In an American Banker op-ed, Consumers Fare Better with Arbitration, Alan Kaplinsky, Mark Levin, and Daniel McKenna, lawyers from Ballard Spahr, a leading firm representing banks and others in the consumer financial services industry, commented on the St. John’s Arbitration Study, and responded to an earlier American Banker op-ed authored by Professor Jeff Sovern. Sovern rebutted in another American Banker op-ed, Arbitration Tricks Consumers into Giving Up Their Rights. In addition, Maryland law professor Peter Holland offered his own views on the study in a blog post.
ContractsProf Blog has organized a virtual symposium on Omri Ben-Shahar’s and Carl Schneider’s book, More That You Wanted to Know: The Failure of Mandated Disclosure. So far, ten scholars have provided posts, including professors from Georgetown, NYU, Minnesota, Fordham, Cornell, Washington, Iowa, and other law schools. Professor Jeff Sovern’s contribution is about whether single-letter grade disclosures, such as those seen at the entrances of New York City restaurants, are a useful form of disclosure.
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.