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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 2, 2011 | By Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times
Supreme Court justices are people too, and they make mistakes like any other mortals. That was the conclusion of a high-powered gathering of legal scholars who on Friday examined the high court's "Supreme Mistakes" — five decisions widely considered the worst in the court's history. The high court Hall of Shame has taken its toll on American society but also provided cautionary tales about trading principle for society's fickle approval, the experts said. "One of the worst aspects of American history is that at times of crisis we compromise our most basic constitutional rights, and only in hindsight do we recognize that it didn't make us safer," Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of UC Irvine's law school, said of Korematsu vs. United States, the 1944 high court ruling upholding the evacuation order against Japanese Americans after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 11, 2011 | By Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times
Pepperdine University on Thursday named a federal appeals court judge from Kansas to succeed former special prosecutor Kenneth Starr as dean of its law school. Deanell Reece Tacha has been a federal judge on the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals since her 1985 appointment by President Reagan. She also has served on the Judicial Conference of the United States, the federal court system's policymaking body, as well as on the U.S. Sentencing Commission that sets guidelines and punishment ranges for those convicted in federal courts.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 5, 2010 | By Jack Leonard, Times Staff Writer
Hundreds of prosecutors in California ? including many in Los Angeles County ? have committed misconduct with near impunity as authorities failed to either report or discipline them, according to a report released Monday. The misconduct ranged from asking witnesses improper questions during trial to failing to turn over evidence that could help a defendant and presenting false evidence in court, according to the report, which was issued by an innocence project at the Santa Clara University School of Law. The researchers discovered 707 cases in which state and federal courts and appellate courts found prosecutorial misconduct in opinions issued between 1997 and 2009.
NATIONAL
August 7, 2010 | From Bloomberg
Elena Kagan was sworn in as the 112th U.S. Supreme Court justice and its fourth woman ever, taking the oath of office at the high court two days after the Senate confirmed her. Kagan, 50, the former dean of Harvard Law School, pledged to "do equal right to the poor and to the rich" as she took the second of two required oaths from Chief Justice John Roberts, who congratulated her and welcomed her to the court. "We look forward to serving with you in our common calling," Roberts said after administering the oath.
NATIONAL
June 28, 2010 | By Michael Muskal, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
After more than three hours, Elena Kagan, the solicitor general of the United States, got her chance to speak directly to the panel of senators who will weigh her nomination to be the next Supreme Court justice and promised to do her best and work hard while keeping her mind open to deal with contentious issues. Kagan avoided taking any specific positions Monday on the contentious social issues on which she will likely rule, if confirmed. Nominated to become the 112th justice on the Supreme Court, she took a modest stand while promising to work impartially for justice for all. "I will make no pledges this week other than this one -- that if confirmed, I will remember and abide by all these lessons," she told the Senate Judiciary Committee.
NATIONAL
May 12, 2010 | By Geraldine Baum and Tina Susman, Los Angeles Times
Ruth from Brooklyn, Sonia from the Bronx and now Elena from Manhattan? If President Obama gets his way, the Supreme Court will have three women justices for the first time. But the focus on this historic moment for women in the law has obscured another defining trait shared by this trio — all were raised not far from the No. 2 subway line that connects those three New York City boroughs. (The first female justice, Sandra Day O'Connor, grew up in the wilds of Arizona.) However much a young girl may be pitied by non-New Yorkers for having to come of age in this crowded, sharp-elbowed, grasping city of show-offs, it can also condition her to compete and shine in a male-dominated world like the law. Apparently finding a seat on a subway is decent training for finding a seat on the highest court in the land.
OPINION
May 12, 2010 | Jonathan Turley
If confirmed as a Supreme Court justice, Elena Kagan will bring greater diversity to the court by adding a third woman. What she will not bring is educational diversity. Her confirmation will leave the court entirely composed of former law students at either Harvard or Yale. The decision of President Obama to select a nominee from one of these two schools is particularly disappointing as a replacement for Justice John Paul Stevens — an iconic figure on the court who was also its only graduate from an alternative institution (Northwestern)
NATIONAL
May 10, 2010 | By Christi Parsons and David G. Savage, Tribune Washington Bureau
Calling her a "trailblazing lady," President Obama announced his nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan for the Supreme Court in a ceremony Monday morning in the White House. Kagan had won accolades from "across the ideological spectrum," Obama said, praising her "openness to a broad array of viewpoints" and what he said was a "habit of understanding before disagreeing." "She sought to recruit prominent conservatives" when she was dean of Harvard Law School, Obama said, and encouraged students to debate and find common ground in the practice of law. He also praised her work in support of everyday Americans as the government's chief lawyer and as a legal scholar.
OPINION
April 19, 2010
Can the UC Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco force a Christian student organization, as a condition of official recognition, to accept members who reject the group's values? The Supreme Court, which will consider that question on Monday, should answer no. At Hastings, "recognized" student groups are given access to college facilities and bulletin boards but aren't sponsored by the college. Nor does Hastings endorse their points of view. Even so, a chapter of the Christian Legal Society was denied recognition on the grounds that it violated a policy prohibiting discrimination on the basis of religion and sexual orientation.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 1, 2010 | By Teresa Watanabe
Authorities have deported the legal immigrant parents of more than 88,000 U.S. citizen children in the last decade, according to a report released Wednesday. The report, published by the UC Berkeley and UC Davis law schools, found that the majority of parents were deported for what it described as "minor criminal convictions" now classified as aggravated felonies, including nonviolent drug offenses, simple assaults and drunk driving. One parent was deported after selling $5 worth of drugs.
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