News

November 14, 2014

Attempts To Use Civil Rights Law To Challenge Discrimination Against Gay Employees Have Been Mixed, Vice Dean Leonard Says

State Rep. Patricia Todd, Alabama’s only openly gay legislator, is preparing a bill to ban workplace discrimination against gay and lesbian state employees, but Vice Dean James Leonard recently told the Anniston Star that attempts to use Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to challenge such discrimination in federal courts has been “hit or miss.”

Some have argued quite successfully that discrimination against gays is similar to gender discrimination as defined under civil rights law, Leonard said. Courts, though, have rejected such claims, noting that gay rights weren’t on the minds of lawmakers when the law was designed in the mid-1960s.

“Think of “Mad Men” or something like that,” he said, referring to the hit television show that is set in the 1960s. “That kind of progressivism just was not in the air.”

For more, read “Bill Would Protect Against Discrimination Based On Sexual Orientation.”

November 6, 2014

Hubbard May Have A Successful Defense For Ethics Violations, Professor Carroll Says

Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard recently won re-election, but he still faces felony ethics charges.

Hubbard was indicted in October on 23 charges accusing him of using his offices for financial gain.

Professor Jenny Carroll says Hubbard may have a successful defense because he has insisted that he acted for the good of the people.

“And, he believed that his local constituency was benefited and Alabama in general was benefited. So, Hubbard may have a successful defense even if the state presents evidence that he did exactly what they claimed he did.”

For more, read GOP Cruises in Alabama.

November 4, 2014

Professor Carodine Discusses George Zimmerman Case with Mark O’Mara

Professor Montre D. Carodine and Defense Attorney Mark O’Mara recently discussed race and what role it played in the George Zimmerman trial at a program sponsored by the Duquesne University School of Law.

Zimmerman fatally shot Trayvon Martin in 2012, and his acquittal of second-degree murder and manslaughter sparked a national conversation on racial profiling and civil rights.

Carodine opened the discussion by sharing her own reaction to the verdict with O’Mara. Shortly after the verdict, she watched Bishop T.D. Jakes devote time usually reserved for his sermon to discuss the case with churchgoers.

“He said that many people had texted him or phoned him from across the world expressing a sense of devastation, a feeling that I felt as well. Are you surprised by the type of reaction that level of reaction to the case?”

O’Mara said: “I was very surprised that the African-American community reacted as emotionally as they did to it. I think I mentioned this to you earlier. I actually spent time, like just me, trying to make sense of that, trying to figure out how I misjudged so much, so badly what had happened because still in my mind it happened the way it should have.”

For more, visit Duquesne University School of Law.

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Images from Pittsburgh Black Media Federation and Duquesne University School of Law

November 4, 2014

Obama Nominates Alumna Leigh Bradley As General Counsel for Veterans Affairs

President Barack Obama has nominated Leigh A. Bradley, director of the Standards of Conduct Office within the Office of General Counsel at the Department of Defense, as general counsel for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Since July, Bradley, ’81, has served as Special Counsel to the Secretary at the Department of Veterans Affairs, according to the White House. She previously worked at the American Red Cross as Senior Vice President of Enterprise Risk and Chief Risk Officer from 2005 to 2007 and as Chief of Staff from 2004 to 2005. She was a partner at Holland & Knight, LLP, and from 1998 to 2001 was General Counsel for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

October 30, 2014

Professor Krotoszynski Says Alabama I.D. Law May Be Difficult To Challenge

Professor Ronald Krotoszynski says recent Voting Rights Act decisions may make it more difficult to prove that Alabama’s Voter I.D. Law harkens back to Jim Crow.

In Shelby vs. Holder, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a provision in the Voting Rights Act of 1965, making it more difficult to prove intent.

“The problem that litigation of this sort is likely to run up against is showing intentional discrimination by local officials with respect to this vouching system where two election officials can sign an affidavit saying that they know someone is a registered voter even if the voter doesn’t have a photo I.D.,” Krotoszynski told Alabama Public Radio. “In the absence of proof of a sort of systematic and intentional discrimination, the claim is unlikely to have much purchase, I’m afraid.”

For more, read “Election 2014 – Voter I.D. Law.”

October 20, 2014

Professor Horwitz Urges Alabama Voters To Vote ‘No’ On Amendment One

Professor Paul Horwitz recently wrote in The Tuscaloosa News that Alabama voters should vote “No” on Amendment One on Nov. 4.

The amendment is redundant, comes with a set of costs, and is based on religious hostility, he said.

“Earlier versions of this legislation were clearly targeted specifically at Islamic law, although their proponents had no examples of any Alabama court enforcing Islamic law at all, let alone using it to violate anyone’s rights,” wrote the Gordon Rosen Professor of Law and author of First Amendment Institutions. “Amendment One and its predecessors are copies of model legislation drafted by anti-Islamic activists from outside Alabama.”

For more, read  “Amendment One is useless, costly and wrong.”

October 16, 2014

Marsh: Athletes Have Right To Fair Process

As more college football programs become mired in player controversies, some schools are moving quickly to resolve the matters, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The University of Florida suspended quarterback Treon Harris from the team, after he was accused of sexually assaulting a female student in a residence hall, while the University of Kentucky suspended defensive end Lloyd Tubman from the team, after he was charged with rape. Tubman pleaded not guilty.

“An athlete has a right to a fair process,” said Gene A. Marsh, a retired UA law professor and former chair of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division I Committee on Infractions, ” but any athlete who chooses to be in this kind of high-profile world has to accept the scrutiny that comes with it.” For more, read “What You Need To Know About The Past Seven Days.”

October 16, 2014

Professor Rosen Travels To Geneva For World Investment Forum

Professor Ken Rosen recently traveled to Geneva, Switzerland, where he participated in the World Investment Forum.  The WIF is organized by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and brings together leading figures from the political, business, and academic communities to discuss how to improve global economic development.  Professor Rosen was invited to work with a group focusing on coherence and synergies in the investment and development system as part of a Multidisciplinary Academic Conference held at the Graduate Institute of Geneva.  He and other scholars worked with UNCTAD on its development of a new research agenda related to sustainable development.

October 10, 2014

Dean Brandon Delivers Founders’ Day Address

Dean Mark E. Brandon recently delivered the Founders’ Day address at the University of Montevallo, noting that he could not have predicted he would one day become dean of the University of Alabama School of Law.

“Whether we’re lucky or unlucky, life is unpredictable. What we hope for is that we have the resources to make the most of our opportunities and to overcome our challenges and limitations,” said Brandon, who graduated from Montevallo in 1975 with a bachelor’s degree in history. “But we cannot fully know in advance what those opportunities and challenges and limitations will be. In the words of the Boy Scout motto, we need to be prepared.”

Montevallo University President John W. Stewart III said Brandon’s undergraduate education helped prepare him for the challenge he has accepted at the School of Law.

“Indeed, his scholarship at Princeton, Vanderbilt, and Michigan is validation of the caliber an undergraduate education Montevallo provides,” said University of Montevallo President John W. Stewart III. “We are very proud that Dr. Brandon is at the helm of the University of Alabama’s very fine law school.” For more, read “University of Montevallo Celebrates 118th Founders’ Day.”

October 9, 2014

New Law Clinic For Former Inmates Opens Its Doors

The University of Alabama School of Law, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Alabama, and the local office of the state’s parole board recently opened a new monthly law clinic for former inmates.

Student volunteers help run the clinic that is the first of its kind in Alabama. It is designed to help former inmates re-enter the community, Jeremy Sherer, community outreach coordinator for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, told The Tuscaloosa News.

About 10 students collect information about participants and refer them for legal and other services within Tuscaloosa.

“The needs determine how the students help them,” said Glory McLaughlin, assistant dean for Public Interest.

For more, read “New Clinic Provides Legal Services to Former Inmates.”