☰ Menu
Akron Law Café

A Woman in the White House

By Tracy Published: August 29, 2008

John McCain today announced that his vice-presidential running mate will be Sarah Palin, the Governor of Alaska.  The announcement of Palin, a 44-year-old supermom of 5, avid hunter, and former beauty queen, has rekindled the age-old political battle between sex and race. 

Some of the first responses to the announcement have realized that McCain's choice places a woman just a heartbeat away from the presidency.  After all, it's happened before.  In the 2006 TV series, Commander in Chief, Geena Davis played a vice-president who is elevated to the presidency when the president unexepctedly dies.   Davis's character is an Independent chosen by a Republican to woo women voters. 

To read more or comment...

A School that Allows Guns

By Stewart Published: August 29, 2008

Here's an interesting article about a small Texas school district that has voted to allow concealed-carry by teachers in the local school.  Small town, not much crime, but the nearest law enforcement is 17 miles away.

To read more or comment...

Professor Paul Finkelman is Scholar-in-Residence at Akron Law Sept. 2-5

By Diana Published: August 27, 2008

Albany Law School Professor Paul Finkelman will visit The University of Akron School of Law Sept. 2-5 as part of the Scholar-in-Residence program. On Sept. 4 Finkelman will present a public lecture titled "Regulating the African Slave Trade: Lessons on Social Change, Social Policy, and Legislation." The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will take place at the UA School of Law, 150 University Ave. A reception will be held at 4 p.m. in the School of Law atrium, with the lecture following at 5 p.m. in Room 151.

As part of the residence program, Professor Finkelman will visit classrooms as a guest speaker, consult with faculty on their individual scholarship agendas, and meet with members of the alumni and university communities.

To read more or comment...

The Supreme Court at the Tipping Point - Presidential Power

By Wilson Huhn Published: August 26, 2008

     The greatest challenge that the next Supreme Court will face is to determine the extent of Presidential power and the degree to which the President is answerable to Congress and bound by law. This question will come before the Court in a number of different contexts. 1. Eavesdropping. Does the Constitution authorize the President to violate the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in conducting warrantless wiretaps on the telephone and email communications of Americans communicating with persons in foreign countries?

2. Detention. Does the Constitution allow the President to order the C.I.A. and the military to imprison suspected terrorists overseas and at Guantanamo Bay without fair hearings, or do these prisoners have rights under the Geneva Convention, the Due Process Clause, and the Habeas Corpus Clause?

To read more or comment...

Grandma Got Run Over by a ... Prius?

By Stewart Published: August 25, 2008

(With apologies to Dr. Elmo.)

News last week that the California State Senate

To read more or comment...

Court says states may require more air pollution monitoring than USEPA - but dissent says this disrupts the regulatory scheme

By BillJ Published: August 22, 2008

It looks like a classic battle between treehuggers and industrial polluters, between liberals and conservatives, between Democrats and Republicans. As we will see, however, the truth is more complicated.

The Clean Air Act is an exercise in cooperative federalism. U.S. EPA sets certain limits on pollution emissions, which are accompanied by requirements to monitor emissions in order to assure compliance. States also adopt State Implementation Plans (SIPs) setting emission limitations and imposing monitoring requirements. The SIPs are subject to approval by EPA.

To read more or comment...

Gun Rights Spreading Like Wild Fire?

By Stewart Published: August 20, 2008

(Sorry.)  We are going to have a lot to talk about in my Firearms Regulation class at Akron Law this fall.  Since the U.S. Supreme Court's momentous decision in D.C. v. Heller in June, more and more gun rights issues are in the news.  Two interesting articles yesterday talk about concealed carry rights in the National Parks and at Walt Disney World.  How's that for your summer vacation!

To read more or comment...

The Supreme Court at the Tipping Point - Freedom of Religion

By Wilson Huhn Published: August 18, 2008

     The focus of one of the starkest ideological divisions on the Supreme Court and an area of law that may undergo dramatic change as a result of the 2008 presidential election is the interpretation of the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment.      

     There were battles over freedom of religion from the very earliest times in our nation's history. In the 1630s the Puritans established a religious government in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Early religious dissenters such as Roger Williams, Anne Hutchinson, and Mary Dyer objected to the role that religion played in the government of the colony and they questioned the religious principles that comprised official doctrine. Each of the dissenters was found guilty of heresy and expelled from the Massachusetts colony. Roger Williams founded the colony of Rhode Island upon the principles of freedom of religion and the separation of church and state. Mary Dyer, a Quaker, was executed when she returned from Rhode Island to Massachusetts. Today she considered a martyr to religious liberty.

To read more or comment...

"Drill for Oil on American Soil"

By Stewart Published: August 17, 2008

I saw the above slogan on a bumper-sticker this weekend, and my first thought was "Why?".  Setting aside the partisan stances on this issue (It's possible -- both presidential candidates, for example, have said that they oppose drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge), what is this issue about?  Who benefits (in legal terms, we might say, "Cui bono?") from drilling on United States soil?  Do the U.S. people in general benefit, or only a small subset thereof?  These are the kind of questions we ask all the time in my Legislative Process seminar at Akron Law, as we try to figure out why Congress and other governmental actors behave as they do.  So, what are the answers?

To read more or comment...

Interesting Report on Voter Registration Issues in Upcoming Election

By Stewart Published: August 12, 2008

See Wall Street Journal article here.  Here are a couple of representative quotations:


To read more or comment...

The Supreme Court at the Tipping Point: Freedom of Expression

By Wilson Huhn Published: August 12, 2008

     In 1927 in the case of Whitney v. California Justice Louis Brandeis wrote that the First Amendment protects "freedom to think as you will and to speak as you think." Freedom of thought is absolute, but freedom of speech is not an absolute right because in some situations speech can cause harm, as Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes described in his famous example of a person falsely shouting fire in a crowded theater. The Supreme Court is closely divided on many questions involving the constitutionality of laws that infringe freedom of expression, including the following:

1. Campaign finance reform. In 2003 the Supreme Court narrowly upheld the principal provision of the McCain-Feingold Act which placed limitations on the amount of money that an individual may contribute to political campaigns. Another important provision of the Act which extended these contribution limits to funding for so-called "issue advertisements" during political campaigns was reinterpreted and essentially eviscerated by the Supreme Court in a 2006 opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts.

To read more or comment...

Who shouldn't be allowed to carry a concealed handgun?

By Stewart Published: August 11, 2008

A friend of mine was just denied when he tried to renew his Ohio license to carry a concealed handgun.  The letter from the Summit County Sheriff's Office identified the reason for denial as the presence on his record of two minor misdemeanor marijuana possession convictions from 1996 and 1997, when my friend was 19 and 20 years old, respectively.  I have lots of questions about the particulars of my friend's denial, but irrespective of the facts of that specific case, an interesting question is raised:  in general, what factors should lead to the denial of a concealed carry permit?

To read more or comment...

Neuroscience, Law and Government Symposium

By Diana Published: August 6, 2008

The University of Akron School of Law will host a symposium on Neuroscience, Law and Government on Sept. 25 and 26. Fascinating neuroscience developments are changing how we perceive and understand the world around us. Many neuroscience discoveries have important implications for both law and government, particularly in detecting deception and visualizing mental illness, injury or disease. The U.S. Government is interested in potential uses for neuroscience, and the courts have begun to admit neuroimaging evidence at trial. This symposium considers the complicated intersections of neuroscience with government and law. For a complete list of symposium topics, click here.

Click here to register online.

To read more or comment...

The Supreme Court at the Tipping Point - Affirmative Action

By Wilson Huhn Published: August 4, 2008

     Affirmative action is a difficult issue for the same reason that abortion is - the stakes are high for both sides. On the one hand, it is wrong to discriminate against any person on account of his or her race. On the other hand, a great wrong was committed against African Americans -they were held in slavery for two hundred and fifty years and they were subjected to second class citizenship for another hundred years after that. The black race has now achieved legal and political equality with the majority, but our society still bears the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow. This continuing inequality can be measured in many ways, but there is one metric that explains many of the other inequalities. White families, on the average, have a net worth that is five times greater than black families. A family's wealth determines how well it can weather a storm (such as Katrina), start a business, or educate its children.Closing the gap between the races depends principally upon education, and yet on the whole there are stark differences between the educational opportunities afforded to blacks and to whites. Although many white children attend inferior elementary and secondary schools, black children disproportionately suffer from this inequality. Affirmative action in the field of education represents an attempt to close that gap, and the opponents of affirmative action should admit that affirmative action is not racism but rather is an attempt to ameliorate the effects of racism. But there is a cost that accompanies affirmative action, and the proponents of affirmative action should admit that this is a grave cost indeed. White children, on account of their race, are not admitted to schools they are otherwise qualified to attend.

     Over the past four decades the Supreme Court has wobbled back and forth on the constitutionality of affirmative action. This indecision can be demonstrated most clearly by examining the opinions of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the subject. In the case of Richmond v. J.A. Crosun Co. Justice O'Connor signaled that affirmative action for the purpose of achieving racial diversity was unconstitutional when she stated:

To read more or comment...

More on John Seiberling - The Industrialist's Grandson Who Understood Antitrust Law

By BillJ Published: August 4, 2008

One of my close friends, Professor Warren Grimes of Southwestern Law School, was Chief Counsel to the Subcommittee on Monopolies and Commercial Law of the House Committee on the Judiciary during the 1980s. Here is his recollection of one of the most intelligent and knowledgeable members of Congress:

To read more or comment...

Remembering John Seiberling - An Akron Hero

By BillJ Published: August 4, 2008

John Seiberling means so much to me, to Akron, and to this country. As I knew him, he was deeply patriotic and committed to a better world, both for the environment and for human kind, which he believed could not thrive without protecting and relating closely to the environment.

To read more or comment...

What's a "Tomnibus"?

By Stewart Published: August 3, 2008

I teach a seminar in Legislative Process at Akron Law each fall, and often get asked, "What is Legislative Process, anyway?"  My usual answer is "Everything!"

To read more or comment...



Prev Next