Law professor tackles workplace law, Supreme Court influence in latest book

THE DAILY GAMECOCK, 25 JULY 2017, FEAT. PROF. JOSEPH SEINER

USC law professor Joseph Seiner takes on the Supreme Court’s ways of regulating workers’ rights in his latest book, “The Supreme Court’s New Workplace.”

Seiner taught at Georgetown University Law Center before arriving in Columbia in 2007. A former attorney for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, his teaching interests include civil procedure and labor law. Published by the Cambridge University Press, “The Supreme Court’s New Workplace,” is his third book on workplace law and his second in 2017.

In “The Supreme Court’s New Workplace,” Seiner analyzes how the composition and procedural law of the Supreme Court will directly affect workplace law. The Court has seen change under the current administration with the death of Justice Antonin Scalia and his succession by Justice Neil Gorsuch, and could see more with potential for retirement for current justices such as 84-year-old Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

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Cities Spend More and More on Police. Is It Working?

U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT, 7 JULY 2017, FEAT. PROF. SETH STOUGHTON:

Oakland spent 41 percent of the city’s general fund on policing in Fiscal Year 2017. Chicago spent nearly 39 percent, Minneapolis almost 36 percent, Houston 35 percent.

The figures reflect an accelerating trend in the past 30 years, as city governments have forked over larger and larger shares of their budgets toward law enforcement at the expense of social services, health care, infrastructure and other types of spending, according to a new report from a network of civil rights groups.

The report, released Wednesday and spearheaded by The Center for Popular Democracy, Law for Black Lives and the Black Youth Project 100, is far from comprehensive, focusing on only a dozen localities. Its conclusions similarly are not universally accepted.

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Prof. Bryant Walker Smith Identifies Strategies for States on Autonomous Vehicle Policy

THE COUNCIL OF STATE GOVERNMENTS, 21 JULY 2017, FEAT. PROF. BRYANT WALKER SMITH:

CSG convened the Autonomous and Connected Vehicle Policy Academy June 12-14, 2017 in Detroit. A group of state policymakers from around the country attended the event. The academy included a special briefing by Bryant Walker Smith, assistant professor at the University of South Carolina in the schools of law and engineering. He spoke about the legal and regulatory landscape for autonomous vehicles.

Seven years ago, Bryant Walker Smith wanted to determine whether it was legal for autonomous vehicles to test on public roads around the country so he took it upon himself to read the state vehicle codes of all 50 states. His conclusion was outlined in a white paper originally issued in 2012. Its title: “Automated Vehicles Are Probably Legal in the United States.”

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Flying Cars: Separating Hype From Real Potential

THE SKIFT, 5 JULY 2017, FEAT. PROF. BRYANT WALKER SMITH:

Based on frothing media reports, one could legitimately expect travelers to be zooming around the skies like George Jetson in flying cars within in the next five years instead of being stuck in the back of an Uber or Lyft during rush-hour.

The reality, however, is much more complex. Not only is the degree of difficulty in designing a safe and efficient flying car exponentially more extreme than building an aircraft, but regulations on noise, fuel efficiency, and safety all point to serious challenges for companies attempting to bring these vehicles to market in a widespread rollout.

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Supreme Court’s immigration ruling reflects influence of Judge Shedd’s Fourth Circuit dissent

            On June 26, the United States Supreme Court issued a per curiam order staying in part two lower court orders that had preliminarily enjoined enforcement of President Trump’s executive order limiting entry in the nation by foreign nationals from six countries.  In its order, the Supreme Court used reasoning similar to that argued by United States Circuit Court Judge, and USC Law adjunct professor, Dennis Shedd in his dissent to the Fourth Circuit’s earlier decision upholding one of the injunctions in its entirety.

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Free for now, former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown is back in her element

THE FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 19 MAY  2017, FEAT. PROF. COLIN MILLER:  

Former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown was convicted May 11 on 18 counts of conspiracy, mail and wire fraud and tax crimes.

Brown’s defense lawyer said after the jury reached its verdict he would seek a new trial. Smith hasn’t said how, but the most obvious route seems to be attacking U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan’s decision to remove a juror who said “the Holy Spirit” told him Brown was innocent.

At first glance, it seems Smith might have a chance at getting his new trial, but it’s far from guaranteed, said Colin Miller, an associate dean at the University of South Carolina’s School of Law.

“It’s going to depend very much on the exact facts” of what Corrigan and the juror said before the judge made his decision, said Miller, who has researched and written about challenging jury verdicts.

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Similarities run through Neenah, Appleton shootings

POST-CRESCENT (APPLETON, WI), 9 JUNE, 2017, FEAT. PROF. SETH STOUGHTON:

The fatal police shootings at Eagle Nation Cycles in Neenah and Jack’s Apple Pub in Appleton bear unnerving similarities.

Though the circumstances were different — one stemmed from a hostage situation at a motorcycle shop and the other from a fight at a bar — the result was the same: Police shot and killed an innocent man at a downtown business.

Seth Stoughton, an assistant professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law and a former police officer, said police shooting deaths demand a high level of scrutiny.

Stoughton said the use of deadly force by an officer, even if the action was reasonable, “represents the most invasive and serious intrusion by a government actor into a private civilian’s life.”

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Law professor says U.S. exit from climate deal sends global message

SOUTH CAROLINA RADIO NETWORK, 2 JUNE 2017, FEAT. PROF. NATHAN RICHARDSON:

A University of South Carolina environmental law professor said the U.S.’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement climate accord goes beyond just the natural impact.

Nathan Richardson told South Carolina Radio Network that it also sends the world a message about what could happen with other foreign agreements like trade deals. “I think that’s the real risk here beyond big short term changes in climate or energy policy,” said Richardson.

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Why schools still can’t put segregation behind them

THE CONVERSATION, 6 JUNE 2017, FEAT. PROF. DEREK BLACK:

A federal district court judge has decided that Gardendale – a predominantly white city in the suburbs of Birmingham, Alabama – can move forward in its effort to secede from the school district that serves the larger county. The district Gardendale is leaving is 48 percent black and 44 percent white. The new district would be almost all white.

The idea that a judge could allow this is unfathomable to most, but the case demonstrates in the most stark terms that school segregation is still with us. While racial segregation in U.S. schools plummeted between the late 1960s and 1980, it has steadily increased ever since – to the the point that schools are about as segregated today as they were 50 years ago.

As a former school desegregation lawyer and now a scholar of educational inequality and law, I have both witnessed and researched an odd shift to a new kind of segregation that somehow seems socially acceptable. So long as it operates with some semblance of furthering educational quality or school choice, even a federal district court is willing to sanction it.

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San Diego State University Researchers Watered Down a Police Racial-Profiling Study

PACIFIC STANDARD, 2 JUNE 2017, FEAT. PROF. SETH STOUGHTON:

When a long-awaited study on whether the San Diego Police Department engages in racial profiling finally dropped in late November, the results were unsurprising: It found that black and Hispanic drivers were more likely to be searched, though they were less likely to actually have contraband items, and that minority drivers were more likely to be subjected to field interviews.

When it came to the overarching question of whether officers and SDPD as a whole showed racial bias, however, San Diego State researchers were restrained: Though they found significant differences in the way minorities and white drivers were treated, researchers were careful to point out that such differences “are by no means unique to the SDPD” and that findings only “suggest” that implicit, or unconscious, bias “may exist” among officers.

But a draft copy of the study obtained by Voice of San Diego through public records requests was far more aggressive.

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