University of Pittsburgh

Faculty News

Friday, June 17, 2011 - 9:49am

Jules Lobel discusses whether or not the Constitution requires the president to obtain the express consent of Congress to commit troops to war.


Read the full article here.

Friday, June 17, 2011 - 9:22am

Associate Dean of Research, David Harris, worked with city officials, legal experts, and community activists to craft a substantially more-detailed piece of legislation for police accountability.  


Read the full article here.

Thursday, June 16, 2011 - 10:59am

Professor David Harris discussed a civil suit over the invasion of the wrong home by FBI and task force agents.  The agents had an arrest warrant for a woman, but she had not lived at the residence in over a year.  Professor Harris told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that proper execution of a warrant does not require that the police get everything right, but it does require that they make reasonable efforts to avoid obvious mistakes.  According to the complaint, the target of the search had moved out months before the family moved in, and was living in California.  Professor Harris said that "[i]f it was possible for [agents] to know that she was living out in California [by exercising] any reasonable degree of effort, that could matter."


Post-Gazette Story Link

Tribune Review Story Link

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 - 9:56am

On June 6-10, 2011, Professor Ronald Brand lectured on Transaction Planning Using Rules of Private International Law in the International Commercial Contracts Summer School in Ravenna, Italy.  The program was jointly sponsored by the University of Bologna, the Fondazione Flaminia Ravenna, the Port Authority of Ravenna, and Pitt Law’s Center for International Legal Education.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - 10:49am

Professor Jules Lobel's article, entitled "Fundamental Norms, International Law and the Extraterritorial Constitution," has now been published in Yale Journal of International Law, Vol. 36, pp 307-369 (2011).  Abstract: 


This Article argues that the functional test articulated in Boumediene v. Bush, which focuses on the inquiry of whether the Constitution’s Suspension Clause applies to executive detention abroad, is in considerable tension with the fundamental norms jurisprudence that underlies and pervades the Court’s opinion. Drawing on Supreme Court precedent and lower court jurisprudence regarding the extraterritorial application of constitutional rights, as well as comparative and historical practice—including the intent of the Framers—the Article seeks to reintegrate the fundamental norms strands of the Boumediene opinion into its functional test, and thus to normatively ground the opinion. It does so by arguing that the functional test for extraterritorial application of habeas rights should be informed by international law, a consideration that the Boumediene decision omitted from its analysis. The Article concludes that utilizing international law’s substantive, fundamental, nonderogable norms to help determine whether constitutional protections apply abroad would both allay the Court’s practical concerns and ground the Court’s test on the important normative principles that in fact underlie its Boumediene opinion. Applied to the habeas context, this analysis suggests that detainees held by the United States military for a prolonged period of time at a military base or other secure facility without being afforded adequate due process, are constitutionally entitled to habeas review to assert claims that they are civilians and not enemy combatants.

Monday, June 13, 2011 - 2:02pm

Professor Anthony Infanti's book chapter, titled “Dismembering Families,” has now been published in “Challenging Gender Inequality in Tax Policy Making: Comparative Perspectives” (Kim Brooks et al. eds, Hart Publishing 2011).  Here is an abstract:


In this paper, I explore how the deduction for extraordinary medical expenses, codified in I.R.C. section 213, furthers domination in American society. On its face, section 213 probably does not seem a likely candidate for being tagged as furthering domination. After all, this provision aims to alleviate extraordinary financial burdens on taxpayers who already suffer from significant medical problems -- and who, by definition, lack the help of insurance to relieve those burdens. But, as laudable as this goal might be, careful attention to the text and context of section 213 reveals that it does not apply to all taxpayers equally. In fact, section 213 draws sharp distinctions between different types of families. Looking at this provision from the perspective of those who require the help of assisted reproductive technology to form a family, I explain how section 213 furthers the hegemony of the so-called traditional family and concomitantly contributes to the subordination of lesbian and gay families as well as many other nontraditional American families.


Link to the book's web page

Monday, June 13, 2011 - 9:15am

 On June 10, 2011, Assistant Professor Charles C. Jalloh was elected as Co-Chair of the International Criminal Law Interest Group in the American Society of International Law. He will serve as co-chair until March 2012, alongside Professor Beth Van Schaack (Santa Clara) and Associate Professor Shahram Dana (John Marshall). 

Monday, June 13, 2011 - 9:12am

Assistant Professor Charles C. Jalloh was both a presenter and a discussant at the International Bar Association’s War Crimes Committee Workshop on the Defence in International Criminal Courts held at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague on June 11, 2011. Since May 2010, he has served as an invited member of the Advisory Board of the IBA War Crimes Committee. 



Thursday, June 9, 2011 - 9:42pm

Professor Michael Michael Madison has posted a new paper to the Social Science Research Network (SSRN), titled "Contrasts in Innovation: Pittsburgh Then and Now."


The abstract:


Assessments of the relationship among law, innovation, and economic growth often begin with one or more propositions of law or law practice and predict how changes might affect innovation or business practice. This approach is problematic when applied to questions of regional economic development, because historic and contemporary local conditions vary considerably. This paper takes a different tack. It takes a snapshot of one recovering post-industrial economy, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. For most of the 20th century, Pittsburgh's steelmakers were leading examples worldwide of American economic prowess. Pittsburgh was so vibrant with industry that a late 19th century travel writer called Pittsburgh "hell with the lid taken off," and he meant that as a compliment. In the early 1980s, however, Pittsburgh's steel economy collapsed, a victim of changing worldwide demand for steel and the industry's inflexible commitment to a large-scale integrated production model. As the steel industry collapsed, the Pittsburgh region collapsed, too. Unemployment in some parts of the Pittsburgh region peaked at 20%. More than 100,000 manufacturing jobs disappeared. Tens of thousands of residents moved away annually. Over the last 30 years, Pittsburgh has slowly recovered, building a new economy that balances limited manufacturing with a broad range of high quality services. In 2009, President Barack Obama took note of the region's rebirth by selecting the city to host a summit of the Group of 20 (G-20) finance ministers. The paper describes the characteristics of Pittsburgh today and measures the state of its renewal. It considers the extent, if any, to which law and the legal system have contributed to Pittsburgh's modern success, and it identifies lessons that this Pittsburgh case study might offer for other recovering and transitioning post-industrial regions.


The paper is a book chapter in INNOVATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN EVOLVING ECONOMIES: THE ROLE OF LAW, Megan Carpenter, ed., forthcoming from Edward Elgar Publishers.


The paper can be downloaded from SSRN through this link.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - 11:02am

On June 2nd, Mary Beth Tinker helped to kick off Pitt Law's new Marhsall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy program which will bring law students into local high-school classrooms this fall to teach a course on the U.S. Constitution. 


Kevin Deasy, Associate Dean of Students, commented on the involvement of Pitt Law students, "There's no better learning tool than needing to master a subject in order to teach it." 


Read the full article here

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