Emory Law News Center

2017 In the News Archive | Emory University School of Law


Udolf's client only defendant acquitted thus far in FIFA scandal

Manuel Burga, former president of Peru's soccer federation, was the first person to be acquitted among over 40 people and entities in the soccer world who were charged with a scheme to extract hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks. Of those, 24 pleaded guilty. Burga was cleared of a single racketeering conspiracy charge. He was represented by Bruce Udolf 79L. A former prosecutor, Udolf is now president of his own firm, where he concentrates his practice in white-collar criminal defense, investigations and corporate compliance.

Brown tells CNN: GOP tax plan is no gift for the middle class

Emory Law Professor Dorothy Brown was interviewed on CNN about the pending GOP tax plan, in a segment titled "critics blast GOP tax plan as giant cut for the rich." She was asked whether the middle class would benefit. "Absolutely not," she said. "This is designed to put money in the pockets of shareholders, which tend to be very high-income." While tax cuts for individuals would expire after eight years, corporate tax cuts would be permanent, she said.

New election is 'extraordinary remedy' when results are contested, Kang says

Atlanta mayoral candidate Mary Norwood has challenged the outcome of the Dec. 5 runoff, citing votes from recently annexed parts of the city that she argues should not have been counted. Professor Michael Kang was quoted by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "Ordering a new election is an extraordinary remedy that's normally not done," he said. "You'd have to show it cast enough doubt that it's impossible to reconstruct without having to have a new vote altogether. And that burden is high."

Nash: Jones' win in Alabama may affect Trump's federal judicial nominees

Doug Jones' win in the recent special election for Alabama's U.S. senator is likely to have an immediate effect on the Trump White House's freedom in selecting nominees for the federal bench. "Now, with the Republican Senate majority reduced to one," the Trump Administration must consider "the loss of two Republican Senators will doom a nomination," Professor Jonathan Nash writes for The Hill.

AEDPA's stringency stifles ideological differences, Nash writes

The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) was enacted in 1996, principally to circumscribe the scope of federal habeas corpus review, Professor Jonathan Nash writes for The Hill. "In AEDPA's wake, federal habeas relief will not be available merely because the federal habeas court disagrees with the state court's adjudication. For a federal habeas court to intervene, it must be the case that the state court adjudication was inconsistent not just with some general understanding of the 'clearly established law' at the time, but rather with law that was at the time clearly established by the U.S. Supreme Court," the op-ed reads.

Cloud: RICO suit against Weinstein could yield treble damages

Six women filed a proposed class-action lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein and associated companies, alleging that their coordinated efforts to cover up a pattern of egregious sexual misconduct amounts to racketeering. Successful RICO suits come with significantly higher damages, Emory Law Professor Morgan Cloud told Business Insider. "If they win, they are entitled to recover treble damages--three times their actual damages--and their costs of litigation, including attorneys' fees," he said.

Volokh in Daily Report: Nude dancing a form of free speech

The Georgia Association of Club Executives have sued state officials over a new tax on strip clubs, asking it be declared unconstitutional. Those lawyers engaged Emory Law Associate Professor Alexander Volokh as a consultant. "I do think there is a good First Amendment argument against the law," he said, adding the U.S. Supreme Court has "recognized in many cases that nude dancing is a form of speech that gets some protection. The question is, just how much protection does it get?"

Volokh: Emory earns 'green light' for commitment to free speech

Emory Law Professor Associate Professor Alexander Volokh writes about Emory University's "green light" status for its commitment to free speech and open expression on campus in his latest Washington Post op-ed. Emory University received a "green-light" free-speech rating from The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).

Goldfeder on the rise of 'robot rights'

Artificial intelligence is progressing swiftly, and "scholars already imagine a time when robots and intelligent machines may deserve--and be accorded--some sort of rights," says a recent article in NBC's MACH. Senior Lecturer Mark Goldfeder is quoted: "I have a responsibility to treat all that seem human as humans, and it is better to err on the side of caution from an ethical perspective," he said.


Dudziak in Vox: Trump's recklessness magnifies military's political power

CNN reports Gen. John Hyten said he would resist any illegal orders from President Donald Trump--or any president--to launch nuclear weapons. "He'll tell me what to do, and if it's illegal, guess what's going to happen?" Hyten said at a security forum. "I'm gonna say, 'Mr. President, that's illegal.'" Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Law Professor Mary Dudziak tells Vox: "The military is restraining the civilian leadership rather than the other way around."

Brown in Newsweek: GOP tax plan favors whites

Tax reform could be crafted to create inclusive growth, but the proposed GOP plan will only exacerbate the racial wealth gap and lift inequality growth, according to economists and tax lawyers, Newsweek reports. "Tax law is generally created with white taxpayers in mind and this is another example of that," said Emory Law Professor Dorothy Brown, who focuses on tax policy by race and class. "This plan privileges the way whites experience America."

Emory Law well-represented on Bar's 'Equal Justice' project

The State Bar of Georgia's innovative Lawyers for Equal Justice incubator program offers millennial attorneys an opportunity to launch their own firms and earn a living while serving a different market--moderate-income people--where there is a huge unmet demand for legal services. It graduated its first class of law firm proprietors recently. Emory Law alumni are among both the graduates and the program's organizers.

Woodhouse: Discrimination against LGBT parents affects their children

Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission asks whether a wedding baker can deny service to a same-sex couple on the basis of religious convictions against gay marriage. In an amicus brief filed with several other legal scholars, Emory Law Professor Barbara Woodhouse writes, "To permit business owners to engage in sexual orientation discrimination would ostracize and stigmatize children because of their relationship to or association with their LGBT parents--an outcome inconsistent with the foundational understandings of legal and social equality in the United States."

Volunteer Clinic for Veterans featured on WABE

WABE kicked off a series of conversations on veterans with a feature on Emory Law's Volunteer Clinic for Veterans, which provides pro bono services to veterans and their families to obtain disability benefits. Drew Early, the clinic's co-director and Keely Youngblood, an attorney at the clinic and an Americorps Legal Fellow, were interviewed, along with Russell Hyatt, whose father, a Korean War vet, is a client of the clinic.

Holbrook for CNN: 'It's not about you, Kevin Spacey'

"Normally when a celebrity comes out, there is widespread celebration in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community. Then there's Kevin Spacey. The LGBTQ's response to his coming out? Condemnation. And rightfully so," Emory Law Professor Tim Holbrook writes for CNN. "Whatever the truth of this situation, it is a portrayal of what sexual assault and harassment is about: the powerful taking advantage of the vulnerable."


Dudziak in the Atlantic: Russian social media tactics = new propaganda

The Internet Research Agency--a Russian "troll factory"--used social media and Google during the 2016 electoral campaign to deepen political and racial tensions in the United States, the Atlantic reports. Except for the technology used, however, these tactics are not exactly new. The Cold War coincided with the beginning of the civil rights movement, and the two became intertwined in how the Soviets used the racial strife. "Early on in the Cold War, there was a recognition that the U.S. couldn't lead the world if it was seen as repressing people of color," Emory Law Professor Mary Dudziak says.

Goldfeder in the Monitor: The current status of church, money, taxes

In a Christian Science Monitor story on church and state, Emory Law Senior Lecturer Mark Goldfeder notes a long-running debate over religious-secular school choice programs may already be resolved. Seventeen states have instituted versions of "scholarship tax credit programs," which allow individuals and corporations to set aside a portion of the state taxes they owe and donate them to nonprofit organizations that issue scholarships to grade school and high school students. "It's interesting in the overall scheme of things, because what these programs do, they take religion out of it," he said, noting such programs have already passed constitutional muster.

Brown for CNN: Kelly's disservice in Gold Star family controversy

Trump's Chief of Staff, Gen. John Kelly, was wrong to call Congresswoman Frederica Wilson an "empty barrel" at a recent press conference concerning President Trump's phone call to the family of a serviceman killed in Niger, Emory Law Professor Dorothy Brown writes for CNN. Nor should he have misquoted her 2015 comments at the dedication of an FBI building. "With this press conference, Kelly has done his president and the country a disservice. He took a tragic situation and made it worse. He owes his boss and the country an apology," Brown writes.

Daily Report: Vandall's suggestions for gun control

In the wake of the Las Vegas mass shooting that left 58 dead, Emory Law Professor Frank Vandall suggests some ways to prevent such tragedies. "There are steps that can be taken short of the confiscation of guns," he writes for the Daily Report.

Holbrook for CNN: Sessions transgender statement 'just wrong'

In memo aimed at dismantling discrimination protections for transgender persons, Attorney General Jeff Sessions gets the law wrong, Emory Law Professor Timothy Holbrook writes for CNN. "The attorney general and Department of Justice do not get to decide what 'is a conclusion of law.' The courts do. And the courts have recognized that federal law does protect transgender people as a form of discrimination based on sex," he says.

SCOTUS decision on gerrymandering will affect Georgia, Kang tells WABE

WABE interviewed Emory Law Professor Michael Kang about Gill v. Whitford, the gerrymandering case argued before the U.S. Supreme Court this week, on how it could affect Georgia elections. "Georgia is definitely a big partisan gerrymandering state," he said. "Any decision on the law of partisan gerrymandering is likely to have some sort of impact here." State Republicans solidified their power thanks to districts they drew in 2011, Kang said, and Democrats tried to do the same back in 2001. "Even when the majority party is doing a bad job, it's very hard to throw them out because the deck is stacked in their favor," he added.

Brown on Marketplace: How the tax code is social policy

There's a reason politicians prefer tax code spending over spending through the budget, Marketplace reports. Because once policy is in place, it doesn't come up for review like budget spending does. "When you start talking about changing these tax expenditures, changing the provisions of the code, then it becomes public again," said Emory Law Professor Dorothy Brown. If you take away that tax break you sold before, it looks like a tax increase. "Everybody comes out of the woodwork and says this is the worst thing possible."

Proposed GOP tax cuts benefit whites, wealthy, Brown tells NPR

NPR asked Emory Law Professor Dorothy Brown to discuss the GOP's latest tax proposal, and she found it will likely benefit those who are wealthy and white. Keeping the mortgage interest deduction will "benefit more whites than blacks and Latinos, who don't own homes to the same extent," Brown said on Weekend Edition. And "retirement plans from private employers tend to go to those who hold jobs at the higher incomes which, again, tend to be disproportionately white. So we know that even with the minimal sketching that we see in the Trump tax plan, rich, white Americans are going to benefit the most."


Perry joins law professors' challenge to travel ban

Emory Law Professor Michael Perry is among the 44 constitutional law scholars represented in an amicus brief filed at the Supreme Court this week, which argues the Trump administration's "travel ban" is unconstitutional. The brief is featured at the TakeCare blog, which includes a link to the brief in the first paragraph.

A tribute to Tina Stark

On the Law School blog network, Jeffrey Proske writes about the impact the Center for Transactional Law and Practice founder Tina Stark had on his teaching, after attending one of the center's Transactional Law Conferences. "I'm sure I'm only one of many voices in the crowd of transactional skills professors who owe Tina Stark a debt of gratitude for her groundbreaking work in teaching transactional skills," he writes.

Brown in the Washington Post: How race affects home buying

Emory Law Professor Dorothy Brown was quoted in the Washington Post on how race affects home-buying and property values. The article says while Prince George's County home values are rising now (after it experienced disproportionately higher foreclosure rates during the recession) home values there are still among the lowest in the D.C. region. "Because whites are the primary purchasers in the home-buying market their preference dominates the market," Brown said. "They are generally uncomfortable living in communities that are not all white, or almost all white." When more than 10 percent of families in a neighborhood are black, home values fall because the community becomes less attractive to white buyers, Brown said.

The 11th Circuit's new nominee: Branch 94L

Judge Elizabeth "Lisa" Branch 94L was nominated by President Donald Trump to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit to fill the spot vacated by Judge Frank Hull, who is taking senior status, the Daily News reports. Branch was appointed to the Georgia Court of Appeals in 2012 leaving a position as a commercial litigation partner at Smith Gambrell & Russell.


Will job creation help race relations? Brown says no

Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal interviewed Emory Law Professor Dorothy Brown on President Donald Trump's recent statement that job creation would improve race relations. Brown disagrees. "Here's the problem," she said. "The research shows us that even when you are a black graduate with a Harvard degree, you are treated not as well as white graduates with a Harvard degree. There is research that talked about the number of employer responses and they found that blacks needed to apply to far more jobs in order to get responses from employers than whites did. So the private sector, employers are not colorblind when they hire."

Quarantine lawsuits rarely result in damage awards, Price says

The failure of nurse Kaci Hickox to collect any money after being held by state officials for 80 hours in a tent outside a hospital, even after twice testing negative for Ebola, illustrates the difficulties of getting compensated for allegations of excessive quarantine measures, the New Jersey Law Journal reports. Quarantine litigation now mostly concerns tuberculosis, says Emory Law Professor Polly Price. Litigants who feel their quarantine conditions are excessive have prevailed in court, but generally on petitions for injunctive relief, rather than cases seeking damages after the fact, she said.


New Goldfeder book cited in Globe polygamy story

Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby quoted Emory Law Senior Lecturer Mark Goldfeder's new book in a column on the growth of polygamy. "This is the first book that explains not only why the legalization of plural marriage may be on the horizon in America but also why the idea is not really as radical as you might at first glance think; why the legal arguments against it are surprisingly weak; and how ... it would not actually be that difficult to accommodate," Goldfeder's book begins.

Nash argues against four-person Supreme Court majorities

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court voted 4-2 in Ziglar v. Abbasi--a case brought by detainees in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, alleging grave mistreatment at the hands of federal executive branch officials. "Here, oddly, four justices--what I have called a 'minority majority"--is technically enough to constitute a majority," Emory Law Professor Jonathan Nash writes in a column for The Hill. He argues such opinions should receive limited precedential effect.

DACA's survival odds hard to predict, Price says

The future of a program that protects young immigrants from deportation is uncertain, as some Trump administration officials say Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, will likely not stand up in the courts, WABE reports. Many states sued the Obama administration over the program, but the Supreme Court deadlocked on the issue. Emory Law Professor Polly Price said while the Supreme Court now has nine justices, it's hard to predict how they would rule. "It's not clear yet how they would have ruled if they¿d been presented with DACA itself," she said.

Goldfeder joins AJT's annual '40 under 40' list

Senior Lecturer Mark Goldfeder is among those singled out by the Atlanta Jewish Times this year for remarkable achievement at a young age. He is the Spruill Family Senior Fellow at Emory's Center for the Study of Law and Religion and director of Restoring Religious Freedom: Education, Outreach and Good Citizenship.

Kang: Did Trump Jr.'s meeting with Russian lawyer break the law?

After months of denial by the Trump team about communication with Russia during the 2016 election, Donald Trump Jr. confirmed he met with a Russian lawyer in hopes of receiving damaging information on Hillary Clinton, Politifact reports. Was it illegal? It's possible a court could find that "information" satisfies the legal requirement if it's considered valuable to a campaign. "Contributions definitely do not need to be in the form of cash to constitute a thing of value," said Emory Law Professor Michael Kang. "However, it also needs to be said that this is an unusual situation quite unlike the usual context for an illegal foreign contribution, typically in the form of money rather than information."

Holbrook addresses GA Supreme Court property rights case

A lawsuit that could have implications for how the government takes private property is being weighed by the Georgia Supreme Court, and the case between a Marietta property owner and the city will determine whether protections laid out in the state's 2006 Landowner's Bill of Rights statute are mandatory. The city argues they are not. "It is an interesting issue, about whether these rules are simply aspirational guidelines that municipalities should follow versus actual rules," said Emory Law Professor Timothy Holbrook. "What's the point of having this Bill of Rights if municipalities are free to ignore it?"

Nash for The Hill: Kagan channels Scalia in textualist opinion

"The Advocate Health Care Network opinion was authored by Justice Elena Kagan, an appointee of President Barack Obama," Emory Law Professor Jonathan Nash writes for The Hill. "While Kagan has exhibited a penchant for textualism over the years, this opinion is a tour de force in textualist interpretive technique."


Nash on why Supreme Court saw travel ban differently

In Trump v. International Refugee Assistance Project, the Supreme Court stayed portions of lower courts' preliminary injunctions, "thus allowing substantial swaths of the temporary travel ban to go into effect. The cases may not ultimately result in a complete victory for the Trump administration (insofar as the Court has yet to rule on the merits, and issues of potential mootness loom over the case)," Professor Jonathan Nash writes for The Hill.

Georgiev: Securities laws are speed bumps that prevent Uber-sized wrecks

Uber's recent troubles and ouster of its CEO is not unusual for a Silicon Valley startup. But Uber is no ordinary private start-up. "For Uber to reform itself, the private company needs to behave like a public one." Emory Law Professor George S. Georgiev writes for The Hill.

Holbrook on Supreme Court reversals of federal circuit patent cases

The Supreme Court took up six patent cases--8 percent of its docket last term--and reversed the Federal Circuit on each. Professor Tim Holbrook was quoted by the National Law Journal on the issue. He doesn't think the unanimous reversals are a black eye on the Federal Circuit as much as they reflect a generalist Supreme Court trying to speak with one voice to bolster its credibility with the specialized appellate court. The large number of cert grants reflect a Supreme Court that's both interested in patent law and concerned about the Federal Circuit as an institution, he said.

Holbrook for CNN: Will Justice Roberts save same-sex marriage?

If a Supreme Court Justice steps down in the next few years, and President Donald Trump appoints another, there undoubtedly will be challenges to Obergefell v. Hodges, even if Trump views same-sex marriage as settled, Professor Timothy Holbrook writes for CNN. "A new justice could easily vote to overrule Obergefell. But the chief justice's vote in Pavan may be a harbinger of a willingness to protect the hard-earned rights of marriage equality. At least it is a glimmer of hope to the LGBTQ community."

Dudziak keynote: 'American Experience with War and Death'

Asa Candler Griggs Professor of Law Mary Dudziak was featured recently on C-SPAN, delivering the keynote address at the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations annual meeting, titled, "American Experience with War and Death." Dudziak, a leading U.S. legal historian, is the society's president.

Nash: Trump's success at reshaping lower federal courts

"With controversy seemingly engulfing the Trump administration on a daily basis, it is noteworthy that the president earlier this month announced a second substantial slate of lower federal court judicial nominees," Professor Jonathan Nash writes for The Hill. "This slate of judges confirms three aspects of the president's strategy for selecting judges for the federal courts that the previous slate suggested."

Dowd 65L joins Trump's defense team

President Donald Trump has added veteran Washington lawyer John Dowd 65L to the team representing him in the investigations of possible collusion by the Trump campaign with Russia, Reuters reports, including the criminal probe being led by special counsel Robert Mueller.

U.S. District Judge Cohen 79L orders immigrant's DACA status reinstated

A Mexican woman whose highly publicized deportation case in Georgia thrust her into the national debate over immigration may stay in the United States and be temporarily protected from deportation, U.S. District Judge Mark H. Cohen 79L ruled on June 12, The New York Times reports.

4th Circuit judges voted along party lines on travel ban, Nash says

Did politics play a part in the Fourth Circuit's 10-3 decision to enjoin enforcement of President Trump's proposed travel ban? "It is hardly surprising that, faced with a highly politically salient and divisive case, a court comprised lopsidedly of judges appointed by Democratic Presidents would vote overwhelmingly in a liberal direction," Emory Law Professor Jonathan Nash writes for The Hill.


Brown: For blacks, social mobility is a double-edged sword

"For many African-American families, securing a college degree holds the promise of securing a middle-class life with financial stability," a Chicago Reporter story says. But a recent study finds that for middle-class blacks, "social mobility is a double-edged sword." Emory Law Professor Dorothy Brown is quoted on how neighborhood diversity affects home prices. "Research shows homes in majority black neighborhoods do not appreciate as much as homes in overwhelmingly white neighborhoods."

Cooper 67L closes oldest case by vacating death sentence

Lawrence Joseph Jefferson's 1985 death sentence has troubled federal judges for years. In April, U.S. District Court Judge Clarence Cooper 67L reaffirmed the position he took a decade ago, in a 71-page opinion that argues Jefferson's trial counsel--one of whom is now a Cobb County Superior Court judge--had been constitutionally ineffective.

Goldfeder comments on Palestinian terrorist policy bill

Last year, the Palestinians spent $300 million, or nearly 7 percent of its total budget, on paying terrorists and their surviving family members, Fox News reports. "It's unbelievable," Emory Law Senior Lecturer Mark Goldfeder said of the payments. "[The PA] literally publish the fact, in their laws, that they are incentivizing terrorism. Then they publish a budget which says how much they are paid to incentivize terrorism. This is an open and shut case, you can't ask for better evidence than a literal physical confession."

Nash: How Trump will remake the lower courts

President Trump continues to select federal judge nominees from lists created by right leaning think tanks during his campaign. There are certainly enough vacancies, about 150 positions, on the lower federal courts to keep the White House busy, Emory Law Professor Jonathan Nash writes in an essay for The Hill. "As these nominations roll in, we will gain more traction on how Trump plans to remake the federal judiciary," he writes.

Supreme Court ruling on N.C. may affect Georgia voting, Kang says

Georgia may feel the effects of the U.S. Supreme Court decision overruling voting districts in North Carolina, according to a WABE story. Emory Law Professor Michael Kang said the decision could have a big impact in Southern states like Georgia, where party preference tends to fall along racial lines. "I think states felt like as long as they could point to partisan reasons to explain what they were doing, they could defend it in court," Kang said. "And that seems a little bit less true, a little bit less certain after [Monday's] ruling."

Dudziak in the Post: Trump's problematic view of Fifth Amendment 

Donald Trump's views on invoking the Fifth Amendment are mutable, says a Washington Post story. Depending on when and what legal issue is involved, he has said it implies guilt--or it doesn't. Emory Law Professor Mary Dudziak said the amendment is "a really important part of the Bill of Rights. The idea that it's shameful to plead the Fifth is on some level deeply problematic and we should push back from that."

Mueller as special counsel for Russia investigation makes sense, Ahdieh says

The appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel in charge of the Russia investigation has quelled the anxieties of many Americans, an ABC report says. The decision to use special counsel puts legally complex or politically thorny cases "at least one degree away from the day to day political back and forth," said Emory Law Vice Dean Robert Ahdieh. "As a political matter, Mueller was a very smart choice in terms of the political discourse and taking down the temperature," Ahdieh said. "In essence he has completely wiped the slate clean."

'Dreamer' student's DACA revocation reflects new deportation priorities, Price says

One Georgia "dreamer" has had her Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals protection against deportation revoked. Emory Law Professor Polly Price says the action reflects the new administration's deportation priorities. Jessica Colotl, who works as a paralegal, got a mailed notice this week that her DACA status was terminated. "It's emblematic of the broader scope that ICE has taken recently in terms of who they're targeting and what their priorities might be," Price says.

Trump's order on pulpit endorsements problematic, Goldfeder says

President Trump's executive order to loosen a federal law governing religious leaders endorsing political candidates could cut a number of ways, says Emory Law Senior Lecturer Mark Goldfeder. The Johnson Amendment is vague and problematic because it limits free speech, but enforcement is rare. "Pastors are breaking it on a weekly basis," he tells the AJC. But a true repeal could cause rifts in congregations. "People have relied on the Johnson Amendment to keep their churches together," he said. If pastors are pressured to endorse candidates from the pulpit, portions of their congregations will be alienated as a result.

Goldfeder comments on religious freedom in Christian Science Monitor

In a recent story on Americans embracing conscientious objector status in their private and professional lives, Emory Law Senior Lecturer Mark Goldfeder was quoted on religious liberty. "I believe as an American that, in general, it is a good thing for society to shape laws in ways that allow people to live their lives in ways consistent with their sincerely held religious obligations," he said. "It's in our First Amendment for a reason: It is extraordinarily important as part of the American constitutional experiment that separated us from previous societies, and made us a better nation. At the end of the day, that's a cornerstone, the bedrock of our society."


S.C. candidate on the GOP payroll: Appearances matter, Kang says

Chad Connelly, A GOP candidate in South Carolina's special congressional election was still on the Republican National Committee's payroll when he began his campaign in February, raising questions among some party members and politicos about the RNC's role in the race. There's a risk the party could give money to the employee-candidate beyond the contribution limit, said Emory Law Professor Michael Kang. "The bigger thing here is the appearance," Kang said. "It may be that it doesn't look very good."

Justice Gorsuch's first day not too difficult, Volokh says

Neil Gorsuch is the first U.S. Supreme Court justice to join the court mid-term since Samuel Alito did in 2006, a Bloomberg story says. But he shouldn't have much trouble getting up to speed for his first day today, said Emory Law Associate Professor Alexander Volokh. Preparing for arguments should be easy given his decade on a federal appeals court. "He's just going to be reading the briefs in the cases, and he knows how to do that," Volokh said.

Was Trump morally justified in Syrian strikes? Yes, Broyde tells CNN

Was President Donald Trump morally justified in launching 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian air base in response to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's chemical attack on his own citizens? CNN asked experts from five faiths. Emory Law Professor and Rabbi Michael Broyde responded: "As I understand the facts, Trump struck a military target directly connected to the gas attack. To the extent that there is ever a situation in which military force is proper and appropriate, from a Jewish legal and ethical standpoint, it is to defend civilians against just such an attack. Attacking the airfield is the most ethically defensible thing to do."

President Carter speaks at Emory Law on human rights, Trump era

Former president Jimmy Carter says he hopes President Donald Trump's words and actions will "reinvigorate" the women's movement in this country, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. The U.S. tendency to champion human rights and international law has weakened in the past few years, he said, a trend that's intensifying now. Carter was Emory Law's invited speaker for the annual David J. Bederman Lecture on April 6.


Trump's lower court nomination may be more important, Nash says

Beneath the radar, President Trump nominated Judge Amul R. Thapar to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. "The nomination says something about Trump's strategy for filling the numerous vacancies on the lower federal courts," Emory Law Professor Jonathan Nash writes for The Hill. "And in the long run, it may have a larger impact than the nomination of Gorsuch" for the Supreme Court.

'Religious liberty' provision imperils adoption bill, Carter says

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal says he opposes a Senate effort to add "religious liberty" protections to a bill dealing with adoptions, a change that could allow private adoption agencies receiving public money to refuse to place children with LGBT families. Melissa Carter, director of Emory"s Barton Child Law and Policy Center, is also concerned the bill could be defeated because of the proposed change. "It's certainly a possibility that the entire bill could be lost as a casualty of these efforts," she said. Lost in the fight is how much the present laws need an update, she says. "As a legal practice, adoption is a highly technical area. Over time it needs to be updated and modernized."

Proposed adoption law may cause ill effects, Carter says

A change intended to modernize Georgia's adoption laws would allow private foster and adoption agencies to refuse services based on their "mission as evidenced by its written policy, statement or other document." But child advocates say that may violate federal law and have a negative effect on children in state care. "This could very much harm them in the disruption of our placement protocols, in curtailing the resources that we currently have, and frankly, in conveying a sense to any given child that 'you are unwanted'--again, and again, and again," said Melissa Carter, director of Emory Law's Barton Child Law and Policy Center.

Recent Yemen strikes raise questions about self-defense, Blank says

After the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. responded in self-defense against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan "and has since used force against al Qaeda and several affiliated groups from Pakistan to Yemen to Syria to Somalia and beyond," Emory Law's Laurie Blank writes in a column for Jurist. It raises two important questions, she says. "How long does self-defense last ... and how far can a state go--both in the geographic sense and in the sense of the legitimate aims of using force--when acting in self defense?"

Georgia redistricting plan may invite challenge, Kang says

A Georgia voter redistricting plan has raised charges that it is designed to dilute the influence of minority voters and protect members of GOP who came close to losing their seats in the last election. Republicans say there is nothing "sinister or underhanded" about the bill. If passed, the redistricting may be open to court challenge. "The issue in Georgia, and in the North Carolina cases, is whether the predominant intent of the legislature is racial or partisan," said Emory Law Professor Michael Kang.

Trump's SEC budget cuts will reduce enforcement, Velikonja says

SEC officials didn't attend an annual conference for Wall Street bond dealmakers in Las Vegas last week, Bloomberg reports. The agency is bracing for deep spending reductions in President Donald Trump's budget proposal, the story says. "We're already seeing a quieter enforcement regime" since the change of administration, said Emory Law Associate Professor Urska Velikonja. "The number of enforcement cases is likely to be down considerably going forward."

Emory Law study finds judicial prejudice in immigration hearings

Immigration Court judges in Atlanta are failing to uphold ethical standards that ensure immigrants receive fair and impartial treatment, according to a seven-week study by Emory Law students and the Southern Poverty Law Center, which was recently featured on the Immigration Prof Blog. "These observations confirm the Atlanta Immigration Court's reputation as a system where judges fail to respect the rule of law," said Adjunct Professor Hallie Ludsin of Emory Law School, who led the law students in their court monitoring.


Price discusses Trump travel ban's legal hurdles

The Trump administration is struggling to revise its executive order limiting travel to the United States for citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries, McClatchy News reports. A new order needs to address two key aspects to prevent another suspension, Emory Law Professor Polly Price says. It must honor green-card holders' permanent resident status and not apply to the temporary visas of those already here. It also needs a better justification of why these countries are being singled out so it doesn't appear to be based on religion. "It's reasonable to believe that green card holders would have constitutional rights, at least to some degree," she said. However, temporary visitors who haven't yet entered the U.S. "don't have any rights that we can review."

Satz calls for transparency after USDA removes facility inspection reports

"The US Department of Agriculture recently removed all government inspection reports of animal facilities from its website, abolishing transparency of businesses and universities using animals and severely undermining the ability to prevent even the most extreme animal abuse," Emory Law Professor Ani Satz writes for CNN. Some were reposted later, but "reducing public access to inspection reports undermines government accountability and animal protection."

Holbrook: How Trump's DOJ stands on LGBTQ issues

"The Trump administration showed its hand on Friday, when the Department of Justice withdrew its request that a Texas district court lift its stay in a case dealing with access to bathrooms for transgender students," Emory Law Professor Tim Holbrook writes for CNN. "The action by the DOJ in Texas on its face seems minor. In fact, it is quite revealing. LGBTQ rights will not be defended at the federal level. Those in favor of LGBTQ equality will need to defend themselves against efforts in states to ban the use of restrooms and to embrace so-called religious-liberty bills. The fight is now our own. We won't be able to look to this administration for help."

Price quoted by WXIA on impact of ICE raids

Under the Trump Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) enforcement officers say, they are now authorized to use their discretion to make more arrests than they did under the Obama Administration. Last week, they began an aggressive push to do that. President Trump promises to increase arrests and deportations as soon as he can. There are other considerations, says Emory Law Professor Polly Price. "It's completely dependent on Congress," she tells WXIA, "to add more staff to ICE, to add more staff on the border, and also... to fully staff and add to the immigration courts."

Bloomberg quotes Nash on Pruitt's impact at EPA

EPA Director Scott Pruitt's mission to roll back Obama EPA regulations, particularly on climate, could be as simple as rereading the Clean Air Act, Bloomberg News writes. "If confirmed as administrator, Pruitt could revive some of the arguments he had offered against Obama-era EPA regulations, reading new limits on the agency's power that could pass judicial muster," the story says. Nash commented on how using the Chevon rule affects agency policy.

Trump isn't the first president to question the judiciary, Nash says

President Donald Trump's derisive comments about judges, including Federal District Judge James Robart, whom he labeled a "so-called judge" have been widely criticized, Emory Law Professor Jonathan Nash writes for The Hill. But Trump is only continuing a trend that began long ago. "Those who are troubled by his comments would do well to address the problem as a whole rather than fixate on the Trump as the sole offender," he writes.

Holbrook in the WSJ: When liberal cities legislate in conservative states

An Arkansas Supreme Court case that questions whether a city can pass laws that exceed a state's existing antidiscrimination protections could be a bellwether on how clashes between liberal cities and conservative states are resolved, Emory Law Professor Tim Holbrook told the Wall Street Journal. "I think at present it's isolated, but it has the potential to grow," Holbrook said of the case's impact. if the state wins, he says, courts elsewhere might also argue that the need for uniformity across cities and counties outweighs cities' and counties' right to pass their own antidiscrimination protections.

Gorsuch's federalism may prevent abuse of power, Volokh says

Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch frequently dissents when a court majority seeks to impose federal authority over other governing bodies, says an Associated Press story. Emory Law Associate Professor Alexander Volokh says Gorsuch's views on the power of federal agencies could be particularly important with Donald Trump in the White House. "For anyone who is concerned about abuses of power under Trump," he said, "that sort of person would really welcome a theory that would limit how much authority the agencies would have to say what the statutes mean."

CNN interviews Price about Trump's travel ban

Emory Law professor Polly Price spoke with CNN's Jonathan Mann about the real-life and legal implications of the suspension of President Trump's travel ban. She doesn't expect a quick decision on the merits of the case, calling it an enormously complex issue. However, Trump's argument that his executive order is not subject to judicial review could set up a constitutional conflict, she says.

Democrats should give Gorsuch a fair hearing, Smith says

Despite the fact they believe former President Obama was denied his right to appoint the next U.S. Supreme Court justice, Emory Law's Visiting Professor Fred Smith Jr. writes he hopes Democrats will not play tit for tat at confirmation hearings. "Judge Gorsuch is a brilliant jurist. And while I will likely often disagree with him on the rights of the accused, the right scope of extra-textual concepts like 'sovereign immunity,' or how broadly to understand statutes like the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, he should be treated with respect and receive a fair hearing," he says.

Can Trump deny federal funding to Berkeley? No, Volokh says

When the University of California, Berkeley canceled an appearance by Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos because of violent protests, President Trump appeared to threaten, via tweet, to cut the college's federal funding. The government can't pull funding by retroactively saying federal money is contingent on protecting free speech, Associate Professor Alexander Volokh told the Chronicle of Higher Education. "If the funding comes explicitly with strings attached, which is that you must adequately protect free speech on your campus if you want these funds, and if the university takes these funds knowing the condition, that's one thing," he said.

Nash for The Hill: Gorsuch's interpretation of courts' deference to agencies

There is reason to believe, Emory Law Professor Jonathan Nash writes for The Hill, that Gorsuch's greatest impact (at least in the short-term) will be on the question of how much deference courts should afford agencies when they interpret federal statutes. "Signals from Gorsuch's court of appeals opinions indicate a desire by the judge to restore some measure of judicial supremacy over statutory interpretation," he adds.


Volokh on Gorsuch: 'Probably the best on civil liberties'

Professor Alexander Volokh has known Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch for more than 20 years. "Generally, I don't have any expectation that Trump will do the right thing, so I'm unexpectedly pleased that--of the three judges who were apparently on Trump's short list--Judge Gorsuch is probably the best on civil liberties issues," he writes for the Washington Post's Volokh Conspiracy.

Blank: Talk of secret prisons raises 'a huge red flag'

Black sites and extraordinary renditions indicate by their very name that they lie outside the norm of ordinary behavior, writes Laurie Blank, director of Emory Law's International Humanitarian Law Clinic. Reports that President Trump is preparing an executive order that could reinstate the use of secret overseas prisons for detention and interrogation would violate international law, she writes in an op-ed for The Hill.

Price comments on Trump travel ban

Immigration law experts, including Emory Law Professor Polly Price. raised concerns about President Trump's recent executive order which affects immigrants and refugees from Muslim-majority countries. "Green card holders cannot be rejected from returning to the U.S. without a hearing before an immigration judge," she tells the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. But you can still be detained, and there's no guarantee of a speedy hearing. Immigration courts have a backlog of around 10 months, she said. "A green card gives you legal rights," Price said. "You can't be returned without due process." Temporary travel privileges, such as tourist or student visas, guarantee nothing. "There's no appeal at almost any stage," Price said. '"Most of the decisions aren't reviewable. If you look Middle Eastern, youre in for a difficult time."

Shepherd on Trump's promise to force drug companies to negotiate

Donald Trump recently vowed to force drug companies to negotiate directly with the government on prices in Medicare and Medicaid. But for that to be effective, the government "must have the ability to not only negotiate prices, but also to put some pressure on drug makers to secure price concessions," Emory Law Professor Joanna Shepherd writes for Morning Consult. "Policy-makers must fully understand what it means for government to negotiate directly with drug makers, and what the potential consequences are for price reductions, access to popular drugs, drug innovation, and drug prices for other consumers."

Holbrook on cases involving transgender name changes

Emory Law Professor Tim Holbrook commented on a recent case where a judge denied two transgender mens' petition to change their names. Courts across Georgia have granted name changes to transgender men and women for years. However, one judge ruled, "changing their names would have been 'a type of fraud on the general public.'" The Georgia Court of Appeals reversed the decision.

Dorothy Brown on the symbolism of Obama's presidency

As the world reflects upon the presidency of Barack Obama and prepares for a transfer of power, CNN presents 11 commentaries on his legacy. Professor Dorothy Brown comments on the exceptionalism of electing the first black President versus the reality of racism. "Symbolism, it turned out, was a bad thing for addressing anti-black racism in America", said Brown. "The symbolism of a black President prevented America from grappling with the reality of how exceptional his victory and his story really was."