Free the law schools
By Anna Louie Sussman
To fix the problems currently plaguing law school enrollment, the American Bar Association's Task Force on the Future of Legal Education should start by "looking within," argues James Huffman in the Wall Street Journal.
Huffman, who is dean emeritus at Lewis & Clark Law School and works with the Libertarian think tank The Hoover Institution, says the same people who set the rules for ABA accreditation benefit from those rules.
"As often happens with regulatory systems, whether governmental or professional, the ABA accreditation process was long ago captured by legal education's most influential stakeholders," Huffman writes. "The rules demand a prominent role for faculty in the governance of every aspect of the law school, from budget to admissions and faculty hiring."
It's of little surprise then, says Huffman, that law schools have become overregulated and expensive. Less regulation, he believes, would let alternative forms of legal education blossom, to the benefit of students and employers.
"The ABA should free law schools from most of the existing standards and encourage them to draw on the enormous intellectual power of their faculties to design and test innovative approaches-and let a thousand flowers bloom," Huffman writes.
By Dan Brillman
The legal battles between Pennsylvania and the National Collegiate Athletic Association over
sanctions resulting from the Jerry Sandusky scandal and alleged cover-up took
another bizarre turn yesterday. Governor Tom
Corbett signed a law to keep the $60 million Penn
State was fined inside the state. A few
hours later, the NCAA filed a federal complaint calling the law
unconstitutional, the Associated Press reports.
The original penalty was part of a consent decree signed by
the university on the heels of the Freeh
report released last summer. The report
accused high-ranking school officials of “total and consistent disregard…for the
safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims.”
In January Corbett sued
the NCAA in federal court to have the penalties wiped out, claiming businesses suffered economic harm and arguing that the penalties violated Sherman Act antitrust
laws. The NCAA filed a motion to dismiss, saying the claim was bogus and that
the school agreed to the terms. To summarize then:
Corbett claims fines are illegal, but even before that issue has
been decided he has made it legal to direct where the money goes. Shrewd.
Big Sky ballyhoo
By Caitlin Tremblay
It may soon be legal to eat your roadkill in Big Sky Country. ABC
News reports that the Montana House of Representative has passed a bill
allowing “game animals, fur-bearing animals, migratory game birds and upland
game birds” that have been killed by a car to be used
Troopers already alert food banks to edible roadkill, and it is thus no coincidence that the bill’s proposer, Representative Steve Lavin, is
also a state trooper. Lavin says he sees many dead
animals that could become food for people in need, and he’s not talking just squirrels or rodents. Included in the bill are
deer, elk, moose and antelope. Colorado, Illinois and Indiana have passed
Also making its way through Montana’s
legislature is the “Sheriffs First” bill, which would make it a crime for a federal
agent to take law enforcement action against a state
resident without getting permission from the county sheriff, reports Mother
Jones. The bill, written by gun lobbyist Gary Marbut, passed both houses in
2011 but was vetoed by then governor Brian
The bill passed the Senate Committee and if passed again
will become a referendum on the November 2014 ballot, although
some are not taking it too seriously.
William Vizzard, a retired
government agent who now teaches criminal justice at California State
University-Sacramento, says the bill amounts to "(g)randstanding that will
be destructive to relations between state and federal law enforcement."
"If some yahoo sheriff tried" to enforce the measure, he
says, "the federal courts will slap them down."
By Anna Louie Sussman
For decades, thousands of Irish
women were incarcerated in Catholic workhouses where they did the wash for nearby hotels, hospitals and prisons.
Now Ireland’s prime minister says the country must apologize and compensate the 1,000 survivors of the so-called Magdalene Laundries,
“A government-commissioned report published two weeks ago
found that more than 10,000 women were consigned to the laundries after being
branded ‘fallen’ women, a euphemism for prostitutes, even though virtually none
of them were - instead they were products of poverty, homelessness, and
dysfunctional families,” the AP writes.
Many of the women were sent there by judges, truancy officers and other
state officials. They often spent months or years doing menial labor and
received no education. The last such workhouse closed in 1996.
Following the report, Prime
Minister Enda Kenny, pledged compensation and acknowledged the
country’s “cruel, pitiless” treatment of the women.
‘‘The Magdalene women might have been told that
they were washing away a wrong, or a sin. But we know now - and to our shame -
they were only ever scrubbing away our nation’s shadow,’’ he said. ‘‘I believe
I speak for millions of Irish people, all over the world, when I say we put
away these women because, for too many years, we put away our conscience.’’
The previous governing party
declined to compensate Magdalene
survivors on grounds that the laundries were
Shoot the messenger
By Anna Louie Sussman
The debate around gun control has long centered on the
Second Amendment. Now a Missouri lawmaker has figured out a way
to draw in the First Amendment, with a new bill that
criminalizes the introduction of gun-control legislation, legal
scholar Jonathan Turley writes on his blog.
Missouri Representative Mike Leara would make it a felony
with a potential sentence of four years in prison for any member
who introduces legislation restricting gun rights. The bill
constitutes "a curious concept of democracy, let alone free
speech," writes Turley.
Despite admitting that the chances of passing such a bill
are slim to none, Leara said the bill was a "statement of principle." "I want it to be clear that the Missouri House will
stand in defense of the people's constitutional right to keep
and bear arms," he told AP.
In other words, Turley writes, "The Republican from suburban
St. Louis, therefore, would gut the First amendment and scrap
the democratic process in the name of upholding the
Summary Judgments for February 20
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Summary Judgments for February 15
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