Professor Lawrence Joseph’s poem, On Nature, has been published in Commonweal Magazine’s 90th Anniversary issue.
Professor John Q. Barrett recently gave two continuing legal education lectures that reviewed U.S. Supreme Court decisions and developments from last Term and previewed some cases and possible developments in the newly-started Term. On October 6th (“First Monday”), he lectured at the Federal Bar Association’s EDNY chapter, at the U.S. Courthouse in Central Islip, New York. On October 9th, he lectured at The New York State Judicial Institute in White Plains, New York, for video broadcast to Judges and court personnel across New York State.
Marc DeGirolami will participate (regretfully, only virtually and not in person) this Wednesday in a conference at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, on The Roberts Court and the Protection of Religious Freedom in the United States, organized by Olivier Roy and Pasquale Annicchino. Here’s the description of the conference (in Italian); the link contains the program:
John Glover Roberts Jr. è stato nominato Chief Justice della Corte Suprema degli Stati Uniti il 22 settembre 2005, nomina confermata una settimana dopo dal Senato con 78 voti favorevoli e 22 contrari. In questi 9 anni si sono succedute numerose decisioni di assoluto rilievo del massimo organo giurisdizionale statunitense. Tra queste alcune hanno portato a definitivo compimento una nuova interpretazione ed una differente applicazione delle due clausole del primo emendamento costituzionale che si occupano di libertà religiosa: la Free Exercise Clause e la Establishment Clause. Dopo aver inquadrato nel contesto storico e politico la presidenza Roberts, questo workshop intende esaminare le principali pronunce della Corte Suprema sulla libertà religiosa.
Ogni relatore sarà chiamato a commentare una pronuncia e, mediante un approccio di “law in context” a darne una interpretazione nell’ambito del più ampio sviluppo della giurisprudenza della Corte.
L’obiettivo è quello di realizzare un volume collettivo (in italiano) che possa offrire agli studiosi nuovo materiale di riflessione e studio su un argomento che tocca gli interessi scientifici sia dei costituzionalisti che dei cultori delle materie ecclesiasticistiche.
The Philadelphia Inquirer story, Consumers Rarely Use the Right to Cancel a Contract reports on Professor Jeff Sovern’s article, Written Notice of Cooling-Off Periods: A Forty-Year Natural Experiment in Illusory Consumer Protection and the Relative Effectiveness of Oral and Written Disclosures, forthcoming in the University of Pittsburgh Law Review. The article also quotes from an interview with Professor Sovern. The article states:
Sovern, who teaches consumer law and civil procedure at New York’s St. John’s University Law School, analyzed survey responses from 155 businesses that informed consumers of their right to cancel a deal. It rarely seemed to matter. . . .
“I’ve been teaching these laws for more than a quarter-century, and I’ve been wondering if they actually helped anybody,” [Sovern] told me last week.
For the full story, with additional quotes and discussion of Sovern’s research go to the full article.
This Friday, October 10th, Professor Eva Subotnik will join Professor Molly van Houweling of UC Berkeley Law School and Professor Daniel Gervais of Vanderbilt Law School for a panel discussion at Columbia Law School’s symposium addressing the concerns of professional authors, artists and performers and suggesting changes to law and practice that would benefit authors and encourage creativity. Professor Subotnik will present a talk entitled “Actors and Artists as Authors,” forthcoming in the Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts, which will explore the degree to which different kinds of creative professionals can and do benefit from the status of “author” under the Copyright Act.
On October 4, 2014, Larry Cunningham, the Law School’s Associate Academic Dean, spoke at the Fall Leadership Summit of the American Bar Association’s Law Student Division. He presented on the panel, “Getting the Most Out of Law School: Student and Administration Integration.” He addressed ways that law school administrators and students can work together to further career development. Dean Cunningham talked about St. John’s Law’s strategic priority of helping students achieve their career goals and initiatives that have been developed to improve job placement. He provided advice to the audience, student leaders from schools in the northeast and mid-Atlantic, about ways they can work with administrators at their law schools to improve job outcomes.
Marc DeGirolami’s new essay, Constitutional Contraction: Religion and the Roberts Court, will be published in a symposium issue of the Stanford Law and Policy Review next year. Here is the abstract:
This essay argues that the most salient feature to emerge in the first decade of the Roberts Court’s law and religion jurisprudence is the contraction of the constitutional law of religious freedom. It illustrates that contraction in three ways.
First, contraction of judicial review. Only once has the Roberts Court exercised the power of judicial review to strike down federal, state, or local legislation, policies, or practices on the ground that they violate the Free Exercise or Establishment Clauses. In this constitutional context the Court has been nearly uniformly deferential to government laws and policies. That distinguishes it from its two predecessors — the Rehnquist and Burger Courts — both of which exercised judicial review more regularly.
Second, contraction in the range of voting patterns. The votes of the Justices in law and religion cases overwhelmingly are either unanimous or split 5-4, with relatively few separate dissents or concurrences expressing distinctive approaches, and with the split correlating with partisan political or ideological divisions. The “liberal” and “conservative” wings vote in bloc, and frequently reason in bloc as well. This again contrasts with the voting patterns of prior Courts in religious freedom cases.
Third, contraction in coverage. As a substantive matter, the Court is narrowing the religion clauses. Every member of the Court seems now to accept that Employment Division v. Smith properly interpreted the Free Exercise Clause. Matters are more complicated for the Establishment Clause, where there is far greater division among the Justices. Nevertheless, the essay claims that the Court is moving in a variety of ways toward a narrow interpretation of the Establishment Clause as well.
Whether the Roberts Court’s contraction of the religion clauses, and its general preference for narrow readings of both, are positive developments will depend on one’s views about fundamental questions of constitutional interpretation. Yet there is a conceptual unity to the Court’s approach — logical and complementary, even if not inevitable: just as the Rehnquist Court narrowed the scope of constitutional protection for free exercise, so, too, is the Roberts Court narrowing the scope of constitutional prohibition under the Establishment Clause. In this corner of constitutional law, the Court is gradually withdrawing from the scene.
the library earlier this month. Among other subjects, the panel addressed the rise of contemporary Islamism, the treatment of Christians in the Mideast, the prevalence of Islamic-law arbitration in Europe and the US, and the legality of American drone strikes on American citizens affiliated with Islamist groups. The panel was hosted by Mark Lanier and included Professor Mark Movsesian, Dean Michael Simons, Professor James Hoffmeier (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School), and Fr. Mario Arroyo (Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston).
Professor Cheryl Wade was invited to participate at a Financial Roundtable on comparative corporate governance sponsored by the law schools at the University of British Columbia and Osgoode Hall last month. Each participant contributed a chapter about corporate governance, finance, or securities law that discussed where the world is in the aftermath of the financial crisis.
Professor Wade’s article, Gender Diversity on Corporate Boards: How Racial Politics Impedes Progress in the United States, was just published in a symposium issue of the Pace University School of Law International Law Review on Comparative Sex Regimes and Corporate Governance.
This Friday, St. John’s University School of Law will host a breakfast talk with SEC Enforcement Division Director Andrew J. Ceresney and Robert E. Rice, Chief Counsel to SEC Chair Mary Jo White. The program will focus on the modern challenges facing the commission, including new financial instruments, high frequency trading, and international investigations. This event will take place at St. John’s new Manhattan campus and is co-sponsored by St. John’s Law Review and the Corporate and Securities Law Society. To register for the program and for additional information, please visit the event page.