June 18, 2020
For over a decade, Professor JaneAnne Murray, together with New York lawyer Janet Walsh, has organized an annual Bloomsday celebration for the Irish American Bar Association of New York—an event that pays tribute to James Joyce’s masterwork, Ulysses, and Joyce’s contribution to First Amendment jurisprudence. This year, the event went online for a “Zoomsday” celebration. The featured speaker was famed Irish journalist Frank McNally, who gave a talk on the Phoenix Park Murders of 1882, which are referred to several times in Ulysses.
McNally’s focus was the discreet memorial—a cross cut into the grass—that has marked the spot, more or less continuously, for 138 years. As McNally explains in his article in the Irish Times about the event, “[t]his tied in with the IABANY’s general theme of justice. … But it also touched on a current hot topic, the war on statues, and questions of who should and should not be commemorated.” McNally adds that based on a draft script, Murray had created “a slick PowerPoint presentation, possibly from her kitchen [ed. note: correct assumption], which [he] watched like everyone else. Anyway, it seemed to work. At one stage of the talk, I found myself thinking: this is actually interesting.”
Ex-Mayor Pete Buttigieg sent a letter, regretting his inability to attend, and praising Joyce as “the great epicist of the everyday.” The letter concludes:
It strikes me that you, who work in the law, are like novelists, at least a little bit Joycean in the sense that you spend so much time with the written word, exploring and then effectuating its concrete consequences for human affairs and individual lives. With so much change upon us—and so many changes needed from us—it is as good a time as ever to seek out new ways for words to become actions.
In addition to McNally’s talk and Mayor Buttigieg’s letter, the event featured music, song, and readings from Irish Senator David Norris and movie director, John Crowley.
June 16, 2020
Professor Jill Hasday appeared on KSTP to discuss the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision holding that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
June 16, 2020
Professor Kristin Hickman was quoted in a Tax Notes article, “Treasury Response to Executive Order Could Set Up Clash With OMB,” regarding the potential response of Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service officials to an Executive Order 13924, “Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery,” issued in response to the COVID-19 public health crisis. The Executive Order instructs agency officials across the federal government to rescind, modify, or waive regulations to support economic recovery after the crisis. Although Prof. Hickman declined to specify particular actions that Treasury and the IRS could take in response to the Executive Order, she expressed the view that the agencies should be able to find additional actions to pursue, given the number and subject-matter range of Treasury and IRS rules, regulations, and requirements. She also speculated that Treasury and the IRS might choose not to respond to the Executive Order because it was not aimed at them directly.
Prof. Frase Quoted in Newsweek Article Examining Potential Legal Arguments in Case Brought Against Four Former Police Officers Charged in the Tragic Killing of George FloydJune 10, 2020
Professor Richard Frase was quoted in a Newsweek article examining charges brought against four former Minneapolis police officers involved in the killing of George Floyd. Professor Frase noted that Minnesota’s second degree felony murder law is one of the broadest in the country, and that this charge—based on intentional felony assault—also made it easier to charge the other three officers as accomplices. The other murder and manslaughter charges that were filed do not require proof of any intent to cause bodily harm, and thus raise a classic criminal law conundrum: can a person intentionally aid and abet an unintentional crime? But, Frase further noted, even under the felony murder charge one of the other officers may have a defense. Although Officer Lane’s repeated requests to turn Floyd on his side shows that Lane was aware of the seriousness of the risk to Floyd’s safety, those requests could also be seen as a reasonable effort (given Lane’s junior-officer status) to prevent the knee-on-the-neck assault on Floyd by veteran officer Chauvin.
June 8, 2020
Prof. Kristin Hickman was quoted in a Bloomberg Tax article, “Rule-Writing Scrutiny Pushes Tax Officials to Explain Themselves,” documenting the Treasury Department’s recent trend of providing more extensive explanations of its tax policy choices in preambles to new regulations interpreting the tax code. Quoting Prof. Hickman among others, the article attributed the trend to a combination of increased court challenges to tax regulations under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and recent efforts by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) to review tax regulatory actions. Prof. Hickman has written extensively about the need for greater Treasury Department compliance with the APA, and Prof. Hickman served as Special Adviser to the Administrator from OIRA in 2018-19, helping the agency as it started reviewing tax regulations for the first time.
June 7, 2020
Professor Alan Rozenshtein was quoted in the Star Tribune about the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency’s use of a Predator surveillance drone to monitor protests in the Minneapolis connected to the death of George Floyd. He noted the difficulties in governing the use of new technology by law enforcement: “It raises these hard questions of how effective do we want law enforcement to be and what is the cost of that effectiveness,” he said. “Every day we are getting closer and closer to a decision point on that.”
June 7, 2020
Professor Smith was quoted discussing emerging issues with the CARES Act’s stimulus checks issued by the IRS. Professor Smith noted remaining problems for the process of issuing payments to married taxpayers where one spouse owes back-due child support but the other spouse does not.
Prof. Orfield and Research Fellow Stancil Pen Op-Ed in New York Times on Tragic Killing of George Floyd and Racial Segregation in Twin CitiesJune 5, 2020
Professor Myron Orfield—director of the Law School’s Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity—and Will Stancil ’13, a research fellow at the institute, wrote an op-ed in the New York Times about the tragic killing of George Floyd and the history of racial segregation in the Twin Cities. Additionally, Orfield and Stancil argue that an integrated society is the key to reducing racial disparities.
Profs. Blumenthal and Frase Quoted in NBC News on Upgraded Charges for Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin in the Killing of George FloydJune 5, 2020
Professors Susanna Blumenthal and Richard Frase were quoted in an NBC News article about the upgraded charges—increased from third-degree murder to second-degree felony murder—brought against former Minneapolis police office Derek Chauvin in the tragic killing of George Floyd.
“Second-degree felony murder does not require proof of intent to kill,” said Blumenthal. “What the prosecutor would need to establish is that the officer caused death while committing or attempting to commit a felony offense, which has been charged in this case as assault in the third degree.”
Frase said that while the second-degree felony murder upgrade comes with a longer statutory maximum sentence, it is easier to prove than third-degree, extreme-recklessness murder. For felony murder “the only intent you have to show is an intent to cause bodily harm. They don’t have to show extreme recklessness as to death,” added Frase.
Prof. Frase Interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s The World Tonight Regarding Upgraded Charges Against Former Minneapolis Police Officer in Connection with the Killing of George FloydJune 5, 2020
Professor Richard Frase spoke with BBC Radio 4’s The World Tonight regarding new charges against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in connection with the killing of George Floyd. (Begins at 16:24). Frase explained that the additional second-degree murder charge falls into the category of felony murder, described as “causing death while committing a violent felony.” Frase also elaborated on the potential conviction and sentencing implications stemming from the new charges, and stated that it may be challenging to find impartial jurors for such a high-profile case.