Tag: somin

Battle of the Ilyas II: This Time It’s Personal

Last year, Cato adjunct scholar (and George Mason law professor) Ilya Somin and I engaged in the inaugural “Battle of the Ilyas.”  Tired of being confused for one another – how many D.C. libertarian legal scholars named Ilya S. can there be? – we accepted Josh Blackman’s invitation to compete in a trivia contest whose prize was the exclusive use of the Ilya name.  I won, but my one-year reign expired last week, so it was time for a rematch.

There were two components to this year’s competition, a written quiz based on Judge Danny Boggs’s famed clerkship applicant quiz – worth 75% – and an oral speed round – worth 25%.  (Boggs is a friend of Cato, having given a B. Kenneth Simon Memorial Lecture and contributed to our Supreme Court Review.)  Somin and I completed the written portion right before Thanksgiving and held the oral part during a conference call with Josh last night.  To listen to how it all went down, including the announcement of the overall winner, read and listen here.  And if you’re dying to know without going through all that, see below.

I beat Somin 15-10 in the oral round (3 questions correct to 2), which, when added to my 58-53 lead after the written round, gave me a decisive 73-63 victory.  As I said in the podcast, “it’s good to be king [of the Ilyas].”

Battle of the Ilyas and More on the Chicago Gun Case

Josh Blackman, my coauthor on “Opening Pandora’s Box? Privileges or Immunities, The Constitution in 2020, and Properly Incorporating the Second Amendment,” has inaugurated a series of podcasts devoted to law and liberty. He’s already has an interview with PLF’s Timothy Sandefur (also a Cato adjunct scholar) and the Independence Institute’s David Kopel (also a Cato associate policy analyst).  Tim authored Cato’s brief in McDonald v. City of Chicago, the case seeking to extend Second Amendment protections to the states – and about which I blogged yesterday.

Well, now Josh has come up with a bit of a twist on the podcast medium: he invited George Mason law prof Ilya Somin (also a Cato adjunct scholar) and me to engage in a contest based on the trivia challenge Sixth Circuit Judge Danny Boggs issues his clerkship applicants. The winner of this “Battle of the Ilyas” would receive the free and exclusive right to the Ilya name – because apparently it’s too confusing to have two libertarian lawyers named Ilya in the same metropolitan area/professional circle. It was a lot of fun, and while I won’t tell you the outcome here, you can easily find that out and listen to the conference call we had about it.

Finally, after this “Battle of the Ilyas,” Josh asked me to record a podcast about McDonald – which inspired our article – and United States v. Comstock (another important case in which Cato filed a brief, and which I blogged about here).  Happy listening!