Media Archives - 2014
Professor Rachel Godsil, the Eleanor Bontecou Professor of Law, blogs for Psychology Today: New report on reducing racial anxiety
December 14, 2014
Racial anxiety can look like racial bias and can unwittingly perpetuate inequality. Even people who want to treat others equally and respectfully can behave awkwardly when concerned about how they may be percieved by someone of a different race. Writes Professor Godsil, “In the context of race, this concern can be particularly acute as people of color worry that they will be the target of racial bias and whites worry that they will be misunderstood or assumed to be racist.”
In the report "Addressing the Impact of Implicit Bias, Racial Anxiety, and Stereotype Threat in Education and Health Care,” Professor Godsil provides a real-world illustration of how this can play out. "We live in a time when discrimination looks less like a segregated lunch counter and more like a teacher never calling on your son or a doctor failing to inspire trust in your daughter and improperly diagnosing her illness as a result."
The good news is that racial anxiety can be reduced with cooperative learning strategies, and both direct and indirect positive interracial experiences. The more people are empathetic and willing to interact with people of other races, the more progress this nation will make toward racial equality.
Assistant Dean Jessica Miles and Christopher Keating '14 in NJ BIZ on Seton Hall Law's dedication to hands-on learning for law students
November 19, 2014
NJ BIZ published two interviews with Assistant Dean Jessica Miles of the Office of Career Services regarding Seton Hall Law’s approach to legal education, which reflects a larger trend that prepares students to perform well in the courtroom, and the boardroom, from the day they graduate.
“Getting Schooled in Courtroom Setting is New Goal”
This article features the experience of Seton Hall Law graduate Christopher Keating ’14, who argued before Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor in April 2014 when he was a finalist in the Eugene Gressman Appellate Moot Court Competition.
As the reporter describes,
Dean Miles, also a professor in the Seton Hall Law Center for Social Justice Family Law Clinic, encourages students to participate in such programs where they have the opportunity to take on real-world cases. In doing so, they put into practice the critical legal reasoning and writing abilities they first develop through traditional classroom and simulation based courses.
Keating, now serving as a clerk to Superior Court Judge Lisa M. Vignulolo in New Brunswick, agrees with Dean Miles’ view of the clinical experience:
“Be Slow to Specialize”
In a second article featuring an interview with Dean Miles, the reporter honed in on whether law students must pursue a specific area of expertise to achieve career success.
Seton Hall Law offers three concentrations that students may pursue beginning in their second year of law school: in Health Law, Intellectual Property and its newest offering, Compliance. As the reporter notes, for some students, who come from industry, a concentration is a natural fit with their current work experience.
Dean Miles believes students should be encouraged to discover and pursue their passion in the law. As she concludes,
Seton Hall Law Center for Policy and Research Senior Fellows Publish Op-Ed in The Record on the Militarization of Local Law Enforcement
September 24, 2014
Dakota Gallivan ’14 and Jared Stepp ’14, both Senior Research Fellows in the Seton Hall Law Center Policy and Research, and both veterans of the war in Iraq, published an op-ed in The Record speaking out against government-sponsored programs to equip local law enforcement with combat grade equipment and weaponry. To summarize their position, Gallivan and Stepp write,
The issue of government-sponsored combat-grade equipment distribution programs made the news most recently as the citizens of Ferguson, Missouri engaged in protests following the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed African American teenager. Yet in April 2013, tthe Center for Policy and Research Fellows took note of a heightened use of military equipment in the aftermath of the bombing of the Boston Marathon. Gallivan and Stepp write,
The ensuing report, “Costs and Consequences of Arming America’s Law Enforcement with Combat Equipment,” reveals numerous government-sponsored programs designed to provide extensive military weaponry to local police departments at reduced costs, and with no accountability to provide training, to secure equipment storage or even to conduct a periodic equipment inventory.
Gallivan and Stepp describe the equipment, based on their own experience, as “complex, unforgiving and potentially deadly,” and continue,
Seton Hall Law Center for Policy & Research report on recidivism among GMTO detainees cited in Washington Post story regarding release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl
June 02, 2014
Shortly after the exchange of five Taliban detainees for the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the Washington Post published an article addressing the question of how many former Guantanamo detainees have “returned to the fight.” The answer, according to a biannual report published by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, is that about 16.9% are confirmed to have returned to terrorist activity of some kind, while an additional 12.1% are suspected of having returned to terrorist activity. The article notes that these figures have been challenged, and cites Seton Hall’s Center for Policy and Research:
In particular, a project conducted at Seton Hall University suggested that evidence against former detainees listed in the “suspected” category was sometimes flimsy. Seton Hall also highlighted a number of past detainees who were released from Guantanamo Bay and started careers as diplomats, businessmen and in other civilian jobs.
The article goes on to discuss the specifics of Bergdahl’s release. Read the whole story here:
Moot Court Competition Finalists Argue Before Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Featured in The New Yorker
May 06, 2014
The New Yorker magazine attended the Eugene Gressman Appellate Moot Court Competition final round, where, on April 10, Justice Sonia Sotomayor presided alongside Judges Michael A. Chagares ’87 and Julio M. Fuentes of the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
Teams Karol Ruiz ’14 and Christopher Keating ’14 - both, Center for Social Justice Scholars - and Justin Ferrone ’15 and Brian Spadora ’15, argued their cases before a packed audience in the Law School’s Larson Auditorium. The story appears in the May 12 edition of the New Yorker’s famed “Talk of the Town.”
The reporter describes an energetic presentation:
Karol Ruiz, who was brought to the U.S. from Colombia as a young child and now advocates for the rights of other children in her position, found a deep connection to Justice Sotomayor when she read the Justice's autobiography:
The profile also describes the competing teams’ excitement after they presented their arguments before the Justices. While Ferrone and Spadora described their own experiences, Chris Keating ’14 most likely spoke for the entire assembled audience when he said, “It’s amazing, making eye contact with Justice Sotomayor,’ he said. ‘You’re thinking, This Justice is actually listening to the words that are coming out of my mouth.'
This article is currently available by subscription only. Visit the New Yorker website at newyorker.com/magazine.
Rachel Godsil Appointed New Chair of New York City Rent Guidelines Board as reported by The Real Deal and New York Crain’s Business
April 24, 2014
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed Professor Rachel Godsil to lead the board that determines annual rent adjustments for approximately 1 million apartments across the city that are subject to the Rent Stabilization Law.
The Mayor’s press release cites Professor Godsil’s credentials: “Godsil is an accomplished attorney and professor specializing in issues of housing, land use and social justice. She is a former Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and previously clerked for John M. Walker of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.” New York Crain’s Business also notes,
According to real estate blog, The Real Deal, “The new members are expected to slow the pace of rent hikes that existed under the Bloomberg administration,” which is underscored by Crain’s:
As Crain’s concludes,
MAYOR DE BLASIO APPOINTS RACHEL GODSIL AS NEW CHAIR OF RENT GUIDELINES BOARD
NEW YORK—Mayor de Blasio today announced the appointment of Rachel Godsil as Chair of the Rent Guidelines Board. The Rent Guidelines Board.
Godsil is an accomplished attorney and professor specializing in issues of housing, land use and social justice. She is a former Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and previously clerked for John M. Walker of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
The Mayor previously appointed Sarah Williams Willard as an owners’ representative, Cecilia Joza and Steven Flax as public members of the board, and Sheila Garcia as a tenant representative. The Mayor also re-appointed current tenants’ representative Harvey Epstein to the board.
About Rachel Godsil
Rachel Godsil currently serves as the Eleanor Bontecou Professor of Law at Seton Hall University School of Law. Godsil’s areas of expertise include property, land use, environmental justice, education and race. Her recent property work focuses on the mortgage crisis and eminent domain, as well as the intersection of race, poverty and land use decisions.
Godsil previously clerked for John M. Walker of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. She was an associate counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, focusing on environmental justice, as well as an associate with Berle, Kass & Case and Arnold & Porter in New York City.
After serving as the convener for the Obama campaign’s Urban and Metropolitan Policy Committee and an advisor to the Department of Housing and Urban Development transition team, Professor Godsil co-directed a report to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan.
She joined Seton Hall University School of Law in 2000 and has been recognized for her teaching by being nominated for Professor of the Year in 2002 and 2003. She was named Researcher of the Year in Law by Seton Hall University. She has also taught at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and New York University Law School. Godsil lives in Brooklyn.
Professor Stephen Lubben blogs in the New York Times’ Dealbook, ‘Giving a Debtor a Big Club Against Lenders’
April 03, 2014
Professor Stephen Lubben authored an article in the Dealbook section of the New York Times considering the implications of a recent federal district court opinion, Meridian Sunrise Village v. NB Distressed Debt Investment Fund Ltd., for distressed debt investors and loan investors. The case involves an issue that arose when Bank of America sold its part of a loan, which it shared with U.S. Bank and others, to a distressed debt investor.
The general rule is that a debtor has the right to approve any loan transfers, so long as consent is not unreasonably withheld, except that a debtor in default loses the right to consent. Here, the debtor was in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, so it would seem that the debtor lost the right to approve any loan transfers. Both the bankruptcy court and the district court, however, disagreed because the loan agreement limited loan transfers to “financial institutions,” and the courts found that hedge funds are not “financial institutions.”
Professor Lubben criticizes the district court’s interpretation, writing:
The court’s argument that financial institutions should be interpreted as entities that make loans almost proves the point, as hedge funds are increasingly making direct loans themselves. And did the court really mean to say that a mutual fund or an exchange traded fund could not buy a stake in this loan?
Professor Lubben goes on to discuss a number of other reasons why the opinion is problematic, including the court’s view that the hedge fund’s subsequent transfer of part of its loan from Bank of America to another fund was an “an attempt to manipulate the Bankruptcy Code’s voting rules,” while the same transfer by a bondholder to another creditor would probably not have caused the court to object.
He concludes by emphasizing the importance of the opinion:
Why is the opinion important? Because you can expect to see it in a Chapter 11 case soon. After all, this is an appellate decision that gives the debtor a great big club against its lenders. Why not try to use it?Read the New York Times' Dealbook Article, "Giving a Debtor a Big Club Against Lenders."
Professor Lori Nessel quoted in NBC News article on potential medical repatriation of comatose student from Pakistan
February 20, 2014
Professor Lori Nessel was quoted on the issue of medical repatriation in an NBC News article focusing on a specific case in which a 20-year-old Pakistani citizen who was enrolled in a one-semester study abroad program at The University of Wisconsin-Superior fell into a coma resulting from a car accident.
Comatose since November 2013 through at least late-February 2014, at which time this article was published, the 20-year-old student’s $350,000 medical bills exceeded his $100,000 emergency medical insurance policy and the hospital at which he was being treated sought to return him to Pakistan, despite the risk that the 24-hour flight might pose to his health due to his comatose state.
This case illuminates the underlying issue of medical repatriations. Professor Nessel co-authored a 2012 study, “Discharge, Deportation, and Dangerous Journeys: A Study on the Practice of Medical Repatriation,” in partnership with New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. The report found that, spanning the previous six years, there were at least 800 cases in which immigrant patients who were unable to fund their hospital bills were returned to their countries of origin. The study states that U.S. hospitals are required to provide emergency medical care to immigrant patients, both documented and undocumented, “but this obligation terminates once the patient is stabilized.”
Professor Nessel elaborates on this issue, explaining:
Matthew Feinstein ’09 and Kama Jones-El, a graduate of the New Jersey Law & Education Empowerment Project in the Huffington Post
February 19, 2014
Matthew Feinstein ’09, Associate Director of the New Jersey Law and Education Empowerment Project (NJ LEEP), recently wrote a blog post in the Huffington Post, describing the experience of Kama Jones-El, a student with whom he has worked at NJ LEEP over the last five years. NJ LEEP is a four-year, college access program available to underserved middle and high school students.
Professor Margaret Lewis in Agence France-Presse on an execution that took place in China
February 11, 2014
Professor Margaret Lewis was quoted in an article published by the Agence France-Presse about a family in China whose patriarch was executed shortly after communicating his hopefulness for acquittal. The family was not notified before the execution took place; they discovered his death by viewing a notice posted at a courthouse.
Professor Stephen Lubben blogs in the New York Times’ DealBook, "A Safe Harbor Without Full Protection”
January 22, 2014
Professor Stephen Lubben, who writes a regular feature column in the New York Times’ DealBook section, published an article considering the “so-called” safe harbor provisions of the bankruptcy code in light of a recent New York bankruptcy ruling. He questions the lack of efforts to enact the safe harbor provisions in state courts, and challenges the genuineness of Congress’ stated goal that the provisions are primarily intended to reduce systemic risk.
Professor Lubben writes:
A recent ruling by a bankruptcy judge in New York adds to a growing body of opinions that appear to leave the door open for actions under state law that would normally be prohibited in federal bankruptcy proceedings.
Professor Jonathan Hafetz in Politico regarding President Obama's Speech on the NSA
January 17, 2014
Professor Jonathan Hafetz authored an op-ed in Politico in response to President Obama’s recent speech regarding government surveillance. Professor Hafetz’s op-ed questions the constitutionality of the surveillance programs and examines the President’s goals in delivering his speech, presenting an analysis of speeches the President has previously delivered on similar issues of public concern.
In a general evaluation of the President’s message, Hafetz comments:
As an act of political positioning, the speech might help Obama in the public relations moment, but it’s unclear if the former constitutional law professor has actually promised enough to put his administration and the government on the right side of the Constitution.
Professor Hafetz explains that the President’s vow to end the program may be a façade; he writes:
But Obama stopped short of adopting a number of changes advocated by his own advisory panel on the issue, a group of experts and academics he convened to examine possible reforms. Instead, what the president is more likely showing is a different kind of balancing, a move to tinker just enough to quiet critics, but not enough to significantly disrupt the status quo.
Hafetz concludes by addressing concerns about foreign relations. He writes:
In addition, mass surveillance imperils our relationships with foreign governments—not just because they don’t support it (as with Guantanamo), but also because they (and their citizens) feel victimized…..Spying may be hard, but the president might find curtailing the fallout even harder.Read the full op-ed, “Is Obama Failing Constitutional Law?” here