Gail Heriot is a law professor at the University of San Diego and a member of the US Commission on Civil Rights. She writes long, ponderous articles in journals like USD's Journal of Contemporary Legal Issues and short, pointed essays for newspapers like the Wall Street Journal. She previously practised law at major law firms in Washington DC and Chicago, and was civil rights counsel to the US Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Gail is fond of cactus and other prickly things, which she grows in her canyon. Along with three USD colleagues, she blogs at The Right Coast.
Why do you blog? > Because nature abhorreth a vacuum.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Edmund Burke, David Hume, Adam Smith.
What are you reading at the moment? > Theodore Dalrymple, Our Culture, What's Left of It; Francis Paul Prucha, The Great Father: The United States Government and the American Indians; Rosemary Radford Ruether, Gaia and God: An Ecofeminist Theology of Earth Healing (the last of these is a bit of an aberration for me).
What is your favourite poem? > 'The Pennycandystore Beyond The El' by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, especially as recited by my ex-husband.
What is your favourite movie? > Sabrina.
What is your favourite song? > 'The Battle Hymn of the Republic', especially as sung by my grandmother.
Who is your favourite composer? > Ralph Vaughan Williams.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > Too many to name. Affirmative action is the one that comes to mind most readily, since I write in that area.
Who are your political heroes? > Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln, James Madison.
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > JFK: 'Where's there's smoke, there's often a smoke-making machine.'
If you could choose anyone, from any walk of life, to be President, who would you choose? > I'm a firm believer in the notion that in the end you only get two choices, both of them always flawed. Thinking about the perfect or even best possible candidate will only cause pain. Of the two, I choose McCain.
What would you do with the UN? > Drain the swamp and pave it over with a new League of Free Republics.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Americans who believe that the United States is the world's greatest threat to peace and security.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > If we play our cards right, the best is yet to come.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Courage, because it is rare.
In what circumstances would you be willing to lie? > What makes you think I'm not lying now?
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Spectator sports.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > Alas, everything.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > Buy Microsoft in 1986.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > Chicago.
What would your ideal holiday be? > A week in London, New York, Paris, Rome or Tokyo. I love big cities.
What is your most treasured possession? > My dad's old army cap from WWII. The cat chewed up the corner a few years ago, so I have to keep it locked away.
What talent would you most like to have? > I would love to be able to dance like Cyd Charisse.
What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job? > Newspaper columnist.
Who is your favourite comedian or humorist? > Lewis Carroll. His photo is hung on my wall.
Who are your sporting heroes? > I'm not big on athletes, but I'm willing to make an exception for Ozzie Smith. I love a good shortstop.
How, if at all, would you change your life were you suddenly to win or inherit an enormously large sum of money? > First, I would have the cleaning ladies come in more often.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > Benjamin Disraeli, David Hume and Mark Twain would be good for starters.
What animal would you most like to be? > I would love to be an impala, but I'm really more of a goat. Goats can be very useful if you know how to use them.
[The normblog profile is a weekly Friday morning feature. A list of all the profiles to date, and the links to them, can be found here.]