Antonin Scalia visits Con Law class

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons. Justice Scalia at a DC embassy.Antonin Scalia visited a constitutional law class at Georgetown Law on April 26, drawing a large crowd of interested students. The Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court has been visiting this particular class, a Con Law II course taught by Professor Susan Bloch, on an annual basis for over a decade.

During his appearance, which lasted approximately an hour and a half, Scalia discussed the theory of constitutional interpretation commonly known as originalism and engaged in a question and answer session with the attendees, most of whom were current or former students in Professor Bloch’s course. Scalia responded to all questions, some of them critical, and regularly attracted laughs with his blunt responses.

Because the discussion occurred during a private classroom session, the Law Weekly is not publishing any specific comments made by either the justice or the attendees.

Firefly lives on despite its cancellation 7 years ago

Eric Gonzalez, 2L, is the former Opinions Editor for the Law Weekly.
Fast-forward 500 years into the future and imagine a world where America merges with China creating a new world order. If you do this just right, you might end up with the one season wonder television series Firefly. 
Firefly was a science fiction TV series on the Fox network during the fall of 2002. Firefly documented the lives of the nine-person crew of Serenity, a “Firefly” class spaceship, as they traveled an unnamed solar system in search of employment while dodging the “Alliance,” the result of the fusion of America and China in the distant future.
Although the cast of Firefly shares the spotlight in the series, Serenity is captained by Captain Malcolm Reynolds, the undisputed leader of the crew. Reynolds, played by Nathan Fillion, was a sergeant in the Unification War, a civil war where the outer planets in the system unsuccessfully attempted to free themselves from the Alliance’s regime. 
Reynolds fought for the “Independent Faction,” who lost the Unification War six years prior to the setting of the series. As a former Sergeant, Reynolds is adept at using firearms, and at keeping his crew alive as they encounter a variety of mishaps during their attempts to smuggle goods throughout the system. Although, Reynolds’s prowess is often displayed during the show, his personality is often contradictory, and for the most part remains a mystery to the viewer. 
Zoe Washburne, played by Gina Torres, was a Corporal under Reynolds’s command during the Unification War and is now first mate aboard Serenity. Like Reynolds, Washburne is skilled at using firearms and is also a force to be reckoned with in combat. During the series Washburne is married to Hoban “Wash” Washburne, the pilot of Serenity. Their marriage, while taking place on a spaceship in desolate regions of outer space, manages to remain stable throughout the series.
Wash, in addition to being Washburne’s husband and the pilot of Serenity, is very laid back and calm, which stands out as a stark contrast to many of the other characters in the series, especially considering their status as smugglers transporting fugitives from the Alliance. Despite his laid back demeanor, Wash is just as capable of dispatching threatening figures as anyone else on board Serenity.
Jayne Cobb, played by Adam Baldwin, at first glance appears like a stereotypical mercenary, only interested in his personal safety and his salary. For example, Cobb became part of Serenity’s crew while he had a gun to Reynolds’ head by shooting his former employer after being offered a higher salary and better living quarters aboard Serenity. Contrary to this initial appearance, Cobb at times seems to care for others, such as when it is revealed that he is sending his profits to his mother so she can take care of a sick girl.
Kaylee Frye, played by Jewel Straite, is Serenity’s mechanic despite her lack of formal mechanical training. Although the reason for this is never explained, it appears that Frye has a natural affinity for mechanics, often fixing complex problems in a matter of minutes. In addition to her mechanical prowess, 
Frye also has a crush on Simon Tam, the ship’s doctor. Although their relationship is never made official during the series, it is obvious that the attraction between the two is genuine, albeit awkward. Also, Frye and Simon consummate their relationship in the movie Serenity, the full feature adaptation of Firefly.
Simon Tam, played by Sean Maher, is the ship’s doctor, Frye’s love interest, and designated guardian of his sister, River Tam, while on board Serenity. Simon had a promising career as an elite trauma surgeon on the planet Osiris, but gives it up in order to save his sister, who was being tortured and experimented on at the hands of the Alliance. Although, stiff and formal, often to the detriment of his relationship with Frye, Simon loosens up as the series progresses and slowly becomes ingratiated with most of the crew.
River Tam, played by Summer Glau, is a child prodigy with psychic abilities who, after receiving an invitation to “The Academy,” ostensibly an elite private school sponsored by the Alliance, was the recipient of various tortures and experimentation as the Alliance sought to turn her into the perfect assassin. As a result of her experiences at “The Academy,” River is emotionally and mentally unstable, often requiring her brother’s constant attention, although she is a virtually unstoppable fighting force.
Inara Serra, played by Morena Baccarin, rents a shuttle on Serenity from Reynolds and uses it to offer her services as a “Companion” for her clients. Although a Companion is essentially a whore, Companions are very respectable in the series and are often a sign of wealth and power. As such, Serra gives Captain Reynolds and his crew a measure of respectability they otherwise wouldn’t have. Despite her position, it is apparent throughout the series that Serra and Captain Reynolds have a mutual attraction towards each other.
Derrial Book, played by Ron Glass, is a preacher on board Serenity, although his past remains a mystery to the viewer. The few things about Book that were revealed during the series imply that he has knowledge of crime and firearms that a preacher normally wouldn’t have. Additionally, he seems to have intricate knowledge about the ways of the Alliance, and, when injured, was able to show his identity card to the Alliance and receive medical treatment with no questions asked.
As previously mentioned, Firefly takes place in a future where humans have populated a distant solar system, where the Alliance, representing the fusion of the United States and China, recently reconquered the outer planets after a bloody civil war. Despite formal control of the outer planets, people in the farther reaches of the solar system largely live their lives without much government interference, although this results in a lack of essential supplies that are available to planets in closer proximity to the Alliance’s center of control.
Throughout the series, Captain Reynolds and his crew traverse the outer planets looking for work, usually surviving off payments received for the successful completion of various smuggling operations. Although much of the show concentrates on the crews’ attempts to complete various missions, the series also contains several subplots that were developed during its television run.
First and foremost among these subplots is the status of Simon and River Tam as fugitives from the Alliance. In the first episode, the crew picks up Simon and River as passengers only to discover that have been on the run from the Alliance since Simon rescued River from her torment at their hands. Throughout the show, the tension of having known fugitives aboard Serenity boils under the surface of the series, at one time resulting in an attempt to return them to the Alliance. 
There are also several romantic relationships that are explored during the show, including the relationships between Wash and Zoe, Kaylee and Simon, and Inara and Captain Reynolds. Although only Wash and Zoe are in a committed relationship during the series, it is apparent to the viewer that there is a mutual, although complicated attraction between both Kaylee and Simon and Inara and Captain Reynolds.
In addition to the romantic relationships made apparent throughout the series television run, all of the main characters, and some of the minor characters, have in depth personalities, allowing the viewer to empathize with them. For example, Simon Tam, although glad that he rescued River from the Alliance, also wishes he lived the life he did before he rescued her. This results in him sometimes expressing dissatisfaction with his current situation, to the detriment of his budding romance with Kaylee.
In Firefly, the environment is also incredibly detailed. For example, the fusion between the United States and China is represented not only by outfits that match both Western and Oriental Culture, it is also represented by a fusion of English and Mandarin Chinese into a hybrid language that is spoken throughout the series. The language relies mainly on English (so that American viewers can watch the series without subtitles), but occasionally uses a Chinese phrase to enhance the imagery of a cultural fusion.
The environment is also detailed in the way it contrasts the divisions between rich and poor people, manifested in the series as the contrast between the inner and the outer planets of the solar system. The outer planets, which are an example of the Old West and frontier life, are often desert or otherwise barren locations, whereas the inner planets are much more hospitable, often containing major cities, lush forests, and large oceans. 
The divisions between rich and poor are also apparent in the appearance and manner of the characters on the show. For example, Simon, who was raised on the inner planet Osiris and previously led a privileged life, acts very proper and dresses in fine clothing, while most of the other crewmembers, who are not used to such a lifestyle, wear plain garments in muted colors. Of the other crewmembers, only Inara also wears colorful and expensive clothing, which displays her high status as a companion.
This show was incredibly in depth and has had a loyal fan base during and after its brief television run. Unfortunately, it ran on the Fox network, which has a history of changing airtimes and airdates of series that its runs, which has the effect of confusing potential viewers and preventing shows from gathering the following necessary to maintain high ratings. 
In the case of Firefly, many episodes of the series were aired out of order, which prevented viewers from fully understanding the developments occurring throughout the series. For example, Fox aired both the intended pilot and the intended season finale in the middle of the series, as opposed to the beginning and end of the series, which would have underscored the character development that occurred during the season.
Fox also preempted the show with sports events on various occasions. This, even more so than airing the episodes out of order, ensured that very few people were able to follow the plot of Firefly when it aired. Unfortunately, this seems to be the case with a lot of interesting shows that air on Fox. Futurama received the same treatment before it was cancelled, although unlike Firefly, it has managed to make a come back on Comedy Central, where four full length movies aired and a new season is currently airing.
Airing the episodes out of order and preempting the show with sporting events might not fully explain its low ratings (perhaps a lot of people just didn’t like it), but it definitely contributed to the shows small audience during its run and assured that it would get cancelled after only one season.
Fortunately, the episodes, including a few that were never aired on TV, have been released in DVD format, enabling people who never got the chance to watch Firefly on TV to watch it whenever it is convenient for them. Firefly also spawned both the feature film Serenity and multiple comic series based of the series. This means that you can and should watch a couple of episodes of Firefly, or at least watch Serenity, if you have some free time on your hands. You won’t regret it.

Two very frightening words: “President Trump”

You have to wonder about a political party whose membership thinks Donald Trump would make a good president of the United States. In the latest national polls of the hypothetical Republican presidential field, Trump leads all other competitors by twenty-six percent. Even if he does not decide to run for the highest office in the land, it is troubling that such a large portion of Republican voters support the nascent campaign of a man whose public personality is essentially that of a cartoon rich person.

Seen in another light, though, his ascendancy is not so surprising. Trump’s embrace of the subtly (or not so subtly) racist conspiracy theory that President Obama was not born in the United States has gotten significant media play. According to polls, fifty-eight percent of Republicans either believe Obama was not born in this country or are unsure. What is one to make of the sudden surging of popularity among Republicans of a reality television star whose most widely-known political belief is that he thinks our first black president may not be an American? If you don’t see the connection, you’re fired.

There may be other reasons that Republicans like Trump. John Steinbeck once said (perhaps apocryphally) that socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat, but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires. Whether or not that is true of Americans at large, in my own experience it is an attitude strangely prevalent among people on the right. Trump represents an outlandish fulfillment of that fantasy.

Conservatives have great faith in the free market to generally apportion resources to those who deserve it most, the most virtuous and productive members of society. Despite the fact that middle class productivity has skyrocketed in the last twenty-five years while wages have stagnated, many Republicans still seem to hold onto the belief that there is some relationship between value created and value received. The natural inference from this belief is that billionaires’ wealth has some prima facie moral weight.

The reason so many middle-class voters both on the left and on the right are still able to hold onto this belief has to do with the current news media environment. Contrary to popular belief, there is no liberal media in the United States. Liberal media sources do not have the weight of corporate financing behind them. Or, put a different way, private media companies have an incentive to present answers that are favorable to their interests and the interests of their wealthy financiers. 

The diversity of opinion you get in traditional media (MSNBC vs. Fox) is not much diversity at all. Rarely does one see anyone even on on MSNBC consistently questioning whether we should let private corporations and banks dictate the  most important aspects of our material lives. It’s just taken for granted that it’s not up for discussion. 

The wealthy financiers behind MSNBC and the Democratic Party merely have a longer-term view of their self-interest than those behind Fox and the Republican Party. The liberal elite realize, as FDR did, that unless the middle and lower classes are given some reasonable slice of the pie, they will have revolution on their hands, or at least major economic crisis. The conservative elite believe that the standard of living has been raised and the population has been pacified to such an extent that they don’t have to worry about the possibility of revolution anymore—and they have found a way to profit from economic crisis.

The old shibboleth that major news organizations do tend to swing left is false. Any objective media watcher can see that it is not true. Or, rather, it is true of social wedge issues, because journalists tend to be cosmopolitan in outlook, and so socially liberal, but definitely not true of economic issues. During the health care debate, we heard about the drawbacks of single-payer systems all the time on every network, but very rarely heard that those same alleged drawbacks were even worse in our own system for all but the most wealthy Americans.

Whenever labor unions are discussed on the air, there is almost always a commentator who repeats the idea that they are somehow hurting economic growth, when all studies on the subject have shown that not to be true (they merely cause wealth to be distributed more equally.) And the fawning devotion paid to the movements of stocks on Wall Street 24/7 serves to indoctrinate the idea that we should identify our own well-being with that of the DOW, even as any economist can tell you the movements of the stock market are only a very rough indicator of the health of the overall economy.

Overseas news reports on a range of economic possibilities that is far greater than in the United States. It is taken for granted that laissez faire is the norm—there is no one in the mainstream media or punditry who challenges that view without they themselves being challenged in the next breath. This stands in stark contrast to the libertarian sentiments that often go unchallenged as a matter of course.

With the death of the Fairness Doctrine in the 1980s the American media underwent a complete revision. Two decades later, the merger of entertainment, propaganda, and right-wing economic policies favorable to the large corporations that own the news media have culminated in the almost unbelievable presidential run of Donald Trump. Where we go from here, no one can truly say. At least if he runs and gets the nomination, America will be witness to the most humorous presidential election of all time.

Student activists cheer Uribe’s departure

Georgetown security protects the former Colombian leader during a student protest.Student activists are claiming victory after learning that former Colombian leader Alvaro Uribe will not return to the Georgetown University faculty next semester. Over the past year, the activists have protested Georgetown’s decision to hire Uribe as a “Distinguished Scholar in the Practice of Global Leadership,” alleging that he committed human rights violations during his eight years as Colombia’s president.

In a statement to the Law Weekly, Georgetown rejected the notion that anti-Uribe student protests led the former president to depart his lecturer position.

“President Uribe was never scheduled to be at Georgetown University for more than one year,” said Rachel Pugh, Georgetown Director of Media Relations. “He is completing his service as planned at the end of the academic year.”

Law Center student Charity Ryerson, a leader of the protest movement, is skeptical but satisfied.

“We are just happy that he is gone,” Ryerson, 3L, told the Law Weekly. “That the university put out a statement designed to cover itself politically is not a surprise.”

She added, “We never expected the university to admit that it had made a mistake, only to rectify it as quickly as possible. It did so, and we are very happy.”

Over the past school year, Ryerson and her fellow protestors have held multiple demonstrations against Uribe. The activists also created a website titled “Adios Uribe!,” protested at a dinner meant to honor Uribe’s work, and hosted the D.C. premiere of a documentary that, according to Ryerson, “looks at the way the Uribe administration used the paramilitary ‘demobilization’ to undermine truth and justice processes in Colombia.”

Similar activities during the fall semester sparked controversy and raised the possibility of civil and criminal legal battles. During a protest on the main campus, Ryerson served Uribe with a subpoena to appear for a deposition in a civil claim against Drummond, a U.S. coal company. The plaintiffs say that Uribe has “knowledge” of Drummond’s alleged connections to violent Colombian militant groups.

According to Ryerson, Georgetown security later detained her for thirty minutes and Uribe “false[ly]” accused her of assaulting him. That caused Ryerson to fear that she might face criminal charges or school disciplinary action. The incident also led to a legal back-and-forth over whether head of state immunity protected Uribe from the subpoena.

Ryerson, who told the Law Weekly last fall that the “service of process was completely legal” and that she never came in physical contact with Uribe, now says that the issue is largely resolved.

“Uribe’s lawyer, [former White House counsel] Greg Craig, backtracked on that [accusation] in his brief on the subpoena,” Ryerson said. “While the University decided not to make a decision on the facts even though Uribe had retracted his story (in the new version, which is also inaccurate, I did not touch him at any point), the issue is basically resolved.”

She added, “I inquired about how the university should handle a member of their faculty making a false assault allegation against a student, but it was made clear to me that I would regret going forward with such an inquiry. And I didn’t have time for it.”

Uribe has not publicly commented on the incident, or the student protests.

As for whether head of state immunity protects Uribe from the subpoena to testify in a deposition, the judge overseeing that case has yet to issue his ruling. However, the Department of Justice filed a statement of interest with the court.

In the twenty-two page document, the Justice Department wrote that Uribe should receive full immunity for official acts he committed during his tenure as Colombia’s president.

But the U.S. government attorneys added, “Insofar as Plaintiffs seek to depose former President Uribe regarding (i) acts performed or information that he obtained while not serving as a government official; or (ii) acts performed or information obtained during his time in office other than in his official capacity as a governmental official, the United States does not suggest that he is entitled to immunity.”

The statement of interest “encouraged” the plaintiffs, according to a statement on the Adios Uribe website. The plaintiffs contend that head of state immunity only protects Uribe from liability for official acts he committed as president and not for illegal acts.

“The law is clear,” the plaintiffs wrote in a statement, “and the U.S. government’s distinction recognizes, that to the extent that Mr. Uribe directed or encouraged or abetted violations of the law of nations, including war crimes and extrajudicial killings, these illegal acts can never be classified as “official acts. ” Since Plaintiffs’ allege that Uribe did collaborate extensively with the same…terrorists who executed their relatives, the details of his relationship with and assistance to the [terrorist group] is outside of any possible immunity.”

Although the outcome of that legal battle is uncertain, the battle over Uribe’s presence at Georgetown has apparently come to an end.

Still, some Law Center students are unhappy with the events of the past year.

Former Student Bar Association president William Broderick-Villa told the Law Weekly, “I was fortunate enough to meet [Uribe] in the fall-a point of great pride for the Colombian side of my family-and he had originally agreed to speak at the Law Center, until an unfortunate incident with one of our students convinced him otherwise.  I can’t help but think our law school lost out from this opportunity to engage a unique and transformative world leader.”

Edward T. Mitchell

Editor-in-Chief, Law Weekly

Tina Talks: advice for law students

Photo courtesy of KellyK’s photostream on Flickr.com. Rodin’s statute, “The Thinker,” contemplates the rigors of law school.Dear Tina,

Why is law school so hard?  Why is coffee not a wonderdrug?  Why do we not get reading days?  Why is law school so bloodsuckingly hard?
    — Tired and Confused*

Dear Confused,

Ah, yes, the eternal questions. 

Rodin sculpted “The Thinker” in 1902 in an attempt to depict himself solving these very riddles.  Sadly, while he finished the sculpture, he never found the answers he sought.  The title of his piece in its entirety, “The Gates of Hell,” gives us some clue as to what conclusions he did reach.

Why is law school so hard? 

Several theories have been proposed over the years, and yet the debate rages on.  Hazing?  The need to prepare future lawyers for a rigorous profession and ensure that they become worthy of the great reliance society will place on them?  We may never know.

Your next two questions, RE: coffee and reading days, are indeed factors contributing to our larger dilemma.  Sadly, I haven’t answers to those, either.

I think there might be something to the whole “you never know your true capacity for awesomeness until you’re tested” theory.  Let’s run with that one, because it makes me feel better.

See you after finals,

Tina

*Foul rumors have been floating on the winds of the Tower Green that I write my own questions.  Well, I don’t.  Except for that one time a couple months ago when I really needed answers.

 

“Tina Talks” written by Tina Sigurdson, 1L.

Snark Attack

Photo courtesy of candiche’s photostream on Flickr.com. Like Jaws, finals are sneaking up on you. Beware of the snark.Taurus – Sometime this week you will find money on the ground.  I’m not making any promises regarding amounts, but don’t feel bad picking it up.  It probably belonged to one of the zillion tourists that have suddenly flooded the city and made my metro ride more crowded.  They won’t miss it.

Gemini – Talking to yourself in public just means you’re interesting company.  But take care, lest you give away your hard earned academic insights for free.

Cancer – Fret less, beautiful Cancer.  Your outlines are destined only for greatness.

Leo – A Leo once said to me rudely, that my limericks rhymed only crudely.  I said, “Geoff shut up” and, “why don’t you try writing two weekly columns as a 1L,” and used my zodiac powers to smite him.  All other Leos: have a fabulous week.

Virgo – Double-check that you uploaded the right document before submitting any homework this week.  (Although I’m sure your professor would find your diary equally engaging reading material.)

Libra – Libra, as the scales of the heavens, you are an expert at weighing pros and cons.  As you decide it’s time for a study break this week, please consider that neither Hulu nor shopping for new music on iTunes have any cons.

Scorpio – It is possible to drink too much coffee.  I know it’s hard to believe, but some things you have to take on faith.  Or I could tell you sometime about the terrible outcome when my Capricorn friend entered into an espresso-drinking while popcorn-eating contest.  (Kids working concession stands will do insane things when the boredom gets to them.)  Clue: popcorn flew out of her nose.

Sagittarius – Stress makes everyone’s fuse a bit shorter, darling Sag, but try not to blow up at anyone.  Unless they totally deserve it.

Capricorn – Sweet seagoats of the stars, take care when you’re swinging those horns.

Aquarius – Beware the butt dial.

Pisces –  When your friends tell you that you look tired, remind yourself that they mean well and don’t bite their heads off.  Then consider a nap.

Aries – Sorry, Aries, I’m all out of ideas and I gotta get back to my Bargain, Exchange and Liability reading.

“Snark Attack” by Tina Sigurdson, 1L.

Top Ten Things to Do During Your Summer “Break”

Many students at Georgetown Law have exciting plans for the summer. Some are “public interested” and will spend the entire summer shopping at Whole Foods during their lunch breaks of their morally rewarding public interest internships.  Others will have firm jobs where they’ll experience the term “lawyeritis” firsthand (however you construe that!).

Accordingly, this week’s top 10 proffers some advice for Hoya Lawyas to enrich their summer breaks.

1. To Section 3, make sure to watch plenty of “Law and Order” and “The Good Wife,” as this will prepare you better for the bar than those courses with those long-winded titles you took during 1L year.

2. To those working in public interest, try to resist forming drum circles and driving magic school buses while employed; you mustn’t get side-tracked!

3. For those of you interning for judges, please try to find out why they call their offices “chambers.” As in the Chamber of Secrets?

4. Try to get your class selections for next year out of the way early, and remember, the more words in the course title, the harder the class will be!

5. Try to get an idea as early as possible about which firms will be coming to EIW at the end of thesummer…and then plan on which luxury suites you will crash. You can never start early enough on planning your “swagger jagging” course of action.

6. In order to prepare for your summer associate gig, make sure to watch “The Firm” with Tom Cruise. Not only was Tom Cruise dreamy in the early 90’s, but you will then be able to assess the level of hard-charged excitement you can expect to find in “Big Law.”

7. For those of you studying at the Center for Transnational Legal Studies, can someone please find out if overseas judges still wear powdered whigs? Now that’s a part of our common law past worth preserving!

8. Make sure to use your summer break to get plenty of sun, this will come in handy come November when you’ll  be in the library so long that you’re on the verge of Vitamin D deficiency.

9.  BUT make sure to wear sunscreen to avoid the risk of skin cancer.  Because we’re lawyers, we can’t forget to include the relevant warning.

10.  Also be sure to catch up on sleep.  We don’t want our Georgetown Law students looking like cast members from “Twilight,” do we?

Top Ten this week by J.D. Jokester and Prudence Juris.

HBO’s “Game of Thrones” an enjoyable fantasy epic for old and new fans

George R. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Sean Bean plays the character of Ned Stark in HBO’s new series, “Game of Thrones,” airing Sundays at 9 PM EST.R. Martin’s fantasy series,  “A Song of Ice and Fire,” seems un-filmable. It contains a cast of hundreds, if not thousands. It heavily relies on internal monologues, flashbacks, and dream sequences. It contains fantastical creatures, great cities, and huge battles. It should be impossible to adapt.

Yet with “Game of Thrones,” HBO and producers David Benioff and Dan Weiss have done just that. The pilot episode is laudably loyal to the opening chapters of the source material while making concessions to the medium. It concentrates on creating the dozen most important characters and their relationships, and ends with a cliffhanger to draw in viewers.

“Game of Thrones” centers on Ned Stark (Sean Bean), a nobleman of Westeros. King Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy) asks his friend and ally Ned to become his principle advisor. Ned must confront the intrigues of Queen Cersei (Lena Headey) and her brother, Jaime Lannister (Nicolaj Coster-Waldau). Meanwhile, exiled prince Viserys Targaryen (Harry Lloyd) plots to regain the kingdom by marrying his sister Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) to the leader of a tribe of nomadic warriors.

Amongst all the politicking, a supernatural threat is brewing north of the Wall, a seven hundred-foot-tall ice barrier between civilization and the lands beyond.

Just making sure the viewer has all this straight is task enough, and as a result the pilot of Game of Thrones works better a set-up for the remainder of the season than as a stand-alone hour. Television requires using dialogue to convey information, and as a result the characters often seem to be addressing the audience as much as each other.

Fortunately, the pilot script skillfully sets the stage and introduces the principal characters. While it borrows lines from the book when possible, it also contains entirely new scenes. Among these, especially strong is the first scene at the Stark castle of Winterfell, which quickly and effectively establishes every member of the main character’s family.

The actors include recognized talents such as Sean Bean and Lena Headey, but also relative unknowns and even complete newcomers. Isaac Hempstead-Wright and Maisie Williams, respectively the Stark children Bran and Arya, are real finds. Their difficult roles require the imagination and ignorance of young children, but also the strength of will to survive in a harsh world.

Ms. Williams especially shines as the tomboy Arya Stark, embodying a complete character in a few short scenes with almost no lines.

Among the adults, Harry Lloyd stands out as Viserys. Lloyd combines the self-righteousness of a prince denied his birthright with the wounded pride of a perpetual beggar, and his treatment of his sister alternates between cruel and charming. The character’s madness is subtle, but never far from the surface.

The overall production value is strong, but still has a few notable weak points. Besides the main theme, which plays over the stunning opening credits sequence, the music is generic and forgettable. The supernatural White Walkers look more appropriate to a 50’s monster movie than a contemporary fantasy.

But the settings are beautiful, from the establishing shot, using computer-generated imagery, of the capital city King’s Landing, to the forest within the castle of Winterfell, to the sunset-lit coastline at Daenerys’ wedding. The cinematography is competent, but don’t expect helicopter shots a la Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings.”

“Game of Thrones” is worth the attention of any fan of the books, and anyone else looking to see HBO’s take on fantasy. For the uninitiated, either start now or wait for the DVD release, as the story is not conducive to stand-alone episodes.

Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9:00 ET on HBO.   

by Colin Finnegan, 1L

Gilbert & Sullivan’s “The Sorcerer” a bittersweet success for cast

Photo courtesy of Brad Kehr, 2L. Members of the Georgetown Gilbert and Sullivan Society’s final performance of the 2010-2011 season, “The Sorcerer,” was bittersweet for the cast, as it marked the departure of its President, Chas Carey, a graduating 3L.Some here may remember in the mid-1990s when Major League Baseball went on strike.   Not surprisingly, once the game returned in 1995, people didn’t care anymore.  Two things brought fans back to our national pastime: one was roided out monsters smashing home runs, the other was Cal Ripken Jr.’s chase of Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games played record. 

Advertising campaigns at the time had jaunty themes that the only certainties in life were death, taxes, and Cal Ripken Jr.  If Nike or say… OutlineDepot advertised at Georgetown Law, they could take a cue from the Ripken spots and posit that for the past three years at Georgetown Law, the only certainties were stress, safety emails about things happening five miles from us, and Charles “Chas” Carey, 3L, being involved in whatever the Georgetown Gilbert & Sullivan Society (GG &SS) was doing.

As much as a success as “The Sorcerer,” the last play of the 2010-2011 GG&SS cycle, was, it did have a sense of a bittersweet moving on for the company, as Carey now graduates and moves onto the real world in New York City.

If one goes back and scans pictures of Urinetown, the fall musical for GG&SS in 2008, Carey is visible in the chorus.  Yet, said chorus member quickly rose through the ranks to become the president of GG&SS while acting and doing a multitude of other jobs.  He also appeared in every play put on during his time at Georgetown. 

I was fortunate enough to work with “Chas” on “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”—he was a lead role, helped with tech, did all the duties required of a president, and hung lights while precariously dangling from an unsafe scaffold.

I’m sure Maia Falconi-Sachs, 2L, will do a great job as president, but I’d wager no one in GG&SS would refute that she has quite large shoes to fill in replacing the iron horse of the company. 

Of course, as any review of a GG&SS show should say, anyone who has any interesting in acting or behind the scenes work should come out to help next year. 

Back to Carey, what better way to send him off than to roast him!

In nearly four decades of service, this marks the first time that the Gilbert and Sullivan Society has performed “The Sorcerer”.  While it isn’t in the upper echelon of known Gilbert and Sullivan works, it was one of the early ones that cemented their unique style.  Zany characters, a touch of mysticism, a comedic love story, patter songs; the things that make people love “H.M.S. Pinafore” and the later works can be found here. 

Chas Carey played the title character, a necromancer who comes to wreck havoc on the poor town of Ploverleigh.  With his long limbs and leering smile, Carey treads the line between humor and malevolence, his suit-cum-cape flowing behind him and his tiny umbrella ready for multiple gags. 

He gets to be quite the character actor and sing songs and run amuck through a variety of townspeople—his zaniness wouldn’t come off as well without an equally memorable plethora of characters working alongside him, which GG&SS provided. 

First off, despite the time constraints of upcoming finals and law school in general, the set was well put together.  It resembled an old churchyard in a Victorian era British town.  The pastel colors, iron wrought fence, and purple hued background added an air of mysticism to the scenes and fit in with brightly lit day scenes or dark hued night scenes where sorcery was afoot.

Timothy Ziese, 3L was the “hero” of the play.  Playing Alexis Pointdextre, a young man who lives by the belief that love doesn’t need to abide by class, that anyone can love anyone.  He hires Carey’s J.W. Wells, the sorcerer, to magically change the tea at his own wedding feast into a magic roofie-like concoction that knocks people out for 12 hours, only to awake and fall in love with the first unmarried member of the opposite sex they see. 

His beloved wife-to-be, Aline Sangazure, played by Colleen Prior, agrees with his views, but not the magic.  She rightfully fears the outcome.  She plays the faithful woman well, but is able to constantly show that she has just a hint of trepidation at her husband’s plan.

What of the rest of the townspeople? 

You have Jason Brayton-Lewis as Pointdextre’s father, stuffy and afraid of public admonitions of love, he is the downer to his always enthused, overly chipper young son.  He does hold a flame for his son’s future mother-in-law, Lady Sangazure, played by Christina Postolowski, 2L, a woman who seems devoid of passion, but when the tea causes her to fall in love with Wells, some of her passion returns. 

Of course, in a wedding, you need a priest.  J.R. Lentini, 3L, lends his talents as the priest Dr. Daly.  With his graying temples and stern manner he feels he has missed his time to marry.  He glooms about the town depressed like Morrissey in his dressing like a priest phase. 

Yet, deep down, Daly realizes what he misses and decides to join the fray of lovers.  Little does he know that Constance, played by Stephanie Wesley, 2L, is in love with him and wishes to make a man of the suave vicar.  Her mother, Mrs. Partlet, played by Wendy A.F.G. Stengel, guides her on, trying to help her in her quest.  Constance, being the outsider to the town’s mirth, goes through the motions in the chorus scenes and is constantly nervously eating.

The tea takes hold of the town.  Everyone falls in love with the wrong person.  Constance falls for the old Professor Wales, who one must say has aged like a fine wine.  Daly and Aline fall for each other.  The town has been thrown in chaos?  What can solve it?  Someone has to sacrifice their soul to hell.  It’s down to Ziese or Carey. 

Despite Ziese’s overachieving social scientist causing all this, he avoids the fires, so long to the outgoing president.  In classic Gilbert and Sullivan fashion, everyone ends up with the right partner, all are happy, end scene and return next year for more GG&SS magic.

 

by Michael Zidar, 3L

Barristers’ Council appoints new leaders

Photo by Brad Kehr, 2L. Barristers’ Council oversees all advocacy competitions.Barristers’ Council has chosen new leaders for the 2011-2012 school year. Amanda Wall, 2L, will serve as executive director of the Council’s executive board, which oversees Georgetown Law’s Moot Court, Trial Advocacy, and Alternative Dispute Resolution teams.

When asked about her plans for next year, Wall said, “I would like to continue building on the amazing progress that Trisha and the rest of this year’s board made in a few areas.”

To that end, Wall would first like to “continue developing more comprehensive training programs in each division, so that students can acquire practical skills that will make them successful both in competition and in their careers as practitioners.”

Secondly, she plans to “further expand and integrate our core of faculty and practitioner coaches into the program.”

Last, Wall would like to “start developing a relationship with our alumni community, both as a base of coaches, judges, and practical support for our teams, and also as a source of post-graduation opportunities.”

Wall said that Elizabeth Ewert, the new director of Academic Enhancement programs, will “be incredibly helpful in accomplishing many of these goals, and Barristers’ Council is very excited to have her with us this year.

Serving with Wall on the Barristers’ Council executive board are Jon Dougherty as Managing Director, Mustafa Rizvi as Competitions Director, and Jeff Golimowski as Finance Director.

As for the division leadership: Emily Bruemmer is the new Moot Court Director, Tara O’Hanlon heads up the Trial Advocacy Division, and Victor Liang leads the ADR Division.

 

Edward Mitchell, 2L

Law Weekly