Emory Law News Center

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

Timothy R. Holbrook

We don't need new patent troll laws yet, Holbrook says

Congress is on the verge of passing patent reform legislation which contains myriad provisions: standards for pleading a case far beyond other forms of litigation, making the loser pay in patent litigation and limiting discovery until the court has interpreted what the patent covers. There seems to be much enthusiasm, with bills making it out of committee in both the House and Senate in a surprising show of bipartisanship. Except, we don"t need it, at least not yet.

Joanna M. Shepherd

Shepherd for National Law Review: federal caseload bump "a small price for equal justice"

Diversity jurisdiction protects out-of-state residents from potentially biased state courts, Shepherd writes for the National Law Review. "It is meant to ensure that commercial cases would be heard in an impartial forum to protect foreign litigants from local bias." Adhering the to "minimal diversity" standard called for by Article III of the Constitution would increase federal district courts' caseloads by an estimated 7.7 percent. "An additional 43 cases per year is a small price to pay for equal justice," she writes.

Labor guidelines still murky on independent contractor vs. employee, Shanor tells WABE

Labor guidelines still murky on independent contractor vs. employee, Shanor tells WABE

A study by the National Employment Labor Project estimates nearly one in three workers in the U.S. is misclassified. That can mean a loss of pay and benefits for employees. That's what a number of truckers in Georgia contend is happening to them. While the U.S. Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division recently released a "letter of guidance" in an effort to clarify who is an employee and who is an independent contractor, the federal guidance is still indefinite, Professor Charles Shanor tells WABE.

Pardo in the NY Times: Judge issues "clarion call" for more forgiving student debt standard

Pardo in the NY Times: Judge issues "clarion call" for more forgiving student debt standard

For decades, student loan debt has been notoriously difficult to discharge, largely due to the "Brunner test" used to interpret whether repaying a loan represents an undue hardship. Federal Judge Frank Easterbrook's opinion in Susan Krieger's 2013 debt case seemed to signal that requiring debtors to prove their futures are "hopeless," is taking that standard too far. That's a big deal, Emory Law Professor Rafael Pardo tells the New York Times.

Jonathan R. Nash

Nash for The Hill: Michigan v. EPA and the Chevron deference doctrine

In Michigan v. EPA, the Supreme Court invalidated the Environmental Protection Agency's choice not to consider costs in determining whether to regulate hazardous air pollutants from power plants, writes Emory Law Professor Jonathan Nash, in an opinion article for The Hill. "Going forward, the case casts a shadow over the scope of agency deference under the so-called Chevron doctrine," Nash says. "The doctrine is a critical component of existing administrative law, requiring courts to defer to agencies' interpretations of ambiguous statutes."

Guttman 85L on rethinking Atticus Finch

Guttman 85L on rethinking Atticus Finch

"I suppose that there is some sadness in learning the true prejudices of Atticus Finch," Reuben Guttman 85L writes for The Global Legal Post. "But maybe Harper Lee has once again done the nation a service by reminding us that racism--and the discrimination that it produces--can be harbored by the most unlikely of characters."

Volokh on WDET: How the end of Aramark's contract affects Michigan prisons

Volokh on WDET: How the end of Aramark's contract affects Michigan prisons

Associate Professor Sasha Volokh talked with WDET's Stephen Henderson about private prison services, specifically about the abrupt end of Michigan's contract with the private food service company Aramark, and the differences between public and private prison services.

Despite evangelical concerns, same-sex marriage doesn't affect churches, Schapiro says

Despite evangelical concerns, same-sex marriage doesn't affect churches, Schapiro says

Evangelical Christians who have emphasized marriage as a union, under God, between a man and a woman, are now pondering how to live in an age in which marriage has taken on another legal definition, Patrik Jonsson writes in the Christian Science Monitor. But the Obergefell ruling has no impact on church marriages, says Emory Law Dean Robert Schapiro. "No church or synagogue is going to be required to allow same-sex marriage, nor will any pastor or minister be required to perform them."

Dorothy A.  Brown

Brown for CNN: The power of white outrage

South Carolina state Rep. Jenny Horne is an overnight national hero because of her speech on the State House floor, arguing for the "immediate and swift removal" of the Confederate flag, writes Emory Law Professor Dorothy Brown. "She became as angry as most of the blacks in South Carolina have been about this issue for years. Black anger, however, wasn't sufficient," Brown writes. "In order for the flag to come down we needed white anger. And several hours after Horne 's speech, the final vote was taken by the South Carolina legislature to remove the Confederate flag."

Perry for Commonweal: Obergefell concerns privacy, not equal protection

Perry for Commonweal: Obergefell concerns privacy, not equal protection

Professor Michael Perry agrees with the U.S. Supreme Court that excluding same-sex couples from civil marriage is unconstitutional, but not for the same reasons the court opinion relies upon. "One of the rationales on which the majority opinion relies is equal protection, but, in my view, such a rationale is problematic," Perry writes. The real issue, he says, is the right of privacy.

Dorothy A.  Brown

Brown for Washington Post: Jeb Bush paid too much in tax returns

Jeb Bush's tax returns show that like most of us, he's penalized by the disparity between tax rates on income and capital gains that favor the truly wealthy.

Alexander Volokh

Volokh files amicus brief as Amtrak case heads back to D.C. Circuit

On July 6, Professor Alexander Volokh filed an amicus brief in DOT v. Ass'n of American Railroads. His primary arguments are: Congress' delegation of authority to Amtrak to develop metrics and standards violates the Due Process Clause; and the appointment of a private arbitrator does not violate any per se rule against delegations of authority to private parties.

Laurie R. Blank

Blank for The Hill: What the U.N. Report on Gaza left out

A United Nations Human Rights Council report on the 2014 Gaza conflict provides 183 pages of facts, legal analysis and conclusions about the conduct of Israeli forces, Hamas and other armed groups in Gaza. Unfortunately, the report is replete with faulty legal analysis, unjustified presumptions and an astounding willingness to take Hamas' claims at face value coupled with an unrelenting skepticism about Israeli efforts to comply with the law of war, writes Laurie Blank, director of the International Humanitarian Law Clinic.

CNN video: Holbrook on changing landscape for same-sex marriage

CNN video: Holbrook on changing landscape for same-sex marriage

Emory Law Professor Tim Holbrook discusses the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision which legalized same-sex marriage, and the patchwork of state and local laws that still impact the civil and legal rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens.

Same-sex ruling doesn't affect church marriages, Schapiro tells Fox News

Same-sex ruling doesn't affect church marriages, Schapiro tells Fox News

Emory Law Dean Robert Schapiro says the practices of America's houses of worship are already well protected by the First Amendment. "There is nothing under our law that compels a rabbi, minister or pastor of any kind to perform a marriage that that person doesn't want to perform," Schapiro said. "That was the law before the Supreme Court decision. And that remains the law afterwards."