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Faculty News

for September, 2011

Prof. Goodwin Writes on Beating Women Drivers in Saudi Arabia

September 30, 2011

Professor Michele Goodwin wrote an article for the Chronicle of Higher Education's Brainstorm blog on the controversial issue of corporeal punishment to penalize women drivers in Saudi Arabia, a nation that forbids women to drive. Goodwin's article relates to a woman recently being sentenced to receive ten lashes for violating the ban on women driving. Goodwin writes, "In Saudi Arabia, a country eager to transform its public image, especially among academics, it's time to abandon the whip and promote the full inclusion of women in every aspect of government leadership and participation." Goodwin suggests that "for Western universities, the flogging of women for being raped or driving should be reason enough to reconsider their roles in building campuses for the King."

Prof. Wolf Leads Conference on Human Subjects Oversight

September 26, 2011

Professor Susan Wolf led a conference on new approaches to oversight of human subjects research in the cutting-edge field of nanomedicine. The conference, entitled "Nanodiagnostics and Nanotherapeutics: Building Research Ethics & Oversight," grew out of a two-year project supported by the National Human Genome Institute at the National Institutes of Health. Wolf is Principal Investigator on this project, and Co-Investigators are Professors Ralph Hall of the University of Minnesota Law School, Jeff McCullough of the University of Minnesota, and Jeff Kahn of Johns Hopkins University. Conference speakers included top federal officials such as Jerry Menikoff, Director of the Office of Human Research Protections at DHHS; Mihail Roco, Senior Advisor for Nanotechnology at the National Science Foundation; and Warren Lux, Director of the Program in Research Ethics at the Environmental Protection Agency. For more on the conference, including video, visit http://www.lifesci.consortium.umn.edu. Nature News also posted a story entitled "Draft Guidelines for Nanomedicine Unveiled" that covered the conference and NIH-funded project.

Read Susan M. Wolf's Faculty Profile

Prof. Monahan Quoted in St. Could Times on Per Diems and Pensions

September 23, 2011

Professor Amy Monahan was quoted in a St. Cloud Times article entitled "Legislators' Per Diems may be Counted as Income toward Pensions." According to the article, "Monahan says Minnesota's policy on per diems and pensions makes a big difference in boosting legislators' pension benefits."

Read Amy B. Monahan's Faculty Profile

Prof. Meili Invited to Join Pro Bono Study Group

September 23, 2011

Professor Steve Meili has been asked to join a group of judges, practitioners, academics and NGO leaders investigating ways of increasing the pro bono representation of low-income immigrants in Minnesota. Recent studies show that Minnesota lags behind the national average in the percentage of immigrants who are represented by counsel. Other studies have demonstrated that immigrants fare far better in court when they are represented by attorneys. The group, led by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Michael Davis, will consider a variety of methods to increase pro bono representation of indigent immigrants, including successful models from other states. Meili will be joined by three students from the Law School's Immigration and Human Rights Clinic, which he directs: Student Director Lindsey Greising (’12), Justin Erickson (’13), and Claudia Vincze Turcean (’13).

Read Steve Meili's Faculty Profile

Prof. Hickman Quoted on Bloomberg Government site on Pending Cert Petitions

September 23, 2011

Professor Kristin Hickman was quoted in an article on Bloomberg's Government Web site, BGOV.com, regarding a set of pending tax shelter cases that the U.S. Supreme Court will discuss at its Sept. 26 private conference. Among other issues, the cases challenge Treasury Department and IRS authority to issue temporary regulations in response to adverse court decisions regarding the proper interpretation of ambiguous Internal Revenue Code provisions. In discussing the potential ramifications for tax administration, the article quotes Hickman for the proposition that an adverse decision by the Court could leave numerous temporary and final Treasury regulations susceptible to procedural challenges. The cases discussed by the article are Beard v. Commissioner, No. 10-1553, and Grapevine Imports v. United States, No. 11-163.

Read Kristin Hickman's Faculty Profile

Prof. Painter on WCCO's "Good Question" on Government Spying

September 23, 2011

Professor Richard Painter was interviewed for WCCO's "Good Question: How Much Is The Government Watching Us?" Painter said the Patriot Act, which allows the National Security Agency to spy on American citizens with a warrant, authorized a lot more surveillance. "If we start using surveillance for things like taxes, then Big Brother is watching way too much," said Painter.

Read Richard W. Painter's Faculty Profile

Prof. Levinson to Present Lecture at Humboldt University of Berlin

September 23, 2011

Professor Bernard Levinson will present a lecture at a symposium on the reception of Torah in Wisdom literature at Humboldt University of Berlin. Levinson's lecture is entitled "Reception History as a Window into Composition History: Deuteronomy's Law of Vows as Reflected in Qoheleth and the Temple Scroll."

Read Bernard M. Levinson's Faculty Profile

Prof. Cotter Quoted in Star Tribune on Google and Antitrust Laws

September 19, 2011

Professor Tom Cotter was quoted in a Star Tribune article entitled "Google's Search Formula Faces Scrutiny." The article discusses Google CEO Eric Schmidt's upcoming appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee's Antitrust Subcommittee and the FTC's investigation of allegations that the company manipulates its search algorithms to favor Google's own content. Cotter stated that, as a general matter, Google is not obligated to reveal to competitors the periodic changes it makes to its trade secret search algorithm and that Google does not violate the antitrust laws merely by possessing monopoly power. Rather, to prevail on antitrust claim, the government would have to prove that Google's "business practices serve primarily to downgrade competitors and mislead consumers."

Read Tom Cotter's Faculty Profile

Prof. Sanders Speaks at "Violence, Vulgarity and the First Amendment" Event

September 16, 2011

Professor Amy Kristin Sanders was a panelist at "Violence, Vulgarity and the First Amendment," an event that brought together media and scholars to debate the constitutionality of government regulation of provocative media content. The event was co-sponsored by the Marquette University Law School and Deiderich College of Communication.

Prof. Schwarcz Testifies Before U.S. Senate Committee

September 14, 2011

Professor Daniel Schwarcz testified before the United States Senate Subcommittee on Securities, Insurance and Investment regarding "Emerging Issues in Insurance Regulation." Schwarcz's testimony emphasized that state insurance regulation is deficient in promoting transparent insurance markets, both in terms of empowering consumers to choose among competing carriers and in terms of allowing market intermediaries to police regulators and carriers. To read his testimony, which was based largely on his academic research, click here.

Read Daniel Schwarcz's Faculty Profile

Prof. McGeveran Interviewed on NPR Program on European Privacy Law

September 14, 2011

Professor William McGeveran was interviewed on American Public Media's radio program, Marketplace Tech Report, about the contrasting U.S. and European approaches to privacy law. "There's really no question that it's a completely different understanding of the private self," said McGeveran, an expert in internet and privacy law. He went on to explain how the dissimilar legal regimes in the U.S. and Europe reflect those distinct cultural attitudes. The program is heard on NPR stations nationwide.

Read William McGeveran's Faculty Profile

Prof. Goodwin Writes on Tough Choices in Reproduction in Chronicle of Higher Education

September 7, 2011

Professor Michele Goodwin wrote an article entitled "A Tale of Two Birth Wards" for the Chronicle of Higher Education's Brainstorm blog. According to Goodwin, "Ideally, the maternity ward should be off limits to the state. Compulsory sterilizations during the first half of the last century are a chilling reminder about too much state interference." However, she argues, "there is a persistent question that arises from the juxtaposition" of cases where poor women stand the risk of significant state intervention in their pregnancies, particularly if there is a miscarriage, which in some states could lead to criminal prosecution, and those cases that involve high-risk, multiple order pregnancies due to a rigorous regimen of fertility treatments. Goodwin suggests that the question relates to power, privilege, race, and class. "If what states care about is ensuring the health of fetuses and promoting their development to birth, then policy should reflect that." She concludes by noting, "there should be a strong presumption against using the state to veto personal choice during pregnancy. But there are limits, especially when the lives of others are so deeply affected. Criminal law is not the answer, but neither are selective ignorance and worse glorifying pregnancies that pose serious risks to the developing fetuses and making celebrities out of their parents."

Profs. Okediji and Osofsky Named IonE Fellows

September 7, 2011

Professors Ruth Okediji and Hari Osofsky have received three-year appointments as resident fellows of the University's Institute on the Environment (IonE). They will maintain their Law School appointments but receive additional funding for interdisciplinary projects on environmental challenges. Okediji plans to work on climate change issues, environmental standards, and green and other environmental technologies. Osofsky's focuses will be energy-justice policy, geoengineering and smart-grid application, and environmental sustainability. They join 12 additional resident fellows from across University disciplines.

Read Ruth Okediji's Faculty Profile

Read Hari Osofsky's Faculty Profile

Prof. Goodwin Writes on Cost of War in Chronicle of Higher Education

September 6, 2011

Professor Michele Goodwin wrote an article entitled "Paying for Fraud, Abuse, and Extortion as the Cost of War" for the Chronicle of Higher Education's Brainstorm blog. Fighting terrorism at any cost translates to spending $12 million per day on extortion, fraud, and abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as misappropriation of U.S. funds. According to Goodwin, the U.S. philosophy in fighting these wars was to defeat terrorism at "any cost," which has translated to frenetically awarding grants from projects that don't make much sense and seemingly writing blank checks in some instances.

Prof. Bix Interview Broadcast as Mexican University Podcast

September 2, 2011

Professor Brian Bix was interviewed (in English) by Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México law students for a podcast on legal theory, focusing mostly on conceptual analysis in legal theory and Joseph Raz's approach to theories about law, but ranging quite widely across jurisprudential topics. The interview has been translated into Spanish and is available here.

Read Brian Bix's Faculty Profile

Prof. Erbsen Comments on Class Actions

September 1, 2011

Professor Allan Erbsen was a panelist in an online symposium about the future of class actions, hosted by SCOTUSblog, the Supreme Court of the United States blog. Erbsen's post focused on how the Supreme Court's decision in Wal-Mart v. Dukes might alter certification standards in cases involving claims for monetary damages.

Read Allan Erbsen's Faculty Profile