Witmer-Rich Publishes Essay on Consent


Professor Jonathan Witmer-Rich published an essay titled “Consentability, Autonomy, and Self-Actualization,” in the Loyola Law Review.  This issue is devoted to a collection of invited essays responding to Professor Nancy S. Kim’s book, “Consentability: Consent and Its Limits,” recently published by Cambridge University Press.  Other invited authors include Brian H. Bix (University of Minnesota), Philip J. Cook (Stanford University), and Kimberly D. Krawiec (Duke University), among others.

Professor Witmer-Rich’s essay evaluates several competing principles underlying consent, such as self-interest, self-sovereignty, and self-actualization.  He argues that the nature of consent depends heavily on which of these underlying values consent is believed to serve.  He concludes that “self-actualization–the ongoing human project of creating and embodying coherent and meaningful values and choices–is the most fundamental good of autonomy and is the good that society should seek to further in the law of consent.”

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Professor Green Publishes Op-Ed on Bostock Decision

Professor Matthew W. Green Jr. published an op-ed today in Attorney-At-Law Magazine on the Supreme Court’s recent Bostock v. Clayton County decision.  Bostock held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964’s proscription against sex discrimination encompasses claims of sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination as well.

Professor Green lauded the Court’s opinion for several reasons. Prior to Bostock, LGBTQ individuals grappling with workplace discrimination faced a patchwork of protections that depended on geographic location.  Most states, like Ohio, do not protect employees from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.  Bostock provides employees such protection as long as they work for an employer that falls within the scope of Title VII.  Professor Green also notes the significance of Bostock in light of Obergefell v. Hodges, which barred states from prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying.  Bostock makes Obergefell even more meaningful because employees no longer have to fear being fired for exercising their constitutional right to marry.

While Bostock is momentous, Professor Green explains that because the decision is limited to employment, LGBTQ individuals continue to lack important protections in other areas, such as public accommodations.  Bostock also leaves several other issues unresolved.  For these and other reasons, Professor Green argues that advocates should continue to push for legislation at the federal and state levels specifically addressing issues of importance to LGBTQ individuals.

Professor Green is the Professor Alan Miles Ruben and Judge Betty Willis Ruben Professor at Cleveland-Marshall.
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Professor Sterio Presents at International Criminal Court Scholars’ Forum

Professor Milena Sterio participated as a panelist in the International Criminal Court  Scholars’ Forum on June 29th.  The ICC Scholars Forum was co-organized by Washington University School of Law, Leiden Law School, the NYU Center for Global Affairs, and the University of Illinois College of Law as a virtual conference this year.  Professor Sterio presented her paper entitled “Women at the International Criminal Court.”
Professor Milena Sterio participated as a panelist on a panel entitled “The Future of a US-Sanctioned ICC” on June 29th.  This panel was organized by the World Federalist Movement – Institute of Global Policy, and the other panelists included Dean Michael Scharf, Case Western Reserve University School of Law and Wes Rist, Deputy Director, American Society of International Law.  Professor Sterio and other panelists discussed the recently issued Executive Order by the Trump Administration which imposes financial sanctions and visa restrictions on ICC personnel.
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Professor Sterio Presents at American Society of International Law Annual Meeting

Professor Milena Sterio presented on several panels at the American Society of International Law Annual Meeting.  First, she moderated a panel on June 25 on the topic of “Head of State Immunity.”  This panel was organized by the International Criminal Law Interest Group at ASIL, and Professor Sterio just finished serving a three-year term as this Group’s Co-Chair, and had, in this capacity, organized this panel.  Other panelists included Andrew Boyle, Brennan Center for Justice, as co-moderator, and  Professor Leila Sadat, Washington University School of Law (Speaker),  Professor Adil Haque, Rutgers University (Speaker), Professor Ingrid Wuerth, Vanderbilt University School of Law (Speaker), and Professor David Scheffer, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law (Speaker).
In addition, Professor Sterio spoke as a panelist on a panel on June 25 on the topic of “The Case for Self-Determination in the 21st Century.”  This panel was a mock argument before a fictional International Court for Self-Determination, and Professor Sterio argued on behalf of Catalonia, arguing in favor of its proposed secession from Spain.  The panel was presided by Judge James Kateka of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, who acted as mock judge, and other panelists included Professor Marc Weller, University of Cambridge Faculty of Law, Mamadou Hebie of the International Court of Justice, and Nawi Ukabiala, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP.
Finally, Professor Sterio served as co-moderator of a session on June 26, organized by the Women in International Law Interest Group, of which Professor Sterio serves as Co-Chair.  At this session, the Interest Group delivered the Prominent Woman in International Law Award to Judge Elizabeth Odio Benito (formerly a judge at the International Criminal Court and the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia, and currently judge and president of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights).  During this session, Professor Sterio and her Co-Chair, Professor Nienke Grossman (University of Baltimore School of Law) engaged in a moderated conversation with Judge Odio Benito.
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Witmer-Rich Op-Ed Criticizes Ohio’s Failed Bail Reform Efforts

Professor Jonathan Witmer-Rich published an op-ed today on cleveland.com, titled “Kenta Settles’ lengthy jail stay shows how Ohio bail reform has failed.”  He discusses the recent case of Kenta Settles, who was attacked by Garfield Heights police officers and then held for five months in pretrial detention before being released when the police body camera footage was finally disclosed.

Witmer-Rich recounts how after Settles was arrested, the magistrate set a $250,000 bond, an amount clearly chosen to ensure Settles would be detained.  Witmer-Rich criticizes the practice of detaining defendants by using money bonds without the due process that would be required for an actual detention order.

Ohio law does allow judges to order defendants detained pretrial, but only after following a detailed set of procedures to protect individuals from unnecessary detention.  Witmer-Rich explains that Ohio judges routinely bypass those procedures and instead set high money bail.  This is exactly what happened to Settles.  Had the judge followed the procedures required for an actual detention order, there is a good chance that the body camera footage would have been disclosed immediately, rather than after five months of unncessary detention.

Witmer-Rich also criticizes a recent decision by the Ohio Rules Commission (of which he is a member) to permit Ohio judges to continue this practice of detaining defendants with money bail.  He concludes, “Ohio judges must stop using money bail to detain defendants without following the procedures required to justify pretrial detention. The Ohio Legislature and the Ohio Supreme Court must end this practice.”

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Professor Kalir Discusses Momentous LGBTQ Supreme Court Opinion With Local News

On June 15, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, holding that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects gay, lesbian, and transgender employees from discrimination.  Professor Doron Kalir discussed the opinion with the Cleveland Jewish News and the Chronicle Telegram (Elyria).  Professor Kalir praised the opinion, noting that it would be very influential because over one hundred other federal statutes also include the phrase interpreted in Bostock–“because of sex.”  Professor Kalir also affirmed the social significance of the decision, reinforcing that LGBTQ rights are human rights.  He stated that the decision is one more step towards a more perfect Union.
Professor Kalir also cautioned about future difficulties in enforcing the rights of LGBTQ employees.  He explained that all three employers in the cases before the Supreme Court were brazen enough to admit that they have fired the employees only for being gay or transgender, in the future, employers may be less open or honest about their motives for terminating LGBTQ employees.
Together with Professors Matthew Green, Ken Kowalski, and Carolyn Broering-Jacobs, professor Kalir submitted last year an Amicus Brief to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in the Amy Stephens case — one of the three cases decided by the Court in Bostock. The Brief was submitted on behalf of Equality Ohio, headed by Cleveland-Marshall alumna Alana Jochum, and helped the Court of Appeals in ruling in favor of the logical interpretation of Title VII.
Though Ms. Stephens did not live to see the day, the Supreme Court affirmed the Sixth Circuit’s opinion, recognizing for the first time the right of transgender persons to be protected from discrimination in their workplace.
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Sagers on NPR’s Marketplace, Other Venues, to Discuss Antitrust Issues

Chris Sagers, the James A. Thomas Professor of Law, spoke with NPR’s Marketplace Morning Report for a story about the just-announced merger of the meal delivery service GrubHub with a European firm called JustEats Takeaway. The deal was announced only shortly after merger talks fell apart between GrubHub and UberEats, a deal that apparently foundered on antitrust concerns. Not only would that earlier deal have combined two of the three major players that dominate food delivery in the United States, but the two remaining dominant players, UberEats and DoorDash, would have had the same major investor, the Japanese investment firm SoftBank.

Sagers also spoke with Law360 about a recent challenge to patent abuses by the pharmaceutical giant AbbVie and with Congressional Quarterly/Roll Call about a recent letter by Senator Josh Hawley, urging the Federal Trade Commission to investigate a wildly popular new video-sharing app from China, called Zynn.

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Sagers Speaks With ProPublica About Amazon Marketing Practices

Chris Sagers, the James A. Thomas Professor of Law, spoke with the news organization ProPublica for a story uncovering conduct by the online retailer Amazon, potentially in violation of the antitrust laws. During some years of agitation for antitrust scrutiny of the Big Tech platforms, and several indications of federal action against one or more of them, observes have uncovered a series of specific, suspect strategies by Amazon. Past examples have included its competition for sales in its own “marketplace” products, its contracting practices with its suppliers, and other matters. ProPublica’s own prior reporting has uncovered other suspect conduct by Amazon, and this new story discovered evidence of particular, hidden steps Amazon takes to preference its own private-table brands. Sagers gave his thoughts about whether these new tactics could be anticompetitive or illegal.

ProPublica is an independent, non-profit newsroom that has become a leading source for investigative journalism, having won several Pulitzer Prizes and other awards and recognitions.

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Professor Witmer-Rich Featured on Fox 8 Regarding Ongoing Protests

Professor Jonathan Witmer-Rich spoke on Fox 8 News yesterday about the recent protests in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd.  Asked about the violence that occurred during some early protests, he stated, “It’s been very encouraging that we’ve seen the violence decrease dramatically.”  In terms of response by law enforcement, Professor Witmer-Rich stated, police “need to think seriously about what’s the course of what’s going on here. . . .  As we see them becoming less violent, I think it makes a lot of sense for the police to say, this is headed in the right direction, let’s make sure we don’t play any role to aggravate the situation.”

The story can be viewed here.

Professor Witmer-Rich is Associate Dean for Academic Enrichment and the Joseph C. Hostetler–Baker Hostetler Professor of Law.

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Professor Sterio Presents on “Gender and Judging at the ICC”

Professor Milena Sterio presented at the Law and Society Annual Meeting on May 29, on a panel entitled “Gender Matters in the Judiciary.”  Professor Sterio presented on the topic of  “Gender and Judging at the International Criminal Court.”  This session was conducted live via Law and Society’s Zoom platform.   In her presentation, Professor Sterio argued that women are under-represented as judges at all international criminal tribunals, including at the International Criminal Court, and that this poses legitimacy problems for the courts.  Professor Sterio’s research on this topic has been supported by a CSU FSI grant during 2019-2020.
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