief justice in Galway/Malta/Prague."

    Indeed, the whole thing is a fancy vacation dressed up as work.

    I wonder how much of the time Roberts is even present in the "courses" that he "teaches".

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  7. I could understand more if Roberts didn't get "paid" for it and got reimbursed for air/travel/etc., but I have to say I am disappointed with him.

    He makes sweet cash already why does he need to make more from taxpayer-backed high interest nondischargeable student loans.

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    1. If Roberts actually received any money for doing this, then the son of a bitch should be IMPEACHED.

      That parasite should have a bunch of sponsorship patches sewn all over his black robes - like a NASCAR driver, man.

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  8. So Dean O'Brien's obscene million dollar salary is justified because he made a once in a lifetime "game changing" move in giving $15K to Roberts for teaching fluff overseas during the summer? Get the fuck out of here with that bullshit.

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    1. Agreed.perfect analysis .

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  9. Do students from other schools qualify to go on this trip? Top HYS students gunning for a SCOTUS clerkship might find this experience useful. Too bad NESL students will get nothing more than a faux summer vacation.

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    1. Experience? What experience? They're merely trading in prestige.

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  10. It is inconceivable that the SCOTUS justices don't know that these trips are junkets to lecture in front of bottom-of-the-barrel students. It's beneath them, frankly.

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  11. Law Prof: Love the web site. Keep up the good work. However, in the name of good grammar please note the heading to today’s item should read “John Roberts’s Summer Vacation.” Of course, this assumes there is only one John Roberts. I may be mistaken.

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    1. Actually it can go either way. "John Roberts' vacation" is perfectly clear to the reader while "John Roberts's vacation" seems a little busy to me.

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    2. FWIW if John and his wife went, their trip would be the Robertses' trip.

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  12. yup, a dirty little secret about the legal education industry is that they pay the judges off with speaking/appearance fees, and in return the judges are sabotaging the lawsuits by the students against the fraudulent practices of the schools

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    1. Er. okaaaay. And Obama wants to take your guns and make you gay marry an illegal immigrant, and aliens populated the earth thousands of years ago...

      Enough with the conspiracy theories. Let's stick with reality. The lawsuits failed for other reasons (i.e. idiots for plaintiffs, and bottomfeeder incompetent attorneys.)

      The fraud is there, and we're winning this battle - slowly, but surely. Unless we get tagged as crazies because dummies like you start posting crazy theories that make people question our sanity.

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  13. Justice Kennedy goes with the McGeorge program to Salzburg to study international law. McGeorge touts itself as being especially strong in international law. I wonder how many McGeorge grads get those kinds of jobs.

    To be fair, Kennedy was on the McGeorge faculty before being nominated to the bench.

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    1. Um...the name of the school in question is MCGEORGE.

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    2. There's a law school called McGeorge? Jesus. Maybe the diploma comes with a side order of McFries.

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  14. A few years ago, Duke (which I spurned) tried to regale me with talk of its summer programs in Geneva and Hong Kong. I embarrassed their representative by asking what exactly the point was of going to Geneva for a summer course in the common-law tradition (Swiss law is civilian) that is taught in English by professors from the US for students from the US. Is it just a prettified vacation? The answer involved vague reference to the international bodies with offices in Geneva but was otherwise unsatisfactory. A student told me right after the meeting that indeed it is a Mickey Mouse course.

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    1. There are dozens of these programs. They are boondoggles and junkets for the faculty. It's just another wealth transfer from students to faculty.

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    2. As the spouse of a teacher who is bombarded with "free vacation" study abroad brochures, all saying that if he signs up ten students, she travels for free, it's obvious how these study abroad scams work.

      Law professors wanting a free vacation, with a spouse coming along if they sign up twenty students.

      It's all packaged bullshit that somebody is making money from.

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  15. Excellent article – it should be required reading for every member of Congress, particularly those who sit on the Appropriations committee. This whole story reminds me of the all-expenses-paid vacation that the 9th Circuit Court took to Hawaii last year. You can be sure that if I had anything to say about the budget, the precise cost of that trip would be tallied, and the 9th Circuit’s budget would be reduced by three TIMES that amount next year.

    A previous poster asked an obvious question: what educational benefit *do* the students receive just from being in Europe? The next time the House Appropriations committee draws up a budget for SCOTUS, I should like very much to see John Roberts seated across from them and answering that question in painstaking detail.

    It’s all taxpayer money. Having worked for the government in the recent past, I can tell you that there are fairly strict controls on the use of the money that would make it almost impossible to get such a junket approved (without taking a huge risk of sanction, that is – apparently the 9th Circuit is effectively exempt for political reasons).

    One of the evils of the student loan regime (and there are many) is that the money’s momentary passage through the hands of law students removes those controls that I spoke of.

    I wonder how many additional money spigots John Roberts has running at any given moment? I also wonder how many of the other eight Justices are doing this? I like to think that the better examples would avoid this. I would be very interested to read about further examples of the little love-bites that members of the judiciary are inflicting on the taxpayers.

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    1. So the law school industry is mostly a kind of money laundering scheme for federal tax dollars?

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    2. Well, I was focusing more on the way that all the fiscal rules go away just becaustus student handles the money for a minute or two.

      It's definitely a WASTE of tax dollars. Maybe the Feds should start reviewing such expenditures to decide whether School X's students should even be eligible for federal loans.

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  16. http://www.guidestar.org/rxa/news/articles/2003/best-practices-in-nonprofit-compensation.aspx

    Best Practices in Nonprofit Compensation

    September 2003

    Nonprofit organizations sometimes find themselves walking a thin line when it comes to compensating their employees. The sector may be nonprofit, but it's by no means noncompetitive. Organizations looking to hire the best and the brightest in their fields must offer attractive salary and benefits plans.

    If, however, a salary package is deemed in excess of reasonable compensation, the IRS may impose intermediate sanctions on both the individual receiving that salary and the organizational managers who approved it.

    ***

    What are the penalties?

    A disqualified person who receives an excess benefit is subject to an excise tax of 25 percent of the excess amount. If they do not return the excess to the organization by a set date, an additional tax of 200 percent is imposed.

    Organization managers deemed responsible for approving an excess benefit transaction can be held liable for an excise tax of 10 percent of the excess benefit, with a maximum penalty of $10,000 per transaction.

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  17. Studying law abroad is not limited to the four school consortium ("Brazen Diploma Mills") discussed in the Salon article.

    But does studying law abroad serve any useful purpose, careerwise or in any other way?

    I don't know much about it, but for instance, does studying law abroad help one network into a law job in the respective country studied in?

    Anyone can go abroad and study anything or not as a student and at any time. But how is studying law abroad beneficial, especially when it is so costly?

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    1. Studying law abroad for a short duration does not help one to land a job in law at the destination. Getting the right to work there at all is a formidable obstacle; often it requires sponsorship by an employer, which typically means proving that no suitable candidate already authorized to work there is prepared to take the job. Most participants would not meet the requirements (such as a mastery of the relevant language) for licensure as lawyers anyway. And these short programs—usually offered in English, exclusively for foreigners—tend not to impart a significant understanding of local law, if they teach anything about local law at all. (This racket by the New England Skule of Law | Toilet, in which people go to Malta or Ireland for two weeks in order to learn about the US Supreme Court, is an egregious illustration.)

      These programs are résumé fodder and overpriced vacations. That's about all.

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    2. @438,

      Say WHAT?! Countries outside the U.S. are making it HARDER for people to come there and get jobs, instead of easier?

      You MUST be joking, right? Or are you talking about Nazi Germany or Fascist Italy, perhaps? Only an insane power-mad dictator would try to enforce his country's borders and keep people out, right?

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    3. My Mom studied law in Paris the summer of her 1L year a long time ago. She used it as a chance to get away and enjoy living in Europe, as it was likely the last time she would be able to do so.

      But did she get a job because of it? No, but she had a great time.

      But that was in the 80s; and it cost hardly anything.

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    4. I went to Notre Dame Law in the 1980s and they had a do your whole second year in London program. It was exactly what your mother experienced - just a chance to live abroad and have fun and of no real academic value. At ND 2/3 of our classes were required so most of these folks took the same courses we were taking and with American professors who rotated through the program so that they, too, could have fun in England. Also knew some people who partied their brains out the whole time. I always suspected that the University was turning a serious profit on it because they let people from other schools use the program - poaching a year of tuiton from those other schools. And as an added bonus, every year they would admit a bunch of clowns from fourth-tier schools who had been in London for that year to do their third year back at ND, thereby filling any vacant seats in each third year class. These folks were known as "nine month wonders" - a Notre Dame law degree after spending less than nine months on campus.

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  18. Resume fodder meaning it looks good on a resume and will impress a potential employer at home?

    I doubt that.

    Unless going to another country is supposed to make a person more enlightened and rounded etc.

    I had a friend that worked on cruise ships and used to tell me all about the world he visited.
    He went to Bombay and saw beggars, and sat in a dining room somewhere-in India I think it was- and watched a tied down monkey get the top of his head lopped off and then a bunch of people dug in with spoons and ate the poor creature's brains.

    Interesting stories, but I don't know if all of those experiences made my friend any better off for them.

    Maybe they did.

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    1. People assume that an employer will be impressed that they spent a couple of weeks "studying" in Malta. They're wrong, of course. Lambs to the slaughter.

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    2. I don't understand people in America who get "itchy feet" - Roberts included. Imagine a man in his late 50s wanting to go on spring break like some teenage sorority bitch. All at someone else's expense, of course - the circle is complete.

      There are enough things to see and experience in America to last anyone a lifetime.

      Anyone.

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    3. Are you sure your friend didn't just watch Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom?

      Anyway, good post. USCarolina offered a similar thing in London. At least that course, a history of the evolution of law in post-Norman England, was reasonably related to the venue. At the same time, it still struck me as a pretty despicable use of public money on my school's part and private debt on the part of the wastrels who signed up for it.

      Plus, it never made much sense to me to structure what is essentially and pretty much explicitly a vacation around a class. Why would I want to go to Malta to learn about the Supreme Court, which given that it's the USSC, I can very well do sitting on my ass at home in front of my computer? If I wanted to go to Malta, I'd just save money and go to fucking Malta and do things in Malta without having any obligations to occasionally go listen to John Roberts (or, more likely, a proxy) be boring.

      On the other hand, I guess if you're using student loan Monopoly money, it's a lot easier to get to Malta in the first place. But as cool as it might be to hang out in the former headquarters of the Knights of St. John at Fort St. Angelo, see the three Gloster Gladiators that kept the Luftwaffe from establishing air supremacy until Hawker Hurricanes could be delivered and the tide could be turned, or stand around in the shooting locations for Mitchell and pretend to be Joe Don Baker, I can't say I'm convinced that's a very good reason to spend either everyone's tax dollars or, if you are so lucky, your own future earnings.

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    4. I meant Final Justice. I'm getting my Joe Don Baker vehicles confused!

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    5. you insensitive clod--that was no monkey. That was some law school grad who could not make his loan payments.

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  19. The thing is that there are all these expensive seminars in exotic locations on obscure topics that are also offered. Tax write offs for vacations basically. Only big law partners probably go. But these faux learning vacations are an extension of that. Perpetuates the myth about what a great life you will have practing law. Plus, Roberts used to probably even take those faux learning vacations before he took the low paying Supreme Court gig. Doubt if he gives it a second thought (well he probably does NOW).

    Combine this with the Sotomeyer quote and you have a legal elite completely out of touch with the profession. Same as the rest of our institutions.

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    1. I find it both sad and totally unsurprising.

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    2. Federal judges and law profs are not too far from each other.

      Good Schools, good grades, great careers. For them law school was a winning bet. They could care less about the losers, be it boomer loser or gen y loser. To them a loser is a loser, and losers deserve what's coming their way because they did not work hard, went to shit school, got shit grades, got shit job or can't even get a job (fucking freeriders, country invested in them and they can't even feed themselves).

      When kids go to law school, they are all winners (to a degree); when kids finish law school, at best, half of them are winners. When they go into practice, another half fails out (one way or another).

      So in about 10 years you were turned from happy college grad into a sorry loser and it's all your fault.

      Although I don't agree that is all losers fault that they are losers (being a loser myself), at the end of the day it does not matter why you are loser; your fault or not, you are left eating shit, and it does not matter whose fault it is.

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  20. I advised a friend who was considering one of these programs to instead spend a fraction of the money on an awesome vacation. For once, somebody actually listened.

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  21. I advised a friend who was considering one of these programs to instead spend a fraction of the money on an awesome vacation. For once, somebody actually listened.

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    1. $15K really IS a ripoff for a vacation organized by a law school. Left to your own devices, you could put together a FAR better one for half that amount.

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  22. Once or maybe twice . . .

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  23. Well, my friend was inclined to tell tall tales.

    But he did add a couple of details that make me think his stories were true.

    He said the beggars he saw were children made to be "professional beggars" with deliberately mangled limbs, and as he was riding in a cab one stuck a twisted arm in his open window.

    Re: the monkey story he said that the poor monkey put his hands under his collar and tried to pry it off just before the "event." I never saw Temple of Doom so don't know if that detail was in the movie.

    He also told a story about a Scottish guy he worked with aboard the cruise ship who was a street fighter and who was an adroit head butter, which the Scottish guy said Americans don't generally do when street fighting.

    And that was the extent of my friend's cultural exchanges whilst traveling the world. I guess Justice Roberts had different and better experiences.

    BTW, is it just me or don't Supreme Court Judges seem almost like non entities in that they rarely ever make media appearances.





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    1. Well Painter, about the Supreme Court, I think that it is just you.

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    2. @Paintroach,

      Your friend "is inclined to tell tall tales?"

      He's not the only one. Case in point: "I will not be posting on this blog anymore. Ever."

      When it comes to keeping promises, it's better late than never. Stop posting here.

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  24. http://rense.com/general84/caseof.htm

    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/01/inauguration-2013-president-obama-vice-president-biden-swearing-in-ceremonies/

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  25. Meh. Just another 1%er riding on the backs of the other 99%. Business as usual. Until the mainstream media wakes up to this and the Occupy movement focuses their anger appropriately (at Congress and the White House) nothing will change.

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    1. The mainstream media IS the 1%. What purpose would be served in outing themselves? None.

      The system is rigged from top to bottom, and it's becoming clearer with each passing day. And more and more people are awakening to the truth. These rats are going all-in in attempt to milk every benefit they can from the system before the whole corrupt house of cards folds in on itself.

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  26. The comments section for this Salon piece was so filled with ignorance and stupidity it hurts. I just love reading boomers babbling on about a subject they have zero expertise in. There is no hope.

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  27. BamBamJanuary 27, 2013 at 9:09 PM

    Meh. Just another 1%er riding on the backs of the other 99%. Business as usual. Until the mainstream media wakes up to this and the Occupy movement focuses their anger appropriately (at Congress and the White House) nothing will change.
    ===============

    the media is owned and operated and funded by the top 1 percent. They are the tool of the enemy.



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  28. ....and I meant the comments within the actual Salon link and not the discussion here, just to make that clear.

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  29. I don't even know what to think.

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  30. Yeah. Well, you're right on the money, Professor. So, now what? Tell all your readers to take a deep breath, because this marketplace is so badly distorted in price and credit risk that it's rapidly imploding. And at that point, it's no longer the individual's problem.

    Federal student debt is not so much personal debt as it is sovereign debt, and the sovereign's problem. 1T outstanding is a drop in the bucket of the issues with our sovereign and its debt. If you think the student loan bubble cannot go on very much longer, I'd bet that it's endpoint is the endpoint at which the USA has to restructure ALL its sovereign debt. Tick, tick, tick...a full 20ish percent of the market is in outright default...the vast, vast majority of the rest of the market is in a debt-restructure without real write-off at 10% of discretionary income. Enron didn't last forever with its accounting tricks either, ya heard?! This is done. Toast. Il fait accompli. Find another job - because all these schools are going down. And students, just chill, you're cramdown is coming, because there's no other way it can really end.

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