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Faculty News

for August, 2009

Cotter Quoted in National Law Journal on Patent Law's Written Description Requirement

August 31, 2009

Professor Thomas Cotter was quoted in the National Law Journal, in a story titled "Federal Circuit Ponders How to Write Patents: Court Will Sit En Banc to Review Its Written Description Rule." The article discusses a recent order of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to rehear en banc a case, Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc. v. Eli Lilly & Co., in order to reconsider whether section 112 of the Patent Act imposes a separate "written description" requirement in addition to the enablement requirement. Cotter explained that, while inventors generally want to draft patent claims broadly so as to capture as much value as possible, the written description requirement poses a risk that a patent will be invalid if the claims cover more variations than the written description discloses. (Subscription required)

Read Tom Cotter's Faculty Profile

Prof. Kirtley Quoted in NYT on Press Access to Courts

August 31, 2009

Prof. Jane Kirtley was quoted in a New York Times story about cash-strapped news organizations filing fewer lawsuits to open up court proceedings to the press and public. Although she noted that the Associated Press continues to litigate access issues, declining resources have meant that many newspapers have "shifted [their] emphasis from principle to survival."

Read Jane Kirtley's Faculty Profile

Prof. Shaffer's Book Published and Another Book Accepted

August 31, 2009

Professor Gregory Shaffer has a new book with Oxford University Press titled, "When Cooperation Fails: The International Law and Politics of Genetically Modified Foods," which has received rave reviews by leading academics in the U.S. and Europe.

In addition, a new edited manuscript by Shaffer has been accepted for publication by Cambridge University Press in 2010. The manuscript is currently titled, "The Law-in-Action of the WTO: The Developing Country Experience."

Star Tribune Publishes Letter from Professors Befort and Cooper

August 30, 2009

On August 30, 2009, the Star Tribune published a letter from Professors Laura J. Cooper and Stephen F. Befort pertaining to the failure of the Anoka-Hennepin School District to fire two teachers who had harassed a student because of his perceived sexual orientation. A column, published the previous Sunday, blamed labor arbitrators for the school district's decision not to discipline the teachers. The professors' response cited their research study of over 2000 Minnesota labor arbitration decisions that disproved assertions made in the column about how arbitrators decide discipline cases in the public sector.

Read Stephen Befort's Faculty Profile
Read Laura Cooper's Faculty Profile

Prof. Goodwin Featured on Clear Channel Radio

August 23, 2009

Professor Michele Bratcher Goodwin was a featured guest along with CNN political analyst and Harvard professor David Gergen, Max Fraad-Wolff of the New School and contributor to the Huffington Post, and Dr. Ronald Walters, political scientist and professor at the University of Maryland on a two-hour radio commentary hosted by Jesse Jackson and aired nationally by Clear Channel Radio. Goodwin analyzed the politics behind health care reform and the political challenges the Obama administration has encountered in recent weeks. Goodwin notes that the administration swept into office with the trust and confidence of the public, and suggested that the concerns raised about health care and the economy should be viewed as an opportunity for the President and his team of senior advisors to recalibrate. Goodwin explained that confusion about health care reform can in part be explained by two factors: the public feels overwhelmed with the recent economic crisis and its impact on their lives; and many Americans are understandably confused about what is in the health care reform bills being vetted by Congress and how the legislation will affect their finances and current health coverage.

Prof. Goodwin Participates in Panel about Health Care Reform

August 16, 2009

Professor Michele Bratcher Goodwin, Dr. Gene Farley, an internationally renowned family physician, and Mark Potok, Director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center were a featured panel on a nationally broadcast radio program to speak about health care reform and the growing concern about the tone and tenor of town hall meetings on the subject. Goodwin made clear that health care reform is not a partisan issue, but one that republicans and democrats both understand as a fiscally responsible issue to address. She explained that the growing tide of frustration revealed in the meetings can be attributed to a number of factors, including the fact that Americans remain confused about a health care reform plan, because there are several on the table. She said that Americans want to know how the plans will affect them, including costs. Some of these issues are difficult to work out as the various plans are being modified and members of Congress cannot yet confirm what will remain in the legislation. Goodwin said that members of Congress are doing a better job in recent days by reaching out to the public and personalizing the message of health care reform. She concluded her remarks by cautioning listeners to become better informed about the health care proposals being vetted by members of Congress.

Prof. Goodwin Covers Back-to-School Health on Chicago Radio

August 14, 2009

Professor Michele Goodwin was a featured guest on a one-hour special back-to-school health update on WVON Radio in Chicago. She spoke about immunizations, autism, fears about swine flu, and what parents should know about the concept of "herd immunity." Goodwin noted the whooping cough outbreak in Colorado following parents declining to immunize their children, which affected the children who were immunized along with those who weren't. Goodwin acknowledged that a growing number of parents fear immunizing their children because of concerns about autism. Consequently, some states have noticed a rise in inoculation waivers submitted by parents to local health authorities. Goodwin also answered calls from the audience.

Prof. Hickman Quoted in Tax Notes Today

August 10, 2009

Prof. Kristin Hickman was quoted by Tax Notes Today, 2009 TNT 151-1, (subscription required) in an article on the D.C. Circuit's recent controversial 2-1 decision in Cohen v. United States, 08-5088 (D.C. Cir. Aug. 7, 2009). In Cohen, the D.C. Circuit reversed the dismissal of an Administrative Procedure Act challenge to an IRS ruling establishing procedures for obtaining refunds of a long distance telephone excise tax. In the article, Hickman noted, "The D.C. Circuit seems to have 'opened the door for taxpayers to challenge Treasury regulations and IRS rulings pre-enforcement on grounds of APA noncompliance,." Hickman has written an article on Treasury APA noncompliance titled, "A Problem of Remedy: Responding to Treasury's (Lack of) Compliance with Administrative Procedure Act Rulemaking Requirements," 76 GEO. WASH. L. REV. 1154 (2008).

Read Kristin Hickman's Faculty Profile

Prof. Goodwin Featured Speaker on National Radio Broadcast

August 9, 2009

Professor Michele Bratcher Goodwin was a featured participant in a panel discussion on health care reform aired on Clear Channel radio stations throughout the country. Professor Goodwin was joined by Dr. David Scheiner, President Obama's doctor for 22 years, as well as Huffington Post and Chicago Sun Times columnist and editor Deborah Douglas. Reverend Jesse Jackson was a call-in guest to the show, which he usually hosts. Goodwin suggested that the health care reform debate has escalated because the legislative proposals have not been clearly presented to the public. For example, Goodwin clarified that there isn't one special health care proposal being vetted by Congress, but several. She admonished Congressional leadership for not doing a better job explaining to the public what is represented in each bill in clear terms. Goodwin suggested that the internet could be a great tool for having interactive surveys with the public to get their feedback on what they desire in a health care reform plan. She urged the public to become better informed about the different proposals in Congressional committees. The two-hour morning broadcast took calls from throughout the nation.

Prof. Hickman Posts Commentary on Controversial D.C. Circuit Tax Opinion

August 8, 2009

Prof. Kristin Hickman has posted her thoughts regarding the D.C. Circuit's controversial split decision in Cohen v. United States, No. 08-5088 (D.C. Cir. Aug. 7, 2009), on the prominent TaxProf Blog. Prof. Hickman notes two particularly significant aspects of the panel majority's opinion: (1) its unusually narrow construction of the Tax Anti-Injunction Act and the Declaratory Judgment Act to permit judicial review of a taxpayer challenge to a tax regulation or ruling in a suit that does not arise from a typical IRS refund or deficiency action; and (2) its conclusion that IRS Notice 2006-50 is a final, substantive rule rather than a general statement of policy.

Read Kristin Hickman's Faculty Profile

Prof. Hickman Cited in Controversial D.C. Circuit Case

August 7, 2009

In a blistering 2-1 opinion, the D.C. Circuit in Cohen v. United States, No. 08-5088 (D.C. Cir. Aug. 7, 2009), reinstated an Administrative Procedure Act challenge to the IRS's procedures for issuing billions of dollars of refunds of the long distance telephone excise tax. With the dissenting judge calling Prof. Kristin Hickman "the leading academic" on the issue at bar, both opinions for the majority and the dissent cited Prof. Hickman's article, "A Problem of Remedy: Responding to Treasury's (Lack of) Compliance with Administrative Procedure Act Rulemaking Requirements," 76 GEO. WASH. L. REV. 1154 (2008).

Read Kristin Hickman's Faculty Profile

Prof. Goodwin Discusses H1N1 on Chicago Radio Station

August 4, 2009

Professor Michele Bratcher Goodwin was a featured guest on WVON Radio (Chicago). Goodwin was invited to speak about the swine flu and inoculation efforts, then she answered calls from the public. Goodwin explained that our recent efforts to combat swine flu are not the first, and two prior episodes in the US provide ample learning opportunities for the government and researchers. She explained to listeners how the vaccine for swine flu is likely to be derived, and responded to callers' concerns about inoculation leading to autism and speculations about possible irreversible side effects. Goodwin cautioned against vaccination panic, and concluded the show by urging listeners to take simple precautions to reduce the likelihood of contracting the virus.

Prof. Goodwin's Op/Ed in The Plain Dealer About Lack of Women In National Dialogue Over Gates Arrest

August 1, 2009

Professor Michele Bratcher Goodwin critiques the firestorm over Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates's arrest and the subsequent invitation by President Obama to the White House in her op/ed, "Women Not Invited to National Dialogue" in Cleveland's The Plain Dealer. Goodwin argues that missing from the unfolding dialogue and the White House meeting, were women, particularly the 911 caller. She urges, that "women are central to the dialogues on race and class in the United States, but too often absent from the discussion, even in the media, and now at the White House. On July 25th, the New York Times organized an illustrious panel of six lawyers, academics, and officers to discuss the Gates case, noticeably absent were women."