University of Pittsburgh

Faculty News

Thursday, August 11, 2011 - 7:54am

Professor Rhonda Wasserman co-drafted an amici curiae brief, urging  the United States Supreme Court to grant a petition for a writ of certiorari in the case of Adar v. Smith, No. 11-46.   The case involves the refusal of the State of Louisiana to issue a revised birth certificate to a Louisiana-born child who was adopted by an unmarried gay couple in New York.  The brief contends that Louisiana’s refusal violates the Equal Protection and Full Faith and Credit Clauses of the United States Constitution.  Professor Wasserman worked on the brief with Professor Joan Hollinger of UC Berkeley (Boalt Hall) School of Law, Professor Courtney Joslin of  UC Davis School of Law,  Jonathan Damon, Esq., an attorney with Dewey & LeBoeuf, and Cathy Sakimura, Esq., an attorney with the National Center for Lesbian Rights.  Twenty-four other prominent professors of family law, conflict of laws, and constitutional law and drafters of several Uniform Acts addressing family law matters signed onto the brief.


The brief can be downloaded by clicking on the pdf download link on the right side of the screen, near the bottom.


To read more about the Adar case, click here.

Monday, August 8, 2011 - 3:49pm

William Luneburg, Jr., Pitt Law professor specializing in environmental law, talks about the impact of, and opposition to, the recently proposed EPA and Army Corps of Engineers guidance that would determine whether those entities can regulate particular headwater sites.  


Read the full article here.  

Monday, August 8, 2011 - 3:47pm

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Law Professor Anthony Infanti tells the Post-Gazette that without access to marriage and only limited recognition under city registries, Pennsylvania same-sex couples must take other steps to formalize their relationships. 


Read the full article here.  

Monday, August 8, 2011 - 7:52am

Professor Jasmine Gonzales Rose has published "The Exclusion of Non-English-Speaking Jurors: Remedying a Century of Denial of the Sixth Amendment in the Federal Courts of Puerto Rico," 46 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 497 (Summer 2011). 

Abstract of the article:


This Article explores the constitutional implications of the Jury Selection and Service Act's English language juror prerequisite, as applied in the federal courts in Puerto Rico. The language requirement results in the exclusion of approximately 90% of the age-eligible population of Puerto Rico from federal jury service and disproportionately excludes Puerto Ricans of color and the poor. I argue that application of the language requirement in Puerto Rico violates monolingual Spanish speakers' fundamental Sixth Amendment right to a jury selected from a fair cross section of the community in federal criminal proceedings. I also examine the English language juror prerequisite under the Puerto Rican Federal Relations Act and offer a new test to determine the local applicability of not just this language requirement, but all federal statutes to Puerto Rico. This examination is contextualized in the U.S. Supreme Court's Insular Cases and extraterritorial application of the Constitution, as well as the intrinsically linked relationship between language, political status, and citizenship in Puerto Rico. Ultimately, I advocate for the implementation of a juror language accommodation program modeled after the New Mexico state courts.

Monday, August 8, 2011 - 7:49am

Professor George Pike recently provided two days of legal training for librarians and library staff employed by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections at their Training Academy in Elizabethtown, PA.  The librarians work at correctional instititutions throughout the Commonweath and are responsible for maintaining legal collections and supporting legal research activities in prison libraries.  Professor Pike discussed several topics including the U.S. legal system and how it relates to legal research, management of legal collections, recent developments in the constitutional requirement to provide inmates with "access to the courts" including access to law libraries, and an overview of Pennsylvania criminal appeals and Post-Conviction Relief proceedures.

Sunday, July 31, 2011 - 9:37pm

Professor Vivian Curran's “Comparative Law and Language,” her contribution to the Oxford Handbook on Comparative Law (Matthias Reimann & Reinhard Zimmermann, editors),  appears in a new Arabic translation of the book as (in transliterated form)  al-qānūn al-muqāran wa‑l‑lugha.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011 - 10:11am

The Faculty Librarians from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law were well represented at the recent American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, July 23-26.  Acquisitions and Serials Librarian Patricia Roncevich and Catalog and Systems Librarian Sallie Smith were speakers at (and Pat Roncevich was coordinator of) a program on Enhancing Library Services with Technical Services Skills:  From the Backroom to the Front Lines.  Susanna Leers hosted a table at the “Cool Tools Café”, a special program demonstrating new technologies for law librarians.  Library Director and Professor George Pike was a speaker at two programs:  Copyright Hell:  Sites to Get You Out of the Inferno; and “Mashup” the Government’s Copyright.  Prof. Pike was also appointed Chair of the AALL Copyright Committee for 2011-2012.  Foreign Comparative and International Services Librarian Linda Tashbook was chair of the publicity and membership committee for the Foreign, International, Comparative law librarians’ interest section.  Also in attendance were Faculty Librarians Marc Silverman, and Kristen Baginski.



Tuesday, July 26, 2011 - 10:59am

Professor Haider Ala Hamoudi spoke at a workshop on "Empowering Citizens in the Arab World: Elections, Civil Society and Peacebuilding" at the Lebanese American University in Beirut on July 21-22, 2011.   The workshop, sponsored by the University's School of Arts and Sciences, featured Professor Hamoudi as a member of a panel on the role of non-governmental organizations in building democratization efforts in the various regimes of the Middle East. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011 - 10:50am

Professor John Burkoff commented on the forged evidence in the trial of State Senator Jane Orie.  The judge in the case declared a mistrial when the defense introduced documents that appeared to be forged, but stated that he did not blame the defense attorney. Professor Burkoff told the Tribune-Review that lawyers have an obligation to ensure they are not introducing into evidence items that are fraudulent or forged.



Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - 7:32pm

Professor David Harris told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the scandal currently enveloping Rupert Murdoch and his News Corporation media properties in the U.K. stems from the willingness of one entity or person with considerable media holdings to stop at nothing to make money.  According to Professor Harris, "when one company or person has that much control and is willing to use it in any way necessary to sell newspapers, to sell television coverage, it has the potential to taint those involved," from reporters to police to the entire political system.



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