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Faculty in the News by Date | By Name

Notable Faculty Quotes, January and February 2014

Margo Bagley's remarks at a conference on biopiracy in Geneva were summarized in the Feb. 7 issue of Intellectual Property Watch. She said that a key issue for developing countries is to improve their patent offices' search and application processes. She cited WIPO CASE (Centralized Access to Search and Examination), an initiative born in 2008 between the IP offices of the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, as a useful tool for developing country patent offices, and argued that countries should require information from patent applicants such as the location of origin of genetic material.

In a Feb. 24 story in The Marker about Nevada's "astonishingly weak" corporate law, Michal Barzuza said that Nevada's "race to the bottom" in corporate governance mirrored what it had done earlier in areas such as gambling, marriage and prostitution, and explained to the magazine's Israeli readers the decentralized structure of American corporate law. "Even after the crisis, there is a strong belief in the markets," she said. "Foreign students are quick to say there should be federal regulation of corporate law, but Americans generally think this is a bad idea."

Darryl Brown was quoted in a Jan. 17 Wall Street Journal article about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's handling of the George Washington Bridge scandal. Christie didn't talk to his former deputy chief of staff before firing her, a procedure designed to minimize his legal exposure. Brown said that Christie has "more to gain by immediately putting as much distance between himself and the guilty staff than getting to the bottom of this by investigating it himself."

Anne Coughlin appeared on a Jan. 28 WHYY program about the epidemic of sexual assault on college campuses. "We really need to have a clear discussion of what we mean when we say ‘alcohol-facilitated rape.' That's a difficult question; college campuses are wrestling with it, and so too is the criminal justice system," she said. "Once we get that straight, we have to be very clear with our young men:  Here is the risk you're running – if you have sex with someone who's intoxicated, this person is correct to report a crime." She urged the enactment of "criminal laws that make it clear that it is contrary to our community norms for you to have sex with a person who is highly intoxicated, and it's just not reasonable for you to believe that that person is consenting."

Brandon Garrett discussed a deferred prosecution agreement for JPMorgan Chase in a Jan. 7 Corporate Crime Reporter article. "The JPMorgan agreement provides for the biggest forfeiture ever in a deferred or non-prosecution agreement," he said. He gave the agreement mixed reviews, in that it "describes efforts to implement ‘significant remedial changes,' but includes no detail regarding what those improvements are and does not require that a monitor supervise compliance." In a Feb. 9 Detroit Free Press article, Garrett discussed false confessions by defendants later exonerated by DNA evidence. "One thing that I found haunting in these DNA cases was that without exception, these confessions that we know are false were incredibly detailed," he said. "They seemed so true at the time." Garrett explained one particular danger of reliance on false confessions in a Feb. 17 Virginia Lawyers Weekly article. Confessions "end the investigation," he said. "No other leads get developed."

Toby Heytens's research in a recent Stanford Law Review article was discussed in a Jan. 27 Nation story about the Second Circuit's removal of Judge Shira Scheindlin from the New York City stop-and-frisk litigation. The story noted that he found that appeals court replacements of trial judges have been highly unusual, and that he did not find a single case in which removal had been ordered before an appeal had been decided on the merits.

A. E. Dick Howard was quoted in a January Virginia Business article on redistricting. "If mandate of one-person-one vote was the generational issue of the 1960s, then eliminating political gerrymandering may be the issue of our time," he said. In a Feb. 9 Newport News Daily Press article about the challenge to Virginia's gay marriage ban, Howard said that the shift in public opinion had come because more states have allowed gay marriage without apparent negative repercussions — such as on child-rearing and opposite-sex marriage. "Things are shifting rather markedly," he said.  Howard added in the Feb. 11 C-Ville that the flurry of recent court decisions on the issue "reminds me of cases moving up to Brown v. Board of Education. It's really exciting. I can't think of many constitutional developments where the terrain has shifted as rapidly and fundamentally."

Douglas Laycock was quoted in a Jan. 13 U.S. News & World Report article about the effect of President Obama's reform of National Security Agency data collection on pending lawsuits. "Simply stopping the practice does not, by itself, entitle the government to have the cases dismissed," he said, adding that courts probably would need more significant assurances than a presidential statement that the program is dead before dismissing the lawsuits. In a Feb. 17 American Prospect article, Laycock discussed a bill in Kansas that would have permitted state employees to deny LGBT people basic services as long as they are motivated by "sincerely held religious beliefs." He noted that the bill was a clear case of conservative overreach, one that could make it harder for religious conservatives to secure more narrow exemptions in the future. "It plays into stereotype," he said, "that there's no difference between religious faith and plain old-fashioned bigotry." In a Feb. 28 Washington Post story on religious-liberty legislation, Laycock said that the "debate has been captured by utterly intolerant people on both sides. Everybody wants religious liberty for me, and my opponent ground into the dust."

In a Feb. 12 New York Times article about increased use of prosecution and imprisonment of illegal border crossers as a front-line deterrent, David Martin said that stepping up prosecutions is "a fairly standard law enforcement response if there's a concern about lawbreaking and the current measures aren't working."

Frederick Schauer was quoted in a January Washington Monthly article about industry's lawsuits against government regulation as unconstitutional control of commercial speech. "It used to be that if a lawyer claimed free speech in most of the cases we're seeing now, the judge would have looked at him and said, 'Counselor, you can't be serious,'" he said. "But now you see them being taken seriously. That's a very big battle they've already won."

Gil Siegal was quoted in a Feb. 10 Baltimore Sun article about a Maryland bill that would create a fund to help pay for treating babies who suffer neurological injuries during birth, modeled after the program already in place in Virginia. Siegal said the Virginia program was successful at reducing malpractice premiums and easing the financial burden on the families of injured babies. "More kids are being helped, and in that sense it's a huge social success," he said, but acknowledged concerns that doctors wouldn't be held liable for true negligence when a fund is used in place of the legal system.

Robert Turner wrote an op-ed commentary for the Jan. 17 USA Today, arguing that the NSA's bulk collection of telephone data "does not violate the Constitution. It was authorized by Congress, and it has been repeatedly approved by numerous federal judges on more than 35 occasions." He explained that access to the database requires evidence that a phone number is tied to a foreign terrorist organization. "Americans should be vigilant about our civil liberties," he wrote. "But further constraints are not required by the Constitution, nor are they worth the added risk to lives inherent in additional delays. Our right to life is a fundamental civil liberty, and good intelligence is our most valuable weapon against terrorism."

In a Feb. 20 Bloomberg News article about President Obama's postponement of deadlines in the rollout of his health-care overhaul, George Yin said that the administration's decision breaks no new legal ground. There are plenty of previous instances of the Treasury Department delaying enforcement of a tax provision beyond a deadline set by Congress, he said. He explained that the department typically holds off on enforcing tax provisions because they raise complex questions about who should be covered or how they should comply. "In that case, what Treasury has done in the past is delay the consequence, the penalty, that should apply," he said. "From what I can tell, that's exactly what has happened now."


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Faculty in the News is compiled by Kent Olson, Law Library Director of Reference, Research and Instruction; and the Law School Communications department.

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