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Faculty News

for September, 2012

Prof. Befort Elected Chair of International Labor Society

September 28, 2012

Professor Stephen Befort has been elected as the new chair of the International Society for Labor and Social Security Law United States Branch. The ISLSSL fosters the study of labor law and social legislation on a comparative basis at both the national and international levels.

Read Stephen Befort's Faculty Profile

Prof. Kirtley Discusses Public Value and First Amendment at CIL Conference

September 21, 2012

Professor Jane Kirtley appeared on a plenary panel, "Let's Get Real About Creating Public Value: Media, Markets, Taxes and Elective Politics," at a conference entitled "Creating Public Value in a Multi-Sector, Shared-Power World," sponsored by the Center for Integrative Leadership and the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. Kirtley was also the author of a foundation paper for the conference, "Media and Communications: Is the Public Value Test Consistent with the First Amendment?"

Read Jane Kirtley's Faculty Profile

Prof. Kirtley Discusses Potential TV Station Liability for Super PAC Political Ads on MPR

September 19, 2012

Professor Jane Kirtley discussed WCCO TV's decision to pull a political advertisement sponsored by a Super PAC, which congressional candidate Chip Cravaack claims defamed him. Kirtley explained that although broadcasters are immune from suit for candidate-approved advertisements which the broadcasters are not allowed to censor, stations can be sued for libelous "attack" advertisements sponsored by other groups. She noted, however, that because of the strong First Amendment protection for political speech, most campaign ads will be treated as opinion and would not be actionable.

Read Jane Kirtley's Faculty Profile

Prof. Erbsen Quoted by Supreme Courts of Indiana and Pennsylvania

September 17, 2012

Professor Allan Erbsen's scholarship was recently quoted by the highest courts in two states. The Supreme Court of Indiana quoted from Erbsen's article "Impersonal Jurisdiction" in the course of discussing how the scope of a state's jurisdiction in criminal cases differs from the scope of its jurisdiction in civil cases. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania quoted from Erbsen's article "From Predominance to Resolvability" in the course of discussing the state's standards for certifying class actions. The cases are An-Hung Yao v. State and Basile v. H&R Block, Inc..

Read Allan Erbsen's Faculty Profile

Prof. Hickman Cited by Federal Circuit Courts

September 14, 2012

Professor Kristin Hickman's work on judicial deference doctrine was cited by two federal circuit courts of appeals. On September 4, 2012, in Price v. Stevedoring Services of America, Inc., the Ninth Circuit cited Hickman's article with Thomas Merrill, "Chevron's Domain," 89 Geo. L.J. 833 (2001), in denying Chevron deference for a litigating position of the Director of the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs. On September 14, 2012, in Hagans v. Commissioner of Social Security, the Third Circuit cited Hickman's article with Matthew Krueger (’06), "In Search of the Modern Skidmore Standard," 107 Colum. L. Rev. 1235 (2007), as supporting its explanation of the Skidmore standard of review as "a 'sliding-scale' test in which the level of weight afforded to an interpretation varies depending on our analysis of the enumerated factors."

Read Kristin Hickman's Faculty Profile

Prof. Painter Interviewed by Federal News Radio on Hatch Act

September 13, 2012

Professor Richard Painter was interviewed on Federal News Radio, the radio network for federal government employees, about the Office of Special Counsel determination that U.S. Health and Human Services Department Secretary Kathleen Sebalius violated the Hatch Act by making partisan political statements in an official capacity speech. Painter told listeners that it is difficult to keep official and political roles separate and that it would be better if high ranking officials did not participate in partisan political campaigns while holding office.

Read Richard W. Painter's Faculty Profile

Prof. Painter Quoted in Businessweek on HHS Secretary Hatch Act Violation

September 12, 2012

Professor Richard Painter was quoted in a Bloomberg Businessweek article on the Office of Special Counsel finding that the U.S. Health and Human Services Department Secretary Kathleen Sebelius violated the Hatch Act by giving a partisan political speech in her official capacity at a dinner for a nonprofit group. Painter said that he had not heard of a violation by a cabinet officer before, but that such violations were more likely when presidents roll out cabinet secretaries for political as well as official events.

Read Richard W. Painter's Faculty Profile

Prof. Cox Appointed to Inaugural Advisory Board of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

September 12, 2012

Professor Prentiss Cox has been appointed to the first Consumer Advisory Board of the recently created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The board is composed of experts in the area of consumer financial services and related subject matters. The CFPB was formed as part of the financial regulatory reforms in the Dodd-Frank Act of 2009.

Read Prentiss Cox's Faculty Profile

Prof. Cotter Quoted in Pioneer Press on America Invents Act

September 10, 2012

Professor Tom Cotter was quoted in a Pioneer Press article entitled "Patent Reform Could Speed Up Innovation," which explains the new "America Invents Act" patent law and its impact on innovation. Cotter pointed out that, although the new law makes some important changes to existing patent law, the most important such change—from a first-to-invent to a first-to-file system more similar to that in place in other countries—does not go into effect until March 2013. In addition, he noted that the effect of judicial decisions on issues such as the types of inventions that are potentially patentable may be of greater significance to innovation than are some aspects of the new statute.

Read Tom Cotter's Faculty Profile

Prof. Goodwin Joins Harvard Law School's New 'Bill of Health' Blog

September 10, 2012

Professor Michele Goodwin was invited to serve as a regular contributor to Harvard Law School's new "Bill of Health" blog, launched by the Petrie-Flom Center. Other commentators include Richard Epstein, Einer Elhauge, William Sage, and thought-leaders in the fields of law and medicine. Goodwin's first post, "The Body Snatchers: Human Recycling in the Global Age," discusses the "surreptitious, global tissue trade" that can result in diseased tissue, bones, and other body parts entering countries all over the world, including the United States. Goodwin describes the black market in human tissues as a human rights problem. She comments on the pervasiveness of this black market industry and proposes three measures to improve U.S. organ donation and legalized tissue transplantation systems.

Prof. Kirtley Discusses Online Speech Cases on WCCO Radio

September 9, 2012

Professor Jane Kirtley was a guest on WCCO radio's "News and Views" show, hosted by Roshini Rajkumar. Kirtley and Rajkumar discussed two recent Minnesota state Supreme and appeals court tort cases arising from commentary posted on a blog and on a rate-your-doctor web site, as well as ethical standards for online speech.

Read Jane Kirtley's Faculty Profile

Prof. Carpenter Surveys Constitutional Law Professors' Views on Same-Sex Marriage

September 7, 2012

Professor Dale Carpenter and Samuel Light (’14) conducted a survey this summer that was covered in The Wall Street Journal. Of the 485 constitutional law professors they surveyed, they found that 87% of them back marriage for same-sex couples, and seven out of ten believe the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, but only a slight majority of 54% think the federal Constitution requires states to recognize same-sex marriages.

Read Dale Carpenter's Faculty Profile

Prof. Meili Receives National Science Foundation Grant

September 6, 2012

Professor Steve Meili received a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to continue his research on the impact of international human rights treaties on asylum jurisprudence in domestic courts in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. The NSF grant will support the U.K. portion of the project, which Meili will conduct while on sabbatical at the University of Oxford during the 2012-13 academic year. Meili previously received a grant from the Robina Foundation for the project, which involves analyzing asylum decisions and interviewing refugee lawyers in each of the countries in order to determine the circumstances under which human rights treaties help or hurt asylum-seekers.

Read Steve Meili's Faculty Profile

Prof. Painter Quoted in Businessweek on Lobbying by Former SEC Commissioner

September 5, 2012

Professor Richard Painter was quoted in a Bloomberg Businessweek article about a former Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) commissioner who made frequent telephone calls back to the SEC on behalf of her law firm's bank clients. Painter suggested that federal ethics laws should be changed so that former SEC Commissioners are subject to a two-year ban on representing back to the SEC after they leave the Commission.

Read Richard W. Painter's Faculty Profile

Prof. Painter Quoted in NPR Article on Hatch Act

September 3, 2012

Professor Richard Painter was quoted in a National Public Radio article entitled "Hatch Act Keeps Federal Workers Out Of Politics." The Hatch Act regulates partisan political activity by government employees. Painter observed that it is difficult for high ranking government officials to comply with the Hatch Act because they are often asked to do personal capacity work for the president's political party, and that this work is easy to confuse with official duties. Painter has also urged that the law should be changed to prohibit some of this partisan political activity.

Read Richard W. Painter's Faculty Profile

Prof. Levinson Co-directs International Research Team in Jerusalem

September 1, 2012

Professor Bernard Levinson will spend the 2012-13 academic year at the Institute for Advanced Studies at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where he will be conducting research alongside seven international scholars on a project entitled "Convergence and Divergence in Pentateuchal Theory: Bridging the Academic Cultures of Israel, North America, and Europe."

Read Bernard M. Levinson's Faculty Profile