SALT Blog

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, housing, safety, and economic security. We emphatically urge Congress and the… Continue »

UPDATED–The SALT Student Advisory Council: Getting Students Directly Involved In SALT

By Madeleine Harnois and SSAC The pilot year of SSAC, the SALT Student Advisory Council, is coming to a close. It has been an exciting learning process as its members learned the ins and outs of SALT’s operations and administration and helped to get SSAC off the ground. Law students Madeleine Harnois, Christina  Nguyen, Emma Douglas, Preston Brasch, Isabel Breit, and Tabias Olajuawon all worked as part of SSAC during its first year. SSAC was originally conceived to assist SALT in advancing progressive legal education by connecting students to the dedicated professors who work to better the law school experience. SALT has long sought to increase the social justice aspects of law school curricula, and its board members wanted to open more direct lines of communication for student input and… 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 »

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 »