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Faculty News

for February, 2011

Prof. Kirtley Criticizes Spokesman Who Equates News Reporting with Lobbying

February 27, 2011

Professor Jane Kirtley was quoted in a St. Louis Post-Dispatch article entitled, "Hospital association official accuses reporters of lobbying." The story reported that a lobbyist for the Missouri Hospital Association had accused journalists of acting as unregistered lobbyists themselves when they asked questions of Missouri legislators, threatening to report them to the state ethics commission. Kirtley said, "It will be a very bad day for the people of Missouri if a journalist asking questions is construed as lobbying." A spokesman for the hospital association subsequently repudiated the memo, stating, "We do believe the Post-Dispatch has every right to ask legislators questions."

Read Jane Kirtley's Faculty Profile

Prof. Kirtley Quoted on Third-Party Subpoenas Seeking Reporter's Records

February 24, 2011

Professor Jane Kirtley was quoted on Politico and in the St. Louis Beacon describing how the U.S. Justice Department used subpoenas to obtain New York Times reporter James Risen's credit reports, bank, telephone and other transactional records as part of an espionage investigation involving a former CIA officer. Kirtley called the use of third-party subpoenas "really invidious" because they risk disclosing information relating to other confidential sources unrelated to the investigation, posing a "Hobson's choice" for journalists. "Human nature being what it is, the likelihood that the FBI would be interested in information about another [journalistic] investigation or subject is just huge," she added.

Read Jane Kirtley's Faculty Profile

Prof. Painter Quoted on U.S. Ambassador to China's Risky Campaign Moves

February 24, 2011

In remarks reported on Politico, The Huffington Post and other news services, Professor Richard Painter, who was the chief White House ethics lawyer for President Bush from 2005-2007, called on the United States Ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman Jr., to "come home immediately" because a PAC had been started to launch his 2012 Presidential campaign. Painter noted that the Hatch Act prohibits federal employees from running for office in partisan political races and that campaign contributors could exacerbate conflicts of interest for a U.S. China envoy who wants to be President.

Read Richard W. Painter's Faculty Profile

Prof. Frase Quoted on MPR News on Conflicts between Free Speech and Public Safety

February 24, 2011

Professor Richard Frase was quoted in an article on MPR News entitled, "Trial underway for former nurse accused of assisting suicides." William Melchert-Dinkel was accused of seeking out, online, and encouraging the suicide of several people, two of whom did commit suicide. Melchert-Dinkel argued that Minnesota courts lack jurisdiction since both victims lived and died outside the state and that his communications with them were protected speech under the First Amendment. He waived a jury trial and agreed to not contest the basic facts alleged by the prosecution. Frase explained why defendants use this procedure rather than a jury trial or guilty plea. He also explained why the jurisdiction argument fails under Minnesota law and what the basic distinction is between protected speech and punishable aid or encouragement of crime or suicide.

Frase also spoke on MPR with Tom Crann on the case.

Read Richard Frase's Faculty Profile

Prof. Hill's Article Chosen to be Included in 2011 Securities Law Review

February 24, 2011

Professor Claire Hill's article, "Why Did The Rating Agencies Do Such A Bad Job Rating Subprime Securities?", originally published in the Pittsburgh Law Review, has been chosen to be included in the 2011 Securities Law Review. The volume consists of eight to ten securities law articles published in law reviews during 2010 in which the editor deems "especially worthy of a wider audience."

Read Claire Hill's Faculty Profile

Prof. Hall's Testimony at Congressional Hearing Quoted on The Hill's Healthcare Blog

February 17, 2011

Professor Ralph Hall's testimony at the House Energy & Commerce Committee's Subcommitte on Health's hearing on medical device approvals, safety and innovation was quoted on Healthwatch, The Hill's healthcare blog. Among other things, Hall reported on a study he did on the safety of medical devices.

Prof. Feld Quoted in Pioneer Press on Criminal Procedure

February 16, 2011

Professor Barry Feld was quoted in the Pioneer Press explaining the criminal procedural details of how a defendant can plead guilty without actually admitting she is guilty. Feld explained how an Alford plea allows someone to plead guilty, insist on their innocence, and yet acknowledge that sufficient facts exist to support a finding of guilt. In the case of an ex-teacher charged with sexual contact with a student, the defendant pled guilty on the basis of agreed upon facts stipulated to by prosecution and defense, allowed the judge to determine guilt or innocence based on the agreed upon facts, and then limited the maximum sentence the judge may impose if the facts warrant a guilty verdict.

Read Barry Feld's Faculty Profile

Prof. Ni Aolain Awarded British Academy Grant

February 16, 2011

Professor Fionnuala Ni Aolain has been awarded a British Academy Grant for her research in the area of "Assessing Gender Harms and Remedies in Post-Conflict Societies." The British Academy is the United Kingdom?s national body for the humanities and social sciences. Its goal is to inspire, recognize and support excellence in the humanities and social sciences throughout the UK and internationally and to champion their role and value. Ni Aolain's research grant will enable field work in Israel and Bosnia on gendered experience of violence in post-conflict settings.

Read Fionnuala Ní Aoláin's Faculty Profile

Prof. Levinson's Work Cited in Oxford English Dictionary

February 11, 2011

Professor Bernard Levinson's book entitled, Deuteronomy and the Hermeneutics of Legal Innovation (Oxford University Press, 1997), was referenced under the word "oneiromancer," a person who interprets dreams in order to predict the future, in the Third Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford University Press, 2008; online version [http://www.oed.com] November 2010).

Read Bernard M. Levinson's Faculty Profile

Prof. Wolf Quoted in Science on Revealing Genetic Research Results

February 11, 2011

Professor Susan Wolf was quoted in Science on the current debate over return of individual research results to participants in genetic and genomic research. In the Feb. 11 issue devoted to challenges posed by data, an article on "What Would You Do?" queries what data, if any, scientists should offer back to research participants. The article states, "Whether to divulge results..., and how, is arguably the most pressing issue in genetics today." Wolf led the first major NIH-funded project on this issue and now is leading a follow-on NIH-funded project based at the Consortium on Law and Values in Health, Environment & the Life Science on what results to share from large-scale genomic research using biobanks or archives. "There's little public guidance for researchers on how to handle incidental findings..., according to Susan Wolf, a law professor specializing in bioethics at the University of Minnesota Law School in Minneapolis. Those enmeshed in genetics, facing potentially many more such cases, are now seeking common ground. 'I think there is growing consensus,' says Wolf, that what she calls 'some really big-ticket items' should be shared with research participants. But despite 'widespread agreement that that category exists, there is real disagreement and ferment' over what it encompasses." The Consortium will sponsor a groundbreaking national conference on these issues on May 19 in Washington, DC.

Read Susan M. Wolf's Faculty Profile

Prof. Wolf Quoted in USA Today on New Forms of DNA Testing

February 10, 2011

Professor Susan Wolf was quoted in USA Today on a new report from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston that states that new forms of DNA testing of a child may reveal that the genetic parents are close relatives, potentially indicating incest and in some cases, sexual abuse of a minor who produces a child. The article, entitled "DNA tests could reveal unknown proof of incest," reports that "Improved gene tests can now reveal children born of incest without the need to test for either parent's DNA." Wolf, an expert on incidental findings in genetic and genomic research, said, "This is a first report of a potentially important new category of incidental findings in medicine. As genetic testing gives us more and more information, we are going to learn a lot more about undisclosed relationships."

Read Susan M. Wolf's Faculty Profile

Prof. Kritzer Appointed to UK's Research Assessment Panel

February 10, 2011

Professor Herbert Kritzer has been appointed to social science oversight panel of the United Kingdom's Research Excellence Framework 2014. REF2014 is charged with evaluating the quality of research in the UK's universities. The results of REF2014 will inform allocation of research funding decisions. Kritzer will serve on the oversight panel that covers law, sociology, political science, anthropology, archaeology, economics, planning, environmental studies, geography, social work, social policy, business and management studies, and education.

Read Herbert M. Kritzer's Faculty Profile

Prof. Hickman Cited by Fifth Circuit

February 9, 2011

The Fifth Circuit cited the scholarship of Professor Kristin Hickman in Burks v. United States, No. 09-11061 (5th Cir. Feb. 9, 2011). In Burks, the Fifth Circuit invalidated Treas. Reg. 301.6501(e)-1, a regulation in which the Treasury Department sought to expand the scope of a six-year limitations period for omitting items of income to include the overstatement of an asset's basis in computing gain on the sale or exchange of the asset. The court's holding rested on its conclusion that the statute's meaning, as informed by existing Supreme Court precedent, was clearly contrary to Treasury's interpretation. Nevertheless, in a lengthy footnote, the court also called into question the procedures Treasury used to promulgate the regulation and cited 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), in support of its analysis.

Read Kristin Hickman's Faculty Profile

Prof. Kirtley Discusses Data Collection from Hand-Held Electronic Devices

February 8, 2011

Professor Jane Kirtley appeared on a Minnesota State Bar Association panel entitled "Hand-Held Devices & Privacy: We Know What You Read, Bought, Watched, Ate and Emailed Last Summer - Are You Scared?" in Minneapolis. Kirtley discussed prospective federal and state regulations and statutes, as well as European laws affecting the collection and dissemination of personally identifiable information obtained from smart phone apps and other personal electronic devices.

Read Jane Kirtley's Faculty Profile

Prof. Monahan Contributes to New York Times' Room for Debate on Public Pension Reform

February 7, 2011

Professor Amy Monahan contributed to the New York Times' Room for Debate discussion of public pension plan reform. Monahan's remarks addressed the legal limitations on public pension reform in the context of Mayor Bloomberg's recent proposal to reduce pension benefits for new employees in New York City.

Read Amy B. Monahan's Faculty Profile

Prof. Monahan Quoted on Bloomberg on Public Pension Reform

February 2, 2011

Professor Amy Monahan was quoted in a Bloomberg news story about reductions in pension benefits for public employees, and the legal uncertainty surrounding these changes. Monahan noted that while many states are interested in making pension plan changes, there is little certainty regarding whether courts would permit such changes to be implemented.

Read Amy B. Monahan's Faculty Profile