In the News

Obama has vastly changed the face of the federal bureaucracy

Anne Joseph O’Connell quoted in The Washington Post, September 20, 2015

“Democrats in the White House face more pressure on ‘demographic’ staffing because many groups who want to see leaders like them worked hard to elect the president,” she said.

Sunnyvale: Neighbors sue to declare autistic boy a public nuisance

Stephen Rosenbaum quoted in San Jose Mercury News, September 17, 2015

“This is something that should never have gone to court, in my view,” said Rosenbaum. … “The plaintiffs make it out to be that there’s a monster at large in the neighborhood, but I know from the standpoint both as an attorney and as a parent myself of a young man who had a disability that there may be things that are the perception by the rest of the community that can be at odds with reality.”

The top 4 things the GOP won’t tell you about Ronald Reagan

Alan Auerbach quoted on, September 16, 2015

“At the end of the day, Reagan had very strong views on issues like tax cuts and military build-up, but on the other hand he was willing to make deals,” Auerbach said. “As much as Reagan criticized the policies of his predecessor and criticized the policies of Democrats, he wasn’t going to shut the government down.”

Uber case highlights outdated worker protection laws

Steven Davidoff Solomon writes for The New York Times, September 15, 2015

This case truly highlights the outdated nature of workers’ laws in America, not just around what it means to work for someone, but also what benefits and protections American workers need whether they are a contractor, employee or provider of services.

The worst of the worst

Elisabeth Semel quoted in The New Yorker, September 14, 2015

Elisabeth Semel, the Berkeley professor, notes that, with a death-qualified jury, “you are starting out with a jury that is conviction-prone and death-prone, because if they weren’t they wouldn’t be sitting there.”

What do voters hear in Conservatives’ message on refugees?

Ian Haney López quoted in CBC News, Sept. 14, 2015

“People don’t realize they are being manipulated, they don’t realize their basest instincts are being appealed to,” he says. “Staying silent and not addressing that is an absolute failure.”

To help smokers quit, make them vapers

Stephen Sugarman writes for Los Angeles Times, Sept. 10, 2015

Blanket laws discouraging the use of e-cigarettes are the wrong policy move. E-cigarettes have already shown themselves to be an appealing alternative to many smokers who are trying to quit. Because almost 500,000 Americans die annually from tobacco-related diseases, a lot is at stake.

Is a Supreme Court surprise coming on affirmative action in college admissions?

Richard Rothstein blog post reprinted in The Washington Post, Sept. 9, 2015

College admissions officers, ostrich-like, can favor students of all races and ethnicities whose families have little wealth for whatever reason. Such favoritism, however, is an inefficient means of remedying de jure segregation: it will round up many non-black students from low-wealth families. That is a worthy social policy goal, but is no substitute for remedying a history of state-sponsored racial injustice.

Gavin Newsom is no Kim Davis

John Yoo quoted in San Francisco Chronicle (registration required), Sept. 9, 2015

“If you’re a state officer, you have an obligation under the Constitution to carry out federal law.” You don’t have to agree with all Supreme Court rulings, Yoo added, you just have to abide by them.

The Tianjin explosions: a signal for reform

Stanley Lubman writes for The Wall Street Journal, Sept. 7, 2015

The massive explosions in Tianjin should challenge the state to take useful steps to improve legality, which would also enhance the legal environment needed for the promised economic reforms. Failure to do so will mean more loss of life and further erosion of government credibility. China can’t afford more Tianjin fireballs.

Ignore Trump—the issue of birthright citizenship has been settled

John Yoo writes for Los Angeles Times, Sept. 6, 2015

“The 14th Amendment settled the question of birthright citizenship once and for all. Conservatives should not be the ones seeking a new law, or even a constitutional amendment to reverse centuries of American tradition.”

Flat tax sounds simple, but it comes with complications

Alan Auerbach quoted in San Francisco Chronicle (registration required), Sept. 5, 2015

“The sales pitch sounds great,” said Alan Auerbach, a professor of economics and law at UC Berkeley. … “Then you’re going to have to tell people how you’re going to do it.”

I went looking for the uptick in murders in U.S. cities. Here’s what I found.

Franklin Zimring quoted in The Washington Post, Sept. 4, 2015

“Crime and violence in most big cities in the United States are pretty much as they’ve been lately,” said Franklin Zimring. “Boy, is that good news.”

Why some activists want Netflix held to a higher labor standard

David Rosenfeld quoted in The San Francisco Chronicle (registration required), Sept. 4, 2015

“Netflix is going to stand firm and take their licks on it,” he said. “In these lower-paid jobs, people come and go all the time. That’s the way they function. There’s no incentive to offer big perks to keep people around.”

Picture of Syrian refugee boy on beach prompts humanitarian action

Jamie O’Connell quoted on, Sept. 4, 2015

“This is one the most severe refugee crises seen anywhere at least since World War II,” said Jamie O’Connell, a senior fellow at UC Berkeley School of Law. “For, I think, any human being, it (the photo) brings home the tragedy, the human tragedy that this involves.”

Institutional gridlock assessed by campus law professor

Anne Joseph O’Connell quoted in The Daily Californian, Sept. 3, 2015

“Incredibly important policy positions are often not filled,” O’Connell said. “I’m worried about the functioning of modern government, which relies heavily on administrative agencies to do its work.”

Sharp downturn in use of force at Oakland Police Department

Barry Krisberg quoted in San Francisco Chronicle (registration required), Sept. 2, 2015

The falling numbers are a good indication that police-community relations are improving, according to Barry Krisberg, a UC Berkeley criminologist. “Oakland has been pretty quiet compared to the 600 bullets fired in Stockton, or some pretty horrendous lethal-force incidents in San Jose,” he said.

Berkeley NAACP seeks city department to address race, equity

john a. powell and Katie Nelson cited in San Jose Mercury News, Sept. 2, 2015

The Oakland community and city staff are receiving training from the Local and Regional Alliance on Race and Equity, housed at UC Berkeley’s Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society. The alliance, headed by professors Katie Nelson and john powell, have conducted trainings across the country.

Actually, research shows that guns do kill people

Franklin Zimring cited in Daily Commercial, August 29, 2015

Almost two decades ago, Franklin Zimring, a longtime researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, and a colleague, Gordon Hawkins, showed that the U.S. doesn’t have an especially high crime rate relative to other developed nations. But the U.S. is far more violent. Every conflict, from the mundane to the serious — not just domestic disputes and robberies, but traffic altercations and bar fights — is more deadly in the U.S. because of the presence of guns.

Worried biotech advocates swarm to prenatal testing fight

Peter Menell cited in The Recorder (registration required), August 27, 2015

“There is serious risk that failure to engage this issue at this juncture could set the patent system on a dire course,” say UC-Berkeley Law professor Peter Menell and UC-Hastings’ Jeffrey Lefstin in an amicus curiae brief filed Thursday.