Emory Law News Center

2019 In the News Archive | Emory University School of Law

June

Brown for CNN: Biden's affirmation of the status quo may unsettle black voters

Emory Law Professor Dorothy Brown's op-ed for CNN addresses Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden's comments at a NYC fundraiser. "Biden's remarks Tuesday were a sobering reminder of his checkered legislative history on issues affecting people of color," she writes. "So as he tries to win the Democratic nomination in 2020, Biden should be careful--not cocky, not defiant--about rhetoric that offends people of color. The black vote may be his to lose."

Brown: The real reason Trump won't put Tubman on the $20 bill

"There is apparently no issue--large or small-involving the rights and advancement of people of color that the president won't weigh in on, with his thumb on the scale," Professor Dorothy Brown writes for CNN. From his family's refusal to rent to blacks in the 70s, his call for the deaths of the Central Park Five, his challenge of Barack Obama's citizenship, and now, the delay of putting Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, Trump should rightfully be called "our white-supremacist-in-chief," she says, noting, "In 2016, candidate Trump told NBC that stripping his favorite president, the populist and slave owner, Andrew Jackson, from the $20 bill was 'pure political correctness.'"

Postwar suburban utopias actively excluded African Americans

Professor Dorothy Brown was interviewed on Curbed's "Nice Try," podcast about the 1950s Levittown pursuit of backyard utopia and how postwar suburbia actively kept out African Americans. "These developments typically excluded African Americans, deepening racial inequality and locking millions out of the dream of homeownership, the most infamous being Levittown," the story says, "while William Levitt used explicit racial covenants and other tactics to keep his developments white."

House involvement in criminal case will likely fail, Nash says

Professor Johnathan Nash recently discussed United States v. Nagarwala, on the Volokh Conspiracy blog. The U.S. Department of Justice brought criminal charges in a case involving alleged female genital mutilation, in violation of a federal statute. A district court dismissed most of the charges, saying Congress exceeded its constitutional powers in enacting the statute. The DOJ later declined to appeal. Now, the U.S. House of Representatives seeks court permission to intervene and seek reversal of the court's judgment on appeal. Nash argues Article III standing barriers facing the House are substantial.

Smith comments on 'personhood' aspect of abortion law

State legislators have fielded calls and questions from residents concerned or confused about Georgia's new anti-abortion law, the AJC reports. HB 481 defines a "natural person" as "any human being including an unborn child." So legal experts need to consider mentions of "natural person" or "human being" in Georgia code to see what the implications might be, Emory Law Associate Professor Fred Smith Jr. says.

May

Dudziak: Why Congress should challenge Trump on Yemen war

A group of constitutional scholars and lawmakers want House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to take President Donald Trump to the Supreme Court over the war in Yemen. Vox quoted Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Law Mary L. Dudziak on why. It's unconstitutional for a president to unilaterally involve the U.S. in war. "Especially since 9/11, Congress has let power accumulate in the executive branch," Dudziak said. "And Congress does that by sitting back and not objecting, which is why Pelosi's role is really important right now."

An-Na'im lectures in Singapore on Islam, the state and Neo-Colonialism

The lecture, "The Challenge of Self-Determination in a Neo-Colonial World: Islam and the State on Muslim Terms," asked how Muslims and other post-colonial communities transcend the limitations of political, developmental, intellectual and other dependencies used by European colonial administrations to dominate and exploit colonized communities around the world.

Reducing carbon emissions is a global-scale problem, Goldstein tells WABE

Earlier this year, Atlanta adopted an ambitious climate change goal: To have all homes, businesses and city operations rely largely on renewable energy by 2035. Also, Atlanta-based Southern Company says it hopes to achieve "low- to-no carbon" emissions by 2050. Individual cities and companies may set goals, but a piecemeal approach to greener practice isn't the most efficient path for a global-scale problem, Mindy Goldstein, director of the Turner Environmental Law Clinic tells WABE. "You're going to, in a perfect world, have global solutions," she said. "That's just not where we are today."

Candidates' wealth gap policies should acknowledge discrimination, Brown tells NY Times

Democratic presidential candidates say they want to narrow the enduring black-white wealth gap in America. But their proposed policies don't use the most direct way possible--by steering benefits to African-Americans, a New York Times columnist writes. The mortgage interest deduction, disproportionately benefits white families, as do tax advantages for the rich, who are more likely to be white. "The first and most efficient approach is targeting relief to the people who were targeted with discrimination," said Emory Law Professor Dorothy Brown.

Georgia abortion law 'flagrantly unconstitutional,' Dinner tells 11 Alive

Emory Law Associate Professor Deborah Dinner gave a detailed legal analysis to 11 Alive on the "heartbeat" abortion law Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law this week. "The Georgia legislation is flagrantly unconstitutional, violates women's fundamental rights to reproductive liberty and privacy, and represents a major threat to the ongoing struggle for gender equality," Dinner said, when asked for her final assessment. Dinner also broke down specific aspects of the law and its enforcement.

Disney CEO salary fall-out highlights controversial Dodd-Frank pay ratio provision

Abigail Disney has called out the Walt Disney Co. for paying its CEO Bob Iger an "insane" $65.6 million, more than 1,424 times the median salary of a Disney employee. "A CEO-to-median pay ratio of 1,424 to 1 is certainly shocking--but such numbers are a shiny decoy," Assistant Professor George S. Georgiev writes for the Los Angeles Times. The op-ed discusses a controversial provision of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act that requires publicly traded companies to report median employee pay and calculate the CEO pay ratio.

April

Georgiev in Financial Times: Revised settlement between SEC and Elon Musk 'more watertight'

Elon Musk has agreed to new social media restrictions in a deal with the Securities and Exchange Commission that provides clarity on what the Tesla chief can tweet without prior approval of a lawyer. "The new deal marks the SEC's second attempt at crafting communications rules to check Mr. Musk," who eschews the cautious social media approach employed by most CEOs, the Financial Times reports. The new terms are "much more watertight," Emory Law Assistant Professor George Georgiev said. "The original deal that they struck wasn't very workable."

Schapiro comments on Georgia's 'heartbeat' abortion bill

Will Georgia's proposed 'heartbeat' abortion law be the one to return the issue of reproductive rights to the Supreme Court? Emory Law Professor Robert Schapiro doubts it. Georgia currently bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The new law would do so once a doctor detects a heartbeat--which is usually at about six weeks, and often before most women know they are pregnant, the AJC reports. "I think if the court is going to revisit Roe v. Wade, it would do so more incrementally, with laws that limit but do not fundamentally undo the right to abortion," said Professor Robert Schapiro.

Schapiro: How will the post-Kennedy court view LGBT issues?

Emory Law Professor Robert Schapiro was quoted by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution after the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to consider a metro-Atlanta case on whether gay, lesbian and transgender workers are protected under federal anti-discrimination laws. "Certainly on any issue relating to the LGBT community, the absence of Justice Kennedy is potentially quite significant," he said. "These cases will give insight into how this new configuration of the Supreme Court addresses issues relating to gay and lesbian rights."

Trump to nominate Grimberg 98L for federal bench

On April 2, President Donald Trump announced he intends to nominate Steven Grimberg 98L for U.S. District Court judge, to serve in Atlanta. Grimberg is a former U.S. attorney known for prosecuting white-collar and cyber crimes, who served with the Department of Justice for more than 12 years. In 2018, he joined Nardello & Co., where he is managing director, head of the Atlanta office, and general counsel of the Americas.

March

Volokh discusses Trump's campus free speech executive order

"President Donald Trump is expected to order U.S. colleges to protect free speech on their campuses or risk losing federal funding," California radio station KPCC 89.3 reports. Associate Professor Alexander Volokh was a guest on the show to discuss the issue. He is chair of the Emory University's Committee for Open Expression, an on-campus free speech organization.

Supreme Court requests for patent clarity indicate concern, Holbrook says

For the second time this term, the U.S. Supreme Court has asked for the solicitor general's views on a case involving Section 101 patent eligibility. The high court's decisions in the past few years have led to the rejection of thousands of patents, mostly in software but also in biopharma. "I think two CVSGs suggests that the court is concerned about the way the doctrine is developing at the Federal Circuit and the broader impact" that its decisions have had, particularly Mayo Collaborative v. Prometheus Laboratories and CLS Bank v. Alice, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Law Timothy Holbrook told the National Law Journal.

Dudziak for the Washington Post: Korea's toxic legacy

"The collapse of talks between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jung Un in Hanoi means that Pyongyang's nuclear program will continue--and so, too, will the still unresolved Korean War, now nearly 70 years old," Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Law Mary Dudziak writes in an opinion article for the Washington Post. "The war, which ended with a truce but not a peace treaty, is famously forgotten in the United States, but it is invoked as legal authority every time a president sends U.S. troops overseas without congressional authorization."

February

Dinner: Georgia could be the trigger to finally ratify ERA

The ERA only needs one more state for ratification. Will Georgia be it? A bipartisan group of women in the state senate are mobilizing around a resolution calling on the state to ratify the ERA, which would amend the U.S. Constitution to guarantee equal rights regardless of sex, Rewire News reports. "We need the ERA to protect women's rights because it would provide explicit basis in the text of the Constitution for the recognition of women's equality," said Emory Law Associate Professor Deborah Dinner, clarifying that these rights currently only exist in state and federal laws, and under a broad interpretation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

Holbrook says 'bedside machine' patent loss was predictable

The University of Florida went to court to defend patent rights for a machine that compiles patient vital statistics and displays them. Its arguments included asserting sovereign immunity. The latter defense was weak, as was the claim that the invention deserved a patent, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Law Timothy Holbrook told Bloomberg. "The ruling on patentability `shows that taking something by hand and automating it with a computer is not going to be patent-eligible unless there is some technological advance in the process of automating it,' Holbrook said. 'An unsurprising outcome.'"

Is it a national emergency? Schapiro discusses the border wall issue

Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Law Robert Schapiro spoke with WABE about President Trump's recent declaration of a national emergency in order to secure funds to build a border wall. The Constitution states the power of the purse is the province of Congress, not the president, Schapiro said. However, Congress itself created the emergency exception that allows the president to reallocate money in a true crisis, such as 9/11.

Georgiev CEO pay-ratio research cited in 'Trusted Professional'

"The CEO pay ratio rule that was implemented as part of the Dodd-Frank Act mandates that companies disclose the ratio between CEO pay and median employee pay, and while the ostensible purpose was to shine light on compensation-related governance issues, two law professors have concluded that, given the vagueness of the rule's requirements, it serves as little more than 'click bait' to incite emotions," the article reads, citing the study co-authored by Emory Law Assistant Professor George S. Georgiev. "Trusted Professional" is the newspaper of the N.Y. State Society of CPAs.

CFO magazine covers Georgiev research on CEO pay ratio rule

"Opponents of the CEO pay ratio rule have a new ally: a comprehensive academic analysis that methodically constructs a case for the rule's worthlessness," CFO magazine says of a recent paper co-authored by Emory Law Assistant Professor George S. Georgiev. The paper, the first academic analysis of the pay ratio rule following the first round of reporting, has a chance of influencing changes to the rule, Georgiev said. "I think our proposal is fairly reasonable, so that's what we're hoping for," he says. "You can't stop journalists from looking for a headline, but you can put the numbers in context."

Lawfare podcast features Blank on the future of war

Laurie Blank, director of the International Humanitarian Law Clinic, recently spoke on the evolution of warfare and predictions about what's next. "From the increasing development of autonomous weapons systems to the expansion of the traditional battlefield to cyber and outer space, the evolution of warfare invites ethical and legal questions about what the future holds," says the Lawfare blog. The panel discussion was held in November 2018, moderated by former Air Force and Army general counsel Chuck Blanchard.

Bloomberg cites Georgiev on CEO pay ratio: 'Disclosure as Soundbite'

Research by Emory Law Assistant Professor George S. Georgiev was featured in a Bloomberg opinion article on alternative data and the relevance of a new SEC disclosure requirement: CEO pay ratios, or the difference between the CEO's pay and its median employee. Columnist Matt Levine quotes Georgiev's co-authored article: "We suggest that the pay ratio disclosure rule represents a unique approach to disclosure, which we term disclosure-as-soundbite. This approach is characterized by (1) high public salience--the pay ratio is superficially intuitive and resonates with the public to an extent much greater than other disclosure, and (2) low informational integrity--the pay ratio is a relative outlier in terms of certain baseline characteristics of disclosure, meaning that the information is lacking in accuracy, difficult to interpret, and incomplete."

Brown on NPR: High U.S. marginal tax rates are not new

Emory Law professor Dorothy Brown discussed the history of the U.S. marginal tax rate with with NPR's Scott Simon on "Weekend Edition." There was outrage this week at the suggestion of a 70 percent tax rate, but Brown says "Marginal tax rates went as high as 94 percent in the mid-'40s. It was also 91 percent as late as 1963. We had a 70 percent marginal tax rate as late as 1980. And currently, our marginal tax rate is 37 percent. So we've had very high marginal tax rates for many, many years."

January

UNESCO cites An-Na'im on 'three C's of human rights

Emory Law Professor and CSLR Senior Fellow Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im, author of "Islam and the Secular State," is interviewed by UNESCO on how concept, content and context affect meaningful changes in human rights, and also, his "The Future of Sharia," project.

Infringe 'Super Bowl' at your peril, Holbrook says

Super Bowl LIII will bring a lot of money to Atlanta-area business on its coattails. However, "The NFL has a history of smacking non-sponsor companies that it believes infringe on the lucrative trademark of its biggest show," says an Atlanta Journal-Constitution story. Non-affiliated companies who use Super Bowl images and label themselves "official," might be in trouble. Some use of the words "Super Bowl" are clear-cut violations, some depend on which company or organization is using them, said Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Law Tim Holbrook.