Uncommentable: Shame of Thrones: SBA President Under Fire After TV Series Spoiler (possible spoilers inside)

Editor’s note: Uncommentable is The Commentator’s satirical news imprint. All stories published under the Uncommentable banner are false and intended for entertainment purposes only.

By Albert Tawil, Staff Writer, and Guest Contributors Annie Zhou and Chris Ostojic

This month’s return of the popular HBO drama Game of Thrones has captivated millions of viewers across the country. However, with the show’s return so close to final exams, many responsible law students have pushed off the urge to watch until May 18.

Those law students were irrationally outraged when they opened a routine Student Bar Association (SBA) email regarding Exam4 compliance, which contained a spoiler of a major development in the season’s second episode.

“Finals are here, [redacted Game of Thrones reference], and please take a moment to download the latest Exam4 software and submit a practice test,” read the beginning of the scandalous email sent by SBA President Evan Shepherd.

“Honestly, if you are not Exam4 compliant at this point, you deserve it,” said an exasperated Shepherd, defending himself against a barrage of angry emails. “Anybody who is compliant would have just deleted the email.”

I don’t get what the big deal is. When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die…

“This is an example of an elected official who is completely disconnected with the student body,” said former SBA Treasurer Ally Serre, a one-time campaign rival of Shepherd. Serre says she has started an online campaign with the hashtag #NYULawRemembers “to remind law students that while this betrayal has left them feeling empty on the inside, the student body will soon rise again, harder and stronger.”

“I don’t get what the big deal is. When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die, it’s a simple two-prong analysis. Evan just pointed it out,” said one third-year law student who watches the show alone every Sunday.

To calm student outrage, the SBA Vice President released an official statement. “I, Samantha Coxe, the First of Her Name, Queen of Vanderbilt, Queen of the DL and the Three Sheets and the Amity Hall, Lord of the Lower East Side, Protector of the Bar Review, Khaleesi of the Great Grassless Square, called Samantha Stormborn, the Most-Turnt, Mother of Bobcats, hereby issue a proclamation to make recompense to those students so grievously injured by Monday’s Game of Thrones spoiler. An insult to your honor was not our intent, but it may have been a rather unfortunate consequence.”

“Bar Review tonight. 10 p.m. Off the Wagon. Be there. Last one.” the statement added, followed by multiple GIF’s of Tyrion Lannister filling his wine glass.

Tyrion Lannister of Game of Thrones raises a glass of wine.
Credit: Giphy.com

Several student groups also released statements.

“We stand in solidarity with those students who suffered from SBA’s spoiler,” said an email from the Westerosi Law Students Association (WLSA). “We are petitioning Academic Services to allow victims to defer exams for however long it takes to catch up to the most recent episode.”

Academic Services has confirmed that it will process all exam postponement requests related to Game of Thrones in its usual prompt time frame of six months.

Since the spoiler, Shepherd has met with student leaders from across the Westerosi spectrum to put forth ideas for the SBA to regain the trust of the student body. Proposals include sponsoring a Milback Tween Lunch of Assorted Sandwiches (with a free panel discussion on the unlawful detention of Cersei Lannister), a Game of Thrones-inspired 1L Reading Group called, “Using Statutory Canons to Interpret the Word ‘Hodor,'” a Wildlings Defense Clinic, and an Alternative Spring Break trip to Dorne.

Vote for your favorite option below.

Op-Ed: Why I’m Disappointed that Sri Srinivasan Wasn’t President Obama’s SCOTUS Pick

Written by Jonaki Singh, Guest Contributor

Last month, President Obama announced his nominee for the Supreme Court of the United States, Merrick B. Garland, chief judge of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Undoubtedly, Garland is qualified for the job—19 years on a federal court of appeals, with years of government service before that. Given the current political climate, Garland is also a strategic choice—Republicans in Congress have consistently praised him, and it would be difficult to sustain a blanket “no consideration” policy for a candidate widely considered to be “centrist.”

And yet, I found myself disappointed that the nominee was not Sri Srinivasan. As one of the contenders that appeared on almost every shortlist, there’s no question that Srinivasan was supremely qualified (no pun intended). He served as a law clerk to Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, argued many cases before the Supreme Court, is currently a judge on the D.C. Circuit (confirmed by the U.S. Senate with a 97-0 vote), and, like Garland, is considered “moderate” or “centrist.” Furthermore, as a relatively young nominee, he likely would have had a significant impact on the Court’s jurisprudence for decades.

As has been discussed in the past few weeks, Srinivasan’s nomination would have been momentous for several reasons: the first Asian-American justice, the first Hindu justice, and one of the few justices born outside the United States. Some have also pointed out the legal significance of such an appointment, given the historical policies and restrictions on Asian immigration and citizenship.

But as an Asian-American law student, Srinivasan’s potential nomination carried a different meaning for me. While many of the formalistic legal barriers to Asian and Asian-American inclusion in society have been removed, several social, intangible barriers and stereotypes still remain. One of the common stereotypes characterizes Asians and Asian-Americans as “perpetual foreigners.” This concept underlies the “no, where are you really from?” line of inquiry and rests on the notion that people of Asian origin fall just short of “American.” Perhaps this perception stems from Asians’ connections to their countries of origin, or perhaps it is a contemporary manifestation of the historic exoticism surrounding “the East.” Furthermore, despite being an integral part of America’s history of exclusion and prejudice, Asian-Americans are generally sidelined in our national conversation on race, cementing the perception that we are somehow a detached, apathetic minority loosely woven into the fabric of American society.

The perpetual foreigner stereotype is especially powerful in the legal field. Legal practice, particularly in government service, requires an understanding of the philosophical tenets underlying the legal system, of the historical context in which our system took shape, and an awareness of how the law governs relationships between individuals and the state. Given these prerequisites, being perceived as a foreigner or outsider may present Asian-Americans with additional hurdles to “prove” their American-ness and to demonstrate that they are capable of meaningful participation in American politics and governance. See generally former Governor Bobby Jindal and Governor Nikki Haley.

As Asian-Americans, it is extremely frustrating to grapple with these presumptions in spite of our embodiment of American identity. We share a sense of responsibility in America’s future. We are not a disinterested minority; we do not see the destiny of the nation as separate from our own. We care, and we are capable of the same commitment and participation as any other American—whether in legislatures, at the voting booth, or on the bench.

The Obama administration has made remarkable progress in appointing Asian-Americans to prominent government positions. Neal Katyal, Jacqueline Nguyen, Jenny Yang, Vijay Murthy, Vanita Gupta, and Sri Srinivasan himself are all examples. However, the Supreme Court is a unique institution, and Asian-American representation there carries its own value and significance. The Supreme Court synthesizes our historical past and distills its principles to resolve the current questions of rights, liberties, and justice in our nation. In recent times, the Supreme Court has taken an especially active role in protecting and extending rights to groups against whom there has been a history of discrimination.

After Srinivasan’s nomination, it would no longer be unimaginable that an Asian-American, even one born outside the United States, could participate in an institution such as the Supreme Court. It would finally be conceivable that a group so undeniably present in America’s past could participate in shaping its future. In an election cycle where a major party’s leading candidate has questioned the extent to which minorities and immigrants enrich our nation, Srinivasan’s nomination would have reaffirmed the belief that the country we, as Asian-Americans, consider our own also trusts us with the great responsibility of shaping the future of America, our country.

Editor’s note: A version of this article originally appeared on BrownGirlMagazine.com and is republished here with permission. 

Breaking into Art Law: Advice from Attorneys at Christie’s Auction House

Written by Sallie Oliver, Guest Contributor

Art law is a choice for mindsets with creative solutions on an international scale. What does art law tackle? Students met with the legal in-house counsel for Christie’s Auction House on Friday, February 26th, regarding the state of the practice of art law and how budding attorneys may break into this growing field successfully.

Meeting Room at Christie's
A meeting room at Christie’s Auction House New York.

 

The workspace at Christie’s is beautiful. Picture a boardroom overlooking Rockefeller Plaza and a box of cookies sliding across the table, a scene that may remind one of a Vegas croupier dealing precious cards. While offering sweets, Senior Vice President and General Counsel Jason Pollack shared notable advice, “Find success where you are no matter where that is.”

Pollack joined Christie’s nine months ago, and with a smile, admitted his real passion was in becoming NFL Commissioner. The cross-disciplinary study habits for an aspiring art lawyer prove beneficiary when you are engaging in daily transactions with all different sorts of personalities.

Showroom at Christie's
A recently renovated showroom at Christie’s Auction House New York.

 

Counsel member Sandy Compton highly recommends clerking, and being flexible with a range of interests, as she did herself. Few museums besides those in large cities have in-house legal counsel and will instead visit boutique law firms regarding contract mediation. Not surprisingly, the New York City Auction Regulations, which are in use today, Compton stated, “were created in the 1800s and, believe it or not, horse and buggy,” are still part of its language.

Regulatory contracts are typically tolerated long after relevancy comes into question and it is no different regarding art law. Therefore, art law has different challenges. An example includes leveraging litigation to ensure a $170,000,000 sculpture does not present too much liability for Christie’s Auction House or art collectors themselves. Also, acting on behalf of art collectors to ensure that stolen art stays off of the market by partnering with international policy makers.

While buying art is still largely unregulated, art law provides a degree of risk management that creates powerful investment opportunities.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article appeared on the author’s website: http://sallieoliver.me/.

Writer’s note: Thank you to Sali Salfiti, scholar at Brooklyn Law, for reaching out to Christie’s for this event. And please note that local and international internship listings can be found via Christie’s.com.