University of Pittsburgh

Faculty News

Monday, October 24, 2011 - 9:21pm

 On October 6-13, 2011, Professor Ronald Brand traveled with Pitt Law 3L students, Sarah Miley, Kimberly Stains, and Kaitlin Young, to Amman, Jordan, to train students from the University of Jordan and Baghdad University Schools of Law in preparation for participation in the Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot competition.  The training sessions were funded by the Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP) of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and will continue with distance support for the UJ and BU Vis teams, a spring Middle East Pre-Moot in Bahrain, and the Vis Competition in Vienna in March-April, 2012.  Pitt’s Center for International Legal Education (CILE) has worked with CLDP for five years to provide training in international commercial law and arbitration in Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, and the UAE, adding Iraq and Jordan in the current year.

Monday, October 24, 2011 - 9:07pm

Professor John Burkoff discussed the importance of elections for statewide appellate courts.  Often, these races get ignored, Professor Burkoff told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.  "These races aren't sexy. People don't think about judges until a judge does something they don't like. If it's not the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, people tend to go to sleep...But intermediate appellate courts are important — they correct errors. Criminal and civil trials are not perfect."

Sunday, October 23, 2011 - 9:53pm

Professor Anthony Infanti was part of a panel of academic experts at the ABA Tax Section meeting in Denver, Colorado.  The panel, titled "Critical Tax Theory: The Impact of the Tax Code on Traditionally Subordinated Groups," explored some of the various tax reform initiatives that have recently garnered public attention. In particular, the panel discussed possible inequities in the current tax system as it is applied to traditionally underrepresented groups, including gay taxpayers, undocumented residents, the working poor, and disabled individuals. Panelists introduced how critical tax and an analysis of race and tax presented a diverse viewpoint on current tax reform issues. Along with the discussion, the Tax Section Diversity committee convened a task force to address legislative and regulatory solutions to the issues discussed.

Sunday, October 23, 2011 - 9:39pm

Professor David Harris commented on the seizure of computers belonging to the State Senate in the continuing investigation into the conduct of State Sen. Jane Orie.  The Senate Republican Caucus had earlier taken possession of the computers issued to Orie.  Prosecutors will search the computers for evidence of who used them, allegedly with Senator Orie's password, to access and perhaps tamper with documents.  Professor Harris told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that "[t]he fact that they've gotten warrants and served them shows that they're following the trail wherever it leads them...Searching the information system of another branch of government is no small thing."

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 2:50pm

Professor David Harris commented on a D.C. law that allows police to arrest any driver with an expired license tag.  D.C. appears to be the only place in the country with such a law, and the city has had it in place since the 1970s.  Police used the law in poor, crime-ridden areas such as Southeast D.C. against suspected drug dealers and criminals.  Complaints only surfaced when affluent people coming into D.C. from neighboring Virginia got a taste of the same treatment.  “Police operate with a greater sense of impunity in areas like Southeast because you’re not going to run into people who can make a lot of trouble if you arrest them, whereas in [affluent, mostly white] Northwest D.C., who knows who you might be arresting if you get somebody with an expired tag?”

 

Washington Post article link

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 2:22pm

Professor Arthur Hellman discussed the judicial vacancies on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  The Ninth Circuit, among the largest and busiest of the U.S. Courts of Appeal, now has five vacancies due to deaths and to judges taking senior status.  Nominations for these positions are proceeding quite slowly, Professor Hellman said, in comments that first appeared in the Los Angeles Times and later in the ABA Journal.  "What we don't know is whether that is because the president is not asking people or whether he is being turned down."

 

Link to ABA Journal article

 

Link to Los Angeles Times article

Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - 5:41pm

Professor Jessie Allen presented her work at the Michigan State University College of Law Junior Faculty Workshop, held October 7 in East Lansing, Michigan.  Professor Allen presented her current work in progress, "The Persistence of Proximate Cause."  All of the participating junior scholars were assigned to one of the MSU faculty's senior scholars, who read the junior person's work.  All of the junior scholars then presented their work in groups sessions; the senior scholars commented,  followed by a group discussion.  Junior scholars also attended the presentations of other junior participants, and commented as part of the group. 

 

More information on the MSU Junior Faculty Workshop: link

Monday, October 17, 2011 - 9:45am

Professors David Herring and Arthur Hellman discussed the constitutional nuts and bolts of a challenge to President Obama's health care overhaul bill that is likely to wind up this year before the U.S. Supreme Court.  In a front-page article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Professors Herring and Hellman explained exactly where this landmark legal case fits in relation to the Court's long history of commerce clause jurisprudence.  Professor Herring explained that he will be teaching these very issues to first-year law students in Pitt Law's new Lawyering course, and discussed what the students will see when surveying the constitutional landscape.  According to Professor Hellman, it is far from clear what the Court will do.  "You're talking about all of this case law interpreting the rather sparse language of the Constitution."


Post-Gazette article link 

Sunday, October 16, 2011 - 9:53pm

Professors Lu-in Wang and Ann Sinsheimer gave a presentation on Friday, October 14, at the University of Akron School of Law.  Professors Wang and Sinsheimer  discussed "Curricular Reform at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law," with a focus on Pitt's new Lawyering course for first-year students.

Thursday, October 13, 2011 - 9:36am

Professor Jules Lobel's article, "Prolonged Solitary Confinement and the Constitution," 11 U. Pa. J. Const. Law 115 (2011), was quoted and relied upon in a recent U.S. Court of Appeals decision, Toevs v. Reid 646 F. 3d. 752 (10th Cir 2011).  The Tenth Circuit relied on Professor Lobel's work in deciding that a prisoner held in solitary confinement has a right to meaningful reviews of his confinement.

 

Link to Professor Lobel's article in the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law

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