In the News

Patching up the social safety net

Alan Auerbach quoted in The New York Times, March 17, 2015

The great irony, Professor Auerbach notes, is that “inequality is increasing yet our ability to do anything about it is weakening.” The main job for any Democratic president might not be to bolster the nation’s social insurance apparatus but simply to hold the line.

S.C. posthumously admits Chinese-born legal pioneer to state bar

Charles McClain quoted in Metropolitan News-Enterprise, March 17, 2015

This was followed by the 1880 legislative session, described by author and UC Berkeley School of Law lecturer Charles McClain as “the most Sinophobic in the state’s history,” banning “any alien not eligible to become an elector” from obtaining any type of state or local business or occupational license.

Colleges give Clinton an A—and campaign millions

Stephen Rosenbaum quoted in McClatchy, March 17, 2015

“It’s no surprise at all,” said Stephen Rosenbaum. … “Academics are pretty much liberal, left of center.”

Durst heir faces murder charge after documentary broadcast

Andrea Roth interviewed by Associated Press, March 16, 2015

“Any statement that the defendant makes that they want to use against him, they can use against him,” said Andrea Roth. … “Even if it’s sketchy, and only in context appears to make him look guilty.”

For tech titans, sharing has its limits

Christopher Hoofnagle quoted in The New York Times, March 14, 2015

Christopher Hoofnagle … said that while it was noteworthy that data merchants were seeking greater personal privacy themselves, they also may well be on the right track. A nondisclosure agreement, which keeps intimate information from ever getting online where it can spread, “is the sensible thing to do.”

Rally and march planned to protest effort to pass new anti-homeless laws in Berkeley

Osha Neumann and Jeffrey Selbin quoted in The Berkeley Daily Planet, March 12, 2015

Osha Neumann: “Taken together with existing laws, these ordinances would essentially make it illegal for people who are homeless to have a presence on our streets and sidewalks.”

Jeffrey Selbin: “The evidence from around the state and country is quite clear: criminalizing people who are homeless doesn’t solve any of the underlying causes or conditions of homelessness; in fact, it only makes them worse. It would be inhumane, ineffective and expensive for Berkeley to double down on punitive laws that will only hurt our most vulnerable residents.”

Calif. Supreme Court takes up ‘historic’ environmental docket

David Carrillo quoted in E&E Greenwire, March 13, 2015

The state Supreme Court does not “seek out specific policy issues to resolve,” said David Carrillo. … “Its role in the state judiciary is to settle legal issues of statewide importance as they arise.”

Regulators’ e-mails with PG&E blasted as culture of ‘lawlessness’

Steven Weissman quoted in San Francisco Chronicle, March 11, 2015

Steven Weissman … said the current standards reflect a “cultural divide” with similar agencies in other states that ban such lobbying altogether. “California does not even discourage” the contacts, Weissman said. “To the contrary, it welcomes them.”

That ‘good news, bad news’ behind stock buybacks

Steven Davidoff Solomon quoted in Marketplace, March 9, 2015

Large piles of cash tend to invite some investors to complain — loudly.  … “One of the ways the company responds to this,” says Steven Davidoff Solomon … “is to say, ‘Look, we’re trying to help our shareholders, we’ll give them back some cash.’”

Letting dentists feel the bite of competition

Aaron Edlin and Rebecca Haw Allensworth write for The Wall Street Journal, March 8, 2015

Though it is uncertain how states will react, one thing is clear. The Supreme Court is intolerant of cartel activity, whatever its form, and it has taken an important step toward restoring competition in these licensed professions.

How criminal records hold Americans back

Eliza Hersh quoted in The Boston Globe, March 8, 2015

“This is not a new problem, it’s just one that’s getting recognition now,” said Eliza Hersh. “One thing that often surprises people is they were arrested wrongly, or years and years ago, and it always remains on their records.”

Groundbreaking textbook makes the case for reproductive justice field

Melissa Murray, Kristin Luker and Jill Adams quoted in Los Angeles Times, March 5, 2015

“There were lots of instructors who were interested in teaching, but the absence of a casebook was a huge deterrent because it means you actually have to compile the materials yourself,” Murray said. “It also suggested that the field was not a field at all because it hadn’t been defined by a book.”

“Reproductive justice,” Luker said, “suggests that having a baby is just as important as the right not to have a baby.”

“The publication of this book signals the legitimacy of the subject matter as an area of study, and also as an area of practice,” said Jill Adams. … “In legal education, these cases and concepts are given very short shrift. It’s a victory to have this subject matter encased in that familiar blue binding on the shelf alongside all the other well-established courses.”

OK, so who gets to go free?

Jonathan Simon interviewed by Slate, March 4, 2015

Many crimes are legally considered violent “even if no force is used, let alone injury suffered,” said Jonathan Simon. “Violence is a much more capacious legal category than most people assume.”

Georgia waffles on execution with cloudy drug

Megan McCracken quoted in The Washington Post, March 4, 2015

The cloudy drug “raises significant concerns about Georgia’s ability to carry out executions in compliance with the Constitution, but we don’t know what really happened,” said Megan McCracken. … “Because of the secrecy surrounding Georgia’s procedures, it is impossible to say if this is indicative of a larger problem,” she said.

Chief Justice John Roberts in hot seat in health-law case

Jesse Choper quoted in The Wall Street Journal, March 3, 2015

Jesse Choper said it is “wholly legitimate” for Chief Justice Roberts to consider the real-world impact of his vote, regardless of his best reading of the statutory text. “He is the chief, and part of his mission is to preserve the integrity of the court, and to preserve at least its appearance of impartiality,” Mr. Choper said.

Six words might decide the fate of Obamacare at the Supreme Court

David Gamage quoted in The Washington Post, March 1, 2015

“Nobody I talked to in government, including many people involved in the legislative process, thought this was a question,” recalled David Gamage, a tax law professor at the University of California at Berkeley hired to help the Treasury Department’s Office of Tax Policy implement the law. “Nobody thought the argument [limiting the subsidies] was persuasive.’’

ABA asking why M&A is still a man’s world

Eric Talley quoted in Bloomberg Business, March 1, 2015

Most law schools matriculate roughly even numbers of men and women, he said, and the introductory corporations classes typically are 50 percent female. But those numbers change dramatically in more advanced corporate classes. … Talley … said it was “an awakening” when he realized that even his own advanced classes were only 40 percent female. “There’s some zeitgeist about M&A that is causing some who would love the field not to enter it.”

New law book could change the face of reproductive rights

Jill Adams and Melissa Murray interviewed by Colorlines, February 27, 2015

“[The casebook] has the potential to enlighten a generation of legal thinkers and community leaders about how laws regarding sex, families and reproduction intersect with other areas of policy,” says Adams. “It could show how the struggle for reproductive justice is inextricably linked to efforts to … rework systems to meet the needs of marginalized communities and redistribute power.”

“The interest in controlling reproduction has been racialized almost from the start,” says Murray. “The earliest efforts to medicalize obstetrics and gynecology came from doctors who were experimenting on enslaved women. The criminalization of pregnancy has been laid out on the bodies of black women. There is a really racialized discourse in the effort to control reproduction and sexuality.”

Killings by police are almost a daily occurrence in America

Franklin Zimring writes for San Francisco Chronicle, February 27, 2015

The failure to collect and audit accurate information on killings by the police is a major scandal. 2015 should be the year when effective reporting of police use of fatal force becomes a practical reality. This will help reveal the high volume of chronic government violence that otherwise is disregarded as just the way things are.

Solutions for overuse of jail can have unintended consequences

Malcolm Feeley writes for The New York Times, February 26, 2015

The tremendous increase in quality of life arrests has increased the number of people being held for petty nonviolent offenses. In many jurisdictions, arrests on nonviolent misdemeanor charges have left more arrestees unable to post even low bail.