The Central States Law Schools Association 2016 Scholarship Conference will be held on Friday, September 23 and Saturday, September 24 at the University of North Dakota School of Law in Grand Forks, ND.
CSLSA is an organization of law schools dedicated to providing a forum for conversation and collaboration among law school academics. The CSLSA Annual Conference is an opportunity for legal scholars, especially more junior scholars, to present working papers or finished articles on any law-related topic in a relaxed and supportive setting where junior and senior scholars from various disciplines are available to comment. More mature scholars have an opportunity to test new ideas in a less formal setting than is generally available for their work. Scholars from member and nonmember schools are invited to attend.
Registration will formally open in July. Hotel rooms are already available, and more information about the CSLSA conference can be found on our website at www.cslsa.us.
CUNY Law School has announced two of the four finalists in its dean search. They are Dr. Lolita Buckner Inniss (Professor, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law) and Justice Fern Fisher (Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for New York City Courts). The bios for these two finalists are here. CUNY has not yet announced the other two finalists.
Tax professors and other Internal Revenue Code enthusiasts may find amusing the results of the Studio 360 "De-File Your Taxes" challenge to take artistic actions with tax returns. The winning entry, by Erin Farley of Washington, D.C., was a dress made out of tax forms:
A paper by a group of Duke law school students recently posted to SSRN is featured by Matt Levine in BloombergView today. Says Levine:
Meanwhile in less-sovereign debt, the other day I mentioned that some law students may have found a solution to Puerto Rico's debt problems. Here it is; it relies on provisions in the Puerto Rico Civil Code to force creditors to come to the table, negotiate in good faith, and obtain equal benefits for all creditors. It's sort of an effort to construct a bankruptcy regime out of some vague equitable statements in existing law. I like it! Elsewhere here is a report on the "Origins of the Puerto Rico Fiscal Crisis."
I do not know whether to be jealous or proud . . . okay, decision made: Im proud!
Congratulations to Duke Law students Ryan Alexander Berger, Felix Aden, and Sigurdur K. Tryggvason!
I've just heard that Roger Dennis, the founding dean of Drexel Law School -- and before that provost at Rutgers University and dean of Rutgers-Camden Law -- is retiring as dean of Drexel Law. This comes as surprising news to me because Roger has loomed large in my life for so long. Going back to my time in practice I remember some of the partners I worked for at Skadden, Arps talking about their friend Roger, who had been an associate in the antitrust department. When I went into teaching Roger was already dean at Rutgers-Camden and on his way to becoming Provost. Cribbing now a little from the Drexel press release:
Provost M. Brian Blake, PhD, announced that Roger Dennis, founding dean of the Thomas R. Kline School of Law, will retire next year. Dennis has agreed to stay on through the end of the 2016-17 academic year while the University undertakes a national search for his replacement.
Dennis joined the law school during its inaugural academic year, 2006-07. He led the school through the American Bar Association accreditation process in the shortest amount of time possible, resulting in full accreditation in 2011. Dennis also was instrumental in building connections with the Philadelphia legal community, including the relationship that led to noted trial attorney Thomas R. Kline making the largest gift in Drexel history to the school that now bears his name.
“Through one of the most tumultuous times in legal education, Roger has remained the driving force behind [this] innovative and successful institution,” wrote Blake. “As a new provost this year, I am fortunate to benefit from Roger’s expertise as a former provost himself, in addition to his many contributions to our scholarly programs in the Kline School of Law and across [Drexel].”
When Drexel was opening I heard about how fortunate they were to recruit Roger as their dean. In addition to being a friend of this blog and a fellow lover of monuments and courthouses, Roger is a person with immense energy and enthusiasm and talent as an educator, lawyer, and administrator. I had the pleasure of serving on an ABA inspection team he chaired a few years back and saw how masterfully he dealt with a variety of constituents, from the central administration to the faculty and students. I know the entire Drexel community has been lucky to have his talents. He has guided the construction of the school, literally and figuratively. Drexel had built an outstanding faculty (and hired many others who've gone on to great careers elsewhere), been a leader in experiential learning, renovated a beautiful building, and generated impressive fundraising. I'm sure there will be a lot of talk of Roger's legacy for Drexel and I know he'll be missed.
Sanford E. Sarasohn Conference on Critical Issues in Comparative and International Taxation II: Taxation and Migration
Saint Louis University School of Law
March 31, 2017
sponsored by The Center for International and Comparative Law of Saint Louis University School of Law, The Saint Louis University Law Journal, and The Sanford E. Sarasohn Endowment Fund
As ever growing numbers of individuals seek economic and political refuge in Europe and North America, and increasing numbers of individuals and businesses seek refuge from the tax burdens of their home jurisdictions in lower tax jurisdictions, these in- and out- migrations strain the national economies of affected countries causing them to modify their taxation rules and structures. This conference will explore the effects of taxation on migration and the effects of migration on taxation. Papers on any topic related to taxation and migration of individuals or entities are welcome but those offering a critical perspective or addressing the impact of taxation on, and taxation changes relating to acceptance of, migrants from conflict areas are preferred. Please submit paper proposal abstracts by e-mail to Professor Henry Ordower at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than May 25, 2016. Notification of proposal acceptance is targeted for July 1, 2016.
As a condition to participation, those submitting abstracts must commit to produce 1) a draft paper no later than March 13, 2017 for circulation to conference participants and for presentation at the conference and 2) a final original paper no later than June 5, 2017 for publication by Saint Louis University Law Journal. Papers are limited to approximately 15 printed pages, including footnotes.
Saint Louis University will defray some or all travel expenses for accepted presenter/authors. The conference organizers plan to determine the extent of the travel benefit and notify participants by January 12, 2017. If airfare is provided, authors must make their travel arrangements through Saint Louis University School of Law.
Professors Kelly Mulholland, Henry Ordower, and Kerry Ryan will convene the Sarasohn Conference in 2017 as day one of the two-day 20th Critical Tax Theory Conference. The Critical Tax Theory Conference will continue through Saturday, April 1, 2017 at Saint Louis University School of Law and will follow the standard paper/incubator format.
Funding for the conference is provided by the Sanford E. Sarasohn Endowment Fund and the Saint Louis University Law Journal.
Syracuse University School of Law has announced that Dean Craig Boise of Cleveland-Marshall Law will become the New York school's new dean this summer. Boise, who holds a JD from the University of Chicago, and a tax LLM from NYU, joined Cleveland State in 2011.
University of Arizona Professor James Anaya has been named the new dean of the University of Colorado law school, effective this summer. Anaya, who holds a JD from Harvard, joined Arizona Law in 1999. He takes over from Dean Phil Weiser.
Fellow Labor & Employment Law Professor Eric Fink has decided to challenge the President Pro Tem of the NC Senate, Phil Berger (R). Berger is widely regarded in these parts as the chief legislative architect of the massive and regressive rewrite of many NC statutes since the Tea Party wave of 2010. As a native North Carolinian and North Carolina lawyer, HB2 (the recent statute referred to very misleadingly as the "Bathroom Bill") is but the most recent of a series of extremely troubling legislation in the Tar Heel State. Much of it thanks to Phil Berger, who was a reasonable and capable small town lawyer in Eden, NC before becoming a professional politician.
More on Eric's run is here. Cribbing a bit from the article:
“The fact that Phil Berger is running unopposed, the more I thought about it and talked it over with friends, it struck me as something that was not good,” Fink said during a phone interview from his home on Wednesday morning. “Given my views, the fact is that he’s been a leader for things that have happened in Raleigh that I think are going in a bad direction.”
Fink said he expected a Democratic challenger to take on Berger and was surprised when the primaries came in March and no one had stepped up. With the swift passage of House Bill 2 at the end of March, Fink said things became more urgent.
“That’s just such a strong new example of the kind of measures they have been adopting that I think are just not good,” Fink said. “My goal is to challenge the direction that the Republicans have been moving in and also to put forward an alternative, in broad ideas and concrete real ideas for restoring public schools and making sure everyone in the state is treated with full and equal respect.”
Eric has to get 5000 signatures from voters in the Senate District to get on the ballot as an Independent.
The LSAC is reporting that "As of 04/08/16, there are 322,471 applications submitted by 49,509 applicants for the 2016–2017 academic year. Applicants are up 1.6% and applications are up 1.9% from 2015–2016. Last year at this time, we had 88% of the preliminary final applicant count." Based on this preliminary data, one would predict that there will be around 56,260 applicants for 2016-17.
There's great news coming out of Loyola Law School - Los Angeles today. Professor Michael Waterstone, who joined the Loyola - LA faculty in 2006,, has been named the school's dean, effective this summer. Michael, who holds a JD from Harvard, got his start at the University of Mississippi (back when I was still at Alabama) and he's long been a wonderful colleague. Loyola will undoubtedly thrive under Michael's leadership.
On this day in 1981, Washington Post reporter Janet Cooke was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for a front-page article titled “Jimmy’s World,” in which she told the story of an eight year old heroin addict. Just two days later, the Post announced that the story was contrived – Jimmy was at best a composite, and most likely did not exist at all – and the Pulitzer was returned. On April 19, the Post published a front-page analysis by ombudsman Bill Green, explaining how the paper had missed warning signs and red flags. “This is essentially a story of the failure of a system that, in another industry, might be called ‘quality control,’” he wrote. “On newspapers, it is called editing.”
Cooke’s original assignment, from editor Vivian Aplin-Brownlee, was for the Post’s Thursday section on local news. A new type of heroin, which caused skin ulcerations, was rumored to be circulating in the area, and Cooke was asked to investigate and report on it. She did not find the new heroin, but she did come back with the story of a shockingly young addict. She pitched the story to Aplin-Brownlee, who immediately referred it to the more prestigious Metro section.
The Post’s Metro section had an extensive vetting process, with multiple editors -- ultimately including both Bob Woodward and Ben Bradlee -- reviewing every story. Nonetheless, the process failed to identify Cooke’s fraud. The first error occurred when editor Milton Coleman told Cooke that she could offer anonymity to Jimmy’s mother and her boyfriend. From that point forward, nobody at the Post pressed Cooke for identifying information about her informants. As ombudsman Green put it,
Coleman did not ask the mother’s name or the family’s street address. He had promised Cooke confidentiality for her sources. The jugular of journalism lay exposed – the faith an editor has to place in a reporter.
Other editors continued to take a hands-off approach to Cooke and her sources. On the rare occasion that she was asked for more information, Cooke responded that “Ron,” the invented lover of Jimmy’s mother, had threatened her life and therefore could not be approached. Bob Woodward later said, “In a way, both [Cooke] and the story were almost too good to be true.” “This story was so well-written and tied together so well,” he explained, that my alarm bells simply didn’t go off. My skepticism left me.” Several other reporters and editors were somewhat less credulous, but they suppressed their misgivings in light of the story’s great appeal.
“Jimmy’s World” ran on the front page of the Washington Post on Sunday, September 28, 1980. It was over 2200 words long – which was very long for a newspaper – and it was distributed to almost 900,000 readers. Telephones at the Post began ringing almost immediately, as concerned citizens insisted that the paper do something to find and help Jimmy.
There were doubters from the beginning. Dr. Alyce Gullattee, of Howard University’s Institute for Substance Abuse and Addiction, said that she did not believe that Jimmy’s mother “fired up” in front of Cooke. “Junkies just don’t trust reporters like that,” she said. Even Washington’s Mayor Marion Barry – who turned out to know a thing or two about drug use himself – expressed doubts. “I’ve been told the story is part myth, part reality,” he said. Speaking of the police, he continued, “We all have agreed that we don’t believe that the mother or the pusher would allow a reporter to see them shoot up.”
Confronted by implausibilities in the article, the Post editors did not insist on confirmation, documentation, or even prior consistent statements. Instead, the Post editors stood by their story and their reporter, even when she was not able to show them the house where Jimmy allegedly lived. When pressed for details, in light of the public doubts, Cooke told her editors that the family had moved to Baltimore, which evidently satisfied them. According to Green, the Post “stuck by its story and what it described as its First Amendment rights to protect its sources.”
Ironically, Cooke’s story unraveled only because the Post nominated her for a Pulitzer Prize, which was publicly awarded on April 13, 1981. Based upon Cooke’s official biography, which accompanied the Associated Press announcement of the award, it was discovered by her hometown newspaper, the Toledo Blade, that she had lied on her resume. She claimed to have graduated magna cum laude from Vassar, and even to have been the valedictorian, when in fact she had studied there for only one year, before attending and graduating from Toledo University. She had also falsely claimed to have studied at the Sorbonne. The Blade provided this information to the AP, which in turn contacted the Post.
Cooke’s editors finally confronted her, having confirmed that she had not graduated from Vassar. The resume discrepancies “cast serious doubts on her honesty [and] her honesty, or the lack of it, was the only thing that held the ‘Jimmy’ story together.”
For a while, Cooke’ insisted that that story was true. Fortunately for the Post, Cooke’s notes and tape recordings had been preserved. There was nothing in them about a child addict.
Cooke had no choice but to confess the fraud. “Jimmy is a composite,” she said, although everyone realized that was just a rationalization for what Green later called a “journalistic felony.” The story was retracted and the Pulitzer Prize was returned.
Green’s report was published on the Post’s front page on April 19, 1981, only six days after Cooke’s fraud had been exposed, under the headline “Janet’s World: The Story of a Child Who Never Existed – How and Why it Came to Be Published.” Green concluded, “This business of trusting reporters absolutely goes too far. There is a point when total reliance on this kind of trust allows the editor to duck his own responsibility. Editors have to insist on knowing and verifying.”
Is there a lesson in this sad tale for lawyers, beyond the obvious caution against falsifying evidence? We would all probably like to think that our commitment to adversarial testing -- cross examination; extensive depositions; document discovery -- provides adequate protection against fraud. On the other hand, devotion to our clients, and to the merits of our cases, risks putting us in the same stance as the Post's editors took toward Cooke -- placing trust ahead of verification. Our strongest tool, therefore, may well be an ingrained professional skepticism, or the deep-seated instinct to leave no fact unexamined.
Finally, it is worth noting that the ultimate key to the fraud was the preservation of Cooke's original notes, in which the editors found no mention of "Jimmy" or anyone like him. Lawyers spend tremendous amounts of time on discovery, searching for the proverbial "smoking gun," but sometimes it is the absence of evidence that makes all the difference.
[Source: Bill Green, "Janet's World," Washington Post, April 19, 1981.]
I'm very happy to be sharing the following job description announcement--the text is cut & pasted from the following link: https://jobs.slu.edu (Requisition #: F20160317). We're doing a national search, so do pass this on to anyone who you think might be interested!
Saint Louis University invites applications and nominations for the position of Dean of the School of Law. Saint Louis University is a Catholic, Jesuit institution dedicated to teaching, scholarship, research, public service and social justice. Founded in 1843, the School of Law is the oldest law school west of the Mississippi and is characterized by an engaged and service-oriented student body, an intellectually vibrant community of scholars, and a focus on excellence in teaching.
The School of Law supports the professional development of its students and the scholarly contributions of its faculty through three Centers of Excellence: The Center for Health Law Studies, The William C. Wefel Center for Employment Law and The Center for International and Comparative Law. The Center for Health Law Studies is widely considered to be the top health law program in the nation and attracts students from across the country, many of whom complete one of our eleven joint-degree programs. Recent years have seen significant expansion to the legal skills program and experiential learning opportunities, including clinical and field placement programs that serve hundreds of students each year and result in tens of thousands of hours of legal services to our community. The legal clinics have also been nationally recognized for their public interest work.
The Dean serves as the academic, fiscal and administrative leader of the School of Law. The successful applicant will have a record of teaching and scholarship that meets the standards for appointment to the law faculty with tenure; a demonstrated commitment to institutional and community service; a passion for academic excellence and free, active, and original intellectual inquiry; an understanding of and willingness to foster the Jesuit mission; a concrete vision for the school’s future; strong interpersonal and communication skills and the ability to develop relationships with all of the law school’s constituencies.
The School of Law is seeking a Dean who will articulate a strategic vision to enhance the reputation, strengthen the school’s fiscal position, and lead the School’s efforts to meet the challenges of the changing landscape for legal education. The successful applicant should have a JD and demonstrate critical thinking and an ability to adapt to the changing market while moving the School of Law forward successfully.
Position Responsibilities Strategic Leadership: working collaboratively with students, faculty, staff, alumni and University administration to develop and implement a strategic plan that builds on the school’s strengths, enhances its reputation, and does so in a financially responsible manner.
Academic Quality: ensuring that rigorous academic programs continue to attract students, create justice oriented legal thinkers, and propel graduates into successful legal careers.
Fundraising: effectively communicating the strengths and excellence of the School of Law to alumni and donors in order to maintain scholarship and provide new opportunities for development.
Management: transparently managing the School’s resources, both personnel and financial, to achieve the School’s mission.
External and University Relations: strengthening and developing ties with the University and the surrounding community and serving as the face of the School of Law to all external entities including media.
Diversity: valuing diversity and making our institution a welcoming place for faculty, students and staff from a variety of backgrounds.
I'm delighted to mention that the March 2016 issue of the American Journal of Legal Historyis up on the web and the hard copy will be arriving in subscribers' mailboxes very soon. This is the inaugural issue with our new publisher, Oxford University Press. From our founding in 1957 through last year the journal was published by Temple University's law school. As part of the re-launch, Stefan Vogenauer and I decided we wanted to hear from a slate of distinguished legal historians about where legal history scholarship is going (or should be going). We asked them to write articles about the "future of legal history." We invited them to write about how they were thinking about the future of legal history. Our authors ended up writing on a huge range, from the methods of analysis to the subjects, to what motivates us to write.
Also this morning at the OUP Blog I have a post about my aspirations for the American Journal of Legal History. The post emphasizes the applied aspects of legal history, but I hope and expect that we'll be publishing terrific scholarship across a broad range of subjects and geographic locations and time periods. Some will speak rather directly, I expect, to contemporary policy; much of the work will be directed at other questions and audiences. I love the illustration the editors chose for the post -- the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Close followers of faculty lounge may recall that it was the subject of a trivia question a while back.
This new assistant professor position will work as a lawyer and teacher co-leading the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems’ (CAFS) dynamic clinical work with students, our LLM Fellows, and Program Officer for Legal Design to develop legal tools, resources and provide legal representation to support sustainable food systems. Responsibilities include developing creative legal resources for broad use; provision of legal advice; outreach and collaboration with local, national, and international organizations to amplify our progressive work; and representation of CAFS at conferences, professional organizations and vis a vis the media.
For more about our leading edge clinic click here; for examples of our legal products click here. Teaching responsibilities include supervising students on projects & collaborating/assisting the other CAFS faculty in developing and teaching doctrinal courses. Requires min 2-3 yrs relevant legal practice exp, demonstrated commitment to sustainable food & agriculture, excellent analytical, research & writing skills, and interest in teaching. This is a two year position, with the second year dependent upon funding availability.
For more information on this and other positions, please visit our website at http://www.vermontlaw.edu/community/about-vls/employment-opportunities.
Apply via the link above or send a resume and cover letter with salary requirements to Human Resources, Vermont Law School, P.O. Box 96, South Royalton, VT 05068 or to email@example.com.
Melissa Fussell of William and Mary Law School has a terrific piece, "Dead Men Bring No Claims: How Takings Claims Can Provide Redress for Real Property Owning Victims of Jim Crow Race Riots," forthcoming in the William and Mary Law Review. Fussell explores a harrowing election-day riot in Ocoee, Florida in November 1920. Though much mystery surrounds the riot, it seems that violence began when some African African citizens tried to vote. July Perry, who was lynched after he shot at some deputies who had surrounded his house in search of another African American man who had attempted to vote that day, Moses Norman. Many of the African American residents of the "northern quarter" of Ocoee fled or hid. An unknown number of African Americans died as their community was burned.
Fussell follows the aftermath of the riot, in which one of the men involved in the riot becomes the administrator of an estate of a victim and then ... the administrator ends up purchasing real property from the victim's estate. This is great historical detective work, which includes work in the probate records of Orange County. This is reminder that the post-World War I violence against African American communities was widespread. Perhaps most infuriating of all of this -- and there's a lot of competition for this -- was the theme that emerged in the wake of the riot that the mob that destroyed the African American community upheld the rule of law.
Read the full story, as well as Fussell's argument about what could be tried now, at ssrn.
Call for Papers: Baxter Family Competition on Federalism
The overarching goal of this prestigious bi-annual essay competition is to advance research and foster informed debate on federalism by law undergraduate and graduate law students, as well as law PhD candidates, junior legal scholars and junior lawyers from around the world.
Prizes will be awarded by an International Jury. First-, second- and third-place winners will receive prizes of $5,000, $3,000 and $1,000 respectively. Competition finalists will also be given an opportunity to present their papers at a Symposium organized by McGill University's Faculty of Law, in Montreal, Canada, in the spring of 2017.
Participants are invited to submit an original essay related to an aspect of federal theory or practice by September 30, 2016. Given that the Baxter Family Competition on Federalism is being launched to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation of 1867, submissions that examine the past, present and future of Canadian federalism from comparative angles are particularly encouraged.
While essays can discuss any one of a wide range of topics related to federalism, the organizers of the Baxter Family Competition on Federalism are particularly interested in submissions centered on two particular aspects of the "federal phenomenon":
My post on Justice Alito’s concurring opinion in Evenwelwas a critique of his jurisprudence, not his vocabulary. Some judges and academics claim to be able to determine the “original public meaning” of words that were written over 200 years ago, as though that were something easily accessible. In fact, we end up with law office history, produced by the research of clerks – almost none of whom are trained as historians – who trawl through selected sources until they find something they can use. To the contrary, and as a historian, I would say that “original public meaning” is at best elusive, usually ambiguous, and frequently unobtainable – especially when research is confined to the relatively short period between the certiorari grant and the opinion.
This is well illustrated, I think, by Alito’s reference to the Solicitor General’s, and the majority's, “meretricious argument." What is the original public meaning of “meretricious,” and how might it be interpreted by law clerks fifty or one hundred years from now? Were they to consult 2016 dictionaries, they might well conclude that Alito meant it as a biting insult, comparing his colleagues to prostitutes, rather than as a mild rebuke about the superficiality of their position.
Even from today’s perspective, there is no single definitive meaning of the word. If one were to call a political candidate meretricious – and I am not naming names – many would understand it to mean whorish. The same word applied to a SCOTUS opinion means something quite different. Discerning the “original public meaning” of the term would be futile because it is highly variable and contingent.
As I wrote in my original post, I realize of course that Justice Alito intended the most benign meaning when he wrote his concurrence. But that is precisely the problem with claims to have discovered original public meaning in the words of a statute or the Constitution – they are inherently subjective and contingent.
Arguments to the contrary are meretricious, or perhaps not.