Christopher Borgen, Professor and Associate Dean for International Studies, has written this piece on Opinio Juris on the recent protests in Ukraine. Professor Borgen analyzes the tug of war between the EU and Russia over Ukraine, and what it tells us about the evolution of geopolitics and international norms.
Professor Jeremy Sheff‘s Stanford Law Review article, Marks, Morals, and Markets, has been identified by Professor Laura Heymann as one of the best works of recent scholarship relating to Intellectual Property, in a review published today in Jotwell: The Journal of Things We Like (Lots). Describing Professor Sheff’s article as “thoughtful and sophisticated”, the review concludes,
Sheff does not purport to set forth an all-encompassing theory, but his proposal is highly compatible with the way we now talk about brands. We are ever more in a world in which consumers engage with many brands as personas. Brands are trusted confidants and comforting companions. They find allegiances with different social groups at different times in their development; they uplift us and betray us. These brands are not simply a way of finding goods in the marketplace; they are also a way of announcing or defining one’s identity, creating relationships with others, signaling wealth, or engaging in any one of a number of expressive functions. Companies respond in kind, by creating advertising or affinity groups that foster this type of engagement, and by aggressively using trademark law as a kind of corporate defamation law, pushing back at uses that offend their view of their brands. If these are our relationships with brands today, then perhaps we should be characterizing their relationships with us as ones of promise, representations, and trust. The difficulty will then be in determining which promises we truly expect brands to keep.
Last week, Professor Margaret “Peggy” McGuiness, Co-Director of the law school’s Center for International and Comparative Law, participated in a podcast on United States v. Bond, which is currently before the United States Supreme Court. The Court heard oral argument in Bond on November 5. Bond considers Congress’s treaty powers and competing interpretations of the Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act. The podcast is featured on the Opinio Juris, the international law blog that Professor McGuinness co-founded with Professor Christopher Borgen.
Professor Deepa Varadarajan‘s recent law review article, Improvement Doctrines, was reviewed in JOTWEL as one of the best works of recent scholarship relating to intellectual property law. The review states, in part,
Deepa Varadarajan’s engaging piece, Improvement Doctrines, forthcoming in the George Mason Law Review, represents an important contribution to the growing literature about what property and IP can help us learn about one another. Improvement Doctrines focuses on the fascinating but underappreciated body of doctrines in physical property law that favor—and sometimes entirely excuse—trespass and conversion that is done in good faith and that adds significant value to the res. Professor Varadarajan’s article then uses these improvement doctrines as a lens though which to analyze intellectual property’s relatively anemic attempts to take account of improving but unauthorized uses of patented inventions and copyrighted works of authorship. In so doing, Improvement Doctrines identifies and illuminates a series of fascinating problems that span both physical and intellectual property law.
As noted in the review, the article will be published in George Mason Law Review in 2014. Professor Varadarajan was invited to present her paper at the 2013 Harvard/Stanford/Yale Junior Faculty Forum, marking the third year in a row that a St. John’s Law professor received this honor. For additional information on Improvement Doctrines, see an earlier post here.
Professor Anita Krishnakumar will join a group of contributors with expertise in election law, legislation and statutory interpretation, and political science on the Election Law Blog started ten years ago by Professor Rick Hasen at UC Irvine. Professor Krishnakumar’s scholarship focuses on statutory interpretation and the legislative process; several of her early articles examine the congressional budget process and lobbying regulations, while her most recent work explores interpretive trends in the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence.
Professor Janai Nelson has written Finding Justice for the Trayvons of the World for the Huffington Post. In it, she observes that “the Trayvons of the world remind us of how painfully far we remain from the ideal of equality for all, but also of the universal, human interest to continue its pursuit.”
This Thursday and Friday, Center of Law and Religion Director Mark Movsesian and Associate Director Marc DeGirolami will participate in the Fourth Annual Law and Religion Roundtable. This year’s roundtable will be hosted at Stanford Law School. Professor Movsesian will present an early-stage project on the Psychic Sophie case and the rise of the Nones on Thursday. Professor DeGirolami will participate in the meeting as a discussant. The ALRR forum is an invitation-only meeting “for scholars of religious freedom to share cutting-edge works and engage in discipline-shaping conversations.”
Professor Janai Nelson has authored a piece in the Huffington Post titled Gift or Gotcha: What to Make of Scalia’s Arizona Opinion about the Supreme Court’s decision in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc. The case involved a challenge to the Arizona proof-of-citizenship requirement for voter registration.
Professor Adam Zimmerman was quoted in a Reuters article about Mississippi v. AU Optronics Corp. earlier today. The case was recently granted review by the U.S. Supreme Court and involves the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) and State Attorney General actions. Here’s the relevant text:
When Congress passed CAFA, it considered an amendment to exclude actions filed by state attorneys general. But the Senate rejected the amendment. One senator cited concerns about plaintiffs’ lawyers using the exception as a loophole to persuade “a State attorney general to … lend the name of his or her office to a private class action.”
Still, any concerns the Supreme Court has over class action abuses will have to be balanced by its concerns over state sovereignty, said Adam Zimmerman, a professor at St. John’s University School of Law. If the Supreme Court rules that lawsuits filed by states can be removed to federal court, “it would threaten state sovereignty in a way Congress did not envision,” he said.
Yesterday Leiter’s Law School Reports posted the results of a survey of over 200 of its readers asking “which areas of law deserve more attention in the legal academy?” The top 10 subjects were:
- Consumer Law
- Energy Law/Natural Resources Law/Water Law
- Employment Law
- Alternative Dispute Resolution
- Immigration Law
- Family Law
- Insurance Law
- Comparative Law
- Elder Law
- Wills, Trusts & Estates
What was immediately apparent to me as I read through this list was how many of these areas are already strengths at St. John’s Law School.
My co-blogger, Jeff Sovern, is one of the leading consumer law scholars in the country. He has co-authored a casebook in the field, written numerous articles on a wide variety of consumer law topics, and founded the Consumer Law & Policy Blog.
St. John’s is also home to the Center for Labor and Employment Law. Founded and directed by David Gregory, the center is a forum where students, practitioners and scholars come together to explore the practice and theory of labor and employment law.
Paul Kirgis founded the Hugh L. Carey Center for Dispute Resolution, which he runs with Elayne Greenberg. The Carey Center is a leader in the growing field of alternative dispute resolution, offering courses, clinics, and experiential learning to students, hosting scholarly programs, and providing professional training and other forms of outreach to the community. Paul is one of the leading scholars in the field (you can find some of his publications here) and is a regular contributor to Indisputably, the ADR Prof Blog.
On the clinical front, we have the Consumer Justice for the Elderly: Litigation Clinic. Under the direction of Ann Goldweber and Gina Calabrese, the clinic students represent low-income, elderly Queens residents in cases involving predatory lending, contractor fraud, debt collection, and other consumer matters.
Befitting our location in one of the most diverse communities in the country, St. John’s actually has three immigration clinics: the Bread & Life Immigration Clinic, the Immigrant Social Justice Clinic, and the Refugee and Immigrant Rights Litigation Clinic.
These areas may get short shrift elsewhere, but they have been a focal point at St. John’s for years.