Emory Law News Center

April 2018 In the News Archive | Emory University School of Law

Mark Goldfeder

Driverless cars will save many lives, Goldfeder writes

That an Arizona woman was killed by a driverless car is a tragedy, Emory Law Senior Lecturer Mark Goldfeder writes in the AJC. But we shouldn't overlook that driverless cars will also save lives, he says. "We currently have a system that allows human drivers, with all of their ticks, quirks, bad habits and malfunctions, to operate massive heavy machinery at incredibly high speeds, a system that results in approximately 37,500 deaths a year in the U.S. In fact, the U.S. Transportation Department says that about 94 percent of fatal accidents are caused by human error."

Mindy Goldstein

Georgia Power should share Vogtle risks, Goldstein says

The Department of Energy has heavily subsidized Georgia Power's nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle, providing a $3.4 billion-dollar loan to the utility in 2014, in addition to the $1.67 billion it is set to receive in 2018. The two reactors are the only ones being constructed in the U.S., and if completed, would be the first built here in nearly 30 years, Mindy Goldstein, director of the Turner Environmental Law Clinic, writes in an AJC opinion article. "If Georgia Power and its utility partners in Vogtle cannot repay their loans, the federal government will take a loss equal to the amount in default. The subsidy fees are meant to protect taxpayers should default occur. But Georgia Power's zero dollars in down payments means taxpayers are entirely on the hook if the project fails," she writes.

As coastlines rise, who's responsible for drowned homes?

As coastlines rise, who's responsible for drowned homes?

As sea level rise accelerates, potentially leaving coastal homes abandoned from Texas to New England, a legal debate over submerged land asks whether governments have the authority to tear them down. Emory Law Professor Frank Alexander was quoted by Bloomberg on the subject. "Who's got responsibility for removing the damaged structures?" he asked. Not finding an answer could mean a "coastline dotted with these structures that are half sticking out of the ground."

Free speech laws protect student's racist prom poster

Free speech laws protect student's racist prom poster

Officials at a Florida high school where a student made a poster prom invitation that many found racist are considering disciplinary action, the Washington Post reports. Emory Law Associate Professor Fred Smith Jr. says the school may not have grounds, especially in light of the student wasn't on campus at the time. "Just like the rest of us, students have the ability to say things that are offensive. And the reason why we have free speech is to protect unpopular views," he said. "Given that he was off of the school campus, the mere fact that his speech was offensive would strike me as an insufficient basis for the school to punish him."

Rosenzweig: How to stand out as a law school candidate

Rosenzweig: How to stand out as a law school candidate

Getting into a top law school is competitive. Emory Law's Senior Assistant Dean for Admission, Financial Aid, and Student Life Ethan Rosenzweig tells U.S. News that there are ways to distinguish yourself in a sea of candidates, beyond your GPA.

Smith: Hate speech is still free speech

Smith: Hate speech is still free speech

The neo-Nazi group, the Nationalist Socialist Movement, will hold a rally in Newnan, Ga., on April 21, and many have objected to the city granting a permit for the event. Some say hate speech should not be protected. "The safe thing for a government actor to do is not to engage in any kind of content regulation," said Emory Law Associate Professor Fred Smith Jr. "Even when people are going to say something most people in the community would find odious, our constitutional tradition is that people absolutely nonetheless have to be able to say those things."

Blank: The strikes in Syria: legitimacy vs. lawfulness

Blank: The strikes in Syria: legitimacy vs. lawfulness

When commenting on the recent U.S. strikes on Syria, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley called them, "justified, legitimate and proportionate." But were they legal? Laurie Blank, director of Emory Law's International Humanitarian Law Clinic, examines the difference in her opinion article, published in Lawfare.

Dodge comments in Post on gathering opioid court battle

Dodge comments in Post on gathering opioid court battle

As America deals with the human and financial costs of an opioid epidemic, there's a giant lawsuit coming to the federal court system that many compare to those brought against tobacco companies. Multi-district litigation lawsuits are rare but are increasing as the economy nationalizes and courts are being used to solve problems that the government can't, says a Washington Post story. "The MDL is being entrusted with the most difficult problems of our time," said Jaime L. Dodge, director of the Institute for Complex Litigation and Mass Claims at Emory Law. "At some level I think there's a recognition that in some of these cases it's not just a dollar or cents, it's about fixing ongoing societal problems."

Cleaver on the state of civil rights, race relations in 1968

Cleaver on the state of civil rights, race relations in 1968

Emory Law Professor Kathleen Cleaver was interviewed along with fellow historian Peniel Joseph for C-SPAN's series, "1968: America in Turmoil."