Archive for October, 2021

October 27, 2021

Allen Presents Article to Two Arizona Faculties

Professor Renee Nicole Allen recently presented her work-in-progress, Get Out: Structural Racism and Academic Terror, to the faculties at Arizona Law and Arizona State Law. The invited talks were an opportunity to receive comments and feedback on her WIP. 

Here is an abstract of the article:

Released in 2017, Jordan Peele’s critically acclaimed film Get Out explores the horrors of racism. The film’s plot involves the murder and appropriation of Black bodies for the benefit of wealthy, white people. After luring Black people to their country home, a white family uses hypnosis to paralyze victims and send them to the Sunken Place where screams go unheard. Black bodies are auctioned off to the highest bidder; the winner’s brain is transplanted into the prized Black body. Black victims are rendered passengers in their own bodies so that white inhabitants can obtain physical advantages and immortality.  

Like Get Out, this article reveals academic horrors that are far too familiar to people of color. In the legal academy, structural racism is the monster, and under the guise of academic freedom, faculty members inflict terror on marginalized people. Black bodies are objectified and colonized in the name of diversity and antiracism. No matter how loud we scream, the academy remains a Sunken Place. Only time will tell if the antiracism proclamations of 2020 are a beginning or a killer ending.  

This article explores the relationship between structural racism and academic terror in the legal academy and articulates an effective framework for analyzing academic terrorism.   

Renee Nicole Allen
Assistant Professor of Legal Writing
Faculty Advisor, First Generation Professionals
Faculty Advisor, Women’s Law Society 
Co-Director, Writing Center
October 25, 2021

Movsesian Interviewed about Courts and COVID-19

Professor Mark Movsesian was interviewed by Kelsey Dallas about his upcoming article on the courts’ responses to COVID-19 restrictions, State of the Field Essay: Law, Religion, and the COVID Crisis, forthcoming in the Journal of Law and Religion.

The interview was first published in the State of Faith newsletter and can be found here.

Mark L. Movsesian 
Frederick A. Whitney Professor of Contract Law &
Co-Director, Center for Law and Religion

October 22, 2021

Greenberg Presents Dispute System Framework for Reimagining Racism Education

On October 8th, Professor Elayne Greenberg presented her paper Harnessing the Paradox of Racial Stressors: Reimagining Racism Education While Reducing Cancel Culture Casualties at the 14th Annual AALS Section on Dispute Resolution Works-In-Progress Scholarship Conference. This year’s conference was hosted by the Straus Institute at Pepperdine Caruso School of Law.

Here is an abstract of the article:

Law school administrators and professors are now being compelled to rethink their law school curriculum so that it more accurately reflects how systemic racism is embedded in our legal system. Get it wrong, and individual professors and administrators risk being cancelled.

This article provides the first dispute system framework to implement pedagogy on racism in law school. Although the focus is on skills courses and clinics, the suggested framework is applicable to all law school classes. The prescribed approach draws on an interdisciplinary understanding of the physiology and psychology of racial stressors and, building on that knowledge, explains how racial stressors in law school impact learning about racism. While respecting students’, professors’, and administrators’ individual wiring regarding racial stressors, a goal is to educate law students about how to become effective advocates when confronting the inherent racism in legal practice.

Elayne E. Greenberg
Assistant Dean for Dispute Resolution Programs
Professor of Legal Practice
Faculty Director, Hugh L. Carey Center for Dispute Resolution
October 21, 2021

Roberts Article Cited in Multiple Federal Court Opinions

Professor Anna Roberts’s article Reclaiming the Importance of the Defendant’s Testimony: Prior Conviction Impeachment and the Fight Against Implicit Stereotyping, 83 U. Chi. L. Rev. 835 (2016), was cited in three federal court opinions in the last five months. In each instance, it was cited to support a judicial decision to exclude a criminal defendant’s prior convictions for impeachment purposes. The late Hon. Jack B. Weinstein cited the same article in a 2016 opinion granting a motion to prohibit prior conviction impeachment. The article abstract follows:

Implicit courtroom stereotypes are an urgent problem. When trial defendants are African American, as is disproportionately the case, they are vulnerable to implicit fact finder stereotypes that threaten the presumption of innocence: unconscious associations linking the defendants with violence, weaponry, hostility, aggression, immorality, and guilt. Implicit-social-cognition research reveals that one valuable tool in combating this threat is individuating information—information that, through methods such as defendant testimony, brings an individual to unique life.

Yet courts frequently chill defendant testimony by permitting impeachment by prior conviction. Courts determining whether criminal defendants should be impeached by their prior convictions use a multifactor test, one factor of which is “the importance of the defendant’s testimony.” This factor was designed to prevent defendant testimony from being chilled: if the testimony was important, then impeachment was to be avoided. Now, courts often invert this factor’s meaning: they find that if the defendant’s testimony is important, the government should be able to impeach it. The distortion of this factor means not only that impeachment is typically permitted — and defendants frequently silenced — but also that a valuable opportunity to tackle courtroom bias is lost.

This Article proposes that the “importance of the defendant’s testimony” factor should be reclaimed as a means for defendants to argue that the individuating information that their testimony can offer militates against permitting impeachment. When the defendant’s race risks triggering stereotypes that threaten the presumption of innocence, individuation represents a crucial part of the struggle for a fair trial.

Anna Roberts
Professor of Law
October 19, 2021

Salomone Speaks, Comments, Is Quoted, and Is Reviewed in Kirkus

Professor Rosemary Salomone was a guest speaker at the annual meeting of the National Council of State Education Attorneys in early October. Her talk, “Educating English Learners for the Global Economy: Policy, Politics, and the Law,” examined the limitations in federal law and the politics of top-down and bottom-up change at the state and local levels, focusing on California, Utah, and New York City.

Her commentary, “Constitutional Court Resets the Narrative on Afrikaans,” appeared in the October 14th edition of University World News. The commentary discusses the last in a trilogy of higher education decisions by South Africa’s Constitutional Court that counsels against reducing the Afrikaans language to a “simplistic narrative” of “hegemony and decline” while not erasing the memory of apartheid. 

Professor Salomone also was extensively quoted in an article in Fair Planet on the recent South African Constitutional Court decision.

In the October 12th edition of University World News, in “Vice-Chancellor Takes His Place in Cabinet ‘Full of Skills,’” Professor Salomone is quoted on the challenges facing Morocco’s new Minister for Higher Education, Scientific Research and Innovation, underscoring the need to resolve the tension between French and English instruction in strengthening the country’s position in Africa and in the world economy.

Finally, her forthcoming book, The Rise of English: Global Politics and the Power of Language (Oxford University Press, 2021), was reviewed very favorably in Kirkus Reviews.

Rosemary Salomone
Kenneth Wang Professor of Law

October 12, 2021

Selby & Smith Chapter Included in New Book on Online Legal Education

Professors Courtney Selby and Rachel Smith have penned the first chapter in the newly released book Law Teaching Strategies for a New Era: Beyond the Physical Classroom (co-edited by Tessa L. Dysart and Tracy L. M. Norton). The first comprehensive book on online legal education, it explores techniques, tools, and strategies that can assist all types of law professors in that endeavor. Their chapter focuses on the value of faculty-led innovation in developing and delivering online education. Selby & Smith use the model chosen by the St. John’s Law Faculty in their shift to online instruction to illustrate the benefits of a faculty’s deep commitment to both exploring pedagogical models for online teaching and creating space for collaboration and innovation.

Courtney Selby
Associate Dean for Library Services
Associate Professor of Legal Research
Rachel H. Smith
Associate Dean for Experiential & Skills-Based Education
Professor of Legal Writing
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