Archive for the 'liberty' Category

Page 3 of 3

To: eon – Subject: kick-ass FCC event

Forwarded conversation


From: John Palfrey
Date: Mon, Feb 25, 2008 at 5:53 PM
To: Staff List , faculty , Berkman Fellows
Cc: Tim Wu

Hi all:

Today at the Berkman Center was wild, and quite wonderful. The FCC
hearing on network management practices brought an overflow crowd to
Ames Courtroom. We heard — and our own Yochai (and great friends
former-HLS-student-now-bigtime-prof.. Tim Wu and
former-HLS-student-soon-to-be-prof. Marvin Ammori) participated in —
this crucial debate as it broke in real-time. It was terrific to see it
happen here, as part of Berkman@10.

What was not so obvious was the fact that we got an email about 2 weeks
ago from the Chairman’s office asking if we could host this event. The
work of Catherine, Colin, and literally the whole crew to pull off a
300+ person event with no notice and in the midst of lots of other
madness (web site relaunch, other events, Berkman@10 planning) was
breathtaking. I realize that this cost people around here sleep and
added to gray hairs and so forth. But, wow, your work paid off today —
to have that issue, and that energy, on our watch, in our midst. Many


John Palfrey
e: jpalfrey
p: 617-384-9132

From: William Fisher
Date: Mon, Feb 25, 2008 at 6:00 PM
To: John Palfrey
Cc: Staff List , faculty, Berkman Fellows, Tim Wu

I want to add my thanks to John’s. It was an extraordinary event —
probably the best governmental hearing I’ve ever attended. The
combination of excellent panels and the freewheeling questioning by
the commissioners was very informative. Thanks to all for putting it
together — so well and so fast.


From: Yochai Benkler
Date: Mon, Feb 25, 2008 at 6:59 PM
To: faculty @eon
Cc: John Palfrey, Staff List, faculty, Berkman Fellows, Tim Wu

Just to add my thanks. It was extraordinary to see how seamlessley this all
went, and with what enormous turnout (including what seemed to be the Comcast Cheerleaders Brigade…) and crisp conversation.


From: John Palfrey
Date: Tue, Feb 26, 2008 at 7:36 AM
To: Staff , faculty , Fellows

From our friend Tim Wu:


—–Original Message—–
From: Tim Wu

Date: Mon, 25 Feb 2008 18:32:39
To:John Palfrey
Cc:Staff List ,faculty ,Berkman Fellows
Subject: Re: FCC event today


I doubt I can send a message to these lists, so could you forward?

Hi everyone Berkman

This is Tim Wu, once vaguely associated with Berkman. I felt the
Berkman center really did what it was invented for today –
congratulations for hosting such a kick-ass event.

The hearing was to my ears at least, riveting, and certainly much
better than the net neutrality shouting matches that are the
Washington DC staple. Much appreciation,


Tim Wu

when appropriate (in my judgment) to an open project and not sensitive (in my judgment) in terms of privacy, i may post email to my blog. all privacy requests respected.

liberty – remember me – remember us – give thanks for the american jury

A presumption of liberty
Give me liberty or give me death
Live free or die
This is what America is supposed to be about
This is the original understanding

Common sense in common wealth
An equilibrium reached by men who had achieved personal liberty and saw the benefits of sharing in community
Framing a constitution to capture in words the very best of their intelligence expressing all that’s good in life in common without sacrificing their essential personal liberty
Freedom with responsibility makes common sense

What do we human have in common
I say common sense

Imagine ourselves as free men and women who sit together to decide what is best for us in common

Common sense says we agree first and foremost that we will not give up what is most precious to us. liberty. At the least we can agree to maintain a presumption of liberty as we thrust ourselves forward into the developing thicket of statutory Law. Understand, we are gathering to create a government which will make statutes. Statutes are made by men for citizens to follow, not to lead. Can we agree then that as we go forward into the thicket of the statutes our government will generate in our future that we proceed with a presumption of liberty against arbitrary override by whim special interest reflected in exercise of legislative and executive power.

Let us articulate as best WE can this presumption in broad strokes of freedom of religion and speech and trial by jury drawn from among us, expressing our underlying commitment to liberty in our own fundamental rules here to be made. Let us leave a presumption of liberty to the future to stand as a beacon above all other presumptions our government may make after this one. This is our foundation and our goal, our original understanding and our polestar to wisdom in the future.

The essential constitutional role of the american jury is to preserve our liberty. To perform this function the jury must be informed of its function, its power, and its responsibility.

the judiciary quite rightly presumes reason and requires only rationality in legislative statutes which do not tread on explicitly articulated constitutional rights. to do otherwise would assert judicial prerogative into legislative sphere.

this means that the judiciary provides no check on legislative statutes which though rational lack wisdom yet are backed by special interest. such statutes intrude upon the liberty of citizens in a manner which the authority of judges does not check. the check for that abuse of citizen liberty in our constitutional system is trial by jury.

a jury of our peers was to have been our protection, the gateway through which legislative edict would have to march before taking a citizen’s liberty away.

from the vantage of the people, and the subset of us which is the jury in a criminal case, our trial system frames a question to us which we answer with our verdict. the indictment frames a question in terms of the violation of a statute.

what is the question to which we want an answer before we see a man’s liberty taken away

is it:
(a) did he violate a legislative statute
(b) did he do something covered by a legislative statute that is wrong
(c) did he do something wrong

balance is the essence of our constitutional ideal

a massachusetts referendum asserts the legality of possession of small amounts of marijuana
this is an assertion of legality
we the people are the keepers of our liberty
we the people decide whether the legalisms of the law intrude too deeply upon us

we need neither judges and nor legal training to tell us that our liberty is infringed by arbitrary law

this is not a judgment that requires legal education
all the logic of education is on the other side
on this side is the justice in our hearts

it requires our willingness to speak truth from the justice in our hearts

verdict – speak truth – guilty or not guilty