February 11, 2004

The Dreaded FedEx Envelope. I'm publishing an article in the University of Pennsylvania Law Review about constitutional rights and the role of the states. It's called "Vanguard States, Laggard States: Federalism and Constitutional Rights." I'm interested in the way the states are sometimes viewed as generators of good policy solutions (policy scientists in the "laboratories of democracy," to use Justice Brandeis's image) and sometimes viewed as violators of rights. So do we leave them alone or supervise and control them? Or do courts somehow finetune doctrine to maximize the good by leaving the "vanguard states" alone and intruding on the "laggard states"? And exactly how could that be done accurately? The article uses Hibbs, the Family and Medical Leave Act case from last summer, as a springboard.

Today, the first edit has returned to me via FedEx. I always fear opening that FedEx envelope, because who knows what the editors might have done to the article? What an effort one must make not to prickle at every change!

Actually, I haven't seen a FedExed edit in a long time. I had thought everyone had switched to email attachments for things like this. I had sent them the article in digital form to work on, and they have printed it out with a digitalized mark up and, nicely, a clean version. So why not just email me two attachments? But it's nice to get the manuscripts, perhaps: they look formal and official in a way--and traditional, which is my theory about why they are using the old IBM Selectric type font. How strange that font looks today! You used to see it all the time, and now, it seems to speak from another era, like that 60s psychedelic lettering or the old wooden type style font that seems to belong on "Wanted: Dead or Alive" posters.

The IBM Selectric font--Courier--gives me a creepy feeling of working in a law office in the 1980s. I remember when I first came to the University of Wisconsin Law School in the Fall of 1984. Only a couple lawprofs had computers at that time. Boy, were they proud of them. I remember one highly respected prof revealing his IBM 256 with a sweep of the arm and saying, without sarcasm, "See, this is what an endowed chair brings!" Anyway, I was just thrilled to have an IBM Selectric in my office. I remember preparing for those early classes that fall and then in the last few minutes before class typing up a few lines of class notes on 4x6 index cards and just loving the crisp feel of that typewriter keyboard and the clean type it produced. It even sounded great.


Simon said...

I had a question that arose reading this essay again; I wasn't sure whether to email it or if you might want to ponder on it on the record. In light of intervening developments -- I'm thinking more practical than doctrinal: Roberts and Alito replacing Rehnquist and O'Connor, the likelihood that either Giuliani or a democrat will appoint a replacement for Stevens -- are you still "inclined to think that the Stevens-Souter-Breyer-Ginsburg position is likely to prevail in the long run," either "because it provides a clear and stable resolution" or for any other reason?

Ann Althouse said...

I love the way you assume I'm going to notice a post back here and respond to it. Anyway, yes, actually. I don't think the Garrett line of cases was worth all the trouble and the outrage.

Simon said...

Ann, I didn't mean to seem presumptuous. Sorry. :) Rather, you've mentioned that blogger emails you all comments posted.

Ann Althouse said...

It's quite all right.