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 Jeff Sovern was quoted in an article on Law360, CFPB Aims To Fill Gaps With Coming Debt Collection Rules [link at http://www.law360.com/articles/486713/cfpb-aims-to-fill-gaps-with-coming-debt-collection-rules]. After noting that the existing federal statute, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, antedated the creation of text messages, email and social media, the article notes:
The statute does not take any of these modes of communication into account, and that has led to confusion about how it applies to them — as well as confusion’s sometime byproduct, litigation, said St. John’s University School of Law professor Jeff Sovern.
Professor Rosemary Salomone has authored Unity Through Diversity in Times Higher Education. Here is an excerpt:
As the debate over the Supreme Court decision['s decision in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin] has swirled through the US and French press, what has struck me is how the diversity rationale gets lost in numbers, centered on inputs in terms of students admitted and outputs in terms of student achievement and career success. This obscures the educational process that mediates between the two. While leveling the playing field for disadvantaged students, compensating racial minorities for past social injustices and integrating them into the professional classes are important goals, equally important is the value of student diversity in enriching classroom interaction and strengthening social and political cohesion. The more diverse the classroom, the more textured the discussion and the better students come to respect other views and develop the tools for civil discourse. Of course, this assumes that academics are willing and able to harness those differences positively.
Professor Janai Nelson authored A call for a right-to-vote amendment on Constitution Day for Reuters to mark Constitution Day. Here is an excerpt:
A right-to-vote amendment would open the door to voting access for excluded groups, such as the homeless, citizens convicted of a felony, and residents of the District of Columbia, among others. In addition, a constitutional amendment process centered on the right to vote would build civic awareness, inspiring a new vision of participatory democracy.
Without an affirmative right to vote, we are left vulnerable to the whims of partisan politics and inept election administrators to determine when, how and under what conditions we can vote.
So, as we honor our Constitution’s birthday, let’s not only blow out the candles — let’s breathe new life into it with a positive, explicit and unfettered right to vote.
Professor Rosemary Salomone’s essay, Should the ‘Veil’ Be Banned in Higher Education?, appeared last week in Issue 285 of the University World News Global Edition. The piece discusses competing approaches to the uniquely French concept of “laicite,” a form of secularism, and the current debate in France over a proposal from the High Council for Integration to ban ostensible religious signs or clothing from French public universities. Though the proposal does not mention Islam, Professor Salomone argues that the target clearly is the wearing of the Islamic “hijab” or headscarf. Professor Salomone questions the reasons offered for the ban, based on alleged incidents of religious conflicts in universities, which the Minister of Higher Education and Research and the president of the Conference of University Presidents refute. She warns that banning the veil would unjustly deny some Muslim young women their only option for higher education and further isolate them culturally and religiously. She further suggests that the debate ignores the forces of globalization, transnationalism, and European integration, the consequent rise of “world citizens” among the younger French population, and the gradual integration of Muslims into French society that inevitably will loosen the French approach to “laicite,” and perhaps sooner than the current debate would lead us to believe.
Professor Janai Nelson has written King’s Deferred ‘Dream’ of Democracy for Reuters. The piece opens:
In the midst of current retrenchments on voting rights, the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech provides an important opportunity to consider whether his “dream” has been realized. Or, is it now, in the words of the famous poet Langston Hughes, a “dream deferred.”
Salomone Essay “The Rise of English in Academe – A Cautionary Tale” in University World News (London)
Rosemary Salomone, Kenneth Wang Professor of Law, published an article, “The Rise of English in Academe – A Cautionary Tale”, in University World News (London). In this piece, she uses a recent regional court decision from Italy to explore the legal issues and policy challenges facing Italian and French universities in particular as they increasingly move toward using English as the language of instruction. Professor Salomone explains,
Driving the debate over English are three related forces: the articulated need among European universities to remain competitive in recruiting students; the expressed concern among faculty members to remain relevant in the growing stream of scholarship conducted in English; and the increasing interest among students in expanding their options in a flagging job market where English proficiency carries considerable weight.
The full article may be found here.
Professor David Gregory was quoted in today’s New York Times in an article headlined Vacancies and Partisan Fighting Put Labor Relations Agency in Legal Limbo. The quote appears in the following paragraph:
“The situation we’re seeing now is really unprecedented,” said David L. Gregory, a professor of labor law at St. John’s University. “There was a period of chronic vacancies that was as much the fault of the Democrats as the Republicans. But we really haven’t seen a showdown like this in modern history.”
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.