Author Archives: Mackenzie Grant

Autonomous-Car Regulations: Lawmakers Are Ready To Let Go of the Steering Wheel

CAR AND DRIVER, OCT. 2017, FEAT. PROF. BRYANT WALKER SMITH:

Earlier this fall, not long after Senate Republicans sank their ­party’s seven-year assault on Obamacare, the House of Representatives did something almost unthinkable in the era of Congressional inaction. Two-hundred-and-forty Republicans and 194 Democrats voted unanimously to approve a bill. That bill did not propose a pay raise for Congress or publicly suggest Kim Jong-un suck on a uranium rod. It was actual policy.

Citing the potential safety benefits and economic payoff of robocars, House members established an early framework for ­driverless-vehicle regulations. Or, more accurately, they established that, in the near term, the rules will be few and far between for such vehicles. When it comes to future regulations in this area, law­makers appear ready to let go of the steering wheel and hand over control to auto manufacturers and tech companies.

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Justice Alito Wants People to ‘Think Like a Lawyer’

THE STATE NEWSPAPER, 14 SEPTEMBER 2017 – In a recent speech this past week at the dedication of the new University of South Carolina School of Law in Columbia, South Carolina, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito may have expressed a rather unpopular opinion. After comparing law schools to mosquito breeding pools, the jurist said that he believed it would be good for society if more people thought about issues like lawyers do.

Justice Alito explained that thinking like a lawyer involves looking at all sides of an issue in order to arrive at the truth. He believes that lawyers are good at understanding when they are wrong, and coming to terms with changing their positions based on logic and reason. He believes that this sentiment is dire in our current society due to the divisions that currently exist over certain issues.

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USC international law professor: Haley performance excellent for first big test in UN role

SOUTH CAROLINA PUBLIC RADIO NETWORK, 22 SEPTEMBER 2017, FEAT. PROF. JOEL SAMUELS

Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, now U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, was thrust in the international spotlight this week with the situation in North Korea.

 

University of South Carolina international law professor Joel Samuels told South Carolina Radio Network that he thinks she did well. “She has done a very good job of marshaling international support using diplomacy to bring together a collation on the security council,” said Samuels.

Samuels said the former governor did well given her lack of major diplomatic experience. “It’s been a very impressive show by her as a relatively new player on the international stage and as ambassador to the United Nations,” said Samuels.

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US Little Rock at 60: how school segregation returned to the US

THE WEEK, 25 SEPTEMBER 2017, FEAT. PROF. DEREK BLACK

On 25 September 1957, nine African American teens in Little Rock, Arkansas, who just three weeks earlier had been blocked from taking their place at high school by members of the national guard, braved a hostile white crowd, climbed the school steps and were escorted to class by the US Army.

The Little Rock Nine, as they became known, were revered for shattering racial segregation in US schools. But 60 years on from the events of that day, racial separation in US schools remains.

While levels of segregation did drop between the late 1960s and 1980, they have steadily increased since then to the point that schools are about as segregated today as they were in the late 1960s.

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Future President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom visits the School of Law

The University of South Carolina School of Law welcomed the future President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom to campus on Sept. 18 for a three-day visit.  The Right Honourable Baroness Brenda Hale of Richmond DBE, the current deputy president of that court, was appointed in July 2017 as its first female president, a position she will assume in October. The position is the equivalent to Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. In addition, Lady Hale is also the treasurer of Gray’s Inn, one of England’s four Inns of Court.

South Carolina Law’s partnership with Gray’s Inn spans 13 years, and it is the only law school in the United States to have a program in which American law students study inside a London Inn of Court. Each year, law professor Martin McWilliams accompanies students to London for a Maymester course at Gray’s Inn, allowing students and faculty rare access into one of the oldest legal systems in the world.

“Our partnership with Gray’s Inn is unprecedented for American law schools, and has given our students a unique experience, as well as extended their legal education in a way we could not teach them at home,” says McWilliams.

Lady Hale’s visit comes on the heels of another prominent justice’s visit to the School of Law. Just days before Lady Hale arrived in Columbia, the Honorable Samuel A. Alito, associate justice of the United States Supreme Court, delivered the keynote address at the dedication ceremony for its new building.

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Bundy trial embodies everything dividing America today

THE CONVERSATION, OCTOBER 2017, FEAT, PROF. ANN EISENBERG

It’s that time of year again: The Bundys are going to trial.

This fall, brothers Ammon and Ryan Bundy and their father, Cliven, will face charges over a standoff with federal officials in a dispute over federal lands in Nevada.

Many are wondering if they’ll be let off the hook. The two Bundy brothers were acquitted in an October 2016 trial for a different standoff in Oregon. The jury’s “not guilty” verdict on conspiracy charges for the Oregon standoff struck much of the public as shockingly lenient.

As a law professor who researches rural land use and juries, I’ve found that both conflicts over public lands and jury decisions often bring up the same question: Who gets to decide what justice is in America?

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