Thursday, October 13, 2011

Week 8

Well, I could spend an entire blog talking about my exciting week full of studying, or I could just skip to the good stuff :) This past Saturday was the day I have anxiously awaited for the past 7 months: The Ohio State v. Nebraska Homecoming Game, and did it ever live up to expectations? I would say so... Biggest comeback In Nebraska Football History. And, I was there! Check it out:

Yes, that is my SUU jacket, but it's the warmest and most rainproof thing I have. It rained on and off the entire game, and the entire first half was a little saddening to watch, but all worth it for the second half come-from-behind win. The entire atmosphere was absolutely astounding! The crowd was louder than anything I have heard in my entire life. I am nearly positive those of you in Utah probably heard the roars of cheers as we scored our comeback touchdowns.

For those of you who may have missed the epic game this past weekend, check out the highlight real. Unfortunately, you won't be able to hear the thundering nature of the crowd, or see the rain falling, but you'll get a glimpse of the atmosphere I enjoyed this weekend:

Really, it was absolutely fantastic. A good way to unwind from the stresses and quantity of coursework. All else seems to be well out here in Lincoln. I kinda have a great and humorous experience many of you would probably be interested in hearing about:

This past week I was getting home from school, and was heading towards my room in the basement. While I was descending down the stairs in my socks both of my feet flew out from under me (understand that we have very steep stairs that are additionally very shallow) and I came down so hard on the stairs that I cracked the small window nearby, and proceeded to thump the remaining half a flight down to the bottom. I started my roommates so bad they had thought I had tripped down the entire flight and had gone head over heals several times, but really it wasn't all that bad. Luckily, the shards of glass miraculously didn't hit me, and it is just a sore bum for now, not to mention a good story.

Week 7

Watched me some good ol' Nebraska soccer this past week. Although I have yet to see the Huskers win a home game the team looks pretty good, despite some poor goalkeeping.

This past week my life has been consumed with my first written memo writing assignment for Legal Research and Writing. I wrote an 11 page analysis of the possibility of charging an individual for arson. The difficult part was including all the relevant facts and elements in only 11 pages of writing (At one point I had upwards of 15 pages written). My intent was to have my memorandum finished by Friday evening so I could enjoy the General Conference Weekend, but sadly it did not get finished in time. Hence, those who drove by the institute late at night Saturday and Sunday may have noticed an upstairs light on.

However, I did take the time to set aside my memo for all 10 hrs and 5 sessions of conference. Wasn't if wonderful!? I felt moved by the many talks that hit close to home for me in my new circumstances. Among my favorite talks was Elder Tad R Callister's "The Book of Mormon - A Book from God".

What many people don't know is that Elder Callister is among the few lawyers that inspired me to attend law school. As a missionary I remember hearing his talk "Joseph Smith - Prophet of the Restoration" and felt that what he was speaking was undeniably true. Later, as I studied over his words it was confirmed to me that what he had taught was true, and that Joseph Smith is in all reality a modern Prophet of God. Elder Callister presents unarguable positions of church doctrine that make so much sense to me that I developed the desire to obtain a legal education to think in a similar manner.

I also enjoyed Sister Dalton's talk as well as Elder Holland's. Elder Holland gave a similar lecture to the missionaries of the Washington Kennewick Mission while I was there in November 2010. It was there that he shared that we must not let our "tongues be bound" like Satan attempted to do to the Prophet Joseph.

I've had some wonderful experiences as of late with regards to missionary work. Unlike Washington where most people at least knew what a Mormon was, Nebraska has many who have never heard of the faith, or have almost no knowledge of our beliefs. My friend Leslie often asks questions in class about Mormonism, and on occasion as it comes up in her conversations with others will text me random questions about the church. It has been a blessing to have the opportunity to share my faith with others. Leslie, and others in our law class, now refer to me as "Caleb, the Mormon" - and I'm quite fond of it actually. One teacher who called on me actually stuttered to refrain from saying "the Mormon" after she said my name.

With renewed spirits from General Conference I am ready to get back to my studies. I hope you all were able to enjoy the spirit of general conference, and that it has had an impact on you like it has on me. If you missed any portion of the conference the messages are available online at or will soon be available in the Ensign. Love you all!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Week 6

The College of Law held their annual "Mel Shinn" Day this past week. Mel Shinn Day is a special day of activities held each year in honor of a venerated law student's love for life and athletics. Mel Shin's (Class of 1966) untimely passing led his classmates to create the tradition of a day of activities and ffriendly competition, fun, and camaraderie. Activities such as basketball, tennis, dodge ball, a 5K run, mini-golf in the library, boccie, and badmitten were coupled with an all school picnic lunch for the enjoyment of all the law students.

I participated in the 5K run and broke 20mins, and actually won the 1L competition. Not too shabby for a long-distance runner. I also participated in the mini-golf in the library which was absolutely hysterical and super fun-everything from hitting the ball in the elevator to having to go through a projector and around bookcases, and down the stairs. It was a rather enjoyable break from the demands of legal studying. You might also imagine the countless law students attempting to study in the gallery, but mainly ended up just watching the student golfers as they passed by.

This week I also had the opportunity to have the Missionaries come over for dinner with my friend from law school - Leslie. It was Elder Powell's first day and he was able to give my friend Leslie a Book of Mormon. She excitedly accepted the copy and his invitation to read from it. I am grateful for the wonderful missionaries that Heavenly Father has put in our ward, and I am also grateful for the opportunities I have each and every day to share the truths and principles of the gospel with many who don't know what my beliefs are. It has been a very rewarding experience getting to do so.

For FHE this week our ward got together and played kickball. We had a very large turnout and a fun bought - and although nobody knows who won, it was pretty fun. The ward here is great and I'm so glad that I am able to participate in the activities that they have.

Well, see these books behind me, I had better get back to all of them. Gotta lot to do in the next three years. Classes are going well, but have alot coming up in the near future, including my first written memo (aka "The Dreaded Memo). In the meantime, keep the peace, eat your vegetables, and hava tona fun! Miss ya'll!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Week 5

It has been such a great week! So much has happened, beginning with a special visit from Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. I was so excited to hear that he was going to be joining us here at the College of Law.

I was shocked, but mostly impressed that Justice Thomas and his wife pulled up in their motor home. It is Justice Thomas' nature to be involved with those not involved in the elite "Ivy League" Law Schools. Sadly, all 9 of the current Supreme Court Justices have graduated from one of three of those Law Schools, and all but one currently accepts law clerks ONLY from those institutions. Yup, Justice Thomas is the one and only to consistenly pull law clerks from non-Ivy League Schools. In fact, this is what he said to us:
"I think you underestimate what you have here. Washington doesn't interrest me. I'm comfy with the tuition paying, dirt-under-your-fingernail type of people. There is a reason why I am herre and not there (speaking of his alma mater, Yale)." 
We discussed a partiuclar case from Connecticut that was decided while he has been on the Supreme Court, and he actually wrote the dissenting opinion of the case. Kelo v. City of New London was a case decided by the Supreme Court of the United States involving the use of eminent domain to transfer land from one private owner to another to further economic development. Of this case Justice Thomas said,
"What is interesting is that our laws provide that we could not have set foot onto Ms. Kelo's property to conduct a seizure, but we were freely allowed to have taken the entire Kelo property away from her." 
The major issue in this case is whether the phrase "public use" could be interpreted as meaning "public benefit." The changing of this one word had a massive impact on this case. The court ended up, in a 5-4 decision, deciding that it did mean benfit, and took away Ms. Kilo's home from her. Justice Thomas disagreeing said,
"Use means use; if you wanna change it, change it. But, I was not elected, nor am I part of the legislature, that's not my job to change the law."
Many are weary of Justice Thomas and his ethics; as of recent, numerous Democrats have called for an ehtics investigation into his finances and the role his wife plays as a political advocate. Having met Justice Thomas I generally agree with his ideology when it comes to deciding the law, and I reject the hatrid opinions of others.

Justice Thomas voiced concern that all Justices were from 3 law schools, and that they were certainly unlikely to represent the views of the nation, particularly Nebraska. Of this he felt that it was his job not to create new law, but to hold to the existing law as is, and allow the legislature to do the elected and representative job by creating law. He notes,
"We don't have the answers - you don't want us creatively interpreting the constitution. My personal opinions never push into your doctrine. Unless I have a law to deal with I'm off my terrain. The constitution should be amended by the people, not the judges."
I am grateful I was able to hear from him, but to have also personally met him. He was very sincere as he was coming to know the students here. Seriosuly, I was impressed by his kind nature.

Also, University of Washington was in town this week for a round of Husker F-ball. Apologies to my friends from the Northwest, but these "children of the corn" kids just aren't gonna go down easy. Watch this epic touchdown! (Bonus: Can you name the song the crowd is singing prior to the play?)

The crowd at Memorial Stadium is pretty stellar:

And when we score, we celebrate:

Overall, the week was wonderul, wonderfully busy, but wonderful. School is still overbearing, but I do what I can and trust it is enough. I sure miss alot of you and think about you often. Hope all is well; be in touch.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Week 4

Week 4 - Well, watcha think I been doin'?

Yup, that's right. Study, study, study. Fun, right? I know. Why study so much? Well, besides wanting to do well... Imagine you're sitting in class minding your own business. The professor is talking at 100 miles an hour when all of a sudden your name rings out. There's no way around it. Even when used in a humane manner, the process is inherently intimidating.

There is nothing quite like being called on without prior notice in front of a large group of peers and being expected to speak articulately and intelligently about a question you've never thought about before. It's just enough to make anyone anxious.

Although I have been called on in class many times, it was just this week that I was "grilled" for a straight 35 mins in my Civil Procedure course. It was intense.

Beyond the classroom, we had the ward over to the house. I ate corn on the cob straight off the grill:

And now... Ladies and Gentlemen, please meet my new singles ward...

Also, The Blue Angels were flying all over town. They were pretty cool, and are well synced. With the recent news of the Reno airshow, I am very grateful none of them crashed on me while I was running, in church, or class.

Overall, pretty great week. Lots of schoolwork, but I am really enjoying the material. I just don't enjoy the quantity of material. It is hard to wrap a head around hundreds of pages of work every night. And now, back to the books.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Week 3

Husker Football!!! Enjoyed my first Nebraska football game and celebrated the 312th consecutive sellout at Memorial Stadium with 84,000 other Husker enthusiasts. All the stadium portals read:
I must say that I agree: these fans are committed, devoted, and zealous. The entire town shuts down on game day, hours early, because tailgate parties are happenin' all around the stadium. It is super legit. And, yes, of course, they wear corn on their heads to the football games! Duh!
They call themselves "The Sea of Red"; can you guess why?
 Also, please notice the second largest video screen in the USA (Only the Dallas Cowboys have a larger one). The band was absolutely great!
And, I got to sit on the 8th row! I was soo incredibly close, it was AWESOME!!! The atmosphere was the loudest, and most energized I have ever been a part of, and I really enjoyed the 40-7 massacre on the University of Tennessee Chattanooga. 
So, that's it, Husker football! It's kinda a big deal back here in what I affectionately refer to as "The Wilderness". Speaking of the Wilderness...

I've had and interesting week of food. The law school sponsored various free lunches all week for different information sessions, however, they catered the same food all week; either Valentino's Pizza or Jimmie John's Sandwiches. But, it was the following Runza that stole the cake this week for most interesting eats. This Nebraska original is a hamburger and fried cabbage filled sandwich. I'm just gonna hafta letcha imagine what it tastes like.
A Nebraska Original: Runza
Husker soccer is also pretty great! They just barely lost to #3 North Carolina 2-1, but hey, at least we scored.
But, I must admit, that as exciting as a UNL Husker game is, my heart was throbbing the entire BYU game, and I am so, so excited that they won! GO COUGS!!! Big game next week v. Texas.

Week 2

My Official Law School Photograph
I made it through my first week of classes…alive! Whew! So… what is law school like? To be honest, it’s just like the movies depict it to be; in fact, it’s scary how accurate they are. For those of you who have never seen a movie with a law school classroom setting, I would recommend The Paper Chase over Legally Blonde (Reese Witherspoon makes it look just a lil’ too easy).
I try to get out of the Law Building every once in a while, and have even been doing my best to keep up with my running. I was full of anticipation with the loss of Elevation to run at 1200 ft (Utah is closer to 5000 ft) above sea level, but there is this weird phenomenon known as “Humidity” that has created another problem for me.

But, let's be honest. My day is spent in class and the law library. Study, study, study. I would go as far to say that if I had worked this hard in my undergraduate field, I would have graduated a lot more towards the top of my class.
I have been lucky to fall into a wonderful University Ward here. Everyone is wonderful. This weekend we played in a Stake Softball Tournament, and had alot of fun. There has been fun activities like going to the lake, baptism trips, and FHE's. It should be a welcome relief from the stresses of a classroom.