Two seminars for which we had apply with one-paragraph "statements of interest" were somewhat inconveniently scheduled for the exact same time, so I had to go with the one that decided on its class list first. But as I was deleting files (how have I managed to use up 14 GB already?), I thought I'd share what I wrote.
Federalism Statement of Interest:
The "moot court" for my undergraduate class on federalism and separation of powers was Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. Army Corps of Engineers. In arguing on behalf of the Army Corps in order to preserve the migratory bird habitat, I had my first grapple with the constitutional limits on federal power. Having had Constitutional Law with Prof. Henkin, I've become familiar with the proposed Bricker Amendment and the conflicting pressures of state sovereignty and treaty compliance (migratory birds again being the initial cause; these entities that insist on not only interstate but international travel are vexing!). I joined the Federalist Society upon coming to Columbia in order to get more exposure to these ideas, and have discovered the vast range of thinking even within what might be called the federalist movement. I also became so interested that I joined the board, which came as a surprise to those aware of my political leanings. At this point I am more open to but still somewhat skeptical of strong federalism, and would appreciate the opportunity to study it in depth and with more guidance.
Torts Statement of Interest:
When I first announced an ambition to attend law school, my extended family's opinions converged on one point of agreement: I was not to join the plaintiff's bar. Due to several members' being physicians, the Indian network in which I grew up had a strong antipathy to malpractice suits specifically, which was generously extended to torts at large. Thus a frequent topic of dinner conversation is the deviltry of attorneys who incite normal people to become plaintiffs, in which I defend the necessity of a check on the behavior of those with greater control -- businesses the provide defective goods and services, firms that create negative externalities for non-customers, yea, even doctors who may act negligently -- than the consumers, community members and patients who suffer thereby. I've heard the arguments in favor of higher filing fees, loser-pays-all, experts to vet claims before they go before a court, and of course Texas's latest experiment, capping non-economic damages. In short, what Molly Ivins calls "tort deform" has been a longtime interest and promises to continue as one. A seminar covering the issue in depth would be tremendously useful not only academically but also for the next wedding I attend.