Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Diocese of San Joaquin v. Gunner (Cal. Ct. App. - April 5, 2016)

Some days, the Ninth Circuit and the California Court of Appeal give me very little to think about.  Or at least very little that might be interesting to others.  Some days the courts don't publish much.  Some days the opinions are about relatively routine things.  Or the court's analysis seems spot on.  Or both.  On such days, I occasionally find myself with not a lot to say.  There's usually something that is of interest, but it's not hard to focus on the particular case, say a bit about it, and move on.

This is not one of those days.

The problem today is that there are several keenly interesting cases.  Really interesting ones.  And the topics they raise are big.  Or at least are really substantial to me.  (Or in my little head.)

Which also means that they deserve a lot of attention.  A lot.

Which is awesome.  Except for one thing:  I have a job.  A "real" job.  (And, yes, I put that in quotes, because I'm admittedly a law professor.)  Which means that I have other things to do.  Including some things that I have to do.

Now, thank the Lord, the reality is that even those days are usually not crushingly burdensome.  This may come as a shock, I know, but it turns out that being a law professor is not as stressful as being, say, an associate or partner in a major law firm.  For that reason, if a neat little case comes along that requires me (and I should probably put "requires" in quotes as well) to devote two hours to thinking about the case and expressing my thoughts, that's something that -- again, blessedly -- I can do.

Except on days like today.

Which miffs me, because I'm sitting here thinking about all these various published opinions that were issued today, and they're fascinating.  They're worth talking about at length.

But while I can multitask and think about 'em while I doing other things, thinking ain't writing.  So I'm left with plenty of ability to ponder but no time -- at least right now -- to express those thoughts.

Which stinks.

Now, I know you may be thinking:  Dude, you just spent ten paragraphs telling me why you have no time to write.  STOP BITCHING AND JUST WRITE.

And you'd be right.  Of course.  The only caveat is that it's a lot easier to write sentences that purely vent than it is to write (what I hope would be) sophisticated legal analysis of a published opinion that was written with lengthy pondering by incredibly sophisticated people who were confirmed by the Senate (plus their incredibly bright clerks).

Particularly when every mistake or legal error that you might make, plus people who disagree with you on the merits, may give rise to substantial umbrage.

So, anyway, in the end, maybe this is just (a) a vent, and (b) a long winded way of saying:  Stay tuned.  I think there are some great cases out there from today.  Which I'll chat about at length when I next have a couple hours.  (The fact that my wife just flew out of town, leaving me with four hungry children and a crop in the field, doesn't help in this regard.  Though it does increase my appreciation for her!)

In the meantime, I can say the following:  If you're ever thinking about dissolving a church, perhaps due to theological differences, just recognize that it's a mess.  Particularly when the property of the church has to be divided between the various factions.

As today's opinion amply demonstrates.

POSTSCRIPT - I had always thought that Kenny Rogers tellingly told the story purely from the perspective of the husband; that you never were told why Lucille left her husband, and that there was perhaps a good (or at least understandable) reason why the wife had left.  Boredom, poverty, perhaps domestic violence, etc.  Classic old-school country music perspective.  But upon actually going back and listening to the song, I discovered -- maybe for the first time, maybe I just forgot (or never paid attention -- the song's actually from the perspective of a guy in a bar who witnesses the underlying exchange between the spouses.  So you actually do get at least a tiny bit of insight into the whole marital dynamic, not just the guy's perspective.  Who'd have thunk?