Video games and sci-fi are rarely linked with practicing law. James Liu ’19 thinks that should change.
Part of UCLA’s e-sports competitive video gaming club in college, Liu notes that litigators “have a limited amount of time. You have to choose your strategy and the arguments you decide to present quickly but carefully.” In video gaming, “every single second counts and you have to make your marks in a tight timeframe. That’s one reason I’m attracted to litigation.”
During a summer externship at the Supreme Court of California, Liu drew inspiration from talking with a fellow Star Wars universe fan—Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar. Liu decided to apply his legal analysis talent to his sci-fi passion.
Liu’s article “Are Surviving Clone Troopers Guilty of War Crimes?”, on the The Legal Geeks blog, features both astute arguments and meticulous Bluebook citation. Its focus: determining whether clone troopers, who executed Jedi generals under orders programmed through “inhibitor chips” in the animated series Star Wars Rebels, should be found guilty of war crimes.
Most clones could mount a strong defense because “criminal law seeks to ‘punish individuals for acts for which they are morally culpable,’” Liu writes, citing a New York case. “Unable to make a ‘moral’ decision because the chips in their brains forced them to comply,” they were driven by “artificial compulsion.”