Lasson hails Trump plan to move U.S. embassy to Jerusalem

Lasson low-res for web

Professor Kenneth Lasson

An op-ed by Professor Kenneth Lasson hails President Donald Trump’s announcement this week that the United States now recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and will next year move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Other commentators have warned that Trump’s actions in one of the most sensitive areas of global diplomacy will undermine progress toward a two-state solution and set off violence.

“Is there any reason to believe that acquiescing to Arab demands will lead to peace? Not if you look at the facts over the past half-century – during which time the Palestinians have stated with remarkable consistency that they will never recognize Israel as a sovereign state, much less Jerusalem as its capital,” wrote Lasson in “Why Trump Is Right on Jerusalem,” which was published in American Thinker, The Daily Caller and New English Review.

Learn more about Professor Lasson, the author, most recently, of Defending Truth: The Quest for Honesty about Jews and Israel.

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In op-ed, Koller lauds Olympic committee’s actions on Russia

Professor Dionne Koller

Associate Dean Dionne Koller

Associate Dean Dionne Koller contributed an op-ed to U.S. News & World Report about the International Olympic Committee’s announcement Tuesday that, among other moves, it would suspend Russia’s Olympic Committee and ban Russian officials from the upcoming Winter Games.

The IOC’s actions come after years of reports of state-sponsored doping of Russia’s athletes.

The committee also levied a $15 million fine on Russia to cover the cost of the investigation into the country’s doping scheme.

Read “A Gold Medal Moment for Drug-Free Sports” (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 6, 2017).

Koller, the law school’s associate dean for academic affairs, is the director of UB’s Center for Sport and the Law.

The IOC established guidelines for including individual Russian athletes in the Winter Games, to be held in PyeongChang, South Korea, in February.

Russian athletes who prove “clean” will be able to compete as neutrals under the Olympic flag.

Learn more about Associate Dean Koller.

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Pretrial Justice Clinic op-ed: Judges misinterpret new bail law

Students from the Pretrial Justice Clinic (PTJC) contributed an op-ed to The Baltimore Sun saying judges misinterpret a recent Maryland judicial rule enacted to combat the overuse, or reflexive use, of money bail.

Read “Baltimore judges misinterpret new rule to mean no bail – ever” (Dec. 5, 2017).

Authors Meghan Ellis and John Sebastian write that, in practice, “many judges have interpreted the rule as requiring them to deny everyone bail in lieu of setting a monetary bond. But this is a false interpretation. The new rule provides alternatives to money bail to prevent poor people from being incarcerated on high bail amounts.”

PTJC students observed several bail review dockets this semester to gauge the impact of the new rule.

“In docket after docket, we witnessed the same phenomenon: District Court judges holding the vast majority of individuals without bail,” Ellis and Sebastian wrote.

An example from the op-ed: On Oct. 23, 2017, 24 people – all of them charged with misdemeanor offenses – appeared before District Court Judge Jack Lesser. Only two were released on their own recognizance. Three were held on monetary bonds ranging from $1,500 to $7,500, while everyone else was denied bail. Some of these people had no prior criminal convictions and no history of violence.

Even a few days in jail can do a lot to destroy a person’s life, the authors note: Some of our clients have lost their jobs, homes and even custody of their children. Several have lost government-issued benefits due to their incarceration.”

PTJC student-attorneys J. Ethan Clasing, Andrew Cryan, Theresa Grisez, Charlie Kerr, Arien Parham and Christy Watts contributed to the op-ed, which appeared on The Sun‘s op-ed page along with an opinion piece written by students in the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law’s Access to Justice Clinic. (Read “Baltimore continues to improperly incarcerate poor people pre-trial.”)

Learn more about UB’s Pretrial Justice Clinic.

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Wehle in demand as media’s questions about authority multiply

Professor Kimberly Wehle has been a sought-after commentator following the recent accusations of sexual misconduct by prominent men in Hollywood and Washington.

The general question for Wehle: Why have men in Hollywood been fired abruptly while men in Washington, or men in politics, have kept their jobs?

Her answer, in brief: Look to the Constitution.

“The private sector is worried about bottom-line numbers and shareholders, and about the kind of image a business wants to project,” Wehle told The Christian Science Monitor.

If a private company finds an allegation of misconduct credible, the company can fire the accused (though, the article notes, “fear of a lawsuit could serve as a check”).

But when dealing with elected officials, a larger authority is at play: the Constitution and the system of self-governance it establishes.

Said Wehle: “The boss is ‘We the People.’” We hire, we fire.

Read “For politicians facing sexual misconduct charges, no swift ‘firings’” (The Christian Science Monitor, Nov. 30, 2017).

Wehle, the author of the forthcoming book The Outsourced Constitution: How Public Power in Private Hands Erodes Democracy, also addressed the Hollywood-Washington topic in several news segments, including:

Fox News
WBAL-TV and Liberty Watch Radio

Wehle also talked to Observer about the uproar over President Donald Trump’s appointment of White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Departing CFPB director Richard Cordray had named his chief of staff, Leandra English, to lead the bureau when he stepped down late last month.

“Once something like this happens where we tolerate the president picking and choosing which provisions of statutes give him more power, then that goes into the presidential toolbox,” Wehle told Observer. “Regardless of party, that’s a historical precedent that can be picked up later.”

Read “Will the Mulvaney Versus English CFPB Showdown Become a Supreme Court Blockbuster?” (Observer, Dec. 1, 2017).

Learn more about Professor Wehle.

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‘All the way down to the wire’: Tiefer on government shutdown

Professor Charles Tiefer told Marketplace reporter Kimberly Adams that he thinks Congress will not approve legislation to fund the government, triggering a partial government shutdown this week.

“I think it will go all the way down to the wire,” Tiefer said. “[I]t will come to a crisis, I think.”

Read and listen to “Don’t forget … a federal government shutdown looms” (Marketplace, Dec. 1, 2017).  The public radio business program says its news segments reach 14 million weekly listeners.

“These shutdowns are not just some kind of game,” Tiefer said, citing an example from the last shutdown, in 2013: Ten children with cancer were unable to take part in a National Institutes of Health drug trial because, according to the shutdown rules, an existing program could not be expanded.

A new shutdown would be a “real black mark” for the GOP, Tiefer said.

Learn about Professor Tiefer.

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UB School of Law and Notre Dame sign articulation agreement

UB-ND signing 11-27-17

University of Baltimore President Kurt Schmoke shakes hands Monday with Dr. Marylou Yam, president of Notre Dame of Maryland University. At right are UB School of Law Dean Ronald Weich and Debra Franklin, Notre Dame’s dean of arts, sciences and business.

The University of Baltimore School of Law and Notre Dame of Maryland University signed an articulation agreement Monday that will allow qualified Notre Dame undergraduates to begin law school at UB after their junior year.

Students would need a grade point average of at least 3.35 and an LSAT score of 150 to be automatically admitted to the law school (or a GPA of at least 2.75 and an LSAT score of 152).

The agreement was the subject of a Nov. 27, 2017, article in The Daily Record.

The law school has similar agreements with other public institutions in the University System of Maryland, including the University of Baltimore. The agreement with Notre Dame, however, is UB’s first with a private school.

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Grossman advice to Alabama voters: Be fair but don’t be fooled

Steve Grossman

Dean Julius Isaacson Professor of Law Steven Grossman

Dean Julius Isaacson Professor of Law Steven Grossman contributed an op-ed to The Baltimore Sun about Roy Moore, the Alabama GOP Senate candidate who has been accused by several women of having made unwanted sexual advances when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s.

Grossman dismissed talk of determining the truth of the women’s allegations via a trial.

“Of course there will be no trial before the people of Alabama vote on Dec. 12th, nor is there likely ever to be any criminal trial due to the statute of limitations on the alleged crimes,” Grossman said in “Alabama voters: Be fair, but don’t be fooled” (Nov. 27, 2017).

Moreover, the problem with using trial standards to determine the truth of the allegations goes beyond the unlikelihood of actual trials, Grossman said, citing a statement by the chairwoman of the Alabama Republican Party that Moore “should be presumed innocent of the accusations until proven otherwise.”

Wrote Grossman: “No, actually, he should not.”

The presumption of innocence was created for and applies only to criminal trials, Grossman pointed out: “Mr. Moore is entitled to neither the innocence presumption nor a trial-like process before the election. What Mr. Moore is absolutely entitled to is fairness – and it will be up to the voters to mete that out.”

Concluded Grossman: “To those voters I say: Be fair, but don’t be fooled.”

Learn more about Professor Grossman.

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