SALT Blog

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 »

SALT Honors 2016 Junior Faculty Teaching Award Winner

SALT proudly recognized Professor Vinay Harpalani as the 2016 Junior Faculty Teaching Award winner at its Teaching Conference reception on September 30.  The award recognizes an outstanding recent entrant into legal education who demonstrates a commitment to justice, equality and academic excellence. It is designed to honor an emerging teacher and support an outstanding individual new to the legal academy. This award also recognizes law teachers who exemplify SALT values though SALT membership and participation in SALT activities. The award will be given at the SALT Annual Members Meeting, to be held in conjunction with the SALT Teaching Conference, at The John Marshall Law School, Chicago, Illinois, on September 30, 6:15 p.m. Professor Harpalani was selected from a field of highly deserving nominees for his outstanding record... Continue »

Promoting Diversity in Law Teaching: Breaking in/Staying in Legal Academia

  Event to be held on September 28, 2016, 2-7 p.m., at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois.  Click here for event page. This is a program for anyone considering a position in law school teaching or administration. We welcome students thinking about a future career in the academy, practitioners considering a transition or foray into adjunct teaching and those contemplating a post in law school leadership. This program will offer hands-on practical advice to people who are considering a move into teaching or administration at a law school. Current faculty members considering a post in law school administration should attend. Members from underrepresented groups in the academy are especially welcome. PLEASE REGISTER ONLINE AT: http://breaking-in.eventbrite.com Registration: FREE. Online... Continue »