Liz Huntley (’97) has released “More Than a Bird,” an autobiography that chronicles the inspirational story of an Alabama woman who overcame tremendous adversity during her childhood to become a successful attorney and motivational speaker.
Alabama First Lady Dianne Bentley was among the guests when the book was recently launched at Clanton Elementary School, which Huntley attended as a child.
“I am in awe of how God has worked in her life,” Bentley told The Clanton Advertiser.
Huntley was born in Huntsville, but she grew up in Clanton, Alabama, after her mother’s suicide. The book begins with the death of her mother and the incarceration of her father. From there, it details her journey of living in poverty and being sexually abused by her uncle. The book also profiles the men and women who Huntley says God placed in her life to mentor her and help her meet her full potential.
A portion of the proceeds from “More Than a Bird” will support efforts to advocate for the expansion of Alabama’s voluntary pre-k program and to enhance the quality of life for children and families across the state.
Professor William Andreen recently told Circle of Blue that the Clean Water Act doesn’t address new water pollution challenges and needs to be updated.
The nation needs to ensure enough water circulates in rivers and streams to support their biological functioning, he said.
“You have no water quality if you have no water, or so little water that nothing can survive in a healthy way, or not enough water that things can spawn the way they normally do in the spring,” he said.
For more, read “U.S. Clean Water Law Needs New Act For The 21st Century.”
Prof. Ronald Krotoszynski recently told The New York Times it is unlikely a Mississippi law banning adoptions by same-sex couples would survive a legal challenge.
“In the federal courts, I’m pretty confident Obergefell will be construed broadly,” said Krotoszynski, referring to the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriages. “ I think it would be hard to draw a principled distinction between marriage and adoption, so it shouldn’t be a hard case.”
Dean Mark E. Brandon welcomed an impressive Class of 2018 during First-Year Orientation.
“The heart of what makes Alabama a superb place to study, and I should say the reason that we do what we do here, are you, our students, and you are a distinguished group by any proper measure,” Brandon said.
The Class of 2018 has 154 students and was drawn from a pool of nearly 1,600 applicants. Eighty-four percent of those applicants came from outside the state of Alabama. Members of the Class of 2018 come from 25 states and two countries, and have studied at 74 colleges and universities. Forty-five percent of the class members are women, and 26 percent identify as members of a racial or ethnic minority, the highest percentage in the history of the Law School.
Some members of the class hold advanced degrees in business administration, financial planning and medicine, while others studied or worked in 28 countries as well as read or speak 15 languages from around the world.
“More than ever, law and legal institutions are global, so your international experience and knowledge will be an asset to all of us,” Brandon said.
The Law School called on alumnus Morris Dees, co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, to inspire the class. Dees (’60) revisited two cases from 1981. The first was a case he took after white fisherman waged a campaign against Vietnamese fishermen in Galveston Bay. The white fishermen were concerned about the growing competition from Vietnamese immigrants and invited the Texas Knights of the Ku Klux Klan to Seabrook, Texas.
Crosses were burned, and boats were destroyed. The immigrants were so afraid many of them posted “for sale” signs on their boats. They even considered withdrawing the lawsuit. Ultimately, a judge issued a preliminary injunction that stopped the Klan’s actions.
Later, Dees witnessed the blessing of the fleet, while U.S. Marshals ensured the rights of the Vietnamese immigrants were not violated.
“I have to tell you for the first time in my life I understood the value of diversity in this nation,” he said.
For the second case, Dees told the story of Beulah Mae Donald. Donald’s son, Michael, was killed in Baldwin County and his body was found hanging from a tree in a black neighborhood in Mobile. Two Ku Klux Klansmen were convicted in the case.
At the trial, Dees said, one of the men asked Donald for forgiveness. “And she said, ‘Son, I’ve already forgiven you.’”
Dees used both stories to urge the students to effect change.
“You’re going to have great opportunities as lawyers when you leave here to go into communities in this state and around this country to make a difference,” he said. “When you go up those big elevators to those tall buildings, don’t leave your conscience on the ground floor. Because no matter what you do or when you do it, you can always give your time to help those who are less fortunate.”
Orientation continues through Aug. 12. Classes begin Aug. 13.
Prof. Krotoszynski recently told AL.com that Alabama has few options to fight against gay marriage.
“It is perfectly okay for people to use the political process to initiate a change,” he said. “The constitution is not unamendable. But at this point it’s a political battle, not a legal one.”
The Alabama Policy Institute and the Alabama Citizens Action Program have urged the Alabama Supreme Court to defy the the U.S. Supreme Court, according to AL.com.
Prof. Montre Carodine recently told The Washington Times President Barack Obama is right when he links criminal justice reform and gun control.
“We hear talk about ‘good guys with guns stopping bad guys with guns,’ but we have a criminal justice system that spends too much time labeling many nonviolent people as ‘bad.’ At the same time our gun laws allow for people who appear to be ‘good’ to access guns and commit mass murders,” Carodine said.
For more, read “Obama ‘Most Frustrated’ By Inability To Pass Gun Control.”
The Alabama State Bar recently installed Montgomery attorney Lee H. Copeland, ’82, as its 140th president.
“I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve as the next president of the Alabama State Bar,” said Copeland of Copeland Franco Screws & Gill, P.A. “I look forward to building on the strong foundation that has already been put in place by past presidents and bar leadership before me.”
J. Cole Portis, ’90, was installed as the bar’s president-elect. He will serve one year before assuming the presidency in 2016.
Bradley C. Hargett, a student at the Law School, received the Law Student Award for supporting and participating in pro bono programs. He served as the student coordinator for the Reentry Assistance Clinic. The project is a joint effort of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Department of Pardons and Paroles and the Law School.
Prof. Ronald Krotoszynski said the U.S. Supreme Court found marriage a “fundamental right,” but didn’t mention other family issues such as adoption.
State courts “could in theory draw a distinction” between marriage and adoption, he told AL.com, which could result in more lawsuits. “I’m not advocating this (interpretation),” he said, noting that most states will read the ruling broadly to “extend all family rights” to same-sex couples.
Professor Montre Carodine recently told AL.com she questions why part of Alabama’s BP oil settlement will be directed to the state’s General Fund.
As part of BP’s $18.7 billion settlement with states affected by the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, Alabama will receive $1.3 billion for environmental damages that will be paid over 15 years for coastal restoration projects. An additional $1 billion for economic damages will be directed to the state’s General Fund for 18 years, according to AL.com.
“That should be a cause of concern,” Carodine said. “Who knows what will end up happening to that money. We all know Alabama is in pretty bad financial shape. I don’t know if we can trust that $1 billion will be spent the same way it needs to be spent and that it will go toward some of the necessary repairs on the Gulf Coast.”
For more, read “Law Professor Says BP Settlement A ‘Positive” For Alabama, But Questions $1 billion To State’s Beleaguered General Fund” and “Poll Shows Gulf Coast Voters Want BP settlement Money Spent On The Environment, More So Among GOP Voters Than Democrats.”