Emory Law News Center

2013 In the News Archive | Emory University School of Law

December

Alexander says land bank will help blight in Philadelphia

On a desolate North Philadelphia street, an isolated block of five Victorian rowhouses is surrounded by vacant lots and a commuter rail line. All but one of the two-story houses are vacant and metal signs announcing they are up for property auction by the Philadelphia Housing Authority.

Shanor on hiring those with criminal history: follow EEOC guidelines

How should businesses adjust their employment policies to be sure they are in compliance with the law? "EEOC provides guidance regarding type of job, recency of conviction, and type of crime, etc. Employers can avoid likely litigation by EEOC by following the guidance," Shanor said.

Vandall tells senate proposed malpractice legislation unconstitutional

Legislation that would scrap the current litigation-based system for resolving medical malpractice claims in Georgia would replace it with a government bureaucracy that would drive up costs, the bill's opponents said Wednesday.

Ruling means minors who faced death penalty will be resentenced

Some Georgia prisoners serving life sentences without parole will be re-sentenced after a recent state Supreme Court ruling invalidated the terms under which those inmates were punished. Those who qualify for resentencing would have been sentenced before they turned 18 and faced the death penalty.

Mandela's presidency defined by reconciliation, van der Vyver says

Van der Vyver was fired from his professorship at the University of Pochefstroom in the 1970s for his criticisms of the government's apartheid policy and thereafter launched a campaign of human rights and constitutional reform. Below, van der Vyver shares his memories of Nelson Mandela's presidency and leadership through reconciliation.

The Economist: Holbrook doubts new law needed for patent trolls

In Scandinavian folklore trolls were dumpy with grotesque faces and uncontrollable hair. These horrifying creatures have given their name to patent trolls, who buy up lots of vaguely worded patents and then use them to extract cash from unsuspecting victims -- who pay them off rather than risk a pricey lawsuit.

Georgia can legally bar immigrant college students, Price tells GPB

A case pitting undocumented college students against the University System of Georgia began Thursday in DeKalb County Superior Court. The case pivots on whether it's a violation of federal policy to bar the students from top public colleges.

Reuters cites Velikonja research on corporate governance

In 1998, S&P 500 companies reported that 78 percent of their board members were independent. By 2012 the number was up to 84 percent, says Emory Law Professor Urska Velikonja.

Globalization influences Supreme Court's views on IP law, Holbrook says

In life, certainty comes in the form of death and taxes. In intellectual property law, it comes in the form of change. The quick pace of technology and the complexities of the digital world are forcing changes in all areas of intellectual property. "I think there is more uncertainty and really more uncertainty in acquiring and enforcing patents and trademarks, in particular, than we've seen in many years," he says.

Fineman in the Guardian: why having children is unlike buying a Porsche

Republican outrage over the inclusion of mandatory maternity coverage in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) continues. Greg Mankiw, at Harvard University, and former chair of George W Bush's Council of Economic Advisors, writes: "People who drive a new Porsche pay more for car insurance than those who drive an old Chevy. We consider that fair because which car you drive is a choice. Why isn't having children viewed in the same way?"

Chief Justice commission on professionalism salutes Elliott 63C 66L

The Chief Justice's Commission on Professionalism is celebrating its 25th anniversary and this year we honor A. James Elliott, co-founder of the Commission.

November

"The Vulnerability Approach" Nordic Journal of Law and Justice features Fineman's work

Nordic women's university features Fineman's work in article titled, "The Vulnerability Approach: A way of Bridging the Equality Difference Dilemma?"

Alexander on how land banks should serve cities, homeowners

While the Huntington Urban Renewal Authority's Land Bank Program has become an effective tool for eradicating vacant, abandoned housing quicker and returning the property to productive use, it should not be viewed as a comprehensive solution for all of Huntington's housing woes, a national expert on land bank programs says.

Carter on WABE: be cautious when considering changes to foster care

A working group of state senators Monday heard a second round of testimony on whether the state should further privatize its foster care system, with some agencies advising lawmakers to hold off on more changes until pending reforms are fully implemented.

Fragmented health care makes tuberculosis hard to treat in U.S., Price writes in Newsweek

Ordinary tuberculosis is bad enough. Once a leading cause of death, the airborne disease still ranks second only to AIDS in worldwide fatalities from contagious illness, with 1.3 million dead last year alone, according to WHO. Of people infected, only 10 percent or so will ever develop an active case of tuberculosis. But those victims will need six months or more of continuous, closely supervised anti-TB drug treatment.

Freer on mandatory arbitration and class action waivers

Almost under the radar, the U.S. Supreme Court has been chipping away at the process that enables the American people to seek redress in court when injured. In particular, the court's decisions enforcing arbitration clauses and class action waivers have closed the courthouse door to litigants harmed by corporate wrongdoing. In American Express Corp v. Italian Colors, the Court ruled that class action waivers are enforceable even when they render it functionally impossible for plaintiffs to vindicate their rights under federal law.

Professor Cleaver interview airs Nov. 26, on PBS "Many Rivers to Cross"

Professor Henry Louis Gates travels throughout the United States, taking viewers on an engaging journey through African-American history. He visits key historical sites, partakes in lively debates with some of America's top historians and interviews living eyewitnesses -- including former Black Panther Kathleen Neal Cleaver.

Pardo in WSJ: avoid adjustable-rate mortgages

People should generally steer clear of adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs). In writing for the Experts, I've previously argued that you should think of your home as a consumption cost rather than as an investment. If you adopt this frame of reference, then ARMs have few virtues (if any) to extol.

Velikonja's research on independent boards cited in NY Times "Dealbook"

Decades ago, the boards of corporate America were occupied by the C.E.O. and the C.E.O.'s handpicked friends and colleagues. Today the independent director, an outside director who is not beholden to the chief, dominates the corporate board.

Shanor: Vets have earned their own court

Georgia incarcerates nearly 2,650 veterans in state prisons. Over 1,800 are good candidates for rehabilitation and supervision rather than prison.

Fineman, Marvel dispute claims that coming wave of elderly will swamp healthcare

As we usher in the first health care enrollments under the new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act -- popularly known as "Obamacare" -- the concern over spiking insurance rates is reaching new heights and generating new fights.

October

Emory Law grads post Georgia's highest bar pass rate

Emory University led the pack in the percent of law school graduates passing the State Bar of Georgia's July exam, just barely nudging out the University of Georgia.

Volokh: proposed medical malpractice reform won't violate constitution

A former state attorney general told state senators Tuesday a bill that would replace Georgia's medical malpractice tort system with a workers' compensation-like board is constitutional, contrary to the opinion of the preceeding AG.

Holbrook in Huffington Post: Where are the gay federal appellate judges?

History was made on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013, when Todd M. Hughes, an attorney at the Department of Justice, became the first openly gay person confirmed as a federal appellate judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. This moment is historic and worthy of celebration.

Holbrook: Why being a gay Christian isn't an oxymoron

To many, the words "Gay Christian" are, at best, in tension with each other. For others, particularly those on the political right, those two words are mutually exclusive: being gay or supporting LGBT rights is utterly inconsistent with being Christian. But, it is quite possible for Christians to embrace same-sex marriage and welcome gays and lesbians into their congregations.

Professor Brown in New York Times: Don't be bullied Mr. President

Double down is the advice that I would give President Obama. Do not act unilaterally. Do not ignore the debt ceiling. Do not order the Treasury to issue more debt. A debt shutdown would be a political problem that would require a political solution.

Payne, Romig write on contract drafting for Georgia Bar Journal

Common Ground: Five Essential Writing Skills for Litigators and Contract Drafters. Just what are some of the essential writing skills that highly effective litigators and contract drafters share?

September

"How the West denied China's law," Ruskola in Asia Times

What is international law and who owns it? Why has China become the symbol of a lawless nation after the Cold War? Why is the US seen as the law-enforcer-in-chief while China as the law-breaker? Historically, how is it that the US is invariably seen as the chief exporter of law to the emerging BRICS economies by the international business and legal community?

Patient Injury Act would provide malpractice justice, Shepherd-Bailey says

The Georgia Senate is holding the second of five hearings today on a bold proposal to eliminate the state's medical malpractice system and replace it with a no-blame administrative model that compensates all patients who have been truly harmed.

Tax lien foreclosure lawsuit may have national impact, Alexander tells Post

A lawsuit seeking to stop tax-lien investors from taking homes through foreclosure in the District was filed Tuesday in federal court in the name of Bennie Coleman, the 78-year-old veteran who became a symbol of the city¿s often-abusive tax collection system after he lost his home over a $134 bill.

Volokh in USA Today: The 1 percent of cases that clear Supreme Court hurdle

About 2,000 plaintiffs hope to get picked Sept. 30 when the Supreme Court meets privately for its first conference of the 2013 term. Less than 1% of them are likely to be rewarded.

Pardo in the WSJ: When it's time to change financial advisers

When your financial adviser becomes either inattentive or nonresponsive to your requests, particularly those relating to information and explanation, an alarm bell should immediately go off in your mind.

Georgia Attorney General Olens leads EPIC conference on human trafficking

The Emory Public Interest Committee Conference, "Neighbors for Sale: Modern Slavery in Atlanta," will be held Saturday, Sept. 21, at Emory University School of Law.

August

Ex-Pats abroad supported March on Washington, Dudziak writes in NYTimes

An important but little-known episode in the story of the March on Washington unfolded on Aug. 17, 1963, in a Paris nightclub called the Living Room. James Baldwin and others living abroad met to support the upcoming March on Washington.

Flagship journal moves to Emory Law's Center for the Study of Law and Religion

The Journal of Law and Religion, long the flagship publication in the field, will move to the Center for the Study of Law and Religion (CSLR) at Emory University School of Law in August 2013.

Public confidence in Supreme Court falls to 30-year low, Schapiro writes in Monitor

For the first time in nearly 30 years, the favorability rating of the US Supreme Court has fallen below 50 percent. Lack of public confidence undermines the legitimacy of the court's rulings. Chief Justice Roberts has yet to project an image of a court that stands above politics.

July

Asia Society interviews Ruskola on new book, "Legal Orientalism"

How did lawlessness become an axiom about Chineseness rather than a fact needing to be verified empirically, and how did the United States assume the mantle of law's universal appeal?

Laws barring undercover reporting of agricultural violations conceal abuse, Satz says

Several states have passed 'ag-gag' laws that make it illegal to gather undercover documentation and videos of cruelty to animals at factory farms and in other areas of industrial agriculture. But it is precisely this kind of reporting that exposes and can help stop abuse of animals.

June

Supreme Court takes middle road in DOMA, Prop 8, Schapiro writes in Monitor

In its two decisions that benefit same-sex marriage, the Supreme Court neither remains silent nor makes a definitive ruling. Instead, it demonstrates its power to participate in ongoing public discourse about a controversial social issue, without drowning out further debate.

Alexander shows communities how to transform abandoned properties

Emory Law Professor Frank S. Alexander considers it "the litter of a consumptive society" -- the vacant, abandoned, tax-delinquent and foreclosed properties that pock many of today's cityscapes. The nation has long struggled over what to do with problem properties, a growing liability in a still-soft real estate market. And states and municipalities often lack the laws, tools and expertise to do much about it, Alexander asserts.

Shanor for CNN: "What can the U.S. do about Snowden?"

Edward Snowden, whose disclosures have triggered broad debate over the balance between privacy and national security, has left Hong Kong and is in Moscow, apparently headed to Ecuador.

Dudziak for CNN: Fisher ruling leaves courts "outsized role" in setting policy

When the Supreme Court on Monday sent Fisher v. University of Texas, an affirmative action case, back to the lower court for a second look, supporters of race-conscious policies breathed a sigh of relief.

Kang: population shift may matter more than Voting Rights Act ruling

Michael Kang, a professor at Emory University's law school who specializes in election law, says many are concerned that minorities in Georgia now will have a harder time getting elected. But he says it may not matter as the state's population changes. "We're thinking long term here, but if you've got a lot of immigration among Latinos, you've got population growth among African-Americans. And they constitute a voting majority that votes together cohesively, that obviously changes the politics and makes section 5 just unimportant in the larger context."

Perry on likely effects of DOMA ruling on Georgia's same-sex marriage ban

Emory Law Professor Michael Perry says the DOMA ruling will likely invite challenges to state same-sex marriage bans. But he doesn't expect those challenges to be filed in Georgia. "My guess is that that's already well underway in other states. So there will be no need to sue in Georgia. The suits will come in other states and eventually one of those suits will get to the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court will hand down a decision that will affect all of the states, including Georgia."

Schapiro Talks With NPR's Totenberg on Supreme Court Affirmative Action Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has surprised just about everyone with its decision on affirmative action in higher education. The surprise was an apparent compromise that leaves affirmative action programs intact for now but subjects them to a more rigorous review by the courts. By a 7-to-1 vote, the court largely sidestepped making what could have been a sweeping ruling in a test case from Texas.

Legal scholar reframes the question to find an answer

Mary L. Dudziak thinks that to get to the heart of a matter -- in law and in scholarship -- it can be helpful to start at the edges. To understand domestic law, she looks to its global impact; to understand contemporary war, she looks to its past. It is often at the borders between inside and outside, past and present, that we can more fully see the nature of the core.

Washington Post features Shepherd analysis of judges' campaign financing

In the states that don't have lifetime tenure, appointed judges either have to be reappointed after a given period by the governor, legislature, or a judicial nominating committee, or they have to be retained by the people in what's called a "retention election."

View your home as cost, not investment, Pardo tells Wall Street Journal

Life will be much less stressful if you think of your home primarily as a consumption cost rather than as an investment. Above all else, make sure that you can afford all of the ownership expenses associated with a home (mortgage, insurance, repairs, etc.).

Dudziak's "Law and the Concept of Wartime" published in ABA Journal

Well over a decade after the 2001 terrorist attacks, are we still in a "long war" without an end in sight? Or does the category of "wartime" no longer fit our experience?

Professor Shanor in New York Times, on civil liberties, surveillance

The revelations this week that the federal government has been scooping up records of telephone calls inside the United States for seven years, and secretly collecting information from Internet companies on foreigners overseas for nearly six years, have elicited predictable outrage from liberals and civil libertarians.

Shanor in Huffington Post: We shouldn't bash Russia in Boston bombing discussion

Media commentary concerning the heads-up Russia gave the FBI concerning Tamerlan Tsarnaev's ties to Islamic militants is unequivocal:. "If only Russia had disclosed more about his extremist contacts and actions, the FBI might have been able to stop the Boston Marathon bombing." Russia let us down, or so the story goes.

May

Emory Law's new JM program featured in National Law Journal

There are nearly 30 law schools that have or soon will offer a master's degree for nonlawyers, up from just a handful two years ago. Emory University School of Law is among them.

Emory Law's photo album from 2013 Graduation Ceremonies

See photos from Emory Law's 2013 hooding ceremony.

Pardo in WSJ: Self-Educated Investors Should Know Both Strategy and Tactics

If you plan to go it alone as an investor, without the guidance of a professional, it is crucial to educate yourself. Of course, there exists an inordinate amount of literature regarding investment, and so the question becomes, "How do I figure out what I should read?"

April

Emory Law strengthens focus on career management

Emory University School of Law has announced the integration of its Office of Career Services with its recently established Center for Professional Development and Career Strategy (the Center), furthering its commitment to provide the best professional development resources for students. Lydia Russo has been named to lead the Center as assistant dean for professional development and career strategy.

Pardo in WSJ: Testamentary trusts may inspire work ethic

Individuals, for the most part, fall into one of two categories regarding their attitudes toward work: Either they live to work, or they work to live. If your heir falls squarely in the former category, a dramatic change in wealth is not likely to affect his or her motivation to work.

Guttman 85L on new global legal norms

As multinationals move around the globe, legal systems are cross-pollinated. China is a case in point, says Reuben Guttman, who has just returned from an event in Shanghai dealing with securities dereliction. The session was conducted as part of an ongoing relationship between Emory Law School, a nationally ranked law school based in Atlanta, Georgia and Shanghai Jiao Tong's KoGuan Law School, a nationally ranked law school in China.

Nessouli 13L writes for CNN World Blog on Iraq's oil

The debate over whether the Iraq War was really all about oil may never be fully resolved in some minds, but one thing is clear -- either way, Iraq has yet to really cash in. The country's GDP may have risen several fold in the decade since the war began, yet its income per capita lags not only oil rich neighbors such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Will Iraq be able to meet its oil potential?

Bloomberg quotes Holbrook on gene patenting

A U.S. Supreme Court clash over the patenting of human genes left several justices searching for a middle ground in a case with the potential to redefine rights in the biotechnology and agricultural industries.

Price receives Robert Wood Johnson fellowship to study tuberculosis at U.S. border

As the debate on U.S. immigration reform continues in Congress, Polly Price, professor at Emory University School of Law, will study a lesser-known, public health component of the issue -- the rise of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis along the southern U.S. border.

Brown in Forbes: Reveal how much Congress members pay in taxes

I suspect that if we looked at the tax returns of every member of Congress we would see something close to a 100% itemization rate. Compare that to only a third of the American public, and the numbers would suggest that repeal is the best way forward.

March

Schapiro addresses California's Proposition 8 and same-sex marriage ruling

Robert Shapiro, Dean of Emory Law School, comments on the Supreme Court consideration of California¿s Proposition 8 in an interview with Bill Rankin of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Dudziak op-ed in New York Times: "Obama's Nixonian Precedent"

On March 17, 1969, President Richard M. Nixon began a secret bombing campaign in Cambodia, sending B-52 bombers over the border from South Vietnam. This episode, largely buried in history, resurfaced recently in an unexpected place: the Obama administration's white paper, justifying targeted killings of Americans suspected of involvement in terrorism.

Georgia tries to steer more juveniles toward help

Melissa Carter, director of the Barton Child Law and Policy Center, discusses a proposal to overhaul Georgia¿s juvenile justice system that has passed the House and is expected to be before the Senate this week.

Emory Law launches veterans clinic

A new student-founded clinic at Emory University School of Law will focus on justice for Atlanta-area veterans by providing free legal representation for disability benefit claims and appeal hearings. Students also will work alongside experienced attorneys on legislation and other initiatives to create an alternative court for Georgia veterans involved in criminal proceedings.

Emory Law Ranks at 23 Nationally in U.S. News "Best Graduate Schools 2014"

Emory Law School ranked 23rd in the nation in the annual U.S. News best graduate schools edition, up from 23 last year.

Schapiro considers: Will Georgia be affected if U.S. Supreme Court throws out gay marriage bans? It Depends.

Dean Robert Schapiro assesses the Supreme Court's rulings on two same-sex marriage cases that could become legal landmarks.

February

Blank in Huffington Post: Defining Battlefield in the Age of Drones

After a CIA Predator drone released its guided bomb high over Yemen on Nov. 3, 2002, the resulting explosion did more than kill six suspected al Qaeda terrorists riding in the targeted car .Until that day, armed drones had been used only in Afghanistan, easily identifiable as a traditional battlefield or war zone because it had supported al Qaeda's 9/11 plotters and the U.S. armed response was justifiable self-defense. Any casual observer could see a war was underway.

Dudziak: Obama Declares "Decade of War is Ending" But Covert War Continues

The leak of a White Paper on targeting killings is getting the expected attention from law bloggers and others, with much commentary focused on whether the legal analysis is correct, for example the definition of "imminence." The precise legal analysis is a distraction from more compelling issues, which are taken up by Jack Goldsmith in a Washington Post op-ed. I often disagree with Goldsmith, but this time I find myself in agreement.

January

Widner talks with WABE about human trafficking in Georgia

A Georgia House-Senate study commission has released a new report on human trafficking in Georgia. It updates and expands a report from three years ago, which resulted in a 2011 law imposing much tougher penalties on those who engage in the sex trafficking of children.

An-Na'im: American Muslims need to tell their stories

An-Na¿im believes it¿s time for American Muslims to tell these stories, to talk about who they are on their own terms, and who they are as American citizens. His f book titled ¿What is an American Muslim?¿¿will be published next winter by Oxford University Press. The project arose from a distinguished faculty lecture An-Na¿im gave in 2009, ¿American Secularism and American Muslims: Challenges and Prospects."

Supreme Court reversal in pollution case a win for Clean Water Act, Buzbee says

The Supreme Court ruled today that the 9th Circuit committed a legal error in holding the Los Angeles County Flood Control District liable for violations of its Clean Water Act (CWA) municipal separate storm sewer system (or MS4) pollution discharge permit. The suit, Los Angeles County Flood Control District v. Natural Resources Defense Council, had been initiated by NRDC and allied environmental groups, and its victory below was reversed.

Dudziak in Democracy: "Governing the World: The History of an Idea"

Will there be ¿but one heart to the globe?¿ asks Walt Whitman in a poem that provides an epigraph in Mark Mazower¿s new book, Governing the World: The History of an Idea. At the center of this expansive work is the question of how Americans and Europeans have imagined the world, its peoples, and its nations. Is there but one global identity, as Whitman surmises?