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Law Talk #17: Roman Riparian Law Is No Joking Matter

Law Talk fans, the wait is over. America’s most beloved legal minds return –with host Troy Senik– to guide you through the important legal issues of the day. This week the professors tackle Occupy Wall Street and the 1st Amendment (and it’s relation to Roman law), debate whether or not Tea Partiers are Constitutionalists, explain the Defense Authorization act, and of course, the burning issue of puppies in law school. We’re strongly in favor of them. 

It’s the law: everyone can listen in below (direct link here), but if you want to get the mellifluous tones of Epstein,Yoo, and Senik on your phone or tablet, to subscribe to the show in iTunes or on Stitcher, you must be a Ricochet member. Join today!

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Update: Professor Epstein asked us to post&nbsp;this article&nbsp;(pdf download)&nbsp;he wrote on Roman Riparian Law for the Duke Journal of Constitutional Law & Public Policy. Note: there will be a quiz on the next podcast and it does count towards your final grade.&nbsp;

Our thanks to the great&nbsp;EJHill&nbsp;for the illustration.&nbsp;&nbsp;

  1. Grendel

    (direct link&nbsp;here),

    Takes you to the page for session #16.

  2. Percival

    Ok, all I know about Riparian Roman law is that everybody got pretty cranky if you crossed the Rubicon with an army.

  3. Pseudodionysius

    the phrase “so-called ius naturale” requires some explanation by Mr. Epstein. I get the feeling he’s not the kind of scholar to use a hyphen lightly.

  4. dreamlarge

    The promo picture is hilarious. &nbsp;I can not wait to hear the podcast. &nbsp;ack. &nbsp;Probably&nbsp;not an appropriate reply. &nbsp;But it made me laugh out loud. &nbsp;(yes, I spelled it out).&nbsp;

  5. EJHill

    Ohhhhhh, Richard!

    Puppy-Love.jpg

  6. BThompson

    Gentlemen, you have the facts about the actions of the Cal Davis police completely wrong. Please see the recent post on Ricochet giving a much better context of what happened.

  7. Guruforhire

    Random thought:&nbsp; Saying that someone is sophisticated is something of a left hand compliment.&nbsp; To have the properties of a sophist, while clever is still being deceptive for dubious reasons.

  8. Sunlight

    Well, I love listening to you guys, but. :)

    Re OWS, I heard an audio clip interview with a girl/woman who was at UCDavis, where you blasted the police for doing anything except stand there. This girl/woman said that the police came and, when the kids refused to leave, the police started to leave. And the protestors linked arms and surrounded them. If, according to some, this is a dress rehearsal for a bigger deal later, and they are trying to get the police hogtied for those future actions, would that change Mr. Epstein’s condemnation? If the police have to just take it when they are blocked and surrounded, then we should just disband them.

    I’m wondering whether background trolling is done on these high stakes topics. Because I look to you guys for guidance. Like a time where my favorite constitutional teacher, Mark Levin, blasted the Prius hybrid as being $45k, when mine was $25k. And, as for safety, a new study showed that the heavy battery actually put the Prius in a stat safety category with a normal sedan. I like hearing any of your opinions, as long as the basic assertions are complete…

  9. Troy Senik, Ed.

    I’ll take some of the heat for the UC-Davis thing. The guys do extensive background work to prepare for the show. When we talked about doing this topic, however, we were only talking about the first amendment issues with the Occupy crowd, not the law enforcement response, which they hadn’t been told to prepare for. I just threw that out there after Richard touched on it in passing. I’m almost certain he wasn’t aware of the video posted earlier in this thread.

    This goes to the point John was making: it’s hard to pass judgment based on heavily-edited clips without a broader context. I’ll send Richard the video posted above and see if he’ll put up a response.

  10. John Yoo
    C

    I don’t want to be construed as a critic of the police. &nbsp;I personally think that they do an excellent job in difficult circumstances, where they are trying to balance free speech, the right of free movement, the safety of the students, and the safety of the public, in the educational setting. &nbsp;The point I was trying to make in the podcast is that it is very hard to pass judgment on these matters because protesters deliberately seek conflict with the police and use edited videotapes to try to place the police in the worst possible light. &nbsp;That said, I think that using pepper spray should be generally unnecessary unless the officer is trying to defend himself from the use of force by the protesters (as occurred in the Oakland protests, for example). &nbsp;If the protesters are sitting on the ground, even with arms linked, and refuse to move, and they are not there legally, then I think the police should pick them up and carry them off without the use of pepper spray. It might even be sensible to leave the protesters there until they leave on their own rather than to allow them to create a confrontation.

  11. John Yoo
    C

    BTW, I think we look more like los tres amigos than a Roman triumvirate.

  12. Troy Senik, Ed.

    This sounds like bitterness over which one of us got the laurel wreath.

    John Yoo: BTW, I think we look more like los tres amigos than a Roman triumvirate. · Dec 6 at 5:22pm

  13. Pseudodionysius

    We need to hear from Jack Dunphy on this.

  14. Pseudodionysius

    I mean the UC Davis cops, not the laurel wreaths.

  15. Richard Epstein
    C

    Just to follow the thread, it is really difficult to see exactly what happened all the way around, but from what I have seen the students were engaged in a bit of taunting to the police, but no act of aggression against them at all, at least as far as I can see, and certainly nothing that seems to justify the use of pepper spray as a public response to juvenile rudeness. &nbsp;There was certainly no threat of property destruction. Indeed the main object of this protest was to bait the police into acting stupidly, which they did. &nbsp;This crowd was a bit more raucous than appeared from the still shots that I had seen but nothing that justified the use public force.

  16. Astonishing
    Richard Epstein:&nbsp; . . . nothing that seems to justify the use of pepper spray as a public response to juvenile rudeness.&nbsp;&nbsp; . . .nothing that justified the use public force.

    Juvenile rudeness! In my youth, rudeness was&nbsp;neglecting to say Sir, Ma’am, please, and thank you.

    In the video I watched, when the outnumbered&nbsp;police were in the process of hauling away a few protesters they had arrested, the crowd of students advanced&nbsp;toward them, almost surrounding&nbsp;them, and began chanting, “If&nbsp;you let them go, we will continue to protest peacefully.”

    &nbsp;The obvious threat was that,&nbsp;if&nbsp;the police did not&nbsp;release the arrested protestors, the student-mob would stop protesting peacefully and would instead begin to use “other means” to free their fellow mob-members.

    In the context of the actual event, as opposed to academic theorizing, the threat of force was real&nbsp; . . . and unnerving.

    In a more polite era, and a more just one, such rudeness would you get your head cracked.

    That Professor&nbsp;Epstein would blithely&nbsp;describe these students’&nbsp;conduct, their real threat to attack the police,&nbsp;as mere “juvenile rudeness” tells much about him, and them [Ed.'s Note: Comment redacted because it fails the "imagine you're at a dinner party" test (see CoC)]

  17. Mark Wilson
    Richard Epstein: Indeed the main object of this protest was to bait the police into acting stupidly.

    Has President Obama hacked into Richard’s Ricochet account?

  18. Astonishing
    Astonishing

    Richard Epstein:&nbsp; . . . nothing that seems to justify the use of pepper spray as a public response to juvenile rudeness.&nbsp;&nbsp; . . .nothing that justified the use public force.

    Juvenile rudeness! In my youth, rudeness was&nbsp;neglecting to say Sir, Ma’am, please, and thank you. . .

    That Professor&nbsp;Epstein would blithely&nbsp;describe these students’&nbsp;conduct, their real threat to attack the police,&nbsp;as mere “juvenile rudeness” tells much about him, and them [Ed.'s Note: Comment redacted because it fails the "imagine you're at a dinner party" test (see CoC)] · Dec 6 at 7:43pm

    Edited on Dec 06 at 08:30 pm

    Redacted?!?!?! Well, I supposed that’s not as bad as being pepper-sprayed for my “juvenile rudeness!” (But&nbsp;perhaps you redacted the wrong part, or not enough.) Would it have been better to have ended with “and contemporary academia”?

  19. anon_academic

    Conor responds to Yoo.

  20. anon_academic
    John Yoo: BTW, I think we look more like los tres amigos than a Roman triumvirate. · Dec 6 at 5:22pm

    As Richard could no doubt tell you, both the first and second triumvirates were military juntas and demagogues. It’s probably for the best if you don’t resemble them.