FIRST ONE @ ONE FIRST

Blackman on “Constitution Land”

Posted in F1@1F Friends by Mike Sacks on April 1, 2011
This morning I noticed that my friend, Josh Blackman–indefatigable law blogger and President of the Harlan Instituteissued a press release announcing that the Harlan Institute is planning a theme park dedicated to the Constitution–Constitution Land. Incredulous, I chatted with Josh about it.  The interview is below.

  • Sacks: Constitution Land?
  • Blackman: Constitution Land is a theme park that the Harlan Institute is currently planning. This park will will immerse “we the people” in the Constitution of the United States. Through virtual reality simulators, thrill rides, and entertaining shows, visitors will be able to experience our Constitution, and the Supreme Court, unlike ever before.
  • Sacks: Really?  A Constitution theme park?  I didn’t realize you were that much of a fundraising machine.
  • Blackman: Our supporters realize that interest in our Constitution is greater today than at any point in memory. We see people actually reading from that document and asking how it affects our rule of law and the government. Constitution Land represents an attempt to quench that curiosity in a fun and innovative way.
  • Sacks: Do you think people will actually visit?
  • Blackman: If we didn’t think people would visit, we would not be working on this ambitious plan. People visit Colonial Williamsburg and other historical sites. But there is no entertaining destination dedicated solely to our Constitution. We believe that Constitution Land will target that niche. Specifically, our planned location in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania is proximal to the Philadelphia, the cradle of liberty, and home of countless museums and national parks.
  • Sacks: Are you actually going to build rides, or will this be more of a museum?
  • Blackman: This is not your forefather’s museum. This is a fun theme park in every sense of the word–except you may just learn something. In addition to exhilarating thrill rides based on landmark Supreme Court cases, Constitution Land will feature virtual reality simulators that explore how cases developed, and what will become of our law. Finally, shows, and first-rate accommodations will make a visit to Constitution Land a must for anyone who wants to learn more about the supreme law of the land.
  • Sacks: What ride do think will be the biggest draw?
  • Blackman: I think the Originalist Time Machine virtual reality simulator will be pretty sweet. What would James Madison think about violent video games, gun violence, or mandating the eating of broccoli? With the Originalist Time Machine, you can ask Founding Fathers avatars–which are programmed based on their writings and philosophies–what they think about contemporary constitutional questions. Justice Scalia may definitely take a spin on that ride.
  • Sacks: As long as he’s not tailgating the teacup in front of him!  I should be incredulous after all these details, but I’ve learned never to doubt your grand plans.  And you know my family’s in Philly, so when can I take my little nephew to Constitution Land?
  • Blackman: While we are very early in the planning phase, we intend on breaking ground on Constitution Day, September 17, 2012.
  • Sacks: Constitution day…nice touch.
  • Blackman: Mike, I will save a seat in the first row of the Gibbons v. Ogden Flume Ride for F1@1F.
  • Sacks: Most excellent, Josh.  Good luck.
  • Blackman: Thanks Mike.

Blackman’s a beast.

Road Trip, FantasyCast, Arena Tour!

Posted in Non-justiciable, Supreme Court Side Walk by Mike Sacks on October 10, 2010

The First Lady of First One @ One First and I just returned from a weekend trip to Philly.  We left on Friday, just in time for her to be a captive audience to the Court’s just-released audio from last week’s oral arguments.  But moments into Snyder v. Phelps, her initial reluctance gave way to rapt attention and demands to “pause it!” so she could give her own impressions of the issue at hand.  She enjoyed the back-and-forth of the justices and advocates so much that when we hit the road today, she asked to pass the time at the toll booths with Connick v. Thompson.

For those who do not have an hour on hand to subject your special someone to the full SCOTUS treatment, Josh Blackman of The Harlan Institute has produced a thirteen minute “FantasyCast” of Snyder as part of the Institute’s FantasySCOTUS project.  In it, he compiles the argument’s audio highlight reel to create a very effective summary of what transpired last Tuesday morning.

Despite his job well done on the FantasyCast, however, I know Josh would agree that the full hour’s argument is worth the listen.  To put the FLOF1@1F’s enthusiasm in context, it took her three years to tune her ear to the differences between AC/DC’s Bon Scott and Brian Johnson eras, but only two hours to correctly identify each justice by voice.  If she’s proven more fit for the Supreme Court Side Walk than the Heavy Metal Parking Lot, I’m certainly not complaining.  In fact, should her response be typical for non-SCOTUS obsessives, then the Court should consider augmenting its annual budget with some lucrative summer arena tours.  Talk about two birds, one stone: the justices would be able to quit their annual Congressional grovel for pay raises, and the peoples’ increased opportunity to watch the Court in action would quell some of the cries for cameras in the courtroom.

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