Law

Another tenure controversy

April 14, 2008
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Another tenure controversy

Disputes over tenure know no ideological bounds. Controversy surrounds the tenure status of another UCP author, this time with the criticism coming from a different corner of the political arena. John Yoo, author of The Powers of War and Peace: The Constitution and Foreign Affairs after 9/11 is a tenured professor at Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley. He has long been under attack for his role in authoring memos while working for the Department of Justice that were used to justify DoJ policies for the detention and interrogation of suspected terrorists (including practices defined in international law as torture). A campaign has developed calling for Yoo’s ouster from his academic position. The story was covered today by the online publication Inside Higher Ed. Last week Christopher Edley, Jr. , the Dean of Boalt Hall, released a statement asserting that he had seen no evidence of wrongdoing that would merit Yoo’s dismissal. When we published his book, Yoo explained his view of executive war powers in an interview. Updated: The Chronicle of Higher Education has a roundup of blogger commentary on the Yoo case. . . .

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Race in America’s war on drugs

February 5, 2008
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Race in America’s war on drugs

Last Wednesday the Drug Law Blog authored by San Francisco attorney Alex Coolman ran an interesting interview with Doris Marie Provine, author of Unequal under Law: Race in the War on Drugs. The interview focuses on the topic of her book, exploring how issues of race have influenced American anti-drug efforts. Coolman prefaces the interview with some positive words about Provine’s fascinating new book: Professor Doris Marie Provine of Arizona State University’s School of Justice & Social Inquiry is the author of a really interesting and challenging new book called Unequal Under Law: Race in the War on Drugs. I keep coming back to this book as a reference point for talking about some of the thorniest issues related to the intersection of race with American action—and inaction—on drug policy. These are issues that are so big and obvious that they’re almost hard to recognize as issues. Unequal Under Law, however, does a really nice job of emphasizing that we are, in fact, making racial choices in drug policy—both consciously and unconsciously—that profoundly affect the lives of our fellow citizens. Read the interview on the Drug Law Blog. . . .

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Review: LePatner, Broken Buildings, Busted Budgets

December 5, 2007
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Review: LePatner, Broken Buildings, Busted Budgets

Barry B. LePatner’s Broken Buildings, Busted Budgets: How to Fix America’s Trillion-Dollar Construction Industry is featured in today’s Wall Street Journal business section. Reviewer James R. Hagerty uses LePatner’s book to cite one possible benefit of the otherwise gloomy housing market crisis—weeding out the weaklings in the contracting businesses. Hagerty writes: Every now and then, a major construction project is completed on time and on budget. Everyone is amazed. Barry LePatner, a New York lawyer specializing in construction cases, thinks this exception should become the rule. Broken Buildings, Busted Budgets outlines his proposals for making that possible. Mr. LePatner’s swift kick to the construction industry comes when it is already down. Commercial construction is slowing, and house building is in a severe slump, partly caused by a glut of new homes erected by overly optimistic builders even before the subprime crisis made it harder to find qualified buyers. The downturn will apply the wrecking ball to many of the weaker construction companies. But that won’t be enough, according to Mr. LePatner. He argues that the industry will become efficient only when its customers become savvier and more demanding. His solutions involve, among other things, hiring experts who can monitor builders . . .

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Press Release: Slobogin, Privacy at Risk

November 15, 2007
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Press Release: Slobogin, Privacy at Risk

The situation in our surveillance state is such that the government can monitor many of our daily activities, using closed-circuit TV, global positioning systems, and a wide array of other sophisticated technologies—without warning, and at any time. But despite the growing public awareness of these intrusions, our post-9/11 environment of fear makes people reluctant to question them. Yet, as Christopher Slobogin explains in Privacy at Risk, these shocking violations of privacy are often perpetrated by those in positions of power. This ground-breaking book argues that courts should prod legislatures into enacting more meaningful protection against government overreach by applying the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures. Slobogin demonstrates how we can thus preserve rights guaranteed by the Constitution—without compromising the government’s ability to investigate criminal acts—in a book that will intrigue anyone concerned about privacy rights in the digital age. Read the press release. . . .

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Podcast: Barry B. LePatner on The Invisible Hand

October 18, 2007
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Podcast: Barry B. LePatner on The Invisible Hand

Last week we mentioned that Barry B. LePatner, author of Broken Buildings, Busted Budgets: How to Fix America’s Trillion-Dollar Construction Industry was going to be featured on Chris Gondek’s business management podcast, The Invisible Hand. Well, while the podcast officially airs on Mr. Gondek’s site this Saturday, he was kind enough to give us a link to the full audio from his talk with LePatner a couple of days in advance. Listen to The Invisible Hand Podcast Episode 61 (mp3) as LePatner and Gondek engage in a fascinating discussion about how America’s fractured construction industry is costing the nation billions of dollars, and what LePatner suggests can be done to fix it. Also check out LePatner’s special website for the book with excerpts and other resources. . . .

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David P. Currie, 1936-2007

October 16, 2007
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David P. Currie, 1936-2007

David P. Currie, a constitutional scholar and professor at the University of Chicago Law School for 45 years, died yesterday in Chicago at the age of 71. Currie was the author of 19 books, and the University of Chicago Press was pleased to be the publisher of eight of them, including his magnificent works in the history of the Constitution of the United States. In the two volumes of The Constitution in the Supreme Court, The First Hundred Years and The Second Century, Currie delivered both legal analysis and a narrative history of the highest court’s interpretation of the Constitution. Currie turned to the legislative branch for his volumes of The Constitution in Congress. He analyzed the work of the first six Congresses in The Federalist Period and examined the period of Republican hegemony in The Jeffersonians. The antebellum years required two volumes: Democrats and Whigs, which covered the Jacksonian revolution and economic changes, and Descent into the Maelstrom, which was devoted to the great debate over slavery. Currie was working on the next volume in the series at the time of his death. For the bicentennial of the Constitution, Currie wrote a book for the student and lay audiences, . . .

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Rebuilding the Construction Industry

October 2, 2007
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Rebuilding the Construction Industry

Barry B. LePatner’s new book, Broken Buildings, Busted Budgets: How to Fix America’s Trillion-Dollar Construction Industry, was featured in an interesting article in Monday’s edition of the Architectural Record. Writer James Murdock contrasts the opinions of Stephen Sandherr, chief executive of the Associated General Contractors of America, with LePatner’s argument that the industry is in urgent need of reform. Murdock writes: Barry LePatner, a Manhattan-based attorney who counts Frank Gehry and other big-name architects among his clients, sees a problem with the construction industry in the United States—clearly indicated by the title of his book Broken Buildings, Busted Budgets, published today by the University of Chicago Press. “This is the industry that time has forgotten,” he says. “Mom-and-pop shops, composed of 20 people or less, make up 92 percent of the industry. They are hugely inefficient, and they have no money to spend on improving performance and technology.” The result, LePatner continues, is tremendous waste in a $1.2-trillion-a-year business—nearly half of labor expenses on a project, according to some studies, are squandered due to schedule conflicts and late deliveries.… LePatner also says that the construction industry suffers from “the winner’s curse”: Contractors bid so low that the profit margin erodes . . .

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Microsoft and Antitrust

September 18, 2007
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Microsoft and Antitrust

A decision by the European Court of First Instance upholding a 2004 ruling by the European Commission that levied a fine of almost 500 million euros against Microsoft and required the company to share server protocols with competitors has once again brought the issue of antitrust to the legal forefront. William H. Page and John E. Lopatka, authors of The Microsoft Case: Antitrust, High Technology, and Consumer Welfare, are blogging this week on the Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog. They will discuss the European case as well as the litigation in the U.S., which they see as “the defining antitrust case of our era.” . . .

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Press Release: Brague, The Law of God

May 16, 2007
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Press Release: Brague, The Law of God

In The Law of God: The Philosophical History of an Idea Brague takes his readers back three thousand years to trace the idea of divine law in the West from prehistoric religions to modern times. Brague explains how divine law, which served in ancient Greece as a metaphor for natural law, was seen in ancient Israel as divine revelation. Then, in the Middle Ages, it took on different sacred meanings within Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. Illuminating these meanings with a wide array of philosophical, political, and religious sources, he goes on to address the recent break in the alliance between law and divinity—when modern societies, far from connecting the two, started to think of law simply as the rule human community gives itself. Powerfully expanding on the project he began with his critically acclaimed The Wisdom of the World, Brague explores what this disconnect means for the contemporary world, ultimately inviting us to re-imagine the implications of our own modernity. Read the press release. . . .

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Review: Brague, The Law of God

May 10, 2007
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Review: Brague, The Law of God

Yesterday’s New York Sun features a review of Rémi Brague’s new book The Law of God: The Philosophical History of an Idea. Comparing Brague’s newest work with his fascinating cultural history of cosmology, The Wisdom of the World, reviewer Adam Kirsch writes: In The Law of God, Mr. Brague undertakes another journey through the buried continent of the ancient and medieval mind. But his topic this time—the idea of divine law, as it was understood from the ancient Greeks through the Muslim, Christian, and Jewish middle ages—does not seem nearly so remote. Humanity has long conceded that the structure of the inanimate world is the province of science. But most of us continue to believe that the moral law has other, deeper sources. … That is why The Law of God strikes the reader with more intimate force than The Wisdom of the World. Mr. Brague’s earlier book was archaeology, the digging up of something dead and buried; his new one is genealogy, tracing the descent of ideas that are still living. … Brague’s sense of intellectual adventure is what makes his work genuinely exciting to read. The Law of God offers a challenge that anyone concerned with today’s religious . . .

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