Archive for September, 2012

September 24, 2012

Lawrence Joseph “So Where Are We”

Professor Lawrence Joseph’s poem, “So Where Are We” was recently selected for Best American Poetry 2012, edited by Mark Doty.  Granta, which originally published the poem, has now re-published it on its website. You can find the poem here.

September 11, 2012

New on SSRN: Baynes on Teaching Race

Professor Leonard M. Baynes has just posted a paper to SSRN entitled Teaching Race Across the Curriculum to the Millennial Generation. Here is the abstract:

In this article, Professor Baynes shares his insights on how to inject racial and social justice issues in teaching the basic business organizations course. He suggests the various topics where racial and social justice issues can be raised such as in the areas of agency, partnership, corporate fiduciary duties, and board of director composition. Professor Baynes also suggests strategies to introduce these racial and social justice issues to make the concepts part of a seamless fabric of business organizations law and in a manner to minimize push back from students who are solely interested in ensuring that corporations maximize profits.

The full paper can be downloaded here.

September 11, 2012

St. John’s Faculty Workshop: Matthew Bruckner

St. John’s Fall Faculty Workshop Series begins on Monday September 17 with Matthew Bruckner, a Research Professor at St. John’s. Matt will present his paper Virtue in Bankruptcy. Here is the abstract:

This article offers a new positive theory of bankruptcy law based on virtue ethics. Virtue ethics is one of the three major schools of moral philosophy, and is rooted in the philosophy of Aristotle, among others. Virtue ethics appears to offer a better account of bankruptcy law than competing theories for at least two reasons. First, both virtue ethics and bankruptcy law are focused on concerns such as fairness and justice that underlie common notions of morality. Second, virtue ethics’ decision-making process appears comparable to how bankruptcy judges decide cases, particularly where the bankruptcy court’s equitable jurisdiction or discretionary powers are implicated. Other theories have failed to provide an adequate positive theory of bankruptcy law and this article seeks to fill that gap.

The workshop begins with lunch at 12:45 P.M. and will run until 2:00 P.M. You can find the full schedule of fall workshops here.

September 5, 2012

St. John’s Faculty in the Media

Three recent quotes in the media demonstrate the range of knowledge and interests on the St. John’s faculty. Rosemary Salomone was quoted in the Christian Science Monitor on a decision by a West Virginia federal judge to enjoin a public middle school from offering single-sex classes. Janai Nelson appeared on KXJZ-FM Capital Public Radio to discuss the recent decision to strike down a Texas law requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls. I was quoted in a Bloomberg story about new SEC guidelines requiring companies to disclose cyber attacks launched against them.

September 5, 2012

DeGirolami Reviews Cosmic Constitutional Theory

Associate Professor of Law Marc O. DeGirolami has just reviewed Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson’s new book, Cosmic Constitutional Theory: Why Americans Are Losing Their Inalienable Right to Self-Governance. Here are the opening paragraphs:

JUDICIAL RESTRAINT—the view that judges should take special pains to save democratically enacted laws from unconstitutionality and invalidate them sparingly—has hit hard times. As a distinctive approach to constitutional law, judicial restraint enjoyed prominence in the late nineteenth-century writings of James Bradley Thayer, who once said that judges should wield their constitutional swords only to slay “monstrous” laws. In the first half of the twentieth century, judicial restraint attracted just a few scattered admirers—Justice Felix Frankfurter here, Alexander Bickel there. The latest sign that judicial restraint is dying off is the baffled reception for the Supreme Court’s recent health care decision in legal circles.

The Court saved the law from unconstitutionality on the basis of Congress’s taxing power in an opinion laden with the deferential language of restraint: “every reasonable construction must be resorted to,” any “fairly possible” interpretation must be accepted. But the ravening legal commentariat was generally perplexed, failing to recognize the Court’s judicial restraint for what it was. The Right speedily dismissed the opinion as politically craven, while the otherwise jubilant Left prickled at perceived insincerities and manipulations. From the get-go, the hunt was on for alternative explanations for the Court’s reasoning—strategic cunning, corrupt capitulation to improper forces; anything other than a hopelessly old-fashioned exercise of jurisprudential modesty.

What is killing judicial restraint? In J. Harvie Wilkinson’s view, constitutional theory is doing the job. Wilkinson is a longtime judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, a prolific writer, and a well-regarded and moderate conservative. As he writes in his new book, the fall of judicial restraint (and the subsequent transfer of considerable power from the people to the judiciary) came with the mid-twentieth century rise of theories of constitutional interpretation. The presumption shifted: judges should no longer defer to legislative enactments; they should use constitutional theory to resolve constitutional conflict.

 You can find the rest of the review on The New Republic website the Book,

%d bloggers like this: