Monday, November 19, 2007

The Catch-All Amendment

A while back (it takes an idea a while to make it here), as I was dealing with some statute or other, it occurred to me how often statutes listing factors for trial courts to consider end the list with some sort of catch-all. Such a provision typically authorizes the judge to consider "all other relevant factors" or something of the sort. Viewed in this context, the Ninth Amendment seems somewhat less troubling and impractical. If statutes can have catch-all provisions, why not the Bill of Rights? In each case, it's left to members of the judiciary to fill in the blanks.


I just read a post on Pajamas Media about how to deal with potentially nasty political discussions at family gatherings (e.g. Thanksgiving dinner). It reminded me of last summer's trip to Los Angeles, where much of my generally-liberal extended family resides.

Some time before, one of my daughters came up with the idea of a "CHILL" sign, to be produced and displayed when a political or other discussion became heated. During the summer visit, we spent some time at a cousin's house, gathered around a long table. At one end, I got into a spirited but friendly debate with an uncle about Iraq. One daughter, at the other end of the table, feared that things were getting out of hand, and made a CHILL sign from a napkin. The other daughter, closer to the action, could see that all was civil. She responded with her own napkin stating "They're just discussing". We then put the two signs together to read "Chill -- they're just discussing".... I rather like the idea of having both signs available, and deploying either or both as needed.