Category: Administrative Announcements


Introducing Guest Blogger Jenny-Brooke Condon

I am delighted to welcome Professor Jenny-Brooke Condon who will be joining us for a guest visit this month. Professor Condon is an Associatecondon-jenny-brooke-lg_1 Professor of Law in the Center for Social Justice at Seton Hall Law School where she directs the Equal Justice Clinic. Her research and practice interests are in the areas of human rights, immigration law, prisoners’ rights, and constitutional law.

Professor Condon was a lead attorney in Matter of A-T, a challenge to the denial of asylum to a victim of female genital mutilation, which in conjunction with a national advocacy effort, resulted in a precedential decision by the Attorney General establishing that victims of gender-based violence are entitled to equal treatment under the asylum laws. Through the Equal Justice Clinic, she also litigated an equal protection challenge to the denial of state-funded healthcare benefits to low-income, lawful permanent residents on the basis of their alienage status before the New Jersey Supreme Court. Currently the clinic is counsel in matters addressing conditions for prisoners at a county jail, the death penalty in Alabama, public access to information regarding private prison contractors’ influence on immigration detention policy, and the deaths of migrants along the southern border.

Prior to rejoining the Seton Hall Law School faculty in 2010, Professor Condon was a John J. Gibbons Fellow in Public Interest and Constitutional Law at Gibbons P.C. where she engaged in a wide range of public interest litigation within New Jersey and nationally. During her fellowship, Professor Condon co-counseled with the ACLU in Freedom of Information Act litigation compelling the disclosure of the Office of Legal Counsel’s so-called “torture memos,” which purported to authorize the abuse of prisoners detained abroad; successfully advocated on behalf of a local citizen’s group to defend a municipal gun control ordinance in the New Jersey Supreme Court; and contributed to the criminal defense of Ali al-Marri, the last remaining enemy combatant held on U.S. soil. Her work as a Gibbons Fellow also addressed such issues as marriage equality, police misconduct, and capital punishment. As a clinical teaching fellow and Visiting Professor at Seton Hall Law from 2005-2008, Professor Condon represented numerous survivors of torture, trafficking, and domestic violence in successful claims for asylum and other immigration relief. She also helped supervise a civil litigation clinic focused on the revitalization of urban communities plagued by foreclosure and predatory lending.

In 2008, Professor Condon organized and led Seton Hall’s annual delegation of students and faculty to L’École Supérieure Catholique de Droit de Jérémie in Haiti and was a member of the delegation in 2007. Following graduation from law school, Professor Condon served as a law clerk to the Honorable Barry T. Albin, Associate Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court. She then served as the Litigation Director for the World Organization for Human Rights in Washington, D.C. Professor Condon graduated from Seton Hall Law School magna cum laude, where she was a Chancellor Scholar, was inducted into the Order of the Coif, and served as an editor of the Law Review.

Her publications include:

The Preempting of Equal Protection for Immigrations, ____ Wash. & Lee L. Rev. ____ (forthcoming 2015)

 Illegal Secrets, 91 Wash. U. L. Rev. 1099 (2014)

 Extraterritorial Interrogation: The Porous Border Between Torture and U.S. Criminal Trials, 60 Rutgers L. Rev. 3 (2008)

You can find her ssrn page here.


Roundup: Law and Humanities 10.20.15

A quick view of the Law and Humanities landscape, mid-October 2015.


First, we are looking forward to a couple of notable conferences next year. The Association for the Study of Law, Culture, and the Humanities (ASLCH) 19th Annual Conference will take place at the University of Connecticut Law School April 1-2, 2016. This year’s conference theme is Reading Race, Writing Race, and Living Race. The deadline for submitting paper and panel proposals is extended until October 22nd. More information here at the conference website.

Another notable conference is the Law and Society Association Conference. This year LSA will hold its meeting in New Orleans from June 2-5, 2016. This year’s theme is At the Delta: Belonging, Place and Visions of Law and Social Change. The submission deadline for papers and panels has been extended to October 25. More information here at the LSA website.

In addition, AALS will have several interesting law and humanities-themed sessions.  The AALS Law and Film Committee presents as its feature film selection this year, Wednesday, January 6 at 7:30 p.m., Reversal of Fortune. This movie, based on the nonfiction account of the case by Alan Dershowitz of Harvard Law School, who represented Claus von Bulow, convicted of attempted murder of his wife Sunny, in his attempt to obtain a new trial. The film stars Jeremy Irons as von Bulow and Ron Silver as Dershowitz. On Friday, January 8, also at 7:30, the Committee presents the documentary film The Hunting Ground. This 2015 film, made by Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering, investigates the explosion of campus rape and the repeated failure of many university officials to address the problem.

The Law and Humanities Section presents its panel at 10:30, January 9. This year’s presentation is on Law and Images. The Law and Interpretation Section presents its panel on January 9 at 4:30. Its theme is the Empirics of Legal Interpretation.  The Legal History Section presents its panel at 1:30 January 9. Its theme is 800 Years of Comparative Constitutionalism: The Unique Legacy of Magna Carta.


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Better Bankers, Better Banks

bbbbAnyone seeking a fresh and compelling assessment of global financial stability should consider the forthcoming book Better Bankers, Better Banks, due out later this month.  The simple central thesis is that banks fail because bankers fail and the logically inexorable prescription is covenant banking, meaning getting banker’s to assume personal liability for bank failures.  U. Minnesota business law professors Claire Hill and Richard Painter offer a work of elegant simplicity, as reflected in the book’s Table of Contents:

Part I: The Problem

1 Irresponsible Banking  

2 How Banking Became What It Is Today
3 Explaining Banker Behavior  

Part II: Solutions
4 Law and Its Limits
5 Covenant Banking
6 Responsible Banking

The sub-title suggests an intriguing twist on the normative thrust: “Promoting Good Business Through Contractual Commitment.”  I discussed the book and its themes with the authors on several occasions and read some draft chapters. I am now eager to devour the final.  My guess is the read will benefit not only policymakers and scholars but bankers as well.  Kudos to Claire and Richard.


Berkshire Hathaway 50th Anniversary Symposium

I’m honored to be giving the keynote address at the Museum of American Finance symposium on the 50th anniversary of Berkshire Hathaway under Warren Buffett on Wednesday, November 11, 2015 at the Museum on Wall Street.  As the Museum explains:  “When Warren Buffett took control of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. in 1965, it was a small textile company. Through a combination of value investing, exceptional management and savvy acquisitions, Buffett has transformed the firm into one of the most profitable, successful and highly-emulated corporations in American history. ”  The impressive program schedule follows.

Museum of American Finance

8:00-9:00 am
Fireside Chat
Byron D. Trott, chairman and CEO of BDT & Company and source for several of Berkshire’s important acquisitions, will be interviewed by Carol Loomis, long-time editor of Fortune magazine and editor of Buffett’s annual letter to shareholders.

9:15-10:15 am
Panel 1: Investors Inspired by Berkshire Hathaway
Roger Lowenstein (moderator), financial journalist and author of the best-selling Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist and, among other works, the newly-published America’s Bank: The Epic Struggle to Create the Federal Reserve
Bill Ackman, founder and CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management, L.P.
Seth A. Klarman, president and CEO of The Baupost Group, L.L.C.

10:30-11:30 am
Panel 2: Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders
Jason Zweig (moderator), Wall Street Journal columnist and editor of the revised edition of The Intelligent Investor
Paul Lountzis, president of Lountzis Asset Management LLC
Thomas Russo, partner at Gardner Russo & Gardner LLC
Whitney Tilson, founder and managing partner of Kase Capital Management LLC

11:30 am-12:15 pm
Lunch Break

12:15-1:15 pm
Panel 3: Value of Partnerships
Jim Grant (moderator), founder and publisher of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer
Thomas Gayner, president and chief investment officer of Markel Corporation
John C. Phelan, managing partner of MSD Capital

1:30-2:30 pm
Afternoon Keynote
Lawrence Cunningham, author of Berkshire Beyond Buffett, co-author of The Essays of Warren Buffett and the Henry St. George Tucker III Research Professor of Law at George Washington University

Tickets and Admission 

General admission: $325
Current MoAF and NYSSA members: $125

All guests will receive a complimentary copy of The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America, courtesy of the editor and publisher, Lawrence Cunningham.


From Our Friends at University of Alabama Law School: Position Announcements

The University of Alabama School of Law anticipates making at least two tenured or tenure-track appointments to its faculty, to begin in the 2016-2017 academic year. The Faculty Appointments Committee seeks applications from entry-level candidates with excellent academic records and demonstrated potential for exceptional teaching and scholarly achievement. They also welcome applications from lateral candidates who possess outstanding academic credentials, including demonstrated teaching ability and a record of distinguished scholarship. They are particularly interested in the following academic subject areas: business law, commercial law, employment law, family law, and labor law. For interest, contact Professor Julie A. Hill, Chair of the Faculty Appointments Committee for the 2015-2016 academic year (email:

The University of Alabama School of Law also seeks nominations and applications for a University-level Chairholder. The law school welcomes nominations and applications in all fields of law. Interested candidates should apply online at Nominations should be e-mailed to Dean Mark E. Brandon at


Introducing Guest Blogger Stephen Galoob

I’m pleased to introduce guest blogger Stephen Galoob, who lasted visited with us in 2013. Stephen is an assistant professor at the University of Tulsa College of Law. He is a graduate of UVA law school and received his Ph.D. at U.C. Berkeley’s Jurisprudence and Social Policy program.  Stephen teaches criminal law, criminal procedure, legal ethics, and an undergraduate course on moral and legal responsibility.

Stephen’s recent work includes:

Norms, Attitudes, and Compliance, 50 Tulsa Law Review 613 (2015) (with Adam Hill)

Intentions, Compliance, and Fiduciary Obligations, 20 Legal Theory 106 (2014) (with Ethan Leib)

Are Legal Ethics Ethical? A Survey Experiment, 26 Geo. J. Legal Ethics 481 (2013) (with Su Li).


FAN 48 (First Amendment News) The Dangers and Values of Offensive Speech

 If you want the minority and Danish majority to live together in peaceful ways, you have to ask if hate speech is fruitful. — Carsten Jensen (Danish author and political columnist)

In Mumbai, India a newspaper was shut down recently and its editor arrested for reprinting a 2006 Charlie Hebdo cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad weeping. According to a New York Times story, such “news coverage often conflicts with the government’s efforts to protect religious groups from insult and disrespect.” One of those who filed a police complaint was Nusrat Ali, a reporter. “You are free to write anything in our country, but you are not free to hurt religious sentiments,” he said. “Why would [Shirin Dalvi] print something that has caused tension and violence across the world?” he asked. “Publishing such cartoons threatens the peace and calm of our country.”

Professor Geoffrey Stone

Professor Geoffrey Stone

Legitimate concerns, real dangers. Ask yourself: what if those dangers became more likely and imminent here? How strong would our commitment to free speech be? Mindful of that, in a thoughtful Huffington Post piece  titled “Charlie Hebdo and the First Amendment,” University of Chicago Law Professor Geoffrey Stone asks:

Are there any circumstances in which the government can constitutionally silence a speaker because others threaten violence if the speaker is allowed to proceed? Consider an extreme hypothetical. Suppose ISIS threatens to behead six American hostages if anyone in the United States publishes or otherwise displays the Charlie Hebdo cartoons. Can our government, consistent with the First Amendment, make it a crime for anyone to do so? The Supreme Court has never faced such a case. What do you think?

Okay, how’s this for starters? — The proposed law seems to codify the heckler’s veto (or, more aptly put, a terrorist’s veto). Even before we venture to answer Professor Stone’s question we would have to assume that such a law would be precise and narrowly tailored, this as a constitutional threshold matter. That said, is the gravity of the threatened evil so great as to relieve the government of its constitutional obligation to, in Professor Stone’s words, “take every possible measure to prevent the violence before it may silence the speaker”? If so, would not the terrorist’s veto almost always trump the speaker’s First Amendment rights?

Terrorism is just bullying, extreme bullying. — Bill Maher (Jan. 2015)

Among other things, Professor Stone’s hypothetical invites us to think hard about just how far down the free speech road we wish to travel when that path may lead to lethal dangers. However absolutist the defenders of free speech may be, even they have their limits as Pater Holmes made clear in his Abrams dissent.

The Values of Offensive Speech 

Ilya Shapiro

Ilya Shapiro

But there is more to this free speech debate than the dangers of so-called hate speech; there is also the question of the values, if any, of such speech. And that is the question that Carsten Jensen asks us to consider in the epigraph quote above.

Thankfully, a brief recently filed in the Supreme Court by the Cato Institute speaks to precisely that question. The amicus brief was submitted by Ilya Shapiro (counsel of record) and Robert Corn-Revere in Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, the license plate case that will be argued next month.

Here are a few excerpts from their brief, which was recently filed with the Court:

 — Offensive Speech Contributes to the Marketplace of Ideas: “The borderlands of the marketplace of ideas are inhabited by ideas that unsettle and offend. Only those ideas that people are allowed to express can be freely traded, so a “free trade in ideas” cannot exist when some ideas are relegated to the black market. . . . Indeed, because offensive speech changes the parameters of the marketplace, it is as vital to the exchange of ideas as so-called mainstream speech. Without expanding the borders of the marketplace, a society may stagnate. If no one ever offensively says ‘the Emperor has no clothes’ then a society may be condemned to dynasties of naked emperors, and that would be truly offensive.”

And they quote Salman Rushdie, “who certainly knows something about offending people: ‘What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist. Without the freedom to challenge, even to satirise all orthodoxies, including religious orthodoxies, it ceases to exist.'”

 Offensive Speech Fosters Self Expression and Helps Develop Personal Autonomy: “Expressing one’s deepest thoughts, feelings, and values is vital to defining oneself as a unique and autonomous individual. Those who are restrained from self-expression are often called ‘repressed,’ and years of therapy is often the cure. . . . Even more than ‘mainstream’ speech, offensive speech helps define us. Our commonalities do less to define our personalities than our eccentricities, offensive or otherwise. If speech is squelched by the government because it ‘might be offensive to any member of the public,’ then the government has closed off an important avenue for self-expression.”

There is more, much more, to this truly insightful (dare I say inciteful?) brief. In a legal world where amicus briefs too often add little beyond formulaic case-crunching, this brief is chock-full of value added, and for that reason I commend it to you.

Meanwhile, I leave you with the closing words of the Cato brief: “It would be offensive to the First Amendment for this Court allow Texas to tell us what is offensive. After all, one man’s offensive speech is another’s exercise of social commentary or personal expression.”

Is Flower v. U.S. (1972) still good law? . .  . & why that question is important 

On remand, the United States Court of Appeals affirmed Mr. Apel’s conviction, rejecting his First Amendment argument with no mention or apparent consideration of Flower v. United States. It seemingly accepted the argument made by the United States that Flower is no longer good law. — Erwin Chemerinsky, cert. petition in Apel v. United States (2015)

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AALS Happy Hour — PrawfsBlawg, ConcurringOpinions, and American Society of Comparative Law

For those of you who will be at AALS this year, we plan to continue the tradition of having a joint Prawfs Concurring Opinions happy hour.  This year we will be joined by the Younger Comparativists Committee of the American Society of Comparative Law.

The happy hour will be Saturday, January 3rd at 8 PM.  We will meet in the Stone’s Throw bar in the lobby of the Marriot Wardman Park Hotel.

This tradition was started and spearheaded by Dan Markel, one of the many ways he helped bring people together.  We want this, like so many of his contributions, to continue on.

Here is Paul Horwitz’s announcement at Prawfs, with some nice words about Dan.

So please drop by and join us!



Welcome to Naomi Cahn

Cahn Naomi 02I am delighted to announce that Professor Naomi Cahn is joining Concurring Opinions to post here on a regular basis.  Naomi teaches at George Washington University Law School, where she holds the Harold H. Greene Chair.  She is involved in book, article, and law reform projects concerning families’ interactions and intersections with the law and gendered institutions, nationally and globally.  Her scholarship and teaching cover the entire lifespan, from pregnancy (and attempts to become pregnant) through death and inheritance.   Her co-authored book with June Carbone, Marriage Markets (OUP 2014),  about the relationship between family structure and marriage, was on the list of best books for 2014 issued by both The Economist and Newsweek.  Other ongoing projects include work on assisted reproductive technology and, with Rev. Amy Ziettlow, a book on elder care.   She has testified before Congress on adoption-related issues and  worked with the Uniform Law Commission to draft model legislation on post-death access to digital assets, and her work has been covered in media outlets ranging from The New York Times to the Wall Street Journal to The Christian Century.

Before joining the GW faculty, Naomi worked at the SEC, legal services, a large law firm, a small law firm, and Georgetown’s  domestic violence clinic.

Her areas of interest include Gender, Feminism, Family Law, International Women’s Rights, and  Trusts and Estates.


Introducing Guest Blogger Sean Williams

shw395-mediumI am delighted to welcome Professor Sean Williams, from the University of Texas School of Law, who will be joining us for a guest visit this month. Professor Williams writes in the areas of tort theory, family law, and behavioral law and economics.  He has examined the role of happiness research in tort awards, the implications of individual justice accounts of tort law for damages in wrongful death suits, and the empirical and philosophical justifications for allocating more safety resources to children compared to adults.  He has also examined bargaining dynamics between spouses in post-nuptial negotiations, the resilience of overly optimistic beliefs in marriage, consumer contracts, and employment relationships, and the broad legal implications of ambiguity aversion.

Prof. Williams graduated with High Honors from the University of Chicago Law School.  Before his appointment at the University of Texas School of Law, he was a Climenko Fellow and Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School. Prior to his legal career, he analyzed large national datasets to uncover trends in teen pregnancy and risky adolescent behaviors more generally.

His recent publications include:

Probability Errors: Over-Optimism, Ambiguity Aversion, and the Certainty Effect, in The Oxford Handbook on Behavioral Economics and the Law (2014).

Statistical Children, 30 Yale J. Reg. 63 (2013).

Lost Life and Life Projects, 87 Indiana L. J. 1745 (2012).

Self-Altering Injury, 96 Cornell L. Rev. 535 (2011).

Sticky Expectations: Responses to Persistent Over-Optimism in Marriage, Employment Contracts, and Credit Card Use, 84 Notre Dame L. Rev. 733 (2009).

Postnuptial Agreements, 2007 Wis. L. Rev. 827 (2007).

You can find his ssrn page here.