Wehle decries proposal to hire mercenaries in Afghanistan

Professor Kimberly Wehle published her second op-ed in a week about the potential dangers of outsourcing government functions to for-profit contractors.

In “Letting mercenaries fight our wars undercuts the Constitution” (The Hill, Sept. 2, 2017), Wehle discusses a proposal by Erik Prince, the founder of the notorious Blackwater security contracting firm, to fight the war in Afghanistan using mercenaries – possibly under Prince’s command.

Prince finds the word “mercenary” pejorative, according to an op-ed he contributed this week to The New York Times.

But, Wehle pointed out, Prince’s company (renamed several times after “Blackwater” became associated with lethal mayhem in Iraq) exists to make a profit – for Prince.

“Prince has euphemistically argued that a ‘restructuring’ of the war – using private contractors (many of them presumably from foreign countries) as a ‘presidential envoy’ — would cut U.S. costs in Afghanistan and would give U.S. troops ‘an exit ramp,’” Wehle wrote.

“Particularly chilling,” she continued, “is Prince’s suggestion that the replacement of U.S. troops with a corporate army would be inherently democratic, on the grounds that, as he put it, ‘Trump was hired to remake our government.’”

Wehle was blunt: “There is nothing democratic about Prince’s plan. If implemented, it would threaten the very integrity of the U.S. Constitution. […]

“Private contractors are not accountable to the American public in the same ways that government actors are accountable. Private industry also has a profit-making incentive, making it less interested in serving the public good than are government officials who take an oath to uphold the Constitution — and whose jobs do not depend on the bottom line of a spreadsheet.”

Read the article here.

Learn more about Professor Wehle, whose book, The Outsourced Constitution: How Public Power in Private Hands Erodes Democracy, is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press.

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9/11: Mooting of 4th Circuit habeas corpus argument in Toghill

Mooting-Toghill-vMooting of the Fourth Circuit Habeas Corpus Argument in Toghill v. Clarke:

For the Petitioner: Gregory Dolin

For the State: Colin Starger

On the Bench: Phil Closius, David Jaros, Natalie Ram and Will Hubbard

Issue: Whether Virginia’s statute that bars sending sexually explicit messages to minors is so broadly written as to be facially unconstitutional.

Noon, Monday, Sept. 11, 2017
Moot Courtroom

Please RSVP to Gloria Joy (gpjoy@ubalt.edu)

Light refreshments will be provided.

Reading: Toghill Opening Brief, Toghill Reply Brief, Toghill Response Brief, MacDonald v. MooseDistrict Court Opinion, VA Supreme Court Opinion

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Job post: UB seeks assistant dean for law career development

The University of Baltimore School of Law has an immediate opening for an assistant dean for law career development – a position that is key to carrying out the law school’s mission to produce students and graduates who assume leadership roles in the public and private sectors in Baltimore, throughout Maryland and beyond.

Click here to access the full job description and to apply.

The successful candidate will provide leadership, vision and direct supervision of UB’s Law Career Development Office, or LCDO.

The assistant dean develops and maintains relationships with a range of employers: private firms and recruiters; nonprofits; corporations; and local, state and federal government agencies, including the state and federal judiciary.

The assistant dean supervises the LCDO staff and oversees the multiple functions of the office.

Requirements for the position include a juris doctor degree, as well as seven years of progressively responsible legal experience and experience working with students or as a mentor.

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

The listing closes on Sept. 28, 2017.

See the listing here.

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Video: Pretrial Justice Clinic directors, student on what’s next

Pretrial Justice Clinic directors Zina Makar and Professor Colin Starger and PTJC student-attorney Meghan Ellis were interviewed about the clinic’s work by Cherise Fanno Burdeen, CEO of the Maryland-based Pretrial Justice Institute.

Click here to watch the video. (The discussion runs a half hour, but these are interesting people — time flies!)

The Aug. 17, 2017, interview was conducted remotely by Burdeen.

Starger began by discussing the PTJC’s method of choosing clients and keeping tabs on case resolutions.

Of primary importance, he said, is tracking the days people spend unnecessarily in jail; in so doing, the clinic can demonstrate that such detentions are “indeed a problem.”

Makar stressed the importance of putting pretrial detention into the larger context of mass incarceration, emphasizing the practice’s “lasting implications” on trial outcomes.

Wrapping up, Starger said he looked forward to getting to know a new group of clinicians this semester: “We as teachers are continually inspired by our students.”

Learn more about Makar and Starger and the Pretrial Justice Clinic.

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A happy crowd: Annual student organization fair fills lobby


Students fill the lobby of the law center on Aug. 30 during the annual student organization fair.

The law school’s Student Bar Association sponsored the annual student organization fair, held Wednesday afternoon (Aug. 30, 2017) in the lobby of the John and Frances Angelos Law Center.

Judging from the happy din that rose through the building, the fair was a huge success, as students crowded around tables to learn about the range of opportunities at the University of Baltimore School of Law.

The law school’s student groups represent a vast array of academic and personal interests. Notices about organizational meetings are posted around campus and are sent via email once a week (make sure to check your messages!). Many student groups also maintain TWEN pages.

Check out a group or two or three — you’re sure to meet great people!

Learn about the UB School of Law’s array of student organizations.

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Epps: Trump has no authority to launch a ‘preventive’ strike

Professor Garrett Epps

Professor Garrett Epps

Professor Garrett Epps, writing today in The Atlantic, warns that Donald Trump does not have the authority to launch a “preventive” strike against North Korea.

In “Trump Doesn’t Have the Authority to Attack North Korea Without Congress” (Aug. 30, 2017), Epps spells out the situations in which a president can, and cannot, strike preemptively:

“If a foreign enemy attacks the U.S. or one of its allies first, or is preparing to do so imminently, the president can order an immediate retaliatory response. But if there’s no such initial attack, the commander in chief cannot decide for himself to take the nation to war. That decision is for Congress. The requirement is not a formality, and it’s not outdated. It’s a central requirement of our system, and for good reason.”

Epps noted that Georgetown law professor Martin Lederman pointed out three weeks ago that an unapproved attack on North Korea would violate not just the U.S. Constitution but also the United Nations Charter. The charter, signed by the United States and many other nations in 1945, was ratified by the U.S. Senate and enacted into federal law by both houses of Congress. It requires member states to settle disputes with diplomacy; if they can’t, they must seek authorization for military action from the UN Security Council.

Wrote Epps: “If Trump takes the United States to war, he will no doubt demand national unity in support of the armed forces. And national unity is important in time of war. The Framers of the Constitution provided a way to unify the nation—let the people’s representatives, not one person, make the decision. Let there be a debate and a decision, not a series of tweets and cable-news panels.”

Read the Atlantic article here.

Learn more about Professor Epps.

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Donate today! UB BLSA school-supply drive helps youngsters

UB BLSA School Supply DriveThe UB School of Law’s Black Law Students Association is conducting a school-supply drive for youngsters at Garrett Heights Elementary School in Baltimore.

What’s needed: pencils, notebooks, folders, erasers, tissues, hand sanitizer, dry-erase markers, copy paper, Post-It notes — and more!

Collection bins are located in the law center lobby and on the sixth floor outside the Affinity Room. Items will be collected through Sept. 15.

For more information, contact UBBLSA@gmail.com.

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