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Syracuse.com Quotes Professor Doron Dorfman: Store Mask Policies Must Not Discriminate

Doron Dorfman

Can store owners require you to wear a face mask to enter?

(syracuse.com | May 22, 2020) You might have seen the videos on social media: Shoppers who refuse to wear face masks confront the store manager, who patiently explains it’s store policy that all customers wear them.

But can store owners legally enforce that policy?

Yes, say legal and retail experts, as long as they don’t discriminate against anyone who can’t wear a mask because they’re disabled or against certain groups, called “protected classes" ...

... Dorfman said there may be legitimate disabilities that would prevent someone from wearing a mask: someone with autism who has sensory issues, for example, or someone with a respiratory problem for which a mask would make breathing difficult.

Under the ADA, he said, store managers must be cautious in questioning anyone who says they have a disability. The manager, for example, can’t ask what the disability is.

Shop keepers can ask two questions of that person, Dorfman said: “Is (not wearing a mask) an accommodation? What kind of benefit do you get from not wearing a mask?”

Asking those questions will help a store manager defend his or her actions if a person with a disability brings a suit for discrimination, Dorfman said ...

Read the full article.

Professor Doron Dorfman: Being Anti-Mask Doesn't Make You Disabled

Doron Dorfman

Being Anti-Mask Doesn't Make You Disabled

(Newsday | May 21, 2020) “If you’re not going to wear a mask, you take a paper that has the Americans for [sic] Disabilities Act on it, and no one is allowed to ask you why you cannot wear a mask. So you can say that you have a medical condition. And the medical condition might be that wearing a mask is strangling your sense of free speech...” --- Dr. Christiane Northrup

Dr. Christiane Northrup’s recent viral video that included those comments exposed a larger phenomenon: the blatant attempt to miscast disability law under the guise of protecting individual liberty.

And the cruel irony of this phenomenon? Anti-maskers are attempting to use disability law in ways that put disability communities at greater risk. Now that New York State has partially opened, these issues are more urgent than ever.

For six years, I’ve studied the fear of the disability con: the widespread moral panic that people fake disabilities to gain unfair advantage from extra time on exams to cutting lines in theme parks to obtaining a favorable parking spot.

While the 30-year-old Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has helped the disability rights movement increase awareness of disability, perception of disability in courtrooms and the public sphere remain largely stuck in the past. Fears of disability fraud date to 19th century Ugly Laws that prohibited “unsightly” disabled beggars from appearing in public for fear they might elicit sympathy or spare dimes. Although the ADA was intended to be transformative, pervasive assumptions about disability have proven more difficult to shake ...

Read the full article.

Professor Corri Zoli Discusses Islamic Law of Armed Conflict During Anethum Global Webinar

Corri Zoli

Professor Corri Zoli presented her research into “How and Why Islamic Law Approaches Apply to Modern Conflicts in Postconflict Justice” during the webinar "Long Before Nuremberg: Islamic Law of Armed Conflict" on May 19, 2020.

Presented by Anethum Global, in cooperation with the International Bar Association's War Crimes Committee, the webinar provided an introductory discussion on centuries of Islamic law addressing armed conflict, including military targeting, prisoners of war, protection of civilians, reparations, and postconflict justice and reconstruction.

"There is a rich body of law, including postconflict justice, and it serves as a guide to developing conflict resolution and postconflict justice systems in the Muslim world," explained organizer and moderator Sara Elizabeth Dill, Partner, Anethum Global, and Arab Region Liaison Officer IBA War Crimes Committee. "As we look at modern situations in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya, we cannot ignore Islamic law or its provisions and teachings on the law of armed conflict. These can provide a useful tool for approaching conflict resolution in the region."

Discussing the historical context and specific laws contained within Islamic Law, as well as why these laws still apply today, along with Zoli were Ahmed Al-Dawoody, Legal Adviser for Islamic Law and Jurisprudence, International Committee of the Red Cross (“The Islamic Law of Armed Conflict and Differences to Western Interpretations”) and Asma Afsaruddin, Professor, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, Indiana University (“War and Peace in Islam and in Everyday Life”). 

Baginski joins Foreign Service

Daryl Baginski

Daryl Baginski joined the Foreign Service at Department of State as a Specialist in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security.

Google Antitrust Lawsuit: Professor Shubha Ghosh Speaks to Yahoo! Finance

Shubha Ghosh

Google Antitrust Lawsuit: Professor Shubha Ghosh Speaks to Yahoo! Finance

(Yahoo! Finance | May 18, 2020) The Department of Justice is expected to file an antitrust lawsuit against Google for its digital advertising violations. Syracuse University College of Law Director Shubha Ghosh joins Yahoo Finance’s On The Move panel to discuss.

Watch the video.

Book Authority Lists Professor Malloy's Books Among the Best on Land Use

Robin Paul Malloy

Two of Professor Robin Paul Malloy's books are listed among the "39 Best Land Use Law Books of All Time" by Book Authority, a leading site for non-fiction book recommendations that uses proprietary technology to identify and rate "the best books in the world, based on public mentions, recommendations, ratings, and sentiment."

#2: Land Use Law and Disability—Planning and Zoning for Accessible Communities (Cambridge, 2014)

In Land Use Law and Disability, Robin Paul Malloy argues that our communities need better planning to be safely and easily navigated by people with mobility impairment and to facilitate intergenerational aging in place. To achieve this, communities will need to think of mobility impairment and inclusive design as land use and planning issues, in addition to understanding them as matters of civil and constitutional rights.

#31: Land Use and Zoning Law—Planning for Accessible Communities (Carolina, 2018)

The first land use and zoning law casebook to comprehensively integrate issues of accessibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Land Use and Zoning Law systematically addresses the complexites of aging in place and of disability in the context of local land regulation. 

Read the full list.

Professor Kristen Barnes Presents on "Homelessness and Cities” at ABA Virtual Conference

Kristen Barnes

Professor Kristen Barnes offered a talk on "Homelessness and Cities" at the ABA Real Property, Trust, and Estate Law Section's 32nd Annual RPTE CLE Conference, presented online on May 14-15, 2020.

"I discussed, two Ninth Circuit decisions Martin v. City of Boise (2019) and Jones v. City of Los Angeles (2006)," says Barnes. 

In connection with Jones, Barnes discussed the settlement agreement that Los Angeles entered into following the Court’s decision. In both cases, the Ninth Circuit held that cities may not hold individuals criminally liable for the act of sleeping outdoors on public property when there are no options available within city limits for individuals to sleep indoors. 

"To criminally prosecute individuals on this basis constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment," observes Barnes. "The United States Supreme Court declined to review the Martin decision."

In referencing both decisions, Barnes commented on the state of the homelessness crisis; how municipalities, particularly those that are experiencing exponential growth in their unhoused populations (e.g., California), are addressing the problem; constitutional limits on strategies cities can adopt; and some multi-pronged solutions involving public property that are desperately needed especially in wake of the pandemic.

Professor Nina Kohn in Time: Can Nursing Homes Offer Safe & Humane Care?

Nina Kohn

"A License for Neglect:" Nursing Homes Are Seeking—and Winning —Immunity Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic

(TIME | May 14, 2020) It was 11 p.m. on a Sunday in early May when Penny Shaw, a 76-year-old in Braintree, Massachusetts, picked up the phone and reported her nursing home to the local police. The staff on duty had just told her they couldn’t provide any of their usual care because they had no personal protection equipment (PPE). Since the coronavirus pandemic hit, the staff is supposed to wear PPE when helping all patients, but only the home’s administrator, who doesn’t work late on weekends, could give it out. So the certified nursing assistants wouldn’t be able to get masks, gloves or gowns until the morning.

Shaw was angry that her facility had put its staff, and her fellow residents, in that position, and so she called the cops. “They always make poor decisions and they continue to make poor decisions,” Shaw says. “I have to speak up for myself and other people" ...

... Barbara Duffy, a lawyer who defends nursing homes and sits on the legal committee of nursing home trade group AHCA, says that facilities are limited in what they can pay workers by the fact that they rely on Medicaid to pay the majority of patients’ bills. Advocates are skeptical of that defense. “If it’s true that they cannot provide safe care and humane care with the amount of money they’re being given to provide that care, then they need to go back to the government and say, ‘We can’t do this,’” says Nina Kohn, a law professor at Syracuse University and an expert on elder law. “Instead, what the industry does is it takes the money and it takes the residents and it doesn’t provide the care they need" ...

Read the full article.

Professor David Driesen Talks Comparative Executive Power on Ipse Dixit

David Driesen

David Driesen on Comparative Executive Power

(Ipse Dixit | May 13, 2020) In this episode, David M. Driesen, University Professor of Law at Syracuse University College of Law, discusses his article "The Unitary Executive Theory in Comparative Context," which will be published in the Hastings Law Journal. 

Driesen begins by explaining the unitary executive theory and why he doesn't think it is constitutionally required. He argues that expanding executive power is unwise and can lead to autocracy, pointing to Hungary, Poland, and Turkey as examples. And he explain why we should be wary of arguments from unitary executive theorists that the President should have more authority to remove officials, among other things.

Listen to the podcast.

Professor Nina Kohn in Chicago Tribune: "Nursing Homes Were Infection Tinderboxes”

Nina Kohn

Short Staffing. PPE Shortages. Few Inspections. Why Calls Are Growing for Illinois Nursing Home Regulators to Step Up Efforts on COVID-19.

(Chicago Tribune | May 13, 2020) Early in April, a nurse working at a massive Cicero nursing home was worried that lax infection control was putting residents in danger of catching the coronavirus.

According to an affidavit filed in Cook County Circuit Court, the nurse called the Illinois Department of Public Health — the state agency that regulates nursing homes — but nobody picked up the phone. Concerned Cicero officials said they called too, and got no response.

The state didn’t send inspectors to City View Multi-Care Center until nearly a month later. That was after Cicero filed a lawsuit against City View and the state, accusing regulators of “woefully lacking” oversight, and Circuit Court Judge Alison Conlon pushed regulators to check into conditions at the home. By then, more than half of residents had become infected, killing nine of them as well as one employee.

Two months into the pandemic, the case of City View highlights increasing complaints from the nursing home industry ...

... “I think there are many very good people working in the long-term care industry who care deeply about residents and their well-being,” said Syracuse University law professor Nina Kohn, who’s studied elder rights. “That said, it was an open secret that nursing homes were infection tinderboxes” ...

Read the full article.

Professor Roy Gutterman L'00 in WaPo: Was Trump's "Ask China" Response Calculated?

Roy Gutterman

Trump’s ‘Ask China’ Response to CBS’s Weijia Jiang Shocked the Room—and Was Part of a Pattern

(The Washington Post | May 12, 2020) President Trump has a long history of using the bully pulpit to take jabs at reporters. Yet the pandemic-era briefings have become especially fraught — and an unusually barbed exchange with one journalist on Monday raised questions about whether he reserves special contempt for some.

At a Rose Garden press briefing, CBS News correspondent Weijia Jiang asked the president why he so frequently claims that the United States is doing “far better than any other country” at testing for coronavirus. “Why does that matter?” she asked. “Why is this a global competition to you if every day Americans are still losing their lives?”

Trump started by deflecting — “they’re losing their lives everywhere in the world” — before pivoting suddenly: “They’re losing their lives everywhere in the world, and maybe that’s a question you should ask China. Don’t ask me, ask China that question, okay?” ...

... Roy Gutterman, director of Syracuse University’s Tully Center for Free Speech, called Monday’s outburst “another attack on the press, likely calculated to demean the press, divert attention and change the day’s narrative,” but added: “There was probably some dog-whistling in his tirade, too.”

Read the full article.

In His New Book, Professor Robin Malloy Examines Disability Law for Property, Land Use, and Zoning

Disability Law for Property, Land Use, and Zoning Lawyers
Disability Law for Property, Land Use, and Zoning Lawyers (ABA State and Local Book Series, 2020).

In Disability Law for Property, Land Use, and Zoning Lawyers (ABA, 2020), Professor Robin Paul Malloy—E.I. White Chair and Distinguished Professor of Law and a Kauffman Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation—explains how to navigate one of the fastest growing areas of concern for local governments: the intersection of disability law with land development, planning, and regulation.

This is an area of law that is both complex and confusing. Malloy simplifies the task of learning disability law by sorting through and organizing numerous provisions of our federal disability laws and explaining how these provisions relate to everyday practice and decision-making.

Importantly, Malloy focuses on clearing up the confusion that is often associated with thinking that disability law is really just about designing doorways, bathrooms, and office space. While design issues are important to accessibility, there are many legal issues involved with knowing when certain elements of the law are applicable to a situation and in knowing what needs to be done to avoid claims of discrimination. Failure to comply with these requirements can be costly and can result in years of litigation.

Disability Law for Property, Land Use, and Zoning Lawyers includes:

  • Straightforward discussion of relevant provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Fair Housing Act (FHA), the Rehabilitation Act (RHA), and the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA).
  • Clear explanation of terms and concepts under the ADA, FHA, RHA, and ABA.
  • Analysis of all three methods of proving discrimination for failure to comply with disability laws.
  • Discussion of potential defenses to complaints regarding lack of accessibility: not every request for greater accessibility has to be met and certain criteria apply.
  • Numerous examples and illustrations that enhance understanding of rules and regulations.

Professor Blanck Outlines EEOC Protections for Workers the During COVID-19 Pandemic

Peter Blanck

Going Back to Work While COVID-19 Is Still Spreading

(Consumer Reports | May 8, 2020) Many people in the US—including doctors, nurses, bus drivers, and grocery clerks—have not stopped working throughout the coronavirus pandemic. But among the millions of others who have been furloughed or teleworking for a month or more, some are now being asked to return to work.

That’s especially true in states such as Georgia and Texas, which have allowed a wide array of businesses to reopen, from movie theaters to salons to some offices.

Multiple federal agencies—including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)—have issued guidance on how employers can make their workplaces safer for employees. But at the moment, these guidelines are just suggestions.

“You can't enforce them . . . because it’s completely voluntary,” says Jonathan Karmel, J.D., a union labor lawyer and the author of "Dying to Work: Death and Injury in the American Workplace" ...

Can I Continue Teleworking?

If you've been able to work remotely and would like to continue doing so, it’s worth bringing it up with your employer.

If you have a pre-existing condition, such as lung disease, impaired immunity, or many other health issues that increase the risk of severe COVID-19, you should be covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), says Peter Blanck, Ph.D., J.D., a lawyer and professor at Syracuse University.

The ADA definition of a disorder is broad, encompassing any “physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.” 

This includes conditions such as asthma, depression, and anxiety that, along with other disabilities, are assessed on an individual basis—taking current circumstances into account. Pregnancy is covered by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, while older workers are protected by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. All three laws are enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

To deny a teleworking request, your employer would have to show that it’s essential for you come into the office to do your job. 

“These things are case-by-case determinations,” Blanck says ...

Read the full article

Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting Cites Professor Dorfman on "Disability Denials"

Doron Dorfman

Disability denials can amount to 'death sentence,' judge says in Mississippi case

(Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting | May 8, 2020) There’s a human cost of so much time processing cases and waiting to be approved, says Doron Dorfman, associate professor at Syracuse University College of Law. He studied the effect of the disability determination process on the claimants, how it affected their perception of themselves as disabled citizens. In a paper cited by Judge Reeves, Dorfman noted that disability is a fluid concept rather than the rigid definition adopted by the Social Security Administration.

“There’s not a lot of people who look at the procedure from the point of view of the person going through it,” Dorfman told the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting.

Dorfman told the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting that he has studied what he calls the “fear of the disability con” which is the idea that “the way disability law generally is implemented in the U.S. is that everybody is faking disability. I show in my research that this fear is a driving force in disability law.”

Dorfman’s studies showed that disability is often a pride issue, with people not wanting to portray themselves as disabled when that is precisely what the Social Security disability process is asking them to do. Such a display plays into how people feel about themselves and their vision of what disability means, Dorfman noted ...

Read the full article.

Professor Malloy Reviews "Adam Smith: Systematic Philosopher and Public Thinker" in EJHET

Robin Paul Malloy
Review of "Adam Smith: Systematic Philosopher and Public Thinker" by Eric Schliesser (Oxford, 2017). The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought (May 2020). 

In Adam Smith: Systematic Philosopher and Public Thinker, Eric Schliesser presents a case for one view of Adam Smith as a man of system. This is indeed a clever hook for readers, as it seems contrary to Smith’s apparent contempt for the man of system as expressed in The Theory of Moral Sentiments. 

Smith describes the man of system as full of conceit and so enamoured with the supposed beauty of his system that he cannot suffer the smallest deviation or criticism from it. Yet, Smith undertakes to bring order to the world around him and to assign meaning to the relationships he sees. 

Acting as an impartial spectator, Smith imagines and speculates about the origins and progress of social organisation. As such, he systematises his approach and employs what we would call the scientific method to his process of inquiry. 

Presumably, to avoid being his own contemptable man of system, Smith must remain ever open to new ideas, refinement’s, and innovations while possessing the humility to accept his own failings and shortcomings. Schliesser makes the case that Smith is a systematic thinker open to imagining and discovering new ideas and to refining, correcting, and improving on his theory. This is what makes Smith a systematic philosopher rather than a man of system ...

Dean Craig M. Boise in the ABA Journal: How Law Schools Are Planning for Fall 2020

Dean Craig M. Boise

If law schools can’t offer in-person classes this fall, what will they do instead?

(ABA Journal | May 7, 2020) Students may not feel safe attending courses because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that’s also true for professors, say law school deans, many of whom want in-person classes this fall but are making various plans they hope meet ABA accreditation standards.

A spike in the virus is another concern, one that restricts planning very far ahead. Some deans predict law schools will have hybrid courses in the fall, with both in-person and remote class time ...

... “It’s very likely we’ll end up with some sort of hybrid model with some form of social distancing in a residential program. The very nature of a university is the opposite of social distancing, and how you lower the risks associated with the coronavirus and still allow for some interaction is not clear,” Boise says ...

Read the full article.

Professor Nina Kohn Writes in WaPo "America Doesn’t Care About Old People"

Nina Kohn

The Pandemic Exposed a Painful Truth: America Doesn’t Care About Old People

(The Washington Post | April 8, 2020) When the novel coronavirus first emerged, the U.S. response was slowed by the common impression that Covid-19 mainly killed older people. Those who wanted to persuade politicians and the public to take the virus seriously needed to emphasize that — to cite the headline of a political analysis that ran in The Washington Post in March — “It isn’t only the elderly who are at risk from the coronavirus.” The clear implication was that if an illness “merely” decimated older people, we might be able to live with it.

Of course, older adults are at heightened risk, even though Covid-19 strikes younger people, too. But across America — and beyond — we are losing our elders not only because they are especially susceptible. They’re also dying because of a more entrenched epidemic: the devaluation of older lives. Ageism is evident in how we talk about victims from different generations, in the shameful conditions in many nursing homes and even — explicitly — in the formulas some states and health-care systems have developed for determining which desperately ill people get care if there’s a shortage of medical resources.

It’s become clear that nursing homes are particularly deadly incubators: Fourteen states report that more than half of their Covid-19 fatalities are associated with long-term-care facilities. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization says that as many as 50 percent of all deaths in Europe have occurred in such places. Hans Kluge, the WHO’s top official for Europe, called this “an unimaginable human tragedy" ...

Read the full article.

Professor David Driesen: Congress, Fund Absentee Voting to Ensure Democracy Survives Coronavirus Crisis

David Driesen

(syracuse.com | May 5, 2020) New York has done the right thing by authorizing widespread absentee balloting in the months ahead, so that New Yorkers can vote without risking their lives by going to crowded polling places. New York is not alone. Thirty-eight states offer no-excuse absentee balloting routinely and others may expand absentee voting to safeguard their elections from coronavirus interference. Many states recognize that no one should be forced to choose between protecting their health and participating in our democracy.

Absentee balloting has worked well in the states that use it as the primary means of voting — Utah, Colorado, Hawaii and Oregon, with no evidence of fraud. North Carolina did encounter fraud in its more limited absentee voting program in 2018. But since absentee voting creates a paper trail, the bipartisan electoral commission was able to catch and correct it. By contrast, if a foreign power flips vote counts on voting machines over the internet, it will prove impossible to detect the changed results in many states.

Expanding absentee balloting responsibly safeguards elections from coronavirus disruption and enjoys the support of Ohio’s respected Republican governor and many other responsible state and local officials of both parties.

But we need to avoid a Wisconsin-like debacle — where the state could not process absentee ballots in time and thousands were disenfranchised or forced to stand in long lines at a few open polling places during a COVID-19 surge ...

Read the full article.

Professor Doron Dorfman Examines "Suspicious Species" on the Ipse Dixit Podcast

Doron Dorfman

(Ipse Dixit | May 4, 2020) In this episode, host Brian L. Frye, Spears-Gilbert Associate Professor of Law at the University of Kentucky College of Law, and Professor Doron Dorfman discuss Dorfman's article "Suspicious Species," which will be published in the University of Illinois Law Review. 

Dorfman observes that there is considerable public outrage about the abuse of disability law to bring animals into places where they are prohibited. He describes the different kinds of animals that are protected by disability law and why they are protected, and he reflects on his empirical research into how people perceive and understand the use of service animals. 

Dorfman also explains how to make better policy that will both protect disabled people and their ability to use service animals that provide accommodations, while preventing people from abusing disability law.

Listen to the podcast.


Advocacy Honor Society Announces Award, Scholarship Winners

Advocacy Honor

On April 16, 2020, the College of Law’s Travis H.D. Lewin Advocacy Honor Society celebrated a very successful year of intra- and intercollegiate competitions with a "virtual banquet" via Zoom. 

The following award and scholarship winners announced on the night: 

  • Ralph E. Kharas Award: Joseph Mallek
  • AHS Executive Director Award: Troy Parker and John Mercurio
  • Richard Risman Appellate Advocacy Award: Aubre Dean
  • Emil M. Rossi L’72 Scholarship Award: Joseph Celotto
  • Models of Excellence in Advocacy Award (given in honor of Lisa Peebles L'92): Allison Kowalczyk
  • 2020 Lee S. Michaels Advocate: Joseph Tantillo
  • CourtCall Scholarship Award: Chanan Brown and Kevin Risch
  • The Order of Barristers: Ariel Blanco, Aubre Dean, Davida M. Hawkes, Adam Leydig, Joseph Mallek, Richard Miller, Jill Tompkins, Julia Wingfield, William Wolfe

Among the highlights of the 2019-2020 intercollegiate competition season: 

  • The College of Law hosted the ABA Regional Negotiation Competition and the National Trial Competition (NTC) regional.
  • The College hosted the inaugural Syracuse National Trial Competition. 
  • The Black Law Student Association trial team placed second at the Constance Baker Motley regionals.
  • The ABA Negotiation Competition team advanced to its nationals.
  • The National Moot Court team won its regional.
  • Two Syracuse teams advanced from the National Trial Competition (NTC) regional, in first and second place.
  • Thanks to the NTC team of Adam Leydig, Joe Celotto, and Tyler Jefferies, Syracuse won the Tiffany Cup for the second year in a row! 
  • Based on intercollegiate trial tournament results, Syracuse was invited again to compete at Baylor Law's Top Gun National Mock Trial Competition.
  • In the 2021 U.S. News & World Report Trial Advocacy rankings, Syracuse jumped from #27 to #15 in the nation. 

3L John J. Dowling III Publishes on "Career Offender Enhancement" in NDNY FCBA Newsletter

John J. Dowling III

Analyzing a commonly used sentencing provision, 3L John J. Dowling III has published the article "Circuit Split Deepens Over Whether Inchoate Drug Crimes Trigger Career Offender Enhancement" in the Northern District of New York Federal Court Bar Association's spring 2020 newsletter.

"The article highlights a deepening circuit split over a provision of the federal sentencing guidelines that can dramatically increase a criminal defendant's sentencing exposure," notes Dowling. "The article will be of interest to law scholars and practitioners—both defense counsel and Assistant United States Attorneys—as the sentencing enhancement is implicated every day in the federal courts."

Read the full article.

"Uncharted Territory": Hon. James E. Baker Helps NYT Explain Trump's Order to Open Meatpacking Plants

James E. Baker

The Trump Administration’s Legal Moves to Prevent a Meat Shortage, Explained

Contrary to misunderstandings, the actions fall short of ordering meatpacking facilities to reopen despite Covid-19 outbreaks among workers.

(The New York Times | April 29, 2020) The Trump administration moved this week to try to mitigate the effects from the shutdowns of beef, pork and poultry processing facilities amid the Covid-19 pandemic that have potentially endangered an important part of the nation’s food supply chain. But the policy moves have generated confusion.

“We are, in many regards, in uncharted territory,” said James E. Baker, a former legal adviser to the National Security Council and a professor of national security law at Syracuse University ...

... While some of the meatpacking plants have shut down voluntarily after outbreaks to clean their facilities, others have been ordered closed by local health officials. But those closures happened before the federal guidelines. Going forward, if state or local regulators created stricter rules, this maneuver could provide a basis to argue to a judge that the federal standards pre-empted the local ones.

How that would go is an open question. A 1950 ruling from a Federal District Court in Minnesota suggested that if there were a conflict with local rules, a Defense Production Act arrangement would prevail. But Mr. Baker noted that the act’s allocation powers “have not been used in a long time, nor have they been fully litigated.”

Still, he added, it might not be put to the test because there would also be pressures on all involved — the federal and state governments, companies and workers — to reach an accommodation rather than get mired in court ...

Read the full article.

DCEx Concludes Spring Semester with Distinguished Guest Lecturer Scott de la Vega L’94

Distinguished Guest Lecturer Scott de la Vega L’94, Director of the Departmental Ethics Office at the US Department of the Interior and Designated Agency Ethics Official, spoke with the Spring 2020 DCEx students over Zoom for their final seminar of the semester. De la Vega has spent much of his career as a government ethics specialist within various government offices including the White House, the Office of Vice President Joe Biden Jr. L’68 and the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. 

After graduating from the College of Law in 1994, de la Vega went into the Army JAG Corps, where he practiced litigation and general administrative law for three years. The JAG Corps promoted him to the appellate division in DC where he became the Supreme Court Coordinator. This change in positions started a reoccurring pattern of changing jobs roughly every five years, which has allowed him to learn about different areas of the law. 

After returning to New York City and litigating for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, de la Vega made the jump to the private sector. He went on to work for JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley, and the Winter Group. When asked about his time litigating in public service versus his tenure in the private sector, de la Vega felt that the work he did in the private sector had a huge, positive impact on his private sector clients. For example, by ensuring the company he worked for had strong compliance rules and regulations, they were able to save thousands of families from taking on bad mortgages. 

De la Vega provided important advice to the students regarding the possibility of graduating from law school during a difficult economic time. He explained how important it was to keep an open mind about different areas of law and how they may lead to unexpected opportunities. He emphasized how important skills such as legal writing and building relationships are for a successful career and reminded that students that they never know where their legal career may end up. 

3L Jonathan Pilat Takes Part in Federal Rulemaking Process by Submitting a Public Comment on a Proposed Veterans Law Legislation

Jonathan Pilat

3L Jonathan Pilat used the legal expertise that he gained during his semester as a student attorney in the Wohl Family Veterans Legal Clinic (VLC), paired it with his interest in public policy, and submitted an official public comment in April on a proposed legislative change by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

This change proposed to amend the VA’s regulations in a way that would negatively affect Pilat and student attorneys in Veterans’ legal clinics across the nation. The VA’s proposal would limit the access of student attorneys to records kept within the Veterans Benefits Administration's information technology systems, as a privacy and security measure. These systems hold VA records relevant to veterans’ benefits claims, and if student attorneys like Pilat have access to these records they are able to best represent their Veteran clients.

Recognizing the opportunity to raise the concern about access on behalf of the VLC, Pilat crafted a constructive and well-written public comment, clearly voicing dissent for this change, and communicating the concerns of the VLC. In addition, he advocated for a solution that would continue to allow ease of access to Veterans benefits records either with the current regulation in place or under an amendment that would enable clinic students to qualify for read-only access to records.  By law, agencies must review all public comments received, and are required to respond to all comments in the preamble of their final regulation - whether they accept the suggestion or not. 

"It was such a pleasure to submit this comment on behalf of the College of Law and the Veterans Legal Clinic. Administrative Law is a passion for me and an area I have worked outside the law school, and it happened to coincide with my best class in law school,” says Pilat.  “I participated in the mechanisms of administrative rule making that we learned in the class in a real-life scenario with implications on our Clinic and veterans across the country. It means the world to me to be able to advocate in favor of the Clinic and veterans in the federal process. I certainly learned a lot through the process and look forward to working with the Clinic on similar issues."

In addition to providing representation to veterans and their families seeking benefits from the VA, the VLC engages in opportunities to participate in the rule making process and shape policy in veterans law.  Through these legislative initiatives, the VLC aims to help VA policymakers improve federal regulations to better serve veterans.

Professor Nina Kohn Reviews the Move to Online Learning During COVID-19 for eLearning Inside

Nina Kohn

(eLearning Inside | April 27, 2020) ... When the outbreak of COVID-19 reached the U.S. and shut down virtually all face-to-face instruction, the ABA issued a memo encouraging institutions to respond to the pandemic by going online and allowed that the pandemic could “necessitate or make advisable some departure from the normal operation of the law school’s J.D. program.”

Online J.D. programs were well-equipped to transition their in-person students online. “We were lucky in that we had the capacity to easily move in-person students over to the online modality,” Syracuse Professor and Faculty Director Nina Kohn said. “We have a student affairs office that’s used to working with students remotely. We have an office of career services that knows how to make programming available online. We have an IT staff that understands how to support faculty and students on Zoom" ...

Read the full article.

3L Adam Leydig and 2L Tyler Jeffries to Represent the College of Law at the Top Gun National Trial Tournament

Tyler Jeffries and Adam Leydig

3L Adam Leydig and 2L Tyler Jeffries will represent the College of Law at the annual Top Gun National Trial Tournament. Instead of taking place at Baylor University School of Law, Top Gun will be held online May 27-31, the first full-trial online law school competition. Leydig is the advocate with Jeffries serving as the second chair. Joanne Van Dyke L’87 coaches the Top Gun team.

This is the fourth consecutive year the College of Law will participate in the prestigious invitation-only competition. Top Gun is an innovative competition where the single best advocates from sixteen of the top trial advocacy schools go head-to-head for the honor of being designated as Top Gun. The winner receives a $10,000 prize. 

Unlike other trial competitions, participants do not receive the case file until the day before they compete. Preparation includes reviewing depositions, records, and photographs. Shortly before each round, competitors are assigned witnesses who may be used at their discretion during the round. The jurors for each round are distinguished trial lawyers and judges.

“Being invited to the Top Gun competition is a significant accomplishment for the law school and our students. This year’s online format will make this highly challenging event even more exciting,” says Van Dyke. “Adam and Tyler are experienced advocates whose exemplary track record in a variety of competitions makes them an ideal team to take on this test.”

Leydig won the 2019 National Trial Competition (NTC) regional and best advocate for the final round, along with best cross-examination. He advanced to the 2019 NTC national quarterfinals. He also advanced to the 2019 Tournament of Champions semifinals and won best advocate in the preliminary rounds. He won the 2020 NTC regional and the best opening statement award. His team also won the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) Tiffany Cup in 2019 and 2020.

Jeffries was on the 2019 Syracuse National Trial Competition team that advanced to the semifinals. She was also on the 2020 NTC team that won the regional and the NYSBA Tiffany Cup. Jeffries was a member of the 2020 American Association of Justice team.

Professor David Driesen: Trump's Quislings

David Driesen

(History News Network | April 26, 2020) President Trump has made it absolutely clear to every federal official that he will fire anybody who follows the law when it conflicts with his personal will. 

He fired FBI Director James Comey for investigating national security adviser Michael Flynn’s illegal conduct. Trump viciously forced out acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who authorized investigation of presidential obstruction of justice, days before he would become eligible for a pension and then his administration tried (unsuccessfully) to get a grand jury to indict him criminally.  

He dismissed Attorney General Jeffrey Sessions, who obeyed ethics rules requiring his recusal from investigation of Russian interference with the 2016 election. He secured the resignation of Homeland Security Director Kirstjen Nielsen, who wanted the administration to obey the laws protecting immigrants with bona fide asylum claims from deportation.  

He humiliated Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman by having him escorted off the White House grounds like a criminal, because he obeyed a lawful congressional subpoena requiring him to testify about President Trump’s conduct with respect to Ukraine. 

Trump cast out Inspector General Michael Atkinson for obeying the law requiring him to share whistleblower complaints with Congress ...

Read the full article.

Professor Nina Kohn: Addressing the Crisis in Long-Term Care Facilities

Nina Kohn

(The Hill | April 23, 2020) Bodies are piling up in long-term care facilities across the country and spiraling death rates show no signs of subsiding. These facilities are prime breeding grounds for infection. In addition to residents’ inherent vulnerability, measly sick leave policies encourage staff to come to work sick, and low pay leads direct care workers to hold multiple jobs — often at other long-term care facilities. 

The result is staff are nearly perfect vectors for COVID-19, as outbreak patterns in Seattle suggest. Indeed, even prior to the pandemic, most nursing homes — including those earning “five stars” on the federal government’s Nursing Home Compare website — had documented infection control problems.  

The federal response to COVID-19 will do little to improve nursing home residents’ odds of survival. Rather than ramping up efforts to protect residents, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), which oversees nursing homes, has responded to the novel coronavirus with guidance that prevents meaningful oversight …

Read the full article.

College of Law Students and Professor Robin Paul Malloy Use Videoconferencing Technology to Deliver the 8th Annual Issues in Local Zoning Education

Audrey Bimbi, Alison Burrows, Kaitlin Jacobs

For the past seven springs, Professor Robin Paul Malloy and students in his Advanced Zoning Law class develop and present a continuing education program to Onondaga County, NY zoning and planning officials. With COVID-19 restrictions in place, Professor Malloy, the students, and the Town of DeWitt shifted the Issues in Local Zoning Education and Training program to an online format. 50 local planning and zoning officials attended the online event held in mid-April.

College of Law students presented:

• Area and Use Variances, and Article 78 Review Criteria (Alison Burrows 3L)

• ADA & Reasonable Accommodations to Local Zoning Code Requirements (Audrey Bimbi 2L)

• Spot Zoning (Kaitlin Jacob 3L)

Professor Malloy presented Advancing Accessible Communities: Disability Law for Planning and Zoning Officials.

“The annual program provides an excellent opportunity for select law students to gain hands-on experience dealing with real zoning law issues and responding to difficult questions from local zoning officials,” says Malloy.  “At the same time, it provides our Central New York Community with valuable continuing education and training. It is a win-win situation for everyone involved.”

Professor Nina Kohn Discusses How COVID-19 Informs "Aging and the Law"

Nina Kohn teaches

Changing course: Yale classes adapt to the pandemic

(YaleNews | April 20, 2020) ... Nina Kohn, visiting professor of law at Yale Law School, said the pandemic immediately raised questions pertinent to her spring seminar “Aging and the Law.”

“The pandemic has made tangible many of the ethical and legal questions we ask students to grapple with, and thus had a profound effect in shaping the conversations we have with students,” she said.

One of the course’s key themes is the requirements for intergenerational justice. In other words, said Kohn: “What do generations owe one another?” And “When can and should the law differentiate on the basis of chronological age?”

With COVID-19 patients overwhelming hospital intensive care units and forcing medical professionals to make difficult decisions, Kohn said that the lessons of her course have never been more relevant.

“We ask students to focus on the tough and uncomfortable questions,” she said.  “Should ventilators be rationed based on age?  Should it be lawful to refuse to resuscitate older COVID-19 patients?  These are hard questions but necessary ones, and they have certainly affected the tenor of the class" ...

Read the full article.

University Professor David Driesen writes on the US Supreme Court’s decision in the recent Wisconsin election case

(verfassungsblog.de | April 22, 2020) United States lawyers may wonder whether President Trump has captured its Supreme Court. One day before a presidential primary and local election in Wisconsin, the Court intervened in an extraordinary way to add a new voting restriction. The decision in Republican National Committee v. Democratic National Committee provides further evidence that the Court has abandoned its high court role in favor of unusual partisan interventions to effectuate results found congenial by its Republican majority. Furthermore, a Court usually sensitive to national security concerns reached its judgment about the Wisconsin election without taking the threat the coronavirus poses to democratic processes seriously.

This case arose out of a voting rights challenge to Wisconsin’s decision to hold its election on April 7, in spite of an outbreak of the coronavirus that might well force citizens to relinquish their right to vote rather than risk death at the polls. The District Court declined to delay the election, but provided some relief by extending the deadline for receipt of absentee ballots from April 7 until April 13. In the wake of the coronavirus, the Wisconsin Board of Elections had received an extraordinary number of applications for absentee ballots and fallen far behind in sending out ballots. 

The District Court judge recognized that these delays would prevent many citizens who had met the application deadline from using the absentee ballots to vote. The deadline extension made it more likely that those who had applied for absentee ballots would be able to use them.

An emerging practice of shadow docket activism

This case looked like a poor candidate for Supreme Court review. The Supreme Court has, in the past, said that review of district court orders is rarely granted.

In recent years, however, the Court has moved away from traditional restraints on Supreme Court activism in cases important to the Trump administration. It has created a shadow docket that often relieves the Trump administration of temporary legal restraints on its policy initiatives when they appear illegal to District Courts. 

Trump’s effort to deploy resources to build a wall on the border with Mexico in defiance of congressional wishes and dubious policies potentially imperiling the lives of asylum seekers have received this sort of solicitude. Republican National Committee extends this emerging practice of shadow docket activism on behalf of the President’s initiatives to those of the Republican Party as a whole and accordingly generated a 5-4 split along party lines. The Court resolves shadow docket cases without full briefing or oral argument, which may make partisan views more likely to influence cases.

At the request of the Republican National Committee, the Court’s Republican majority added a requirement that ballots due on April 13 under the District Court order must be mailed and postmarked by Election Day, April 7. The District Court had refused a Wisconsin State Board of election request to add a postmarking requirement, because it would interfere with the goal of the deadline extension – to enable voters getting ballots late to vote.

The Supreme Court’s opinion suggests that the majority is protecting a state legal requirement from an overly activist District Court Judge. But the majority did not claim that the state law established any deadlines for postmarking a ballot ...

Read the full article

2Ls Lisa Cole and Christy O’Neil Participate in the First National Online Trial Advocacy Competition

Lisa Cole and Christy O'Neil

2Ls Lisa Cole and Christy O’Neil represented the College of Law in the first National Online Trial Advocacy Competition, with O’Neil advancing to the semifinal round.

The National Online Trial Advocacy Competition was organized to fill the void left by the cancellation of most spring competitions. 

170 students from 67 law schools entered the competition by submitting opening statement videos. The videos were reviewed by over 400 volunteer evaluators, including practicing trial attorneys, law school professors, and sitting judges, and the top scoring advocates advanced to the semifinal round.

Cole and O’Neil were members of the 2019 Tournament of Champions team that advanced to the semifinals, and the 2020 National Trial Competition team that advanced to national round before its cancellation.

Background Briefing: Professor William C. Banks Assesses the Possibility of Martial Law

William C. Banks

Is Trump Both the Arsonist and the Fire Brigade Sparking Insurrection Then Declaring Martial Law?

(Background Briefing | April 19, 2020) We look further into Trump’s encouragement of insurrection, aided and abetted by his propaganda mouthpiece Fox News, and speak with William Banks, Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Syracuse University College of Law who is the author of Soldiers on the Home Front: The Domestic Role of the American Military and has an article at The AtlanticMartial Law Would Sweep the Country Into a Great Legal Unknown“. 

He joins us to discuss how Trump is both the arsonist and the fire brigade igniting the spark of insurrection while possibly declaring martial law to put out the “Reichstag Fire” he has lit. Unfortunately while unprecedented, this prospect is not entirely hypothetical given Trump’s hatred of the press which he would shut down, and his fear of losing the election, which he would suspend.

Listen to the podcast.

Professor Doron Dorfman: Can COVID-19 Interstate Travel Restrictions Help Lift the FDA’s Blood Ban

Doron Dorfman
"Can the COVID-19 Interstate Travel Restrictions Help Lift the FDA’s Blood Ban?" Journal of Law and the Biosciences (forthcoming 2020).

Optimism among health law scholars is rare in the time of coronavirus. Yet this piece suggests that the crisis might be helpful in overruling one controversial health law policy that predates the virus: the FDA’s blood donation ban for gay and bisexual men. 

The blood ban was developed in response to the 1980s HIV-AIDS outbreak. Scholars have criticized this policy for years now as being outdated and unconstitutional. A step in the right direction occurred on April 2, 2020, when the FDA issued new recommendations to blood banks changing the one-year deferral for donations from men who have sex with men to a three-month deferral due to the shortage in the blood supply and after a public outcry on the issue. 

Yet, the policy is still problematic as it expresses disdain about sex between men. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, states have issued travel restrictions on travelers from severely impacted states. Professor Doron Dorfman's new article argues that outside of the dwindling blood supply, experience with stigma as a result of the travel restrictions has the potential to change public perceptions about the ban. Both policies, the blood ban and the COVID-19 interstate travel restrictions, are necessary for the short term, are based on activities connected with a disease, and create stigma with respect to the affected populations. 

Although no one can imagine the travel restrictions continuing after the pandemic is under control, the FDA’s ban has existed for decades after the end of the AIDS crisis. Drawing parallels between the policies and their stigmatizing effects could help mobilize the public against the blood ban and eventually have it lifted entirely.

Online Law Degree Program Benefits Many in COVID-19 Pandemic


Throughout March, many law schools transitioned to online instruction in response to COVID-19. At Syracuse University, it has been relatively easy.   “We're very fortunate at the College of Law that we've already spent years thinking through how you bring law school online in a way that works for students,” says Nina Kohn, a David M. Levy Professor of Law and faculty director of online education. The best practices that Kohn and her colleagues have developed in creating the country’s first fully interactive online ABA-accredited law degree program, Syracuse University’s JDinteractive (JDi), have enabled a more seamless transition for Syracuse’s faculty and residential students to shift online. The College of Law’s collective experiences teaching and supporting students online have also provided valuable insight and lessons for law schools around the nation as they transition to online learning.

Tiffany Love L’22 was one of the first students admitted to JDi. Love is a military spouse who was planning to attend a traditional law school in 2019 after her family returned from being stationed in Japan. While preparing for the Law School Admission Test, her husband’s military career forced her to change her plans. Instead of being sent back to the United States, her husband was ordered to serve in Germany for the next several years. JDi has enabled her to overcome the physical distance and work on her law degree. The support for JDi students like Love is now being used as the model to support all students at the College of Law. Faculty interaction outside of the online classroom, such as flexible office hours, is critical to student success. College of Law faculty have embraced many practices to ensure all online students, JDi and residential, receive timely feedback and guidance. “I met with our constitutional law professor several weeks back,” Love says. “It was after work for me and it was morning for him, but they've been very flexible. Help, chat or support, they're there and they're willing to find the time. The program is so portable that it doesn't matter where I am and what time zone I'm in.”

Tiffany Love
Tiffany Love
To support the success of legal education online, many resources and systems that support residential students, such as academic counseling and the law library, needed to be made fully available online to support JDi students when the program launched in January 2019. The solutions devised prior to the pandemic are now being used to support residential students. “We are well-positioned to support our residential students during this incredibly challenging time,” Kohn says. “And we’re able to play a leadership role on the national scale, showing other law schools what high-quality legal education can look like online.” Kohn, who led the development of the program and teaches in it, has run free webinars offering training and support for law faculty from all over the country.

Kohn says law schools moving online to respond to COVID-19 have two primary challenges: “First, how do you bring classes online in a way that is very high quality?” she says. “Second, how do you bring the portions of school, that aren't classes, online?”

To address the first challenge, Kohn says law schools have to support faculty in the transition to a virtual classroom. “We want every faculty member to go to their first online class with the tools they need to feel comfortable,” she says. “Because at the end of the day, almost everything a law faculty member can do in a live residential class, they can do in an online class if they have thought it through and know the tools.” Indeed, Love says that her class experience has not been hampered by living thousands of miles from her classmates and professors. “In class, we still get the same experience. We still get cold-called. We still get drilled for details about cases.”

Law faculty at Syracuse who haven’t taught online previously are using colleagues who have taught in the JDi program as a resource. “You never want students being the guinea pigs,” Kohn says. “I want faculty to try breakout groups for the first time with me or with another colleague, not with their students.” In working with faculty members, Kohn emphasizes how different teaching techniques can be employed in a virtual classroom. “Having students debate, having them critique each other's work, there are ways to bring that online in a way that feels very authentic and seamless if you have a little training.”   

The second challenge is bringing student support services and resources online. “This is a place where we are in a unique position,” Kohn says. “If you look at our traditional university, a lot of things are critical to the student learning experience that are outside of class.” For example, College of Law staff already have experience with online career counseling and networking and helping student groups meet online, thanks to JDi.

The solutions the College of Law has developed to build an online community for JDi students are now being used to provide continuity of services, resources, and comradery for residential students under these daunting circumstances. “I think at this moment where we're all isolated, it becomes incredibly important where we can offer students an opportunity to connect with one another,” Kohn says.

Community is a hallmark of the JDi program. “My study partner is in Philadelphia and we try to meet once a week on Zoom and just connect and review if we need to,” Love says. “I still feel extremely connected to my classmates even though we're very distant.”  And now, residential students are using the same tools and systems in a similar manner.

Kohn finds it rewarding that the work she and her colleagues have done to build the JDi program can now be used to support all College of Law students during this time of crisis. “We have always been one law school, and this really brings that home,” she says.

The broader legal education community was closely watching the JDi program since day one in January 2019, says Kohn. More recently faculty from across the country have been reaching out to her to learn how to best provide legal education online. “All eyes have been on JDi since it launched, and now we are sharing what we have learned with other legal educators during the crisis,” Kohn says.

Burton Blatt Institute Launches Web Page for COVID-19 Resources for Disabled People and Allies

The Burton Blatt Institute’s (BBI) Office of Interdisciplinary Programs and Outreach (OIPO) has established the OIPO New York State COVID-19 Online Resources web page that gathers and organizes Syracuse, Central New York, and New York State COVID-19-related links and contact information of interest to disabled people. A great majority of these resources will also be of interest and relevance to nondisabled individuals and families. 

“The team at the Office of Interdisciplinary Programs and Outreach at the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University’s College of Law joins our colleagues at the Southeast ADA Center (SEADA) in gathering and organizing resources that center on the rights, access, and experiences of disabled people during the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Diane Wiener, Research Professor and Associate Director of BBI’s Office of Interdisciplinary Programs and Outreach. 

Please note that inclusion of a resource on the web page does not necessarily mean an endorsement by BBI, nor can BBI attest to every referenced site’s accessibility. 

Professor Wiener has also curated a broad set of wellness, creativity, and advocacy resources of interest during the COVID-19 pandemic.

About the Office of Interdisciplinary Programs and Outreach: The Office of Interdisciplinary Programs and Outreach of the Burton Blatt Institute seeks to engage disability across colleges and academic disciplines both at Syracuse University and around the world. The aim of this office within the Burton Blatt Institute is to promote opportunities for cooperative teaching, research, and social advocacy by recognizing the far-reaching nature of disability in a global age.

About the Burton Blatt Institute: The Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University reaches around the globe in its efforts to advance the civic, economic, and social participation of people with disabilities. BBI builds on the legacy of Burton Blatt, former Dean of SU’s School of Education and a pioneering disability rights scholar, to better the lives of people with disabilities. BBI has offices in Syracuse, NY, New York City, NY, Washington, DC, Lexington, KY, and Atlanta, GA. bbi.syr.edu

Five New Faculty Members Expand Syracuse University College of Law's Expertise in National Security, Commercial and Property Law, and Online Learning

College of Law

Syracuse University College of Law welcomes five new faculty members who will begin their teaching assignments in fall 2020. These new professors deepen and broaden the College's academic and research capacity in national security, commercial and property law, and legal writing, and they expand the bench of highly experienced legal scholars teaching in JDinteractive, the College's fully interactive online law degree program. 

"The College of Law is proud to add these five expert scholars to our faculty. Their teaching, practice, and research interests dovetail with key strength areas of the College, and their experience will be critical to guiding our students toward academic and career success," says Dean Craig M. Boise. "I'm particularly pleased to have hired two professors—Jack Graves and Linda Whitton—who will focus their teaching within the JDinteractive program. Both are recognized scholars in their fields and—as online pioneers—they are profoundly dedicated to providing quality online legal education for the 21st century."

Courtney Abbott Hill L'09

Courtney Abbott Hill L'09
Courtney Abbott Hill L'09

Joining the College of Law faculty as a teaching professor of legal writing, alumna Courtney Abbott Hill was most recently Associate Director of Student Affairs, responsible for helping Syracuse law students reach their full academic potential with an emphasis on bar exam preparation. Abbott Hill has designed and implemented programming focused on academic success for students throughout their law school career, and she taught a third-year law seminar.

Abbott Hill earned her J.D. magna cum laude from Syracuse in 2009, where she was Managing Editor of the Syracuse Law Review and a member of the Justinian Honor Society and the Order of the Coif. After graduation, she served as a court attorney with the New York State Appellate Division, Fourth Department, before transitioning to a career focused on law student success as a regional director with a national bar review provider. 

Jack Graves

Jack Graves
Jack Graves

Jack Graves joins the College of Law as a teaching professor and will develop and teach JDinteractive courses in Commercial Transactions and Evidence. Graves comes to Syracuse from Touro Law Center, where he served as Professor of Law and Director of Digital Legal Education, launching its hybrid J.D. program. He was a visiting professor at the College of Law in 2005.

Graves' extensive teaching and writing focuses on contracts, commercial law, arbitration, and digital lawyering. Recent writing focuses on teaching materials tailored to the online environment, including Learning Contracts (2019), International Sales and Commercial Arbitration (2017), and Sales Law (2020).

A law graduate of the University of Colorado (1994), Graves has played a significant role in developing online legal education in J.D. programs nationwide and participated as an original member of the Working Group on Distance Learning in Legal Education. He developed and delivered two fully asynchronous courses through iLaw Distance Learning, and he serves as a frequent speaker at online legal education conferences, including Syracuse’s April 2019 symposium on “Online Learning and the Future of Legal Education.”

Mark P. Nevitt

Mark P. Nevitt
Mark P. Nevitt

An expert in the intersection of national security and climate change, Mark P. Nevitt joins the College of Law and the Institute for Security Policy and Law as an associate professor. He will teach national security law, climate change law and policy, environmental law, and constitutional law.

Before joining Syracuse, Nevitt served as the Distinguished Professor of Leadership and Law at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. From 2017-2019, Nevitt served as the Sharswood Fellow, Lecturer-in-Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He has written extensively on climate change, environmental law, and national security, and he contributes to the influential Just Security blog.

Nevitt has written on climate change, environmental law, and national security law in the Harvard Environmental Law Review, Washington University Law Review, Boston College Law Review, Georgia Law Review, Berkeley Journal of International Law, and Cardozo Law Review. His chapter on “Environmental Law in Military Operations” is included in the influential operational law analysis US Military Operations: Law, Policy, and Practice (Oxford University Press, 2016). He is a frequent contributor to New York University School of Law’s influential Just Security blog and Penn Law’s Regulatory Review. He is currently writing on the destabilizing effects of climate change on numerous areas of law.

Before his academic career, Nevitt served as both a tactical jet aviator and a Judge Advocate General's Corps attorney in the US Navy. More recently, Nevitt helped provide legal advice to the US Navy’s investigation into the Iranian detention of US Navy sailors on Farsi Island. His military awards include the Air Medal and Meritorious Service Medal (four awards).

Monica Todd

Monica Todd
Monica Todd

Monica Todd joins the College of Law as a teaching professor of legal writing. Most recently, she was a legal writing professor at Western State College of Law in Southern California, and she served as a visiting professor at California Western School of Law during the 2019-2020 academic year. She has taught courses in family law, community property, and academic support, and she served as Director of Western State’s Family Practice Certificate Program.

A specialist in family law practice and crossover social and legal issues related to family law and domestic violence, Todd’s research has appeared in Akron Law Review and Western State University Law Review. She also has written on academic integrity and practice-oriented courses, and she has presented conference papers on legal writing, client communications, appellate advocacy, cultural literacy, and other topics.

Before her law career, Todd attended graduate school at the University of California at Irvine, completing both a master's degree in social ecology (with an emphasis on Human Development Studies) and the Elementary Education Teaching Internship Program. She taught elementary school for several years before earning her J.D. at the University of California at Los Angeles in 2007. At UCLA she was Bergstrom Child Welfare Law Fellow and Copyright Editor of the Women's Law Journal. After law school, she was an associate attorney at Stegmeier & Gelbart LLP and the Law Office of John A. Bledsoe.

Linda Whitton

Linda S. Whitton
Linda S. Whitton

Linda S. Whitton joins the College of Law as a lecturer, teaching property law in the JDinteractive program. She is Professor Emerita of Law at Valparaiso University Law School, where she held the Seegers Distinguished Professor Chair.

Known nationally and internationally for her scholarship and law reform work in the areas of durable powers and guardianship, Whitton is the Reporter for the Uniform Power of Attorney Act (2006) and the Uniform Recognition of Substitute Decision-Making Documents Act (2014).

Whitton is a retired Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, and she has served in numerous leadership positions within the American Bar Association Section of Real Property, Trust, and Estate Law and the American Association of Law Schools Section of Aging and the Law.

A graduate of Valparaiso University Law School, before commencing her academic career, Whitton served as law clerk to the Hon. S. Hugh Dillin, United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, and practiced business and commercial real estate law in Indianapolis.

Professor Mary Szto: Businesses Must Act to Stop COVID-19 Anti-Asian Racism

Mary Szto

(syracuse.com | April 13, 2020) Since March 19, 2020, the STOP AAPI HATE reporting center has received over 1,100 reports of coronavirus discrimination against Asian Americans. Ten percent involve physical assault and over two thirds involve verbal harassment and name-calling. Many incidents occur when Asian Americans shop for groceries. Businesses must act immediately to protect not only customers, but also their own employees. Businesses can respond with appropriate warning signs, enhanced security and restorative justice practices. Restorative justice addresses harm by bringing offenders and victims together in transformative ways.

According to a 2018 Nielsen report, not only are Asian Americans the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population; their buying power and digital influence has risen 257 per cent since 2000 and is expected to reach $1.3 trillion by 2022.

However, increasingly, Asian Americans are being attacked while shopping. On March 14, a Burmese father and sons, aged 2 and 6, were stabbed in Sam’s Club in Midland, Texas. An employee and and off-duty Customs and Border Protection agent intervened but were also stabbed. An analysis report from the FBI Houston office stated that the perpetrator admitted that he tried to kill the family because he thought they were Chinese and were spreading the coronavirus. The FBI report warned that anti-Asian hate crimes might surge in the next few weeks. In a case reported case in Syracuse, an Asian shopper was accosted twice, once at the grocery store, and then at Costco by two couples.

Essential businesses must act immediately to stop this anti-Asian racism and violence. Businesses post signs to tell us to stay six feet apart, not to hoard toilet paper and to wear a mask. We are thankful. Businesses must now post signs that prohibit racial slurs and violence. If a customer does engage in this conduct, store security and, if necessary, the police should be alerted. If physical violence is involved, the police can handle the matter accordingly. If racial slurs are involved, stores can bar customers from returning unless they have participated in an online restorative justice program.

Why restorative justice? Restorative justice addresses the causes of racial scapegoating, can bring genuine forgiveness and healing, and prevent re-occurrence …

Read the full article.

Syracuse Law Review Announces Notes Selections, Award Winners

Syracuse Law Review

Student Notes authors and annual award winners were announced at the Syracuse Law Review "virtual banquet"—held via Zoom—on April 10, 2020.

More than 80 students, faculty, and alumni—joined by Dean Craig M. Boise—also celebrated the publication of Volume 70. Edited by Kristian Stefanides, this volume includes a special issue on Online Legal Education with articles arising from the 2019 Law Review symposium on "Online Learning and the Future of Legal Education."

Volume 71—incorporating a special volume on bankruptcy—will be edited by Editor-in-Chief-Elect Nikkia Knudsen. 

2020 Award Winners

  • Alumni Achievement Award: Alessio Evangelista L’95
  • Samuel J.M. Donnelly Publication Award: Sohela Suri
  • 2L of the Year: Franklin Carcamo
  • 3L of the Year: Katherine Brisson
  • Faculty Award: Professor Gregory L. Germain

Volume 70 Student Notes Selections

  • Shannon Armstrong, "What is a Steak if a New Standard of Identity is Not Created for Plant-Based Meat?"
  • Dustin Dorsino, "Arbitration on Ice: How MLB Can Solve the Issues with its Salary Arbitration Process by Borrowing Practices from the NHL and Implementing Pre-Arbitration Mediation."
  • Shane Kelly, "Money Laundering Through Virtual Worlds of Video Games: Recommendations for a New Approach to AML Regulation."
  • Nikkia Knudsen, "Saving Mothers in America: A Proposal for Legislative Action"
  • John Mercurio, "Should We Replace or Repair the Brunner Test? Discharging Student Loan Debt Through Chapter 7 Bankruptcy."
  • Mike Stoianoff, "Standing Still: American Legion and the Limits of Judicial Review."
  • Joe Tantillo, "An Invisible Truth: How Courts and Congress Have Failed to Support Reasonable Accommodations in the Workplace for People with Mental Illness."


Law School Innovators: Taking Legal Ed Online

ABA Law Student Podcast

Law School Innovators: Taking Legal Ed Online

Join Dean Boise, Faculty Director of Online Education Nina Kohn, and host and JDinteractive 1L student Meghan Stapleton Steenburgh for an ABA Law Student Podcast on making legal education more accessible through online programs and other innovations. 

This two-part podcast also features JDi 2L students Mandy Mobley Li, Katy Morris, and Ernie Sawyer, who offer tips and tricks for adjusting to online learning.

Listen to the Podcast.


Read the Stories Book Online!

Spring is the time to appreciate our alumni, your contributions to law and community, and your deep connections to your alma mater and each other. Our plan was to have our colorful Stories Book land in your mailbox this month, but with the COVID-19 public health crisis in full force, we’ve gone digital! 

Celebrate our 125th anniversary and the achievements of Orange lawyers around the globe here.

Hon. James E. Baker: A Marshall Plan for Public Health (ABA Podcast)

Hon. James E. Baker

The DPA: A Marshall Plan for Public Health with Judge James Baker

ABA National Security Law Today | April 9, 2020

Judge James Baker is the the Director of the Syracuse University Institute for Security Policy and Law, former Chief Judge of the US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, and former Chair of the Standing Committee on Law and National Security.

This episode references:

Listen to the podcast.

Professor David Driesen: Hungarian Democracy Destruction & Public Health

David Driesen


(CPR Blog | April 8, 2020) Last week, Hungarian President Viktor Orbán used the coronavirus as an excuse to secure emergency legislation giving him permanent dictatorial powers. 

President Trump has long admired Orbán and emulated the democracy-undermining strategies that brought Hungary to this point — demonizing opponents; seeking bogus corruption investigations against opposition politicians; using vicious rhetoric, economic pressures, and licensing threats to undermine independent media; and whipping up hatred of immigrants.

President Trump also has copied Orbán in destroying the rule of law and honest government by subjugating the executive branch of government to his will. He has made it clear to every government employee that standing up for the law or truth in opposition to Trump triggers dismissal. For example, he's conducted a campaign of retaliation against executive branch employees who dared testify truthfully to his corruption during the impeachment process, and just last week, fired the intelligence community's inspector general who followed the law by forwarding to Congress the original whistleblower complaint about his "perfect call" with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Trump's autocratic approach to expertise has facilitated the spread of the coronavirus, as he dismantled the apparatus in place to prepare for and deal with a pandemic and caused leading experts to resign, and he has repeatedly used White House coronavirus briefings to blunt needed public health warnings by substituting his imagined "common sense" for the advice of actual experts ...

Read the full article

Professor David Driesen: Hungarian Democracy Destruction and Public Health Alternatives to Empowering Trump

Professor David Driesen

(CPR Blog - Apr. 8, 2020) Last week, Hungarian President Viktor Orbán used the coronavirus as an excuse to secure emergency legislation giving him permanent dictatorial powers. President Trump has long admired Orbán and emulated the democracy-undermining strategies that brought Hungary to this point — demonizing opponents; seeking bogus corruption investigations against opposition politicians; using vicious rhetoric, economic pressures, and licensing threats to undermine independent media; and whipping up hatred of immigrants.

President Trump also has copied Orbán in destroying the rule of law and honest government by subjugating the executive branch of government to his will. He has made it clear to every government employee that standing up for the law or truth in opposition to Trump triggers dismissal. For example, he's conducted a campaign of retaliation against executive branch employees who dared testify truthfully to his corruption during the impeachment process, and just last week, fired the intelligence community's inspector general who followed the law by forwarding to Congress the original whistleblower complaint about his "perfect call" with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Trump's autocratic approach to expertise has facilitated the spread of the coronavirus, as he dismantled the apparatus in place to prepare for and deal with a pandemic and caused leading experts to resign, and he has repeatedly used White House coronavirus briefings to blunt needed public health warnings by substituting his imagined "common sense" for the advice of actual experts

Continue reading here.

Professor Doron Dorfman: COVID-19 May Help Lift FDA Policy On Gay Blood Donors

Doron Dorfman

(Law 360 | April 3, 2020) Optimism among public health scholars is rare in the era of coronavirus. Yet I suggest that the crisis might present an opportunity to overrule one controversial health law policy that predates the pandemic: the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s blood donation ban on gay and bisexual men.

The blood ban was developed out of necessity in response to the 1980s HIV-AIDS outbreak and has since undergone some amendments. The recent iteration of the ban forbids blood banks from accepting donations from men who have had sex with men, or MSM, in the year prior to the donation.

Scholars have criticized this ban for years now, calling it outdated and unconstitutional, and although lifted in countries around the globe, it persists even during blood shortages and in the midst of a once-in-a-lifetime international public health crisis. Last week, a group of 15 US Democratic senators sent a letter to the FDA urging it to “shift away from antiquated and stigmatizing donation policies” to address the need for blood donations.

On April 2, the FDA published a recommendation to blood banks to change the deferral period for donations from MSM to only three months instead of one year, due to the shortage. The new policy would allow MSM to donate blood if they have not had sexual contact within the last three months. This new policy has been accepted with mixed feelings among the LGBTQ community, as it still falls into the notion of persistent aversion to sex between men in American law, which scholars referred to as the afterlife of homophobia.

Yet it is not only the dwindling blood supplies that might help change hearts and minds about this policy. As a scholar of health-related stigma, I argue that a potential change in public perceptions of infectious diseases following the pandemic might in fact act as the catalyst that will help completely lift this blood ban ...

Read the full article.

Professor William C. Banks: Beware the Military on US Soil

William C. Banks

Beware the military on US soil: City and state leaders should be careful what they wish for

By William C. Banks

(NY Daily News | April 6, 2020) By and large, New York officials have exhibited admirable leadership and clear-headed decision making in response to the worst public health crisis in a century. With staggering numbers of COVID-19 infections and badly overstretched hospitals, New York City and surrounding communities are in dire need of help — and Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio have been properly beseeching the White House to commit federal resources to help stem the tide of the virus.

But as it involves the use of the military, this response should have clear limits. Legally and historically, we limit its engagement on U.S. soil for very good reason.

Although Cuomo called up New York National Guard forces early in the crisis to help with the expected medical surge, and although the USNS Comfort has arrived to provide hospitals with desperately needed surge capacity, de Blasio and other New Yorkers are still urging a more robust federal military response.

Tread carefully.

There is no doubt that the U.S. military has always played a key role in society. Soldiers have always stood ready to use their special training, equipment and discipline to help out in emergencies when no one else could.

Most of the time, however, America’s military forces have remained in the background, waiting for direction from civilian leaders to respond to crises and then only in limited ways ...

Read the full article

What Exactly Is the Defense Production Act? Hon. James E. Baker Speaks to CNBC

James E. Baker

What exactly is the Defense Production Act?

(CNBC Markets in Turmoil | April 3, 2020) James E. Baker, professor at the Syracuse University School of Law, on the Defense Production Act and the powers it gives to the president.

Watch the segment.

Hon. James E. Baker on CNBC, April 4, 2020.
Hon. James E. Baker on CNBC, April 4, 2020.

Hon. James E. Baker in The New York Times: Why Is Trump So Timid With the Defense Production Act?

Hon. James E. Baker

(The New York Times | April 3, 2020) Every Marine knows better than to pull a knife in a gunfight. But so far, that appears to be the federal government’s approach to battling Covid-19. The president has “invoked” the Defense Production Act, but the government has not used the full authority of the act. There is a difference between invoking a law and using it, just as there is a difference between talk and action.

Governors and health officials tell us that there is a profound gap between the protective equipment, hospital equipment and testing resources that are needed (and will be needed) and what is available (or in the pipeline). Bill Gates reminds us that we will need to produce millions, perhaps billions, of doses of vaccine in 12 to 18 months. This isn’t a passing crisis; we will need more of everything in two months, six months and maybe years.

Don’t let debate over the details of General Motors’ and Ventec’s honorable effort to build more ventilators hide the bottom line: The federal government has all the authority it needs to close the supply gap, allocate resources among states, and prepare for the production and distribution of the vaccine to come. Until the federal government demonstrates — with statistics, contracts and timelines — that the gap is closed and the vaccine pipeline is ready, we should ask: Why isn’t the government bringing its full arsenal to the fight? …

Read the full article.

Professor Doron Dorfman Examines "[Un]Usual Suspects: Deservingness, Scarcity, and Disability Rights"

Doron Dorfman
"[Un]Usual Suspects: Deservingness, Scarcity, and Disability Rights." UC Irvine Law Review 10:2 (2020).

People encounter disability in public spaces where accommodations are granted to those who fit into this protected legal class, writes Professor Doron Dorfman. Nondisabled people desire many of these accommodations—such as the use of reserved parking spots or the ability to avoid waiting in a queue—and perceive them as “special rights” prone to abuse. 

This apprehension about the exploitation of rights by those pretending to be disabled, which Dorfman refers to as “fear of the disability con,” erodes trust in disability law and affects people with disabilities both on an individual level and a group level. 

Individuals with disabilities are often harassed or questioned about their identity when using their rights. As a group, disabled people are forced to navigate through new defensive policies that seek to address widely held perceptions of fakery and abuse. 

This article uses a series of survey experiments conducted with multiple nationally representative samples totaling more than 3,200 Americans along with 47 qualitative in-depth interviews. It brings to light the psychological mechanism of suspicion and identifies factors that motivate fear of the disability con in public spaces. 

Findings counterintuitively suggest that the scarcity of the desired public resources has no effect on the level of suspicion against potential abusers. Rather, it is the sense of deservingness (or lack thereof) in the eyes of others that drives suspicion. 

Using these empirical findings, as well as analysis of relevant case law, Dorfman outlines the normative implications for the design and implementation of laws affecting millions of individuals. Furthermore, this research contributes to our understanding of how rights behave on the ground, both with regard to disability and to myriad distributive policies.

Syracuse University College of Law Introduces S.J.D. Degree Program

College of Law

Syracuse University College of Law is pleased to announce the launch of its new Doctor of Juridical Science in Law (Scientiae Juridicae Doctor, or S.J.D.) degree program. This is the third programmatic announcement in the 2019-2020 academic year for the College of Law, coming after the December 2019 launch of the online J.D./M.B.A. program and the January 2020 launch of Third Year Away

An advanced research doctorate program—which has been approved by NYS Department of Education and received acquiescence from the American Bar Association—the S.J.D. program is similar to Ph.D. programs in other disciplines. While pursuing their advanced legal studies, S.J.D. students will work under the supervision of their faculty advisors to produce an original dissertation that will make a substantial contribution to the field of law. 

"Syracuse's S.J.D. program is designed to foster original research of outstanding legal scholars and aspiring academics from around the world. S.J.D. students will discover that the College of Law is a thriving academic community where the breadth and depth of our faculty's expertise as leaders in their respective fields will complement the students’ own advanced intellectual inquiry," says Dean Craig M. Boise. "I look forward to welcoming S.J.D. students whose contributions and international perspectives will enhance the College of Law's reputation as a global center for engaging in the most pressing legal and policy topics of our day." 

"The College of Law’s new S.J.D. Program builds on our highly successful LL.M. program that offers unique specialties in international and comparative disability law, national and international security law, technology and innovation law, as well as other disciplines," says Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor and Faculty Director of International Programs Professor Arlene Kanter. "Syracuse also offers S.J.D. students the opportunity to pursue interdisciplinary coursework and academic engagement with other academic programs of Syracuse University—an R1 research institution—including at the world-renowned Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication, and Whitman School of Management." 

Assistant Dean of International Programs Andrew Horsfall says that “the S.J.D Admissions Committee is eager to begin reviewing application materials from potential candidates for the Fall 2020 cohort, and we will continue to do so on a rolling basis.” Applicants must hold a degree in law, and international applicants are encouraged to have an LL.M. from an accredited law school in the United States. An applicant's prior academic record and the compatibility of research goals with College of Law faculty expertise are among the other admission criteria.

The S.J.D. program requires a year-long colloquium course as well as elective coursework to support the student’s dissertation research and writing. S.J.D. students are expected to complete the program within three to five years, culminating in an oral defense of their dissertation that will be open to the University community. 

During semesters in residence, S.J.D. students will engage in coursework and research activities at the College of Law and across Syracuse University. After their first year, students may pursue optional semesters in residence at Syracuse, or field placements and research opportunities away from the College of Law. 

For more information about the S.J.D. Program, visit law.syr.edu/sjd or email Assistant Dean of International Programs Andrew S. Horsfall at SJD@law.syr.edu. Press inquiries should be directed to Robert Conrad at rtconrad@law.syr.edu

“Cool” Relief for Migraine Sufferers: Innovation Law Center Helps Bring Wearable Tech to Market

Prolivio Migraine Headband

By Julia Scaglione '20

Imagine having a migraine and reaching for an ice pack for relief. Sure, the cooling numbs the pain for a while—but 20 minutes later the relief ends as the ice pack reaches room temperature. But now the tedious process of returning the pack to the freezer and waiting for it to re-freeze—while the pain returns—has an alternative solution: Prolivio. It’s an ice pack whose temperature can be controlled and customized to meet exact needs.

Prolivio is a migraine-relief cooling headband designed to reduce the longevity and severity of headaches. A “digital icepack” of sorts, the simple device provides a customizable level of cooling per customer preference through its adjustable temperature and time settings. Not only does Prolivio provide better relief, it enables cooling to happen on-the-go.

Plus, the device is connected to an app that collects data, allowing its users to better understand how often they experience migraines and the effect of contributing influences. Thus, by collecting data on the user’s migraines, Prolivio works to not only provide immediate relief through its cooling tech, it aids the management of migraines in the long run.

The company was founded by Benjamin Zombek and Robert Juncosa in 2019 and now operates with a small team preparing for commercial launch. Zombek, the Industrial Designer of the team, is no stranger to migraines, so the issue hits close to home for him. “As a kid, my mother suffered horrible migraines,” he explains. “She experienced awful side effects and was often non-functioning due to heavy medication.” The personal impact of migraines does not stop there: Zombek’s wife and daughter experience them as well.

The fact that three significant people in Zombek’s life all experience migraines is not as unusual as it may seem. The condition is a lot more prevalent than meets the eye. The Migraine Research Foundation reports that nearly 1 in 4 US households include someone with migraine and that 12% of the population—including children—suffers from migraine. According to Zombek, one billion people suffer from migraines worldwide.

Not only does this chronic condition create huge out-of-pocket medical costs for sufferers but it also results in a loss of income due to time lost at work. According to industry statistics provided by Zombek, the annual economic loss resulting from time lost at work due to migraines in the United States alone is $31 billion, and 157 million people miss work hours each year. So prevalent is the condition that a “migraine industry” has developed, with sufferers spending $41 billion to treat their range of symptoms—not just headache, but nausea, light sensitivity, and more. Prolivio plans to enter this industry with a product that can provide immediate relief as sufferers continue to wait for a cure.

Estimated to be 14 to 16 months from its product launch, the Prolivio team is working to build beta units of its product, conduct market research through customer discovery, pitch in business plan competitions, and build relationships with strategic partners.

In addition to their preparatory work at the Prolivio headquarters, Zombek and the team have been working with the Syracuse University College of Law’s Innovation Law Center (ILC) to understand the product’s intellectual property landscape, the application of various regulations, and how to optimize the product’s path to market.

Specifically, Zombek and the ILC students are compiling research to help solidify the parameters of the Prolivio patent protection strategy, as well as what obstacles there may be to market entry and whether the company can anticipate any freedom to operate issues. “So far, the students have given us reassurance that there are no red flags and that the patent looks very strong,” Zombek reports. “Those are two huge wins in taking the product to market, so working with the ILC has been great.”

Looking forward, Zombek hopes to launch Prolivio in mid-2021. The company will spend the upcoming months going through the final rounds of engineering and prototyping to build and scale the product, in addition to securing funding and partners to launch.

Outside of Prolivio, Zombek hopes to develop further health and wellness products for a variety of conditions through his company, BZD Ventures. The inventor says he aims to launch more enabling technology for the disabled community, as well as other therapeutic technologies. At the end of the day, Zombek’s goal with Prolivio and all of his inventions is simple: “I want to help people in pain. And overall, simple tech makes a difference.”

Prolivio migraine headband.
Prolivio migraine headband.

New Database: Wolters Kluwer Study Aids

The Law Library is pleased to announce a new online study aids collection, Wolters Kluwer Study Aids, for law students.  The collection includes the popular Examples & Explanations series, Glannon Guides, and more.  Users will be prompted for their NetIDs to successfully connect..  Once connected, users can create and use their own customized accounts to highlight text, make annotations, etc.  

Please see our student flyer for additional information.

Serving Veterans During COVID-19: VLC's Beth Kubala Appears on the Dave Allen Podcast

Beth Kubala

During an appearance on WSYR's Dave Allen Show (March 30, 2020), Beth Kubala, Director of the Betty and Michael D. Wohl Veterans Legal Clinic (VLC), discusses the clinic's work, her military career, and how she, the clinic, and its students continue to serve Central New York's veterans during the coronavirus public health crisis.

Listen to the podcast

Professor David Driesen: Why NY Law Requires Absentee Ballots in Response to COVID-19

David Driesen

(syracuse.com | March 30, 2020) Postponing elections because of COVID-19 is dangerous. We don’t know when the crisis will abate. And President Donald Trump, if he falls behind his opponent in the presidential race, may cite any state postponements of elections as precedent for seeking to postpone the 2020 federal elections indefinitely.

But how can New York avoid postponing elections when illness from COVID-19 prevents many voters from going to the polls? The answer is quite simple. The New York Election Law permits (and arguably requires) universal rights to absentee ballots during the current crisis, because it authorizes absentee ballots when illness prevents voters from appearing personally. That explains why Attorney General Letitia James is on solid legal ground in supporting universal absentee ballots.

The election authorizes people who may contract an illness prior to election day to obtain absentee ballots in anticipation of that possibility, at least in the case of a pandemic. The law’s language does not require that absentee voters be unable to appear personally, only that they “expect to be unable” to appear ...

Read the full article.

Professor Cora True-Frost: Parenting in the Shadow of Scarce Ventilators

Cora True-Frost

(Newsday | March 28, 2020) As a mom, I have the same concerns as all parents during this pandemic: identifying and accepting my children’s feelings, limiting their screen time, discussing appropriate tone in texts, and managing their studies.

But as the parent of a child with multiple disabilities, I am a member of a select tribe. Many of us already have nearly lost or already lost a child. Many of our children already have been or are currently on ventilators.  We know the agonizing vigilance that comes with prolonged, uncertain hospital stays, even during socially undistanced times.

Isolation, uncertainty, worry, and fear are not new to members of our tribe.  Neither are scarce resources. Technology often keeps our children alive, and we are constantly reminded of the fragility of life. Pre-pandemic questions included: Will the nutritional supply company send on time the formula that keeps my son alive, or will an insurance snag hold it up? Will the nursing agency find a replacement for the nurse who just quit without notice? Will the wheelchair-repair company finally deliver the long-awaited parts? 

The pre-pandemic answers were disheartening enough. Now it’s downright terrifying to imagine what supply chain disruptions, no staffing help, canceled appointments, and system overload will mean not only for my son, but also for the many people whose lives rely on supports and assistance beyond the norm ...

Read the full article

Professor William C. Banks in Ms.: Voting in a Time of Pandemic

William C. Banks

Voting in a Time of Pandemic: The November Election Must Go on as Scheduled

by Stephen Dycus & William C. Banks

(Ms. | March 27, 2020) With polls showing Trump trailing former Vice President Joe Biden—his likely Democratic opponent in the November election—it is widely rumored that the president might seek ways to postpone the election in order to remain in office.

Such a move would be blatantly illegal: It would place the government of the United States in the hands of one man, abridge the cherished right of those in the U.S. to choose their leaders, and threaten democracy itself.

The Power to Control Elections Lies with States and Congress

The Constitution entrusts the timing and conduct of federal elections entirely to Congress and the states. According to Article I, states prescribe the times, places and manner of selecting senators and representatives—although Congress may change those rules.

The president has no role to play in their election.

Election of the president is a bit more complicated, but here again the Constitution is clear. Under Article II, the President’s term is limited to four years—although she may be reelected for a second four-year term.

The same article gives Congress the job of determining a time for “chusing the Electors,” who are appointed by each respective state, and whose role in selecting the president is spelled out in detail in the 12th Amendment.

The process is entirely out of the president’s hands.

The 20th Amendment to the Constitution says the President’s term ends on January 20th, and the term of her successor “shall then begin.” It also says that if a president has not been chosen by that date, and no vice president has qualified to serve instead, Congress may either designate someone to act as president or may prescribe a new procedure for selecting one.

Invoking this provision, the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 states that if no one has qualified to serve as President, the Speaker of the House—or others in a specified line of succession—shall serve instead ...

Read the full article.

College of Law Adjusts Deadlines & Policies for Fall 2020 Applicants

College of Law

Syracuse University College of Law is taking several proactive steps to accommodate applicants planning to start law school in Fall 2020. These measures apply to all J.D. programs at the College of Law. 

Effective immediately, the College has issued the following updated guidelines:

  • The priority deadline of April 1, 2020, for Fall 2020 applications has been waived. 
  • The final deadline to submit a complete application is now Aug. 5, 2020, to accommodate the June 8 and July 13 scheduled LSAT test dates.
  • Applicants who have taken the GRE in the past five years are eligible to apply under the College’s LSAT waiver policy.  

Applicants may now apply before receiving test scores. In response to question two of the application form, enter your planned test date.The College will hold your application until your results are available. 

The admissions office is open, and all of services—including admissions counseling appointments—are available through video conferencing and by phone. Send an email to admissions@law.syr.edu to set up an appointment.

Visit law.syr.edu/admissions for additional information or to apply.

Professor William C. Banks Discusses Emergency Powers on ABA National Security Podcast

William C. Banks

Emergency Powers & COVID-19 with William Banks

William Banks is the Chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Law and National Security Advisory Committee and a Distinguished Professor and Emeritus Professor at the Syracuse University College of Law and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, and the author of several constitutional law textbooks.

This episode references:

Listen to the podcast

Professor William C. Banks: Martial Law Would Sweep the Country Into a Great Legal Unknown

William C. Banks

By William C. Banks & Stephen Dycus

(The Atlantic | March 27, 2020) The last time martial law—military control of the government—was declared in the United States was December 1941, just hours after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The territorial governor, acting under a turn-of-the-century statute, handed the government of the Hawaiian islands over to the commander of U.S. forces there. The military governor, as he styled himself, immediately ordered the closure of courts, shut down schools, froze wages, suspended labor contracts, and imposed censorship of newspapers, radio, and civilian mail. He also decreed a curfew and blackout, as well as a ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages—a wildly unpopular measure that was quickly reversed. Despite the fact that there was no threat of a Japanese invasion after the Battle of Midway in 1942, martial law remained in place for another two years.

In 1946, after the war ended, the Supreme Court ruled in Duncan v. Kahanamoku that the statute authorizing martial law in Hawaii did not enable military trials of civilians, and it warned against the “subordination of executive, legislative and judicial authorities to complete military rule”—but it offered no further guidance about the circumstances that would justify a declaration of martial law, or about the consequences of such a declaration. Nor has Congress ever tried to clarify the criteria for or limits of martial law.

So what would happen if, amid the panic of the coronavirus pandemic, the president tried to declare martial law? Without question, military forces directed by state governors—and perhaps even, in extreme cases, by the president—may be uniquely able to help get us through the current crisis. At least 20 state governors have now called up their National Guard to assist with delivery of food and medical supplies, clean public facilities, and adapt some of those facilities to house patients if hospitals become overwhelmed. Guard personnel could also help enforce quarantines ordered by state governors, and even arrest violators. But their role is to support, not replace, civil authorities. The states’ legal power to do all this is clear; it is not martial law ...

Read the whole article.

Hon. James E. Baker Signs Letter Urging Use of the Defense Production Act

Hon. James E. Baker

National Security Veterans Urge Trump to Invoke Emergency Mobilization Law

(The Wall Street Journal | March 25, 2020) A bipartisan group of more than 100 former national security officials are urging President Trump immediately to use a Korean War-era defense mobilization law "to the full extent" to support companies making supplies critical to combating the coronavirus outbreak.

In a letter Wednesday, the former officials said the Defense Production Act was designed precisely because the private sector "lacks the ability to process incoming requests, prioritize the most urgent needs and coordinate with other companies absent more concerted government involvement."

Read the full article.

Professor William C. Banks Helps Fact Check Martial Law Rumors

William C. Banks

Martial Law Isn’t ‘Imminent’

(FactCheck.org | March 25, 2020) President Donald Trump mobilized the National Guard on March 22 in Washington, California and New York — three states that have been hit hard by COVID-19 — to assist with everything from distribution of food to set-up of medical tents.

The following day, Defense Secretary Mark Esper clarified: “To be clear, this is not a move toward martial law, as some have erroneously claimed.”

Esper was responding to persistent online rumors that martial law is either currently in place or very near.

Generally, martial law is military authority substituted for civil government during periods of unrest. It’s a murky concept that hasn’t been defined in American law — as we’ll explain later.

As for the rumors hyping the idea that military rule is looming, the Facebook page for “Alternative Media Television” recently warned its more than 145,000 followers: “STORM IS COMING TO AMERICA!!!! MARTIAL LAW NEXT 24 HOURS!!!!!!”

That post linked to Alternative Media Television’s online store, which sells “emergency survival” gear and “emergency preparedness” food supplies.

Alex Jones, the conspiracy theorist behind the website Infowars.com, also has been pumping out misinformation on the issue while selling his own survivalist supplies, including face masks.

“We are already under overlying fields, crisscrossing fields, of martial law,” Jones said in one recent video

… Basically, martial law is the temporary replacement of civil government by the military during a period of unrest, explained David Glazier, a professor at Loyola Law School and former U.S. Navy officer.

It has rarely been used in the U.S., said William Banks, professor of law at Syracuse University. The last time was in Hawaii, when martial law was instituted following the attack on Pearl Harbor …

Read the full article.

LA Times Quotes Hon. James E. Baker on COVID-19 & the DPA

James E. Baker

Trump’s refusal to use wartime powers to direct scarce medical supplies has left states fighting it out

(Los Angeles Times | March 25, 2020) When President Trump invoked emergency war powers last week to fight the coronavirus outbreak, many were hopeful that the federal government would take charge in addressing the nation’s dire shortage of ventilators, protective masks and other critical gear for patients and medical staff.

But Trump has not made actual use of the powers granted in the Korean War-era law known as the Defense Production Act, even though state governors, health experts and lawmakers of his own party have appealed to the administration to employ that authority to bulk up production of medical equipment and supplies, and just as critically, to ensure that they’re distributed to areas of most urgent need ...

... New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has grown increasingly angry as COVID-19 cases have exceeded 26,000 in his state, about half of the infections recorded in the United States. On Tuesday he lashed out at the Trump administration’s failure to use the DPA, saying the law was made precisely for a time like now.

“When we went to war, we didn’t say, ‘Any company out there want to build a battleship? ... Maybe a couple of you guys can get together and build a battleship ... maybe, you think,’ ” he said, dripping with sarcasm. “That’s not how you did it. The president’s said it’s a war. It is a war. Well, then, act like it’s a war.”

Cuomo said that New York has received only 400 ventilators from the federal government. “FEMA says, ‘We’re sending 400 ventilators.’ Really? What am I going to do with 400 ventilators when I need 30,000?”

Jamie E. Baker, former legal adviser to the National Security Council and a professor at Syracuse University, said: “If there is a gap between voluntary production and what is needed, or anticipated to be needed, the DPA is the mechanism to close that gap" ...

Read the full article.

VLC Represents Client at Board of Veterans’ Appeals

Members of the Betty and Michael D. Wohl Veterans Legal Clinic

In early March, the College of Law's Betty and Michael D. Wohl Veterans Legal Clinic (VLC) visited the nation’s capital to represent a client at the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, part of the US Department of Veterans Affairs. 

Presenting before a Veterans Law Judge, 2L Madeline Cardona offered opening and closing arguments, interviewed three witnesses, and provided testimony and evidence in support of an issue regarding veteran disability benefits.

While in DC the group met on Capitol Hill with alumnus Bill Van Saun L’19, Legal Counsel to the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. Van Saun updated the group on current veterans issues, with—at the time of the visit—nearly 30 hearings scheduled on budget and policy topics affecting veterans and their families in advance of the annual Defense Authorization Bill.

Pictured are (L to R) 2L Madeline Cardona, Chantal Wentworth-Mullin L'07, VLC Managing Director; Beth Kubala, VLC Executive Director; Bill Van Saun L’19; and Matt Bulriss, VLC Fellow. 


Professor Nina Kohn: Move Class Online ... But Do It Right

Nina Kohn

(Syracuse.com | March 19, 2020) With coronavirus surging, universities around the country have shuttered physical classrooms and moved classes online. These changes have been met with concern that the result will be substandard education, and educational experts have warned that faculty will be unable to create engaging online courses on short notice. But online education is not necessarily inferior, and low expectations risk creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

High quality education can be delivered online. There is ample research on online education, including in higher education, that shows that it can be an effective modality for teaching both concepts and skills. Whether moving on-campus courses online requires fundamental changes in teaching methodologies to avoid sacrificing quality depends, in large part, on the online format.

Many people equate online education with self-paced (or “asynchronous”) methods that lack real-time interaction. The creation of high-quality, interactive, self-paced classes often requires faculty to rethink how they teach and takes a considerable investment of resources. This investment may be worthwhile as the self-paced format can encourage reflective learning and make education accessible to students with inflexible schedules due to work or care-giving obligations. However, it means that it is unrealistic to expect faculty or universities to be able to rapidly pivot to high-quality, asynchronous instruction …

Read the full article.

Professor Bruce Ching Analyzes "War on Terror" Presidential Statements

Bruce Ching
"Echoes of 9/11: Rhetorical Analysis of Presidential Statements in the 'War on Terror'". Seton Hall Law Review (forthcoming 2020). 

In "Echoes of 9/11," Professor Bruce Ching examines persuasive statements by presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump, involving appeals to national identity as a rhetorical foundation for anti-terrorism policy since 9/11. 

Their specific rhetorical methods have included the use of memorable catch-phrases, alliteration, metaphorical framing, and contrast between values of the United States and those of the terrorists. 

President Bush focused on rallying the nation’s response against the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks, identifying the US with “freedom itself” and invoking the phrase “War on Terror.” President Obama emphasized the importance of the nation’s values while denouncing the Bush administration’s torture of terrorism suspects, and again extolled American values when announcing that US forces killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of the terrorists involved in the 9/11 attacks. 

In contrast to his predecessors, who explicitly stated that the US was not at war with Islam, President Trump has tended to invoke anti-Muslim sentiment in his anti-terrorism rhetoric and his immigration policies. The presidential statements presented justifications for the actions of the chief executives and reflected their priorities in directing the “War on Terror.”

Hon. James E. Baker Explains the Defense Production Act for The New York Times

Hon. James E. Baker

How the Defense Production Act Could Yield More Masks, Ventilators and Tests

(The New York Times | March 21, 2020) President Trump issued an executive order this week invoking the Defense Production Act to battle the coronavirus pandemic, but his advisers have resisted making aggressive use of the law to mobilize private industry.

Mr. Trump has given mixed signals about whether his administration has actually used the law at all to spur the production of scarce and necessary items like ventilators; testing kits; and protective masks, gloves, and gowns.

Here is an explanation of the law.

What is the Defense Production Act?

It is a law that permits the federal government to impose some control over private-sector industry to ensure the production of material that is deemed necessary for national defense. It traces back to the Korean War.

Congress enacted it with military necessities like steel and tanks in mind, but lawmakers expanded it after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to cover other areas, including public health and safety. It was reauthorized last year until 2025.

Notably, an existing government panel created under the law, the Defense Production Act Committee — made up of officials from various agencies — already has a process and a system in place to implement it.

“If I were advising the president, I would say, ‘Mr. President you have a lot more tools available under the D.P.A. than are being used. Moreover, some of the tools have lead times,’” said Jamie E. Baker, a former legal adviser to the National Security Council and a professor of national security law at Syracuse University.

He added: “And, if these tools are being used, then the government should be more transparent in their use so that the public and our first responders are aware that help is on the way” …

Read the full article. 


Professor Kevin Maillard in The New York Times: Parenting by FaceTime in Coronavirus Quarantine

Kevin Noble Maillard

(The New York Times | March 20, 2020) The saccharine melodies of Kidz Bop play on repeat, alternating with the “Frozen II” soundtrack. My two children, who are 7 and 4, run around our Manhattan apartment, showing the typical strains of stir-craziness from endless hours at home: “He hit me!” “That’s mine!” “Why do I have to take a bath?”

They do online art lessons and they have Silly Time at noon followed by some character-themed yoga. Sometimes they are allowed to watch “Paw Patrol,” which is usually perfect for maintaining quiet during a work call. They FaceTime me.

I’m 10 feet away, on coronavirus quarantine in the master bedroom, and I have been here for days. My partner, who has a demanding corporate law job, is now working from home and saddled with all of the physical work of child care, while I quack orders from the other side of the closed door.

I can’t make lunch, give baths or administer Band-Aids. All I can do is try to enforce naptime, referee kid squabbles and attempt to soothe their fears from the other side of the wall. This poorly timed absence renders me helpless and guilty, and I’m an Episcopalian.

I got tested for Covid-19 last weekend after feeling fatigued and having a mild fever. At the urging of a forcefully persuasive doctor friend, I walked to our local urgent care center and told them about my symptoms. I am a recent cancer survivor, which makes me “at risk,” so I was tested for flu and coronavirus.

The doctor pushed a cotton swab so far up my nose that it seemed like malpractice. He placed it in a vial and sadly announced that “it doesn’t look like it’s going to be flu.” Then he said, “If you thought that was bad, the next test goes much deeper.” This time, he took out a thin, flaccid swab and shoved it into my wasabi burn area, all the way down to my tongue. I tried to suppress my gag and act like an old pro at pandemic testing. I failed ...

Read the full article.

Hon. James E. Baker: Use the Defense Production Act to Flatten the Curve

Hon. James E. Baker

By the Hon. James E. Baker, Director, Syracuse University Institute for Security Policy and Law

(Just Security | March 20, 2020) The novel coronavirus bell curve is coming. We are not quite sure when or what form it will take. But it is coming, and we have rapidly diminishing time to influence its shape. One way we can do so, health experts state, is with more data about who has COVID-19 and who does not. That takes tests. More tests than, apparently, we have. Another way we can influence its shape is through social distancing. That takes widespread discipline and a commitment to our larger communities and not just ourselves. But where we cannot or should not distance, in health facilities and in supermarkets, it may require more surgical masks, gowns, gloves, eye protection, nasopharyngeal swabs, and wipes. More than we have. And, when the curve comes, we know from Italy, China, and South Korea that we will need hospital beds and ventilators–again, more than we have. 

We know these things now. Why doesn’t the federal government act? It has the legal authority to do so: The Defense Production Act (DPA). On March 18, President Trump signed an Executive Order invoking the DPA to delegate authority found in Section 101 to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. However, various public statements by the president and vice president cast doubt on whether the DPA will be operationalized at this time or held in abeyance until some unspecified future date after the crisis has worsened. It is time to clear up the confusion, stop talking about the DPA, and start putting it in action.

DPA Background

In moments of crisis, time is sometimes lost because policymakers are unsure of the facts. Not here. We essentially know now what we will need. Time is also sometimes lost because there is genuine policy debate about the best course of action. Not here. We know now what we need to produce and where to send it. And, time is sometimes lost because of uncertainty about the government’s legal authority to act. Again—not here. The DPA provides broad authority for the government to take the necessary actions.

One hopes that the government’s lawyers have considered most, if not all, potential scenarios on a contingency basis. But sometimes new facts beget new and genuine questions of law that in a democracy ought to be resolved before action is taken. Sometimes, too, policymakers hide behind the law to explain inaction. Lacking the will to act, they blame the law and the lawyers for limiting or eliminating their options. But not here. There remain, and will remain, genuine questions involving the police power, public health, and the constitutional role of federalism in allocating responsibility between state, local, and federal authorities. However, there is no doubt the federal government has the authority to direct the industrial strength of the United States to produce more tests, more masks, more ventilators, and more hospital beds and do so now. The answer is the DPA.

The DPA is a Cold War era statute (1950) that derives in turn from World War II era statutes intended to harness the industrial capacity of the United States for war. The statute was drafted with steel and tanks in mind. However, the statute has been reauthorized over fifty times since 1950 and amended to include within its reach not just the traditional defense industrial base, but also the nation’s critical infrastructures, like public health and critical technologies …

Read the full article.

Professor William C. Banks Reviews Use of National Guard in a Homeland Crisis for The Detroit News

William C. Banks

Whitmer seeks broader authority to deploy National Guard for crisis response

(The Detroit News | March 19, 2020) Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday formally requested authority from President Donald Trump to expand use of the National Guard in Michigan by calling up members to aid in the humanitarian response to the coronavirus outbreak on the federal dime. 

In a Thursday interview, Whitmer stressed that the National Guard would serve a supporting, humanitarian role and would not be involved in law enforcement or policing ...

... The National Governors Association sent a similar Title 32 request to Esper on behalf of its membership Thursday, asking that he mobilize the National Guard to federal status. 

"We believe that this authority, in support of the current National Emergency, will ensure more streamlined and operationally effective and responsive operations to support our communities and citizens in combatting COVID-19," the letter reads. 

The most efficient thing to do would be to grant the NGA's response, since other governors like New York's Andrew Cuomo are making the same request individually, said William C. Banks, a professor at Syracuse University specializing in national security law. 

"It’s a tremendous fiscal advantage for the state. It also enables the National Guard to do whatever they’re trained to do, including enforcing local laws if need be," Banks said. 

The National Guard was deployed in states under Title 32 authority after 9/11 and in response to disasters like Hurricane Katrina, Banks said ...

Read the full article

Law Students: Law Library Services Are Available!

Dear Students,

I know this note finds you eager to continue your studies at the College of Law, and I write to make sure you know how the Law Library will continue to support your coursework and research throughout the semester.  Please continue to utilize our resources; Librarians and staff are available to help you.  Here is how to access library services, and that includes access to the entire collection. 

The primary contact point for the Law Library is by email to reference@law.syr.edu or by phone to 315-443-9572.  While most of us are working remotely, our goal is to provide the library services you’re used to in as seamless a manner as possible. 

Electronic Study Aids

West Academic Study Aids

To access West Academic Study Aids use the Law Databases drop-down menu on the Law Library website.  From there you will be able to search the collection and read the full text of each title.  To make the best use of West Academic Study Aids, customize your experience by going to the top right corner of the screen and click on the link “Create an Account.”  When you create your individual account you can annotate, highlight, and print sections of materials.


CALI offers hundreds of online tutorials covering 30 different Law School topics. These lessons can be extremely helpful when reviewing course materials in preparation for class, finals, or just to get a handle on an area of law. You will need to register on the CALI site in order to use the tutorials. If you do not yet have a CALI account, you can create one by going to http://cali.org/user/register and hitting the “Register” link in the top right of the screen. Complete the template using the authorization code for the SUCOL.  E-mail us at reference@law.syr.edu for the code.

Lexis Courtroom Cast

LexisNexis Courtroom Cast has audio files of cases, organized by casebook.  While this is not a substitute for reading your casebook, it is a great way to supplement it. To register the first time you use Courtroom Cast, open the “Login & Register” link in the top right of the screen, then choose the “Sign Up” button on the next screen.  Choose Syracuse University College of Law and fill out the rest of the registration form.

Electronic Research Databases

Don’t forget all of the other great databases the Law Library offers.  Our most popular databases are available on the drop-down menu under Law Databases on the Law Library website. Take advantage of our Research Guides to for recommendations on the best sources for broad topical areas of law.  For a complete list of databases organized by category, see the Law Databases Page.  To search databases available through other SULibraries, search Summon or browse the database list at Databases A-Z

If you need a new registration key for Lexis, Westlaw, or Bloomberg Law, email reference@law.syr.edu and we will send one to you, along with registration instructions. 

Reference Services

Reference Services will be available remotely during normal Reference Hours, which means that if you call or email us during these times, you will hear from us right away; of course, there may be a line, so thank you for your patience.

Monday-Thursday 9 am – 8 pm

Friday 9 am – 5 pm

Sunday 9 am – 5 pm

You can email reference@law.syr.edu any time and your question will be answered during our next Reference Hours, and you can leave a voicemail at 315-443-9572.  We can even arrange for a Zoom Reference consultation with you; we will be happy to do that and look forward to seeing you.


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 arrange to get it to you, via pickup or (for as long as it is available) via UPS shipment. 

Renewing Books

Please use the self-renewal feature built in to the library catalog at https://catalog.syr.edu/vwebv/login.  We will not charge overdue fines this semester, but please renew your books anyway so that they don’t show up in the library catalog as Lost.  We will provide information by May 1 about returning books at the end of the semester.

Returning Books  

Please email circ@law.syr.edu for instructions on returning books to the Law Library between now and May 15.  

Scan and Send

For some items we may able to provide scanned copies of print materials.  Details will vary based on the length of the requested item, so send scan requests to reference@law.syr.edu.

Your Feedback

Your feedback is important to us.  Please send it to me at jflecken@law.syr.edu and be sure to include your impressions, your ideas, your questions, your concerns, and your suggestions.

I know that all of us are undergoing tremendous changes, but your College of Law Librarians and staff welcome you to the Library.  We hope to see you remotely often.  Be sure to ask us for whatever you need, and we will work with you to figure out how to help you! 

Best wishes from all of us at the Law Library.  Please take care. 


Jan Fleckenstein, M.L.S., MS/IRM, JD

Associate Teaching Professor of Law

Director of the Law Library

Syracuse University College of Law

Kelly joins DLA Piper

DLA Piper announced March 16 James Kelly joined their New York office as Partner in their Corporate practice, Kelly, who will serve as head of the firm’s New York Private Equity practice, represents private equity funds in all aspects of their investments activities. This includes primary and secondary leveraged buyouts, mergers and acquisitions, equity investments, divestitures and restructurings. He also regularly represents public and private operating companies across a variety of industries, including the portfolio companies of his private equity fund clients, for which he handles a wide range of matters.

Alfano joins DLA Piper

DLA Piper announced March 16 Peter Alfano joined their New York office as Partner in their Finance practice, Alfano represents private equity sponsors, corporations and other entities in domestic and cross-border finance transactions, including leveraged acquisitions, corporate financings, recapitalizations and asset-based lending transactions. He has extensive experience in senior secured, first and second lien, mezzanine, and asset-based financings across several industries, including manufacturing, alcoholic beverages, packaging, healthcare and media. 

Surveillance Court Reform: William C. Banks Speaks to Sinclair About FISA

William C. Banks

Officials warn against letting surveillance powers expire as FISA bill stalls in Senate

(Sinclair Broadcast Group | March 13, 2020) Three surveillance powers that U.S. officials say are vital to national security may expire Sunday night after Senate Republicans backed off plans to vote on a reauthorization bill under an apparent veto threat from President Donald Trump.

Despite vocal support for the USA Freedom Reauthorization Act from the Justice Department, Trump tweeted Thursday that some Republican senators were urging him to veto the bill “until we find out what led to, and happened with, the illegal attempted ‘coup’ of the duly elected President of the United States,” presumably a reference to the FBI’s investigation of his 2016 presidential campaign’s ties to Russian interference efforts.

DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz concluded that investigation was legally justified, though special counsel Robert Mueller ultimately did not establish any conspiracy between the campaign and Russia. However, Horowitz’s investigators identified numerous problems with the FBI’s applications to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

The law enforcement powers set to expire Sunday have nothing to do with the authorities used to monitor Page, but the legislation has become a vehicle for moderate reforms to the FISA process. Civil libertarians and the president’s allies say those changes do not go far enough, but Trump’s top law enforcement official disagrees.

"It is of the utmost important that the Department's attorneys and investigators always work in a manner consistent with the highest professional standards, and this overall package will help ensure the integrity of the FISA process and protect against future abuses going forward," Attorney General William Barr said Wednesday, urging Congress to pass the bill.

The House passed the USA Freedom Reauthorization Act on a bipartisan basis Wednesday, but the Senate adjourned for the weekend Thursday without taking action ...

... William Banks, founding director of the Syracuse University Institute for Security Policy, said the changes to the FISA process in the bill would increase accountability for abuses of the system and require the FBI to disclose more information to the court.

“They’re the kind of thing most of us have wanted to see since these issues came to light,” he said.

Banks expects the House bill will be passed by the Senate soon after it resumes work next week. With lawmakers focused on responding to the coronavirus pandemic and partisanship raging in Washington, he commended House leaders for finding common ground on a relatively contentious subject.

“Given the political climate and everything else going on right now, it’s nothing short of amazing they were able to get this far with a fairly decent and substantive FISA bill,” he said ...

Read the whole article

Ravala elected Fellow

M. Salman Ravala

Criscione Ravala, LLP is pleased to announce the election of Firm partner, Salman Ravala, as Fellow of the New York Bar Foundation. This prestigious distinction recognizes members of the bench and bar for outstanding professional  achievement, dedication to the legal profession, and commitment to the service of others."

Professor Nina Kohn Discusses Law Schools' Shift to Online Classes During COVID-19 on Law.com

Nina Kohn

Law Schools Shift Classes Online Amid COVID-19, But Can They Do It Successfully?

(Law.com | March 10, 2020) Law schools in four states so far are canceling in-person classes and moving courses online amid the spread of the coronavirus. But legal education as a whole is less prepared for that shift than many other graduate programs due to its relatively slow adoption of online learning.

The American Bar Association in recent years has increased the number of credit hours schools are allowed to deliver online, but fewer than 10 law schools have J.D. programs that are mostly online and many law faculty have never taught a distance education class.

Syracuse University College of Law’s JDInteractive program—launched in January 2019—was the second online program to be offered in the U.S., following Mitchell Hamline School of Law’s hybrid program in 2015.

Professor Nina Kohn spearheaded the creation of JDInteractive and has taught many of its courses. Law.com talked with Kohn Tuesday to discuss how law schools can quickly move to an online format, the mistakes law professors often make online, and whether the coronavirus will usher in a new era of online law teaching. Her answers have been edited for length and clarity.

Are you getting a lot of calls from professors and schools looking for advice on how to make the move online right now? 

I was beginning to get inquiries about that before coronavirus, and certainly now with coronavirus knocking on their doors, schools are scrambling to figure out: “What would it look like to move classes online?”

How do you think law schools, on the whole, are prepared to make this switch? Do they have the technology in place to make it happen? 

I think an important thing to remember in thinking about how to make the pivot from bricks and mortar to online is that online education isn’t just one thing. There are two flavors of online class. There is the self-paced, asynchronous class. Then there is the live, real-time class. To move to the self-paced, asynchronous style in a way that is high quality takes a real investment of time, energy, and rethinking how you break down what is normally a live experience into self-paced components. It’s easy to do self-paced badly. It’s hard to do self-paced well in a manner that’s interactive. That would be a difficult pivot for schools to make. But if we look at live online classes, that’s a much easier pivot to make because you don’t have to change how you’re teaching. You just have to recognize that your classroom can be a virtual classroom. Readily accessible video conference software can be employed by law schools very rapidly to bring existing courses with existing faculty and existing students online quickly ...

Read the full article.

Lawler named Leadership Council

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP has chosen Baltimore partner Katherine A. Lawler to be a member of the 2020 class of Fellows in a program created by the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) to identify, train, and advance the next generation of leaders in the legal profession.

Professor Nina Kohn Discusses Online Legal Education on LawtoFact.com

Nina Kohn

LawtoFact.com | March 6, 2020

In this Episode

Professor Leslie Garfield Tenzer speaks with Nina Kohn, the David M. Levy Professor of Law and Faculty Director of Online Education at Syracuse University College of Law about developing online classes for legal education.   

Some Key Takeaways

1. Online classes are asynchronous or synchronous.  Asynchronous classes are recorded and students can watch them on their own time.  Synchronous classes are live.  Students are all present at the same time and the professor is able to engage in dialog.2. Developing an online class is not as difficult as one might think (and Prof. Kohn explains how to make it happen)

3. The key to creating an online class is to first identify goals and principles.

4. Faculty can deliver the Socratic method through online learning.

About Our Guest

Nina A. Kohn is the David M. Levy Professor of Law and Faculty Director of Online Education at Syracuse University College of Law, a faculty affiliate with the Syracuse University Aging Studies Institute, and a member of the American Law Institute.  Professor Kohn is currently a Visiting Professor of Law at Yale Law School for the 2020-2021 academic year. 

Kohn led the development and launch of Syracuse University College of Law’s online JD program (“JDinteractive” or “JDi”).  The program is the nation’s first fully interactive online JD program. In addition to teaching Torts to JDi students, Kohn oversees the program’s continuing development and operations.

Professor Kohn’s scholarly research focuses on elder law and the civil rights of older adults and persons with diminished cognitive capacity.

Listen to the podcast.

Disability Law & Policy Program Wins International Award

Professor Arlene Kanter with spring 2020 DLPP students.

Syracuse University College of Law's Disability Law and Policy Program (DLPP) has won an international award for its innovative disability-related academic program at the Zero Project Conference, held at the United Nations Offices in Vienna, Austria, on Feb. 20, 2020. 

The Prize for Innovative Practices was awarded to the DLPP by the Zero Project, an initiative of the Essl Foundation, whose mission is to create  a world without barriers, as envisioned by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

Says Professor Arlene Kanter, who worked with the UN on drafting CRPD, “DLPP is the most extensive disability-related law school program in the United States, and perhaps the world.” DLPP houses the nation’s first joint degree program in Law and Disability Studies and a Curricular Program in Disability Law and Policy.

DLPP students also work in the College of Law's Disability Rights Clinic, take disability-related courses, and work as interns and externs in disability related placements in New York City, Washington, DC, and other cities in the US and throughout the world. 

Experts across the globe peer-reviewed more than 500 Zero Project-nominated projects, which this year focused on the topic of inclusive education. Of the nominees, 75 innovative practices and 11 innovative policies from 54 countries were selected. The DLPP was one of only three awarded programs in the United States and the only US based university program.

View the full list of awarded projects here.

Professor Arlene Kanter with spring 2020 DLPP students.
Professor Arlene Kanter with spring 2020 DLPP students.

College of Law Ultimate Bar Pass Rate Exceeds 95%

College of Law

More than 95% of 2017 Syracuse University College of Law graduates passed the bar exam regardless of jurisdiction, according to ultimate bar pass rate data released by the American Bar Association Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar. 

The 2017 ultimate bar pass rate of 95.6% places Syracuse in the top 20% of ABA-accredited law schools nationwide. Syracuse ranks sixth among 15 New York State law schools and 18th of the 135 US law schools with fewer than 200 graduates. The ultimate bar pass rate measures 2017 graduates who took the bar exam within two years of graduating.

This news follows an impressive 88% pass rate for the New York Bar among the Class of 2019’s first-time test takers. 

The College of Law is committed to preparing students for the bar exam by offering comprehensive academic and bar success programming that begins before orientation with Orange Edge, continues throughout a student’s academic career with access to Academic Success Fellows in the first year and then a structured curriculum that requires key bar classes, and culminates with a credit-bearing course in the third year that focuses on strategies and skills necessary for passing the exam.

Distinguished Guest Lecturer Michael Kiklis L’93 discusses Patent Law and Career Advice with DCEx Participants

Distinguished Guest Lecturer Michael Kiklis L’93 and DCEx Students

Distinguished Guest Lecturer and Partner at Bass, Berry & Sims Michael Kiklis L’93 recently hosted the Spring 2020 DCEx students. Kiklis’s area of expertise is patent litigation and trials at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Patent Trial and Appeal Board. He also handles appeals to the Federal Circuit from his cases, having now been involved in more than 20 appeals. He both enforces and defends the intellectual property rights of his clients, and is often called upon to handle cases worth more than $100 million.

During the seminar, Kiklis shared his advice for young professionals who are getting started in the legal industry. He emphasized the importance of being persistent when applying for jobs. After law school, he sent out hundreds of resumes before hearing back from a firm that worked on software patents for Microsoft. 

This led to the next piece of advice for students: create a market for your services. At the time Kiklis began practicing, software patent law was a new industry, and he needed to make his services marketable as he grew his practice. One tip he shared to help with marketability is to be available 24/7. He also said to get as much real experience as possible, including pro bono work, and to find a mentor who can give you work and advice. 

Kiklis also advised the students to work on specializing in something that is in high demand and to market yourself as an expert in that specialization by writing articles and participating in speaking events and webinars. He also reminded the students that as the law continues to evolve and there are always chances to seize new markets and opportunities by not being afraid of reinventing yourself. 

Mock Trial Provides Courtroom Experience for Newhouse and College of Law Students

Newhouse/College of Law Mock Trial

(SU News | March 2, 2020) Two Syracuse University professors have teamed up in an innovative cross-campus collaboration to allow future television reporters and future lawyers to experience the drama of a high-profile murder trial.

Professor Elliott Lewis of the Newhouse School and Professor Todd Berger of the College of Law have brought their classes together for the mock trial of People v. Mitchell, a fictional case involving the shooting death of a young woman. The victim’s husband stands accused of her murder.

Berger teaches a course in evidence and trial advocacy. His students are playing the roles of prosecutors and defense attorneys, questioning witnesses and making objections during testimony.

Lewis teaches a graduate course in television reporting. His students are practicing their skills as television journalists, performing live updates during breaks in the trial and producing a narrated report after its conclusion.

The master’s students in Lewis’ class were required to request permission from the judge, played by Berger, to allow a television camera in the courtroom and must adhere to the judge’s restrictions limiting its movement. The law students in Berger’s class were instructed to make themselves available for interviews with the reporters following the verdict.

“With a top-rated journalism school and a top-rated trial advocacy program located on the same campus, it doesn’t make sense for us to stay isolated in our academic silos,” Lewis says.

“I honestly don’t know of another law school that has attempted something like this in a beginning trial advocacy class,” Berger says. “It gives law students a taste of having to represent a client in the media as well as in the courtroom.”

The two professors came up with the idea when Lewis approached Berger about having his students observe a mock trial to learn more about the court system. Berger proposed having the journalism students cover it like an actual trial, exposing the law students to working in the media spotlight.

“I have this dream that some of these students will meet again at a real trial someday,” Lewis says. “And both the reporters and the lawyers will have a better understanding of where the other side is coming from as a result of this experience.”


College of Law Celebrates Diversity Law Day 2020

Diversity Law Day 2020

Syracuse University College of Law celebrated Diversity Law Day on Feb. 28, 2020, in collaboration with the New York State Bar Association, the William Herbert Johnson Bar Association, Law School Admission Council, and the Syracuse Civics Initiative.

 Students from Syracuse-area school districts visited Dineen Hall and met with College of Law faculty and students, as well as local practicing attorneys, who discussed the importance of diversity, inclusion, and representation in the law. 

Director of Inclusion Initiatives Suzette Melendez offered opening remarks before law students gave a presentation to the high schoolers about the famous espionage trial of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg during the Cold War. The presentation was followed by a brief reenactment of the trial.  

The students also heard from Syracuse alumna the Hon. Thérèse Wiley Dancks L’91, who spoke about her passionate interest in civics education. During the working lunch, the high schoolers worked in small groups with law students to discuss the important themes of the Rosenberg trial. After lunch, law students offered their thoughts and fielded questions on college, law school, and diversity during a panel discussion in the Melanie Gray Ceremonial Courtroom. 

Law Students Assisting on Diversity Law Day

  • Rosenberg lesson planning: Katherine Brisson, Taylor Carter-Disanto, Briana Clayton, and Brian Gunderson
  • Assisting with the trial reenactment: Audrey Bimbi, Chanan Brown, and Ken Knight
  • Assisting during the working lunch: Ariel Blanco, Taylor Carter-Disanto, Briana Clayton, Brian Gunderson, Dominique Kelly, Ken Knight, and Chelsea Simpson
  • Student panelists: Taylor Carter-Disanto, Briana Clayton, Ken Knight, Omar Mosqueda, Frances Rivera Reyes, Chelsea Simpson, and Jimmy Thyden

Cramarosso joins Taft Law

Stephen Cramarosso

Stephen Cramarosso—a 2017 SU College of Law alum—has joined Taft Law as Counsel. Stephen is based in Taft’s Chicago office. Stephen counsels clients on legal matters relating to general corporate law, business operations and mergers and acquisitions.

Professor Shubha Ghosh Explores Genetic Patents in "Myriad, Post-Myriad"

Shubha Ghosh
"Myriad Post-Myriad." Science and Public Policy (February 2020). 

The US Supreme Court’s 2013 decision, holding patent claims to isolated, endogenous deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) sequences to be invalid, seemed to have limited negative impact on Myriad Genetics, whose patent on the isolated BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes were at the heart of the case. 

Professor Shubha Ghosh explains this minimal impact in two ways. First, the Court’s decision still left synthetic DNA patentable, leaving that as a fruitful source for commercialization by companies such as Myriad. The Federal Circuit’s subsequent decision, however, invalidated Myriad’s product claims over the synthetic polymerase chain reaction primers based on the isolated DNA sequences. 

Second, the Court’s decision did not address the patentability of mined genetic data for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. This field of genetic data mining is precisely where Myriad has moved in its patenting activity.

Syracuse Law Students Uncover New Evidence in Racially Motivated Cold Cases

3L Sarah Everhart

(CNYCentral | Feb. 28, 2020) The skin they were born in is the reason they were killed. Their stories, families and justice are the reasons that the Cold Case Justice Initiative (CCJI) at Syracuse University works to uncover the truth.

"These were human beings. There are more than what their color is," said law student, Curtis Gilbert of the Cold Case Justice Initiative.

Since 2007, law students led by Professor Paula Johnson have brought unsolved racially motivated cases to the United Nations, Attorney General’s Office, and the FBI. The group has discovered more than 7000 evidence filed never reviewed.

"These are real people. These things actually happened to them. This wasn't centuries ago this is during my parent's lifetime," says third year CCJI law student Sarah Everhart.

Some of those never before seen files came from their first investigation, the unsolved murder of Frank Morris. He was Louisiana shoe shop owner whose business was burned down with him inside in Ferriday, Louisiana on December 10, 1964.

“He lingered in a very painful state for 4 days. We don't know if he knew who his assailants were, said Paula Johnson, director of CCJI. He tried to say something about them but because the pain was so great he wasn't able to."

Cases like the Atlanta 5 students at CCJI continue to investigate. 47 years ago, 5 Black men went on a fishing trip to Pensacola, Florida and were never seen again.

"This family deserves to know what really happened to their fathers, their brothers, their sons that day," said Gilbert.

The deaths of four young African Americans killed on a Georgia Bridge in 1946 are crimes law student Troy Gayle will never forget.

“Himself, his wife, his sister and his friend were murdered in one of the most horrific lynchings in United States history.”

Gayle combed through at 600 pieces of evidence as he researched the Morris Bridge lynchings.

“There was law enforcement involved. There were high members of the Klan involved and this was not an ordinary killed or a murder,” said Gayle.

The Cold Case Justice Initiative will honor the lives lost during these times with a legacy project that will start in Natchez, Mississippi. The birthplace of one of their most memorable cases, the murder of Wharlest Jackson Sr. ...

Read the full story.

Professor David Driesen: Will the Supreme Court Create a Pathway to Autocracy in Consumer Protection Agency Case?

David Driesen

(ProgressiveReform.org | Feb. 27, 2020) On March 3, the Supreme Court will hear a plea to invent a new rule of constitutional law with the potential to put an end to the republic the Constitution established, if not under President Trump, then under some despotic successor. This rule would end statutory protections for independent government officials resisting a president’s efforts to use his power to demolish political opposition and protect his party’s supporters. Elected strongmen around the world have put rules in place allowing them to fire government officials for political reasons and used them to destroy constitutional democracy and substitute authoritarianism. But these authoritarians never had the audacity to ask unelected judges to write such rules, securing their enactment instead through parliamentary acts or a referendum.

The blessings of liberty in this country and other functioning democracies depend in important ways on something that legal scholars call the “internal separation of powers.” Prosecutors in robust democracies, for example, enjoy some separation from the head of state, as they are expected to apply the law neutrally. In early America, prosecution was lodged outside of presidential control, among private citizens, state officials, and distant United States Attorneys. Electoral commissions and media regulators, here and abroad, often consist of representatives of both parties in order to ensure fair elections and even-handed government treatment of ideologically diverse broadcast media.

Elected authoritarians in Turkey and Hungary defeated the internal separation of powers undergirding their democracies and gave themselves control over entities vital to a well-functioning democracy by obtaining the power to remove officials devoted to the rule of law from these entities. Once they secured direct or indirect head-of-state control over government officials, they used that power to undermine the rule of law and democracy. For example, Hungary’s prosecution service, once under Prime Minister Orbán’s control, took to announcing prosecution of political opponents on the eve of elections, only to drop charges afterward to avoid the embarrassment of a judicial check. Turkish President Erdogan’s prosecutors singled out political opponents for prosecution for violations of the tax code. More recently, they have charged political opponents with terrorism-related crimes. At the same time, rampant corruption in authoritarian states escapes prosecution. These countries’ captured electoral commissions bend the rules to favor the ruling party, and their media authorities work to convert major media into government propaganda organs

Read the full article.

Students Can Apply to University Program that Provides Path into US Government Intelligence Careers

US Intelligence Community

A new University wide program is creating a path toward public service careers for all Syracuse University undergraduate and graduate students interested in making important contributions to US and global security.

The University was designated by the US Intelligence Community (IC) last year as one of eight national Intelligence Community Centers for Academic Excellence (ICCAE), with a funding award of $1.5 million over five years. The IC is composed of 17 federal agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the National Security Agency and the Office of Naval Intelligence.

With the designation and funding, Syracuse University leads a consortium of four institutions—known as the Partnership for Educational Results/Syracuse University Adaptive, Diverse and Ethical Intelligence Community Professionals (PER/SUADE)—to recruit and educate culturally and ethnically diverse, multidisciplinary professionals from many different backgrounds interested in the intelligence field.

As a federal award recipient, Syracuse University’s ICCAE adopts an inclusive definition of diversity that moves beyond demographics to include the broad range of perspectives—from military veterans, women in security, to those with different abilities—all of whom are needed for the kind of emergent challenges facing the United States and the world.

Syracuse University’s ICCAE consortia partners are the Grove School of Engineering, the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Norfolk State University and Wells College. The ICCAE seeks to build career pathways toward positions within the Intelligence Community and increase capacity to attract and educate talented under-resourced students with diverse experiences.

Entry-level positions within the IC can be difficult to obtain without experience, but the program provides a step up for students interested in an intelligence career through unique experiences and specific coursework.

“There’s no question that it is in the vital interest of the Intelligence Community to have as diverse workforce as possible because its mission is to understand diverse populations and diverse activities taking place around the world,” says Vice Admiral Robert Murrett (retired), principal investigator (PI) on the grant and deputy director of the Syracuse University Institute for Security Policy and Law (SPL). “You can’t do that when you all look the same, have all the same points of reference and come from the same place.”

Interested students from diverse backgrounds and experiences, including historically underrepresented students, students from different areas of the United States, women, student veterans and students of all abilities are encouraged to apply to the program.

The IC needs a variety of people and perspectives to better understand the whole picture of intelligence that is gathered to keep the nation safe and increase peace and security globally, says Corri Zoli, co-investigator on the award, associate teaching professor in the College of Law, research assistant professor in the Maxwell School and director of research with SPL.

“No one predicted the Arab Spring [a series of anti-government protests in countries in North Africa and the Middle East beginning in 2010]. That was an oversight on the part of our intelligence agencies,” says Zoli, who wrote the award and designed the IC Center for Academic Excellence with former Dean of Engineering and Computer Science Laura J. Steinberg, who is also a co-investigator (CO-I).

The Hon. James E. Baker, director of SPL and professor in the College of Law and Maxwell School is also a co-primary investigator (CO-PI) on the award, and faculty from the College of Law, Maxwell School, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Institute for Veterans and Military Families, Falk College and elsewhere are co-investigators, creating an interdisciplinary award. Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Keith Alford and Suzette Melendez, faculty director of inclusion initiatives in the College of Law, are also co-investigators on the award.

“If you have diverse perspectives, the assumption is you’re not going to be missing huge swaths of experiences in the world because you’re going to have people who are more familiar with those places, those experiences, those communities,” Zoli says.

The IC also seeks a diversity of professionals in a variety of fields for its various intelligence operations.

“Each member of the US Intelligence Community has a different mission in the collection, analysis and dissemination of information relating to security concerns around the world,” says Murrett, also a professor of practice in public administration and international affairs in the Maxwell School. “Many of the organizations are part of US cabinet agencies or associated with military services.”

The IC is looking for professionals with both valuable functional abilities, such as critical thinking and speaking and writing skills, and subject matter expertise—along with the character traits of dedication, honesty, integrity and the ability to speak truth to power, Murrett says.

With so many professional opportunities in the IC, students from all disciplines across all of the University’s schools and colleges are encouraged to apply.

“For students pursuing a law degree, a master’s of public administration or international relations or a bachelor’s in public policy, they can do legal and policy analysis and planning at any of these agencies and develop intelligence policies that are both lawful and reasonable,” says Zoli, who explains the work of the Intelligence Community, including its covert operations, is based in US law.

There are opportunities for those interested in regions and area studies, international aid and human rights and those pursuing one of the critical languages designated by the IC, such as Arabic or Hindi.

“Anyone in the STEM fields who is interested in new categories of threat like cyberwarfare, artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics would also be a good fit,” Zoli says.

Students pursuing a Ph.D. in the humanities—such as studies in culture, religion and philosophy—would be able to use their highly developed analytical skills in a variety of areas in the IC.

Zoli explains how each agency brings together professionals to work on initiatives that are improving lives and helping maintain security around the globe: “For the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, you could be working on mapping conflicts in the South Chinese Sea, looking at the best places for developing internet capacity around the world or counterterrorism spotting.

“The IC is looking for such a broad area of expertise that literally anyone who is successful in their academic degree program and wants to contribute to US security would be eligible,” Zoli says.

Students who are accepted into the program are required to take one of three core courses on the IC and two or more electives, and attend three ICCAE events per semester, including an annual symposium. Other opportunities include IC site visits in Washington, DC, study abroad, and networking and recruiting events with IC agency members.

Program members are also eligible to receive stipends to attend IC-related workshops, colloquia, conferences and participation in ICCAE program summer seminars, and may apply for scholarships. Students will also have opportunities to participate in IC internships and co-ops.

One upcoming event is the consortium’s Spring Symposium, which will be held Monday, March 2, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., in the Hall of Languages, Room 500. Consortia partner faculty and students will be visiting Syracuse University from New York City and Virginia and panels will include teaching about intelligence, diversity experiences in the IC and faculty research. Speakers will include Julie Martin, chief counsel, National Counterterrorism Center, and Jonathan P. Gupton, with the Department of Energy. The campus community is invited to attend.

The benefits for students can be substantial. Along with networking and internship opportunities at various agencies, students will gain a deeper knowledge of the work that is done by the IC and why it matters.

“Students will have a better understanding of how the intelligence apparatus works from a national standpoint but also in other countries,” Murrett says. “It makes you a better citizen of whatever country you are from and better able to understand developments around the world around the contexts of the intelligence field and international security.”

For more information about the program and how to apply, visit the Syracuse University Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence website or contact Zoli at 315.443.4523 or cbzoli@law.syr.edu, or Murrett at 315.443.3682 or rbmurret@syr.edu.

Santos named Partner

Angela Klemack Santos (J.D., 2009) has been promoted to the firm partnership at Duane Morris LLP. Santos practices in the area of private client wealth planning and tax. 

Blood joins Goldberg Segalla

Goldberg Segalla added associate Alexander J. Blood to the firm’s Commercial Litigation and Arbitration group in Syracuse. Blood was previously with Rawle & Henderson LLP in New York, New York. Blood concentrates his practice on representing a wide variety of clients in business disputes and related litigation.

Professor Nina Kohn Publishes Second Edition of Elder Law

Elder Law

Elder Law: Practice, Policy, and Problems—an essential casebook by Professor Nina Kohn—is now in its second edition. 

Designed with the teacher and learner in mind, Elder Law combines a client-focused approach with in-depth discussions of elder law-related policy issues. Designed to be simultaneously practical and theoretical, it provides students with specific legal knowledge and a conceptual framework for understanding key issues facing older adults and the attorneys who represent them.

Kohn frames a series of primary materials including cases, statutes, regulations, and sample documents, as well as excerpts from articles designed to stimulate student thinking and discussion. 

Problems and hypothetical exercises—many of which relate to client counseling—ask students to imagine themselves in the role of the elder law attorney and to describe how they would handle various scenarios, such as a client meeting.

New to the Second Edition 

Comprehensive updates that capture changes in law and policy:

  • Nursing home regulations
  • New developments in guardianship law
  • Emerging cases on age discrimination in hiring

Plus, new coverage of:

  • Family caregiving and caregivers’ rights
  • “Gray divorce” and its implications for policy design and planning
  • Supported decision-making
  • Social service interventions that address elder abuse
Publication Date: February 2020
Page Count: 692
Print ISBN: 9781454890980
eBook ISBN: 9781543817041

Professor Lauryn Gouldin: Don't Let Fearmongering Sabotage Criminal Justice Reforms

Lauryn Gouldin

By Professor Lauryn P. Gouldin, Syracuse University College of Law; Elizabeth M. Nevins, Maurice A. Deane School of Law, Hofstra University; and Jocelyn Simonson, Brooklyn Law School

(Albany Times-Union | Feb. 19, 2020) New York State Senate Democrats appear ready to propose a significant and troubling rollback of the new bail reform law, yielding to weeks of deliberate misrepresentations and cynical distortions by law enforcement and political opponents who are intent on undermining these long overdue changes.

We are legal academics who have studied the unequal outcomes produced by our broken criminal system. We are encouraged by the progress made in the reforms adopted last year and we are distressed by this knee-jerk proposal to reverse course.

While there is no publicly available language yet, the legislation would reportedly eliminate cash bail for almost all offenses but provide judges with much greater power to jail defendants until trial.

Fully eliminating money bail, which explicitly creates a two-tiered, class-based system, is an appropriate step forward. Replacing it with a broad judicial power to order indefinite pretrial detention, however, is taking two steps back.  This new plan threatens to preserve and even deepen the mass incarceration crisis that bail reform was meant to address, and indicates a fundamental misunderstanding of the consequences of providing judges overwhelming discretion to adjudicate pretrial release decisions. History has shown us that such a plan would only deepen racial inequities and simply change the process that leads to pretrial detention, rather than reduce its prevalence.

Racial bias is baked into judicial discretion. Judges are more likely to set higher bail amounts for people of color. People of color are far more likely to be held pretrial than white individuals. Black and Latino men are less likely to be released on non-monetary conditions. The plan outlined by Senate leadership would only strengthen judicial power, which helped create this inequality. These problems with judicial discretion will not be solved with the addition of risk assessment instruments or algorithms, as those tools themselves incorporate racial biases. Too often, those tools are employed in ways that merely give judges cover for unjust decisions.

It’s easy to forget that everyone held pretrial is innocent and waiting for their day in courtYet studies have shown that people held pretrial have a 13 percent increase in the likelihood of being convicted, and a 42 percent increase in the length of their prison sentence. The Senate’s proposal makes a mockery of the supposed constitutional principle of innocent until proven guilty and would only replicate these fundamentally unjust outcomes …

Read the full article

Professor Shubha Ghosh Assesses Sen. Gillibrand's Data Protection Agency Idea for Yahoo Finance

Shubha Ghosh

(Yahoo Finance | Feb. 13, 2020) Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is taking on Big Tech. She is introducing new legislation that would establish a new Data Protection Agency. Professor Shubha Ghosh, Crandall Melvin Professor of Law and Director of the Syracuse Intellectual Property Law Institute joins Yahoo Finance's On the Move to discuss.

Watch the full segment.

Syracuse University College of Law Adds Four New Board of Advisors Members

College of Law

Syracuse University College of Law is proud to announce the appointment of four new Board of Advisors members: Stephanie Jacqueney G’82, L’82; James Southwick L’89; Suzanne Galbato L'98; and Antonio Diaz-Albertini L’07. These appointments underscore the College's commitment to reflect the diverse talent and leadership represented by its alumni community. 

“Our Advisors are successful, engaged, and dynamic alumni who provide essential advice in support of our mission and our students," says Dean Craig M. Boise. "The perspectives and experiences of Stephanie, Jim, Suzanne, and Antonio are an invaluable addition to the Board. I look forward to working with them closely as we develop and execute our future plans and prepare our students for their careers.” 

“The legal profession is evolving at a fast pace, and it is crucial that law schools anticipate and respond to these changes with innovations in legal education,” says Board of Advisors Chair Robert M. Hallenbeck L’83. “The insights that these four highly regarded, high profile lawyers bring to the Board will help ensure that the College of Law meets the changing demands of employers and students alike.” 

The four new Board of Advisors members bring expertise in entertainment law, complex commercial litigation, business and employment law, environmental law, commercial financing, and private equity. 

Stephanie A. Jacqueney G’82, L’82

Stephanie Jacqueney is an entertainment lawyer and business affairs executive with more than 30 years of experience in television and live production. Jacqueney previously served as Vice President, Legal and Business Affairs, for Madison Square Garden (MSG) Sports & Entertainment LLC, where she was Lead Production Attorney for MSG and its Radio City Entertainment division’s live productions, including the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, the New York Spectacular starring the Rockettes, and Super Bowl halftime shows. She was also MSG’s lead intellectual property attorney and managed MSG’s intellectual property portfolio. Before MSG, Jacqueney held several positions with Time Warner Inc. including Vice President and General Counsel of Manhattan Cable TV, then the largest franchise cable television operator. 

In addition to her J.D., Jacqueney holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Syracuse University Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University. She is a Member of the Board of the Alumni Association of Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology and the Cornell University Council, as well as a Founding Member of Cornell University’s President’s Council of Cornell Women. She currently serves on the Entertainment Law Committee of the New York City Bar Association and previously served on its Copyright and its Arbitration committees.

James Thurlow Southwick L’89

Jim Southwick has spent his entire 30-year career in private practice representing plaintiffs and defendants in complex commercial litigation and trials, principally involving monopolization, international cartels, and shareholder rights. For the past 20 years he has been Partner in the Houston office of Susman Godfrey LLP, a commercial trial boutique. He began his career as an associate at Breed, Abbott & Morgan in New York City.

Among his recent high-profile cases, Southwick led a trial of the largest shareholder oppression case on record; was co-lead trial counsel in Vitamin C antitrust litigation that led to the US Supreme Court’s ruling regarding how foreign governments’ statements about their laws should be treated by US courts; and worked extensively on suits against international money center banks for aiding the breaches of fiduciary duties at Enron. Southwick has twice received awards for outstanding achievement in antitrust litigation from the American Antitrust Institute. In addition to his J.D., Southwick holds a bachelor’s degree in economics (1982) from the College of William & Mary. 

Suzanne Galbato L'98

Suzanne Galbato is Co-Deputy Chair of the Litigation Department at Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC in Syracuse, NY, where she litigates commercial, False Claims Act, employment discrimination, antitrust, environmental cases, and more. She serves on Bond's Management Committee and is former Chair of the Associate Committee, Recruiting Committee, and Women’s Initiative. She also has been a Member of the firm’s Diversity Committee.

In addition to her J.D., Galbato holds an A.B. (1995, magna cum laude) from Harvard University. For her alma mater, she has served on the Board of the Syracuse University Law Alumni Association and the Law Honors Committee; she coaches advocacy teams and judges competitions; and she speaks regularly about private practice, interviewing, mentoring, work/life balance, and diversity. Among her service to the profession and community, she is a Trustee of the Northern District Federal Court Bar Association; a Member of the New York State Bar Association Women in the Law Section; and a Board Member of the Central New York Women’s Bar Association and the Onondaga County Bar Foundation.

Antonio L. Diaz-Albertini L’07

Antonio L. Diaz-Albertini is Partner at Schulte Roth & Zabel (SRZ) in New York City, where he advises private equity funds, global investment banking firms, commercial banks, and public and private corporations in finance transactions. He has worked on financing deals in a variety of industries including retail, financial services, technology, natural resources, pharmaceuticals, and telecommunications. Diaz-Albertini serves on SRZ’s Summer Program Committee. 

Diaz-Albertini took his law degree, magna cum laude, in 2007. At Syracuse, he was a Member of the Order of the Coif and Syracuse Law Review and an Associate Member of the Justinian Honor Society. His bachelor's degree is from Bryant University (2003, magna cum laude).

New Board of Advisors members, 2020.
New Board of Advisors members, 2020.

Professor Roy Gutterman Comments on "First Amendment Auditors" for Syracuse.com

Roy Gutterman

Local librarians warned to watch for activists looking to score on YouTube

(Syracuse.com | Feb. 7, 2020) A group of “First Amendment auditors” has reached out to at least one local library threatening to come test the library’s free speech policies and evaluate whether they will protect citizens’ rights to film in public.

The auditors are a loose group of YouTube activists who enter public places like libraries, post offices or police precincts and film employees and patrons. They often post videos of confrontations with employees online with sensational titles like “LIBRARY STAFF GETS OWNED ON CAMERA!!! 1st amendment audit FAIL" ...

... Roy Gutterman runs the Tully Center for Free Speech at Syracuse University’s Newhouse school. He said the auditors are entering a “gray area” of legality when trying to film in libraries. It’s legal to record in public places like sidewalks or parks or outside a government building, he said, but there are acceptable limits inside government buildings.

“There are more limited rights for everything from filming to yelling,” he said. “You can’t yell in a library. You can’t be disruptive. I’m just not sure the purpose of recording for the sake of recording.”

Moreover, Gutterman said the auditors’ actions didn’t really appear to serve much of a public service, like they claim.

“I’m all for keeping government officials accountable, even librarians,” he said. “But I’m not quite sure what the value is of some of this. I understand recording in cases of abuse or corruption or police brutality... even public meetings...where there’s real public discourse. I’d like to see them do stuff like that, go to a city council meeting or school board meeting where there’s an important watchdog function.”

Despite the auditors’ claims, the right to record in public places has not been upheld by the Supreme Court, Gutterman said.

The most notable ruling on recording in public is the case of Glik v. Cunniffe. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled on that case in 2011, determining private citizens have the right to record police carrying out their public duties ...

Read the full article

Lana Yaghi L’14 Discusses Cross-Border Commercial Law Practice with DCEx Students

Lana Yaghi L'14

On Feb. 7, 2020, Distinguished Guest Lecturer and Senior Attorney at Miller Canfield Lana Yaghi L’14 discussed her cross-border commercial law practice in the aviation, cybersecurity, and defense industries with Washington, DC, externship (DCEx) students.

Yaghi described how she regularly advises US and foreign clients on their cross-border business activities, particularly the establishment of operations and negotiation of commercial arrangements in the state of Qatar and the United States. A significant portion of her cross-border work, she said, relates to the representation of clients in connection with the acquisition, sale, financing, and operation of corporate aircraft.

Yaghi began the seminar by candidly elaborating on her time practicing in Qatar. She said she started her career as an associate at a large international law firm, explaining that her willingness to practice overseas played a large part in her landing her first job at this firm. She answered questions about the job application process and gave a brief history of Qatar and its royal family. Qatar is a very small, but wealthy country, she explained, known for its production of natural gas. 

DCEx students were particularly interested in her aviation practice, and she explained the importance of producing high quality work in order to build a strong reputation in this relatively small industry. Answering questions about her first years of practice, Yaghi explained that young attorneys develop into experts in their field by working on similar projects over and over again, which at first seems challenging and eventually becomes second nature. 

Professor Lauryn Gouldin Discusses Risk Assessment at Wake Forest Bail Reform Symposium

Lauryn Gouldin

On Jan. 31, 2020, Professor Lauryn Gouldin—an expert on criminal justice reform—joined the Risk Assessment panel at the Wake Forest Law Review Spring 2020 Symposium on Bail Reform. 

Dr. Sarah Desmarais of North Carolina State University, Professor Sandra Mayson of University of Georgia School of Law, and Professor Jenny Carroll, of University of Alabama School of Law joined Gouldin on the Risk Assessment panel. 

The panelists addressed factors that determine the risk of setting bail for a detainee. Current standards are often based on charts that automatically set bail standards. Panelists discussed the pros and cons of this method and how to effectuate new standards that take into account the likelihood that a defendant will flee or commit another illegal act, as well as the reasonable bail a defendant can pay based on circumstances.

Learn more here

Professor Lauryn Gouldin (second from left) presents on pretrial reform and risk assessment on Jan. 31, 2020, at the Wake Forest Law Review Symposium on Bail Reform.
Professor Lauryn Gouldin (second from left) presents on pretrial reform
and risk assessment on Jan. 31, 2020, at the Wake Forest Law Review
Symposium on Bail Reform.

3Ls Brian Krastev and Matthew Marcellino Capture Second Place at the ABA Law Student Tax Challenge Competition

Matthew Marcellino and Brian Krastev

The College of Law team of 3Ls Brian Krastev and Matthew Marcellino finished second out of more than 80 teams from around the country competing in the American Bar Association (ABA) Law Student Tax Challenge competition. This is the College of Law’s best result ever in this annual competition.

Professor Robert Nassau, Director of the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic, coached the team.

An alternative to traditional moot court competitions, the Law Student Tax Challenge asks two-person teams of students to solve a cutting-edge and complex business problem that might arise in everyday tax practice. Teams are evaluated on a memorandum to a senior partner and a letter to a client explaining the result. Based on the written work product, six teams from the J.D. Division advance to the Section of Taxation’s 2020 Midyear Meeting, January 30-February 1, in Boca Raton, Florida, where each team defends its submission before a panel of judges representing the country’s top tax practitioners and government officials, including Tax Court judges.

College of Law Journal of Global Rights and Organizations and Impunity Watch News Announce Distinguished Lecturer Series

The College of Law’s Journal of Global Rights and Organizations (JGRO) and Impunity Watch News (IWN) have announced the participants for its Spring 2020 Distinguished Lecturer Series.

The scheduled speakers are:

Professor Chimene Keitner on “Immunity of Foreign Officials”

Professor of International Law, UC Hastings College of Law

Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020 | noon – 1 p.m.

Location 352

Dr. Kristen Boon on “Immunity of International Organizations after Jam v. IFC

Professor of Law, Seton Hall Law

Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020 | 5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Location 352

Dr. Margareta Matache on “The Roma Case for Reparations”

Justice activist and scholar from Romania 

Director of the Roma Program at the Harvard University Francois Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights 

(In conjunction with the Syracuse University School of Education’s Atrocity Studies and the Practices of Social Justice)

Tuesday, March 3, 2020 | 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Location TBA

John Sopko

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction

Tuesday, March 10, 2020 | Time TBD

(in conjunction with the Maxwell School and the Syracuse University Institute for Security Policy and Law)

“Through its Distinguished Lecturer Series,  The Journal of Global Rights and Organizations and Impunity Watch News is able to bring leading experts in international law to continue the dialog on dynamic, evolving—and sometimes vexing—issues in international law and legal institutions,” says Professor Cora True-Frost, Faculty Director of Impunity Watch News and the Journal of Global Rights and Organizations. “As the international community grapples with difficult questions of rights, laws, and norms, JGRO and Impunity Watch News’ focus is needed more than ever, and our students will be the next generation’s thought leaders on these issues.”

Professor Peter Blanck to Revisit "Guckenberger" During BU Law Talk

Peter Blanck

Burton Blatt Institute Director Peter Blanck will present "Revisiting Guckenberger: Past, Present, and Future of the ADA" as a guest of Boston University School of Law on Feb. 14, 2020.

In celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Blanck will discuss the ADA's development, the law's present challenges and successes, and where there is still room to grow in the realm of higher education and the legal profession. 

To frame his discussion, Blanck will recall his role as ADA expert in a class action against Boston University in which students alleged disability discrimination in violation of the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. 

Guckenberger v. Boston University (1997) is credited with bringing the "interactive process" over to higher education accommodation procedure. The lead plaintiff—Elizabeth Guckenberger, a law student with dyslexia—was subject to unreasonable documentation requests during her accommodations process. 

More recently, Blanck served as the ADA expert in litigation against the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). The litigation resulted in sanction against LSAC for violating a consent decree that prevented the council from "flagging" accommodated test scores and mandating specific protocols for handling accommodation requests.

More details about the event can be found here.

Watch: Dean Craig M. Boise Moderates NYSBA Panel on White Nationalism & Domestic Terrorism

Dean Craig M. Boise

Watch Dean Craig M. Boise moderate a star-studded and extraordinary panel at the NYSBA 2020 Presidential Summit on Jan. 29, 2020 in New York City. The panel tackled head-on one of the most disturbing trends of our time—the rise of white nationalism and domestic terrorism. More than 500 people packed the Hilton Midtown Grand Ballroom to witness the Summit live and many more watched the livestream across the globe.

The topics and remedies raised in this wide-raging discussion will resonate beyond the Summit, including the need for better laws to punish domestic terrorism, ways to proactively monitor hate groups without harming civil liberties, red flag laws, and stronger protection of targeted, marginalized groups. Panelists also stressed the importance of communities standing up against domestic terror and expressing countering points of view.

"We can't sit idly by and do nothing," said New York Attorney General Letitia James, adding that the country also needs "moral leadership" in Washington, DC, to tackle the problem.

Former FBI Assistant Director for Counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi Jr. argued that law enforcement must be given the same tools and techniques used in the fight against international terrorism in order to prevent domestic attacks before they happen.

Nan Whaley, Mayor, Dayton, Ohio; David D. Cole, National Legal Director, American Civil Liberties Union; and Leonard Zeskind, Founder and President, Institute for Research and Education of Human Rights, joined James and Figliuzzi as panelists.