Social Justice

SALT Names 2018 Great Teacher and Human Rights Honorees

At its upcoming Annual Awards Celebration to be held on January 5, 2018, in San Diego, SALT will honor two champions of justice, diversity and teaching excellence. Professor Jeffrey Selbin of Berkeley Law will receive the 2018 SALT Great Teacher Award. Professor Robert S. Chang and the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality will receive the 2018 M. Shanara Gilbert Human Rights Award (details below). We are revamping the SALT Annual Dinner to increase interaction and fun! The 2018 SALT Annual Awards Celebration will feature presentations by the Great Teacher and M. Shanara Gilbert Human Rights awardees along with a gala reception providing an opportunity to interact with awardees, greet long-time and new SALT friends, usher in new Co-Presidents Matthew... Continue »

Why Problems in Prison Should Matter to Us All

By SpearIt, Ph.D., J.D., Thurgood Marshall School of Law Commenting on his book, American Prisons: A Critical Primer on Culture and Conversion to Islam. In recent decades, the United States has been under a “lock ’em up and throw away the key” mentality when it comes to imprisonment. The U. S. Supreme Court has left the question of prison sentencing to the near-complete discretion of legislatures, while placing little constitutional constraint on how long inmates can be held in solitary confinement.  This hands-off approach by the Court runs parallel to federal and state lawmaking that has ratcheted prison sentences upwards-only, making criminal sentencing in America something of a runaway train. While American criminal justice doles out some of the harshest prison sentences in the world, there are a host of… Continue »

SALT issues Statement Opposing Threatened Limitation on UNC’s Center for Civil Rights Participation in Litigation

August 14, 2017 STATEMENT OF THE SOCIETY OF AMERICAN LAW TEACHERS ON THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA (UNC) CENTER FOR CIVIL RIGHTS The Society of American Law Teachers, founded more than 40 years ago, is a national organization with members at law schools throughout the United States. SALT is committed to diversity, justice, and academic excellence. Consistent with these values, SALT strongly supports legal education that offers experiential learning opportunities for students, allows curricular decisions free from political influence, and vigorously protects faculty members’ academic freedom. Like teachers, scholars, students, and community-based organizations around the country, SALT condemns recent efforts by university governing bodies, state legislatures, and corporate interests to influence curricular offerings at colleges and universities and to restrict the ability of law schools to provide students with meaningful… Continue »

Call for Nominations — 2018 M. Shanara Gilbert Human Rights Award

Pictured, 2017 Award Winner Zahra Billoo SALT holds an annual awards event to celebrate the SALT’s community, values, and honorees to coincide with the January AALS meeting. Mark your calendars: This year’s SALT awards celebration will be on Friday, January 5, 2018, at a location TBA in San Diego.  A highlight of this celebration is the presentation of SALTʹs M. Shanara Gilbert Human Rights Award. SALT invites you to submit a nomination for this award. Award criteria and past awardees are set out below.  Current members of the SALT Board of Governors are not eligible for nomination. You must be a current member of SALT to make a nomination. You can click here to join or renew.  To check the status of... Continue »

Farewell to SALT Founder and Civil Rights Giant Norman Dorsen

In memoriam: Norman Dorsen (1930-2017) Founder of SALT, NYU School of Law Legend, Former General Counsel and President of the Board of the ACLU, Civil Liberties Giant, Social Justice Visionary, and Friend   The Founding of SALT by Norman Dorsen, Michael Rooke-Ley, and Joyce Saltalamacchia   2008 SALT Tribute to Norman Dorsen Thirty-five years ago, Norman Dorsen created the Society of American Law Teachers, dedicated to justice, equality, excellence and academic freedom. He appreciated that law teachers could act and speak more boldly than law schools. He also understood that an organization should include, not just professors, but the many professionals who make significant contributions to legal education without the title of professor. Plus the acronym—SALT—is cool! In creating... Continue »

SALT STATEMENT OF SUPPORT FOR LEGAL SERVICES CORPORATION

“LSC plays a critical role in preserving our nation’s promise of equal justice under law and the effective functioning of our adversary system of justice.”   Please read and share widely SALT’s Statement in Support of Legal Services Corporation, which is set out below and available here. SALT STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF LEGAL SERVICES CORPORATION The Society of American Law Teachers (SALT) writes to express serious alarm and deep concern about the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) proposal to eliminate funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). Since 1974, LSC has provided essential civil legal services to low-income Americans.  LSC is often the sole lifeline for vulnerable people with civil legal problems that affect their health,... Continue »

Will a Trumped-Up Justice System Mean a Return to Mass Incarceration?

By Hugh Mundy, Associate Professor, The John Marshall Law School During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump relied on vague “tough on crime” rhetoric over policy specifics. Trump’s post-election selection of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, though, lends credence to his campaign trail exhortations. As the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama in the 1980s, Sessions prosecuted hundreds of federal cases during the apex of the mass incarceration era. Later, as a United States senator, he opposed legislation introducing modest reductions in prison time for drug offenders. In light of Sessions’ track record, an uptick in federal prosecutions from recent years appears inevitable. The views on crime and punishment espoused by Trump and Sessions are out of step with reform-minded initiatives popular on both sides of the political aisle…. Continue »

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 »

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 »