Sunday, November 18, 2007

Harold J. Berman And The Joy Of Reading The Newspaper.

More than a year ago, when he was still anchoring the CBS Evening News, Bob Schieiffer broadcast a segment called "A Case For Newspapers." In that opinion piece. Mr. Sheiffer quotes Jill Abramson, of The New York Times, who observed that folks tend to go to the Internet in search for specific information. "But the joy of reading a newspaper comes from finding information we weren't looking for."
I greatly enjoy reading a newspaper every day for the reasons extolled by Mr. Schieiffer and Ms. Abramson. And I had one of those occurrences today.

Until this morning, I'd never heard of Harold J. Berman. Then I saw the headline to his obituary in the New York Times: "Harold J. Berman, 89, Who Altered Beliefs About Origins of Western Law, Dies."

Altered beliefs about the origins of Western law, huh?

Well, I had to read that alright. And if you click through on the link above you will see that he indeed had an illustrious career. Clearly a great man had passed away.

Often in any business, but particularly the comic book business, we stumble over issues pertaining to the law. Sometimes we find ourselves wondering--what KIND of legal problem are we actually looking at. The following little primer that was printed in Mr. Berman's obituary is a wonderfully concise ditty that really packs a powerful punch in the simplicity of its analysis.
“A child says, ‘It’s my toy.’
That’s property law,”

“A child says, ‘You promised me.’
That’s contract law."

"A child says, ‘He hit me first.’
That’s criminal law."

"A child says, ‘Daddy said I could.’
That’s constitutional law.”
To paraphrase Bob Schieiffer, I won't quickly forget who Mr. Berman was after reading that gem of wisdom.

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