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There are now 43 comments... what are your thoughts?
  1. amaROenuZ says

    He’s erased Pi’s legs! We’ll have to give her a new name.

    What’s a Pi without legs? A Tilde?

  2. Bartimaeus says

    Mrs. Flavors?! Nooooooooooooooooo!

  3. Jeff B says

    Maude! Poor sweet naive Maude! Now we know what you did that left such an impression on her. >8O

  4. Gregory T. Bogosian says

    The guy has an entire page to erase, and he goes right for a female character’s crotch. Oh for the opportunity to show this to Freud.

  5. Wen says

    Sweet! looking forward to it.

  6. Rich says

    Not sure if Stickie is relieved or horrified to be erased…

  7. Gabriel Russell says

    And with constitutional law comes interpreting poor drafting.
    “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
    There’s an unnecessary comma in there after Militia, and there’s that question of whether the first part means that there’s a militia requirement to own guns or not. This argument is complicated by the fact that no other amendment has a little preamble like that.
    Terribly written.

    • It is made even more complicated by the fact that the authors of the bill of rights never intended for it to apply to the several states, but the authors of the 14th amendment, by the debates made in the senate during its discussion and ratification, always intended for the privileges and immunities clause to incorporate the first 8 amendments to the constitution and thus render them enforceable against the states, but the courts have never admitted that.

    • That one’s rather easy to interpret:

      “Since, in order to maintain a free society, the power of the army must be well-restrained, the government may not pass laws to limit the private ownership of weapons.”

      • There are different interpretations, especially if you consider that “militia” must not necessarily mean “army”. “Militia” means that in times of war, the first line of defense may not be the regular army but rather a militia composed of whoever owns and is able to handle a firearm. In fact, this is what happened during the independence war.

        Private ownership of arms is necessary so that when the Redcoats come back, there’s a militia ready to hold them off until the regular army can get into position.

        In Switzerland, everybody who has ever served in the military gets to keep his rifle and uniform and is allowed to take both home. This is supposed to allow the reserves to be put into a state of readiness pretty much instantly – should the country be attacked, everybody gets their rifles, puts on their uniforms and assembles in the next town square, with the most senior officer in charge.

        The Second Amendment could just as well have meant the same.

  8. Instead of constitutional law next – would it be possible to cover civil law torts instead? (A subject far more relevant to my current situation sadly)

    …Just askin’.

      • Yeah I know – happy to wait, just prefer not to.

        Also I imagine civil law torts might be of greater interest to the general public rather than Con Law, and would probably help build Matt’s readership faster (lots of other common law jurisdictions out there besides the US) …but that’s just my opinion.

        • First, who’s Matt?

          Second, there’s really not so many common law jurisdictions out there, it seems. The vast majority of the world uses the Civil Law system (not to be confused with civil law, as opposed to criminal law). It’s pretty much just English colonies (Canada, Australia, India, a smattering of Africa) that use the common law. Not that one country’s common law is anything like another’s anyways, they really don’t translate from country to country well (you can get general guidelines, but the laws themselves can be completely different).

          Third, Constitutional issues are of great importance to us, and are really the most basic and fundamental issues we can discuss. Gun control, freedom of the press and religion, search and seizure, police powers, reproductive rights, the right to vote, discrimination, all are Constitutional issues. And all far more interesting then whether or not you can bring an action for emotional distress.

          And lastly, if you need legal help or advice, do not consult a comic. Consult a lawyer. Preferably a local one.

          • All fair points, thank you for making them.

            To address your comments:

            1. The reference to “Matt” was my error – it was an unconscious and unintended reference on my part to a local politician, recently retired; sincere apologies to Nathan for my error.

            2. My resident jurisdiction of Western Australia, much like the US, uses a common law system as a result of our common British colonial heritage; While it is an entirely separate jurisdiction, US decisions are frequently cited and referred to in Australian law courts, with US Tort law showing an increasing influence at both State and Federal level, (commencing back in 1986 with Cook vs Cook, and accelerating in number post AUSFTA (Australian-US Free Trade Agreement) back in 2005.

            3. Constitutional issues are extremely important – no argument there; I was merely expressing a personal desire to have civil torts covered first, and my reasons have nothing to do with issues of emotional distress.

            4. I would *love* to consult a local lawyer for legal advice on my issues, but when you live in rural Western Australia (as I do), that’s easier said than done. My home state of WA is roughly the same size as Western Europe, but has a total population smaller than that of Queens, NY. Over 99% of all my state’s legal practitioners live and work in one city, over 450 kilometers from my home. Even if I could move house to access better legal services, a lack of subsidized legal assistance at state and federal level makes getting competent legal advice on civil matters financially impossible for the majority of West Australians. I am therefore forced to represent myself in my dispute, and this site is one of several free resources I rely on to educate myself on general legal principles and practice in common law jurisdictions.

            Please believe me: as good (and entertaining) as Nathan’s advice is, if I had other, more credible and relevant choices to draw upon, that better addressed my needs than this site does, I would use them.

            • If you live in Western Australia, you do NOT want to use this comic to get a sense of how your local law works at all, because it could be COMPLETELY different. While you can use rulings from other jurisdictions (including other common-law countries, or any country really) to support your arguments, they’re not binding, and the last thing you want to do is pursue an action or theory based on another country (and especially when that country is the United States, where we’ve been diverging from the UK’s system for a few hundred years now).

              If you just want a general idea of the common law and the history and theory behind it, then yeah, that could be useful. But (as I learned a while ago) a basic understanding of common law does NOT equal an understanding of local law, and how things work in theory and in practice can be VERY different.

              If you haven’t already found it, try this site: . Looks like they have some info about the local laws and guidelines, and legal aid is always a good source for help with legal problems if you don’t have a lot of money to throw around. The local bar association can also help you find an barrister who works closer to you – even in remote areas, there’s usually someone who can do legal work:

              • Once again, all reasonable points and thank you for taking an interest.

                I’ve spoken with Legal Aid ad-nauseam – (seven separate approaches over the last three years) – they refuse to address civil matters point-blank, their limited funding/ case load is focused solely on family law, restraining orders and criminal defense matters. They do administer the Civil Litigation Assistance Scheme, but only a lawyer/law firm can apply for this funding – I can’t apply on my own behalf. Neither Legal Aid nor the Law Society maintain a database of legal firms that are willing to accept instructions under the CLAS, so you have to contact law firms separately and ask them if they will accept instructions on this basis (nb: the answer is always a firm and rude “NO!”, as this would require their employees working for scale – which is essentially a pay cut.).

                Barristers in Western Australia cannot accept instruction directly from a client – they will only act under guidance of a lawyer registered in the requisite jurisdiction. Some will operate pro-bono, but you really need to find *both a lawyer and a barrister* willing to operate pro-bono… the odds aren’t good frankly.

                Pro-bono assistance is available direct to individuals through the Law Society of Western Australia, but its a voluntary scheme subject to an exhaustive means test. I’ve approached the Law Society twice in three years (and been accepted for pro-bono referral both times, as my case is very strong) but no one wants to take it up pro-bono / on contingency… and them accepting a percentage of any award as payment would be highly illegal.

                Community legal centers in WA do not have the funds to represent any client. The most they will provide is a single half-hour session of general advice from whichever lawyer is willing to offer this advice pro-bono on the day. They will not advise you on starting / executing legal proceedings (not even a general discussion of pre-trial discovery) and go so far as to refuse to read any documentation you take with you to meetings.

                Arbitration is out, as it is strictly a voluntary exercise from both parties (unless court ordered); the other party in my dispute knows this, and is refusing to respond to all communication as a result.

                Several corporate regulators / ombudsmen exist to take up the slack, some of which have almost inquisitional powers – but none of them have a mandate to consider criminal matters, as they operate outside the courts. My complaint has both criminal and civil aspects, so that rules me out.

                Over the last three years I have spoken with the Law Society of WA, the Employment Law Centre, the Fairwork Ombudsman, the Consumer Credit Association of Western Australia, the Credit and Investments Ombudsman. the Financial Ombudsman Service, the Mental Health Legal Service of WA, the Citizens Advice Bureau, the legal education departments of two different universities and seven separate community legal centers… no luck with any of them.

                Federal Police (Australia’s FBI) only investigate federal crimes, which does not include my circumstance.

                State police / the Fraud Squad DO have the power to investigate, but I’ve asked them to investigate three times in four years, and they repeatedly say its largely a civil matter (whereas the Ombudsman usually says the opposite – how frustrating is that?)

                I have approached over fifteen separate private law firms in the last two years. Not only do they not want to help pro-bono / on contingency, but to a man, they are unwilling to refer me to any other law firm that might be willing to help. As a result of all this extended garbage, I am now running up against statute-of-limitations issues.

                Please believe me – I have exhausted every recognized avenue for low-cost / no-cost legal advice in my particular jurisdiction; I am now down to investigating the unrecognized / unauthorized options… sucks to be me I guess.

                I am well aware of the risks of putting any weight into Nathan’s advice… but as I said previously: If I had any other credible choice / more sensible options, I would use them.

                Again – thank you most sincerely for taking an interest.

                • Good to see you did your homework, and good luck with your problems – seems like you’re kinda stuck unless you raise some money (story of all our lives…). I just want to impress on you that advice from a foreign attorney in comic form isn’t really a credible or sensible option.

                • I recently heard that there are circumstances where a statute of limitations can be extended, or even suspended, due to extenuating circumstances. Would failure to find adequate counsel, while visibly trying, be such?

                  • Nope… but I might be able to argue that the investigation by the Ombudsman should be taken into account. The Ombudsman isn’t part of the court system, but is technically an arm of government with both investigatory powers and the ability to award compensation/damages on equitable grounds… so maybe that qualifies as taking legal action. Meh – it’s worth a go.

                • Golly, did they go ahead and find the only creek in WA to send you up without a paddle?

                  It sounds to me like you live in the worst of both worlds: too remote for the law to help you, but not remote enough to go round up an angry mob without having to deal with said law later on.

                  Even if you can’t win, if I were you I’d want to show up in court just to give the Rivona trial treatment, “And THIS is what’s wrong with our society. The plaintiff rests, my lord.”

                  Also, Nathan, since when did you ditch Disqus and go back to the old comment system?

                  • I’ve always had the same comment system. Never used Disqus. Are you thinking of another site? Have you been seeing other sites? What’s it’s name? How long has this been going on? It’s like I don’t even know you any more. No, shut up, what is this Disqus site, is it prettier than mine? I bet it updates daily, that slut. Fine, go to your slut site with fancy Disqus and who knows what else, maybe herpes. Go on! See if I care. Wait! Where are you going?

            • To be honest, Nathan makes it pretty clear that even in the US, this comic may not represent what your local laws may be.

  9. B.J. says

    When Nathan does torts, I insist that he call it “Torts Illustrated.”

  10. nick012000 says

    So, Constitutional Law is coming up next, huh?

    Given the sort of shit that the current administration has done over the last seven and a half years, I’m not sure how you’d be able to get into that without getting overly political and risking alienating half of your audience…

    • People are very passionate and strongly divided over many Con Law issues, and I’d do nobody any good by taking sides. I intend to just give it to you straight, and leave my own opinions out of it as much as is humanly possible. (This is what it is, this is how it works, and this is how it doesn’t work, while clearing up as many myths as possible along the way.)

      So I fully expect to piss off half my readers in the opening chapters, and the other half shortly thereafter.

  11. John says

    Hey Nathan! I just started reading this and found it really interesting. I work in tech but law (and medicine) were always the things I bounced back in forth on doing – so I kinda became a nerd on a lot of random legal things. I’d never compare myself to a lawyer, just a humble layman.

    Anyway – While I knew retribution and retaliation were two of the things our justice system operate on, do you feel like our justice system is moving more towards a “remove”/rehabilitation system? I guess for minor crimes, the punishment its self (or the “getting caught” its self) is a pretty big deterrent to further commit crimes. Which is hard to classify in the 4 Rs. They receive a punishment based off of severity because that’s “fair”, but if it’s for minor crimes – it usually is something that makes sense (deferred sentencing, or community services) – sure, you’re paying for the crime and that’s a deterrent, but isn’t it also sort of minor rehabilitation vs retribution? With more severe crimes, like murder, even if it’s a crime of passion and it may never happen again – wouldn’t removal make sense in a logical sort of way? Prevent the likelihood of someone committing murder again?

    I feel like retribution only works “well” in civil or white collar crimes – you get hurt to prevent you from doing this again, or so that justice is “served”. But the concept of an eye for an eye seems really… stupid in a modern society.

    Iunno, I just found this today and had to vent.

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