Friday, September 4, 2015
Richard Carlson (South Texas) has posted, "A Child's Right to a Family versus a State's Right to Institutionalize the Child," on SSRN. Carlson's article explores tension in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child between institutionalization and family placement as options for children without parents or guardians. Carlson acknowledges the Convention adopts a "child's best interest" standard toward placement and embraces the benefits of raising children in a "family environment." However, Carlson argues that the Convention's grant of broad discretion to states to institutionalize children, "cannot be squared with a 'child’s best interests,' the 'family environment' ideal or modern child development theory.
Carlson's abstract reads:
Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), declares that a child has the right to be raised in a "family environment." Nevertheless, the CRC grants states the discretion to institutionalize children who are without functioning families. States have this discretion because the CRC does not require states to arrange, facilitate, or even allow for child placement in a permanent, substitute family. In this article, I describe this contradiction in international law -- a child's right a family environment versus the state's discretion to institutionalize the child -- and I explore the possible reasons for the contradiction. A chief reason for the contradiction is anxiety about intercountry adoption. I propose some ways to resolve the contradiction and to pave the way for the creation of a true right to a family, including by placement in a permanent substitute family.
Thursday, September 3, 2015
Cass Sunstein (Harvard) has posted his essay, "In Praise of Law Reviews (And Jargon-Filled, Academic Writing)," on SSRN. The abstract reads:
Many people, including many lawyers and judges, disparage law reviews (and the books that sometimes result from them) on the ground that they often deal with abstruse topics, of little interest to the bar, and are sometimes full of jargon-filled, excessively academic, and sometimes impenetrable writing. Some of the objections are warranted, but at their best, law reviews show a high level of rigor, discipline, and care; they have a kind of internal morality. What might seem to be jargon is often a product of specialization, similar to what is observed in other fields (such as economics, psychology, and philosophy). Much academic writing in law is not intended for the bar, at least not in the short-term, but that is not a problem: Such writing is meant to add to the stock of knowledge. If it succeeds, it can have significant long-term effects, potentially affecting what everyone takes to be “common sense.”
Sunstein's essay is forthcoming in the Michigan Law Review.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Balancing the harms and benefits of speech — what I call “free speech consequentialism” — is pervasive and seemingly unavoidable. Under current doctrine, courts determine if speech can be regulated using various forms of free speech consequentialism, such as weighing whether a particular kind of speech causes harms that outweigh its benefits, or asking whether the government has especially strong reasons for regulating particular kinds of speech. Recent scholarship has increasingly argued for more free speech consequentialism. Scholars maintain that free speech jurisprudence does not properly account for the harms caused by speech, and that it should allow for more regulation of harmful kinds of speech. This article evaluates the various ways courts already employ free speech consequentialism. It then establishes and defends a principled basis for determining when speech’s harms greatly outweigh its virtues. I argue that courts should engage in free speech consequentialism sparingly, and should constrain themselves to considering only the harms caused by speech that can be analogized to harms caused by conduct. In this article, I develop a framework that recognizes the need to incorporate free speech consequentialism, and to constrain it, at various stages of First Amendment analysis, in connection with both tort and criminal law. I then apply this framework to timely and difficult speech issues, including campus hate speech, revenge porn, trigger warnings, and government speech — with the aim of rehabilitating core values of our First Amendment doctrine and practice.
Ms. Goldberg's article is forthcoming in Volume 116, Columbia Law Review.
Friday, July 24, 2015
Professor Cynthia Bond writes to request that law professors answer a survey about popular culture in the law school classroom. A cover letter from Professor Bond and a link to her survey are below.
Mitchell H. Rubinstein
Greetings Law Teacher Colleagues:
I am working on an article this summer on uses of popular culture in the law school classroom. I am defining popularculture broadly to include mass culture texts like movies, TV shows, popular music, images which circulate on the internet, etc, and also any current events that you may reference in the classroom which are not purely legal in nature (i.e. not simply a recent court decision).
To support this article, I am doing a rather unscientific survey to get a sense of what law professors are doing in this area. If you are a law professor and you use popular culture in your class, I would be most grateful if you could answer this quick, anonymous survey I have put together:
Thanks in advance for your time and have a wonderful rest of summer!
The John Marshall Law School
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
I am fascinated how new technology challenges existing legal and judicial ethics rules and canons. An article forthcoming in University of Illinois Law Review, written by Eric Goldman and Angel Reyes, III titled, "Regulation of Lawyers’ Use of Competitive Keyword Advertising" addresses just such an issue. Here is the abstract:
Lawyers have enthusiastically embraced search engine advertisements triggered by consumers’ keywords, but the legal community remains sharply divided about the propriety of buying keyword ads triggered by the names of rival lawyers or law firms (“competitive keyword advertising”). This Essay surveys the regulation of competitive keyword advertising by lawyers and concludes that such practices are both beneficial for consumers and legitimate under existing U.S. law - except in North Carolina, which adopted an anachronistic and regressive ethics opinion that should be reconsidered.
The article is available at SSRN here. Josh King, blogging at Socially Awkward, describes competitive keyword advertising this way: "1. “Buy” the name of your competitor from Google.; 2. When potential clients search Google for that competitor, your ad appears. 3. Profit!!" That's easier to understand, I guess, though I imagine there must be something more between steps 2 and 3.
Hat Tip to Carolyn Elfant at My Shingle, who offers her own take on the practice.
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
The Walking Dead Colloquium will provide a forum to discuss the “shadowy” legal interpolation of the dead on the living and explore both its positive and negative ramifications in an effort to strike a pluralistic balance between the law of past, present, and future. Thematic examples may include legal recognition of the dead’s wishes affecting real property and intellectual property; regulation of pandemics from yellow fever to Ebola; constitutional analysis relying upon views of the dead—the Framers—versus a “living” Constitution; and other myriad examples of the dead influencing law: the death penalty; desecration laws; the Right to Die Movement; posthumous evidentiary privileges; wrongful death and rights of survivorship; regulation of corpses, organ donation, and burials; stigma harms to real property inhabited by ghosts; and post-apocalyptic justice.
The information also appears at Calling All Papers!.
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Einer Elhauge (Harvard) has posted "Contrived Threats v. Uncontrived Warnings: A General Solution to the Puzzles of Contractual Duress, Unconstitutional Conditions, and Blackmail" on SSRN. The article is forthcoming in University of Chicago Law Review. This is the abstract:
Contractual duress, unconstitutional conditions, and blackmail have long been puzzling. The puzzle is why these doctrines sometimes condemn threatening lawful action to induce agreements, but sometimes do not. This article provides a general solution to this puzzle. Such threats are unlawfully coercive only when they are contrived, meaning the threatened action would not have occurred if no threat could be made. I show that such contrived threats can be credible because making the threat strongly influences whether the threatened action occurs. When such threats are uncontrived warnings, meaning the threatened action would have occurred even if no threat could be made, they are not coercive and can only benefit the agreeing parties. However, sometimes (as with blackmail) agreements produced by uncontrived warnings are also unlawful on the different grounds that they harm third parties. The contrived-threat test explains why the Medicaid defunding threat in Obamacare was unconstitutional and why (in the pending Supreme Court case) interpreting Obamacare as threatening to withhold tax credits from States that do not create insurance exchanges should either be rejected under the canon of avoidance or result in constitutional invalidation of that threat.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
South Texas Law Review's "Symposium: Bankruptcy Best Practices from the Bench and Bar," held in October 2013, is now in print:
- "A Survey of Sanctions in Bankruptcy Courts: The Fifth Circuit and Beyond (Robin Russell)
- "A Debtor's Duty to Update the Court" (Amy Catherine Dinn)
- "Chapter 7 Debtor's Duty to Cooperate with the Trustee (Rhonda R. Chandler, Lauren M. Virene)
- "Keeping Things In-House: Increasing Scrutiny of the Chapter 7 Trustee's Selection of Counsel" (Spencer D. Solomon)
- "Removal of teh Trustee From Office Under Sec. 324 of the Bankruptcy Code" (Vianey Garza)
- "An Ethics Review of Issues in Seeking to Represent Debtors and Committee: Professionals' Solicitation of Clients in Bankruptcy" (Patrick L. Hughes)
- "Ethical Considerations When Litigating Against a Pro Se Debtor" (Ashley Gargour)
- "Dual Representation Can Lead to a Duel with Your Clients" (Karmyn Wedlow, Jennifer Buchannan)
Thursday, March 19, 2015
Professor Mark Weber has just posted an interesting article on SSRN which will appear in Boston College Law Review. The abstract provides as follows:
American disability discrimination laws contain few intent requirements. Yet courts frequently demand showings of intent before they will remedy disability discrimination. These intent requirements have come into the law almost by accident: through a statutory analogy that appears apt but is in fact false; by continued repetition of language pulled from an obsolete judicial opinion; and by doctrine developed to avoid a conflict with another law when the conflict does not actually exist. Demanding that section 504 and Americans with Disabilities Act claimants show intentional discrimination imposes a burden found nowhere on the face of those statutes or their interpretive regulations.
This Article spells out the reasons not to impose any intent requirement either for liability or for monetary relief in section 504 and ADA cases concerning reasonable accommodations. It makes the uncontroversial point that no intent requirement applies to ADA employment cases, then explains that the same conclusion ought to apply to cases under the ADA’s state and local government provisions and section 504. It rebuts an analogy to caselaw under Title VI and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act that some courts use to support an intent requirement. It then identifies and corrects the reasoning of cases relying on the inappropriate analogy, those that rest on the obsolete precedent, and those that refuse to apply a full range of remedies for fear of conflict with the federal special education law.
This Article breaks new ground in the scholarly discussion of the disability discrimination laws by placing into context and critiquing the infiltration of intent requirements into cases brought under the provisions that bind state and local government and federal grantees. It relies on a contextual reading of the decisions of the Supreme Court, on the history of the ADA, and on policy considerations that ought to determine liability and remedies for unintentional disability discrimination.
The paper can be downloaded from: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2579263
Mitchell H. Rubinstein
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Recovery for emotional harm in tort is a dicey proposition for any plaintiff. Court traditionally have cast a sharp eye to these claims and have erected procedural and substantive barriers against recovery. The rationale supporting these barriers is that emotional injury is "less susceptible to objective medical proof" than is physical injury. The Restatement (Third) of Torts adopts these distinctions between physical and emotional harm by requiring emotional harm be "serious" before any recovery for emotional injury may be had.
These barriers to recovery act as a check against claim's perceived subjective nature and resistance to objective proof. In a recent article, however, Professor Betsy Grey (Arizona) argues that advances in neuroscience have blurred the lines between emotional and physical harm and render emotional harm objectively measurable, at least in some circumstances. The article is "The Future of Emotional Harm," forthcoming in Fordham Law Review. This is the abstract:
Why should tort law treat claims for emotional harm as a second-class citizen? Judicial skepticism about these claims is long entrenched, justified by an amalgam of perceived problems ranging from proof difficulties for causation and the need to constrain fraudulent claims, to the ubiquity of the injury, and a concern about open-ended liability. To address this jumble of justifications, the law has developed a series of duty limitations to curb the claims and preclude them from reaching the jury for individualized analysis. The limited duty approach to emotional harm is maintained by the latest iteration of the Restatement (Third) of Torts. This Article argues that many of the justifications for curtailing this tort have been discredited by scientific developments. In particular, the rapid advances in neuroscience give greater insight into the changes that occur in the brain from emotional harm. Limited duty tests should no longer be used as proxies for validity or justified by the presumed untrustworthiness of the claim. Instead, validity evidence for emotional harm claims—like evidence of physical harm—should be entrusted to juries. This approach will reassert the jury’s role as the traditional factfinder, promote corrective justice and deterrence values, and lead to greater equity for negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED) claimants. The traditional limitations on tort recovery, including the rules of evidence and causation, are more than adequate to avoid opening the floodgates to emotional distress claims.
This article article makes clear that expert testimony regarding neuroscience may soon be (or already is) coming to the civil courtrooms in the various states. Whether you agree, disagree or reserve judgement on her conclusions, Professor Grey's article represents a treasure trove of resources on these scientific advances and a good reference for lawyers, judges or students searching for a point of entry on the subject.
Wednesday, February 4, 2015
On February 6-7, the Denver Law Review is hosting a two-day symposium, "CrImmigration: Crossing the Border Between Criminal Law and Immigration Law." Registration information and the speaker's schedule is here.
Monday, January 26, 2015
Friday, December 19, 2014
The Virginia Law Review has published "Another Look at Professor Rodell's Goodbye to Law Reviews" by Judge Harry Edwards (D. C. Circuit) in its November 2014 issue. Michael Dorf (Cornell) added his thoughts here.
Thursday, November 13, 2014
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Alexandra D. Lahav (Connecticut) has posted The Jury and Participatory Democracy at SSRN. The essay, a contribution to a symposium on the civil jury, has been published by William & Mary Law Review. The abstract:
Citizens directly participate in the civil justice system in three ways. They can be sued, they can sue another, and they can serve on a jury. Beyond that involvement, the court system is peopled by professionals: judges, lawyers, clerks, and administrators. This Essay considers the reasons our society might want citizens to directly participate as adjudicators in the third branch.
Tuesday, November 4, 2014
The Connecticut Law Review will host its Fall Symposium on November 14, 2014, at the law school. The symposiuim is titled "The 50th Anniversary of Griswold v. Connecticut, Privacy Laws Today." The description reads:
Connecticut Law Review presents a symposium every fall to discuss an opportune topic of law. This year, the symposium will address the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision in Griswold v. Connecticut, exploring the history of the right of privacy through the present day. There will be three main topics discussed: the history of the right to privacy, privacy as sexual autonomy, and privacy as reproductive freedom. The keynote address will be provided by Professor Reva Siegel of Yale Law School.
The website says the symposium is free for those who RSVP by November 10.
Thursday, October 23, 2014
I have posted Effective Plea Bargains for Noncitizens on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
In Padilla v. Kentucky, the United States Supreme Court held that the Sixth Amendment requires criminal defense attorneys to advise non-citizen clients regarding the deportation risks associated with a guilty plea. The Court held in that case that a defendant's guilty plea may be involuntarily made when defense counsel fails to advise the client about those deportation risks. Trial judges accepting guilty pleas from criminal defendants have a duty to confirm the defendant makes the plea voluntarily and intelligently. Judges make this determination through the plea colloquy -- a series of admonishments and questions with the pleading defendant done prior to accepting the plea. Padilla at a minimum requires trial judges to inquire whether or not the defendant is a non-citizen, and if so, whether the defendant has received the correct advice regarding the guilty plea's immigration consequences. The judge's failure to do so may result in a conviction tainted by ineffective assistance or supported by a plea not voluntarily and intelligently made.
This Article suggests trial judges should take affirmative steps prior to accepting a non-citizen's plea to reveal whether counsel has provided relevant and correct immigration advice to the defendant. Part I discusses Padilla's facts, rationale and holding, Part II discusses the requirement for a voluntary and intelligently made guilty plea in modern plea bargain jurisprudence and Part III discusses the process for obtaining post-conviction relief for Sixth Amendment violations under Strickland v. Washington's ineffective assistance standard. Part IV closes by discussing best practices for trial judges and counsel to safeguard a non-citizen's rights while developing a record that anticipates post-conviction Sixth Amendment claims.
I presented this paper at an immigration law symposium hosted by The Scholar: St. Mary's Law Review on Race and Social Justice in April. The students and faculty hosting the event were top notch and I appreciated greatly the chance to meet and work with them all.
Friday, September 12, 2014
The Journal of Law and Health's Annual Symposium at Cleveland Marshall Law School has issued a call for papers which provides in part:
You are invited to submit an Article for possible inclusion in the Journal of Law & Health’s Annual Symposium: The Social, Ethical, and Legal Consequences of Sports-Related Brain Injuries. The Journal of Law & Health is a student-run publication dedicated to publishing innovative articles that offer diverse perspectives on the intersection between law, health, and medicine.
The selection of the Symposium topic was a result of the myriad of new research on the prevalence of traumatic brain injuries in sports and the long-term health consequences that result from head injuries. Further, high profile legal disputes, such as the NFL’s $765 million settlement with retired players, has thrust the discussion of brain injuries in sports into the legal arena as well. The Symposium aims to facilitate a well-rounded discussion between, judges, legislators, academics, and medical professional on the social, ethical, and legal issues that may occur as more research becomes available on brain injuries in sports.
Additional information and submission instructions can be found by clicking Download Call for Papers Final
Mitchell H. Rubinstein
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Professor Bill Herbert (CUNY) writes to inform us of a call for papers by the National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education. The conference will be held in April 2015. I have been to their conferences. It is one of the best interdisciplinary conferences. More details can be found in the announcement, here. Download Call For Papers and Proposed Workshops 2015 National Center Conference pdf
Mitchell H. Rubinstein
Tuesday, July 1, 2014
From the NKU Chase Law + Infomatics Institute website:
The Northern Kentucky Law Review and NKU Chase College of Law seek submissions for the fourth annual Law + Informatics Symposium on February 26-27, 2015. The conference will provide an interdisciplinary exploration of digital information in the courtroom, including the importance of insuring that such information is reliable, resilient, and uncompromised.
The symposium is an opportunity for academics, practitioners, consultants, and students to exchange ideas and explore emerging issues regarding digital forensics and the rules of evidence and discovery in criminal and civil cases.
The full release is here.
Suggested topics include digital forensics, constitutional issues, digital evidence in the courtroom, international and comparative law, e-discovery and emerging issues. The most immediate deadline is September 1, 2014 for abstracts.