Wednesday, April 07, 2010


James Nortey Rocks It

Things went pretty well at Harvard yesterday. I was happier with my performance in the evening than at noon, but overall it was a good day.

Our panel discussion on federal drug policy at mid-day drew 86 people by my count, which was pretty surprising, given that there were several other events (including a special lecture by Alan Dershowitz) going on at the same time. The Ames Courtroom was a great venue for it; it is one of those grand spaces that inspires great ideas.

After the panel, Brian Harrison and Ashley Stebbins (who have been working on this with me for weeks) joined me in a meeting with HLS faculty to discuss future collaboration of the commutation project, and that went very well. We then went to a lecture by Greg Craig, former White House Counsel, which I found simply fascinating. The lecture was actually more of an interview conducted by Prof. Charles Ogletree, who has long been a seminal figure in many of the areas I care about.

The evening debate was fabulous. I went first and last, arguing both sides of the proposition, and many others argued between those two poles. Virtually every seat in Pound 108 was filled, which added to the atmosphere-- a packed room always makes things better. Tim Lynch of the Cato Institute and Jennifer Stitt of FAMM stayed for that debate, and got to see the passion that many people have for this topic.

I was most impressed at the evening debate by James Nortey, a Baylor College grad who is now a student at Harvard Law. James' argument was coherent, compelling, and eloquent. Intriguingly, he incorporated the three aspects of Aristotilian rhetoric (ethos, logos, pathos) we teach in Oral Advocacy. For example, he started with a very simple statement of ethose-- "I'm a pragmatist; if I wasn't, I couldn't be a member of both the NAACP and the Federalist Society""-- and that framed the rest of his argument. James is going to make a wonderful lawyer.

This morning we head back to Baylor, and the experience makes me all the more eager to get back to my own students.

Hey, you eclipsed ALan Dershowitz!! Way to go. It sounds like it was a great day.
James was an all-star at Baylor, too!
Sorry, gotta report on other breaking news of interest to the Razor:

William & Mary now has a new mascot, the Griffin.

And April is now officially Confederate History Month in Virginia, just in time for out-of-state high-school seniors to visit Virginia colleges as they decide which offer to accept.
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