Judge Nancy Gertner (ret.)

Judge Nancy Gertner (ret.)

Here is some news from the UA Law School about an event this Friday:

Nancy Gertner, Professor of Practice at Harvard Law School and retired US District Court Judge for the District of Massachusetts, will deliver the 7th Annual Darrow K. Soll Memorial Criminal Law and Justice Lecture at Arizona Law on Friday, November 8.  In her lecture, Judge Gertner will discuss how she believes the courts have undermined the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“Losers’ Rules: Judicial Repeal of the Civil Rights Act of 1964”

Friday, November 8, 2013

2:30–3:30 p.m.

The University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law

Ares Auditorium (Room 164)

1201 E. Speedway, Tucson, Arizona

The lecture is free and open to the public. Reserve a seat online here or send an email to bwilkins@email.arizona.edu. Visitor parking is available for a fee at several parking garages near campus. A visitor parking map is available here.

GERTNER-InDefenseOfWomenJudge Gertner was appointed to the federal bench in 1994 by President Bill Clinton. She retired from the bench in 2011, when she joined the faculty at Harvard Law School. She has written and spoken widely on legal issues concerning civil rights, civil liberties, employment, and criminal justice and is a renowned advocate for women’s rights.

Her numerous  honors include the Women’s Bar Association’s highest award, The Lelia Robinson Award, and being only the second woman (after U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg) to receive the Thurgood Marshall Award from the American Bar Association, Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities.

Judge Gertner is the author of In Defense of Women: Memoirs of an Unrepentant Advocate.

Justice at Stake logoHow do we know the weather is improving in Arizona? Our in-boxes are jammed with invitations to events—some even held outdoors!

Over the next few days, I’ll share a few event details to be sure you know as much as I do (what a low bar that is!).

Today, I mention three events, all occurring late this week. Get your curiosity and your business cards ready to attend:

  • Arizona Advocacy Network/Justice at Stake event. Thursday, Oct. 17, 5:30 pm. REGISTER HERE. Here is the detail:

“Arizona Advocacy Network is continuing our work to promote Fair Courts and Diversity on the Bench. We’re excited to invite you to our launch of a new, sustained project in collaboration with Justice at Stake, local, state and national organizations on October 17. Tim Hogan (Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest), Liz Fujii (Justice at Stake) and Eric Lesh (Lambda Legal) will each speak briefly on court cases that impact our lives, equality and justice. Guests are encouraged to make this a discussion with our three panelists. We have lots of food and drink and the social is free. You just need to reserve your place with rooftop access at the Clarendon limited to 100 guests.

“Americans are engaged in an important and vigorous debate over the best way to stem gun violence, but the heated argument begs the question: What do the numbers show? Stanford Law School Professor John Donohue III, one of the world’s leading empirical legal researchers, will give a public lecture on the subject at The University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law.”

  • State Bar CLE: “The Arizona Justice Project: Volunteer Lawyers on the Long Hard Road to Justice.” Friday, Oct. 18, 9 a.m. Available live, Tucson simulcast or as a webcast. Here is the detail:

AZ justice-project logo“This session will showcase the work of the Arizona Justice Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to examining claims of innocence and manifest injustice, and providing legal representation for inmates believed to have been failed by the criminal justice system. The seminar will include a discussion of current advancements in forensic science as well as an overview of post-conviction relief procedures. A primary focus of the program will be to highlight the importance of and opportunities for pro bono service. Faculty will discuss actual cases involving the work of the Project to include the Drayton Witt, Bill Macumber and Louis Taylor cases.

Here’s hoping we get to meet at one or more of these events.

L to R: Clint Bolick, Goldwater Institute;  Professor Melissa Murray, UC-Berkeley School of Law; and Judge Neil V. Wake, U.S. District Court in Phoenix.

L to R: Clint Bolick, Goldwater Institute; Professor Melissa Murray, UC-Berkeley School of Law; and Judge Neil V. Wake, U.S. District Court in Phoenix.

Constitution Day was celebrated at the University of Arizona Law School as it has in the past—with a panel of smart people discussing compelling cases from the recent U.S. Supreme Court Term.

Due to conflicts in my schedule, I was unable to attend. Happily, a law student—who also is a great writer—offered to summarize the afternoon’s conversation.

The scribe’s name is Logan Rogers, and here is his background:

“Logan Rogers has a B.A. in journalism and an M.A. in U.S. history. He is a 2L student at the University of Arizona College of Law and a member of Arizona Law Review. He can be reached at loganrogers@email.arizona.edu

What follows is Logan’s reporting. If other lawyers and law students would like to contribute guest blog posts, please contact me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org. Together, we may be able to cover a state’s worth of legal happenings.

Here’s Logan:

Voting rights, same-sex marriage, and consumers’ access to class action lawsuits were among the issues dissected on Monday at the James E. Rogers College of Law.

Con Law enthusiasts gathered at the University of Arizona to hear an expert panel discuss recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions during the 15th Annual Constitution Day program, sponsored by the William H. Rehnquist Center. Four controversial rulings provided the panelists with plenty of grist for a lively discussion.

The panel consisted of moderator Professor David Marcus, a specialist in international law and civil procedure at Arizona Law; Clint Bolick, an award-winning litigator who currently serves as Vice President for Litigation at the Goldwater Institute in Phoenix; Judge Neil V. Wake of the U.S. District Court in Phoenix, an alumnus of Arizona State University and Harvard Law School; and Professor Melissa Murray of UC Berkeley School of Law, a family and constitutional law expert and former Yale Law School classmate of Prof. Marcus.

Rehnquist Center Director Sally Rider

Rehnquist Center Director Sally Rider

Marcus argued that Shelby County v. Holder “demolished” the Voting Rights Act. The Court’s decision specifically invalidated § 4(b) of the Act as unconstitutional. That section used a formula to identify jurisdictions with a history of discriminatory practices. Another section of the Act required these jurisdictions to get federal pre-clearance before changing their election laws.

Bolick and Wake contended that Marcus overstated the ruling’s damage to the Voting Rights Act. They emphasized that other sections of the Act still protected racial minorities from discrimination. Bolick agreed with the Shelby County ruling, and contended that § 4(b) unfairly punished jurisdictions for discrimination that took place several decades ago, despite that fact that voter turnout has reached racial parity in many of these jurisdictions. Wake and Bolick emphasized the financial and administrative burden the preclearance requirement imposed upon state and local governments.

Marcus countered that the progress toward voting equality in these regions was in large part due to the Voting Rights Act, including § 4(b). Murray agreed with Justice Ginsburg’s dissent, which suggested that recent actions by officials in some of these jurisdictions had discriminatory intent. She argued these facts demonstrated the necessity of upholding § 4(b).  Marcus emphasized that Congress renewed the Act several times, including as recently as 2006. He stated that the Court engaged in “judicial immodesty” by overturning part of the Voting Rights Act.

The panel discussed the Court’s two big cases involving same-sex marriage, United States v. Windsor, which invalidated the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and Hollingsworth v. Perry, which declined to rule on a California initiative banning gay marriage because the parties lacked standing.

Marcus called Windsor a “doctrinal mess” because its rationale for overturning a federal ban on same-sex marriage contained disparate elements of federalism, equal protection, and substantive due process. Bolick said he personally supported same-sex couples’ access to marriage (although he emphasized that this was not an official position of the Goldwater Institute), but he thought the opinion was a poorly reasoned “mish-mash.”

Marcus said that although Windsor provided “no immediate aid” for same-sex couples in Arizona, the opinion paved the way for an eventual Court ruling striking down state bans on gay marriage. Both Murray and Marcus thought some supporters of same-sex marriage on the Court tried to avoid legalizing it across the U.S. in this opinion. Murray suggested these justices feared a backlash if they got too far ahead of the public on the issue.

In Hollingsworth, the Court ruled that the plaintiffs had no standing, because only California state officials could defend the initiative that banned gay marriage, but they refused to uphold the law, leaving the private citizens who supported the initiative as the only possible litigants. The California Supreme Court held that grassroots proponents could have standing to defend initiatives in court, but the U.S. Supreme Court disagreed.  Because the Court refused to take action in the case, a 9th Circuit court ruling that invalidated the initiative banning gay marriage on 14th Amendment grounds remained in effect. Therefore, same-sex marriage remains legal in California.

Wake and Bolick agreed that the Hollingsworth decision on standing was incorrect, in part because it allows state government officials to ignore the public’s wishes by refusing to enforce initiatives. Wake called this an “affront to the initiative process,” which he argued is an essential part of democracy in western states such as Arizona.

Murray said the fourth case, American Express Co. v. Italian Colors Restaurant, had less obvious appeal to people interested in “social justice” issues, but she said its importance had been underestimated by the national media. Marcus characterized the ruling as one of many examples of the pro-business leanings of the Roberts Court. The opinion upheld a contract containing a class-action waiver in the form of a mandatory arbitration clause. Marcus said this waiver made it difficult for consumers and small businesses to sue large corporations, because without the option of a class-action suit, the costs of litigation are often prohibitive for these parties.

Professor David Marcus, right, and the Constitution Day panel.

Professor David Marcus, right, and the Constitution Day panel.

Wake said that although he thinks class-action lawsuits can sometimes be problematic and excessive, he believes the Court should not have allowed companies to contract their way out of class-action liability without offering other options besides arbitration. On the other hand, Bolick argued that enforcing contracts is “essential to a free society.” He contended that class-action lawsuits are bad for the public because the costs they impose on corporations lead to higher consumer-goods prices.

The event concluded with a discussion of whether the Court is too influenced by politics and popular opinion. Bolick suggested the Court should act on principle, with little concern for political implications, but other panelists emphasized the importance of the Court maintaining its legitimacy with the public.

The panelists disagreed on much, but all would likely agree on the importance of educating the public about the Court and its impact upon key social and political issues. Events such as Constitution Day at Arizona Law help shed light on the often-mysterious workings of the highest court in the land.

Questions and dialogue? Remember to contact Logan at loganrogers@email.arizona.edu

PF Chang's Marathon logo 2014Happy Monday morning! If you meet your work-week head-on, ready to take on the world, today’s post is probably aimed right at you!

I yield the floor to State Bar Counsel David Sandweiss, who also happens to be the team captain of the Bar’s marathon-running team. Interested? Want to get involved? Here’s David:

As in years past, the State Bar has entered a team in the P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon and Half Marathon “Get Fit Challenge,” this year to be held January 19, 2014. All State Bar of Arizona members and their employees, and Arizona law students and faculty members, are eligible to join Team “Bar Flys” for this event. The Get Fit Challenge is a friendly competition not for which team has the fastest time but, rather, the highest participation. As an incentive to join our team, the State Bar is subsidizing half of the registration fee to the first 65 people to sign-up for either the full or half marathon.

For information about the event and to register, click here.

Follow the links through “Register” and “Join a Team,” then select “Bar Flys” when prompted. When it comes time to pay, enter RCBARFLYS14 in the promotional code box. Please do not share this code with anyone other than those whom you know to meet Bar Fly eligibility criteria.

This year, we are adding a charitable endeavor initiated by the 2013 Bar Flys. We are inviting all Arizona lawyers to choose a Bar Fly runner and pledge some amount of money per mile completed of his or her chosen event. This means that if you join the Bar Flys, you agree that your name can be included on a publicly released team roster so lawyers can choose in whose name to pledge donations. Last year, proceeds went to the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law Judge John Roll Memorial Scholarship Fund. This year, we are raising money for the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University, Professor Joseph Feller Memorial Scholarship Fund. The scholarship is for law students seeking a career in natural resource law/policy or environmental law/policy issues. It is both merit and financial need-based, and is given once a year to one student.

Whether you’re an avid competitive runner, a weekend warrior, or just looking for a sociable way to get some exercise, this event is fun for all. For those who have never before attempted anything like a full or half marathon, daunting though it sounds, it is do-able with proper training, commitment and setting reasonable goals. We encourage everyone to consider becoming a Bar Fly!

Rehnquist Center banner logoI do enjoy Monday-morning-quarterbacking U.S. Supreme Court decisions. You too? Now imagine how great it would be if we also possessed deep knowledge to accompany our opinions.

That is kind of the thought behind the celebration of “Constitution Day” at law schools. In recognition of one of our nation’s founding documents, scholars and wise practitioners hold forth on recent opinions.

The University of Arizona Constitution Day event was a high point of my 2012 (and I covered it here). Unfortunately, it’s looking like I will be unable to attend this year’s event, to be held next Monday, September 16.

Is anyone else planning on attending? Would you like to write a blog post covering the highlights? Or do you just want to send photos? Write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

Meanwhile, here’s the news:

The William H. Rehnquist Center on the Constitutional Structures of Government will present its annual Constitution Day program at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, featuring legal experts who will review some of the major cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 2012 Term.

Date:               Monday, September 16, 2013

Time:              1 – 4:30 p.m. (reception to follow)

Location:        Ares Auditorium (room 164), James E. Rogers College of Law

Address:         1201 E. Speedway, Tucson, Ariz.

Arizona Law logoCLE credit is available. Space is limited, and registration is recommended. Reserve a seat online here. Visitor parking is available for a fee at several parking garages near campus. A visitor parking map is available here.

Panelists include:

  • Clint Bolick, Vice President for Litigation, Goldwater Institute
  • Melissa Murray, Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley
  • Hon. Neil V. Wake, U.S. District Court, District of Arizona
  • Moderator: David Marcus, Professor of Law, James E. Rogers College of Law         

Cases to be discussed are (click the names to read the opinions):

For more information about the Rehnquist Center, visit here.

Arizona Law logoThey say late notice is better than no notice at all, and so I pass on a legal event occurring at 4:00 today in Tucson.

Here’s the good news: You can attend via the power of live-streaming.

A panel discussion titled “Death of DOMA: Implications for Arizona? will be held at the James E. Rogers College of Law today (Wednesday, August 28) from 4:00 to 5:15 pm. It will occur in the Ares Auditorium (Room 164). Seating is first-come, first-served; there is no registration.

However, this program also will be live-streamed. To watch the program online, visit the home page and click on the DOMA panel link, which will become available shortly before the program starts.

Here is more information from the law school.

Law Professors Toni Massaro and Barbara Atwood will speak on a panel with attorney Steven Phillips about the Supreme Court decisions in Windsor v. United States and Hollingsworth v. Perry and the legal implications for attorneys and same-sex couples in Arizona. The program will be of general interest to lawyers and non-lawyers and conducted in a Q-and-A format.

Professor Emerita Atwood, family law scholar, and Dean Emerita Massaro, a noted constitutional law teacher and scholar, co-authored an opinion piece, “Gay Marriage: Let’s Talk,” published in the Arizona Republic in March, and they have frequently commented on these cases.

Attorney Steven Phillips, an alumnus of Arizona Law, is a Tucson attorney specializing in business and estate planning transactions and estate administration. A longtime Fellow in the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, he is a frequent contributor and participant in programs of the State Bar of Arizona and the Tucson Tax Study Group, which he co-founded. He is listed in Best Lawyers in America and Southwest Super Lawyers.

The “Death of DOMA” panel is free and open to the public. Seating is first-come, first-served. No registration is required. Up to 1.25 hours of CLE credit are available.

Date: Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Time: 4 – 5:15 p.m.

Location: James E. Rogers College of Law, Ares Auditorium (Room 164), 1201 E. Speedway, Tucson

The program is being cosponsored by the University of Arizona Institute for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies.

University of Arizona Law School Professor Jane Bambauer

University of Arizona Law School Professor Jane Bambauer

Scouring law school websites may not be your idea of fun. Maybe it ranks right up there with scouring sites of county recorders, or tax-advice columnists. (Cue the angry tweets from all three providers.)

But you may be surprised at the valuable information located at law school sites. Today, I share some news from the University of Arizona Law School.

First, I point you toward a podcast with interview of UA Law Professor Jane Bambauer. In it, she  discusses her Stanford Law Review article called Is Data Speech?

The podcast is on the unsurprisingly good site of Surprisingly Free (“A weekly podcast featuring in-depth discussions with an eclectic mix of authors, academics, and entrepreneurs at the intersection of technology, policy, and economics”—yo, bookmark it!). In the July 23 interview, Bambauer “addresses several issues relating to whether data can be can be considered speech, how to define ‘data,’ and whether data collection can be covered by the First Amendment.”

If you’re more of a visual thinker, you can read a draft of her paper here.

University of Arizona Law School logoThis is a fascinating topic, and perhaps I’ll prevail on Professor Bambauer to cover this topic (and others??) in Arizona Attorney Magazine.

Last month, she was a co-host at a law school event (and I’m still sorry I didn’t get the chance to talk to her, as she was swarmed by law students and others). Below are a few photos from the July 10 law school event, held at the downtown Phoenix Palomar Hotel.

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And then, in case I needed reminding that I didn’t hang out with professors nearly enough in law school, I see a new book is out that bears reading. It’s called “Saving the Neighborhood,” and a co-author is UA Law Professor Carol Rose.

You can purchase the book here. And from the same spot, I share a description of the volume, which clearly has much to say about our society and the evolution (or not) that it’s witnessed.

“Saving the Neighborhood tells the charged, still controversial story of the rise and fall of racially restrictive covenants in America, and offers rare insight into the ways legal and social norms reinforce one another, acting with pernicious efficacy to codify and perpetuate intolerance.”

University of Arizona Law School Professor Carol Rose

University of Arizona Law School Professor Carol Rose

“The early 1900s saw an unprecedented migration of African Americans leaving the rural South in search of better work and equal citizenship. In reaction, many white communities instituted property agreements—covenants—designed to limit ownership and residency according to race. Restrictive covenants quickly became a powerful legal guarantor of segregation, their authority facing serious challenge only in 1948, when the Supreme Court declared them legally unenforceable in Shelley v. Kraemer. Although the ruling was a shock to courts that had upheld covenants for decades, it failed to end their influence. In this incisive study, Richard Brooks and Carol Rose unpack why.”

“At root, covenants were social signals. Their greatest use lay in reassuring the white residents that they shared the same goal, while sending a warning to would-be minority entrants: keep out. The authors uncover how loosely knit urban and suburban communities, fearing ethnic mixing or even “tipping,” were fair game to a new class of entrepreneurs who catered to their fears while exacerbating the message encoded in covenants: that black residents threatened white property values. Legal racial covenants expressed and bestowed an aura of legitimacy upon the wish of many white neighborhoods to exclude minorities. Sadly for American race relations, their legacy still lingers.”

I know; heady stuff for a Monday morning. Well, it’s August, and school is back in session. Let’s get learning.

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