Dear Reader (especially any of you who lived to tell the tale of eating deep-fried bacon brisket mac and cheese at the Iowa State Fair),
Because the second Friday in August is widely known as Strained Movie Reference Day, let me start with a scene from the movie Working Girl. A dude who looks like Col. Sanders has agreed to sell his radio network. He says:
Oh, gentlemen, uhh, and ladies, I’ve decided to sell Mr. Trask the Metro Radio System for $68.5 million dollars in cash and securities. Now, of course, this is, uh, an agreement in principle. As to what constitutes principles in this day and age, I’m gonna leave that up to you barracudas to squabble over.
This is pretty close to my view, most days and in most circumstances, of the relationship between law and public policy. Come up with a general approach you want, and then have the barracudas—i.e. lawyers, wonks, et al.— squabble over how to do it.