Saturday, May 2, 2009

Twitter: How to Use it To Increase Your Job Marketability

By Marina Sarmiento Feehan, JD, Asst. Director of Employer Relations, Office of Career Planning, USF School of Law.

I have recently started using Twitter and it is my latest obsession. I tweet for the Office of Career Planning (username: USFLawOCP) and I got so hooked that I created my own account (username: marinafeehan). The more I learned about and used Twitter, the more convinced I am that Twitter is a great opportunity to market yourself and pitch your skills to employers.

Here are a few tips on how law students should use Twitter:

  1. Use Twitter Professionally. Twitter is not Facebook but most students use it like a Status update shortcut. Instead of tweeting about how you are falling asleep in Property class, tweet about what you are learning in class. Create a professional persona, as Twitter is so new that it has no privacy settings: what you say is out there for any Twitterer to see. If you are using your real name, your tweets about your drinking nights may be on the web forever. Legal employers are increasingly googling employment candidates, and web-activity you think is normal and fun may look like poor judgment to an employer. The legal professional is all about the exercise of good judgment. Exercise that judgment now and clean up your Twitter and on-line profile.

  1. Create Your Personal Brand. Twitter is an amazing marketing tool. Use it to market yourself to potential employers, colleagues and clients. Upload a lawyerly looking photo, preferably a head shot. Create a bio that states what type of law you practice or the practice area(s) you are interested in. Your profile can also include honors, memberships, and leadership positions. Use your Tweets to promote your knowledge about the law. Did you write a published article? Tweet that but not in a bragging way but in an informative way, i.e. “Wrote article on 4th Amendment, analyzing new case law @ hyperlink.” Did you go to a special lecture where you gained more knowledge about a certain subject? Tweet about what you have learned in an intelligent manner.

  1. Follow Others. Are you interested in Aviation Law? Appellate Law? Employment Law? There are Twitterers who specialize in those fields. Do a search on “law” to find and follow them, then use Direct Messages to show your interest to start a conversation. The trick is to get your name in front of the people doing what you want to do. Exchange tweets, learn about that field and think about what that person may want to learn from you. Your tweets should add value. For instance, you can tweet (or Retweet “RT”) articles about the practice of law or other items that may be of interest to lawyers. Follow legal newspapers on Twitter to be up on the latest legal news that you can pass on to others.

  1. Thank Followers. Exercise good manners by acknowledging and thanking your followers. Tweeters who sent me a Direct Message once I started following them impressed me, enough to make me check out their profile and to consider following them. Your Direct Message is also a good way to point others to your website, your blog, and/or your LinkedIn profile in your signature block, which of course, should all be professional in tone. Then keep in touch and remember to add value. Tweet at least once or twice a day to keep your name out there. Remember, Twitter is all about increasing visibility by increasing the number of followers you have.

  1. Move Beyond Twitter. Twitter is a tool and one avenue to engage in social networking. You can also use it to meet actual people in person, i.e. real life networking. Move beyond Twitter and set up an “Informational Interview” to interview that attorney who is doing exactly what you want to do. Find out about her career path, ask her questions about how to break into her field and what you can be doing now to increase your skill set to be attractive to employers. While the Web 2.0 is an amazing tool, one of the best ways to find a job is to get away from your computer and start making face time.

Hope to connect with you on Twitter soon! If you have any questions, drop by the Office of Career Planning and we are happy to assist you. Follow OCP or me on Twitter @ USFLawOCP; @ marinafeehan.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Street Sign Fun.

Yet another reason to totally love this city sometimes.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Most Important Story in History on CNN's Main Page.

With all that boring madness involving the economy, the new President, or that pesky dust-up across the pond, thank goodness this story is getting the proper amount of attention.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Hearsay Through the Hallway.

I'm sitting in the SBA Office, toiling away on my moot court brief, and I had to close the door to insulate myself from the sound of 1Ls talking (at an above necessary) volume in the hallway about grades. Oh to be a 1L once more - the sheer innocence of the time. If you would have told me two years ago that I would have spent the last two day-and-nights working on a brief and taking 1-3 hour naps on the office couch instead of sleeping in my bed, I likely would have laughed at you for believing I'd ever subject myself to such madness.

[sidenote]: I just heard through outside the door, "And let me know if your GPA is higher than mine. Wait, is it possible to get higher than a 4.0?"

Is it just the newness of it all that compels 1Ls to carry on with these kind of conversations? Are they still making lame law jokes? At what point did 3Ls stop making those same lame jokes?

In any event, did anyone else read the email regarding Arthur Zief's upcoming Memorial? I couldn't track it down on the site, so here's the guts of it:

USF School of Law is extending this special invitation to past and present Zief Scholars --
On Saturday, February 14, 2009, please join the University of San Francisco in celebrating
the life and contributions of our distinguished alumnus
Arthur C. Zief, Sr. B.S. '41, J.D. '47
1919 - 2008

Memorial Celebration: St. Ignatius Church 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Reception: Dorraine Zief Law Library 4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Basketball at USF Memorial Gym: Gonzaga v. USF Dons - Tip-off at 7:00 p.m.

Two things struck me as odd:

1. Was it necessary to host a memorial on Valentine's Day, especially when the man's been dead since July? Seems like the entire Fall semester was one giant opportunity to host the same event. And I'm not pretending the "holiday" is a big deal that requires deference, but really, a memorial on the same day that Hallmark has convinced us we're supposed to be celebrating love? If single folks needed any more of a reminder of just how alone they are on that day, a memorial is probably the cherry on the sundae.

2. Does combining the memorial with a basketball game undermine the sanctity of the event for anyone else? Keenan pointed out that Zief was a huge Dons fan, so the basketball game makes sense. I can accept that, but it still strikes me as a tad garish.

Update on Oscar Grant.

And the protests rage on another night. But it sure is nice to see members of Grant's family come out and ask the protesters to stop destroying property.

I think it's downright inspiring that his mother, while dealing with her own grief, can still clearly see the forest for the trees. I can't say for certain I'd be able to do the same were I in her shoes.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

On the BART Shooting & Oakland Riots.

During one of my every-other-hour check of new headlines on CNN, my attention was drawn for the first time to an iReport, specifically a video clip of four young guys from Oakland, entitled 'The Oakland Riots - Youth Explain Their Anger.'

I'm not exactly sure what separates iReport from youtube - the discussion board was atrocious for the most part, so they have that in common. When I scrolled down to check out the comment board, I was initially shocked at how off-base the discussion got - to the point that many people were only now lobbing racist rhetoric back and forth. Some of it even dealt with trying to offer a rational explanation (i.e. racist justification) for why the BART officer (Johannes Mehserle) fired on Oscar Grant - arguments based on race/crime statistics. I attempted to throw in my two cents (included below), but couldn't manage to get any real traction with all the misspellings and hyper-offensive arguments going on. Here was the point I tried making:

There seems to be a scary amount of "missing the point" going on on this board. First and foremost, it's clearly a tragedy that this man was shot. There's no point in trying to rationalize it by pointing to any statistics relating to race/crime - the man was clearly not posing enough of a threat to warrant lethal force. Second, it was clearly inappropriate for people to react to this tragedy by attacking/destroying the property of people who had nothing to do with the incident, regardless of how poor (or not) the above folks are at articulating their views (or not). And finally, any fair-minded person can recognize the possibility of a scared and possibly poorly trained BART cop mistakenly pulling his pistol instead of his taser gun. If you're under the false apprehension that taser guns do/can not resemble pistols, I recommend doing a google image search. It would take a fool or an intentionally obtuse person to not recognize that.

Am I off-base here?

I mean, based the video I watched, it looks to me like Mehserle was shocked at what he had just done. I'm not so cynical as to think that not only did he intend to fire a pistol (as opposed to a taser gun) into the man's back, but that he is cool-headed enough to feign surprise at the result.

I don't think any more needs to be said about the rioters, I'm probably preaching to the choir on that one.

Out of curiosity, any thoughts on what the liability will be here? My take is that BART (i.e. California?) is in for a hefty civil suit (like, maybe, this one) for failure to properly train the guy - that seems pretty clear. What about criminal charges? Manslaughter? Seems like the most vocal on the subject are calling for murder charges, but I can't see any way that that notion will get anywhere.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Legal challenges to Prop. 8

As I said in my last post, I wanted to write up a post about the theory behind the legal challenges to Prop. 8. But, I waited so long, that it's probably old news by now. The basic argument is that Prop. 8 isn't an amendment to the California Constitution, but rather a revision--because it is a change to the fundamental government structure and alters the Supreme Court's ability to interpret the Constitution. The argument/standard is obviously more involved than that, but that's the one sentence squib. Under the California Constitution, "revisions" cannot be passed except by a 2/3 vote in the State Legislature, or by calling a Constitutional Convention.

Prof. Nice--visiting ConLaw Professor at USF law--recently wrote the following op-ed piece, and she agreed to let me post it here. She goes through a short bit of history regarding same marriage rights (a short summary of the content of her speech at USF earlier this semester), and then introduces the revision v. amendment argument. Take a look, folks, if you please.

Courting Marriage Equality

Professor Julie A. Nice

What a roller coaster the courtship of marriage equality has been. The first wave of lawsuits challenging the ban on same-sex marriage in the 1970s met with little fanfare and even less success. A second wave of lawsuits over the last fifteen years has had varying success as same-sex couples ask state courts to enforce two fundamental principles underlying all state constitutions. First, the government may not interfere with individual liberty by denying fundamental rights, including the right to marry. Second, the government may not interfere with equal protection of the law by discriminating against unpopular or minority groups, including gays. In short, state constitutional protections of liberty and equality prohibit the government from denying marriage equality to same-sex couples.

The California Supreme Court recently enforced this state’s constitutional commitments of equality and liberty by invalidating the ban on same-sex marriage. The court ruled that the state constitution requires the government to accord same-sex families the equal freedom, dignity, respect, and security of civil marriage. Supporters celebrated in jubilation as pioneers Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin culminated their enduring courtship of more than fifty years to become the first of approximately 18,000 same-sex couples to legally marry in California. But on November 4th voters approved Proposition 8, seeking to add to the state constitution: “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” Because laws generally take effect only prospectively, and not retroactively, most legal scholars agree that Prop 8 only restricts the state going forward from recognizing new same-sex marriages. California nonetheless has earned the dubious distinction of becoming the first state--and thus far only state--to strip a constitutionally recognized civil right to marry from same-sex couples.

As the old saying goes, even a dog knows the difference between being tripped over and being kicked. The Prop 8 kick brought the gay and civil rights communities to their feet. Persistent protests in California have inspired hundreds of rallies nationwide. Tens of thousands of marchers are sending the message that stripping rights violates our fundamental constitutional principles.

Be assured that the courts are among those taking notice. One thing constitutional scholars know about the courts is that they don’t decide cases in a vacuum, but are deeply committed to their role as guardians of constitutional commitments within the context of society as we know it. In other words, the regular job of the courts is to decide what protections are necessary for individual liberty and equality to have meaning in today’s time. That’s what the United States Supreme Court did in 1992 when it ruled that the federal constitution prohibited Colorado from amending the state constitution to deny gays protection from discrimination because doing so would “deem a class of persons a stranger to its laws.” And it’s what the United States Supreme Court did in 2003 when it ruled that Texas could not criminalize the private sexual conduct of gays because doing so would “demean their existence.” But these federal decisions do not directly require the invalidation of Prop 8 in part because the challenge to Prop 8 is based only on the state constitution. And most likely the challengers don’t think it’s time for same-sex marriage to end up in the United States Supreme Court—at least not yet. As was the case with other civil rights movements, including the struggle to dismantle the ban on sodomy, protection of same-sex marriage will have to be earned one state at a time.

This brings us to California’s somewhat unique constitution. California’s constitution permits the use of direct democracy to allow voters to “amend” the state constitution by initiative. Before voters can “revise” the constitution, approval by either two-thirds of each house of the state legislature or a constitutional convention is required. So what’s the difference between “amending” and “revising” the state constitution? A revision changes some fundamental principle of the constitutional scheme or makes some far-reaching change in the basic governmental plan.

Prop 8 challengers argue that protections of individual liberty and equality are fundamental state constitutional principles. Prop 8 violates these fundamental principles by stripping protection of the right to marry only from same-sex couples. Prop 8 challengers also argue it is a far-reaching change of our governmental framework when voters strip the courts of their ability to decide the meaning of the state constitution. Just as Prop 115 was ruled to be a revision when it attempted to strip the courts of the ability to enforce state constitutional protections as applied to criminal defendants, Prop 8 similarly attempts to strip the courts of the ability to enforce state constitutional protections as applied to same-sex couples.

Allowing a bare majority to use the constitution to strip recognized constitutional rights would not only be unprecedented, it also would violate both the fundamental principles and the basic framework of the state constitution. To put it simply, denying same-sex marriage is something the voters can no longer do alone.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Prop. 8

I've intended to write up a post about the legal challenges to Prop 8 for some time. However, I've been dilatory for the past few weeks, and that delay will have to last at least a few more days. For now, I'll post this video of Keith Olbermann's plea against Prop 8's passage. I'm sure most of you have seen it by now. But, if not, it is entirely worth your 6+ minutes.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

ACS USF Election Night Party a Huge Success!

While I'm kind of tired so won't be posting anything of substance about the election, thought I'd just put up some of the many pictures that were taken over the evening.  Thank you everyone who came out and made this event such a success!  And go Obama!  We did it!  We made history!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Fired up and Ready to Go!

Honestly, if you're reading this, you've probably voted already. But if not, please go vote.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Please Vote!

Tomorrow, November 4th, is Election Day, and the writers/creators of Citizen Kendrick would like to urge everyone to vote. Please vote. Really. Please. Vote. No matter where you stand on the issues, educate yourself about the goals and consequences, and let your voice be heard. Democracy cannot stand in the face of apathy and disinterest (if you like that hokey bit, feel free to add your own motivational turns-of-phrase in the comment section). Again, I want to stress, CK wants you to vote no matter your opinion on a certain issue. All we ask is that you educate yourself and make your choices with conviction, not out of fear or confusion.

If anyone is interested in CK's position on certain issues (I think my views represent the views of most of our writers), here's a cheat sheet to the few measures on which we've taken an overly passionate stand:

No on 4, 6, 8, and 9.
Yes on 5, 
Obama/Biden for President.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Great Read for "No on Prop 8"

Please Fight Proposition 8’s Assault On Same-Sex Marriage

(Our Executive Director, Anthony D. Romero, sent out a heartfelt letter to supporters yesterday. Below is an edited version. Originally posted on Huffington Post.)

I’m angry and heartsick about what may happen in California on November 4th.

In the most personal way possible, I’m asking you for a favor: help us ensure that gay couples all across California keep their fundamental right to marriage — the basic right to be treated just like anybody else.

I hope you will forgive the indulgence when I speak from the heart and tell you my personal story.

You see, I grew up in a loving and supportive household, where my family believed I could be anything I chose — anything except being an openly gay man. Neither of my parents finished high school, and yet, they believed I could accomplish all I set out to do as I went off to Princeton University and Stanford Law School.

They got me through the toughest of times, scrimped and saved, and always believed that failure wasn’t in the cards for me. They had more faith in me than I often had in myself. Whenever my parents visited me at Princeton, my Dad would slip a $20 bill in my pocket when my Mom wasn’t looking. I never had the courage to tell him that the $20 wouldn’t go very far towards my bills, books and tuition. But, it was his support and belief in me that sustained me more than the tens of thousands of dollars I received in scholarships.

When I finished college, they were hugely proud of my — and their — accomplishments. That was until I told them I was gay and wanted to live life as an openly gay man.

Though I always knew I was gay, I didn’t come out to them for many years, as I was afraid of losing the love and support that had allowed me to succeed against all odds. When I did tell them, they cried and even shouted. I ended up leaving their home that night to spend a sleepless night on a friend’s sofa. We were all heartbroken.

When my Mom and I spoke later, my Mom said, "But, Antonio (that’s the name she uses with me), hasn’t your life been hard enough? People will hurt you and hate you because of this." She, of course, was right — as gay and lesbian people didn’t only suffer discrimination from working-class, Puerto Rican Catholics, but from the broader society. She felt that I had escaped the public housing projects in the Bronx, only to suffer another prejudice — one that might be harder to beat — as the law wasn’t on my side. At the time, it felt like her own homophobia. Now I see there was also a mother’s love and a real desire to protect her son. She was not wrong at a very fundamental level. She knew that treating gay and lesbian people like second class citizens — people who may be worthy of “tolerance, ” as some assert, but not of equality — was and still is the last socially-acceptable prejudice.

Even before I came out to them, I struggled to accept myself as a gay man. I didn’t want to lose the love of my family, and I wanted a family of my own — however I defined it. I ultimately chose to find my own way in life as a gay man. This wasn’t as easy as it sounds even though it was the mid-1980s. I watched loved ones and friends die of AIDS. I was convinced I would never see my 40th birthday, much less find a partner whom I could marry.

As years passed, my Mom, Dad and I came to a peace, and they came to love and respect me for who I am. They even came to defend my right to live with equality and dignity — often fighting against the homophobia they heard among their family and friends and in church.

The right to be equal citizens and to marry whomever we wish — unimaginable to me when I first came out — is now ours to lose in California unless we stand up for what’s right. All of us must fight against what’s wrong. In my 43 short years of life, I have seen gay and lesbian people go from pariahs and objects of legally-sanctioned discrimination to being on the cusp of full equality. The unimaginable comes true in our America if we make it happen. But, it requires effort and struggle.

One of the things I love about the ACLU is that it’s an organization that understands we are all in this together. We recognize that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Given what’s at stake in the outcome of this election, I am personally appealing to you for help to fight the forces of intolerance from carrying the day in California next Tuesday.

If you have friends and family in California, please contact them right now, and ask them to vote NO on Proposition 8. You can send them a message here.

We need to make sure people keep in mind that gay people are part of every family and every community — that like everyone else, gay people want the same rights to commit to their partners, to take care of each other and to take responsibility for each other. We shouldn’t deny that, and we shouldn’t write discrimination into any constitution in any state. Certainly, we can’t let that happen in California after the highest court in the state granted gay and lesbian people their full equality.

Unfortunately, due to a vicious, deceitful $30 million advertising blitz, the supporters of Prop 8 may be within days of taking that fundamental right away.

To stop the forces of discrimination from succeeding, we have to win over conflicted voters who aren’t sure they’re ready for gay marriage but who are also uncomfortable going into a voting booth and stripping away people’s rights. With the ACLU contributing time, energy and millions of dollars to the effort, we’re working hard to reach those key voters before next Tuesday.

If you have friends and family in California, please contact them right now, and ask them to vote NO on Proposition 8. Share this email with them. Call them. Direct them to the ACLU of Northern California’s Prop. 8 webpage for more information.

Don’t let other young people grow up to be afraid to be who they are because of the discrimination and prejudice they might face. Let them see a future that the generation before them couldn’t even dream of — a future as full and equal citizens of the greatest democracy on earth.

As Martin Luther King, Jr. reminded us, "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." As we strive to defeat Prop. 8 and the injustice it represents, the ACLU is trying to make that arc a little shorter.

On behalf of my Mom and family, and on behalf of all the people who will never face legally-sanctioned discrimination, I thank you for being part of this struggle and for doing everything you can to help.

It is a privilege and honor to have you as allies in this fight for dignity and equality.

For additional information on Prop. 8 and tools for advancing LGBT equality in your community, visit  

If you've made it this far down the post, please let people to vote "no" on Prop 8.  Quite simply, it is the just, fair, equitable, and more importantly, it is the right thing to do.

Monday, October 27, 2008

One Week...

Will this be enough?  We shall see...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

USF Law Moot Court Board Administers Dismal AYC Competition

The USF Law Moot Court Board runs an annual competition, Advocate of the Year (AYC), and this year they seem to truly missed the mark in running this year's program.

Advocate of the Year is an intramural appellate advocacy competition open to all USF law students who have completed 1L Spring Moot Court. Participants are presented with an issue upon which they are to research and brief the issues of the case.

After submitting briefs, competitors argue in preliminary rounds before judges. In the preliminary round, each competitor argues twice: once as petition against one opponent and once as respondent against another opponent. If you win both arguments, you advance to the second round. If you lose both arguments you are eliminated. If you lose one, but win one, your score will determine if you advance to the second round.

In the second round, the format is the same as the first, two arguments, two competitors. If one goes undefeated in the second round, regardless of how they did in the first round, they have a shot at the final round in which two competitors argue for title of Advocate of the Year.

And this final round is where the Moot Court Board has shown itself to be inept in administering this program. This year, four contestants emerged as finalist according to a flyer posted on the Moot Court bulletin board. Three of these contestants were undefeated in both rounds (say Contestant A, Contestant B, Contestant C) and the fourth lost one argument in the first round (Contestant D). Yet, in the flyer next to this posting it lists Contestant C and Contestant D as the finalists. This means that Contestant A and Contestant B were eliminated from the competition without ever losing an argument! To put it another way, a competitor who has lost an argument is jumping ahead into the final round despite the fact that there remains eligible two competitors who have not lost ANY arguments.

This policy makes no sense and is unfair to the competitors. The Moot Court Board presumes that by winning both their arguments in the second round, each candidate is equal and it would only be fair to judge them by their scores. This argument might hold some ground if each candidate remained undefeated through two rounds. But this is not the case because one of the candidates is defeated- he lost an argument in a previous round. Because he has a loss, he is therefore, not equal to the remaining three who have never lost. It therefore makes no sense that he is put into the final round.

To add further insult to injury, Contestant A actually defeated the contestant (Contestant E) who Contestant D lost to in an earlier round. By that logic, even if can be argued that Contestant A is inferior to Contestant B and Contestant C by some arbitrary measure, he should at least, at a minimum, be considered superior to Contestant D because he defeated Contestant E who was better than Contestant D. It therefore reasons that Contestant A would be better than Contestant D.  If E>D and A>E then A>D.  

Even further, the Moot Court Board seems to entirely miss the point of the competition. The point of the competition isn't to score points. The point of the competition is to see who is the best advocate by pitting advocates against each other. Scoring is merely a way to determine who did better in that argument relative to their immediate competitor- not a third party who is not arguing.

When Contestant X argues against Contestant Y in a match, their score reflects only how well Contestant X did relative to Contestant Y. Now say, in the future, Contestant X is arguing against Contestant Z. The winner of this argument should be who ever argues better relative to each other. Can Contestant X argue more persuasively than Contestant Z? It would be mind boggling to forgo competition and declare Contestant X a better arguer than Contestant Z simply because Contestant X had a better score against Contestant Y than Contestant Z did against Contestant W. The scores are apples and oranges. Indeed, it makes no sense to substitute a past score for immediate competition. This would be like forgoing the actual presidential election on November 4 and declaring Barack Obama the winner because he's leading in the polls today.

What the Moot Court Board should do is have the four competitors actually compete in an additional round. The two winners of that round should then be the finalists. If a semi final round cannot be conducted, then, as a last resort, the three competitors who have remained undefeated through out could possibly average out their total scores with the top two averages advancing. Or possibly, look for any overlap where competitors have faced the same opponents and looked to see who scored better.

It is unfortunate that instead of having a top notch competition featuring the best competitors winning and losing by their own merits, we have a substandard event in its place.  This is not due, however, to a deficit of ready, intelligent, and intense competitors. But because of a Moot Court Board that is, for lack of better words, lazy.  Instead of putting together a competition that competed all the way through- competitors advancing through head to head competition with other competitors- the Moot Court Board chose to take the easy way out and determine winners based on apples and oranges scores. It's defrauds the competitors who put so much time and energy into AYC, it cheats the school and its student body from being able to host and enjoy a strong, substantive academic competition, and it dishonors the integrity of the competition itself.

As a clarifying matter, I don't intend this critique to be a broad based assualt on the Moot Court program itself or its Case Counselers who work hard in the summer to teach 1Ls proper advoacy techniques come the spring.  Nor do I have a bias in the outcome of the competition for I did not participate.  I comment only as an observer.  Indeed, this critique is very narrowly aimed at those Moot Court members who planned, supervised, and executed this competition.   
While I give the greatest respect to the two competitors who are competing the finals, it appears unfortunate that their contest will be tainted with the suggestion that the best competitors might not actually be competing. I can only hope that next year's Moot Court Board cares enough about the value of the AYC competition to correct the mistakes of this year's Board.

Justice Thomas and Originalism

Found in the Wall St. Journal, an Op-Ed piece by Justice Clarence Thomas explaining his rationale for the originalist way of interpretting the Constitution- the basis for how he makes his decisions:

As important as our Constitution is, there is no one accepted way of interpreting it. Indeed, for some commentators, it seems that if they like or prefer a particular policy or conduct, then it must be constitutional; while the policies that they do not prefer or like are unconstitutional. Obviously, this approach cannot be right. But, it certainly is at the center of the process of selecting judges. It goes something like this. If a judge does not think that abortion is best as a matter of policy or personal opinion, then the thought is that he or she will find it unconstitutional; while the judge who thinks it is good policy will find it constitutional. Those who think this way often seem to believe that since this is the way they themselves think, everyone must be doing the same thing. In this sense, legal realism morphs into legal cynicism. Certainly this is no way to run a railroad, not to mention interpret the Constitution. . . .

Let me put it this way; there are really only two ways to interpret the Constitution -- try to discern as best we can what the framers intended or make it up. No matter how ingenious, imaginative or artfully put, unless interpretive methodologies are tied to the original intent of the framers, they have no more basis in the Constitution than the latest football scores. To be sure, even the most conscientious effort to adhere to the original intent of the framers of our Constitution is flawed, as all methodologies and human institutions are; but at least originalism has the advantage of being legitimate and, I might add, impartial.