Friends of the Court: Cincinnati Law students contribute to SCOTUS ruling

By Guest Contributors Francesca Boland(’19), David Wovrosh (’19), and Prof. Janet Moore 

On June 19, 2017, Cincinnati Law students saw their work cited in a 5-4 majority opinion of the United States Supreme Court. The case, McWilliams v. Dunn, resolved a lower courtdcsxxa-xoaafsoq split over what the Constitution requires when prosecutors seek to impose the death penalty against defendants who have mental illness, but cannot afford to hire mental health experts to present an effective defense.

First-year students researched the issue during the spring semester for an amicus brief filed by the National Association for Public Defense (NAPD). The Court cited that brief in holding that Alabama courts violated a right that was clearly established in its 1985 decision, Ake v. Oklahoma.  Continue reading “Friends of the Court: Cincinnati Law students contribute to SCOTUS ruling”

A Second Look

Here are some items that caught our eye:

2370_regUniversity of Dayton Sociology Professor Dr. Jamie Longazel recently published  Undocumented Fears, which examines immigration and the racialization that occurs in small towns. Berkeley Law Prof. Ian Haney Lopez says

Jamie Longazel brings into sharp focus the anti-Latino racism at the heart of national politics today. Even as we as a society struggle to build solidarity across racial divisions, powerful forces seek advantage in tearing us farther apart. The concentrated focus of Undocumented Fears helps us understand not only why this occurs but also how we might help replace fear with friendship, social division with a sense of shared humanity.


Looking for the next binge-worthy program?  Netflix’s Dear White People is absolutely dearwhitepeoplerelevant and important. And, it’s being renewed for second season!

Speaking of television, BBC just announced that 13 is the charm–the next Dr. Who will be a woman.

 


Does it ever appear that racial vigilantes — for example, George Zimmerman, the man who killed Trayvon Martin–are presumed innocent?  Race and the Law Prof Blog takes on that topic.


And, in the “can’t wait!” category:  

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Director Ava Duvernay’s A Wrinkle in Time hits theaters March 9, 2018!  Can’t come soon enough. maxresdefault

Supreme Court: Offensive Speech May be Trademarked

Congress’s 70-year-old ban on registering disparaging terms struck down on free-speech grounds

tim armstrongGuest Contributor: Cincinnati Law Professor Tim Armstrong

An important new Supreme Court decision gives private parties the right to receive federal trademark registration of a term that disparages racial or ethnic minority groups. In Matal v. Tam, the Supreme Court ruled that part of the federal trademark statute is unconstitutional to the extent that it forbids federal trademark registration for terms “which may disparage … persons, living or dead … or bring them into contempt, or disrepute.” To forbid registration of disparaging terms as trademarks, the Court unanimously agreed, violates registrants’ First Amendment rights to free expression even of “ideas that offend.”

At the heart of this case is bass player Simon Tam, a member of a quartet of Asian-American musicians who describe their style as “Chinatown dance rock.” The band chose to name itself “The Slants,” in what the Court described as an attempt to “reclaim … a derogatory term for persons of Asian descent …. and drain its denigrating force.” Continue reading “Supreme Court: Offensive Speech May be Trademarked”

I speak Hindi, I am Hindu, and I’m an American: Fighting “Little Things”

Cultural ignorance slows the progress of social justice.

nikkis-photo.jpgGuest Contributor:  Nikita Srivastava, (’19)

As a minority woman in the United States, I am often defined by the color of skin. Although I take pride in my heritage, it is not the only thing that defines who I am. I find myself explaining who I am (or what defines me) more often than my white peers. Not only is this common in social settings, but professional settings as well. What makes matters worse is that my concerns about cultural ignorance are dismissed as “little things.”  Continue reading “I speak Hindi, I am Hindu, and I’m an American: Fighting “Little Things””

I’m Back and I’m Proud

I’ve been away from the Blog for too long.  But for good reason.

The University’s Provost appointed me Interim Dean of the College of Law, which, as you can imagine, meant a raft of new responsibilities for me.  The most gratifying thus far was presiding over commencement.  Cincinnati Law graduated 84 students in May, and we were inspired by speeches from alums Rob Richardson (’05)  of Branstetter, Stranch & Jennings and the Hon. Marilyn Zayas (’97) of Ohio’s First Appellate District Court,  who received the 2017 Nicholas Longworth, III Alumni Achievement Award. I am very proud of our most recent alums and look forward to the significant contributions they will make to the profession and society.

On that note, I recently attended A Celebration of Black Lawyers, hosted by Harvard Law School’s Center on the Legal Profession.  This event honored three giants in the legal field:

  • Ken Chenault, Chairman and Chief Executive Office of American Express Company,
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    Ken and Kathyrn Chenault

    who spoke about the important role corporations have to play in the struggle for social justice;

 

  • Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc.,
    Sherrilyn Ifill - Baltimore, MD
    Sherrilyn Ifill

    who challenged all lawyers–irrespective of substantive area of expertise–to take get involved in civil rights matters; and

 

  • The Hon. Rob  Wilkins of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit,
    wilkins
    Hon. Robert L. Wilkins

    who inspired attendees to follow his lead in persisting despite the odds. Judge Wilkins was a primary catalyst in making the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) a reality (it also was the site of the Celebration!).

Perhaps most poignant and moving of all was how Ms. Ifill reminded all of us–many of whom were African American attorneys–of the significant role Black lawyers played in moving this nation closer to the promise of equality set forth in our founding documents.

Her words made me remember that I am part of something larger.  A profession with the power to realize the country’s democratic potential.  A tradition of lawyers that pushed this nation to live up to its creed. A social engineer, to use the term coined by the great Charles Hamilton Houston,

charleshouston
Charles Hamilton Houston

architect of the strategy that dismantled de jure segregation.

Envisioning myself as descended from such notables as Thurgood Marshall, Constance Baker Motley,  Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I walked out of the NMAAHC considerably more inspired than when I entered.

 

Bridging Theory and Practice: Law Students Advocate for Women Athletes

Applying knowledge about Title IX to make change

Gender and the Law is one of my favorite courses to teach, but this year’s class has set the bar exceedingly high for years to come. These students have taken what they  learned in the course and chosen to apply it to advocate for women athletes on UC’s campus.  When they found out that during renovation of Fifth Third Arena, the men’s basketball team would play at Northern Kentucky University’s comparable venue but the women would be sent to play at a local high school, they wanted to take action.   Continue reading “Bridging Theory and Practice: Law Students Advocate for Women Athletes”

LGBTQ Rights in Post-Trump America

By Guest Contributor Josh Langdonaaeaaqaaaaaaaahfaaaajgm3ztliyznkltgwodgtndk0ys1hymrhltmwotq1zja3ztg5zq

After eight years of historic progress and support from the Obama Administration in almost all aspects of the law, from removing barriers to marriage equality and military service, to protecting LGBTQ persons at work and in school, we confront a new President, chosen after one of the most bitter and divisive elections in modern history. Does President Trump’s ascension to the White House mean this progress will be reversed or stalled – even if America’s hearts and minds already are evolving in favor of LGBTQ equality? Hard to say, given the mixed messages first from Candidate and now President Trump.  What’s clear is that much work remains ahead.

Continue reading “LGBTQ Rights in Post-Trump America”