The courts are closed today for a National Day of Mourning for Gerald Ford, handily handing me an official four-day weekend after I already took two days off at the end of last week. Being a federal employee has its advantages.
Since conscience dictates that I should utilize this free time to meditate on Gerald Ford, here are two Gerald Ford-related things.
First, this SNL sketch from 1996, which has always been one of my favorite SNL sketches and was the first thing I thought of when I heard about Ford's death. It wasn't on YouTube immediately after his death was announced, but as you can see from the search results it's all over the place now. Be sure to click on a 4:39 version to get the full glory.
Second, Harper & Row v. Nation Enterprises, 471 U.S. 539 (1985), one of the leading Supreme Court cases on the fair use defense to copyright infringement. The case dealt with an article in The Nation in which the magazine published a 300-400-word excerpt from Ford's 200,000-word manuscript. While the excerpt was thus a small portion of the overall text, the excerpted portion deal with Ford's decision to pardon Richard Nixon, and was referred to by the courts as "essentially the heart of the book." The Court held that the excerpt was not fair use, in that it significantly cut into the market for the memoir. Essentially, people wouldn't buy the book if they could get the low-down on the Nixon pardon from the magazine.