California Wants to Make Your Robocar Dreams Come True

WIRED, 11 OCTOBER 2017, FEAT. PROF. BRYANT WALKER SMITH:

Congress may finally be hacking away at national legislation that would firmly delineate who is responsible for regulating what about autonomous cars, but California has a big role to play here. “California is special,” says Bryant Walker Smith, a legal scholar with the University of South Carolina School of Law who studies self-driving vehicles. “It’s really big, it’s where a lot of this action is happening, it has the track record to be thinking through these issues, and it’s pretty committed to them.” The state has been regulating self-driving tech since 2012, and to date, has barred anyone from running a human-free car on public roads.

This updated proposal, open for public comment until October 25 and set to be finalized before the end of the year, seems to confirm a change: This driverless vehicle thing is really happening. “It’s yet another step,” Smith says. “And these days, there are so many steps, so fast, that I’d say we’re running.”

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Police ‘interaction training’ will be worth it if it eases fear on all sides

DALLAS NEWS, 25 SEPT. 2017, FEAT. PROF. SETH STOUGHTON:

Beginning next year, Texas teenagers will start getting “how to” lessons in the startlingly obvious: how to get stopped by a cop.

Under a new state law, the 2018-19 school year will include instruction for public school and driver’s ed students in “interactions with police,” including safety recommendations and individual rights. At the same time, police officers will be given similar training about how they should behave during traffic stops and similar routine encounters with citizens.

Maybe this training is necessary, and it probably does no harm. Proposed curricula, which will be based on information already included in state driver-training manuals, is pretty straightforward stuff: Stay in your car, open the window, keep your hands visible. Be polite.

 

What I find distressing about all this is perhaps irrelevant, which is this: Such “training” might reinforce the notion that law enforcement officers and the communities they police are alien species, natural adversaries who inevitably misunderstand and mistrust one another.

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A year after the Townville Elementary School shooting, grief, questions, strength remain

ANDERSON INDEPENDENT MAIL, 27 SEPTEMBER 2017, FEAT. PROF. JOSH GUPTA-KAGAN

In a medical helicopter, caregivers attending to 6-year-old Jacob Hall tried so valiantly to save him that they rolled up their sleeves and transfused their own blood into his body, his family’s lawyers said.

Those desperate efforts were not enough to save the Townville Elementary School first-grader.

A year has passed since investigators said a teenager, Jesse Osborne, opened fire on the school playground.

And everyone — those connected to Jacob, to the Osborne family, to the school and its rural Anderson County community — is changed.

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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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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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US retail sales dipped 0.2 pct. in August as auto sales fell

ABC 15 (MYRTLE BEACH/FLORENCE), 15 SEPTEMBER 2017, FEAT. PROF. BRYANT WALKER SMITH:

Consumers cut back on their shopping in August by the largest amount in six months as declining auto sales offset gains in other areas.

Retail sales fell 0.2 percent last month after a 0.3 percent gain in July, the Commerce Department said Friday. It was the biggest one-month drop since an identical decline in February. Auto sales sank 1.6 percent, the most in seven months.

Excluding autos and gas, which tend to be volatile from month to month, sales dipped 0.1 percent in August after having risen 0.5 percent in July.

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