News - September 2006
National Intelligence Civil Liberties Officer, Alex Joel '87, visits Michigan Law on October 12
September 29, 2006
Alex Joel, a magna cum laude graduate of Michigan Law, returns to his alma mater on Thursday, October 12th to speak to the Law School community. His Inspiring Paths presentation is sponsored by the Office of Public Service and will be held from 12:20 1:15 pm in room 250, Hutchins Hall.
Joel was named Civil Liberties Protection Officer by John Negroponte, Director of the Office of National Intelligence (ODNI), and is the first individual to assume that role. The position reporting directly to Negroponte was established through the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 and is charged with ensuring that civil liberties and privacy protection is incorporated in ODNI policy, overseeing compliance, reviewing relevant complaints, and ensuring that technologies sustain privacy.
Prior to joining the ODNI, Joel was the Marriott International privacy, technology, and e-commerce attorney, a technology attorney with a law firm now known as Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman in Washington, D.C., and served as an officer with the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General Corps. Mr. Joel entered public service following 9/11, joining the Central Intelligence Agency Office of General Counsel.
In addition to his Michigan Law J.D., Joel was awarded a B.A. magna cum laude from Princeton University in 1984.
Beny's Senate Judiciary Committee testimony suggests potential harms of insider trading
September 29, 2006
In written testimony provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 26, Michigan Law Professor Laura N. Beny presented empirical evidence that unlawful insider trading might be harmful to stock market performance. Specifically, Beny’s research looking at stock markets in various countries and utilizing correlations and multiple regression analysis found that countries with more stringent insider trading laws had a) more dispersed equity ownership; b) more liquid stock markets; and c) more informative stock prices.
Published in the American Law and Economics Review and the Journal of Corporation Law, Beny’s research is important in that it not only supports arguments that insider trading laws have a positive impact on stock markets, but counters a long-held hypothesis that insider trading is desirable and ought not be regulated.
Laura Beny teaches corporate finance, international finance, stock market development, and enterprise organization at Michigan Law, with research interests that range from law and finance to diversity among elite American law firms and human rights and development in the Sudan. She is a research fellow at the William Davidson Institute at Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business, and in 2005-06 was a National Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. Prior to her arrival at Michigan Law, Professor Beny practiced law in New York. Her educational background includes a B.A. from Stanford, an M.A. and Ph.D. in economics from Harvard, and a J.D. from Harvard Law.
The full text of Beny’s testimony is available.
APALSA Announces MCRI Lecture Series Speakers
September 27, 2006
APALSA, the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, with thirteen co-sponsoring student organizations at the University of Michigan Law School, is pleased to announce a 4-part lecture series on the forthcoming Michigan Civil Rights Ballot Initiative (MCRI).
MCRI -- led by Jennifer Gratz and Californian Ward Connerly, the latter of whom was instrumental in that state’s adoption of Proposition 209 -- is “a proposal to amend the State Constitution to ban affirmative action programs that give preferential treatment to groups or individuals based on their race, gender, color, ethnicity or national origin for public employment, education or contracting purposes.” On November 7, 2006 Michigan voters will decide whether or not to adopt MCRI.
The series begins on October 4th and continues through the 11th with diverse MCRI perspectives represented. Attendance is free and open to the entire U-M community.
|Wednesday, October 4
Hutchins Hall 100
4:50 6:10 pm
|Martha Jones, Professor, U-M
Richard Primus, Professor, Michigan Law
Evan Caminker, Dean, Michigan Law
|Monday, October 9
Hutchins Hall 150
12:20 1:20 pm
|Richard Sander, Professor, UCLA Law
Chetly Zarko, Consultant, Former MCRI official
|Tuesday, October 10
Hutchins Hall 100
4:50 6:30 pm
|Richard Lempert, Professor, U-M
Ricardo Villarosa, Wayne State Law
Vincent Eng, Asian American Justice Center
Mary Beijan, Field Director, ACLU of Michigan
|Wednesday, October 11
Hutchins Hall 100
4:50 6:10 pm
|Carl Cohen, Professor, U-M, State Steering Committee, MCRI
Roger Clegg, President, Center for Equal Opportunity
Douglas Kahn, Professor, Michigan Law
Bill Miller named to prestigious Carnegie Centenary Professorship at St. Andrews University
September 26, 2006
William Ian Miller, Michigan Law’s Thomas G. Long Professor of Law, has been named a Carnegie Centenary Professor at St. Andrews University in Scotland. The award, in support of a visiting professorship, “is intended to benefit not only the host universities but also the Scottish University community as a whole.” The objective is to attract nominees “of the highest academic standing who will contribute to academic/scientific developments in the Scottish universities in their particular fields. Such senior scholars of high distinction, by their very presence, will confer benefits on the Scottish Universities.”
Nominations for the award are made by Scottish universities, with ultimate selection made by an Awards Committee of host institution and external representatives. The award recipient is typically in residence for 3 6 months at the nominating institution and is asked to deliver a public lecture.
Bill Miller, a Michigan Law faculty member since 1984, teaches property, a popular course called bloodfeuds focusing on the sagas of medieval Iceland, legal history, and among others, interdisciplinary perspectives on the law. His most recent book, Eye for an Eye (2005), is a historical study of the law of revenge. Previous books include Faking It (2003), The Mystery of Courage (2000), The Anatomy of Disgust (1997), Humiliation (1993), and Bloodtaking and Peacemaking: Feud, Law, and Society in Saga Iceland (1990). Miller has taught at Yale, the University of Chicago, the University of Bergen, the University of Tel Aviv, and Harvard. He earned his B.A. from Wisconsin and both a J.D. and a Ph.D. in English from Yale.
Jessica Litman named IP³ award winner for consumer advocacy in personal media use
September 25, 2006
Public Knowledge President Gigi B. Sohn today announced that Michigan Law Professor Jessica Litman has been named one of three 2006 recipients of an IP³ award presented to individuals who over the past year, or the course of a career, have advanced the public interest in one of three “IP” fields: Intellectual Property, Information Policy, or Internet Protocol. The awards will be presented October 19, 2006 in Washington, D.C.
Litman won in the intellectual property category. The author of Digital Copyright and numerous other works, Professor Litman’s achievement was summarized by Public Knowledge in the following manner:
“She is one of the country’s foremost scholars on the topic of copyright... [and] is a forceful advocate for protecting consumer rights to personal use of media and for drawing limits on the policies of media companies that encroach on those rights.”
Other 2006 winners are Yochai Benkler, a professor of law at Yale Law School, and Blake and Jason Krikorian, founders of Sling Media, whose Slingbox device allows consumers with broadband access to watch home-town TV from anywhere in the world.
Jessica Litman teaches copyright, Internet law, trademarks and unfair competition, and other courses at Michigan Law, where she returned after teaching at the Wayne State University School of Law. She has also taught as NYU and American University’s Washington College of Law, is a trustee of the Copyright Society of the USA, chair elect of the American Association of Law Schools Section on Intellectual Property, and a member of numerous committees and professional associations. Litman’s educational background includes a B.A. from Reed College, an M.F.A. from Southern Methodist University, and a J.D. from Columbia University School of Law.
New York Times executive editor Bill Keller meets with Michigan Law students and faculty
September 20, 2006
On Tuesday, October 17th, at 11 am, New York Times executive editor Bill Keller will address law students and faculty and respond to their questions. He’ll be introduced by Associate Dean Kyle Logue.
This informal session, scheduled for the Faculty Dining Room in the Lawyers Club, follows Keller’s previous day’s event at which he gives the University of Michigan’s 2006 Davis, Markert, Nickerson Lecture on Academic and Intellectual Freedom, “Editors in Chains: Secrets, Security and the Press.” Keller’s Davis Market Nickerson lecture will be held at 4 pm, Monday, October 16th, in Honigman Auditorium, 100 Hutchins Hall.
Bill Keller was named executive editor of the Times in July 2003. He was previously an Op-Ed columnist and senior writer for the New York Times Magazine and had also served as that paper’s managing editor, foreign editor, bureau chief in Johannesburg, and Moscow correspondent and bureau chief. He’s the recipient of a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting from the former Soviet Union.
The Times’ recent decision to publish information on a secret U.S. program that investigates and tracks terrorists, in part by access to an international database of banking transactions, led to stinging criticism from the administration and excoriation from certain commentators and politicians. His University address will likely provide perspective on that and other issues.
Fred Furth ’59 – distinguished litigator, author, vintner, aviator, and philanthropist – talks with Michigan Law students on September 22nd
September 20, 2006
On Friday, September 22nd at 4 pm in 250 Hutchins Hall, Fred Furth will discuss his victory as plaintiffs’ attorney in the Furth Firm’s Alameda County, California suit against Wal-Mart, the world’s largest corporation, on the issue of denying employees lunch breaks. The suit alleged that Wal-Mart violated California’s mandatory meal break 8 million times between January 2001 and May 2005. In December 22, 2005, a California jury ordered Wal-Mart to pay $172 million in damages to more than 100,000 current and former employees.
High profile litigation success has been a hallmark of Furth’s success, to the degree that Time Magazine defined him as one of “the top trial lawyers in the U.S.” in a July 17, 2000 feature entitled “Are Lawyers Running America?”
But Furth is much more than a successful and well-compensated attorney. He and his wife own the renowned Chalk Hill Estate Vineyard in Sonoma County, California and he’s experimenting with establishing a U.S.-model winery in France; he’s a practiced and proficient aviator who owns and pilots a Cessna Citation X that flies at .92 Mach, making it the fastest private jet in production; he’s a philanthropist whose Furth Family Foundation provides grants for housing and shelter for children, founded and sponsored the International Judicial Conference on Justice and the Rule of Law, established an international competition for the most innovative and practical solution to achieving Russian ruble convertibility, and purchased a closed but beloved San Francisco church that will be converted to a Catholic school.
Fred Furth’s background was considerably less privileged. A first generation American whose parents struggled during the Depression, he credits his mother’s faith in his potential as a prime reason for his success. Following a Michigan B.A. in 1956 and his Michigan Law LL.B. in 1959, Furth studied comparative law at the Universities of Berlin and Munich, spent four years as an associate at a Wall Street law firm, and then served briefly as an assistant to the General Counsel of the Kellogg Company. In 1965 he joined a firm in San Francisco and shortly thereafter founded the Furth Firm.
He is the author of a number of law review and other articles as well as legal guides, and serves on the boards of Robert Half International, IFES, a Washington, DC-based NGO, and chairs the Furth Family Foundation.
Constitution Day brings Congressman John Dingell, Supreme Court video, and jurist-academic panel to the Michigan Law community
September 15, 2006
To celebrate the 219th anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution, the University and Michigan Law have planned a number of events on September 18th, including an address by Congressman John Dingell (D-Mich). Known as the “Dean of the House” for both his contributions to that body and having the longest tenure among current members, the Congressman’s keynote address will commence at 4:00 pm in Rackham Assembly Hall, fourth floor.
Following the Dingell address at 5:15 pm, Supreme Court Justices Stephen Breyer, Anthony Kennedy, and Sandra Day O’Connor will appear in a DVD presentation discussing the importance of an independent judiciary.
Immediately after that presentation, a panel discussion with Justice Marilyn Kelly of the Michigan Supreme Court, University of Michigan History Professor Matt Lassiter, Judge David W. McKeague of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth District, and Michigan Law Professor Richard A. Primus will be presented. Moderator is Evan H. Caminker, Dean of the University of Michigan Law School.
The University of Michigan’s Constitution Day events are sponsored by John B. Kemp and the Office of the Provost. Michigan Law Professor Richard Friedman and Professor Maris Vinovskis co-chaired the planning.
Michigan Law's Rebecca Scott wins $25,000 Frederick Douglass Book prize
September 13, 2006
Yale University’s Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition today announced that Rebecca J. Scott, Charles Gibson Distinguished University Professor of History and Professor of Law at the University of Michigan, has been selected as 2006 winner of the $25,000 Frederick Douglass Book Prize. Professor Scott won for her book Degrees of Freedom: Louisiana and Cuba after Slavery, published by Harvard University Press.
The Frederick Douglass Prize is the most generous history prize in the field. It will be presented to Scott at a dinner in New York City in February 2007.
Rebecca Scott’s book was selected from a field of nearly 80 entries by a jury of scholars including Mia Bay of Rutgers, Jane Landers of Vanderbilt University, and Larry E. Hudson, Jr. of the University of Rochester. According to Hudson, an Associate Professor of History, “Rebecca Scott’s Degrees of Freedom: Louisiana and Cuba after Slavery is a worthy recipient of the Frederick Douglass Prize. Its examination of the political obstacles to black freedom in post-emancipation Cuba and Louisiana provides an innovative and exciting approach to comparative history that will influence the study of the black experience for decades to come.”
The Frederick Douglass Prize was established in 1999 to stimulate scholarship in the field of slavery and abolition by honoring outstanding books. The award is named for Frederick Douglass (1818-1895), the slave who escaped bondage to emerge as one of 19th century America’s great abolitionists, reformers, writers, and orators.
Rebecca J. Scott was educated at Radcliffe College where she received an A.B.; at the London School of Economics where she earned an M. Phil in economic history; and at Princeton University where she received her Ph.D. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2004. At Michigan Law, she teaches a seminar on the law in slavery and freedom with Professor Martha Jones and is developing a new course on the boundaries of citizenship. In the Department of History, Scott teaches colonial Latin American history and a seminar entitled “Getting the Documents to Speak.” More information on Professor Scott and a complete listing of her publications is available on and through the Michigan Law website at www.law.umich.edu. Click on the Faculty & Staff link and then on Professor Scott’s name, listed alphabetically. More information on her Douglass Prize book is available at http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog/SCODEG.html.
Larsen op-ed details and defends presidential signing statements
September 13, 2006
In an opinion article appearing in the September 13th Detroit News, Adjunct Michigan Law Professor Joan Larsen takes on the subject of presidential signing statements, arguing that they represent a critically important presidential vision of what the Constitution requires.
Contrary to the American Bar Association’s (ABA) assertion that signing statements are “contrary to the rule of law and our constitutional system of separation of powers,” Larsen makes the point that presidential signing statements only give notice of the president’s view of his constitutional commitment. The more important question, she claims, is whether the president has the authority (or responsibility) to decline to enforce statutes he believes violate the Constitution.
A hypothetical example provided by Larsen imagines that Congress has enacted a statute directing the president to set aside 15 percent of government contracts for minority businesses, while the Supreme Court has rejected such quotas as violating equal protection. Whether the president chooses to veto the Congressional legislation or sign it and offer the Supreme Court the opportunity to re-examine its prior ruling depends upon his independent assessment of what the Constitution requires. Denying him an independent voice in constitutional interpretation represents a distinct threat to the constitutional system.
The complete text of the article is also available.
Joan Larsen earned her J.D. magna cum laude at Northwestern University School of Law, clerked for Judge David B. Sentelle of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and Justice Antonin Scalia of the Supreme Court, and litigated in the Washington office of Sidley & Austin. At the University of Michigan Law School since 1998, Professor Larsen teaches and researches in constitutional law, criminal procedure, and comparative constitutionalism. From 2002 2003 she served as deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel, providing counsel to the white house, attorney general, and government agencies.
Horwitz Op-Ed Challenges Michigan Charities Legislation
September 12, 2006
In an opinion article appearing in the August 17th edition of the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Michigan Law Assistant Professor Jill Horwitz, along with co-author Harvey Dale, Professor of Philanthropy and Law at NYU, criticized proposed Michigan legislation that will require courts to infer a Michigan charitable trust’s permanent charitable giving intent from its first years of spending. That is, for a foundation established in Michigan, the courts could mandate that it spend its funds in Michigan and on the same type of recipients forever unless donors specifically say otherwise.
Should the bill become law, Horwitz and Dale point out that many foundations would be required to limit their charitable giving to Michigan obviously a significant constraint for them, but no less significant than two other broader issues. First, such legislation presumes state legislators and bureaucrats know more about a donor’s intentions than the donor him- or herself. Secondly, it ignores the fact that Michigan-based grant-making organizations which find themselves being directed or micro-managed by state officials and lawmakers will simply depart for greener pastures indeed The Southeastern Council of Foundations has already invited the Michigan-based Ford Foundation to relocate to a region which would not impose restrictions on the Foundation’s grantmaking.
Jill R. Horwitz teaches and researches at Michigan Law in the areas of health law, nonprofit law, and economics. She is a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research and holds a B.A. from Northwestern and an M.P.P., J.D. magna cum laude, and Ph.D. in health policy from Harvard. Professor Horwitz is a member of the Massachusetts Bar. In 2006-07, she is a visitor at the University of Victoria’s schools of law and public administration.
Niehoff op-ed argues for more media access to Michigan prisons
September 6, 2006
In a September 5th opinion article in The Detroit Free Press, Adjunct Professor Len Niehoff writes that since 2000, Michigan’s Department of Corrections has adopted a restrictive policy on allowing journalists’ cameras and tape recorders into its facilities essentially permitted “only in limited, unique circumstances.” Not only does the policy refuse to detail or define “limited” and “unique,” but according to Niehoff, rests on a presumption of denying or constraining the public’s right to know the exact antithesis of what democracy requires.
Niehoff notes that for many years prior to 2000, the State gave journalists broad access to prisons, which shed light on the corrections system but occasionally also led to distressing and embarrassing stories about prison conditions thus the more recent and more restrictive policy.
The deaths occurring in Michigan’s penal system, Niehoff argues, in part result from lack of public scrutiny: “A policy that allows real access will facilitate real scrutiny. And real scrutiny will drive real change.” The complete text of the article is also available.
Len Niehoff teaches mass media law, evidence, and ethics and professional responsibility at Michigan Law, practices at the firm of Butzel Long in First Amendment, media law, and constitutional litigation, and maintains an active pro bono docket. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and its Law School.