An extraditable crime to engage in expression in Ireland which is protected in the US? Why impose a course on constitutional law on our students? More on the fallacy of irrelvance

michael curtis curtism at
Thu Jul 12 06:07:22 PDT 2007

Just about every day I come across another example that refutes the 
irrelevance of con law for lawyers.  Here is one for sure, and a likely one. 
The likely one first.

1.  A public defender inWVa has a case for a minister who counsels those 
seeking to end suffering by suicide. In Ireland counseling or encouraging is 
(I think) a crime and the minister counseled and encouraged in Ireland.  Now 
Ireland seeks to extradite him for the crime of assisting suicide.  (The 
facts are more complex, but this will have to do for present purposes). 
Does anyone know, is expression which would be protected in the US an 
extraditable offense if committed in a country where it is not protected? 
If the answer is no this is just another example of why understanding US 
free speech law would be important for ordinary lawyers such as public 
defenders.  People's lives are often seriously affected by what their 
lawyers raise or don't raise.  Ignoring con law doctrine for law students 
can have very unfortunate consequences for later clients.  Of course, the 
answer is RESEARCH.  But often without some idea of the general area you 
don't know where to look.  And the model of the corporate lawyer paid by the 
hour for endless research is not the world with which many lawyers deal.

2.  Of course, even in a con law  course that pays some attention to 
doctrine (as well as one hopes to context) many law students leave law 
school with no knowledge of the 1sat A. because this has been consigned to a 
special course which most students do not take.  This is a scandal for many, 
many reasons.  A failure of law schools to train lawyers as citizens and 
lawyers as lawyers.

Punitive damages are pervasive in tort cases & many law students will end up 
on one or the other side. So a background in due process isrelevant here.

Michael Curtis

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Mark Graber" <mgraber at>
To: <conlawprof at>
Sent: Tuesday, July 10, 2007 7:19 PM
Subject: Re: Why impose a course on constitutional law on our students?

>A small errata or modification on my point.  In suggesting something
> like THE SUPREME COURT AND THE ATTITUDINAL MODEL ought to be the central
> text of th law school version of constitutional law, I had not mean to
> endorse Segal and Spaeth's particular analysis, either in the sense of
> an endorsement of their use of statistics or their conclusions.  My goal
> was simply to suggest that their central question was probably more a
> central question of law practitioners than the central questions in most
> constitutional law texts.
> _______________________________________________
> To post, send message to Conlawprof at
> To subscribe, unsubscribe, change options, or get password, see 
> Please note that messages sent to this large list cannot be viewed as 
> private.  Anyone can subscribe to the list and read messages that are 
> posted; people can read the Web archives; and list members can (rightly or 
> wrongly) forward the messages to others.

More information about the Conlawprof mailing list