Archive for August 9th, 2013

August 9, 2013

Crimm Writes Lead Article for Bar Ilan University Journal of Law, State and Religion on Tax Laws and Political Speech by Houses of Worship

Professor Nina J. Crimm has co-authored an article with Laurence H. Winer, Tax Laws Ban on Political Campaign Speech by Houses of Worship:  Inappropriate Government Censorship and Intrusion on Religion, 2 Bar Ilan University Journal of Law, State and Religion 1 (symposium issue, 2013). Here’s the abstract:

To ensure their legitimacy, western liberal democracies depend on the fullest protection for freedom of political and electoral speech. Governments should not interfere with or chill these fundamental rights of democratic participation without overwhelmingly compelling reasons to do so.  In the US, however, despite the majestic protections of the First Amendment, anomalously there remains a large class of nonprofit entities that are statutorily precluded from this type of crucial political involvement, and this exceptional restriction on speech is incongruously based in the federal tax code. In particular, spiritual leaders who might feel theologically compelled to speak out on critical moral and political issues of the day risk the tax exempt status of their houses of worship if they cross an amorphous line into explicit or implicit political campaign speech. Both freedom of expression and religious freedom are at stake, and the tax system is a particularly inapt and inept mechanism for restricting speech and influencing the political activity of houses of worship.


August 9, 2013

Montana Article on Peer Review in Oregon Law Review

Professor Patricia Grande Montana has written Peer Review Across the Curriculum, 91 Or. L. Rev. 783 (2013).  Here’s the abstract:

This paper examines the Carnegie and Best Practices Reports’ recommendation that law schools devote more attention to helping students develop the professional skills they will need in practice and proposes peer review as an attractive option.

Peer review, the process in which law students critique each other’s written work, is a powerful tool to teach students the knowledge, skills, and values essential to becoming a competent and professional lawyer.  Through peer review, students improve their legal writing and analysis, enhance their editing skills, learn to cooperate with others, manage and evaluate constructive criticism, and develop a deeper appreciation of audience, among other things.  For professors, it is an opportunity to assess their students’ performance and provide additional, useful feedback on their understanding of the legal doctrine and competence in legal analysis and writing.

As writing and professional skills instruction throughout the law school curriculum, not just in writing and skills courses, becomes more prevalent, law professors will need to find new and innovative ways to help their students achieve practical proficiency in the skills needed for legal practice.  This paper explores peer review as one effective way.

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