Archive for August, 2013

August 30, 2013

Nelson Reuters Essay on Martin Luther King’s Democracy Dream

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.”

janai blue

August 29, 2013

Perino Presents Paper on Attorneys’ Fees in Securities Class Actions

Michael Perino, Dean George W. Matheson Professor of Law, is presenting a paper today, Setting Attorneys’ Fees in Securities Class Actions: An Empirical Assessment, at a workshop at the University of Texas Law School. The paper is co-authored with Lynn Baker and Charlie Silver (both are at Texas) and is forthcoming in the Vanderbilt Law Review.

mike perino

August 28, 2013

Lawyer.Com Story Quotes Nelson Extensively

An article titled Justice Department Sues Texas for Voter Suppression, on quotes Professor Janai Nelson throughout.  The case was filed under §§ 2 and 3 of the Voting Rights Act. Here is an excerpt from the story:

“Section 2 has always been a very well used provision of the Voting Rights Act,” says Janai S. Nelson, a professor at St. John’s University School of Law. “Now it is increasingly important in combating discrimination because Section 5 is on hiatus if not completely eviscerated.”

* * *

Section 3 of the VRA is more obscure. “That provision allows a court to decide to require preclearance or federal oversight over a state or other jurisdiction’s voting practices once the discrimination lawsuit has been filed and discrimination has been found,” Nelson says. “As part of the remedy courts can say not only do we find the law in question a violation, but it is such a serious violation that we are going to require that you be watched and monitored by the government going forward.”

janai blue


August 23, 2013

Borgen, Perino, and Turano on Research Leave to Pursue Various Scholarship Projects

Each year, eligible, tenured members of the St. John’s law faculty receive course relief to pursue important research projects and advance the law school’s scholarly mission. I am pleased to announce this year’s research leave recipients and their projects.

Christopher Borgen

In the upcoming academic year, Professor Borgen, the Associate Dean for International Studies, will work on a series of writing projects involving the interlocking issues of sovereignty, self-determination, and the recognition and non-recognition of states. Part of this work will relate to his responsibilities as a co-rapporteur for the International Law Association’s Committee on Recognition and Non-Recognition in International Law. The Committee considers legal issues related to when one country “recognizes”—or doesn’t recognize—the existence of a new state, such as Kosovo, or a new government, such as in Egypt or Libya. During his research leave, Professor Borgen will also continue his ongoing contributions on Opinio Juris, the website he co-founded that is devoted to discussions, debates, and reports on international law.


Michael Perino

After serving as Associate Dean of Faculty Scholarship for two years, Professor Perino will spend his research leave this fall working on a new book project—a social history of insider trading. This project follows his highly successful book, The Hellhound of Wall Street: How Ferdinand Pecora’s Investigation of the Great Crash Forever Changed America. Against the backdrop of the largest wave of insider trading enforcement actions since the late 1980s, Professor Perino’s new book will examine evolving attitudes toward insider trading over time as well as tell the story of how insider trading became a crime.

mike perino

Margaret Turano

Professor Turano is returning to the faculty full-time after serving as Associate Academic Dean for four years. She will spend the fall semester on research leave during which time she will continue her work as an oft-quoted commentator for McKinney’s Laws of New York. For many years Professor Turano has written the annual Practice Commentaries for eleven volumes of McKinney’s–five for the Estates, Powers and Trusts Law and six for the Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act. In addition, she has co-authored a treatise with Judge Raymond Radigan, entitled New York Estate Administration, which was originally in the West Hornbook series and is now published by Lexis/Nexis. During her leave, she’ll rewrite one volume of Practice Commentaries—her sixth new volume in five years—and begin writing her annual Practice Commentaries for next year. In addition, Professor Turano will update her New York State Administration treatise and create new course materials based on a draft manuscript she wrote on New York Trusts & Estates Law.

peggy headshot

August 23, 2013

Sheff Presents at Trademark Conference in Australia

Earlier this week, Professor Jeremy Sheff was a panelist at a conference entitled, The Consumer in Trademark Law. The conference was hosted by The University of Sydney and University of Western Australia and Professor Sheff’s panel was entitled, Dilution, Trade Mark Theory and Consumer Interests.

sheff photo

August 21, 2013

Walker Quoted on Reuters on Bradley Manning Sentencing

Jeffrey K. Walker, Assistant Dean for Transnational Programs and Adjunct Professor of Law, was quoted in this Reuters article on today’s Bradley Manning sentencing. On the length of Manning’s thirty-five year sentence for revealing classified government files, Professor Walker, an expert on military law, stated: “The government is looking for general deterrence of future Bradley Mannings. Thirty-five years is a pretty powerful message. I think they could have sent it with less than 35 years.” You can read the full article here.

jeff walker

August 20, 2013

Sovern Article Cited as “Archetypal” Legal Policy Analysis

Professor Jeff Sovern‘s article, Opting in, Opting Out, or No Options At All: The Fight for Control of Personal Information, 74 Wash. L. Rev. 1033 (1999), has been cited as archetypal legal scholarship in the area of policy analysis in Martha Minow‘s famed legal scholarship handbook, Archetypal Legal Scholarship: A Field Guide, 63 J. Legal Education 65 (2013). Professor Sovern’s article, which has been widely cited and excerpted, is available here. Professor Minow, renowned professor and prolific scholar, has circulated her “field guide” informally for years and just recently published it in the Journal of Legal Education.

jeff sovern

August 19, 2013

Movsesian & DeGirolami at ICLARS Conference This Week

This week, Professors Mark Movsesian and Marc DeGirolami will be participating in the biannual conference of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, which will take place at the University of Virginia and William and Mary Law School. Professor Movsesian will present a paper on the rise of the “Nones”–religiously unaffiliated persons–and moderate a panel on religious symbols and public reason. Professor DeGirolami will present a paper on “Judging Theory” (co-authored with Professor Kevin Walsh).

Mark Movsesian

Mark Movsesian

Marc DeGirolami

Marc DeGirolami

August 17, 2013

Sovern Updates Selected Consumer Statutes Text

Professor Jeff Sovern has updated his volume of Selected Consumer Statutes (2013 Thomson/West). This text is co-authored with John A. Spanogle, Ralph J. Rohner, Dee Pridgen and Christopher Peterson and accompanies his textbook, Consumer Law: Cases And Materials (4th ed. 2013 Thomson/West) with the same co-authors.

jeff sovern

August 16, 2013

Crimm Co-Authors Book Chapter on First Amendment and Tax Laws

Professor Nina J. Crimm has co-authored with Laurence H. Winer, Quand les libertés consacrées par le Premier amendement se voient limitées par les anomalies du droit fiscal (Hallowed First Amendment Freedoms Inhibited by Profanely Anomalous Federal Tax Laws) (with Laurence H. Winer), in POLITISATIONS DU RELIGIEUX: TRANSFERTS DU SACRÉ DANS L’AIRE ANGLOPHONE (16E-21E SIÈCLES)  (WHEN RELIGION GETS POLITICAL (OR POLITIZATIONS OF RELIGION): TRANSFERS OF THE SACRED IN ENGLISH SPEAKING COUNTRIES (16TH-21ST CENTURIES) (Nathalie Caron and Guillaume Marche, eds., Presses Universitaires de Rennes), scheduled to be published in 2014.  Here’s the abstract:

Gandhi once observed:  “Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion means.”  Indeed, tenets of religions practiced in the United States, United Kingdom, and elsewhere address a host of relevant social, governmental, political, economic and moral issues of the day.  One might think that the uniqueness of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, with its hallowed guarantees of free speech and press, the free exercise of religion, and freedom from government’s establishment of religion, particularly would protect spiritual leaders against governmental restrictions on their religiously motivated political speech and the rights of their congregants and others to hear such messages. As the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed earlier this year, political campaign speech enjoys the highest level of First Amendment protection. But in the U.S., as elsewhere, religion and politics are a volatile mix.

Thus, since 1954, U.S. federal income tax laws have absolutely prohibited spiritual leaders from endorsing or opposing in any official capacity political candidates and their positions on biblically related issues of the day. This constraint profoundly intrudes on the religious identities of those spiritual leaders who feel theologically compelled to educate their faithful “through the lens of Holy Scripture, and evaluate where … [candidates] stand in regard to the Word of God.”1 And because religious leaders are, among other things to their adherents, moral advisers, mentors, and spiritual guides, the law interferes as well with these individuals meaningfully effectuating their religious selves.  The perceived stakes may be infinitely high. Having to choose between fulfilling obligations of one’s chosen faith and its religious precepts through prophetic speech and its political implementation, or being silenced by profanely anomalous tax laws, can mean the difference between “being saved and slotted for eternal joyous life or condemned to eternal damnation, leading a life of virtue or a life of sin.”

Incongruously, federal tax law intrudes on political and religious liberties protected under the First Amendment and potentially compromises religious identity within some U.S. communities. The decided, singular chill on the religiously inspired political speech of clergy and on the concomitant religious and political rights of their congregants has provoked intense controversy over the proper role of religion in the political sphere. Our presentation will describe and situate this contemporary debate within the context of U.S. history and constitutional principles, thereby providing one pole for comparison with other secularized traditions and approaches, including insights into the dynamics of the intersecting roles of religion and politics in both spiritual and civic lives.


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