Blog

Is There an Evidentiary Basis for the Chicago Police Department’s Refusal to Shelve a Controversial Training Video?

On January 13, 2017, the United States Department of Justice released a report of its months-long investigation into allegations of officer misconduct, racially discriminatory policing, and accountability gaps within the Chicago Police Department. The report concluded that CPD officers routinely use unreasonable force against suspects due in part to the Department’s deficiencies in training and supervising officers. As a powerful example, the report cited the Department’s reliance on a video produced in 1982 as part of its program to train new officers on the use of force. The video, entitled Shoot/Don’t Shoot, features former Columbo star Peter Falk narrating scenarios in which officers must decide whether to open fire on would-be assailants ranging from robbers and drug-runners (“shoot”) to hearing-impaired innocents who cannot hear commands to desist (“don’t shoot”). As… Continue »

LWI & ALWD Full Citizenship Project for All Law Faculty

LWI and ALWD have chosen this day to launch a new campaign, the “Full Citizenship Project for All Law Faculty,” because of the professional status challenges that continue to plague skills-based and academic support law faculty, who are predominantly women.  They are inviting individual signatures endorsing the Full Citizenship Statement, which the SALT Board voted to endorse in March 2015. SALT has long supported efforts to strengthen the role of the very faculty–including legal writing, clinical and academic support faculty–most able to lead law school efforts to further experiential education. The signature campaign begins today and will end on Equal Pay Day (April 4).   Please consider adding your name here and sharing this message with your contacts.   The LWI and ALWD press release... Continue »

Call for Action–Contact ABA Delegates to Oppose Bar Passage Standard Revision

SALT asks that you immediately contact your state’s ABA Delegates and other ABA delegates you may know to urge rejection of a proposal that will come before the ABA House of Delegates as Resolution 110B on Monday, February 6 (sample email below).  If you are in the Miami area, we also encourage you to attend the House of Delegates Session and speak against Resolution 110B. The proposal would revise ABA Standard 316, the bar passage accreditation standard, to impose a single nationwide standard on all law schools.  Specifically, the proposed standard would require that 75% of all members of a law school graduating class who sit for a bar exam must pass within two years of graduation.  The proposal is simplistic in failing to take into account dramatic variations in passing scores… Continue »

Public Opposition to Jeff Sessions Results in an Open Records Request

Along with 1,400 other law professors, I signed a letter opposing the nomination of Jeff Sessions for Attorney General of the United States. As a law professor, I signed this letter because of my concerns about maintaining the integrity of the legal system. Shortly after the law professors’ letter was published, my university counsel’s office got an Open Records Act request seeking my emails. The request, from a reporter working for a conservative political publication, sought: “a copy of each email (inbound, outbound, deleted, or double deleted) for the university email accounts of Andrea A. Curcio and [a colleague who also signed the letter] from the dates of December 15, 2016, to and including January 3, 2017, which includes any of the keywords “Sessions,” or “Jeff Sessions” or “Attorney General.””… Continue »

A “Colorable” Claim of Discrimination

by Vinay Harpalani On December 22, 2016, the New York Court of Appeals issued a landmark civil rights ruling.  In People v. Bridgeforth, the Court of Appeals held that skin color discrimination is cognizable for Batson challenges to juror exclusion.  Defendant Bridgeforth, who is a dark-skinned African American, was convicted of robbery at trial.  The prosecutor had employed peremptory strikes to exclude a number of dark-skinned women from his jury pool.  One of these prospective jurors was South Asian American, and the prosecutor did not offer any explanation for striking her. It was the exclusion of this juror that was the basis of the appeal in Bridgeforth.  What made the case unique was that Bridgeforth did not argue that the South Asian American woman was stricken because of her race. … Continue »

An Urgent Time to Fight for Human Rights

SALT Statement on Human Rights Day December 10, 2016 The Society of American Law Teachers (SALT), a community of progressive law teachers working for justice, diversity, and academic excellence, is committed to respect for the rule of law, to an inclusive society, and to social justice. SALT’s current human rights agenda focuses on many critical issues, such as affirmative action, academic freedom, LGBTQ rights, immigrant rights, institutional racism, inequality, and the treatment of prisoners. This Human Rights Day, SALT reaffirms its commitment to defending and securing the humanity, dignity, and rights of all people. We join with others across the political spectrum to express grave concerns about the future of civil, constitutional, and human rights under the administration of... Continue »

SALT Joins Amicus Brief with the NY Court of Appeals Addressing Color Discrimination in Jury Selection

On October 20, 2016, SALT joined the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality (Korematsu Center), 18 other bar associations and non-profit organizations, and 32 law school professors in filing an amicus brief with the New York Court of Appeals, urging the Court to recognize that excluding an individual from jury service based on the color of her skin violates the Equal Protection Clause of the United States and New York Constitutions. The United States Supreme Court held in the seminal case Batson v. Kentucky that a prosecutor who exercises a peremptory strike raising an inference of racial discrimination must provide a neutral explanation for the strike. 476 U.S. 79, 97 (1986). In the case before the New... Continue »

SALT Endorses LWI Best Practices for Security of Position for 405(c) Faculty

SALT has repeatedly expressed its commitment to a policy of full citizenship for all law faculty. No justification exists for subordinating one group of law faculty to another based on the nature of the course, the subject matter, or the teaching matter. To the contrary, all full-time law faculty should have the opportunity to achieve academic freedom, security of position and governance rights. Making artificial distinctions between doctrinal, clinical and legal writing faculty undermines the legal education mission; removing faculty hierarchies is important to ensuring adequate curricular attention to doctrine, skills, and values. Moreover, security of position is a commitment of a law school to allow a critical range of inquiry and experimentation to full-time faculty who have dedicated... Continue »

Members Approve 2017 Board Nominees

SALT members approved the slate of board nominees beginning terms on January 1, 2017, at the SALT Annual Member Meeting on September 30. New board members are Allyson Gold, Loyola Chicago; Vinay Harpalani, Savannah; Hugh Mundy, John Marshall, and Sean Scott, Loyola Los Angeles. Returning board members are Claudia Angelos, NYU; Doug Colbert, Maryland; Brooks Holland, Gonzaga; Colleen Shanahan, Temple; and Kaimi Wenger, Thomas Jefferson. Read on for statements of interest in serving on SALT Board of Governors: Claudia Angelos, Clinical Professor of Law, NYU School of Law (returning) The three years since I joined SALT’s Board of Governors have flown by. I share SALT’s values and its goals and would be privileged to continue for another term. Since... Continue »

SALT Names 2017 Great Teacher, Human Rights, and Lifetime Achievement Honorees

At its upcoming Annual Dinner to be held on January 6, 2017, in San Francisco, SALT will honor three champions of justice, diversity and teaching excellence.  The Great Teacher Award recognizes Professor Frank Askin of Rutgers Law School, a SALT founding member, for his longstanding, tireless defense of civil liberties and his work mentoring and training a new generation of civil rights lawyers.  The M. Shanara Gilbert Human Rights Award recognizes Zahra Billoo, Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations San Francisco Bay Area, for her courageous work to promote justice and mutual understanding through community organizing and civil rights advocacy.   A special Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes Charles Ogletree, Harvard Law School Professor and Executive Director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race... Continue »