The Volokh Conspiracy

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The Return of April Fools' LawProf Blog Posts

Is it safe to joke again?


In year's past, I wrote April Fools' posts. Some were more convincing than others. However, during the Trump presidency, I stopped. Parody blurred with reality. And I worried that people may not realize I was joking.

But with Trump out of office, is it safe to joke again? I considered writing one for this year: House Republicans were drafting articles of impeachment against former President Obama. Believe it? Plausible.

Today, I noticed that at least two professors wrote clever April Fools' jokes.

Mike Dorf wrote a post titled Testiness at the First Annual Conference on Originalismism.

Yesterday I "attended" and moderated a panel at a fascinating Zoom-based conference hosted by the three law schools with the closest connection to originalism in constitutional interpretation: Georgetown Law Center, the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, and the University of San Diego School of Law. Because the focus of the conference was the study of originalism rather than originalism itself, the conference was titled "Launching Originalismism."As co-conveners Professors Randy Barnett, Michael Rappaport, and Ilya Somin wrote on the conference homepage:

For many years, constitutional scholars debated whether to give dispositive weight to the Constitution's original meaning. That debate is over. Originalism won. The question has now shifted to how to do so, which is a question about the boundaries of originalism. This first-of-its-kind conference brings together originalist scholars of all stripes, as well as a few stubborn holdouts, to begin the study of originalism itself–in an effort to understand originalism. If originalism is the view that the Constitution's original public meaning was and remains fixed, our topic today is meta: We ask questions that are not within but about originalism. In so doing, we declare ourselves engaged in originalismism.

For a moment, I thought, "Why was I not invited to speak at this conference?" Then I chuckled. Read the entire post. Stay for the Mitch McConnell turtle reference at the end.

And Rick Hasen has an all-too-accurate post on election law timing: "Election Litigation That Doesn't Come Too Early Comes Too Late."

A divided Supreme Court ruled today that there is no right time to file a case contending that an election law unconstitutionally violates the right to vote protected by the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause.

On a 6-3 vote, the Court in an unsigned (per curiam) opinion explained that lawsuits protecting voting rights cannot be filed well before the election, because in those cases the claims are "unripe" and plaintiffs lack standing due to the speculative nature of such claims. But claims cannot be filed too close to the election, under what has come to be known as the "Purcell Principle," because changes in election laws close to the election risk confusion of voters and election administrators.

A fairly accurate statement of current doctrine.

Thank you for the laughs.