Emory Law News Center

June 2015 In the News Archive | Emory University School of Law

Jonathan R. Nash

Nash for The Hill: Is King v. Burwell exceptional, or harbinger?

In King v. Burwell, the court turned to the statute's purpose to resolve ambiguity. There was a time--the middle of the last century--when resort to a statute's purpose was the courts' primary interpretive tool. This changed with the ascendance of textualism. King casts some doubt on the scope of the time-honored Chevron U.S.A. v. Natural Resources Defense Council doctrine, and also on the vitality of textualism. Time will tell the extent to which King is an exceptional case on an exceptional topic, or a harbinger of things to come.

U.S. Supreme Court Chief cites Emory Law Journal article in Obergefell dissent

U.S. Supreme Court Chief cites Emory Law Journal article in Obergefell dissent

In his dissent on the 5-4 Obergefell v. Hodges decision, Chief Justice John Roberts cited an Emory Law Journal article by Ron Den Otter, "Three May Not Be a Crowd: The Case for a Constitutional Right to Plural Marriage."" 64 Emory Law Journal 1977 (2015)

Emory Law experts weigh impact of Supreme Court marriage ruling

Emory Law experts weigh impact of Supreme Court marriage ruling

Today's landmark Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage settles the question of marriage as a fundamental right, and also shows the importance of judicial confirmation hearings, Emory Law professors say. Read comments by Dean Robert Schapiro and Professors Tim Holbrook and Michael Perry.

Schapiro: Obergefell "signifies an openness to recognizing other constitutional rights"

Schapiro: Obergefell "signifies an openness to recognizing other constitutional rights"

Obergefell v. Hodges generated a near record number of amicus briefs, many written or signed by law professors, the National Law Journal writes. Constitutional law students will return to the case 50 years from now, said Emory Law Dean Robert Schapiro. "It's a decision of tremendous significance," he said. "The court's method of recognizing [the right to same-sex marriage] signifies an openness to recognizing other constitutional rights."

Supreme Court decision upholds protections of the Fair Housing Act, Alexander says

Supreme Court decision upholds protections of the Fair Housing Act, Alexander says

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision to uphold the use of disparate impact claims was a huge victory for civil rights, Next City's Cassie Owens writes. "If the Supreme Court elects to reject the possibility of discriminatory impact, it's going to basically be undoing the last 45 years of Fair Housing Act enforcement,' said Emory Law Professor Frank Alexander said, prior to the court's decision. "That result would make it incredibly difficult for the Fair Housing Act to be enforced except when the defendant actually says, 'I refuse to rent to you because of your race.'"

Robert A. Schapiro

Judicial confirmation battles matter, writes Emory Law Dean Robert Schapiro for The Conversation

"Judicial confirmation battles matter. Sometimes they matter a lot. That was the message of today's historic decision finding a constitutional right to same-sex marriage," writes Emory Law Dean Robert Schapiro for The Conversation's expert wrap-up on the Supreme Court decision in favor of same-sex marriage.

Timothy R. Holbrook

Justice Kennedy comes out for same-sex marriage: Holbrook for The Conversation

Today's outcome in Obergefell v Hodges, which rules that bans on same-sex marriages are unconstitutional, was expected by many. What wasn't clear, says Tim Holbrook for The Conversation, was the reasoning the court would use.

Timothy R. Holbrook

Marriage equality? Not so fast, says Holbrook for CNN

Justice Kennedy eloquently expressed the significance of marriage to the LGBT community, and with today's decision "the doors to marriage opened for gays and lesbians across the country," says Emory Law professor Tim Holbrook for CNN. "This is a historic moment that brings much joy and tears to LGBT people all across America."

Alexander Volokh

Volokh: Is it due process or equal protection on Obergefell v. Hodges?

First, congratulations, everybody on Obergefell v. Hodges! Eight out of nine Justices implicitly or explicitly encourage you to "celebrate today's decision." OK, come back when you're done, and read this nitpicking of the Court's rationale. The Court had two rationales here: substantive due process and equal protection.

Robert A. Schapiro

Scalia's conservative revolution falters with Obamacare ruling, Schapiro says

By upholding a key provision of the Affordable Care Act, a U.S. Supreme Court majority demonstrated that while the conservative revolution led by Justice Antonin Scalia may have had a strong impact on the court (and the nation) it has not succeeded in winning over Justice Anthony Kennedy or Chief Justice John Roberts. "Thus, while Justice Scalia has won many battles, he has not won the war," Emory Law Dean Robert Schapiro writes for The Conversation. "And in today's King v Burwell decision he lost a major battle."

Mark Goldfeder

Goldfeder: High court First Amendment rulings are nuanced, not conflicting

"On June 18 the Supreme Court issued several opinions, among them two First Amendment decisions: Reed v. Town of Gilbert, Arizona, and Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans," Emory's Mark Goldfeder writes for The Conversation. "While several prominent analysts have decried these decisions as being fundamentally at odds with each other, the only word I would use to describe the both is: reasonable."

Volokh on Scalia's Shakespearean King v. Burwell dissent

Volokh on Scalia's Shakespearean King v. Burwell dissent

Shakespeare fans will enjoy the language Justice Antonin Scalia employed in his bitter dissent in yesterday's 6-3 decision in the Obamacare case, King v. Burwell, Professor Alexander Volokh writes for the Washington Post blog, The Volokh Conspiracy.

Georgia's same-sex marriage ban affects more than nuptials, Holbrook says

Georgia's same-sex marriage ban affects more than nuptials, Holbrook says

As we await the U.S. Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage, Professor Tim Holbrook talked with Creative Loafing about the effects of Georgia's present 2004 law, which bans such unions. Georgia LGBT couples would still have to travel to states where same-sex marriage is legal to marry, and when they return their marriages wouldn't be recognized. That affects issues including ease of adoption and medical visitation rights, for example.

Ani B. Satz

DNA case explores new territory in genetics law, Satz tells WABE

In May, a federal judge ruled in favor of two warehouse employees who sued after being called into their supervisor's office and asked for saliva samples. The Fulton County case could set a legal precedent and tests a United States genetics law, WABE reports. Now, a trial is underway to determine a monetary award. Professor Ani Satz says that could be difficult because this type of case is new under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. "There's very little precedent for Judge Totenberg about how to assess damages, in fact I can't find any in our region," she says.

Emory Law alumni among Lifetime Achievement Awardees

Emory Law alumni among Lifetime Achievement Awardees

Sonny Morris 69L, Oscar Persons 67L, Leah Ward Sears 80L, and Chilton Davis Varner 76L were among the 2015 honorees at the Daily Report's Lifetime Achievement Awards, given in June. "Many took unpopular stands to do what they thought was right for their clients or law," says the Report.

Jonathan R. Nash

Nash for The Hill: Obama's curious take on King v. Burwell

"President Obama last week opined that the Supreme Court 'probably shouldn't even have ... taken up' King v. Burwell, the case that brings before the high court the question of whether the ObamaCare tax credit applies in states that have opted not to create their own healthcare exchanges," writes Professor Jonathan Nash. But the case meets the criteria for the court to have granted certiorari, and the administration's own arguments to the court belie the president's description of the case as "easy," he adds.

Dorothy A.  Brown

Brown for CNN: McKinney pool party incident has everything to do with race

As in the movie "Rashomon," multiple perspectives tell varied and conflicting stories about the McKinney, Texas pool party incident between a police officer and a 14-year-old girl. According to Emory Law professor Dorothy Brown, race had everything to do with the way the confrontation.

An-Na'im discusses varied views of Shariah on WABE

An-Na'im discusses varied views of Shariah on WABE

Charles Howard Candler Professor of Law Abdullahi An-Na'im is trying to prompt a global discussion between Muslims and others about Islamic law--also known as Shariah law--and why Shariah is viewed as such a threat in western cultures. He recently launched his Future of Shari'a blog, https://scholarblogs.emory.edu/aannaim/. "By its nature Shariah, which is the term I prefer over Islamic law, because as soon as you say Islamic law, which is the English translation, you are implying that it is a law to be imposed by the state, which is contradictory to its nature."

Jonathan R. Nash

Nash for The Hill: The real reason behind the Supreme Court's bankruptcy judges ruling

"In a case handed down last week--Wellness International Network, Ltd. v. Sharif--the Supreme Court upheld the power of bankruptcy judges to hear, with the consent of the parties, matters that fall within the ambit of Article III of the U.S. Constitution. Article III," Professor Jonathan Nash writes for The Hill. Bankruptcy judges are not Article III judges; they are appointed by federal circuit judges for 14-year terms, and their salaries are set by Congress, Nash says. "More disturbing than the court's lack of emphasis on Congress's other options is the failure of the court to come clean over exactly why Congress has not conferred Article III status on bankruptcy judges."

Pennsylvania judges' race attracts millions in outside funding

Pennsylvania judges' race attracts millions in outside funding

As the only state to host a Supreme Court race coming up--an unprecedented contest for three of the seven seats--Pennsylvania now gets the spotlight. Once the summer lull ends, experts say, tens of millions of dollars are likely to flow into the state and onto its airwaves to promote, or attack, the candidates. Court advocates say that money damages the public trust in justice, but studies suggest that it goes beyond perception, said Professor Joanna Shepherd. In a look at contributions and voting records nationwide from 2010 to 2012, she found that the more money business interests spent on a judge's campaign, the more likely the judge's vote would favor a business litigant.

Daily Report features An-Na'im's "Future of Sharia" blog

Daily Report features An-Na'im's "Future of Sharia" blog

Religion and politics aren't generally considered topics of friendly conversation, but they're exactly what an Emory University law professor wants to start a global discussion around. Charles Howard Candler Professor of Law Abdullahi An-Na'im's blog is titled "Future of Sharia." The idea came from a fellow scholar and lecturer in Pakistan, whom An-Na'im said he's never met but has talked to online. "She emailed me after there was an attack on a school in Pakistan [by Islamic extremists], and she said we can't stand for this. We can't remain silent," said An-Na'im, who is a native of Sudan and a practicing Muslim.