Thursday, August 25, 2011

Faculty workshop series presents Professor Ronald J. Krotoszynski, Jr.

Visiting Professor of Law, Ronald J. Krotoszynski, Jr., the Director of Faculty Research & Professor of Law at the University of Alabama School of Law will present "The Unitary Executive and the Plural Judiciary: Reconsidering the Institutional Power and Authority of the Offices of the Chief Justice and the President" as part of the Faculty workshop series today, Thursday, August 25, 2011, from 11:45 to 1:00pm in the Courtroom of the '90s on the 2nd floor of the Girardi Advcocacy Center.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Real Cheating Scandal of Standardized Tests

By Professor Kimberly West-Faulcon

This op-ed was published on on August 22, 2011.

"Opinion: The widening circle of cheating scandals on standardized tests should fuel the movement to reduce the stakes these exams have on public education in the U.S.

Last week, Montana became the leader of what is likely to be a number of states that will rebel against the provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind law by refusing to raise test score targets as required by the law. Meanwhile, the list of states and cities plagued by allegations of cheating on standardized tests is likely to grow beyond Washington, Baltimore, Atlanta Pennsylvania and New Jersey. What are we to make of the Obama administration's willingness to waive some of the most extreme penalties under the No Child law but to only offer the rather hollow response of calling for enhanced "test security" to combat test cheating? Instead of a shocking anomaly, it seems that the egregious test cheating uncovered in Atlanta public schools last month may be more common than we as a nation want to believe."

Read the complete op-ed at

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Prof. Dan Lazaroff on the NBA lockout

Professor Dan Lazaroff, director of Loyola's Sports Law Institute, discussed the NBA lockout on Lawyer 2 Lawyer on the Legal Talk Network. Program synopsis:

NBA Lockout and Lawsuits

Coming off the heels of an NFL Lockout, the NBA officially locked out its players on July 1, 2011, when players and owners failed to agree on a new contract. Then, the NBA filed two claims against the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) before union players could file an anti-trust lawsuit against them. Attorneys and co-hosts Bob Ambrogi and J. Craig Williams welcome Professor Daniel E. Lazaroff, Director of the Loyola Sports Law Institute and Professor Gabriel A. Feldman, Director of the Tulane Sports Law Program, to discuss the legal and business issues surrounding the lockout. They take a look at the impact of the lockout on players, employees and fans and the fate of the 2011-2012 season.

Listen now

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Dear Californians, You Don't Matter

By Visiting Associate Clinical Professor Jessica Levinson

This op-ed was originally published by KCET.

Well, at least when it comes to picking the next leader of the free world. In a previous post, I queried, "When it Comes to Presidential Politics, Does California Even Matter?" Democrats count on (take for granted) the Golden State and its 55 electoral votes--one-fifth of the total votes needed to win the presidency. Candidates visit our state to raise money, but not much else. Presidential campaigns are won and lost in the battle ground states. California is decidedly not such a state.

Read the complete post at

Friday, August 12, 2011

Summertime Disability Rights

By Visiting Associate Professor of Law and Executive Director of DRLC Paula Pearlman

This op-ed was originally published by the Los Angeles Daily Journal.

It's summertime. That means it is time to pack up the family for a summer vacation, near or far. Recreation is an essential part of the human experience, which everyone deserves and needs. People with disabilities should not have to go to court defending their right to have fun. This year, some of the nation's biggest, and most iconic entertainment destinations and operators are fighting against discrimination allegations.

In 2009, Joe Martinez, who uses a wheelchair because of quadriplegia, along with his wife, was among the 15.9 million visitors to the park in Anaheim. Soon after entering the Magic Kingdom, the spell began to wear off. Disney staff told the couple that they could not board the "Pirates of the Caribbean" ride in his wheelchair, and that this would be the case for most of the other "accessible" rides in the park. Martinez also required the use of family or unisex restrooms, which the couple had difficulty finding because there were no signs and few employees knew where to direct them.

One of the few rides accessible to Martinez was, "It's A Small World," but while onboard, the ride malfunctioned because of a computer glitch. The staff evacuated all the guests except for Martinez and his wife .

While they were waiting, Martinez suffered dysreflexia, a medical condition caused by overstimulation of the nervous system that can quickly lead to a stroke and death if untreated. "Dysreflexia feels like your head is going to explode," Martinez explained. After about 45 minutes, the ride was finally restarted and they were able to exit. Martinez left the park with the paramedics.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Prof. Ted Seto's paper, "Where Do Partners Come From?" summarized in Wall Street Journal Law Blog

Professor of Law and William Rains Fellow, Theodore P. Seto's paper, "Where Do partners Come From?" was featured on the Wall Street Journal law blog on August 5th, 2011.

Seto's paper, to be published in a forthcoming edition of the Journal of Legal Education, analyzes which law schools have produced the most partners in the past quarter century.

Do Californians Have the Right to See the Current Budgets and Expenditures of their Lawmakers?

This op-ed was originally published by KCET.

By Associate Clinical Professor Jessica A. Levinson

Doing absolutely nothing to help their already dismal public approval ratings, the state Assembly has refused requests--submitted under the Legislative Open Records Act--to release records of legislators' 2010 and 2011 budgets (money given to rank and file legislators by the leadership) and expenditures. Now The Sacramento Bee and Los Angeles Times are suing to obtain those records.

The newspapers argue that the budget and spending records document public resources used for public business, and should be released based on a constitutional right to access information about government activities.

The Assembly Rules Committee, on the other hand, claims that it need not release those documents because the records fall under exceptions to the Legislative Open Records Act for "correspondence of and to individual members of the Legislature and their staff," and "preliminary drafts, notes or legislative memoranda." An Assembly administrator has argued that the records of lawmakers' current budgets and spending could contain confidential personnel information. Basically, the Assembly Rules Committee claims that those documents, which detail use of public funds by public officials, are privileged.

Read the complete post at

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Prof. Ted Seto to publish 'Where Do Partners Come From?' in Journal of Legal Education

Professor Ted Seto recently agreed to publish his article "Where Do Partners Come From?" in the Journal of Legal Education. The article was highlighted on the Wall Street Journal Law Blog and on Above the Law. The following is an abstract:

Which law schools produce the largest numbers of partners at national law firms? This article reports the results of a nationwide study of junior and mid-level partners at the 100 largest U.S. law firms. It identifies both the top 50 feeder schools to the National Law Journal 100 nationwide and the top 10 feeder schools to those same firms in each of the country's ten largest legal markets. U.S. News rank turns out to be an unreliable predictor of feeder school status. Hiring and partnering by the NLJ 100 are remarkably local; law school rank is much less important than location. Perhaps surprisingly, Georgetown emerges as Harvard's closest competitor for truly national status. (Any school that believes the author's count is inaccurate is requested to supply corrected information.)

Download the complete law review article on SSRN

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Legal defense funds: An ethical dilemma?

By Visiting Associate Clinical Professor Jessica A. Levinson

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was recently hit with almost $42,000 in fines based on improper acceptance of free tickets to 34 events, including concerts, and cultural affairs and sporting events.

What is a mayor to do?

In Villaraigosa's case, create three separate legal defense funds for three separate investigations - one related to the L.A. Ethics Commission's inquiry, another related to a District Attorney examination, and a third related to the California Fair Political Practices Commission probe. The law allows office holders to create legal defense funds when they face charges or investigations stemming from their jobs as public officials.

Read the complete post at

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Prof. Waterstone on AAPD v. Harris

By Professor Michael Waterstone

Thanks to Dan and Rick for inviting me to post on the recent opinion in AAPD v. Harris. As Dan notes, the wheels of justice have moved slowly on this case. The original district court opinion (from 2004) is in an earlier edition of my disability law casebook. It held that voting machines requiring voters with visual impairments to vote with third-party assistance violated Title II of the ADA. The Eleventh Circuit previously reversed the district court, holding that plaintiffs did not have a private right of action to enforce the ADA. This decision holds that voting machines are not a facility and therefore are not covered by one of the regulations implementing Title II of the ADA.

Plaintiffs made three specific claims under the ADA. This first is premised on the actual language of the statute. Title II of the ADA (the operative title here) provides that "no qualified individual with a disability shall, by reason of such disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs or activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination by any such entity." Plaintiffs' argument is that inaccessible machines prevent them from participating in voting (a public program) in the same manner as citizens without disabilities.

Read the complete post on the Election Law Blog.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Politics today: What's sex have to do with it?

This op-ed was originally published by the Los Angeles Daily Journal.

By Professor Laurie L. Levenson and Laura LeFeuvre, 2L

One need only open the newspaper to see the flurry of recent charges against politicians throughout the country. While some of these charges involve professional malfeasance, others derive from sexual misconduct by the official. Of course, this certainly is not the first generation of politicians to be less than noble in their private lives. Sex scandals date back to the time of our Founding Fathers. Yet, there does seem to be something different about how we are responding to the recent sexual escapades of today's politicians. Not only have their sexual exploits forced them out of political office, but increasingly, they now face criminal charges.

America may have started as a Puritan nation, but our political leaders have been far from pure. DNA evidence indicates that Thomas Jefferson had an affair with and fathered the children of his slave Sally Hemings. Alexander Hamilton had an affair with Maria Reynolds and paid her husband hush money to continue the affair. Even George Washington supposedly wrote love letters to a certain Sally Fairfax, a friend of Martha Washington. While well known, their scandalous behavior has become but a footnote in the chronicles of American history.

By comparison, today's politicians find themselves facing more than public scorn. They also face criminal indictments. Former Senator and one-time presidential candidate John Edwards has been charged in a six-count indictment with conspiracy, illegal campaign contributions and false statements relating to his sexual escapades. The indictment alleges that Johnny Reid Edwards chose to "(f)alsify, conceal, and cover up by trick, scheme, and device" his extramarital affair and illegitimate child. In particular: "The purpose of the conspiracy was to protect and advance Edwards' candidacy for President of the United States by secretly obtaining and using hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions from Person C and Person D, well in excess of the Election Act's limit, to conceal Edwards' extramarital affair with Person B and Person B's pregnancy with his child. Edwards knew that public revelation of the affair and pregnancy would destroy his candidacy by, among other things, undermining Edwards' presentation of himself as a family man and by forcing his campaign to divert personnel and resources away from other campaign activities to respond to criticism and media scrutiny regarding the affair and pregnancy."

Prof. NeJaime participating in Constitutional Redemptionsymposium

Associate Professor Doug NeJaime is participating in the Constitutional Redemption symposium, a dialogue on Jack Balkin's new book. Other participants include Jack Balkin (Yale), Melissa Murray (Berkeley), Bernadette Meyler (Cornell), Emily Zackin (Princeton), Joe Fishkin (Texas), Dan Solove (GW), Andrew Coan (Wisconsin) and Josh Chafetz (Cornell). The Concurring Opinions event is viewable online. Below is Professor NeJaime's opening post.

Jack Balkin's Constitutional Redemption: A Much-Needed Dose of Optimism

I want to thank Danielle Citron for inviting me to participate in this symposium. And I want to thank Jack Balkin for giving me the great honor of commenting on his wonderful book. In Constitutional Redemption, Balkin offers an important, insightful, and useful corrective to the pessimism that pervades a significant amount of legal scholarship on the left. His constitutional optimism suggests the potential and possibilities of constitutional mobilization.

Balkin's book offers incredible amounts of rich material. He provides a descriptive account of constitutional change, a normative vision of democratic culture, and an interpretative theory aimed at fulfilling the Constitution's promises. In showing how social movements believe in and agitate for constitutional redemption, Balkin redeems the Constitution for legal scholarship, reminding us that the Constitution serves both as a potent symbol of social change and as a vehicle for continued reform. In this commentary, I first want to focus on why I think Balkin's descriptive account is accurate by pointing to two essential moves I see him making. I then want to show Balkin's theory in action in the marriage equality context as a way to translate his analysis into a useful lesson for liberals and progressives.

To my mind, two key moves allow Balkin to see what many others miss and thereby to bridge the often vast divide between constitutional theory and on-the-ground social movement activity. First, Balkin decenters adjudication, and in a sense detaches constitutional claims-making from constitutional decision-making. Of course, Balkin discusses at great length the decisions of the Supreme Court on various significant issues - from race to abortion to labor - and these decisions are crucial to an account of social change. But he analyzes adjudication through the lens of political and movement mobilization, showing the evolution of constitutional principles through the symbiotic relationship among courts, culture, and social movements. (Balkin, p. 63)