Thursday, July 18, 2019

Remembering John Gardner

The following guest post is by Eric Miller (Loyola-LA)
Many of you will have heard the sad news that John Gardner died on July 11, 2019. John was the Senior Research Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and former Professor of Jurisprudence at Oxford, one of the major positions in legal philosophy in the Anglophone world. He was a kind, generous, brilliant, fun person, and influenced, directly and through his writings, a generation of legal scholars.

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Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 18, 2019 at 06:23 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

CFP: The Resiliance of International Law


International Law Weekend 2019: The Resilience of International Law


International Law Weekend 2019 (ILW 2019) calls on scholars and practitioners to address the resilience of international law. The conference will explore international law’s capacity to preserve the rule of law, promote both peace and justice, and maintain stability in the face of growing fault lines. The world is changing. ILW 2019 seeks to answer whether its theme—The Resilience of International Law—is a question or an affirmation.

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Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 17, 2019 at 06:23 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink

My civil rights course, in one case

This opinion by Judge Easterbrook is a fantastic encapsulation of most of my civil rights course.

Dad loses custody of kids because of state court decision, made in part on testimony of court-appointed psychologist; court strips custody, limits visitation to supervision-only, and twice declines to rescind supervision-only. Dad sues psychologist in her "official capacity," alleging that state child-custody law violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

Spot the many, many doctrinal problems with this lawsuit. I think I may use this as one grand, theory-of-everything hypo at the end of class.

(I especially like that, in rejecting plaintiff's argument that he has sued the state through an official capacity suit, Easterbrook talks about Will and states not being § 1983 "persons," rather than the Eleventh Amendment. Courts consistently get this wrong in § 1983 cases).

Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 17, 2019 at 06:14 PM in Civil Procedure, Constitutional thoughts, Howard Wasserman, Judicial Process | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Remembering Justice Stevens

Justice John Paul Stevens died Tuesday, at age 99. He is a big deal around Northwestern Law, where I went to school. The award for top GPA is named for him and his official Court portrait was on display in the library until his retirement. And in Chicago, where he was at Wrigley Field for Babe Ruth's "called shot" in 1932 and got to see the Cubs finally win the World Series in 2016.

On an instant reaction, how will Stevens be remembered as a Justice? He is the third-longest serving Justice, just shy of 35 years, trailing Douglas and Field. The easy political story is that he was a Republican appointee who became a leading liberal light on the Court, following in the shoes of Brennan and Blackmun, but on a more sharply divided Court. For purposes of one of my current projects, he spent 16 Terms as senior-most Associate Justice in frequent disagreement with the Chief, one of the longer such periods in the Court's history; this gave him the assignment power in divided cases in which a swing Justice (usually O'Connor and/or Kennedy) switched.

I wonder what opinions will define his legacy on the Court. We do not associate him with particular doctrines (as with Scalia) or particular opinions (as with Blackmun and Roe). He stuck us with Pacifica. He famously dissented in the flag-burning cases, "flipping" positions with Scalia, and in Citizens United, where the majority opinion outraged him. He wrote Reno v. ACLU, which, while not rhetorically memorable, was a more significant decision in allowing the internet to thrive as an open medium. He wrote Claiborne Hardware, which may gain new relevance in challenges to anti-BDS laws and attempts to use civil liability against Black Lives Matters protesters.

I did a Westlaw search for his most-cited opinions. He wrote Apprendi, the first move in the push to returning control over sentencing to juries. He wrote the opinion establishing Chevron deference, a doctrine in danger of overruling by the current Court, but not associated with him by name. He wrote the opinion in Sony v. Universal, which held that VCRs did not infringe copyrights. He wrote Clinton v. Jones for a unanimous Court, which had significant political consequences, but will not stick to him. And while not an opinion for the Court, his "ask me later" concurrence in Asahi means the Court did not, and still has not, solved the stream-of-commerce v. stream-of-commerce-plus problem for personal jurisdiction.

Update: In the realm of opinions that angered people, Linda Greenhouse's Times obit points out that Stevens wrote the majority in Kelo. She also suggests that Stevens' long period as senior-associate will be key to his legacy, elevating him from relative obscurity into a role that he enjoyed.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 16, 2019 at 11:40 PM in Howard Wasserman, Law and Politics | Permalink | Comments (9)

Hiring Committees 2019-2020

Please share in the comments the following information related to the 2019-2020 law school faculty hiring season:

(a) your school;
(b) the chair of your hiring committee (please note if you have different chairs for entry level and lateral candidates--we hope that this information will be useful for both entry level and lateral candidates);
(c) other members of your hiring committee (again, please note if there is a distinction between entry level and lateral committees); and
(d) any particular subject areas in which your school is looking to hire.

Additionally, if you would like to share the following information, candidates might find it helpful to know:

(e) your committee's feeling about packets/individualized expressions of interest (affirmatively want to receive them, affirmatively don't want to receive them, or don't care one way or the other); 
(f) your committee's preferred way to be contacted (email, snail-mail, or phone); 
(g) the website, if any, that candidates should use to obtain information about the position or to apply;
(h) the number of available faculty positions at your school; and
(i) whether you are interested in hiring entry-level candidates, lateral candidates, or both.

I will gather all this information in a downloadable, sortable spreadsheet. (Click on that link to access the spreadsheet and download it; you can also scroll through the embedded version below.)

If you would like to reach me for some reason (e.g., you would prefer not to post your committee information in the comments but would rather email me directly), my email address is sarah dot lawsky (at) law dot northwestern dot edu.

Remember, you cannot edit the spreadsheet directly. The only way to add something to the spreadsheet is to put the information in the comments or email me directly, and I will edit the spreadsheet.

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on July 16, 2019 at 07:41 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (11)

Sponsored Post: Reproductive Rights and Justice Stories

The following guest post is by Melissa Murray (NYU School of Law), Katherine Shaw (Cardozo), and Reva B. Siegel (Yale) and is sponsored by West Academic.

Reproductive Rights and Justice Stories (Foundation Press® 2019) examines the field of reproductive rights and justice, with attention to the dynamics of legal change inside and outside of courts.

Continue reading "Sponsored Post: Reproductive Rights and Justice Stories"

Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 16, 2019 at 05:21 PM in Sponsored Announcements, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

AALS on Entry Level Hiring

Update, 7/16/19: I have been directly in touch with AALS, and they were extremely willing to update the site. I am going to leave this post up, because I'm generally opposed to putting things down the memory hole, but I will close comments.

I have long hoped that the AALS would report on entry-level hiring. After all, they are the ones who collect all the information. They are well positioned to do true statistical analysis on the candidate pool and the successful candidates. (They used to do so but stopped for some reason and scrubbed the information from the website, though of course it's available through the Wayback Machine.)

So I was happy to see that they have created a new website, which will, they promise, "mak[e] the process of obtaining a teaching job as transparent as possible, and provid[e] as much information to potential candidates as we can."

Imagine my surprise when I clicked through to the website and found, not statistical analysis based on actual information to which they have direct access, but rather the data and graphs that I, Sarah Lawsky, have been posting on this blog for the past ten years. My work is acknowledged through a single asterisk, which leads to this text at the bottom of the page: These data, which are self-reported by recently hired law faculty or, in some cases, their schools, was collected by PrawfsBlawg and provided as a downloadable spreadsheet. PrawfsBlawg data include “information for tenure-track, clinical, or legal writing full-time entry level hires.” (There is a link to the spreadsheet through the words "downloadable spreadsheet," but there's no formatting to indicate it's a link.)

To be clear: I want people to use this data. That's why I make it downloadable. But it would be nice if AALS would name me, because PrawfsBlawg does not actually collect anything: it's a website. And it would be nice if they link to the website, as well as to the data. It would have been really nice if they had reached out first to talk to me about the data, using it, and perhaps even collaborating, but I guess I understand why they didn't(?).

I've sent an email to AALS, and I hope they make changes to their webpage. More importantly, I really, really hope that instead of just taking self-reported hiring information, they use their vast store of information and give us accurate information about the pool of potential hires, the success rates of various groups, and so forth. They are uniquely positioned to do so.

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on July 16, 2019 at 12:17 PM in Entry Level Hiring Report | Permalink | Comments (6)

Interdisciplinary Junior Prawf-ing

Thanks to Paul, Howard, and the rest of the folks at Prawfs for having me; I’ve been reading the blog since I was in law school and it’s both fun and slightly surreal to be writing here.

I’m a legal anthropologist at Alabama Law where I mostly (but not always) teach work law courses. Last year I taught Employment Law and Employee Benefits, but this year I’ll be teaching Leg Reg and a cross-listed Legal Anthro seminar. My work law research has centered on the gig economy (ask me about getting hired by Instacart or being a dog walker on Rover -- two job experiences I never expected to have, even for research purposes). I also have a significant and ongoing interest in India and comparative constitutional law; this grows out of my PhD research on temple management and religion-state relations, but it's evolving in new directions that I hope to talk about here.

My posts here will mostly focus on things that have stood out to me during my first year prawf-ing as an interdisciplinary, multi-subject scholar—not unlike some earlier series, especially the awesome Junior Law Prawfs FAQ that Chris Walker ran a few years ago—but I’ll also try to work in a couple substantive posts on the areas I write in.

Posted by Deepa Das Acevedo on July 16, 2019 at 11:14 AM in Jr. Law Prawfs FAQ | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, July 15, 2019

Free speech: Change or leave?

A fascinating thing about the President's remarks this weekend about four female Democratic reps of color, and of many responses from several congressional Republicans, is the model of free expression they represent. That model amounts to "if you don't like it, leave the country." This is not new. The President and Republicans have said similar things about Colin Kaepernick, Megan Rapinoe, and other athletes who kneel during the national anthem.

In this vision, there is no room for someone to criticize government policies or actions with the goal of prompting change. Nor is there a need to respond to criticisms by explaining why those critics are wrong and that the current action is the proper course. There is no need or room for discussion or debate--critics should shut up or get out.

Of course, the President's critics are seeing something good (i.e., anything he does) and purposely writing or saying bad. That, we learned last week, is not free speech.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 15, 2019 at 11:11 PM in Constitutional thoughts, First Amendment, Howard Wasserman | Permalink | Comments (5)

Faculty Hiring at Richmond Law

Richmond Law is hiring! We are in the market for up to six new faculty members this year--3 tenure-track positions in a variety of areas, an endowed joint position with our leadership school, and directorships for new programs in professional identity formation and legal innovation.  The full ad is below the break:

Continue reading "Faculty Hiring at Richmond Law"

Posted by Jessica Erickson on July 15, 2019 at 11:02 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (0)

Stupid rules, baseball edition

The independent Atlantic League (which used a Doppler radar plate umpire for its All Star game) has, with MLB support, implemented a new rule: Any pitch not "caught in flight" is a live ball, allowing a batter to run to first base or to be put out. People have described it as "stealing first," although that is not quite accurate. It happened in a game on Saturday. Others have described it as an extension of the uncaught third-strike rule, under which a batter becomes a runner if a third strike is not caught. I am not sure what the point is. I guess it adds excitement by offering a new way to reach first base, away from the home runs and walks that are increasing (and, some argue, making the game boring).

This seems stupid for several reasons.

Continue reading "Stupid rules, baseball edition"

Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 15, 2019 at 09:25 AM in Howard Wasserman, Sports | Permalink | Comments (6)

Friday, July 12, 2019

MAGA in the classroom (edited)

This complaint from Jeffey Omari (Gonazaga) about a student wearing a MAGA hat in his classroom is absurd, as Jonathan Turley (GW) shows. I will leave aside whether "MAGA is an undeniable symbol of white supremacy and hatred toward certain nonwhite groups" or what this says about anti-conservative discrimination in legal education.*

[*] Although I cannot let this pass: Omari writes "Being a law professor, I understand the complexities of academic freedom and free speech. I respect students’ rights to freely express their political beliefs and values within the framework of the law. Yet, at the same time . . . " You could see that "yet" coming from a mile away.

I want to focus on classroom management, after the jump.

Continue reading "MAGA in the classroom (edited)"

Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 12, 2019 at 11:54 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (46)

Two Faculty Searches at Kansas

Below is information about two faculty search at University of Kansas School of Law.

Continue reading "Two Faculty Searches at Kansas"

Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 12, 2019 at 09:32 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Interview with Michael Heller from Columbia Law School on the Associates-in-Law Program

Below is the latest interview in my series interviewing VAP and fellowship directors.  This interview is with Michael Heller, the Lawrence A. Wien Professor of Real Estate Law at Columbia Law School.  Michael oversees the Associates-in-Law Program at Columbia.  An edited transcript of our conversation is below, and I have invited Michael to respond to any questions in the comments.  Thanks, Michael, for participating in this series!

You can read more about the structure of these interviews and other caveats related to them here

I. Introduction

Q. Tell me your role with the Associates-in-Law program.

A. I chaired the Associates committee last year and am chairing it again this coming year.

Q. What does the committee do?

A. We select the Associates, support them while at Columbia, and help guide them to tenure-track faculty positions. The committee includes four to six faculty, the dean of graduate legal studies, and the director of legal writing programs.

Q. Columbia has a lot of post-graduate fellowships. Where does the Associates program fit in?

Continue reading "Interview with Michael Heller from Columbia Law School on the Associates-in-Law Program"

Posted by Jessica Erickson on July 12, 2019 at 07:55 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink | Comments (4)

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

JOTWELL: Vladeck on Thomas on O'Connor

The new Courts Law essay comes from Steve Vladeck (Texas), reviewing Evan Thomas, First: Sandra Day O'Connor (Penguin Random House 2019) and arguing that the bio reveals O'Connor as likely the last true centrist on the Court.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 10, 2019 at 10:05 AM in Books, Howard Wasserman | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Stare Decisis Is Undertheorized

A major theme of the most recent Supreme Court Term was stare decisis. Several cases either overruled precedents (over dissents) or refused to do (over dissents) with each side chastising the other for its approach to precedent. After reading these opinions, as well as other judicial and academic commentary, I'm struck by how little useful analysis there is about stare decisis. In some future posts, I'll try to explain what I mean by that, as it will help me think through some aspects of the doctrine. 

Posted by Gerard Magliocca on July 9, 2019 at 10:22 PM | Permalink | Comments (8)