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Faculty News

for January, 2015

Prof. Murray Speaks on KCRW's To The Point Episode, "How Many Innocent Americans Are Sitting in Jail?"

January 29, 2015

Professor JaneAnne Murray was a guest on KCRW's To The Point for an episode entitled "How Many Innocent Americans Are Sitting in Jail?" The episode discussed how local district attorneys get re-elected for putting people in jail, and now some prosecutors are part of a movement to get some inmates out. It's not just new evidence or witnesses changing their stories—it's also the pressure on innocent people to plead guilty.

Read JaneAnne Murray's Faculty Profile

Prof. Cooper Appointed Alternate Member of Minnesota Public Employment Relations Board

January 29, 2015

Professor Laura J. Cooper has been appointed as the Alternate Member of the Minnesota Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) as a representative of the public at large. PERB is a new agency, created by the 2014 Minnesota Legislature that will, commencing July 1, 2015, consider unfair labor practice charges filed against state and local governments, public employees, or public sector unions.

Read Laura Cooper's Faculty Profile

Prof. Kappelhoff, Interim Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Speaks at Community Forum on Minneapolis Policing Practices

January 28, 2015

Professor Mark Kappelhoff, Interim Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), spoke at a community forum on police policing practices in Minneapolis. Kappelhoff commended Chief Janee Harteau and her staff for working with the Office of Justice Programs' Diagnostic Center to improve community safety, officer safety and criminal justice reform that the DOJ has set as a top priority in this country.

Read Mark Kappelhoff's Faculty Profile

Prof. Befort Elected Co-Chair of Labor Law Group

January 28, 2015

Professor Stephen Befort has been elected Co-Chair of the Labor Law Group along with Melissa Hart from University of Colorado Law School. The Labor Law Group is a nonprofit educational trust that promotes educational activities and produces teaching materials in the field of labor and employment law. Group membership consists of law school faculty who teach labor and employment law courses as well as leading law practitioners in the field.

Read Stephen Befort's Faculty Profile

Prof. Hill Elected to The American Law Institute

January 27, 2015

Professor Claire Hill has been elected to the American Law Institute (ALI), the leading independent organization in the United States producing scholarly work to clarify, modernize and improve the law. The ALI drafts, discusses, revises and publishes Restatements of the Law, model statutes and principles of law that are enormously influential in the courts and legislatures, as well as in legal scholarship and education. The institute's elected membership of lawyers, judges and law professors is limited to 3,000. The total membership of more than 4,400 includes ex officio members, honorary members and life members (those elected members who have attained more than 25 years of service).

Read Claire Hill's Faculty Profile

Prof. Shen's Research on Education Governance Cited in Reno Gazette-Journal

January 24, 2015

Professor Francis Shen was quoted and his research on urban school board governance was cited in a Reno Gazette-Journal article, entitled "Appoint School Boards? It's Not Unusual Around the U.S." which discussed Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval's proposal to appoint local school board members.

Read Francis Shen's Faculty Profile

Prof. Murray Publishes Op-Ed on Plea Bargaining in New York Times

January 23, 2015

Professor JaneAnne Murray published an op-ed in the New York Times addressing the issue of plea bargaining. The Supreme Court called our criminal justice system "a system of pleas" in 2012, she writes, but there is little that is systematic about the plea bargaining processes that determine who goes to prison and for how long. Murray's piece addressed the popular podcast, Serial, which examined the conviction of Adnan Syed for the strangulation of his former girlfriend when he was seventeen. Citing the work of Professor Barry Feld, she notes that Mr. Syed's age also impacted his competence to participate in his legal proceedings, putting a special onus on his lawyer, or the system, to ensure that he was fully apprised of the consequences of the decisions he made in his case. She highlights a recent proposal by Judge Jed Rakoff for judicial involvement in plea negotiations as a possible reform.

Read JaneAnne Murray's Faculty Profile

Prof. Painter Quoted in Bloomberg on Financial Conflicts of Interest of CFTC Commissioner

January 22, 2015

Professor Richard Painter was quoted in a Bloomberg News article on financial conflicts of interest that arose because a new Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) commissioner did not, upon taking office, promptly sell his interest in a company that was acquired by a major trader of financial derivative products that are regulated by the CFTC. The commissioner in this scenario, Painter observed, would be required to recuse from a significant number of matters involving financial derivatives.

Read Richard W. Painter's Faculty Profile

Prof. Orfield Quoted in Huffington Post on Texas v. ICP

January 21, 2015

Professor Myron Orfield was quoted in a Huffington Post article, entitled "States Fear The Supreme Court Will Eliminate This Key Anti-Discrimination Tool," about the history and importance of the disparate impact cause of action under the Fair Housing Act.

Read Myron Orfield's Faculty Profile

Prof. Orfield Interviewed for ProPublica on Texas Fair Housing Case

January 21, 2015

Professor Myron Orfield discussed the origin and importance of the disparate impact cause of action under the Fair Housing Act in a ProPublica article entitled "Supreme Court's Latest Race Case: Housing Discrimination."

Read Myron Orfield's Faculty Profile

Prof. Orfield Quoted in Washington Post on Disparate Impact

January 21, 2015

Professor Myron Orfield was quoted in the Washington Post on the Texas v. Inclusive Communities case and the importance of a disparate impact cause of action under the Fair Housing Act.

Read Myron Orfield's Faculty Profile

Prof. Soper Discusses Archdiocese Bankruptcy Mediation on MPR

January 21, 2015

Professor Christopher Soper explained on Minnesota Public Radio the court's mediation order following a hearing in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis bankruptcy case and said that court-ordered mediation in church bankruptcy cases isn't unusual. Soper said mediation could allow for more confidentiality in settlement discussions between abuse victims and the Archdiocese. He continued: "Here, I think it's a good indication that at least victims and the archdiocese are looking for consensual resolution. We'll have to see whether the insurers will also be on board with that." There is ongoing litigation between a group of insurers and the Archdiocese regarding insurance coverage for abuse victims.

Read Christopher Soper's Faculty Profile

Prof. Kirtley Tells Reuters that Paris Mayor's Threat to Sue Fox News will Fail

January 20, 2015

Professor Jane Kirtley told Reuters that Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo's threat to sue Fox News for "prejudicing the honor" of her city in its reporting of the Charlie Hebdo massacre will not succeed. "I believe there is no cause of action in the United States, period," Kirtley said. "This is an example of someone from another country not recognizing the force of the First Amendment, which allows criticism of governmental entities." Kirtley noted, however, that the French insult laws might allow her to bring an action in France. The Reuters article was picked up by the Irish Times, Irish Independent, Al Jazeera, and on www.boursier.com.

Read Jane Kirtley's Faculty Profile

Prof. Painter, Founding Director of Take Back Our Republic

January 17, 2015

Professor Richard Painter and three other former officials in Republican administrations have formed Take Back Our Republic, a new group aimed at convincing conservatives to back campaign finance reform. The group has hired John Pudner, former campaign manager to freshman Congressman David Brat (R VA), to be its executive director. Take Back Our Republic's work is informed in part by Painter's research on campaign finance reform during his year at Harvard's Safra Center for Ethics. The group's debut received considerable press coverage in the Washington Post, MinnPost and other media outlets.

Read Richard W. Painter's Faculty Profile

Prof. Soper Discusses Archdiocese Bankruptcy on KSTP

January 16, 2015

On the day the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, Professor Christopher Soper discussed the bankruptcy filing on KSTP. Soper explained that bankruptcy was a good option for the Archdiocese because it provides an opportunity to resolve and pay abuse victims fairly. Soper said that the bankruptcy will allow the Archdiocese to resolve its liability to abuse victims with some finality; absent the bankruptcy the Archdiocese could not easily address or calculate its outstanding liability.

Read Christopher Soper's Faculty Profile

Prof. Soper Discusses Potential Archdiocese Bankruptcy in Star Tribune

January 16, 2015

Professor Christopher Soper was quoted in a Star Tribune article discussing the driving factors behind a possible bankruptcy filing by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Looming trial dates for sexual abuse victim lawsuits and mounting financial troubles "are typical pressure points" for bankruptcy filings, whether for corporations or a church, said Soper. He explained: "When you have a combination of $9 million in debt and three court dates, bankruptcy is a potential way to address both of those problems." The Archdiocese filed for bankruptcy later that day.

Read Christopher Soper's Faculty Profile

Prof. Kitrosser to Speak at Magers & Quinn Bookstore in Minneapolis on Jan. 22

January 15, 2015

Professor Heidi Kitrosser will speak about her new book, Reclaiming Accountability, at Magers & Quinn bookstore in Minneapolis on Thursday, Jan. 22 at 7:00 p.m. The event is co-sponsored by the American Constitution Society, Minneapolis-St. Paul Lawyers Chapter. The book, which was awarded the Chicago-Kent College of Law Palmer Civil Liberties Prize this fall, explains the deep influence that "presidentialist" arguments have had in justifying federal government secrecy, and challenges those arguments as faulty readings of the U.S. Constitution.

Read Heidi Kitrosser's Faculty Profile

Prof. Soper Quoted in MPR Article on Possible Archdiocese Bankruptcy

January 15, 2015

Professor Christopher Soper was quoted in a Minnesota Public Radio story about a possible bankruptcy filing by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. The Archdiocese faces significant potential costs related to allegations of clergy abuse. "The idea is to resolve past, present and future claims in one go," said Soper. "To set aside a pool of money so that the church can go on with a fresh start, while still providing equitable money for victims."

Read Christopher Soper's Faculty Profile

Prof. Cotter Quoted in Law360 Article on Willful Patent Infringement

January 13, 2015

A Jan. 13 story in Law360 entitled "Federal Circuit Ruling Shows Appetite for Revisiting Willfulness," discussing the Federal Circuit's recent decision in the patent infringement case Bard Peripheral Vascular, Inc. v. W.L. Gore & Associates, quoted Professor Tom Cotter as stating that, now that the Supreme Court has changed the standard for awarding attorneys' fees in patent cases, "a lot of people think that the standard for willful infringement and enhanced damages has to change as well . . . . The issue is bound to be determined in the near future." Cotter also posted a write-up on the case on his blog, ComparativePatentRemedies.com.

Read Tom Cotter's Faculty Profile

Prof. Kirtley Comments on Charlie Hebdo Attacks on WCCO and KARE11

January 8, 2015

In the wake of the terrorist attacks on Paris-based satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, Professor Jane Kirtley told WCCO news that "Freedom of the press, like any other freedom, is not free. Sometimes people have to pay the ultimate price." Her interview appeared on WCCO News at 10 on Jan. 7 and on WCCO This Morning on Jan. 8.

Kirtley was also interviewed by KARE11 news, and commented, "This [journalism] is a high-risk occupation and I think people sometimes forget how much of a price journalists have to be prepared to pay to bring us the news or challenge our thinking." The interview aired on KARE11 News at 10 on Jan. 7.

Read Jane Kirtley's Faculty Profile

Prof. Orfield Participates in Symposium on SCOTUSblog Regarding Texas v. Inclusive Communities

January 8, 2015

Professor Myron Orfield was a symposium participant on SCOTUSblog in relation to the Texas v. Inclusive Communities case, which will be argued before the United States Supreme Court on Jan. 21. He argued that George Romney was right when he sought to establish a disparate impact cause of action under the Fair Housing Act.

Read Myron Orfield's Faculty Profile

Prof. Wolf Appears on MPR on Genetic Privacy and Family Access

January 7, 2015

Professor Susan Wolf was interviewed on Minnesota Public Radio for a program on "Genetic Privacy: Who Should Know What Your Tests Reveal?" Profs. Wolf and Robert Green (Harvard Medical School) discussed the tension between privacy protections for an individual's genetic test results and the potential need of family members to know the results for their own health care and reproductive planning. This tension is becoming more acute with the rise of genomic sequencing, capable of analyzing an individual's whole genome and generating massive amounts of health and risk information. The MPR program addressed issues central to NIH-funded research that Wolf is leading on sharing a research participant's genetic results with family members, including after the death of the participant. For more on that research project, visit http://consortium.umn.edu/grants_research/home.html#findings. To listen to the program, go to http://www.mprnews.org/story/2015/01/07/daily-circuit-genetic-privacy.

Read Susan M. Wolf's Faculty Profile

Prof. Carbone's Book, Marriage Markets, Discussed in Al Jazeera America

January 6, 2015

Professor June Carbone's book, Marriage Markets: How Inequality is Remaking the American Family (with Naomi Cahn), was discussed in an article by journalist and Syracuse Law Professor David Cay Johnston in Al Jazeera America on the growing class gap in family formation and its relationship to the changing economy.

Read June Carbone's Faculty Profile

Prof. Vaaler Answers WCCO-TV's 'Good Question': Why Do We Still Have Fuel Surcharges?

January 5, 2015

Professor Paul Vaaler appeared in the "Good Question" segment on WCCO-TV News, answering the question "Why Do We Still Have Fuel Surcharges?" Vaaler talked specifically about the recent decrease in gasoline and related energy products without any apparent decrease in the cost of consumer goods and services reliant on such products.

Read Paul Vaaler's Faculty Profile

Ellen Anderson and Prof. Hari Osofsky Featured in Midwest Energy News Article

January 5, 2015

Energy Transition Lab Executive Director Ellen Anderson and Faculty Director Hari Osofsky were featured in a Midwest Energy News article entitled "Former Minnesota Lawmaker Taking a Global Focus on Energy." The article states: "The lab will bring together the University's deep strength across many disciplines related to energy—from policy to science—to create tools that communities around the nation and the world can deploy to strategies for reducing carbon, improving efficiency and increasing renewables."

Read Hari Osofsky's Faculty Profile

Prof. Osofsky Presents at Symposium on Congressional Dysfunction and Executive Power

January 5, 2015

Professor Hari Osofsky presented at the Association of American Law Schools Academic Symposium on "Congressional Dysfunction and Executive Lawmaking During the Obama Administration." During the second panel, entitled "The Obama Presidency and Federalism," law professors talked about whether President Obama's use of executive actions defies the principle of federalism by either intruding upon policy areas belonging to states or attempting to force state collaboration with the federal government. Topics included gun regulation, health care, LGBT rights, immigration policing, and the regulation of renewable energy and climate change. The panel was aired live on CSPAN2.

Read Hari Osofsky's Faculty Profile