Archive for January, 2021

January 29, 2021

Roberts’s Recent Article Named a “Must-Read”

Professor Anna Roberts’s 2020 article, Convictions as Guilt, has been selected as a “must read” article by the Academic Advisory Board of the Getting Scholarship into Court Project. The Project’s purpose is to spread the word about scholarship that will be especially useful to courts and practitioners. The article will be featured in the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ magazine, The Champion, and should come to the attention of “thousands of lawyers, judges, and scholars.”

This is the fourth article by Professor Roberts to receive this accolade. (The others were Arrests as GuiltImpeachment by Unreliable Conviction, and (Re)forming the Jury: Detection and Disinfection of Implicit Juror Bias.)

An abstract of Convictions as Guilt follows:

A curious tension exists in scholarly discourse about the criminal legal system. On the one hand, a copious body of work exposes a variety of facets of the system that jeopardize the reliability of convictions. These include factors whose influence is pervasive: the predominance of plea bargaining, for example, and the subordination of the defense. On the other hand, scholars often discuss people who have criminal convictions in a way that appears to assume crime commission. This apparent assumption obscures crucial failings of the system, muddies the role of academia, and, given the unequal distribution of criminal convictions, risks compounding race- and class-based stereotypes of criminality. From careful examination of this phenomenon and its possible explanations, reform proposals emerge.

Anna Roberts
Professor of Law
January 27, 2021

Krishnakumar’s Response Published in Harvard Law Review Forum

The Harvard Law Review Forum has just published Professor Anita S. Krishnakumar’s Response, Meta Rules for Ordinary Meaning, an essay that responds to Kevin Tobia’s recent HLR article, Testing Ordinary Meaning.

Professor Krishnakumar’s Response suggests that Tobia’s excellent study fails to grapple sufficiently with the question of who the relevant audience is for particular statutes (or kinds of statutes).  It also notes that the survey data produced by the study could be operationalized to encourage Congress and/or the courts to establish certain meta-rules for ordinary meaning analysis, such as (1) specifying the relevant statutory audience;  (2) specifying whether a specific statute (or kind of statute) should be interpreted in light of its prototypical versus its expansivist, legalist meaning; or (3) using survey data as prima facie evidence of statutory ambiguity.  

Anita S. Krishnakumar
Mary C. Daly Professor of Law
January 14, 2021

Salomone Participates in Global Summit

On January 13th, Professor Rosemary Salomone participated in a panel discussion on “Minorities, Equality & Divided Societies” as part of the Global Summit sponsored by the International Forum on the Future of Constitutionalism at the University of Texas School of Law. Her presentation entitled, “Transformative Constitutionalism: Education and Linguistic Rights in South Africa,” focused on the transformative nature of the South African Constitution and its role in resolving enduring disputes over language and race in South African society. Looking at three decisions of the Court over the past decade, she specifically put into question a recent shift in the Court’s approach from redressing the wrongs of the past, set against the history of apartheid, to addressing present inequities within a more conciliatory and inclusive multilingual narrative. The presentation was based on a chapter in her forthcoming book on “The Rise of English” to be published by Oxford University Press.

Rosemary Salomone
Kenneth Wang Professor of Law
January 13, 2021

Sovern Pens NY Daily News Essay, Draws Attention from the CFPB, WaPo, and Salon

The New York Daily News published Professor Jeff Sovern’s op-ed, The COVID liability charade: Mitch McConnell’s demand is built on dishonest claims, on December 15. Salon quoted the op-ed on December 20. On December 18, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) published a debt collection rule in which it quoted from one article Sovern co-authored, and cited another. On January 5, the Washington Post published an essay by columnist Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation, in which she referred to a piece Sovern co-authored with Hofstra Law Professor Norman I. Silber as putting forth a “big idea.” 

Jeff Sovern
Professor of Law
January 7, 2021

Roberts Takes Leadership Roles on Evidentiary Issues

Professor Anna Roberts has been elected to the Executive Committee for the AALS Section on Evidence. She is also spearheading, in partnership with Julia Simon-Kerr, an initiative to reform prior conviction impeachment. This initiative will bring together a group of the leading scholars on prior conviction impeachment, with the aim of identifying states where reform is both needed and potentially viable, and then partnering with local advocates to attempt to bring about reform, whether through amicus briefs or other efforts.

Anna Roberts
Professor of Law
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