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Professor William C. Banks Optimistic About Successful Transition for Biden Despite Delays

William C. Banks

(WAER | Nov. 24, 2020) A Syracuse University Law School Professor says President Elect Joe Biden won’t have a problem catching up three weeks after the election because his team has been preparing all along.  William Banks says Biden’s planning began when he clinched the democratic nomination last summer. He thinks the delay by the Trump Administration to share information to Biden will be “negligible to none.” However, he feels it comes with other costs.

“I feel a great deal has been lost symbolically and I believe our democratic institutions have been severely beat up by the bruising battles that have been fought for no good reason.”

Biden’s team can now engage in daily national security updates and classified briefings with the Trump Administration. Banks says Biden’s cabinet is filled with diversity and experience.

“Some of them are from the Obama administration, so of them much further back, like John Kerry who will be a cabinet-level official responsible for climate change.  It’s Kerry’s deep passion,” Banks said ...

Read the full story.

Dean Boise Thanksgiving Message 2020

Innovation Law Center: Where Law, Technology and Business Intersect

Viviana Bro

By Rob Enslin

When Jake Goldsmith ’15 was a biology major in the College of Arts and Sciences, he had no idea that he would parlay his education into the courtroom—and the boardroom. “There’s not much difference between science and law,” says the second-year law student at Syracuse University. “In both cases, I’m organizing data to be understood by others.”

Today, Goldsmith is a member of the University’s Innovation Law Center (ILC), where he is an aspiring intellectual property attorney. ILC not only gives Goldsmith hands-on legal training, but also enables him to help innovators, entrepreneurs and companies bring their ideas to life.

For more than 30 years, ILC has been a pioneer in technology commercialization law, which encompasses the legal, business and technical aspects of product development. In addition to offering a graduate-level practicum, ILC is the state’s only official science and technology law center and is a sought-after legal incubator.

Students like Goldsmith work with faculty experts at ILC, which advises more than 60 clients a year, ranging from startups and established companies to federal laboratories and other research institutions. Most clients, he says, seek out ILC for actionable research analysis about early-stage technologies. The center responds with a detailed landscape report covering the technology’s intellectual property rights, competition, marketplace and regularly environment.

Recent projects include an amphibious, all-terrain vehicle; a wind tunnel simulation-testing tool; a gas turbine for an unmanned aerial system; and an at-home catheterization and sterilization system.

“We help clients figure out what to do next,” says ILC director Jack Rudnick L’73. “If the technology is sound, we recommend they contact a patent attorney. If it isn’t, we encourage them to go back to the drawing board. Either way, ILC provides something of value at little or no cost.”

Adds Goldsmith: “We help clients understand what they don’t know.”

Viviana Bro, a third-year law student, is seen here with Patrick Riolo, who is pursuing both an MBA and a B.S. in bioengineering. ILC is open to students of all majors.
Viviana Bro, a third-year law student, is seen here with Patrick Riolo, who
is pursuing both an MBA and a B.S. in bioengineering. ILC is open to students
of all majors.

Success Breeds Success

Based in the College of Law, ILC is open to students of all majors. Most are second- or third-year law students, but Rudnick has noticed a surge in MBA candidates from the Martin J. Whitman School of Management and graduate students from the College of Engineering and Computer Science.

One such participant is Patrick Riolo, who is pursuing both an MBA and a B.S. in bioengineering. He recently proved his interdisciplinary mettle by conducting marketing research for several ILC clients, including a major cybersecurity firm.

“ILC has changed how I view my audiences,” says Riolo, who appreciates the reciprocity between technology and the marketplace. “Here, I’m not writing for a professor or an imaginary judge—I’m writing for a real-world client who is emotionally invested in their product and understands the technology behind it. I like to put myself in their shoes and wonder how their invention might look to an angel investor or a venture capitalist.”

The first in the nation to apply scholarly legal analysis and experiential education to product commercialization, ILC has enjoyed a strong upward trajectory. Its designation as the New York State Science and Technology Law Center in 2004, followed by Rudnick’s arrival in 2013, has enhanced the state’s role as a global leader in drone, medical and infrastructure technologies.

“Success breeds success. We went from six to 60 clients almost overnight. Now we have more than 120,” says Rudnick, also a professor of practice in law. “I’m always thinking about how ILC students can benefit other students on campus and companies throughout the region.”

Ergo his emphasis on effective client management—asking the right questions at the right time to achieve clarity and understanding.

Viviana Bro, a third-year law student, discovered this during her first day on campus, when she met Rudnick at a student-faculty luncheon. Today, the senior researcher is among the program’s elite.

“I came here because of ILC, whose entrepreneurial environment reminds me of the West Coast,” says Bro, a veteran of California’s semiconductor industry. “The program has taught me that a lawyer can be a fundamental partner or ally instead of someone who always says ‘no.’”

Bro’s projects also reflect ILC’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. The Chilean-born scholar recalls working with three entrepreneurs on an app that connects people who are deaf and hard of hearing to American Sign Language interpreter services. “Today, the app is widely available,” she says. “We hope it becomes as ubiquitous and easy-to-use in the deaf community as Uber is for city passengers wishing to hail a ride.”

Supporting an Innovation Ecosystem

David Eilers ’80, who teaches part-time in ILC, says the program’s success is measured in different ways. “Sometimes, the best thing we can do for a client is deliver bad news, saving them millions of dollars down the road. Other times, we’re able to hand them off to a good patent attorney or an investor who helps get their product off the ground.”

An adjunct professor in management and law, Eilers credits ILC for staying nimble amid an uncertain global economy. The key to ILC’s longevity, he surmises, is being different things to different people.

“If you’re a client from New York state, we can serve you as the Science and Technology Law Center. If you’re from out of state or overseas, we can work with you as a tech incubator, with no territorial restrictions,” says Eilers, who also teaches in the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps program. “Thanks to support from Empire State Development [New York’s chief economic development agency], we can do pro bono or low-bono work and pay our students.”

Eilers is struck by the similarity between scientific and legal literacy. “Just as there’s a hypothesis to prove in the scientific method, there’s a business thesis needing to be attacked through a rigorous discovery process. Good data is key.”

Nowhere is this more evident than in Central New York, where ILC enjoys longstanding relationships with Blackstone LaunchPad & Techstars at Syracuse University Libraries, the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental Energy Systems, the Center for Advanced Systems and Engineering, and the CNY Biotech Accelerator.

“Some of our most gratifying projects are those conceived and cultivated in our own backyard,” says Rudnick, recalling a recent collaboration with the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry involving tissue engineering. “We want to make New York state and the world a better place to live.”


Professor Shubha Ghosh Featured in MCI Law Review Special IP Issue

Shubha Ghosh

Professor Shubha Ghosh's article “Identifying Technologies for Assisting the Visually-Impaired: Law and Development with a Human Needs Focus” is featured in MCI Law Review (Revue de MCI) 91, the leading legal magazine of Madagascar covering legal, development, and investment issues in the republic.

Alumna Noro Michelle Rafenomanjato LL.M. '19 is Director of the Intellectual Property Department at the MCI Law Firm, the publisher of the law review.

MCI Law Review 91
MCI Law Review 91

Goldstein receives Grunin Price

NYU Law recently recognized David A. Goldstein with the 2020 Grunin Prize for Law and Social Entrepreneurship from NYU Law. The Grunin Prize recognizes lawyers for their role in developing innovative solutions to advance the fields of social entrepreneurship and impact investing, and David was part of the winning team at the law firm Goldstein Hall. He is Managing Partner of the firm.

Professor Peter Blanck Publishes on "Workplace Accommodations for Lawyers with Disabilities and Lawyers Who Identify as LGBTQ+"

Peter Blanck
"Diversity and Inclusion in the American Legal Profession: Workplace Accommodations for Lawyers with Disabilities and Lawyers Who Identify as LGBTQ+." Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation (2020). (With Fitore Hyseni & Fatma Altunkol Wise.)

This article focuses on workplace accommodations, with findings that: “Disabled lawyers, older women lawyers, older racial/ethnic minority lawyers, and LGBQ minority lawyers have relatively low odds of having requests granted. The results highlight the need to consider intersectional identities in the accommodation process.”


Workplace accommodations, vital for employees with disabilities, promote diversity and inclusion efforts in organizations. This article examines who requests accommodations and who is more likely to have requests granted. We investigate the roles of individual characteristics and their intersection, including disability, sexual orientation, gender, race/ethnicity, and age. 


Using data from a national survey of U.S. lawyers, we estimate the odds of requesting accommodations and having the requests approved. We also estimate differences in odds according to individual characteristics, adjusting for control variables. 


Personal identity factors, such as disability status, gender, and age, predict requests for accommodations. Odds of requesting accommodations were higher for women and people with disabilities as compared to men and those without disabilities, but lower for older individuals. Odds of requesting accommodations were higher for an older population segment—older lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer (LGBQ) lawyers—than for younger lawyers. Accommodations were granted differentially to individuals with multiple marginalized identities. Counter to predictions, being a person with a disability is negatively associated with having an accommodation granted. Older lawyers generally have higher odds of having accommodations granted, but odds for groups such as women and racial/ethnic minorities decline with age. LGBQ lawyers who are racial minorities have lower odds than White LGBQ lawyers of having their accommodations granted. Longer tenure increases the odds of requesting accommodations. Working for a private organization decreases the odds; working for a large organization generally increases the odds. 


Those most needing accommodations, such as lawyers with disabilities and women, are more likely to request accommodations. Disabled lawyers, older women lawyers, older racial/ethnic minority lawyers, and LGBQ minority lawyers have relatively low odds of having requests granted. The results highlight the need to consider intersectional identities in the accommodation process.

Professor Gregory Germain Weighs in on Shoppingtown Mall Bankruptcy

Professor Gregory Germain

“You can’t live forever in bankruptcy,” says Professor Gregory Germain as he weighs in on taxpayers in Onondaga County paying millions of dollars to a company that owes them millions of back tax dollars for the Shoppingtown Mall property. View the CNY Central story here.

Professor Shubha Ghosh Addresses the American Center in Moscow on "Igniting Innovative Start-Ups"

Shubha Ghosh

November 16-22 is Global Entrepreneurship Week — a week-long festival that celebrates and cultivates national and global entrepreneurship ecosystems. To mark Global Entrepreneurship Week and to connect, inspire, and help Russian students, start-ups and entrepreneurs, the American Center in Moscow invited Dr. Shubha Ghosh to lecture on "Igniting Innovative Start-Ups" on Nov. 18, 2020.

"Our new technological world allows possibilities for entrepreneurial activity," explains Ghosh. "Internet connection ignites these possibilities. The law can provide the fuel for furthering one’s entrepreneurial goals. At the same time, we need recognize the cooperative necessities in competitive markets. The coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated this constructive push both in the search for a vaccine and therapies and in confronting the lockdown. Human ingenuity thrives even as new technologies allow for the trans-human through biotechnology and artificial intelligence."

Watch the lecture.

WSYR News Profiles Father-Daughter Duo Scott and Lauren Deutsch

Scott and Lauren Deutsch

Father-daughter duo tackles law school together at Syracuse University

(WSYR | Nov. 18, 2020) It’s not unusual for someone to attend the same school as their parent or even study the same degree, but how about doing all of that at the exact same time?

It’s been the reality for one father-daughter duo taking on Syracuse University’s College of Law together.

“It’s not embarrassing to go to school with your parent,” said Lauren Deutsch.

For Lauren and her father, Scott, it’s actually pretty cool.

Scott always wanted to go to law school, but after years in the military, his dream faded. That is until he found the JDinteractive (JDi) program at Syracuse University, a fully online law degree program.

“It was a perfect opportunity to accomplish a very old goal,” said Scott ...

Watch the segment.

Scott and Lauren Deutsch
Scott and Lauren Deutsch

Politico Interviews Professor Shubha Ghosh About Botox Trade Battle

Shubha Ghosh

ITC to decide Botox trade secret battle

(Politico | Nov. 18, 2020) If Abbvie’s Allergan gets its way, the biggest threat to its blockbuster wrinkle remover Botox — Evolus’s Jeuveau — will be banned from the U.S. for the next 10 years.

Allergan and its Korean partner Medytox have asked the U.S. International Trade Commission to ban Jeuveau — manufactured by Korea’s Daewoong Pharmaceuticals and sold in the U.S. by Evolus — because of trade secret theft. According to their complaint, Daewoong obtained the bacteria Medytox uses to develop Botox from a former Medytox employee, a claim both Daewoong and the former employee deny. But an ITC administrative law judge ruled in favor of Allergan and Medytox in July, recommending a 10-year ban on Jeuveau ...

... The ITC’s process has two advantages over litigating in federal court: its proceedings operate on a tight schedule, the average case takes only 18 months, and there is only one possible remedy — infringing goods are blocked from entering the U.S.

“These exclusion orders are pretty strong,” said Shubha Ghosh, a professor of antitrust and intellectual property at the Syracuse University College of Law. “They are essentially confiscating the goods at the border.”

If the ITC issues an exclusion order, companies have one potential escape hatch: the president can overrule the trade agency’s decision. Since 2005, the president has delegated authority for ITC decisions to the U.S. Trade Representative ...

... Syracuse’s Ghosh, who also submitted a statement to the ITC, said the decision invites “monopolists to buy their way into ITC cases in order to prevent their foreign competitors from competing with them.”

“The idea behind the exclusion order is to keep infringing goods out, not just keep goods out,” said Ghosh, whose program focuses on helping entrepreneurs, start-ups and universities commercialize their innovations. “The ITC needs to look at what the consumer harm” of its decision could be ...

Read the full article.

Professor Doron Dorfman Publishes on Urban Accessibility in Fordham Urban Law Journal

Doron Dorfman
The Professionalization of Urban Accessibility. Fordham Urban Law Journal, 47 (2020). (With Mariela Yabo.)

Part of a symposium on Urban Cities & Accessibility, Doron Dorfman and Mariela Yabo explore how different US cities enforce disability access laws and the role local government plays in enforcing compliance. 

"It’s a paper that combines issues of federalism, compliance, local governance, and planning and zoning law," says Dorfman. 

DHS Senior Executive Matthew L. Kronisch Joins the Syracuse University Institute for Security Policy and Law as Distinguished Fellow in Residence

Matt Kronisch

The Syracuse University Institute for Security Policy and Law (SPL) is pleased to welcome Matthew L. Kronisch as a Distinguished Fellow-in-Residence. Kronisch is the first ever Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of the General Counsel Senior Executive assigned to an academic institution under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act. The IPA provides a mechanism through which the government and academic institutions can benefit from the mutual exchange of the expertise and experience of their employees. 

Kronisch currently serves at DHS as Associate General Counsel for Intelligence. As a Distinguished Fellow in Residence, Kronisch will conduct research and teach a seminar focused on the policy and law of homeland intelligence, as well as serving as an intelligence community career advisor for the Syracuse University Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence. His scholarship will address lessons learned during the first 20 years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and how those lessons might be applied to DHS and the intelligence function in a democratic society.

“We are delighted that Matt will be joining our team,” says SPL Director the Hon. James E. Baker. “As a career public servant, Matt has been at the intersection and front lines of liberty and security since DHS was established. This is a remarkable run by a remarkable public servant—no wonder President Barack Obama awarded Matt a Presidential Rank Award in 2011 for his work applying law and democratic values to the function of domestic security and intelligence.”

Continues Judge Baker, “Matt not only has a great deal to teach our students, through his writing he will have an opportunity to articulate to a larger audience his vision for the future of DHS and its intelligence mission as we enter the 20th anniversary since 9/11.”

Before establishing the intelligence law practice at DHS and serving as Senior Legal Advisor to each of DHS’ chief intelligence officers, Kronisch developed intelligence oversight policy for the US Department of Defense military services and defense agencies, and he served as an active duty US Navy Judge Advocate, including assignments advising on special warfare and counter-narcotics operations.

White appointed to Syracuse's Common Council

Syracuse Common Council appoints its part-time lawyer, Ronnie White, as new councilor. White is a solo practitioner who previously worked for Mackenzie Hughes law firm and for Onondaga County’s law department. He has a law degree from Syracuse University.

Remote Services

The primary contact for the Law Library remains our Reference Department, which can be contacted through email:  reference@law.syr.edu, phone: 315-443-9572, text: 315-516-8661, and Zoom.  We can also schedule a Zoom session with you.  All of these access points are monitored Mon-Thurs 9am-5pm and Fri & Sun: 9am-5pm.  Outside of these hours, please leave a message and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Borrowing Books
If you want to check out a book from the print collection, email circ@law.syr.edu with the book's title and call number from the Library Catalog.  Library staff will retrieve the book and ship it to you via UPS.  This service is also available for books owned by other campus libraries: simply email circ@law.syr.edu.

Scan and Send
We are able to provide scanned copies of print materials on a limited basis.  Details will vary based on the length of the requested item, so send scan requests to reference@law.syr.edu.

Renewing Books
Please use the self-renewal feature built in to the library catalog at https://catalog.syr.edu/vwebv/login.  Although we will not charge overdue fines this semester, please renew your books anyway so that they show up in the library catalog as still borrowed, or "not available". 

Returning Books
If you have books checked out, please email circ@law.syr.edu when you are ready to return them, and we will send you a UPS shipping label so you can send the books back to us.


New Collection Available: LexisNexis Digital Library

The Law Library is pleased to announce a new digital collection is now available to the College of Law community:  Lexis Nexis Digital Library.  It contains hundreds of Lexis' popular treatises, primary law resources, and student study aids.  The collection includes both the Q & A series and the Understanding series study aids.  Current COL students, faculty and staff can remotely connect to the collection using their NetID logins.

The LexisNexis e-book collection provides for downloading to personal devices, as well as the creation of annotations and highlighting.  Citations to primary law sources take users to the full-text documents in Lexis Plus.    

Professor Peter Blanck Guest Edits Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation Special ADA@30 Issue

Peter Blanck

The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 was ambitious federal legislation designed to promote employment inclusion, along with increased civic and social opportunity in other areas of daily life, by reducing attitudinal and structural barriers for people with disabilities. At the heart of this drive for inclusion was the ADA’s workplace accommodation principle. Today, the accommodation principle means using remote work options, as well as flexible hours and individualized reasonable adjustments to tasks and technologies, to enable full and equal economic participation across the spectrum of disabilities.

To commemorate the 30th anniversary of the ADA, the Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation (JOOR) is proud to present a special section of articles guest edited by Peter Blanck, University Professor in the College of Law and chairman of the Burton Blatt Institute. On Sept. 1, Blanck became principal investigator of the new Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Disability Inclusive Employment Policy, funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR). NIDILRR is a center within the Administration for Community Living in the Department of Health and Human Services.

The special JOOR series provides historical and contemporary perspectives on emergent issues involving people with disabilities who have the capacity and interest to work. Unfortunately, many are still unable to participate in the economic mainstream even with the availability of workplace accommodations such as remote work and individualized adjustments.

The articles highlight emerging research, policy and law on the future of employment and the accommodation principle for people with disabilities, envisioning a potential future of full disability-inclusive employment.

To read the articles in full, visit the following links:

Professor Shubha Ghosh Weighs In on EU Antitrust Charges Against Amazon

Shubha Ghosh

Amazon’s EU troubles could be warm-up act for more regulatory actions vs. Big Tech

(Marketwatch | Nov. 10, 2020) Antitrust charges by the European Union against Amazon.com Inc. could portend a slew of actions against Big Tech in the U.S. — including, perhaps — Amazon.

The e-commerce giant Amazon received a statement of objection “with preliminary conclusions that Amazon illegally distorted competition in online retail markets,” Margrethe Vestager, the European commissioner overseeing competition and digital policy, said at a news conference Tuesday ...

... “The EU’s claims against Amazon rest on an innovative theory about data,” said Shubha Ghosh, director of the Syracuse Intellectual Property Law Institute law professor. “Misuse of data is not thought of as the concern of competition law, but here the regulator’s theory rests on abuse of dominance in using a valuable resource in contemporary electronic commerce: private consumer data.”

“Whether the U.S. will follow suit depends on how bold a Biden Justice Department might be,” Ghosh said ...

Read the full article.

Access To Rivals' Data Drives EC Amazon Antitrust Case

(Law360 | Nov. 10, 2020) Law360 (November 10, 2020, 8:48 PM EST) -- Long-standing complaints that Amazon misuses its access to third-party seller information in its dual roles as retail platform and as retailer came to a head Tuesday in European Union allegations that could prove an important test of how competition enforcers on both sides of the Atlantic treat online platforms' access to vast stores of data ...

... The specific allegations against Amazon are in some ways unique to that company because of its access to the business information of potential rivals, according to Shubha Ghosh, head of the Syracuse Intellectual Property Law Institute at Syracuse University College of Law. While antitrust professionals have spent years discussing the prospects for accusing companies of violating antitrust laws through algorithms that automatically adjust pricing based on public information about competitors, the allegations against Amazon are based on its access to nonpublic data.

"And so that puts Amazon in a unique position" in its ability to maintain and abuse its dominance, Ghosh said. "It's as if you know what your competitor was going to do" ...

Read the full article.

Introducing the Barclay Damon 1L Diversity Initiatives Program

College of Law

The Barclay Damon LLP Diversity Student Mentor Program seeks to foster mentorship for students of diverse experiences, viewpoints, and backgrounds with practicing attorneys from the Syracuse, NY, office of Barclay Damon. 

This is an opportunity to start making the first active steps towards career goals (no matter your preferred practice).

The Diversity Student Mentor Program matches attorneys to students for a full semester (Spring 2021 semester).

1L students from a historically underrepresented group within the legal profession are eligible to apply. Again, this program will take place during the Spring 2021 semester.

The deadline to submit mentor applications is Nov. 23, 2020 at 4 pm. They can be returned to Kelly Brandt at ktbrant@law.syr.edu.

Sinsabaugh named Rising Star of Super Lawyers

Brian Sinsabaugh

Brian T. Sinsabaugh (Mineola), an associate in the Land Use and Zoning Practice Groups at Certilman Balin and based in the Hauppauge office, was named to the 2020 New York Metro Rising Stars list of Super Lawyers. He handles an array of matters including land use and zoning and contracts and lease agreements. Mr. Sinsabaugh earned his Juris Doctor from Syracuse University College of Law. From Clarkson University’s School of Business, he earned his Master of Business Administration and his Bachelor of Science with a major in International Business Management. 

Burns named Pro Bono All-Star

Christopher Burns

Henson Efron is pleased to announce attorney, Christopher Burns, has been honored by the Minnesota State Bar Association for his consistent commitment to pro bono service. In 2012, the MSBA created the North Star Lawyer Program as a way to recognize members who provided 50 or more hours of pro bono service in a given calendar year. In conjunction with Pro Bono Week 2020 (October 26-30), the MSBA created a new designation – Pro Bono All-Stars – to acknowledge members who have participated for seven or more years. Christopher has been designated a North Star Lawyer since the program’s inception. His contributions exemplify the Firm’s commitment to our community. 

A Higher Calling: Hon. James E. Baker Reflects on Veterans Day

Hon. James E. Baker
The Hon. James E. Baker has always known that he was meant for a life of public service. Growing up in Cambridge, Massachusetts, he was raised—as his mother once told him—to be a teacher. But he had other plans.

“I came to the conclusion at a young age that anybody who had the educational opportunities I was given had an obligation to perform public service,” says Judge Baker, a professor in Syracuse University’s College of Law and director of the Institute for Security Policy and Law. “Teaching is public service, but I embraced the concept of the citizen-soldier.”

Baker joined the U.S. Marine Corps at the age of 18 after spotting several recruitment brochures on the floor of the college post office. “I was looking for the hardest thing I could do and found it on the floor of the post office,” he says. He started his military career as an infantry officer in the Marine Corps and subsequently joined the staff of Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan. He was a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, a federal civilian court that hears military justice appeals, for 15 years before retiring in 2015.

It was Sen. Moynihan who urged him to go to law school, an idea that Baker initially wasn’t crazy about but eventually warmed to. “I do love the concept of rule of law. I want to live in a democracy and in a country that's governed by law. Having the opportunity to support and defend the Constitution, I think, is as high a calling as you can have as a lawyer,” says Baker, who is partial to all corps such as the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps. “It is also the oath that service members take defining their ultimate duty: ‘to support and defend the Constitution.’”

Baker has taught at several law schools around the country and says Syracuse University’s commitment to veterans is one of the things that distinguishes the school. He says he encountered only a single veteran on the faculty of the other law schools where he taught. “College campuses tend not to be places where there's a lot of military experience, and one of Syracuse's strengths is that they value and embrace that experience,” he explains. “In academics, we recognize diversity as an educational value and a democratic principle. The military is the most diverse institution I have ever been associated with, which is likely one reason it puts so much emphasis on character, commitment and competence as virtues—not where you are from, your school or who your parents are.”

One of the ways the College of Law has been particularly helpful to active duty students is through its online law degree JDinteractive, Baker says. Many of the program’s students are active duty service members, veterans or military-connected. “Syracuse University and the College of Law provided the platform for these students, who otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity to attend law school.”

As the Orange community celebrates Veterans Day, Baker reflects on those who have served a greater good. “I always think about the people who served who didn’t come home. They hold a special place for all of us on Veterans Day.” Three years ago, Baker started a tradition of the law school holding its own Veterans Day commemoration. “I wanted to make sure that, even at a university like Syracuse that genuinely values military service, its law school also made that connection and celebrated this mission of supporting and defending the Constitution.”


Hon. James E. Baker salutes after graduating from the Marine Officer Candidates School.
Hon. James E. Baker salutes after graduating from the Marine Officer Candidates School.

The Father-Daughter Duo Taking on the College of Law

Scott and Lauren Deutsch

It’s common for children to follow in a parent’s footsteps by attending their alma mater. But attending the same law school at the same time is much more unique. At the College of Law, father-daughter duo Scott and Lauren Deutsch are making pursuing a J.D. a family activity.

“We’re not just a 1L and 2L—we’re father and daughter,” says Scott, who is in his second year of his studies in the JDinteractive (JDi) program, Syracuse’s fully online law degree program. “I finally have someone to talk to who has done law school recently, and it’s my dad,” says Lauren, who is new to campus this fall and working on her first semester of classes.

While they’re pursuing law degrees at different points in their lives, both Scott and Lauren have been interested in law for quite some time. Scott is a veteran of the U.S. Army, retiring as a captain after serving both as enlisted and an officer.

With specialties in accounting and finance, Scott’s career in the Army brought him and his family all over the world, from Fort Bragg in North Carolina to Landstuhl, Germany and beyond. “I enjoyed my time in the military and appreciate the close-knit group of people,” Scott says about his experience. “The Army taught me the art of task management and instilled discipline in me. I was afforded the opportunity to take on various levels of responsibility at a very young age that a lot of people don’t get the opportunity to do.”

Still, attending law school was always at the back of his mind. When he learned about the flexibility offered through the JDi program, and with his two daughters in high school and college, he decided it was time to go for it.

For Lauren, the path to law school was more direct. She entered her undergraduate studies at University of Florida knowing that she wanted to pursue law and came to the College of Law this fall, just a few months after graduating. Coming from a military family, Lauren spent a lot of her childhood traveling and even moved to Germany right before her senior year of high school—a place she hadn’t lived since elementary school. “Moving around as a kid opened my appreciation for other cultures,” she says. “It also taught me stability, as you don’t know stable ground until you’ve had to move a lot.”

And when the time came for Lauren to apply for law schools, Scott was already in the middle of his first year at the College of Law. “He told me how welcoming the school was,” Lauren says. “I want to be at a school where everyone is welcome, where the diversity is enormous, and I’ve found that here.” When she finally arrived on campus, she felt immediately at home. “Walking into the law school and the courtroom, I felt like I was living my “Legally Blonde” Elle Woods fantasy,” she says. “I realized this is exactly what I’m meant to do.”

As the daughter of a veteran, Lauren appreciates Syracuse’s commitment to veterans, military service members and their families. “My dad risked his life to give me the freedom to do what I’m doing today, and I appreciate the fact that Syracuse really cherishes its veterans and the dependents of veterans,” she says. For Scott, he sees this commitment embodied in the new National Veterans Resource Center. “It’s a major point of pride and you see why veterans are drawn to campus,” he says. “How can you not be proud? As a student, how can you walk by the building without an incredible sense of pride that this university supports and embraces veterans?”


Scott, Lauren, and Risa Deutsch during a campus visit.
Scott, Lauren, and Risa Deutsch during a campus visit.

Joseph R. Biden Jr. L’68 Becomes First Syracuse University Alumnus Elected President

Joseph R. Biden Jr. L'68

Joseph R. Biden Jr. L’68 today became the 46th president of the United States. Biden, who received a juris doctor from the College of Law in 1968, is the first Syracuse University alumnus to hold the highest office in the country.

President-elect Biden has returned to the University on many occasions, including to speak at the College of Law Commencement in 1994, 2002, 2006 and 2016. He was also the University’s Commencement speaker and received an honorary degree in 2009.

Biden has frequently spoken about his fondness for the University and the College of Law and their loyalty to him. “The type of loyalty that this school has extended to me is truly rare and genuinely welcoming,” he said during his 2016 address. “It was the same for my son, Beau, who loved Syracuse as well.” Biden’s late son, Joseph R. “Beau” Biden III, was a 1994 graduate of the College of Law.

In May, as part of Syracuse University’s recognition of the Class of 2020, Biden congratulated the new graduates—a class graduating amid an unprecedented global pandemic. “We have a real opportunity to come out of this crisis stronger than we’ve ever been. And this Class of 2020, you’re going to be a big part of that,” Biden said. “I can’t wait to see what you all accomplish. We need you. Go Orange!”

President-elect Biden received the University’s Chancellor’s Medal in 1974; the Law Alumni Association’s Distinguished Service Award in 2003; and the George Arents Pioneer Medal, the University’s highest alumni award, in 2005. In 2018, he was honored with a prestigious Syracuse Law Honors Award from the Syracuse University Law Alumni Association and the College of Law. The award is conferred on alumni and friends of the college for extraordinary career accomplishments and service to the college, Syracuse University, the legal profession and society as a whole.


Joseph R. Biden L'68
Joseph R. Biden L'68

Professor Mark Nevitt in Newsweek: A Biden Presidency Would Be a Chance for Climate Legislation

Mark P. Nevitt

Joe Biden Says U.S. Will Rejoin Paris Agreement on His First Day As President to Reverse Trump's Environmental Damage

(Newsweek | Nov. 5, 2020) Joe Biden has said the U.S. will rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement on the same day he becomes president, should he win the election.

"Today, the Trump Administration officially left the Paris Climate Agreement," he tweeted. "And in exactly 77 days, a Biden Administration will rejoin it."

This will be the first step for Biden in his undertaking of the mammoth task of undoing four years worth of environmental deregulation ...

... Mark P. Nevitt, associate professor of law at Syracuse University who specializes in climate change law and policy, previously told Newsweek that a Biden win would represent the "first real chance" of climate change legislation for many years.

"Congress last attempted a comprehensive climate legislation package in 2009, but this died in the Senate," he said. "The Obama Administration was forced to rely upon executive action, but these actions can be rescinded by future administrations. Climate legislation would be viewed as a legacy item—not unlike Obama's Affordable Care Act.

"We will also see the U.S. re-enter the world stage on climate change. The U.S. is the world's largest historical emitter of greenhouse gas emissions and the second-largest annual emitter behind China. The world needs U.S. leadership and innovation on the climate stage" ...

Read the full article

Vice Dean Keith Bybee Discusses Election Civility with WSYR

Keith Bybee

Dealing with the differences: How to handle political polarization

(WSYR | Nov. 5, 2020) With the polarization of politics we’re seeing across the country, the topic is hard to avoid. But for those times it does come up with friends or family, what do you do?

Keith Bybee, a political professor and the Vice Dean of the University College of Law, has researched this topic extensively. When it comes to politics, Bybee said it comes down to one thing, civility.

“I think what’s important to realize about civility is it’s all a matter of display. It’s a matter of showing people respect. You don’t have to like everybody,” Bybee said.

The problem with that is many people have different ideas of what respectable behavior should look like. It all comes back to how you were raised, Bybee said ...

Read the full article.

Professor Jenny Breen Discusses Potential Election Lawsuits with WAER, SF Chronicle

Jenny Breen

SU Law Professors Ponder What Legal Action Might Arise From Presidential Election Results

(WAER | Nov. 4, 2020) Syracuse University law professors are considering what legal issues might arise in the aftermath of Tuesday’s presidential election results and the ongoing ballot count.  The tighter outcome almost guarantees litigation from either side, which is distressing to associate professor Jenny Breen.

"There is a sense that the massive influx of lawyers into an election process is often a sign that something is broken or that something is not ideal.  It always makes me kind of depressed when there's a lot of litigation."

Breen says there are other important roles for lawyers to play, such as volunteering to be a poll watcher, poll worker, or to advocate for voter access ...

Listen to the segment.

Will Trump's legal challenge succeed at the Supreme Court? Here’s what experts say

(San Francisco Chronicle | Nov. 4, 2020) President Trump’s campaign returned to the Supreme Court on Wednesday to try to block further counting of absentee ballots in Pennsylvania, saying the votes there “may well determine the next president of the United States.” The campaign sued in Michigan to halt vote-counting, claiming it had been denied proper access to sites where ballots were opened and tallied. Other suits challenged absentee-ballot processing in Nevada’s largest county, and late-arriving ballots in a Georgia county.

But legal observers aren’t expecting judicial intervention on any of the cases, even from the most conservative Supreme Court in many decades ...

... The Trump campaign’s post-election lawsuit in Michigan, challenging the continued counting of ballots in selected counties, “should be giving us flashbacks to 2000,” said Jenny Breen, an associate law professor at Syracuse University. She said she expects the campaign to ask state courts, and ultimately the Supreme Court, to disqualify some ballots that have already been counted.

But unlike 2000, Breen said, Trump’s campaign has not yet cited any state in which disputed votes could change the outcome of the election ...

Read the full article.

Nicolas included in Best Lawyers

Jackson Walker is pleased to announce that Emilio B. Nicolas has been selected for inclusion in the 2021 The Best Lawyers in America. 

Hon. James E. Baker: Obedience to Orders, Lawful Orders, and the Military’s Constitutional Compact

Hon. James E. Baker

(Just Security | Nov. 2, 2020) An individual, except the President, elected or appointed to an office of honor or profit in the civil service or uniformed services, shall take the following oath:

“I, AB, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”


During the height of the Watergate scandal in 1974 Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger is said to have become so concerned about President Nixon’s emotional state that he instructed the military chain of command that any orders conveyed directly by the President to the military should be re-routed through him to determine if they should be followed.  Schlesinger was particularly concerned about orders pertaining to nuclear command and The Trump Administration, which is to say President Trump, has renewed interest in the subject of nuclear command and control and more generally the question of lawful orders.  

In 2017, the then Commander of U.S. Strategic Command was asked about the scenarios in which he might advise, or even push back against, the President in a discussion on nuclear matters.  General John E. Hyten, who now serves as the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, responded:

I think some people think we’re stupid. We’re not stupid people. We think about these things a lot. When you have this responsibility how do you not think about it? And so – but what people forget is this is a military mission and a military function. And since the day I joined the service, 36 years ago, every year I get trained in a law of armed conflict. And the law of armed conflict has certain principles and necessities, distinction, proportionality, unnecessary suffering. All those things are defined. And we get, you know, for 20 years it was the William Calley thing that we were trained on because if you execute an unlawful order you will go to jail. You could go to jail for the rest of your life. It applies to nuclear weapons. It applies to small arms. It applies to small unit tactic. It applies to everything and we apply it as we go through it. It’s not that difficult. And the way the process works – if you want to get the details later, I’ll go into the details later. The way the process works is this simple: I provide advice to the President. He’ll tell me what to do and if it’s illegal, guess what’s going to happen?

Moderator: You say no.

General Hyten: I’m going to say, Mr. President, it’s illegal. And guess what he’s going to do? He’s going to say what would be legal? And we’ll come up with options of a mix of capabilities to respond to whatever the situation is. And that’s the way it works. It’s not that complicated.

More recently, the clearing of protesters in Lafayette Square, the advent of protest movements across the country following the death of George Floyd, and statements by President Trump about the electoral process have prompted questions about when and in what contexts the President may lawfully order U.S. Armed Forces, regular, reserve, or National Guard, into domestic and civil contexts.

President Trump’s tweets, some about military matters, also prompt consideration of what exactly is an order, does it have to take a particular form, and when is a statement by the President a military order?  These are urgent questions the answers to which ought to be known not only to the Commander in Chief, but also to the military commanders and units under his ultimate constitutional command.  The American public, which reveres the Armed Forces, in part because of their apolitical adherence to law, should know as well so that it can make informed judgments about whether to send its sons and daughters into the Armed Forces and determine whether the military’s leadership is supporting and defending the Constitution and America’s constitutional values and traditions.

However, although the question of lawful orders may be cast and debated with a particular president in mind, or through a partisan lens, questions about lawful orders are recurring and arise in daily national security contexts across administrations as well as everyday military life ...

Read the full article.

Professor Mark Nevitt: How Will the Presidential Candidates Approach Arctic Policy?

Mark P. Nevitt

Biden versus Trump: How a new president will affect the Arctic

(High North News | Oct. 30, 2020) With the US election just days away, anxiety is mounting about whether Republican incumbent  Donald Trump or Democratic nominee Joe Biden will come away victorious. The stakes have never been higher for the Arctic, say environmental scholars and regional experts ...

... Mark Nevitt, an associate professor at the Syracuse University College of Law, agrees that a Biden administration would handle the issue of climate change more effectively.

“It is critically important. We need to work with the leading climate scientists to understand the pace of climate change, permafrost melting, and its impact on local and Indigenous communities”, he says in an email to High North News.

“From a climate science perspective, a future President Biden will emphasize placing resources into better understanding the Arctic’s changing climate. Much like Obama. He has an ambitious, $2 trillion dollar “Biden Plan for a Clean Energy Revolution & Environmental Justice” that is the most-forward looking climate plan of any presidential nominee in history. The Arctic is heavily mentioned and discussed in this context,” he says ...

Read the full article.

Professor William C. Banks Mulls Election Scenarios in Medium and AP

William C. Banks

Will There Be Blood?

(Medium | Oct. 26, 2020) In his inaugural address four years ago, President Donald Trump declared a crusade against the “carnage” he said his predecessors had wrought on the nation, lining their own pockets while creating a nation of “forgotten men and women.” Five hours later, fired up and triumphant, Trump filed for re-election, the earliest incumbent to do so in memory. So it was that Trump set the stage for what a lot of people thought was him governing, but in effect has been the most foreboding, nerve-frazzling — and by far the longest — re-election campaign in modern U.S. history.

Just a week away from its climax, some of the country’s most sober voices say one cost of Trump’s term-long barrage of grievance and accusation is the possibility of civil unrest on and after Election Day. There is always the chance that fraught tempers will dissipate, either by luck or a landslide one way or the other that imposes a forceful quiet on the contest. But, with an animated Trump issuing daily allegations of a sinister plot to unseat him, and supporters of both sides apprehensive of how far the other is prepared to go to win, the fear is that Americans will erupt in the worst political violence since Jim Crow ...

... William Banks, a law professor at Syracuse University, said the president’s actions reflect mere “Trumpian rhetoric, played to maximum volume for his base.” Perhaps, though we won’t know until we see his reaction should he be defeated next Tuesday ...

Read the full article.

An Election Day Role For National Guard? Maybe, But Limited

(AP | Oct. 30, 2020) Federal laws and long-standing custom generally leave the U.S. military out of the election process. But President Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated warnings about widespread voting irregularities have raised questions about a possible military role.

If any element of the military were to get involved, it would likely be the National Guard under state control. These citizen soldiers could help state or local law enforcement with any major election-related violence. But the Guard’s more likely roles will be less visible — filling in as poll workers, out of uniform, and providing cybersecurity expertise in monitoring potential intrusions into election systems ...

... William Banks, professor at Syracuse University College of Law, said that sending uniformed troops to the polls, including the Guard, would be unwise.

“The overriding point is that we don’t want the military involved in our civilian affairs. It just cuts against the grain of our history, our conditions, our values, our laws," he said ...

Read the full article.

Professor Nina Kohn on WHEC: Nursing Home Residents Are Being Disenfranchised

Nina Kohn

Nursing home residents face voting challenges during pandemic

(WHEC Rochester, NY | Oct. 29, 2020) At 94, Mary Insalaco has voted in every presidential election dating back to the 1940s. And despite being isolated in a nursing home, she wasn't about to let that stop her this year.

"That's one thing I've always believed in. Your vote counts. Even though it's one, it counts. They add up," Insalaco said.

Mary is used to voting in person. But because of COVID-19 restrictions, she can't really leave the Jewish Home. So her daughter, Carol Britt, came here with Mary's mail-in ballot. They talked through the glass during a window visit and discussed how Mary wanted to vote.

"Today she's going to put her signature on it that this is her choice," Britt said, holding Mary's ballot.

"My daughter brought me my papers here, I signed them, filled them out with her and gave it back to her and got my little voting sticker and I proudly wore it," Insalaco said.

Mary's fortunate to have family nearby to assist her. But for many nursing home residents, that's not the case. And that has some advocates worried about the roadblocks facing seniors as we approach Election Day.

"So it's very much like we have a train barreling down the track and the brakes are not working," Nina Kohn said.

Kohn is a law professor at Syracuse University and a scholar in elder law.

Brett Davidsen: "Are they being disenfranchised?"

Kohn: "In many cases, yes. A resident of a nursing home needs substantial assistance typically to be able to vote and when that assistance isn't forthcoming, as a practical matter, they won't be able to vote" ...

Read the full article.

Professor Peter Blanck: Absentee Ballots Should Be Accessible, Especially During COVID-19

Peter Blanck

An accessible absentee ballot is crucial for blind and disabled Iowa voters, advocates say — especially in COVID-19 era

(Ames Tribune | Oct. 9, 2020) Don Wirth has been legally blind for 25 years. At 70 years old, he's at higher risk for COVID-19, so instead of going to the polls and using an accessible voting machine, he voted absentee during the primaries. His wife filled out the paper ballot for him.

“I have great confidence that she's going to fill it out the way I want her to,” Wirth, of Ames, said. 

But Wirth knows not all blind or otherwise disabled people have a loved one they can trust to help cast their vote. And, he believes, no Iowan should be forced to surrender their privacy to exercise their constitutional right. 

“Why shouldn’t we have the same access that sighted people do when there are solutions out there that are readily available?” Wirth said ...

... Peter Blanck, a law professor at Syracuse University, disagrees. Blanck has written multiple books on the ADA, served on various federal disability commissions and edits the Cambridge Disability Law and Policy Series.

“Title II of the ADA requires state and local governments to provide meaningful and equal access to all the services that they provide,” Blanck said. “A reasonable accommodation would not have to be approved through the Legislature because that’s required under (federal) law" ...

Read the full article

October 2020: Progress on Campus Commitments

THURSDAY, OCT. 29, 2020

Dear Members of the Syracuse University Community:

I begin today’s monthly update on our Campus Commitments with an important reminder to participate in the Campus Climate Pulse Survey. If you have already participated, thank you for taking the time to share your concerns and recommendations about how this university is doing in terms of equity, diversity, accessibility and inclusion.

If you have not yet completed the survey, please take time to answer the questions. Here’s how to complete the survey:


  • MySlice Portal: Click on the “Share Your SU Experience” button.
  • Syr.edu Email: Click the survey link included in the weekly emails sent to you on Tuesdays from Damon A. Williams.

Faculty and Staff:

  • Syr.edu Email: Click the survey link included in the weekly emails sent to you on Wednesdays from Damon A. Williams.

The survey will be live through tomorrow, Friday, Oct. 30. Your responses are critical to helping the University understand the diverse experiences of students, faculty and staff and how to foster an environment that is welcoming for all.

We continue to progress on our commitments to our #NotAgainSU students, international students, Jewish students and Indigenous students. Here are updates to the Campus Commitments through Sept. 30:

  • In the University’s expansion of funding for need-based and culturally based scholarships by $5 million, a total of $4.1 million has been raised so far. The following are included in the funding that has been raised.
o   An initiative is underway to grow the Our Time Has Come scholarship endowment from $5 million to $10 million. Through donor gifts, the fund has increased to $7.1 million since spring 2020.

o   In addition to the Kessler Presidential Scholars Program award of $1 million, the University has also received $1 million for the Lotman Book Award. Both of these funds are directed at first-generation students.

  • The fall 2020 cohort of resident advisors has a range of fluency in a second language. Thirty percent are fluent or proficient in a second language, other than English, and 8 percent are fluent or proficient in three languages, including English. At least one student is fluent or proficient in one of 16 different languages.
  • Academic scholarships for international students, which have been provided to incoming students for the past seven years, continue to be awarded. Invest in Success Scholarships have been awarded to international students this year, for the third year in a row. The Syracuse University Greater China Scholarship has also awarded scholarships this year, for a third year. A goal has been established to grow the Greater China Scholarship fund from $250,000 to $1 million in the current campaign.
  • Syracuse Hillel and the STOP Bias program have partnered to develop an anti-Semitism education and prevention training. A run-through of the final presentation of the anti-Semitism training was held on Sept. 9. Twenty-five students will be able to participate in the pilot session.
  • Former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and her team held virtual town halls last week to receive feedback on a proposed framework for the University’s Public Safety Community Review Board, and an update will be provided soon.
  • Earlier this month, University leadership committed to addressing concerns put forth by Indigenous students, totaling seven new commitments. Those commitments are in progress, and updates will be shared in upcoming messages.

Other notable events and progress toward our goals over the past month have included the following.

  • A community discussion was held with Ibram X. Kendi, Ph.D., one of America’s foremost historians and leading anti-racist voices, about critical social issues on Oct. 21. The event was presented by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Hendricks Chapel and The Lender Center for Social Justice.
  • The University announced a permanent installation on campus that acknowledges its relationship with the Onondaga Nation. The University is working with the Indigenous Students at Syracuse (ISAS), Native Student Program, Ongwehonwe Alumni Association and Haudenosaunee/Indigenous alumni representatives on this special recognition.

We are making strides; we are making a positive difference. Again, please take the Campus Climate Pulse Survey, which will help in efforts to elevate our shared work toward ensuring an equitable campus experience for all.


Keith A. Alford
Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer

USA Today Interviews Professor Nina Kohn About Voters with Disabilities

Nina Kohn

How the pandemic has affected voters with disabilities – roughly one-sixth of the US electorate

(USA Today | Pct. 29, 2020) Penny Shaw, 77, who lives in a long-term care facility in Braintree, Massachusetts, normally votes at a polling place she can get to easily in her electric wheelchair. This year, Shaw had to come up with a new plan.

Braintree officials changed polling place locations because of the pandemic, and Shaw worried that her severe muscle weakness from Guillain-Barre syndrome would prevent her from getting to the nearest site. She couldn’t get election officials on the phone to confirm the new location, and she has trouble using a computer. So, she requested an absentee ballot and took it to a post office six blocks away.

“Better to be safe than sorry,” she said. “I don’t want to not vote.”

Shaw’s situation is emblematic of the new difficulties the pandemic has created for voters with disabilities – even as many of them are benefitting from the relaxation of rules regarding who can cast an absentee ballot ...

Nina A. Kohn, law professor at Syracuse University and a distinguished scholar in elder law at Yale Law School, said in a phone interview that while laws like the Voting Rights Act and directives like the one from CMS may outline how voters with disabilities must be accommodated, there are often impediments.

“As a practical matter, how do they obtain that assistance?” she said. “With COVID, many individuals don’t have access to family members and friends who would provide that assistance. In congregate care settings, how to they obtain a mail-in ballot? In many states, they have to request a ballot. How do they obtain that request? Not all have access to the internet. Or they may have muscular problems that make it hard to maneuver around a computer" ...

Read the full article

Professor Mark Nevitt on Pentagon Labyrinth: What’s the Military’s Role in a Contested Election?

Mark P. Nevitt

What’s the Military’s Role in a Contested Election?

(POGO Pentagon Labyrinth | Oct. 27, 2020) We are on the eve of what could be a contentious and disputed election, and a turbulent transition. Given the possibility that we will not know who the winner is for some time after November 3, there are increased concerns about domestic disturbances and violence.

This is prompting many to openly discuss the military’s role in such a scenario. The Military Times recently published an article titled “How the president could invoke martial law.” Several legal scholars have also weighed in on the issue in the past few months.

One is Mark Nevitt, a professor of constitutional law, national security law, environmental law, and climate change law at Syracuse University College of Law. He has a solid military background as well. He started his career as a Naval aviator flying the S-3 Viking; he flew over a thousand hours and had approximately 300 carrier landings. When the Navy retired the S-3s, it sent Mark to Georgetown Law. He spent the rest of his career as a Navy judge advocate general before retiring in 2017 to join academia.

Listen to the segment.

Has the COVID-19 Pandemic Ushered in the Drone Age?

Viviana Bro

By 3L Viviana Bro

COVID-19 has impacted every area of our lives. COVID-19 may have accelerated the incorporation of unmanned aerial vehicles, otherwise known as drones, into our daily lives. Examples include law enforcement activities, assisting in search and rescue operations, inspecting pipelines and infrastructure, photographing real estate, surveying land, disaster assistance, news gathering, and recreational.

Even though the benefits of drone integration seem palpable and extensive, concerns that drone technology may impact and erode privacy and property right have yet to be resolved in the United States. Drones are authorized via remote control by a pilot on the ground and are generally restricted from operating beyond the pilot’s line of sight, over people, above 400 feet, and within certain distances of an airport.

In “Geospatial World,” Mukesh Sharma reports that drone use during the pandemic has been widespread in parts of China and Europe where drones fitted with loudspeakers broadcast coronavirus-related messages and information. The Chinese government deployed drones with infrared cameras to read people’s temperature as they stood on apartment balconies. Some governments deployed drones to enforce COVID-19 restrictions such as forbidden social gatherings that fueled infection dissemination. In the United States and abroad, drones have been used to deliver medical supplies, household goods, and food.

Drone involvement in containing the virus through benign utilitarian missions has contributed to a positive image. Arguably, pre-pandemic drone apprehension is dissipating as drone pervasiveness in the public’s consciousness has increased during lock-downs.

However, many worry that drone proliferation is starting to erode some historical rights. For instance, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has stated that 49 U.S.C grants them the right to create comprehensive regulations for “the use of the navigable airspace … to ensure the safety of aircraft and the efficient use of [that] airspace.” (Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Current Jurisdictional, Property, and Privacy Legal Issues Regarding the Commercial and Recreational Use of Drones, GAO U.S. Government Accountability Office, Sept. 2020). In the GAO report, the Department of Transportation has clarified that the term “navigable airspace” “… includes zero feet (‘the blades of grass’) as the minimum altitude of flight for UAS.”

This understanding clashes with property rights in airspace. Under ancient common law doctrine, property rights in airspace extended to the periphery of the universe (GAO Report). In the 1946 landmark United States v. Causby decision, the U.S. Supreme Court analyzed the concept of ownership of airspace above private property. The Court concluded that landowners have “exclusive control of the immediate reaches of the enveloping atmosphere,” and that they own “at least as much of the space above the ground as they can occupy or use in connection with the land.”

Under the authority to control the navigable airspace, the FAA has granted drones freedom of operation from the ground and up to 400 feet. This authorization, some claim, is incongruent with landowners’ property rights in airspace. To initiate a discussion and bring some uniformity about “the states’ ability to take action against operators of drones who violate existing trespass, privacy and negligence laws,” the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) took the lead in drafting the “Uniform Tort Law Relating to Drones Act” (GAO Report).

According to Brian Wynne and Gary Shapiro in  New Approach to State Drone Laws Balances Privacy and Innovation article, stakeholders flatly rejected the first 2018 version because it presented a “one-sided, unworkable, 200-foot ‘line in the sky’ approach.” The 2019 version has not fared much better. While proponents of this Act perceive it as a compromise between the rights of landowners’ property rights and the drone industry, vociferous critics see is a “radical departure” from current property rights (GAO Report).

While the debate rages in the U.S., other nations, whose views on privacy and property rights differ radically from ours, are moving forward with the development and utilization of drone technology. As a result, these countries are amassing and mining vast amounts of data from their citizens. Some claim that the exploitation of these data allows these countries to make extraordinary scientific leaps, which the United States cannot realize under current notions of privacy and property rights (In the Age of AI, Frontline film, Dec. 2019).

As the pandemic slowly retreats and we emerge from a penumbra of uncertainty, some anticipate a more benign attitude toward drone technology will emerge. A new outlook could enable proponents and opponents to arrive at legislation that makes sense in an increasingly technological world. Three companies (Amazon, UPS, and Wing from Google) have obtained special permissions to deliver beyond visual line of sight. Amazon was granted two patents covering a technology to provide surveillance services via drones, with a “virtual fence” around the property being surveilled.

Balancing privacy and property rights with the social and economic benefits that drones bring is a difficult task. But it must be done because drones are here to stay, whether we like them or not.

Professor Roy Gutterman L'00: The Right to Vote Is "The Essence of a Democratic Society." Exercise It.

Roy Gutterman

(Syracuse Post-Standard | Oct. 22, 2020) Four years ago, more than 130 million Americans voted in the presidential election. Through the swirling chaos of this year’s election, experts predict an even more robust voter turnout.

So far, two weeks before the election, 25 million have already voted, largely attributed to both the heightened interest in the election and the Covid-19 crisis. Locally, early voting opens on Saturday at six locations throughout Onondaga County. Whether it is braving lines and social contact at a polling places on Nov. 3, or casting an absentee ballot by mail, will you be one of those voters?

Though much of the attention is focused on the presidential election, and for good reason, there are congressional and state legislative races and local elections on the ballots. The “down-ticket” races and issues may lack the glitz, glamour and gore of the national election but they still play an important role in the democracy and governmental operations. The lower-ticket races determine everything from the composition of Congress to your local government officials, as well as special ballot issues.

The right to vote has been a hard-fought right that embodies the most basic part of the democratic system: choosing the people and officials who will design, set and enforce laws and public policy, and defining what our society stands for. The right to self-governance through public participation — voting — is so vital, the Constitution and a body of federal and state laws ensure and protect the right to vote ...

Read the full article.

Professor William C. Banks Helps Military Times Explain Martial Law

William C. Banks

How the president could invoke martial law

(Military Times | Oct. 23, 2020) Throughout 2020, America has faced a global pandemic, civil unrest after the death of George Floyd and a contentious election. As a result, an influx of fear about the possibility of the invocation of martial law or unchecked military intervention is circulating around the internet among scholars and civilians alike.

“The fear is certainly understandable, because as I’m sure you know, martial law isn’t described or confined or limited, proscribed in any way by the Constitution or laws,” Bill Banks, a Syracuse professor with an expertise in constitutional and national security law, told Military Times. “If someone has declared martial law, they’re essentially saying that they are the law."

What is ‘martial law’

In short, martial law can be imposed when civil rule fails, temporarily being replaced with military authority in a time of crisis. Though rare, there have been a number of notable U.S. cases where martial law came into play, including in times of war, natural disaster and civic dispute — of which there has been no shortage in 2020.

While no precise definition of martial law exists, a precedent for it exists wherein, “certain civil liberties may be suspended, such as the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, freedom of association, and freedom of movement. And the writ of habeas corpus [the right to a trial before imprisonment] may be suspended," according to documents from JRANK, an online legal encyclopedia ...

Read the full article.

2Ls Penny Quinteros and Margaret Santandreu Win 2020 BSK Competition

BSK Competition Finalists 2020

Congratulations to 2Ls Penny Quinteros and Margaret Santandreu, winners of the 2020 Bond, Schoeneck & King Alternative Dispute Resolution (BSK ADR) Competition. More than 70 watched the final on Zoom, with Quinteros and Santandreu prevailing over the team of 3L Kylie Mason and Shannon Wagner. 

For their final case, argued on Oct. 22, 2020, students negotiated the validity of a sales agreement for a horse, Beautiful Pegasus, after he was stolen from the farm where he was being cared for prior to delivery. Teams had to identify who would be held liable for the theft, and they advocated for a full reimbursement or specific performance.

Third year, second year, LL.M., and JDinteractive online law degree program students took part in the competition. At the final, Mason was named Best Advocate, while Quinteros becomes the first JDinteractive student to win a College of Law intracollegiate advocacy competition. 

"Despite the challenges that a virtual competition brings, students put their creativity to the test and vigorously advocated for their clients," says 3L Frances M. Rivera Reyes, BSK ADR Negotiation Competition Director. "Without a doubt, we have some incredibly talented advocates in our school."

Final judges were The Hon. Joanne F. Alper '72, a retired judge for the Circuit Court of the Seventh Circuit of Virginia; James L. Sonneborn, of Bousquet Holstein PLLC; and Brian Butler L'96, a managing member for Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC.

BSK ADR 2020 Competition Finalists
BSK ADR 2020 Competition Finalists

Professor Shubha Ghosh Analyzes Google Antitrust Suit with Indus News

Shubha Ghosh

(Indus News | Oct. 22, 2020) The US government has sued tech-giant Google, accusing it of illegally protecting its dominant position in the market through deals signed with big companies like Apple. Dr. Shubha Ghosh shares his views on the issue ...

Watch the segment

Institute for Security Policy and Law Experts Featured in JNSLP COVID-19 Special Issue


As the novel coronavirus swept the globe in late 2019 and early 2020, a full-blown pandemic quickly and significantly affected the United States. The public health crisis worsened in the winter and spring of 2020, and it soon became clear that national security institutions and processes were being tested, sometimes in new and unique ways.

This is the background of a special COVID-19 issue of the Journal of National Security Policy and Law, edited by Professor Emeritus William C. Banks: "A stunningly good collection of short articles surveying and detailing many of the most vexing legal and policy problems associated with the pandemic," Banks explains.  

"The articles have been written by internationally recognized subject matter experts who have experience in government, the courts, the cyber domain, public health, human rights, international organizations, domestic military policy and policing, journalism, and several other disciplines," Banks adds. "Some of the articles take a granular look at aspects of the pandemic, while others widen the lens to look at such issues as leadership."

Among the articles, Syracuse University Institute for Security Policy and Law Director the Hon. James. E. Baker discusses "Leadership in a Time of Pandemic" in the journal's lead article, as well as the importance of using the Defense Production Act to its fullest extent during a health crisis.

In his article, Professor Mark P. Nevitt evaluates the responses of different branches of the military and argues that the current public health crisis could be an opportunity to reevaluate the governance of domestic military operations

The Special Issue groups its articles into categories. The first focuses on who is in charge. A second grouping examines pandemic responses from the perspectives of health, privacy, military, and emergency law. A third concerns information from the perspectives of transparency and journalism. A final section includes an important comparative and international law perspective on cybersecurity and the pandemic.

Hunsicker selected for Super Lawyer

Jaime J. Hunsicker

Hancock Estabrook, LLP is proud to announce that Jaime J. Hunsicker has been selected as an “Upstate New York Super Lawyer – Rising Star” for 2020.  Ms. Hunsicker is Counsel in the Elder Law & Special Needs, Tax and Trusts & Estates Practices. Ms. Hunsicker assists clients with trusts, estate planning and retirement planning matters.     

Professor Mark Nevitt in Just Security: Reforming the Insurrection Act

Mark P. Nevitt

(Just Security | Oct. 20) When can the president deploy the federal military on American soil? What are the legal and regulatory restraints in doing so? Throughout the current administration, these fundamental questions of civil-military relations and democratic governance have only grown in importance. This is due, in large part, to the rupture of longstanding norms.  Salient examples include the significantly expanded deployment of military troops to the U.S.-Mexican border as well as the use or threatened use of state and federal military forces (many unidentified) in response to protests this summer in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death.  

The violent clearing of peaceful protestors from Lafayette Square Park on June 1 by both non-military and military forces brought the issue of domestic military operations to American living rooms—as did the President threatening minutes earlier to invoke the Insurrection Act and send active duty military forces into American cities.

The governance stakes are simply too high to rely upon now-violated norms. Congress should reinvigorate its constitutional role in governing domestic military operations and provide bright legal lines addressing the president’s authority to deploy the military domestically.

In this essay and the one to follow, I highlight four legal authorities governing domestic use of military force that are ripe for clarification and congressional action. This essay concerns the Insurrection Act, and my second essay will address the Posse Comitatus Act, Section 502(f) of Title 32 of the U.S. Code, and military operations in the nation’s capital ...

MarketWatch Discusses Google Antitrust Suit with Professor Shubha Ghosh

Shubha Ghosh

(MarketWatch | Oct. 20, 2020) The Justice Department formally charged Alphabet Inc.’s Google with antitrust violations Tuesday, the first major action against Big Tech for its staggering market power and valuations.

“Google is a monopolist in the general search services, search advertising, and general search text advertising markets,” according to the Justice Department’s complaint, filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday morning. “Google aggressively uses its monopoly positions, and the money that flows from them, to continuously foreclose rivals and protect its monopolies.”

Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen said Tuesday morning that Google GOOG GOOGL was charged with violating the Sherman Act with its search and search-advertising businesses after a 16-month investigation ...

... The Justice complaint does not portend an onslaught of legislation against tech companies but could signal consumer-protection laws down the line, Shubha Ghosh, a law professor specializing in tech issues at Syracuse University, told MarketWatch ...

Read the full article.

Professor Roy Gutterman L'00 Challenges Recent "Censorship" by Social Media

Roy Gutterman

(WAER | Oct. 16, 2020) A Syracuse University Newhouse Professor is questioning decisions by Facebook and Twitter to limit access to an article that contained unverified sources and information about Joe Biden’s son.  

“Regardless of how you feel about the story, its sourcing, or even the politics behind it, it’s not a favored practice for many of us to have other people decide what we can and can’t read or view.” said Roy Gutterman, the Director of the Tully Center for Free Speech. “I’m kind of disappointed to see that this article was going to be blocked. I’m always in favor of letting consumers and citizens make judgements on their own" ...

Listen to the segment.

College of Law Adds Sandra Wolk Gelb L'92 to Its Board of Advisors

Sandra Wolk Gelb

The College of Law is pleased to announce the addition of Rochester, NY-based real estate attorney Sandra Wolk Gelb L'92 to its Board of Advisors, an appointment that continues the College's commitment to reflect on its Board the diverse talent and leadership represented by its alumni community. 

“With nearly 30 years in real estate law, as well as business, bankruptcy, and higher education law, Sandra Wolk Gelb brings a wealth of expertise and experience to the Board of Advisors,” says Dean Craig M. Boise. “I look forward to working closely with Sandra as we continue to promote and deliver a first-class 21st-century legal education together. With Sandra’s accession to the Board, we deepen our connection to Rochester, a legal community of significant importance to our College and from which we draw a significant number of student applicants. In fact, we like to think of Syracuse as Rochester’s law school.”

“Sandra's extensive personal and professional connections to Syracuse University, the College of Law, the University of Rochester, and the city of Rochester will benefit our students as the College strengthens its ties to our neighboring city and its legal community, where more than 575 of our alumni live and work,” says Board of Advisors Chair Robert M. Hallenbeck L’83. “Along with the rest of the Board, I welcome Sandra wholeheartedly to our team and look forward to our collaboration.”

Admitted to the New York bar in 1993 and to the US District Court Western District of New York and US Supreme Court bars in 1997, Gelb practiced law at Chamberlain, D’Amanda, Oppenheimer and Greenfield from 1994 until 2015. She also has worked at the City of Rochester Corporation Council's Office, the Trustees’ Office of the Western District of New York US Bankruptcy Court, and the University of Rochester Legal Department. 

Gelb is a member of the Monroe County Bar Association Real Estate Section, and she serves on the Parent Council and the Network Leadership Cabinet for the University of Rochester, where she is a George Eastman Circle Member. Before attending the College of Law, Gelb graduated from the University of Rochester, cum laude, in 1989. 

Gelb and her family have long-standing ties to the College of Law and Syracuse University. Her grandfather, Robert Miller, graduated from the College of Law in 1929; her father, Allan Wolk, took degrees from the College of Law and the Whitman School of Management in 1960; and her uncle, the Hon. Michael Miller, graduated from the College of Law in 1963. Her mother, Joan (Miller) Wolk, is a 1957 graduate of the Syracuse University School of Education. 

Professor Nina Kohn in The Hill: When It Comes to Healthy Aging—Location, Location, Location

Nina Kohn

(The Hill | Oct. 19, 2020) Where we age shapes how we age. What neighborhood we live in can predict everything from life expectancy to likelihood of having a limb amputated to whether we spend our last years in a nursing home.  

The swath of devastation COVID-19 is cutting through communities is the latest evidence. Even in the same city, older adults in neighborhoods with high concentrations of Black and Latino people are at greater risk of dying from COVID-19 than those in majority-white neighborhoods. Those in nursing homes are more likely to contract and die from COVID-19 than their community-dwelling peers. This is not only because of their underlying medical conditions. It’s also because, as research suggests, institutionalization is itself a risk factor for COVID-19.   

Location matters because it determines access to health-enhancing resources and exposure to health hazards. Racially discriminatory zoning and housing market practices have led to communities of color having higher concentrations of health hazards and reduced access to health-enhancing resources, such as greenspacesaccessible health care providers and healthy food. A shortage of providers and hospital closures has left many in rural communities without access to nearby doctors. Individuals living in areas prone to natural disasters face life-long consequences of severe weather events — because of the trauma they inflict on individuals (especially those of lower socio-economic status) and the toll they take on community infrastructure and resources …

Read the full op-ed.

See also:

COVID Restrictions Threaten to Disenfranchise Nursing Home Voters (NBC 4 New York | Oct. 16, 2020)

"The more complex the procedures are for getting a ballot and returning a ballot, the more likely this population is going to be disenfranchised," Kohn said. "I think we should be very concerned that many nursing home residents and assisted living residents won't be able to vote."

Professor Corri Zoli Joins HDIAC Podcast to Discuss Culture and Civil-Military Relations

Corri Zoli

The Homeland Defense and Security Information Analysis Center (HDIAC) is a Department of Defense Information Analysis Center sponsored by the Defense Technical Information Center.

Rethinking Culture in the Context of Civil-Military Relations: Part 1 of 3

This podcast is the first in a multi-part series discussing the impact of culture in the context of civil-military relations. In this episode, Dr. Corri Zoli and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs’ Dr. Robert Rubinstein explore definitions of culture and discuss how different organizational cultures have led the U.S. military and humanitarian groups to pursue divergent on-the-ground security strategies in conflict zones.

Rethinking Culture in the Context of Civil-Military Relations: Part 2 of 3

In Part 2 of Rethinking Culture in the Context of Civil-Military Relations, Dr. Rubinstein and Dr. Zoli discuss the strategic effectiveness of DoD efforts to engage culturally in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as debate enduring questions regarding these efforts’ processes and outcomes.

Rethinking Culture in the Context of Civil-Military Relations: Part 3 of 3

In the third installment of Rethinking Culture in the Context of Civil-Military Relations, Dr. Zoli and Dr. Rubinstein continue the conversation around different cultural models of risk and security and discuss the broader impacts of taking a militarized approach to security abroad. 

King included in Upstate New York Super Lawyers

Mary C. King

Hancock Estabrook, LLP is proud to announce that Mary C. King has been selected for inclusion in “Upstate New York Super Lawyers” for 2020.  Ms. King is a partner in the Trusts & Estates, Elder Law & Special Needs, and Family Business Succession Planning Practices.  

Hancock-Fish included in Super Lawyers 2020

Marion Hancock-Fish

Hancock Estabrook, LLP is proud to announce that Marion H. Fish has been selected for inclusion in “Upstate New York Super Lawyers” for 2020.  Ms. Fish is a partner in the Trusts & Estates, Family Business Succession Planning, Tax, Corporate and Elder Law & Special Needs Practices. 

Dean Craig M. Boise Joins Governing Advisory Council of New ABA Legal Education Police Practices Consortium

Dean Craig M. Boise

Syracuse University College of Law Dean Craig M. Boise has been appointed to a 10-member Advisory Council that will govern the newly formed Legal Education Police Practices Consortium, created by the American Bar Association in collaboration with law schools across the country.

As a member of the Advisory Council, Dean Boise will help lead Consortium efforts to leverage expertise across the ABA and among collaborating law schools to develop projects that promote better police practices throughout the United States. To date, 52 law schools—including the College of Law—have agreed to participate in the Consortium for the next five years.

"I am proud that Syracuse is a founding participant in the ABA Legal Education Police Practices Consortium. As a former police officer and commissioner on the Cleveland, OH, Community Police Commission, I care deeply about building positive community/police relations,” says Dean Boise. “Syracuse is fully committed to helping the Consortium use the combined power of the Bar Associations and law schools to effect meaningful change to police practices that have for too long victimized communities of color and other marginalized groups.”

Boise adds, "The Consortium also will provide our law students with meaningful opportunities to contribute to  the imperative work of police reform locally and nationally."

“The ABA has the ability to bring together diverse groups to address these problems and the duty to act to help bring racial equality to our criminal justice system,” says ABA President Patricia Lee Refo. “The Consortium will engage law students and legal experts from around the country in studying and forming solutions to help improve policing practices in our communities.”

The Consortium is housed within the ABA Criminal Justice Section. It aims to achieve widespread adoption of model police practices; advancement of racial equity in the criminal justice system; elimination of tactics that are racially motivated or have a disparate impact based on race; engagement with police departments and local, state, and national leaders; support for scholarship addressing police reform; promotion of public commentary and advocacy; and creation of model curricula for law schools related to the Consortium’s initiatives.

Kurt Wimmer L’85 Discusses Privacy, Data Protection, and Cybersecurity

Kurt Wimmer L'85

By 3L John Mercurio

On Oct. 6, 2020, Kurt Wimmer L’85, Chair of the Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice Group (US) at Covington & Burling LLP, visited with students from Professor Lauryn Gouldin’s Privacy Law, Professor Keli Perrin’s Cybersecurity Law and Policy, and Professor Patrick Rao’s Corporate Compliance Law classes.

Wimmer covered a wide variety of privacy law topics, including the development of privacy law in countries around the world; the impact of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) within and outside of the European Union; and emerging changes and proposals regarding privacy law in the United States. 

Wimmer explained that the GDPR has played a major role in guiding the development of privacy and data protection law around globe, but countries are also cognizant of the need to tailor privacy laws to their own needs. He highlighted India as an example of a country currently designing its own system of privacy and data protection laws, and he suggested that their initiative may motivate other countries to follow suit.

In the US, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has carved out its own role in privacy law and data protection matters by utilizing its ability to punish deceptive acts or practices, explained Wimmer. However, he clarified that the FTC lacks rule-making authority in this arena and that some individuals within the privacy law sector support the creation of an agency directly responsible for data protection in the US.

Wimmer’s extensive knowledge of data protection and cybersecurity law provided students an essential glimpse into the life of a privacy law attorney. He provided invaluable advice for those interested in pursuing legal careers focused on this growing area of the law.

Kurt Wimmer L'85 speaks to Syracuse law students in october 2020.
Kurt Wimmer L'85 speaks to Syracuse law students in October 2020.

Professor Nina Kohn in WaPo: Coronavirus Might Keep Nursing Homes Residents from Voting

Nina Kohn

Coronavirus isolated nursing home residents—Now it might keep them from voting

By Professor Nina Kohn

(The Washington Post | Oct. 14, 2020) It has been a brutal year for residents of nursing homes. More than 40 percent of coronavirus deaths are associated with long-term care facilities. Forced isolation, including bans on family visits, has led to a secondary epidemic of loneliness and neglect. Now, nursing home residents face yet another indignity: the prospect that they will be unable to vote in the presidential election.

Nursing home residents have always faced challenges voting — because of limited mobility, physical infirmity and the restrictive reality of institutional life. But there were many ways to get help: Residents who were mobile and had access to transportation could vote at general polling places, families could freely visit to help residents vote by mail, and, in some states, election officials conducted voting in nursing homes. Now, the novel coronavirus has changed much of that: In-person voting risks infection, and visitors who might help with mail-in voting are barred from many homes. Short-staffed and still concentrating on other challenges posed by the pandemic, facilities do not seem ready to step up.

“Facilities throughout the state have made little or no efforts to assist residents” to vote by mail in “what may be the most important election in their lifetimes,” representatives of a dozen community advocacy groups wrote to Pennsylvania health officials late last month …

Read the full article.

Professor Nina Kohn in TIME: A Perfect Storm of Disenfranchisement in Nursing Homes

Nina Kohn

Nursing Home Residents Struggle to Vote Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic

(TIME | Oct. 13, 2020) Ivan Lakos was born in Hungary and came to the United States in 1951 as a displaced person after World War II. He became a citizen after about five years and has voted consistently ever since. But this year, with COVID-19 cases again on the rise in the U.S., the 96-year-old worried whether he’d be able to continue that tradition.

Lakos lives in a skilled nursing home at the Carol Woods Retirement Community in North Carolina, which is home to roughly 500 residents and usually hosts its own polling place with volunteers on hand to help residents fill out ballots and navigate voting machines. But this year, that isn’t an option for him. To protect against COVID-19, the facility has restricted its activities and is currently banning visitors inside the buildings. For Lakos—and roughly 2.2 million other people like him who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities across the country—that presents a significant barrier to enfranchisement.

“We’re really concerned about folks who are in nursing homes and residential facilities,” says Michelle Bishop, voting rights specialist at the National Disability Rights Network. “A lot of the ways that we relied on getting the ballot to people who lived in nursing homes and long-term care facilities have been eliminated by the pandemic: ...

... In Louisiana and North Carolina, where Lakos lives, state laws prevent residential care facility workers from helping with ballots at all. Kohn at Syracuse says this goes against the Voting Rights Act, but when a North Carolina resident sued the state over the issue this summer, a federal court found only that voter’s rights had been violated and that the ban on assistance could continue.

Even in places where staff can assist, plenty of challenges remain. Many nursing home residents have some level of memory loss or mental impairment, and while this does not mean they lose their right to vote, it may cause staff to make arbitrary judgments about who gets to vote. Some states also bar facility staff from answering questions about candidates’ platforms to avoid influencing residents, and others require an official witness in an attempt to target voter fraud that largely does not exist.

“When states create procedural barriers to voting, many people aren’t able to comply. And nursing home residents and long term care residents more broadly, are populations of people who are often not going to be able to clear those hurdles,” says Kohn. “It really is a perfect storm for disenfranchising nursing home residents" ...

Read the full article.

Syracuse University Bay Area Alumni Join Roundtable Discussion on "Leadership in a New Diverse Dynamic"

Dean Craig M. Boise

Syracuse University's San Francisco Regional Council held a virtual roundtable on "Leadership in a New Diverse Dynamic" for Bay Area alumni on Oct. 6, 2020. Regional Council Co-Chair Peter Su L’94, Chief IP Officer of Moley Robotics and Co-Founding Partner of Radlo & Su, moderated what he called a "dream team" panel comprising University Trustee Elliott Portnoy ’86, Global CEO, Dentons; Kathi Vidal ’92, Managing Partner, Silicon Valley Office, Winston & Strawn LLP; and Craig M. Boise, Dean and Professor of Law, Syracuse University College of Law.

Su convened the roundtable at a "key moment for leaders to articulate their visions and to set their organizations on the right path."

The roundtable explored how the "new dynamics" of diversity are evolving organizations, universities, law firms, and the economy, and how disruptive forces are challenging universities and the legal profession in particular. Panelists agreed on the imperative of diversity and inclusion as an essential component of a thriving economy and discussed what key policies could unite the United States after the November 2020 election.

"The issues of diversity and leadership in this new dynamic are very much at the heart of SU's initiatives for 2020 and beyond," observed SU Trustee Portnoy, who leads the one of the world's largest law firms, operating in 75 countries. "As a University, we have navigated our share of campus leadership opportunities and challenges, and we continue to redouble our efforts to create an inclusive and diverse environment on campus and to use our reach and resources to really improve communities around the world."

Acknowledging systemic challenges for leadership in the 21st century, Vidal—a nationally recognized IP litigator and federal circuit strategist—observed that "as we re-shape, we need to look to all our leaders, and we need to look at potential, not just past experience." She noted that at Winston & Strawn, an international law firm with nearly 1,000 attorneys, “We all value diversity and inclusion, but being aligned in values is not enough. We really have to work through action and be accountable for results.”

Dean Boise called attention to the "tremendous pipeline issue" when it comes to fostering leadership diversity. "That goes back to a systemic problem in society—we have hollowed out the middle class, particularly the Black middle class, and there's been a stagnation of wages for decades now." Nevertheless, he continued, across industries organizational and procedural changes continue to put values of equity into practice. “At the College of Law, I’ve made diversity a preferred qualification for hiring staff and faculty. That places the focus on diversity and inclusion within our process.”

Addressing national unity after a tumultuous 2020, Portnoy said change must start “with leadership at the highest level listening with a more empathetic ear and focusing intently on the needs of communities of color that have been hit particularly hard by COVID-19, including their health care, economics, housing, and employment."

At the conclusion of the moderated discussion, Syracuse University alumni leaders in the audience—which included captains of industry in technology, trade, banking, law, and medicine—engaged the panelists during a Q&A session that focused on the practice of diversifying leadership in law firms and boardrooms.

Professor Mark Nevitt in Newsweek: Is There a "Climate Change Voter"?

Mark P. Nevitt

The First Day the U.S. Can Legally Withdraw From the Paris Agreement Is November 4

(Newsweek | Oct. 9, 2020) The first day the U.S. can legally withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord is November 4—the day after the presidential election. The outcome will decide whether the country will remain part of the agreement, with Biden pledging to opt back in and Trump to continue the withdrawal process.

Climate change is one of the key issues of the forthcoming election for many people in the U.S. Research from Pew published October 6 showed it is considered a very important issue by 42 percent of registered voters. A further 26 percent said it was somewhat important.

How much climate change will influence the outcome of the election remains to be seen, but there is speculation it could be significant ...

... Mark P. Nevitt, associate professor of law at Syracuse University, specializes in climate change law and policy. He told Newsweek it is too early to tell whether 2020 will see the rise of the "climate change voter," but said "there is certainly more energy around climate change during a presidential election than at any time in my lifetime" ...

Read the full article.

Current National Security Concerns: WAER Interviews Professor William C. Banks

William C. Banks

Syracuse National Security Expert Shares Concerns with White House, Military Officials in Quarantine

(WAER | Oct. 9, 2020) Positive coronavirus cases in the White House and among top US military leaders have raised the concern of one Syracuse University International Relations expert regarding the nation’s national security.  Officials out for medical treatment or in quarantine from exposure raises questions about leadership. 

A president with COVID 19, Top generals infected or isolated … Syracuse University Law and International Relations Professor William Banks agrees some concern is warranted.

“Attention on the domestic political situation and the President’s dominance of the news and his wellbeing is obscuring what else might be going on in the world that should be drawing some of our attention.” 

He assures people no one in the highest military or intelligence rolls has dropped the ball… but with the infections, there are worries about leadership or chain of command.

“They’ve gamed and exercised and rehearsed for circumstances like these, but not in real time, and not with COVID.  So we’ll have to stay tuned to see how the circumstances change as the days go forward" ...

Read the full article.

College of Law Advocacy Program Ranked #7 Nationally in Trial Competition Performance

College of Law

Based on the performance of students in 2019-2020 advocacy trial competitions, Syracuse University College of Law has risen to #7 in the nation in the Fordham University School of Law Trial Competition Performance Rankings, tied with Pacific McGeorge School of Law and University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

Described as an "objective snapshot of achievement," Fordham's rankings measure a law school's performance in intercollegiate trial competitions in each academic year, starting with 2016-2017. Points are allocated for semifinal and better finishes in single tournament national competitions and major regionals.

Syracuse's seventh place ranking comes after a notable year for the College of Law’s Advocacy Program. High-profile team and individual successes included winning the regionals of the National Moot Court Competition and the Constance Baker Motley Mock Trial Competition; advancing two teams to the National Trial Competition; winning the New York State Tiffany Cup for the second year in a row; and invitations to the prestigious Top Gun and Tournament of Champions competitions.

Additionally, the College of Law hosted three intercollegiate competitions in fall 2019, including the first annual Syracuse National Trial Competition.

“Our students delivered great results throughout the year, and their hard work and superb trial skill are recognized in our top 10 national ranking," says Professor Todd Berger, Faculty Director of Advocacy Programs. "Volunteer coaches are a big part of our success. I am deeply grateful to our alumni and friends who take time out of their busy schedules to teach our students how to be the best advocates they can be, preparing them not only for intense competition but for their careers as effective courtroom advocates for their clients.”

"Congratulations to Professor Berger, and above all, to the students and graduates of our stellar Advocacy Program and the Travis H.D. Lewin Advocacy Honors Society," says Dean Craig M. Boise. "What a year it has been! Although not a complete measure of our entire program, our Trial Competition Performance rank rightly sheds a bright light on the sharp skills and unwavering dedication of our student competitors, as well as their coaches and supporters across the entire College of Law community."

The high placement in the Fordham Law Trial Competition Performance Rankings is just the latest recognition of the College of Law's renowned Advocacy Program. In its 2021 rankings, U.S. News & World Report places Syracuse’s Advocacy Program #15 in the nation, up from 27th for 2020.

Hutcheson joins Florio Perrucci Steinhardt Cappelli Tipton & Taylor LLC

William E. Hutcheson

Florio Perrucci Steinhardt Cappelli Tipton & Taylor LLC, is pleased to welcome new associate attorney, William Hutcheson. Hutcheson works from the firm’s Philipsburg office where he supports several practice areas. Hutcheson began his legal career as a law clerk to the Honorable H. Matthew Curry, J.S.C. in Warren County, New Jersey. During law school, he enrolled in numerous courses that incorporated international cultural immersion sessions. This allowed Hutcheson to travel to France, Germany, Lichtenstein, and Switzerland to gain new perspectives on the law. Additionally, he worked with Syracuse University College of Law’s low-income taxpayer clinic and served as a mentor to international students pursuing their LLM degree in American Law. Prior to law school, Hutcheson worked in the investment industry where he was a hedge fund and real estate analyst overseeing more than $4 billion in investments. He graduated from Syracuse University College of Law and earned a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Pennsylvania State University – Harrisburg. 

Smiley at helm of Sports Handle

Brett A. Smiley

Brett Smiley is editor-in-chief of Sports Handle, a publication that focuses on the U.S. sports betting industry -- business, legal matters, legislation, and consumer behavior. Smiley co-founded the website in May 2017 and launched it in October 2017 after three years at FOX Sports, where he covered the NFL and MLB. Smiley graduated with a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in 2004 and Syracuse University College of Law in 2007. Upon graduation, he practiced commercial litigation as an associate at the law firm Davidoff, Malito & Hutcher in New York City, before leaving in 2009 to pursue his passions for a career in writing, reporting, and sports. Sports Handle was acquired jointly in November 2018 by daily fantasy sports leader RotoGrinders and the gambling publication US Bets. Smiley remains at the helm of Sports Handle, while also contributing to business development. and other websites in the network. https://sportshandle.com/ 

Chmielowiec included in 2020 Super Lawyers

Bond, Schoeneck & King is pleased to announce that Kate Chmielowiec has been selected for inclusion in 2020 Super Lawyers. 

Phillips included in 2020 Super Lawyers

Bond, Schoeneck & King is pleased to announce that Erin S. Phillips has been selected for inclusion in 2020 Super Lawyers. 

Billington included in 2020 Super Lawyers

Bond, Schoeneck & King is pleased to announce that Michelle R. Billington has been selected for inclusion in 2020 Super Lawyers. 

Reid included in 2020 Super Lawyers

Bond, Schoeneck & King is pleased to announce that Kate I. Reid has been selected for inclusion in 2020 Super Lawyers. 

Rhinehardt included in 2020 Super Lawyers

Bond, Schoeneck & King is pleased to announce that Amy G. Rhinehardt has been selected for inclusion in 2020 Super Lawyers.

Campbell included in 2020 Super Lawyers

Bond, Schoeneck & King is pleased to announce that Stephanie M. Campbell has been selected for inclusion in 2020 Super Lawyers.

Bettinger included in 2020 Super Lawyers

Bond, Schoeneck & King is pleased to announce that Blaine T. Bettinger has been selected for inclusion 2020 Super Lawyers.

Mastroleo included in 2020 Super Lawyers

Bond, Schoeneck & King is pleased to announce that Adam P. Mastroleo has been selected for inclusion in 2020 Super Lawyers.

Price included in 2020 Super Lawyers

Bond, Schoeneck & King is pleased to announce that Fred J.M. Price has been selected for inclusion in 2020 Super Lawyers.

Klein included in 2020 Super Lawyers

Bond, Schoeneck & King is pleased to announce that ​Stuart F. Klein has been selected for inclusion in 2020 Super Lawyers

Interdisciplinary Approaches to Elder Justice Virtual Conference to Be Held Oct. 15-16

Jennifer Lewellyn and Chris Marshall

The potential benefits of restorative practices to address elder abuse and exploitation are the focus of a two-day virtual conference taking place Oct. 15-16, sponsored by the College of Law, Falk College and its School of Social Work, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and the Aging Studies Institute. The symposium also received CUSE Grant funding.

“Interdisciplinary Approaches to Elder Justice: Unlocking the Potential of Restorative Practices,” is free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required. Intended for professionals in social work, law, medicine, nursing, government, and psychiatry, the symposium will feature scholars and practitioners from around the world, including two distinguished international speakers:

  • Jennifer Llewellyn, professor of law, Yogis and Keddy Chair in Human Rights Law, Dalhousie University Schulich School of Law, Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • Chris Marshall, Diana Unwin Chair in Restorative Justice, University of Victoria School of Government, Wellington, New Zealand

With a focus on the strengths and challenges of restorative models, the conference will feature short presentations, panel discussions, break-out groups and circles designed to explore implementation barriers and appropriate methods for supporting and maintaining positive outcomes.

Conference organizers Professors Mary Helen McNeal, of the College of Law, and Maria Brown, Falk College’s School of Social Work and the Aging Studies Institute, have researched and published on this topic. Their most recent publication, “Addressing elder abuse: service provider perspectives on the potential of restorative processes,” appeared in the Journal of Elder Abuse & Neglect.  Their work also includes advocacy and legal support of elders in the Syracuse community facing abuse and financial exploitation.

According to the organizers, few models exist that apply restorative principles to elder abuse, and existing research and scholarship measuring successful interventions and preventions is limited. By gathering a dynamic group of international scholars working at the intersection of restorative practices and elder justice, the researchers anticipate further innovations in responding to elder abuse.

Restorative processes are based on problem-solving models used by indigenous groups, and have been adapted to address a range of social problems, including school disciplinary matters, juvenile offenses, disputes on college campuses, and even domestic violence.  They offer alternative approaches to address harm by bringing together the person harmed, the perpetrator and the community to address what happened, repair the relationships and generate a plan for future conduct.

Older adults, particularly those experiencing physical and cognitive decline, often rely on family and friends for care and support to remain independent. Unfortunately, the same individuals who help them maintain their independence can take advantage of their need for support, resulting in physical, emotional, or sexual abuse; financial exploitation; or neglect.

Elder abuse is experienced by 15.7 percent adults aged 60 and older, although only 1 in 24 cases is reported, according to the World Health Organization. Research indicates family members, usually adult children and spouses, are the most frequent perpetrators. While elder abuse can be addressed in many ways, such as social service interventions and civil and criminal justice responses, these remedies are not always viable options when a family member is responsible for committing the harm. And frequently, the older adult does not want to pursue any action against a family member.

Restorative processes offer another avenue for elder justice, with the added benefits of helping break social isolation that makes the older adult vulnerable to abuse while supporting caregivers whose struggles may be leading to the abuse.

For more information about the conference, contact Professor Mary Helen McNeal at mhmcneal@law.syr.edu.

Audrey Bimbi and Carly Cazer Win 2020 Mackenzie Hughes LLP Edmund H. Lewis Appellate Advocacy Competition

Carly Cazer and Audrey Bimbi

Third-year students Audrey Bimbi (right) and Carly Cazer prevailed in the 49th Mackenzie Hughes LLP Edmund H. Lewis Appellate Advocacy Competition. The final round of the competition took place on Oct. 1, 2020, via Zoom. This online final marked the first ever virtual moot court competition hosted by the Travis H.D. Lewin Advocacy Honor Society at the College of Law. In addition to winning the competition, Cazer and Bimbi also won the award for Best Overall Brief, and Bimbi was awarded Best Oralist in the Final Round. 

"I congratulate both Carly and Audrey on their advocacy performance and on their clean sweep of awards for the competition!" says Professor Todd A. Berger, Director of Advocacy Programs. "Well done also to the second-place team of 2Ls Morgan Keely Hutchinson and Morgan Steele, and all of this year's competitors. Each team's hard work and competitive spirit made the competition a success." 

Sponsored by Syracuse law firm Mackenzie Hughes LLP, this competition is open to two-person teams consisting of second and third-year Syracuse law students. The competition is named for the Hon. Edmund H. Lewis L'1909, a distinguished alumnus of Syracuse University College of Law, a partner at Mackenzie Hughes, and a Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals. 

Each year, volunteer judges evaluate the teams’ written appellate briefs as well as oral argument performance through multiple rounds. This year's final round judges were three distinguished Syracuse law alumni: the Hon. William Q. Hayes L'83, District Judge, District Court for the Southern District of California; the Hon. Stewart D. Aaron L'83, Magistrate Judge, US District Court for the Southern District of New York; and the Hon. Theodore McKee L'75, Circuit Judge, US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. 

In addition, 15 attorneys—including alumni of both the College of Law and University, as well as Mackenzie Hughes employees—judged the preliminary, quarterfinal, and semifinal rounds. Thank you to Roy Gutterman L'00, Ronnie White L'13, Anthony Johnston L'15, Danielle Blackaby L'16, Hillary Anderson L'17, Shannon Fiedler L'17, David Katz L'17, and Melissa Green L'18; Neil Smith '02; and Craig Atlas, Josh Cotter, Mollie A. Dapolito, Dean DiPilato, Bradley Hunt, and James Nicoll. 

This year’s problem, Mervin Mistletoe v. United States, involved an 88-year-old man who is alleged to have fled from Alaska to Hawaii in order to avoid a bench warrant arising from an original charge of property damage. The current case refers to 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(2) and whether the defendant further lied on a Firearms Transaction Record Form 4473 when he attested, after purchasing guns in his new state, that he was not a "fugitive from justice" with an "intent to avoid prosecution."

Professors Banks and Driesen Publish on "Implied Presidential and Congressional Powers"

William Banks and David Driesen
Implied Presidential and Congressional Powers. Cardozo Law Review 41:4 (2020).

A significant question of constitutional law has received a lot of attention lately—whether the Department of Justice (DOJ) may indict a sitting President. The Constitution’s text does not prohibit indictment of a sitting President, so the idea that he has the power to avoid indictment while in office raises an issue of implied presidential power.

This Article compares the modern Supreme Court’s treatment of implied presidential power to its treatment of implied congressional power across a wide variety of subject matter areas. It takes care to define implied powers, something neglected in the literature. That definition leads to the conclusion already articulated, that presidential indictment, while usually characterized as an immunity issue, is also an implied power issue.

The literature on implied powers usually focuses on a specific implied power or the implied powers of a particular branch of government, but it does not compare the application of implied power concepts to different branches of government. The President’s power over foreign affairs and national security, which is primarily an implied power, has received the most scholarly attention. Former Yale Law School Dean Harold Koh once opined that the President almost always wins in foreign affairs cases. 

Koh and many other constitutional scholars maintained that the judiciary cooperated in increasing the implied power of the President over foreign affairs and national security by habitually deferring to or declining to review presidential initiatives in that area ...

Professor Doron Dorfman Reweighs Medical Civil Rights in Stanford Law Review

Doron Dorfman
Reweighing Medical Civil Rights. Stanford Law Review 72 (2020). (With Rabia Belt.)

Civil rights law is at a crossroads. It’s tough to find vindication for injustice claims in the courts. Scholars and advocates are looking elsewhere for legal paradigms that will help provide relief.

Disability law seems seductive. Despite the general parsimoniousness of U.S. welfare benefits, disabled people can receive tax breaks, financial payments, and health care. Disability accommodations and modifications oblige employers, government programs, and purveyors of public accommodations to provide remedies to the mismatch between people’s disabilities and their services and programs. 

Disabled people may escape the weight of victim-blaming and fault attributed to others who ask for recognition and benefits from the government and from law. Social science research has found that in industrialized Western countries, people with disabilities are considered highly deserving of social protection (an identity category second only to that of older people).

The disability community is a diverse group. It includes people with mobility, visual, hearing, mental, and intellectual impairments (just to name a few) whose various needs require multiple degrees of support and care. It also comprises people of different genders, classes, and races, and who experience different types of stigma and discriminatory patterns.

As the original Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) recognized, what unites people in all of those categories is stigma and subordination. They all experienced a history of purposeful unequal treatment by a society skeptical of their abilities and potential. 

Craig Konnoth’s Article, using “medical civil rights” as an angle onto disability, captures the ostensible benefits of disability legal claiming. His Article provides voluminous coverage of examples of individuals and communities framing their grievances and difficulties in medical terms within the law. He also charts out how this strategy may offer benefits that other non-medical framing does not. 

We partially agree with him on this, but we also believe that he does not fully account for the weight on the other side of the negative aspects of medical framing. The remainder of our Response notes some of these negative aspects.

Our Response unfolds as follows. We first discuss the benefits and recognition granted to medicalized individuals. We then contextualize these benefits by noting the drawbacks to medicalization. Finally, we conclude by proposing a new way forward for disability justice ...

Professor William C. Banks Explains Presidential Transfer of Power to WSYR

William C. Banks

President Trump with COVID: What could transpire if his condition worsens?

(WSYR | Oct. 2, 2020) President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for COVID-19, according to multiple sources. As of Friday, the president only had minor symptoms, but what would happen with the election about a month away if his condition worsens?

The 25th Amendment primarily deals with what would occur if a president passes away, but it also talks about what happens if a president can’t fulfill his duties. 

William Banks, a law professor at Syracuse University, says, “If there is a determination that he is unable to fulfill his duties, then he can temporarily or permanently, should the president succumb to the virus, the duties can be passed along to his successor, who in this case would be Vice President Pence.”

America has never had to deal with COVID-19, but the amendment has been used when presidents have gone to the hospital for even minor surgeries. 

“So now, even on a few occasions, say where a president has gone under anesthesia for a minor procedure like a colonoscopy, he has transferred his power to the vice president for the period of time needed to complete the procedure,” Professor Banks said. “With the president hospitalized, he should do the same with Vice President Pence" ...

Watch the segment.

JAMA Network Quotes Professor Nina Kohn on Elders and Voting

Nina Kohn

Helping People With Dementia Exercise Their Right to Vote

(JAMA Network | Sept. 30, 2020) The novel coronavirus pandemic and a US Postal Service slowdown may not be the only hurdles facing people with dementia who want to vote in the 2020 general election.

Nearly 6 million people in the US have some form of the condition, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates, and they represent almost 2.5% of the 253.8 million US residents who are of voting age.

The oldest voters, those aged 60 years or older, are more likely to vote than younger age groups, according to the United States Elections Project; the lion’s share of people with dementia fall into that demographic. While the pandemic is expected to present unprecedented logistical obstacles, especially for those living in nursing homes, having dementia doesn’t revoke a person’s fundamental right to cast a ballot ...

... Some observers have raised concerns that votes cast by people with dementia might actually represent the views of those assisting them, although there’s little evidence of voter fraud in nursing homes, said Nina Kohn, JD, an elder law specialist at the Syracuse University College of Law who studies the civil rights of individuals with diminished cognitive capacity.

“If an individual cannot express a voting preference, then any vote by that person is not really a vote by that person,” Kohn acknowledged. “You can’t vote for somebody else even if you’re extremely confident how that individual would vote" ...

Read the full article.

Professor William C. Banks on Spectrum: Election Could Go Off the Rails

William C. Banks

Trump, The Blue Shift, and The Legal Aftermath

(Spectrum Capital Tonight | Oct. 1, 2020) For months, President Trump has been laying the groundwork to claim that, if he loses the election, it must be because the election was rigged. 

In fact, he said just that in August:

“The only way we’re going to lose this election is if the election is rigged—remember that. So we have to be very careful. . . The only way they’re (Democrats) going to win is that way. And we can’t let that happen.” 

The president is specifically targeting mail-in voting, claiming it’s “dangerous for this country because of cheaters” and that it’s an invitation for fraud ...

... William Banks, a professor of law and public affairs at Syracuse University told Capital Tonight, he’s more than a little worried. 

“On a scale of one to 10, I’d say my worry is about a nine,” Banks said. “There are several plausible scenarios that could cause this election to go off the rails.”

One scenario? Because of partisan fighting around mail-in ballots, some key states like Pennsylvania or Florida won’t get their votes into the Electoral College by December 14, the date the electors meet and cast their ballots for president and vice president. 

Professor Banks explains that if neither candidate gets to 270 electoral votes, the election would be decided by the House of Representatives.

“On January 6, they’re supposed to count the votes. If neither candidate has 270 votes because of the circumstances you just described, there will be 1 vote per state, so 50 potential votes,” Banks explained. 

Each state would determine which candidate had won their electoral votes and they would pass that information along to the House. 

Under this scenario, the Republicans would be likely winners.

“As things stand now, there are more Republican-controlled states than Democratic-controlled states,” Banks explained ...

Read the full article

Professor Mark Nevitt: Climate Change, Arctic Security, & Why the US Should Join the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea

Mark P. Nevitt

(Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law | Sept. 30, 2020) Climate change is transforming the Arctic in new and dramatic ways. According to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Arctic is warming two to three times the rate of the rest of the planet. And this month’s “United in Science 2020” report found that the Arctic sea ice extent was the lowest on record for July. Due to a pernicious feedback melting loop, melting permafrost, and the continual possibility of cataclysmic “green swan” events, worldwide sea level rise will be further impacted by Arctic events. What happens in the Arctic does not necessarily stay in the Arctic.

In addition, climate change is both opening maritime trade routes and offering the possibility of natural resource extraction on the Arctic’s continental shelf. It is also creating a whole new operational domain for the world’s militaries.

Unlike Antarctica—which is also being dramatically impacted by climate change—the Arctic lacks a comprehensive, Arctic-specific treaty. The Arctic region is largely governed by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the increasingly important work of the Arctic Council, and a hodgepodge of laws and bilateral agreements. But climate change is increasingly stressing this legal and policy framework.

UNCLOS, aptly described as “A Constitution of the Oceans,” remains one of the most comprehensive and complex international law treaties ever negotiated. It will take on increased importance as the Arctic adjusts to its 21st century climate reality. The United States, however, remains the only Arctic Council member that is not party to UNCLOS. This is short-sighted and contrary to U.S. national security, environmental, and economic interests. Despite continued U.S. intransigence on law of the sea ratification, a remarkably diverse coalition of American national security experts, environmentalists, and business interests support the United States becoming a party to UNCLOS. To be sure, the United States accepts UNCLOS’s key navigational provisions as binding as a matter of customary international law. But as a non-party to UNCLOS, the United States increasingly lacks a “seat at the table” on core law of the sea matters and cannot avail itself of its adjudicatory bodies. It also cannot take advantage of key UNCLOS provisions, such as submitting information to establish the outer limits of Alaska’s continental shelf. Climate change’s opening of maritime trade routes and the possibility for natural resource extraction reinforces the need for the U.S. Senate to provide its advice and consent on this critical treaty …

Read the full article.

BBI Chairman Peter Blanck to Address Reed Smith’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit

Peter Blanck

Dr. Peter Blanck, chairman of the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University, will present at Reed Smith’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit his recent ground-breaking research regarding the lack of disability diversity in the legal profession. In a recent study commissioned by the ABA to focus on non-visible identities in law, he and his co-authors found that while a quarter of respondents said they had a health condition, impairment, or disability, only a third of those respondents identified as disabled.

Dr. Blanck’s address will honor October’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) and the 30th Anniversary of the ADA. He will discuss BBI’s newly funded national Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Disability Inclusive Employment Policy (DIEP), and leading efforts at the Southeast ADA Center.

Reed Smith will kick off its Global Diversity Awareness month in October with its annual Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit. This year’s virtual event will focus on racial justice and intersectionality.

Date/Time: October 1, 2020, 11:00 AM – 3:30 PM EDT

Registration Link: 2020 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit

Featuring Feminista Jones, Intersectionality Expert, Author & Award-Winning Blogger, as our keynote presenter.

Speakers: John Iino, Alexander Y. Thomas, M. Tamara Box ,Peter M. Ellis

The opening panel, “How Major Organizations are Leading Change in Racial Equity,“ features special guest speakers:

Sophie Chandauka, Global COO Shared Services and Banking Operations at Morgan Stanley

Kamau Coar, General Counsel at Heidrick & Struggles

Peter Ellis, Reed Smith Senior Management Team – Chair of Litigation

Lauren Leahy, Chief Legal Officer at Pizza Hut

Cathy Tang, Chief Legal Officer at Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation

Difficult topics faced by individuals and businesses alike will be discussed in breakout sessions, covering issues such as:

Disrupting racism: From performative allyship to anti-racism

Creating a culture inclusive of mixed-visible and non-visible diversity

Leveraging employee resource groups to build power through collaboration

Strategies for overcoming impostor syndrome

Lasting impacts of the pandemic on persons with disabilities

Understanding the intersection of race and class

The Detroit News Speaks to Professor Nina Kohn About Voting & Michigan Nursing Homes

Nina Kohn

COVID-19 restrictions threaten to curb voting at Michigan nursing homes

(The Detroit News | Sept. 28, 2020) In a non-pandemic year, Thursday would have marked the start of early voting and for political campaigns to visit Michigan nursing homes and assisted living centers to pitch their cause while voters listened with ballot in hand. 

But the coronavirus has changed that. The opportunities for candidates to campaign in nursing homes ahead of the Nov. 3 election are virtually non-existent.

The delivery of absentee ballots by clerk assistants or the help a family member might give in the voting process is limited amid visitation restrictions. 

And experts fear those restrictions could curb voting at Michigan's nursing homes and assisted living facilities, a development that injects more uncertainty into a key election where battles are being fought over absentee and mail-in ballots ...

... Many nursing home and assisted living residents rely on family to help in the voting process, especially if a resident has vision or muscular disabilities, said Nina Kohn, a law professor at Syracuse University and distinguished scholar in elder law at Yale Law.

“When family are limited in their ability to go into the nursing homes, they may not be able to provide that critical help,” Kohn said ...

Read the full article

AARP Interviews Professor Nina Kohn About Voting in Nursing Homes During a Pandemic

Nina Kohn

COVID-19 Threatens Voting in Nursing Homes as Election Approaches

(AARP | Sept. 23, 2020) In a normal election year, late summer and early fall would be a busy time for Annie Butzner. A retired nurse in Asheville, North Carolina, Butzner has for years traveled to nearby hospitals, assisted living facilities and nursing homes, helping patients and residents register to vote and request absentee ballots.

But this year the coronavirus pandemic has made that work more difficult. Butzner, 69, has had a hard time just getting into facilities to determine which residents need help registering and requesting ballots. “The fact that it's so hard to vote in care facilities is ridiculous,” she says. “All of the wisdom that these people have — it's just being wasted."

Butzner is part of a growing chorus of advocates, state officials and election experts worried about the voting roadblocks that COVID-19 presents to many of the nation's 1.3 million nursing home residents — and the specter that some won't be able to vote in this fall's general election. More than 800,000 other people live in other kinds of residential care communities, including assisted living facilities, and will likely also be affected.

"It's a bloody mess is what I would say,” Nina Kohn, a professor at the Syracuse University College of Law and a distinguished scholar in elder law at Yale Law School, says of the confusion around voting from nursing homes this year ...

Read the full article.

Osterweil named partner

Adam Osterweil

Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz, PC is pleased to announce Adam J. Osterweil has been named partner in the firm's Estate Planning & Administration Group. Adam J. Osterweil is a partner in the Estate Planning & Administration Group and is based in New York. Recognized as a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers, Mr. Osterweil focuses on estate, gift, and income tax planning, as well as estate and trust administration. Mr. Osterweil helps clients achieve their estate planning goals by drafting customized wills and trust agreements, providing insights based on his thorough knowledge of nuanced issues of trusts and estates laws. He also works with executors and trustees in all aspects of estate and trust administration. In addition, he advises public and private charitable organizations on establishing tax-efficient structures, securing tax-exempt status, and other related matters. 

Professor Michael Schwartz Discusses Disability Rights Initiatives on Uzbekistan TV

Michael Schwartz

Disability rights expert Professor Michael Schwartz and Mirjahon Turdiev G'20, Vice Chairman of International Relations for the Association of Disabled People of Uzbekistan, appeared on national Uzbekistan TV recently to discuss the disability law clinic they have created at Tashkent State University, as well as efforts to establish a link between the College of Law and the state university. 

"The Uzbek Senate has just approved a new domestic law on disability, so the timing is right," explains Schwartz.  

Nursing Homes & Voting in a Pandemic: Professor Nina Kohn Joins NPR's 1A

Nina Kohn

Block The Vote: Mail-In Voting And Disenfranchisement

(WAMU 1A | Sept. 21, 2020) In the first installment of our new series “Block the Vote,” we’re tackling mail-in voter disenfranchisement.

Cutting down on the number of people in enclosed spaces is absolutely vital during the pandemic. That’s why many plan to cast their ballot by mail.

But mail-in voting is not a panacea, and certain populations anticipate facing additional challenges this November — particularly, nursing home residents and Native Americans living on reservations ...


  • Jessica Huseman, Elections and Voting Rights Reporter, ProPublica
  • Jacqueline De León, Staff Attorney, Native American Rights Fund
  • Nina Kohn, Law Professor, Syracuse University; Distinguished Scholar in Elder Law, Yale Law School

Listen to the segment.

Professor Shubha Ghosh Reviews the "Territorial Discrepancy" of Intellectual Property Rights

Shubha Ghosh
"Recognizing and Correcting a Discrepancy (Reviewing Marketa Trimble, The Territorial Discrepancy Between Intellectual Property Rights Infringement Claims and Remedies, 23 Lewis & Clark L. Rev. 501)." JOTWELL (September 21, 2020).

Intellectual property rights are territorial. Infringement claims—of unauthorized copying, making, selling, using—involving patents, copyrights, trademarks, or trade secrets are extraterritorial. 

Courts are also territorial, and their jurisdictional reach often limited by geography. So, what happens when a successful intellectual property claimant seeks to remedy the wrong in the courts? How do extraterritorial harms map onto the territorial limits of courts and rights? 

In The Territorial Discrepancy Between Intellectual Property Rights Infringement Claims and Remedies, Professor Marketa Trimble offers a powerful analytic assessment of these issues, introducing new conceptual vocabulary and policy solutions. For innovativeness in framing and addressing an issue, Professor Trimble’s article is one that I like lots for the reasons I jot below ...

Read the full article.

Professor Roy Gutterman L’00: RBG Was a “Pioneer, a Champion for Equality”

Roy Gutterman

Syracuse Law Professor Speaks on Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Legacy, Politics Surrounding Her Replacement

(Spectrum Capital Tonight | Sept. 21, 2020) Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a titan of jurisprudence and a feminist icon who fought for women’s rights and inspired memes (as well as a famous workout calendar), died on Friday at the age of 87.

“She was a pioneer, a champion for equality and women’s rights,” Syracuse University School of Law Professor Roy Gutterman told Capital Tonight. “Those are human rights; those are citizens’ rights. She fought for those issues before she was a justice and her jurisprudence followed through with that.”

Read the full article

Newhouse Free Speech Professor Reflects on Ginsburg Legacy in Communications, Rights

(WAER | Sept. 21, 2020) The Director of the Tully Free Speech Center at Syracuse University’s Newhouse school is remembering Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as a person who held a firm grasp on hi-tech issues.  Roy Gutterman met Ginsburg on two occasions and observed her during oral arguments where she had an impact on media and media law.

“I remember in one of the broadcasts and decency cases she was asking about pretty pointed questions about the impact on FCC regulations dealing with profanity. You can tell she was favoring a different approach from the FCC.”

Listen to the segment.

SU Professor offers prospective on Ruth Bader Ginsburg's legacy

(CNYCentral | Sept. 19, 2020) Since the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, there has been an outpouring of respect from both sides of the political aisle.

Head of the Tully Center for Free Speech at Syracuse University, Roy Gutterman, said Justice Ginsburg's work both on and away from America's highest court has opened doors for generations of women.

"These decisions really opened up many things that in twenty-first-century America we take for granted," Gutterman said. "I mean I would take for granted that more than 50% of a graduate class or a law class was female" ...

Read the full article.

Professor Mark Nevitt Discusses Climate-Related Disasters & Managed Retreat

Mark P. Nevitt

As Climate-Related Disasters Intensify, Retreat Emerges as Adaptation Strategy

(Kleinman Center Podcast | Sept. 15, 2020) When policymakers talk about adapting to climate change, they often focus on measures to reinforce towns and cities against natural disasters, such as the wildfires and flooding that have become more severe across the United States in recent years. Yet what is often more difficult to contemplate is the idea that some places may inevitably need to be abandoned. This idea of abandonment, or retreat from areas that are at great risk due to climate change, is understandably very difficult to think about. Retreat means leaving behind homes, and the possible disruption of communities and livelihoods. 

Mark Nevitt, associate professor of law at Syracuse University and a former legal counsel with the Department of Defense Regional Environmental Counsel in Norfolk, Virginia, explores how managed retreat ahead of likely disaster is itself a key climate adaptation strategy, and one which may ease, though not eliminate, the burden on impacted communities. Mark discusses his recent Kleinman Center-funded research into legal issues associated with climate adaptation, and how existing laws may present barriers to efforts to manage retreat from high risk areas.

Listen to the podcast.

Professor Corri Zoli Speaks to Vox About China and Iran Meddling in US Elections

Corri Zoli

Are China and Iran meddling in US elections? It’s complicated.

(Vox | Sept. 15, 2020) This spring, the Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua posted a roughly two-minute video titled “Once Upon a Virus” on social media, including on official Chinese government accounts.

The video is in English and features Lego-like figures. One of the Statue of Liberty, representing America, and a warrior Lego representing China, with what looks like medical workers decked out in PPE, behind it...

... “There’s no question China’s the most technologically sophisticated for influence campaigns that reach beyond just elections,” Corri Zoli, associate teaching professor and director of research for the Institute for Security Policy and Law at Syracuse University, told me ...

... And Iran definitely has cyber capabilities. But Zoli said, overall, they’re not sophisticated enough to have a truly enormous impact. “They don’t have the capabilities and they haven’t thought through a really multi-pronged strategy. They’re not going after, you know, these ancillary institutional sites to try to have a big impact on political decision-making" ...

... Zoli told me she sees the ODNI document as educational, not so much for what it tells us about what our adversaries are up to, but as a way to “raise the public’s awareness that these election interferences are common and consistent. And you need to be kind of on guard about them. And you need to harden your approach to them" ...

Read the full article.

Professor Shubha Ghosh to Present Paper on Copyright in Legal Materials at NFOIC Summit

Shubha Ghosh

Professor Shubha Ghosh's paper "Liberating Government’s Materials: Removing Copyright Obstacles to Transparency" was a winning paper in a recent National Freedom of Information Summit Coalition (NFOIC) competition. Ghosh will present his work during the NFOIC virtual summit on Sept. 30, 2020, at 5 p.m. 

"My paper is an analysis of the recent US Supreme Court decision in State of Georgia v Public.Resources.org in which the Court held that the State could not hold a copyright in its authorized annotated code," explains Ghosh. "The paper explains the decision and examines how its reasoning extends to administrative and other government materials." 

Sports Law Expert John Wolohan Discusses College Athletics "Quasi-Bubbles" in WaPo

John Wolohan

College football’s quasi bubbles have been disrupted with other students returning

(The Washington Post | Sept. 11, 2020) As sports in the United States worked to lift themselves out of an unprecedented shutdown, leagues developed similar strategies — all focused on confining athletes to a set of facilities and keeping them away from anyone who could disrupt the season by spreading the novel coronavirus. So far, it’s working. The NBA has staged a months-long marathon of games at Disney World. Women’s soccer played in Utah. Hockey set up outposts in Canada. Games have run smoothly and few players have contracted the virus.

College football longs for that same success and needs the season just as much to keep athletic departments financially afloat. But at the college level, players are, according to the NCAA, simply students. The association’s logic is that the same way some students help with economics research or study sociology, these students play football ...

... By keeping athletes on campus during the pandemic, while sending other students home, it is signaling that athletes fall into a separate category. “We’re making them different,” said Wolohan, the sports law professor, adding that he thinks this scenario could be used in an argument against the NCAA when trying to determine whether athletes should be considered employees ...

Read the full article.

Professor Mark Nevitt: On Environmental Law, Climate Change, & National Security Law

Mark P. Nevitt

"On Environmental Law, Climate Change, & National Security Law." Harvard Environmental Law Review 44:2 (Fall 2020)

This article offers a new way to think about climate change. Two new climate change assessments—the 2018 Fourth National Climate Assessment (“NCA”) and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Special Report on Climate Change—prominently highlight climate change’s multifaceted national security risks. Indeed, not only is climate change an environmental problem, it also accelerates existing national security threats, acting as both a “threat accelerant” and “catalyst for conflict.” 

Further, climate change increases the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events while threatening nations’ territorial integrity and sovereignty through rising sea levels. It causes both internal displacement within nations and climate change refugees across national borders. Addressing this new climate–security nexus brings together two historically distinct areas of law: environmental law and national security law. 

As we properly conceptualize climate change as a security threat, environmental law and national security law, once considered separate and often in conflict, engage with each other in new and complex ways.

The first body of law, environmental and climate change law, largely values the protection and preservation of the human environment via a cooperative federalism model of environmental laws and policies. 

The second body of law, national security law, largely suspends environmental protections ex ante via myriad national security exemptions within existing environmental statutes. But in the climate–security context, what was once in conflict is increasingly aligned as we look to preserve our common future from all threats, properly defined.

If climate change is, indeed, correctly conceptualized as a security issue, how do these two bodies of law interact? Should a future President be afforded national security deference in addressing the threats posed by climate change? Is climate change potentially a national emergency? And if so, what actions can (or should) be taken?

This article first describes and analyzes climate change as a national security issue, providing an overview of our understanding of climate change, climate science, and climate change’s multifaceted security effects. Second, I analyze where environmental, climate change, and national security law increasingly intersect to include a discussion of relevant U.S. law.

Finally, I use one specific example—whether climate change is a national emergency—as a vehicle to highlight how these two areas of law interact in new and surprising ways.

Read the full article


Professors Shubha Ghosh and Lauryn Gouldin Appointed as Crandall Melvin Professors

College of Law

Recognizing their significant scholarship and thought-leadership, as well as their excellence in teaching, Dean Craig M. Boise has re-appointed Professor Shubha Ghosh as Crandall Melvin Professor of Law and appointed Professor Lauryn Gouldin as Crandall Melvin Associate Professor of Law, each for a five-year term. 

"We’re grateful for the professorship that the Merchants National Bank and Trust Company established in honor of the late Crandall Melvin Sr. L’1913, to support the work of College of Law faculty who produce impactful scholarship” says Dean Boise. “This year, consistent with the donor’s intent, I’m pleased to announce that two College of Law professors—leading voices in their respective fields—will receive this prestigious appointment.” Melvin was a former College of Law professor, World War I veteran, successful lawyer and banker, and a voting trustee of Syracuse University from 1934 to 1970. 

Shubha Ghosh, Crandall Melvin Professor of Law and Director of the Technology Commercialization Law Program and the Syracuse Intellectual Property Law Institute, has held the Crandall professorship since 2016. 

Ghosh's latest projects include two books for Edward Elgar: Advanced Introduction to Law and Entrepreneurship—the manuscript for which has been submitted for publication in 2021—and Forgotten Intellectual Property Lore. He also has submitted a paper on patents for technology to aid the visually impaired to the Madagascar Conseil Institute Law Review for their special issue on “Technology and Intellectual Property”. 

Other current projects include a chapter on the custom fit movement, patent law, and Rawlsian social justice to be published in a book by Cambridge, as well as a chapter on a previously unknown treatise on patent law in colonial India for a book from Oxford. Following upon Crandall Melvin’s work as a professor of torts law, Ghosh will be completing revisions for the Fourth Edition of Acing Tort Law (West Academic) to be published in late 2021. 

Professor Lauryn Gouldin teaches constitutional criminal procedure, privacy law, evidence, constitutional law, and criminal justice reform. Focusing her research on the Fourth Amendment, judicial decision-making, and pretrial detention and bail reform, her most recent articles are “Reforming Pretrial Decision-Making” (Wake Forest Law Review, forthcoming 2020) and “Defining Flight Risk” (University of Chicago Law Review, 2018). Earlier this year, she was awarded a New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services Grant.

Gouldin is also Associate Dean for Faculty Research and the Principal Investigator for the Syracuse Civics Initiative, a Collaboration for Unprecedented Success and Excellence (CUSE) grant initiative to build partnerships with local school districts and educators addressing the crisis of confidence in public institutions. Her teaching excellence has been recognized with a Syracuse University Meredith Professors Teaching Recognition Award, two College of Law Outstanding Faculty awards, and a Res Ipsa Loquitur Award, from the Class of 2018. 

Professor Kristen Barnes Named Associate Dean for Faculty Research

Kristen Barnes

Syracuse University College of Law Dean Craig M. Boise has named Professor Kristen Barnes—an expert in property and housing law, anti-discrimination, and civil rights—Associate Dean for Faculty Research. Barnes will take over the current Associate Dean, Professor Lauryn Gouldin, at the start of the spring 2021 semester.

A teacher of courses on property, housing law, and voting rights, Barnes is a widely published scholar whose articles on housing integration, anti-discrimination, voting, pensions, education, and other topics appear in premier law review journals, including Duke Journal of Constitutional Law and Public Policy, Harvard Journal of Racial and Ethnic Justice, and Chicago-Kent Law Review. 

Barnes also has presented her work at numerous prestigious conferences, such as the American Society of International Law Midyear Meeting; Harvard Law School’s Institute of Global Law and Policy Conference; the Association of Law, Property, and Society Annual Conference; Loyola Law School’s Constitutional Colloquium; and Fordham Law School’s International and Comparative Urban Law Conference. From 2018 to 2020 she was a visiting scholar at the American Bar Foundation.

"As Associate Dean, Kristen will lead the College’s continued placement of faculty scholarship in top-tier law journals, bringing noted law experts to Dineen Hall to facilitate the exchange of ideas, encouraging grant-funded research projects, and broadening our faculty’s involvement with noted institutions around the world," says Dean Boise. "I thank Lauryn for her dedication to our research efforts during her term as Associate Dean and for helping to enhance the College’s intellectual output and establishing deeper scholarly relationships with our peers."

In her new role, Barnes will oversee The Faculty Colloquia, an ongoing showcase for cutting edge legal research featuring scholars from around the world, the College’s annual celebration of faculty publications, and "Lightning Round" research reviews. The Associate Dean also organizes presentations by high-profile speakers at College of Law events, including the annual United States Supreme Court Preview, held during Law Alumni Weekend in the fall.

Nina Kohn on NursingHome411: Why LTC Residents are Facing Heightened Voting Barriers this Election

Nina Kohn

(NursingHome411.org | Sept. 8, 2020) The 2020 U.S. presidential election is fast approaching, but many long-term care residents, cut off from the outside world, may not get a vote. 

Professor Nina Kohn joins the show to discuss voting barriers in long-term care settings and explain why it’s imperative that residents’ voting rights are protected in this election. 

Kohn—David M. Levy Professor of Law at Syracuse University and Solomon Center Distinguished Elder Law Scholar at Yale University—also offers a few tips for families, ombudsmen, and advocates to help residents vote.

Listen to the podcast.

College of Law, OCBA Launch Community Book Read for Racial Justice

Just Mercy

Syracuse University College of Law and the Onondaga County Bar Association (OCBA), along with other community partners and the generous support of CNY private law firms, have launched a new educational series, titled "Race & Justice in Central New York”.

The inaugural event in the series is the “Racial Justice Community Book Read,” featuring discussion of Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. The College of Law Library at Dineen Hall on the Syracuse University campus is one of the sign up and book pick up locations for the series. Participants can register for the series and receive a complimentary copy of Just Mercy via the OCBA website. The book is also available through Onondaga County Public Libraries as a hard copy or audiobook.

Open to all members of the Central New York community, the book read discussions begin on Sept. 14, 2020. at 6 p.m. via Zoom and continue on a weekly basis until November 23 (there will be no discussion on September 28 in observance of Yom Kippur).

“The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and other unarmed Black people and people of color at the hands of law enforcement compelled the Bar Association and the College of Law to respond in ways that involved, informed, and collaborated across our community," Professor Paula Johnson, Co-Director of the Cold Case Justice Initiative and a project coordinator for Race & Justice in Central New York, told the Syracuse Post-Standard.

Just Mercy is the true story of how Stevenson founded the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), a nonprofit that provides legal representation to people who have been unfairly convicted or sentenced. It has been described as “a powerful true story about … the importance of confronting injustice.” 

One of the goals of Race & Justice in Central New York is to help people examine and better understand the structure of local and national legal systems and their impact on disparate outcomes for those in historically disenfranchised groups.

“Stevenson so effectively details the endemic racism, classism, and gender bias, that permeates the criminal justice system in the United States,” Johnson says. “He also provides windows where the imperative and possibilities for change exist. Members of all communities will find resonance in what Stevenson reveals, which can inform the necessary changes that must take place in their own locations.”

Beginning with the “Racial Justice Community Book Read,” the project hopes to raise awareness of how the Central New York community can address systemic racism and inequality. “Future series will look at electoral systems, decision making processes, inclusion/exclusion, disparities in distribution of public resources, and accountability by offices and office holders to all members of the community," adds Johnson.

Professor William C. Banks Speaks to Indus News About Legality of NSA Surveillance

William C. Banks

Beth Kubala Appointed Civilian Aide to US Army Secretary

Beth Kubala

College of Law Teaching Professor Beth Kubala was named one of six civilian aides to the Secretary of the Army (CASA) in a virtual ceremony last month.

On Aug. 18, 2020, at the Pentagon, Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy appointed Kubala, executive director of the Betty and Michael D. Wohl’s Veterans Legal Clinic, along with Joseph Toloa’ Ho Ching, II, of Pago Pago, American Samoa; Ken Keen, of Atlanta, Georgia; Mark K. Benton, of San Francisco, California; Michael Sablan, of Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands; and John Phillips G’91, of Canton, Georgia. Phillips is a graduate of the Defense Comptrollership Program through the Whitman School of Management and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and is vice president and co-founder of Vetlanta.

McCarthy thanked them for their willingness to serve. “These are unprecedented times and the Army is fortunate to have you in the community interacting with civic leaders, educators and businesses,” said McCarthy. “We have found that there is a dramatic correlation with CASAs and an increase in recruitment. CASAs are a valuable asset in the community and help make a difference.”

CASAs, a vital part of the Army, promote good relations between the Army and the public and advise the secretary on regional issues.

Each state, the District of Columbia and the five U.S. territories have one or more CASAs to provide vital links between the Army and the communities they serve. CASAs are usually business or civic leaders who possess a keen interest in the welfare of the Army and their communities.

CASAs serve a two-year term without compensation. Terms may be extended to a total of 10 years of service. The secretary may recognize a civilian aide as a CASA Emeritus after 10 years of distinguished service.

“As a proud member of the Syracuse community,” says Kubala, who served in the Army for 22 years culminating her military career at Fort Drum, New York, as a military judge. “I am extremely grateful and honored to have been selected by the secretary for this position. Military service runs in our family—my father and great-grandfather served in the Army. This position provides a platform to tell the Army story from my personal and professional perspectives. I’m fortunate to understand what it means to serve through my experiences as an Army officer, military spouse and military mom.”

As part of their role, CASAs can nominate students for the Army’s prestigious Minuteman Scholarship. The Minuteman Scholarship covers from three to four years of full tuition and fees at colleges and universities served by an Army ROTC program. Scholarship recipients also receive a monthly stipend of $420, and a yearly book allowance of $1,200.

“I am profoundly honored to represent Georgia (North) as a civilian aide to Secretary McCarthy,” said Phillips. “The strength, resiliency, and fortitude of our Army is remarkable! Our Army is the greatest Army and I am proud to be part of the team. Thank you for this opportunity to serve and for your belief in me.”


Professor David Driesen Discusses Airline Fees & COVID-19 in LA Times

David Driesen

Airlines say they may have been money-grubbing fee junkies before, but no longer

(Los Angeles Times | Sept. 3, 2020) For anyone who believes airlines ding passengers with gratuitous fees for no better reason than because they can, America’s biggest carriers have an answer:


That appears to be the inescapable conclusion after United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines this week announced they’re permanently doing away with the whopping $200 fees they charged to change many bookings.

The carriers say they’re doing people a favor during the COVID-19 pandemic. They say they feel your pain ...

“With demand slack because of COVID, they must offer flexibility to get people to fly at all,” observed David Driesen, law professor at Syracuse University. “In other words, these fees are not raising revenue now, they are lowering it" ...

Read the full article.

Burton Blatt Institute Receives $4.3M to Lead National Center on Employment Policy for Persons with Disabilities

Burton Blatt Institute

The Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University has received $4.3 million from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) to lead a new national Rehabilitation Research Training Center (RRTC) on “Disability Inclusive Employment Policy.”

Given the adverse impacts of COVID-19—and with more than 50 million individuals nationwide having lost jobs—the RRTC will address current challenges to the employment and economic advancement of persons with disabilities.

“Today’s unprecedented health and economic challenges raised by the coronavirus pandemic require a comprehensive analysis of US employment policy for individuals with disabilities,” says University Professor Peter Blanck, BBI Chairman and Principal Investigator for the project. “The new RRTC examines the employment lifecycle in consideration of individual disabilities, race/ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, and other identities. It will examine national and local policies and programs to promote employment and economic advancement of people with disabilities.”

The RRTC’s agenda is led by diverse and influential members of the disability community. The Center also involves nationally recognized researchers from BBI, Harvard University, and Rutgers University, along with leading national policy and disability organizations such as the National Governors Association, Disability:IN, Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation, Independent Living Research Utilization, Association for People Supporting Employment First, National Disability Institute, American Association of People with Disabilities, and others.

To inform policies and behavior, the RRTC team will target key audiences, including employers, service providers, policymakers, and people with disabilities and their families.

Blanck adds that the RRTC will “ambitiously look across the employment lifecycle, to enhance employment entry, economic outcomes, and career growth.” The five-year project will develop a post-COVID-19 policy framework to accelerate opportunities for employment, career pathways, entrepreneurship, and economic self-sufficiency for youth and adults across the spectrum of disability.

Update on the University Review of DPS by Former AG Loretta Lynch

Kent Syverud

Dear Members of the Syracuse University Community:

In June, I shared with our community that I asked former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to conduct a review of Syracuse University’s Department of Public Safety (DPS). Ms. Lynch, who served as U.S. attorney general under President Barack Obama, is respected for her expertise in police-community relations. I write to you today with an update on her work.

By the second week of September, Ms. Lynch and her team will provide preliminary recommendations to form a Public Safety Citizen Review Board that will hear, review and recommend actions regarding complaints made by University community members. That will be followed by a series of listening sessions between Ms. Lynch’s team and members of our community comprising students, faculty and staff, including DPS personnel. Listening sessions will be held virtually and, if health protocols allow, on campus. With those recommendations and input, we will establish the Review Board, whose members will be drawn from the University community. The listening sessions will also in part inform Ms. Lynch’s final independent review and recommendations.

In the coming weeks, you will receive more information from Ms. Lynch’s team about how to participate in these listening sessions. Creating a model where DPS’ focus is on public safety is our goal. Building trust between our community and DPS is an important part of our work in being a more just, equitable and welcoming community for all.


Chancellor Kent Syverud