Wehle dispels ‘legal myths’ about regulation of gun ownership

In an op-ed in The Hill, Professor Kimberly Wehle set out to dispel what she called “legal myths” about the regulation of gun ownership in the United States.

The op-ed followed the Nov. 5 massacre of 26 people by a gunman who entered a Texas church during a Sunday service. This week a gunman in California opened fire in an elementary school and other locations, killing four people; before his rampage he killed his wife.

The California incident was the 17th mass shooting in the United States this month, according to the Gun Violence Archive, which defines a mass shooting as a single event in which four or more people are shot and/or killed, not including the shooter.

Read “Second Amendment myths everyone should stop believing” (The Hill, Nov. 8, 2017).

Wrote Wehle: “We can’t productively address the issue of gun regulation if we don’t understand the constitutional ground on which the Second Amendment rests.”

Among the myths is the notion that “arms” includes handguns, rifles and semi-automatic weapons.

“This one is off,” Wehle wrote. “’Arms’ is not defined in the Second Amendment itself, but would anyone seriously argue that it means your neighbor can store plutonium in his garage and make a nuclear bomb to protect his family? Of course not.”

In 2008, the Supreme Court found, in Heller v. District of Columbia, that handguns can be kept and used in the home for self-defense.

However, Wehle said, “[t]he court then laid out a bunch of factors that may be important in deciding if something else constitutes ‘Arms’ under the Second Amendment — including whether a weapon is one that musket-bearing settlers would have commonly used, and whether it is ‘dangerous and unusual.’

“The court also carved areas where the right can be limited — such as for mentally ill persons and felons, or in and around schools and government buildings. (The justices don’t even want cameras in their courtroom, let alone machine guns.)”

Concluded Wehle: “The question comes down to this: Does the Second Amendment right to self-defense outweigh the heightened dangers of increasingly lethal guns?”

Learn about Professor Wehle, the author of the forthcoming book The Outsourced Constitution: How Public Power in Private Hands Erodes Democracy.

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Schwidetzky: Tax plan provision could benefit ‘the everyman’

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Professor Walter Schwidetzky

In a Baltimore Sun op-ed, Professor Walter Schwidetzky writes that while many pundits have criticized the Republican tax-reform plan, saying it would favor the rich over “the everyman,” one proposed change would benefit the “little guy” by giving a multi-billion-dollar boost to Social Security and Medicare.

Writes Schwidetzky: “The increase would come with the closure of a payroll tax loophole that’s somehow been allowed to linger for decades, despite several attempts to seal it.”

Schwidetzky writes that 95 percent of businesses are not taxed as corporations in the traditional sense; instead, their income “passes through” the company and is taxed to the owners. A set of provisions in the proposed House tax bill would ensure that individuals cannot use such “pass-throughs” to avoid paying Social Security and Medicare taxes.

Read “Republican tax plan would boost Social Security, Medicare” (Nov. 13, 2017).

Learn more about Professor Schwidetzky.

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Monday 11/13: Learn about CLIA and the Just Kids Campaign

CLIA_flyer_Nov13Learn about Community Law In Action — or CLIA — and its Just Kids Campaign at a Monday-afternoon event sponsored by the law school’s chapters of the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) and the National Lawyers Guild (NLG).

Monday, Nov. 13, 2017
3:30 p.m.
Room 802
Angelos Law Center

1401 N. Charles St.
Baltimore 21201

Light refreshments will be served.

CLIA is a nonprofit dedicated to effecting positive social change by supporting young people and developing youth leaders. The group, which seeks to reduce violence in Baltimore, runs mock trial programs in city high schools and teaches young people about the legal system.

Youth working with CLIA lead the Just Kids Campaign, which aims to end the prosecution of children as adults in Maryland’s criminal justice system.

Learn about UB’s chapters of BLSA and NLG, as well as other organizations for law students.

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Job posting: Office of Law Admissions seeks assistant director

The University of Baltimore School of Law’s Office of Law Admissions is seeking an assistant director.

Access the job listing and application instructions. 

The assistant director, the primary recruiter for law admissions, coordinates on- and off-campus events, maintains the website and the daily visit calendar, processes applications, counsels prospective and admitted students, and oversees social media accounts, among other responsibilities.

The exempt, full-time position comes with a competitive benefits package. Compensation is commensurate with qualifications.

Applications will be accepted until Friday, Nov. 17. An electronic application is required.

We look forward to receiving your application with a cover letter and a resume attached so we can learn about your interest in and qualifications for the position.

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Truancy Court Program highlighted in WBAL-TV segment

WBAL-TV (Channel 11), in a feature about Baltimore school officials’ efforts to reduce student absenteeism, focused on the work of the University of Baltimore School of Law’s Truancy Court Program, a project of the Sayra and Neil Meyerhoff Center for Families, Children and the Courts, which is directed by Professor Barbara Babb.

Watch the segment, or read the transcript of “School goes to great lengths to combat chronic absenteeism” (Nov. 6, 2017).

The segment, reported by Deborah Weiner, focused on Franklin Square Elementary-Middle School.

Statewide, 12 percent of public school students, or more than 91,000, missed over 20 days, according to the Maryland Department of Education, the WBAL segment said, adding that Baltimore City has the state’s highest absentee rate.

Educators say students are absent for a variety of reasons: addiction in the family, housing instability, a lack of transportation to and from school, and the need to care for younger siblings, WBAL reported.

Research shows that truancy is one of the strongest predictors of teenage pregnancy, drug abuse and criminal behavior, among other societal problems. Students who are frequently absent are also less likely to graduate from high school.

A problem-solving approach to truancy reduces these risks and saves families and communities from serious and costly outcomes.

Learn more about the Sayra and Neil Meyerhoff Center for Families, Children and the Courts and the Truancy Court Program.

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‘Groundbreaking constitutional times’: Wehle on pardon power

Professor Kimberly Wehle contributed an op-ed to The Hill that lays out the challenges President Donald Trump would likely face if he pardoned Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman indicted last week by special counsel Robert Mueller as part of Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidental election.

In “Legally, Trump can’t pardon Manafort to save himself” (Nov. 3, 2017), Wehle writes that Trump would not necessarily prevail.

“A constitutional challenge to a Manafort pardon would require creative lawyering, to be sure,” Wehle wrote. “But we live in groundbreaking constitutional times. As a matter of historical precedent — which matters to the Supreme Court in novel situations like this one — Trump is not on unassailable ground.”

And, she added, a presidential pardon would not insulate Manafort from indictment by the New York State attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, whose office is also looking into Manafort’s financial transactions.

Concluded Wehle: “Trump can try his hand at more pardons, but the power is no magic wand. … The likely reality is that the grand jury will continue to do its work, Mr. Trump, and the chips must fall where they will.”

Wehle, a former assistant U.S. attorney and associate independent counsel in the Whitewater investigation, is the author of the forthcoming book The Outsourced Constitution: How Public Power in Private Hands Erodes Democracy.

Learn more about Professor Wehle.

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Today! Journal of Intl Law symposium on family law & adoption

JIL event 11-13-17

The University of Baltimore Journal of International Law invites you to a symposium, “Families Without Borders: A Panel Discussion on International Family Law and Adoption.”

Monday, Nov. 13, 2017
6-9 p.m.
12th floor
John and Frances Angelos Law Center
1401 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21201

RSVP here.

See schedule of events here.

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