I found myself a new hobby.
As I described in my last post, I found myself very interested in listening to the stories and knowledge of a variety of persons in the legal field. It has taken the place of reading The Economist in my weekly schedule, actually. And, thankfully, the law school offers a great deal of optional educational opportunities for people like me.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of listening to a lecture on mental capacity and the legal ramifications of being on the fringe of such a category (i.e. those who are capable of making good decisions, but only just, and those who are not capable of making good decisions, but only just). The main thrust of the discussion was aimed at Alzheimer's patients, and how to treat them. For example, if a person my age says "When I'm old, if I can no longer remember my children, and cannot enjoy the intellectual pursuits I once did, I would like to be killed." Do we respect that person's choice when they become old, or do we count the older self as a new person?
The lecture was given by visiting Oxford professor Jonathan Herring, a very qualified speaker (nothing like hearing about Hoo-zee-er basketball in an English accent). I found it particularly interesting that in Britain, whether a person is mentally qualified is a question of law, while here in the States it is a question of medicine. I suppose that we Americans assume doctors are better at assessing mental incapacity than judges.
In the coming weeks, we have lectures on comparative British & American law, constitutional design in emerging democracies, and others. In October we have a pair of Courts of Appeal hearing arguments (one is a military court) in our Moot Court Room. You can be assured that I will be there for all these lectures and more. The law never ceases to amaze me (although, to be honest, Contracts can occasionally cease to do so).
I must rest up. Tomorrow after class I'm going to sit in on the Monroe County Court and hopefully hear some worthwhile legal argument.