4th Amendment, 5th Amendment, 6th Amendment, criminal law, Criminal Procedure, Due Process, Faculty Blog, Fifth Amendment, First Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, Hansen, New England Law Review, Sixth Amendment, U.S. Supreme Court

Faculty Blog: Williams v. Pennsylvania Raises Major Concerns About U.S. Justice System

Professor Eldred wrote that this latest decision is a missed opportunity by the Court that could undermine the long-term value of the decision, particularly when, as Professor Eldred notes, there was significant literature and research in this area available to the Court. Here, I want to address another issue raised by the facts of the case that should alarm anyone concerned about the fairness of our criminal justice system—namely, the role of the prosecutor. While I can’t say that this was another missed opportunity by the Court to address the question since it was not directly before the Court, the troubling story recounted by the facts of the case serves as an important backdrop and raises important questions about the quality of justice in death penalty and other cases. In its recounting of the facts of the case, the Court noted that the prosecutor assigned to the murder case against Williams sent a two-page memorandum to the district attorney requesting approval to seek the death penalty. The then-district attorney, later Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, approved the request by writing: “Approved to proceed on the death penalty.” The case before the Court was about whether the district attorney who penned that approval could some 30 years later sit as one of the justices on the court called upon to vacate William’s stay of execution. The Supreme Court also noted a number of Brady violations that the prosecuting attorney allegedly committed in the case, as well as the fact that none of this information—the prosecution memo and approval by the district attorney or the possible Brady violations—came to light until the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas ordered the district attorney’s office to produce previously undisclosed files, many years after Williams’ trial.

1st Amendment, Affordable Care Act, Constitution, Faculty Blog, Fourteenth Amendment, New England Law Review, U.S. Supreme Court, Uncategorized

Faculty Blog: Zubik v. Burwell: The Supreme Court Punts on Religious Nonprofits’ Challenge to the Affordable Care Act Contraceptive Coverage Opt-Out

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to weigh in on the merits of religious nonprofit organizations’ challenge to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage religious opt-out regulations. The regulations allow religious nonprofits to avoid the legal responsibility of covering contraceptives in their health insurance plans by providing notice that they object to doing so on religious grounds. The petitioners in the cases consolidated in Zubik v. Burwell claimed that furnishing this notice imposed a substantial burden on their religious exercise. In a per curiam opinion, the Court noted that supplemental briefing that addressed whether contraceptive coverage could be provided to the petitioners’ employees without the required notice had revealed the feasibility of such an option. The Court remanded the cases for investigation of this option, without making a decision on the plaintiffs’ Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) claim.

Faculty Blog, Free Speech, Karol, New England Law Review, publicity rights, Trademark, USPTO

Faculty Blog: Drumpf ™?

TV host John Oliver made waves recently when he launched a campaign on his HBO show Last Week Tonight to “Make Donald Drumpf Again,” a reference to the Republican presidential frontrunner’s less-than-sonorous historic family name. As part of that 21-minute skit, which has been watched an astounding 21 million times on YouTube in just a few days, the host claimed to have filed for trademark protection for the term DRUMPF. Did he? Can he?

1st Amendment, Contributor Profile, Editor Blog, First Amendment, Free Press, Free Speech, New England Law Review, Policy, Privacy, Sonja West, Symposium, West

Contributing Author Profile: Sonja West

Contributing Editor: Ryan Goodhue
Sonja R. West is an associate professor at the University of Georgia School of Law, which she joined in 2006. She teaches courses on Constitutional Law, Media Law, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Sonja earned a B.A. in journalism and communication studies from the University of Iowa. Prior to attending law school, she worked as a reporter in the Midwest and Washington, D.C. She received her J.D. from the University of Chicago School of Law where she served as executive editor of the school’s Law Review.

1st Amendment, Clay Calvert, Editor Blog, First Amendment, Free Press, Free Speech, New England Law Review, Privacy, publicity rights, Symposium

Contributing Author Profile: Clay Calvert

Contributing Editor: Aysha Warsi
Respected author and professor, Clay Calvert, will be a panelist at the New England Law Review’s Spring Symposium on February 11, 2016. Professor Calvert earned his B.A. in Communication with distinction and Ph.D. in Communication from Stanford University. He also received his J.D. Order of the Coif from the University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law. Professor Calvert is a member of the State Bar of California and the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States.

1st Amendment, Amy Gajda, Editor Blog, First Amendment, Free Press, Free Speech, New England Law Review, Privacy, publicity rights

Contributing Author Profile: Amy Gajda

Contributing Editor: Shannon Boyne
Amy Gajda is currently an Associate Professor of Law at Tulane University Law School and is internationally recognized for her expertise in the areas of information privacy, media law, torts, and higher education law. In 2013 she was awarded the Felix Frankfurter Award for Distinguished Teaching, Tulane University Law School’s highest teaching honor. She has chaired the Association of American Law Schools’ Sections on Mass Communication and Defamation and Privacy. Ms. Gadja also led the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication’s Law and Policy Division.

1st Amendment, First Amendment, Free Speech

NELR Happenings: The First Amendment Bubble: How Privacy and Paparazzi Threaten a Free Press — Spring 2016 Symposium

Join the New England Law Review for our spring book symposium on February 11th at 4:00 p.m. in the Cherry Room at New England Law | Boston. It will showcase Professor Amy Gajda’s book “The First Amendment Bubble: How Privacy and Paparazzi Threaten a Free Press.” Her book explores judicial oversight of journalism news judgment. She will discuss how the expansion of acceptable news content has shifted courts’ focus from the First Amendment to individual privacy—a shift that curtails mainstream journalists’ press freedoms. Both Professor Calvert as well as Professor West will respond. The symposium will feature Professor Amy Gajda, a Visiting Scholar from Tulane University Law School, as our keynote speaker, as well as feedback and commentary from a panel of prominent legal voices, including:

  • Professor Clay Calvert, University of Florida
  • Associate Professor Sonja R. West, University of Georgia Law
Sponsored By: New England First Amendment Coalition For more information, visit our symposium page here. You can also let us know you are going on our Facebook event page. We look forward to seeing you there!