Lewis Speaks at Columbia on Reproductive Technology and Parenting

Professor Browne Lewis

Professor Browne Lewis

On April 9, 2014, C|M|LAW’s Leon and Gloria Plevin Professor of Law Browne Lewis presented a lecture at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.  The lecture dealt with the of impact reproductive technology on legal parentage.  Professor Lewis discussed the factors courts consider when determining the legal mother of a child conceived as the result of a surrogacy arrangement.  She also explained the manner in which the court adjudicates the paternity of a man whose wife is artificially inseminated with donor sperm and with an anonymous sperm donor.  Lastly, she analyzed the public health consequences of creating designer children using reproductive technology.

In addition, Professor Lewis was recently elected to the AALS Women in Legal Education Archives Subcommittee.  This Committee is charged with reviewing the contents of the current archives; creating a mechanism to share the archival information with our members; adding oral histories and other additional data to the archives; and maintaining the Schlesinger Archives.


Posted in Faculty News | Leave a comment

Mika Writes on Increased Importance of Appearance of Contracts

Legal Writing Professor Karin Mika

Legal Writing Professor Karin Mika

C|M|LAW Legal Writing Professor Karin Mika recently published Visual clarity in contract drafting in Clarity, a journal published twice a year by Clarity-international, an international association promoting plain legal language.  The article discusses how the appearance of contracts (including font, paragraphing, and white space) contribute to the quality and user-friendly nature of the contract.  The article emphasizes how contracts must be usable instruments for those entering into a bargain and also suggests that people have become quicker readers so more visual cues are needed in written works to enhance people’s understanding of content.

Here is a link to the article:



Posted in Faculty in the Media | Leave a comment

Sterio Discusses the Future of the International Criminal Court at the ASIL Annual Meeting

C|M|LAW’s Calfee Halter & Griswold Professor Milena Sterio participated in a panel discussion entitled “The Future of the International Criminal Court,” on April 10, 2014, at the American Society of International Law Annual Meeting in Washington D.C..  Professor Sterio joined several other well-known panelists, including Judge Hans Peter Kaul of the International Criminal Court, Professor Jane Stromseth of Georgetown Law School (currently working in the Office of Global Criminal Justice in the State Department), and Professor Dire Tladi (University of Pretoria, South Africa).  The panel was conducted in a roundtable format, with the moderator, Professor David Kaye of UC Irvine School of Law asking “unscripted” questions.  The questions centered on the role of the Security Council referral in ICC investigations, the politics of the ICC, recent cases of the Yugoslavia and Rwanda tribunals, and the overall legacy of the ad hoc tribunals.

To see a “cable” about this event, published on the American Society of International Law website, click here:


In addition, Professor Sterio wrote a brief book review, also in “cable” format, which was published on the same website a few days before the conference. The book related to maritime piracy.  To see the book review, click here:



Posted in Faculty in the Media | Leave a comment

Kerber Helps Judge4Yourself Vet Judicial Candidates

C|M|LAW Legal Writing Professor Sandra Kerber participated in Judge4Yourself.com’s interviews of judicial candidates running in the May 6th, 2014 Ohio Primary Election.  Judge4Yourself.com’s ratings are made by four cooperating bar associations, with the help of dozens of experienced lawyers, including Professor Kerber.

To learn more about Judge4Yourself’s ratings, see http://www.judge4yourself.com/

Posted in Faculty in the Media | Leave a comment

Sterio Debates Militarized Humanitarian Intervention at International Affairs Symposium


Professor Milena Sterio

Professor Milena Sterio

C|M|LAW’s Calfee Halter & Griswold Professor of Law Milena Sterio participated in the 52nd International Affairs Symposium at Lewis and Clark College on April 8, 2014.  Professor Sterio’s panel was entitled “Militarized Humanitarian Intervention: Guns for Good?”.  The panel was conducted in a debate format in which Professor Sterio argued the pro-militarized humanitarian intervention position. The other participants included law professors, international affairs/political science professors, and several retired officers of the Army and Air Force.  One of the debaters was Gen. Michael Hayden, former director of the NSA and then the CIA (during the Bush administration). Livening up the proceedings were many student protesters outside of the auditorium with signs like “don’t spy on me” and “the Constitution isn’t dead.” 

Posted in Faculty in the Media | Leave a comment

Plecnik’s “Modest Proposal” for a Constitutionally Apportioned Wealth Tax Published in Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly

Professor John Plecnik

Professor John Plecnik

C|M|LAW Professor John Plecnik’s article, The New Flat Tax: A Modest Proposal For a Constitutionally Apportioned Wealth Tax, was published in the Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly at 41 Hastings Const. L.Q. 483 (2014).  As usual, Professor Plecnik begins with a flourish:

“Eat the poor children,” proposes Jonathan Swift.
“Nay,” protests Occupy Wall Street, “Eat the rich!”

His Article does not really propose eating the rich with draconically high taxes. However, he says, the United States has experienced years of multi-billion dollar deficits. Many liberals have proposed a European-style value added tax or VAT to balance the budget. Many conservatives have proposed a “fair” or flat tax. Like the Devil, regressive consumption taxes go by many names. Whether they know it or not, liberals and conservatives are proposing essentially the same thing — a federal sales tax, which disproportionately impacts the poor and middle class. Plecnik’s article counters with a truly modest proposal for the New Flat Tax on wealth rather than consumption.

Congressional power to “lay and collect Taxes” is subject to two rules. Indirect taxes must be uniform, whereas direct taxes must be apportioned so that states pay in proportion to their population. Under the Obamacare decision, there is little doubt that wealth taxes are direct taxes. However, levying a wealth tax based on population has the unfair result of different tax rates in different states.

For some time, scholars have debated ways to skirt the Apportionment Clause. For the first time, this Article demonstrates how a wealth tax may comply with Apportionment and still be fair. Under this Article’s proposal, the federal government would collect a wealth tax at a uniform rate and retain each state’s constitutionally apportioned share of the tax. The excess unapportioned share would be refunded to the state of origin via a state-level “pick up” tax. This revenue sharing arrangement — inspired by the pre-EGTRRA credit for state death taxes — ensures a uniform state and federal tax burden without redistributing wealth among the states. Thus, horizontal equity is achieved and both the letter and spirit of the law are satisfied.

You can read the full article on SSRN at:



Posted in Faculty News | 1 Comment

Cherry Speaks on Maternal Orthodoxy and the Criminalization of Women’s Behaviors

Professor April Cherry spoke at C|M|LAW’s Journal of Law and Health Conference on March 7, 2014.  Her talk was entitled: “Self-Harm, Fetal-Harm and the Ideology of the Good Mother.” It explored the connection between the “compelling state interest in the fetus” rhetoric, feticide statutes, and the image of maternal orthodoxy that leads us to criminalize behavior of pregnant women that results in fetal harm, regardless of the mental illness or mental health status of the pregnant woman.
Posted in Faculty in the Media | Leave a comment