Duquesne Law Dean Kenneth Gormley has been named the new President of Duquesne University, effective July 1. Professor Nancy Perkins will serve as interim dean until a permanent dean has been identified.
From an email message which I received earlier today:
Title: Dean, Chief Academic Officer School: The Santa Barbara & Ventura Colleges of Law Location: Santa Barbara, CA Description: The Dean is the Chief Academic Officer of the colleges. Reporting to the Executive Director, the Dean is responsible for overall academic endeavors and serves as the Chief Administrative Officer in the absence of the Executive Director. Academic excellence, program growth and mission achievement are top priorities. The Dean leads academic planning, faculty development, alliance-building, accreditation and compliance, institutional planning and research, and student assessment and improvement. The Dean is expected to be a strong communicator and leader on campus, within the colleges, and in the community. View the full job description and apply here: http://chk.tbe.taleo.net/chk01/ats/careers/requisition.jsp?org=TCSES&cws=51&rid=1843
The ABA Standard 509 reports came out a few weeks ago, and there are many alarming statistics in them, but none quite so disturbing as the admissions information from Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School. The class that Cooley admitted in 2015 is statistically the worst entering class of law students in the history of American legal education at an ABA-Accredited law school, and that is saying something.
Just last year, Cooley, for many years the easiest law school to get into in America, was winning praise for not following many of its competitor schools and dramatically lowering their admission standards. (Continued below the fold)
Professor Jerry Anderson of Drake University Law School has been named the school's new dean, effective July 1, 2016. He succeeds Ben Ullem, who is currently serving a two-year term as dean of the Law School. Anderson holds a JD from Stanford Law.
From an email message which I received a few days ago:
Visiting Assistant Professor 2015-2016 Academic Year Criminal Law and Procedure
The University of Oklahoma College of Law invites applications for a one academic year visiting assistant professor.
The successful candidate will be expected to teach one section of first year Criminal Law, one section of Criminal Procedure I (a required course focusing on the Constitutional protections for the criminally accused), and two upper level elective courses in areas of interest to the candidate and which enhance our current curriculum. Examples of potential courses might include: Sentencing, Death Penalty Practice, White Collar Crime, Internet and Computer Crime, or Healthcare Fraud. The College of Law has core strengths in the areas of Native American Law and Oil & Gas, Natural Resources, and Energy Law and courses relevant to these areas may also be of interest.
Prior teaching experience (law school or broader university teaching) is strongly preferred. Prior criminal law practice experience is also preferred. For more information please see: https://jobs.ou.edu/applicants/jsp/shared/position/JobDetails_css.jsp?postingId=349606.
The University of Pittsburgh School of Law invites applications for two 2016-17 visiting faculty positions for one or two semesters. The first is primarily in health law. The position would include teaching a survey course in Health Law and/or a course in Bioethics and Law. Other health law courses are desirable although not required. Applicants should also indicate additional courses they are interested in teaching. Although not a necessity, it would particularly welcome inclusion of a course in Patent Law as a secondary area.
It also invites applications for a visiting position in Energy Law. This position is part of its new Energy Law & Policy Institute, an interdisciplinary institute of the University of Pittsburgh. Applicants should indicate what courses they are interested in teaching in the field of energy law and, if applicable, any additional courses beyond that field. It would welcome applicants who could offer to teach a course in Property or Estates and Trusts as a secondary area. Applicants should submit a letter of interest, a cv, and a list of three references. In furtherance of its strong institutional commitment to a diverse faculty, it encourages applications from minorities, women, and others who would add to the faculty diversity.
Please contact: Professor George Taylor, Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee, University of Pittsburgh School of Law, 3900 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15260. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Email submissions are preferred. The closing date for applications is Friday, February 26, 2016.
Today at Sundance, Nate Parker's new movie, Birth of a Nation, premieres. What a great name for a movie about Nat Turner's rebellion. It's a terrific response to D.W. Griffiths, and doesn't the name tell us a lot about our nation's origins in the violence of slavery? I can't wait to see this and what Parker does with the violence in the wake of the rebellion ... and perhaps Thomas Gray and James French. In the meantime, if you're interested in more about the violence in the aftermath, the legislature's response, and the trials check this out.
The illustration is the Sussex County Courthouse, which is one of the few structures in the area still standing from the era of rebellioin.
American University Law has announced four finalists in its search for a new dean. They are:
Robert Ahdieh, Vice Dean and K.H. Gyr Professor of Private International Law, Emory University Law; Camille Nelson, Former Dean and Professor of Law, Suffolk University Law School; Andrew Popper, Professor of Law and Former Deputy Dean, American University Law; and Brent White, Associate Dean for Programs and Global Initiatives and Professor of Law, University of Arizona Law.
Given the perceived failures of the traditional civil rights agenda in bringing about racial equality in the U.S., a number of black commentators argue that a program of reparations is the only legitimate means of making up for three hundred plus years of slavery. More recently, some white commentators have also supported a variant of the reparations concept—for example, the government financing a Community Reinvestment funds that would be controlled by the black community and render affirmative action obsolete. Do such proposals have any realistic chance of working their way through the political system? Would there be any legal impediments to such a broadly-conceived reparations policy?
Coates' point is that he expects more from Sanders, who's running as a radical challenger of the status quo. Certainly Sanders' statement seems quite moderate.
This makes me wonder if once Donald Trump gets the Republican nomination and he decides to run to the left of Hilary Clinton (because, hey, why not -- he wants to be president -- and consistency isn't an issue for Trump), will he come out in favor of reparations?
My nation's journey toward justice has not been easy and it is not over. The racial bigotry fed by slavery did not end with slavery or with segregation. And many of the issues that still trouble America have roots in the bitter experience of other times. But however long the journey, our destination is set: liberty and justice for all. ...
We know that these challenges can be overcome, because history moves in the direction of justice. The evils of slavery were accepted and unchanged for centuries. Yet, eventually, the human heart would not abide them. There is a voice of conscience and hope in every man and woman that will not be silenced -- what Martin Luther King called a certain kind of fire that no water could put out. That flame could not be extinguished at the Birmingham jail. It could not be stamped out at Robben Island Prison. It was seen in the darkness here at Goree Island, where no chain could bind the soul. This untamed fire of justice continues to burn in the affairs of man, and it lights the way before us.
I am sad to learn from the New York Times that Forrest McDonald has passed away in Tuscaloosa. He was a leading historian of the founding era. My relationship with McDonald began, as happens so often for me, the old fashioned way -- through his books. I read We the People when I was in college and was trying to get a handle on quantitative methods in history. I'd heard that We the People was an important place to start -- and then later in a fabulous course on the American Revolution taught by Richard Beeman I read Novus Ordo Seclorum. The latter, though it was published 30 years after We the People, was a successor in that it looked at ideology of the founding generation, rather than economic interest. It really resonated with me -- and all the more so because had just read Bailyn's Ideological Origins of the American Revolution.
Though the New York Timesobituary emphasizes his conservative ideas (both the obit and his wikipedia page conclude with the observation that he was a self-described paleo conservative), for me the significance of his work is not that he was conservative. It's that he communicated in crisp prose the insights about economics and ideology of the founding generation. Ideas mattered, he argued, for the framers of the Constitution and he suggested how that was the case. bI take it the pendulum is now swinging back and we're maybe not taking ideas as seriously as we once did. Maybe that will change again soon and we'll be back to focusing on ideas.
One of my great hopes when I moved to the University of Alabama was that I'd have a chance to spend some quality time with McDonald. I thought it would be a great treat to get his help on my own work on the ideology and economics of pro-slavery thought. Alas, I did not have the chance to spend much time with him; we served on a dissertation committee together and he was kind enough to ask about my work whenever we crossed paths, thought that wasn't as frequent as I would have liked.
In December the LSAC administered 29,115 LSATs. That is up 1.9% over the December 2015 administrations. I heard a rumor yesterday evening that the registrations for the February 2016 administration are down, but only about 1%, from last year.
Our current dean has just publicly announced his intention to step down and we are in the beginning stages of formulating a process to look for a new dean. Our faculty has a strong research profile, our clinic has been very actively involved in working to solve this region's (and country's) racial and economic problems, and we are otherwise overflowing with thoughtful and committed faculty members. Our students are certainly wonderful too! If you are interested in knowing more about our law school, please feel free to reach out to me (or any of my colleagues) via email. I'd love to tell you more about what we have going for us and also how you could help us move forward. Thanks!
The LSAC is reporting that "As of 01/15/16, there are 157,319 2016 applications submitted by 25,260 applicants for the 2016–2017 academic year. Applicants are up 2.0% and applications are down 0.3% from 2015–2016. Last year at this time, we had 45% of the preliminary final applicant count." Based on this preliminary data, one would predict that there will be around 56,133 applicants for 2016-17.
Today, Villanova University is announcing a gift of $25 million from alumnus Charles "Chuck" Widger, founder and chairman of Brinker Capital. We will be known as the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. I was pleased to learn that the primary use of the funds will be for student scholarships, though there will also be some academic programming and a new inter-disciplinary professorship.
Is it true, as Alice Goffman asserted in On the Run, that
To round up enough young men to meet their informal quotas and satisfy their superiors, the [Philadelphia] police wait outside hospitals serving poor Black communities and run the IDs of the men walking inside. (p. 55)
In his recent New York Times profile, Gideon Lewis-Kraus wrote that he had found corroboration for the claim “that officers run IDs in maternity wards to arrest wanted fathers.” I have already provided links showing that his three newspaper articles – from Dallas, New Orleans, and Brockton, MA – described incidents that were not at all similar to Goffman’s claims of a police gantlet at the door, or routine searches of maternity patient and visitor lists.
In this post, I will address Lewis-Kraus’s other supposed corroboration, based on “a Philadelphia public defender and a deputy mayor [who] told me that the practice does not at all seem beyond plausibility.”
Needless to say, many untrue things may not “seem beyond plausibility,” so that is hardly confirmation that the police cordon ever really existed. Moreover, “seeming plausibility” falls far well short of any standard of proof previously known to law, journalism, or social science, and the comment itself obviously implies that Lewis-Kraus’s sources had no first-hand – or even second-hand – information about the alleged police activity in hospitals.
Even though Lewis-Kraus’s assertion is basically meaningless, I decided to follow up by contacting Everett Gillison, who served under Philadelphia’s former Mayor Michael Nutter, as Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Chief of Staff (he was in office until end of Nutter’s second term, which was Jan. 4 of this year). Gillison had previously spent 28 years with the Philadelphia Defender Service, ultimately as a senior trial attorney in the Special Defense and Homicide Unit.
I provided Gillison with the Goffman quote at the beginning of this post, and asked if it described a “standard practice” of the Philadelphia police (as Goffman had called it on page 34 of On the Run). He replied,
The passage about hospitals is NOT in any way a standard practice. I spent almost 28 years as a public defender in Philadelphia and the last 8 years as Deputy Mayor and Chief of Staff. This is not a practice, period. (Emphasis original.)
When Lewis-Kraus pressed Goffman about the accuracy of one of her claims – the article does not say which one – she objected to “getting officials who are white men in power to corroborate them.” “Finding ‘legitimate’ people to validate the claims,” she said, “feels wrong to me on just about every level.’
Goffman’s position would make her enviably impervious to refutation, but put that aside. Nothing should feel wrong about asking Everett Gillison about the police in Philadelphia. He is an African-American who has dedicated virtually his entire professional life to public service, including almost three decades in defense of young men just like Goffman’s informants. He is well aware of actual police abuses and “improper excesses,” as he put it in an email. “They are disturbing enough,” he told me.
The story of routine warrant arrests at Philadelphia hospitals turns out to be an unsubstantiated urban legend. No one other than Alice Goffman has ever reported seeing or hearing of the supposed practice, and no one other than Gideon Lewis-Kraus has even sorta-kinda endorsed its existence. Unfortunately, it has inflicted real harm on real people, including some of Goffman’s own subjects who have allowed severe injuries to go untreated for fear of warrant checks in the emergency room. The New York Times Magazine should never have lent the rumor credence, and would have done a far greater service by helping put it to rest.
There are many other factual problems in On the Run, but this one is the most harmful. I will explain why in my next post.
Many readers will know that I have been very critical of Alice Goffman’s claims, in On the Run, that the Philadelphia police have had routine access to patient and visitor records in Philadelphia hospitals for the purpose of running warrant checks. No one has ever confirmed Goffman’s assertion, including reporters, such as Jesse Singal, who are otherwise very sympathetic to her.
Now comes Gideon Lewis-Kraus in today’s New York Times Magazine, however, and he sorta-kinda offers some support for the claim – that is, until you check his own sources, which do not actually back him up.
Lewis-Kraus writes the following:
When it comes to Goffman’s assertion that officers run IDs in maternity wards to arrest wanted fathers, another short Internet search produces corroborating examples in Dallas, New Orleans and Brockton, Mass.
Two things jump out immediately. First, Lewis-Kraus evidently found no “corroborating examples” in Philadelphia. Also, the on-line edition of his story (which has been posted since last Tuesday) did not include links to the articles he turned up in his “short Internet search," thus making it difficult to corroborate the alleged corroboration.
I therefore replicated what I assumed to be Lewis-Kraus’s search parameter, and I found three stories from Dallas, New Orleans, and Brockton. Although all three were about arrests in maternity wards, none of them – repeat, none of them – involved “running IDs” in a manner similar to Goffman’s claim. (To make sure that I had the right stories, I asked a reference librarian at Northwestern to repeat the search for the three cities, and to make it as extensive as possible; he found only the same three incidents.)
Two of the cases – in Dallas and New Orleans – involved teenaged new mothers who had been statutorily raped. They had given the names of the fathers to the authorities, who then arrested the older men when they came to visit. (In the New Orleans case, the man was 40 and the juvenile 16.) There was no “running of IDs.” The Brockton case was part of a long-planned, one-day, 23-defendant drug sweep, coordinated by the FBI, the Massachusetts State Police and the Plymouth County district attorney. It likewise had nothing to do with routinely running IDs based on visitor or patient lists.
These three stories simply cannot be read as “corroborating examples” for Goffman’s claim of routine warrant checks in hospitals. If anything, they demonstrate the opposite – that maternity ward arrests are so infrequent that they make the news. In fact, the New Orleans arrest was considered so unusual that it was even reported in New York. If there had ever been a similar incident in Philadelphia – much less three such arrests in one night, as Goffman claims to have observed – why couldn’t Lewis-Kraus find a record of it in the Philadelphia press?
In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Arizona v. ITCA that a state could not demand “documentary evidence” of United States citizenship as a condition of registering to vote in federal elections. This upset Ted Cruz very much. The ruling opened a “hole” in the law, he said, that will allow “non-citizens to register and thereby encourages voter fraud.” He therefore introduced "a commonsense (sic) amendment to the immigration bill that permits states to require I.D. before registering voters.”
After all, we should never just take someone's word about something as important as citizenship.
But this raises an interesting point. If enough questions are raised about Cruz's own citizenship -- by Donald Trump or others -- what sort of documentary evidence would he be able to produce?
As we all know, Cruz was born in Canada to an American mother and a Cuban father. Thus, his claim to U.S. citizenship rests on Section 301(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which applies to children born abroad to "one citizen and one alien parent." Under the terms of the INA, Cruz would not have become a citizen at birth simply because his mother was a citizen. In addition, there was a requirement that she had been physically present in the United States for "a period of ten years, five after the age of fourteen." Thus, it would not be enough for Cruz to produce his own and his mother's birth certificates (as he has already done). He would also have to document his mother's physical presence in the United States for the required time period.
Now ordinarily, I would be more than willing to accept Ted's mother's word for it, say in the form of an affidavit -- she was born Eleanor Darragh in Delaware, and graduated from college in Texas, so it is pretty certain that she fulfilled the residency requirement. But Cruz is a stickler about other people's documentation -- he believes that affidavit-based voting is a "hole" in the National Voter Registration Act -- so it seems only fair to apply the same standard to him. To prove that he actually falls under Section 301(g), Cruz would therefore have to come up with documentary evidence of leases, school attendance, utility bills, or other proof of his mother's physical residence in the United States for the necessary ten years.
Cruz has been pretty cavalier and incurious about his citizenship in the past. When it was revealed that he was a Canadian citizen, he said, "Because I was a U.S. citizen at birth, because I left Calgary when I was 4 and have lived my entire live since then in the U.S., and because I have never taken affirmative steps to claim Canadian citizenship, I assumed that was the end of the matter."
It turns out that he was wrong about that, and he ended up formally renouncing his Canadian citizenship over two years after he was elected to the U.S. Senate. Now we are talking about the presidency, so it only makes "commonsense" (as Cruz once put it) to be careful. Let's see those papers.