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    When It comes to big tech, antitrust is a distraction. Our focus should be workers: Opinion
    The age of impunity for huge tech companies like Amazon, Google, and Facebook may be coming to a close. There have been few checks on the limitless power they wield over our lives and over the market thus far, but in recent weeks, Senator Josh Hawley introduced two bills geared at addressing antitrust concerns when it comes to Big Tech. And President Biden's pick for commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission, Lina Khan, is a noted advocate of using antitrust against Big Tech companies. Tech companies in particular have gained exponential power and capital. But the criticism around them has been frustratingly narrow, focused on breaking up companies like Facebook and Google, instead of on enforcing just labor laws. What this means is that instead of insisting on the wellbeing of workers, those pushing for reform in the Big Tech industry seem to care only about the wellbeing of the market. Antitrust laws were not meant to work this way. When they were first developed in the late nineteenth century, they were intended to challenge the consolidation of control over production, which had coalesced into the coffers of those at the very top. As assistant professor of law at Wayne State University Sanjukta Paul has shown, what ultimately became the Sherman Act in 1890 was routinely perverted throughout the twentieth century, when it was regularly used to punish collective action by workers. This gross reinterpretation, which treated organized workers as a force to be reined in while allowing firms to carry on undisturbed, developed alongside a rising neoliberal consensus among lawyers, policymakers, politicians, and economists around the almighty ideal of a competitive market.
  • Wayne State starts master’s program for non-lawyers
    Wayne State University Law School has launched a Master of Studies in Law program with a concentration in human resources. The inaugural cohort of 20 students is 86% female and 67% minority, with individuals ranging between 22 and 65 years old. The cohort consists of those working in human resources or who have ambitions of joining the field, hailing from such industries as automotive, health care, higher education, government, nonprofit and retail. The program is 100% online and offered only to non-lawyers, with start dates in January and August. Wayne Law is currently accepting applications for fall 2021. Courses are tailored to address employers’ growing desire for human resources professionals to be versed in legal terminology and legal principles, especially as the world adapts and recovers from the COVID-19 crisis. Skills gained in the program are immediately applicable and provide an edge in the job market to individuals entering the profession.
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    Dan Gilbert committed $500M to Detroit neighborhoods. Here's the immediate impact
    As billionaire Dan Gilbert pumped billions into downtown buildings and helped spur a revival in one of America's poorest major cities, Detroiters kept asking: "What about the neighborhoods?" The mortgage mogul, coping with the after-effects of a stroke, and his wife, Jennifer, delivered a $500 million answer Thursday. Help is on the way, first with a $15 million fund to help pay overdue property taxes. Experts hailed the 10-year commitment by the Gilbert Family and Rocket Community foundations as an "unprecedented" corporate pledge to the neighborhoods. But questions remain about how the vast majority of dollars would be deployed, where the capital would be spent and how it would improve conditions in the city's neighborhoods  — for now. How effective Gilbert’s plan could be will be determined by many uncertain details, said Peter Hammer, a law professor and director of the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at Wayne State University. “It’s good that people are generous, but what is the business plan for these funds?" he said. "Who are the primary beneficiaries? How is it going to impact long-term historic residents? Whether or not this produces lasting benefits is yet to be determined. It really depends on how he plans on spending his money.” There are 11,000 residents currently in the tax assistance program, according to the city. It estimates up to 20,000 might have some delinquency but haven't yet applied for the program. High tax rates contribute to foreclosures in the city, said John Mogk, a Wayne State University law professor focused on urban issues. In 2019, the average residential property tax millage rate for Michigan was 42 mills. Detroit’s residential property tax rate for 2019 was 67.6 mills. "The value of property is relatively low when compared to other cities," Mogk said. "In order to raise sufficient support for municipal services, the tax rate has to be set reasonably high."  
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    'Reprehensible': Detroit Public Library outraged over amount of millage money going to city
    Leaders of the Detroit Public Library say too much of their voter-approved millage is being diverted to the city's Downtown Development Authority, rising above a 5% cap laid out in the ballot question voters approved when they renewed the library's millage in 2014. Library commissioners and staff, during a virtual meeting Tuesday, said the capture was 12% of the millage's 2020 revenue and is estimated to be 11% in 2024 and 2025, amounts that will eat into the library's operating budget at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has already temporarily shuttered most of its branches. John Mogk, a professor at Wayne State University's Law School whose research has focused on urban law and economic development policies, said the rationale behind tax increment financing is that captured revenue from property values are put back into the district and can stimulate further development of the area. But, Mogk said, local governments may ask whether a tax capture is necessary. "From the side of the view of the local governments it is, 'well, we know the revenue being captured could productively be used for us in carrying out our public purpose and when it's not available, we're severely hampered in performing our work,'" Mogk said. 
  • How franchising paved the way for the gig economy
    While changes in antitrust enforcement have made it easier for large companies to dictate prices and exert greater control over supposedly independent businesses, they have also become a tool to prevent workers from organizing or forming their own collectives. The reorientation of antitrust enforcement has also helped prevent gig workers from organizing and pushing for higher wages. In 2015, the Seattle City Council passed a measure extending collective bargaining rights to Lyft and Uber drivers. Right after its passage, Lyft, Uber and the city's chamber of commerce sued, claiming the measure violated federal antitrust law — on the grounds that workers would potentially be able to spur price hikes. After the federal government weighed in, supporting the suit, the council pulled the collective bargaining provision. Reforming antitrust would require regulators to be honest that “economic efficiency” is not some neutral, objective metric, but an ideological construct, argues Sanjukta Paul, a Wayne State law professor who wrote a study that touched on how gig companies have exerted control over "independent contractors" without using the franchise model. “When you’re telling someone else what to do and dominating them economically and extracting as much as you can from them, effort-wise, whether it’s a worker or small firm, that is ‘efficiency,' ” she says. Paul envisions an alternative metric based on social good. “If we can be more systematic and honest about what values we want to promote,” she says, “then we might say it is actually efficient and pro-social to have truck drivers and taxi cab drivers make a living wage so that they can invest in their communities and then invest in green technology for their trucks and cars.”
  • Antitrust Law: What is it and why does Congress want to change it?
    U.S. antitrust laws date back more than 130 years and affect every part of the economy. Democrats and Republicans are now considering the most significant changes in decades. Even if Congress acts on only a couple of middle-of-the-road proposals, it could mark the biggest substantive changes in decades, as courts have been reading current antitrust laws more narrowly. Very large companies could have trouble getting deals approved. Tech giants could have to divest themselves of certain business lines. If lawmakers, for example, make slight changes to reinforce broad government authority to successfully challenge mergers that threaten consumers, “that would signal to the courts that merger enforcement is important and that doubts should not always be resolved in favor of defendants,” said Wayne State University law professor Stephen Calkins.
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    Former chief justice shows ‘ardent desire’ to do good at WSU
    Marilyn Kelly, Board of Governors chair, is profiled in a story by Detroit Legal News Editor-in-Chief Tom Kirvan. “When Marilyn Kelly retired from the state Supreme Court nine years ago, most political observers figured it would be but a brief respite from the world of public service. For that, we should all be thankful, as it was only two years before Kelly ran for elective office again, winning a seat in the November 2014 election on the Board of Governors at Wayne State University, where she earned her law degree with honors. Kelly’s return to the campaign trail was rooted in her “deep commitment to Wayne State and an ardent desire to help it accomplish its mission to provide an excellent education for its students and better serve the community,” she wrote in announcing her candidacy. Last month, Kelly was unanimously chosen to serve as chair of the Wayne State Board of Governors, hoping to usher in a new era of cooperation and collegiality, much like she did when she served as chief justice of Michigan’s top court. “The start of 2021 is the perfect time to reflect on the past and frame intentions for the future,” Kelly said after she was chosen chair. “To that end, I’ve consulted in recent weeks with every member of the Board of Governors. Each of us has pledged to renew our efforts to work together in the best interests of this great university. Her ties, of course, to her legal alma mater are strong. She is a past recipient of the University’s Outstanding Alumni Award, and received an honorary doctorate from WSU, where she also has been named its Distinguished Jurist in Residence. She has served as co-chair of the law school’s capital campaign and also established an endowed scholarship for law school students “who are dedicated to public service.”
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    Kroger, Target, Trader Joe's among companies offering COVID-19 vaccine incentives
    Several companies have now made public their efforts to get workers vaccinated, including offering one-time bonuses and other financial incentives for employees who opt to get their shot. “Companies do have a lot of leeway in setting their own policies as to whether or not employees are going to have to receive the vaccine, but how the companies go about doing it can matter from a legal perspective," said Lance Gable, an associate professor at Wayne State Law School. It's a scenario not totally unfamiliar, Gable noted, as certain wellness incentives have been challenged in the past on the basis of discrimination. But the unique rollout of the COVID vaccine poses some never-before-seen problems too, he said. “There are separate issues about whether that is different if the vaccine has only been approved under Emergency Use Authorization. A mandatory vaccination requirement for a COVID vaccine could be permissible under federal law but only if employers put in place potential exceptions and accommodations," said Gable, citing EEOC guidance. In the EEOC's most recent guidance on wellness incentives, Gable said, it notes that any gifts or incentives companies offer should be modest, like a small gift card, lunch, or the cost of a ride, for example. Gable believes additional guidance will likely come out as the vaccine rollout continues.
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    Spotlight on the News: U/M & WSU legal experts Richard Primus and Jonathan Weinberg preview Trump impeachment trial
    Spotlight on the News interviewed two Michigan legal experts about the second Donald J. Trump presidential impeachment trial. Guests included Professor Richard Primus of the University of Michigan Law School and Professor Jonathan Weinberg of Wayne State University Law School. Primus and Weinberg looked at the important constitutional issues and politics facing the U.S. Senate jurors who will judge this historic trial.
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    Impeaching a former president – 4 essential reads
    As the U.S. Senate takes up the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, there are a lot of questions about the process and legitimacy of trying someone who is no longer in office, including what the point is and how impeachment works. The House has passed an article of impeachment, charging him with “incitement of insurrection” in connection with the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, and now the process turns to the Senate. The Conversation has published several articles from scholars explaining aspects of the situation, as well as describing more generally what the purpose of impeachment was for the founders when they wrote the Constitution. This is a selection of excerpts from those articles. What happens if Trump is convicted? Though Trump can no longer be removed from office, he may still face consequences. Kirsten Carlson, a law professor at Wayne State University, explains that there is an additional step: “The Senate also has the power to disqualify a public official from holding public office in the future. If the person is convicted …, only then can senators vote on whether to permanently disqualify that person from ever again holding federal office. … A simple majority vote is all that’s required then.”
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    Wayne State University’s Board of Governors recognizes National Gun Violence Survivors Week
    The Wayne State University Board of Governors voted unanimously over the weekend to declare the first week of February as National Gun Violence Survivors Week. The action was taken following a request at the Jan. 29 meeting by Megan Dombrowski, president of the WSU Students Demand Action of Gun Sense in America group. The board will ratify its vote and consider if the designation will be recurring at its March 12 meeting. WSU first commemorated National Gun Violence Survivors Week last year, to honor and remember all victims and survivors of gun violence. National Gun Violence Survivors Week is also recognized by the State of Michigan, following a proclamation by Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “Gun violence is an all-too-common occurrence here in Detroit and in our nation,” said Marilyn Kelly, chair of the WSU Board of Governors. “The board respects our students’ initiative in raising awareness of this issue and in honoring those lives lost to gun violence. We are proud to stand with our students.”
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    Former prosecutor and journalist weigh in on the significance of Flint water crisis charges
    Noah Hall, a professor of law at Wayne State University, served as special assistant attorney general for the initial investigation of state officials regarding the water crisis. He said he felt the investigation he was part of had made promising progress in court, so when Nessel’s team announced they would shut down existing cases and start anew, he was frustrated and skeptical. But now, he says, he knows he was wrong. “It looks today like my skepticism was not justified and Attorney General Nessel came through on what she promised, which was, when she shut down our investigation and terminated us — myself included — she really was building back a better investigation that was going to do more work and go even further with developing charges. And it looks like that’s exactly what’s happened over the past two years,” Hall said. Snyder faces two misdemeanor charges of willful neglect of duty, for which he has pleaded not guilty. But other former officials face more serious charges, including former Michigan Department of Health and Human Services director Nick Lyon and the state’s former Chief Medical Officer Dr. Eden Wells, who have both been charged with nine felony counts of involuntary manslaughter. Hall says these new charges likely draw on decisions the Snyder Administration made back in 2012 and 2013, which set in motion the changes in Flint’s water supply that led to use of the Flint River with a lack of corrosion control. Some critics of the recent charges argue that government leaders and public servants, due to the nature of their jobs, should be permitted some benefit of the doubt, as they may have been using their best judgment to make decisions with the information that was available to them at the time. But Hall says that’s not what he thinks happened in the Flint water crisis, based on his knowledge from the initial investigation. “This was not a simple case of government officials doing the best they could and making a mistake. Quite the opposite,” he said. “These were government officials who intended to advance an agenda, and in advancing that agenda, threatened and ultimately harmed human life.”
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    Law professor: First Amendment doesn’t apply to Trump Twitter ban
    Twitter and Facebook suspended the social media accounts of President Donald Trump last week over concerns his messages could incite further violence like the siege on the U.S. Capitol. The president and his allies quickly accused the platforms of silencing free speech. A law expert said the First Amendment doesn’t protect Trump. "In terms of whether they have the power to tell President Trump, ‘sorry we think you've broken our rules, you're booted off.’ They absolutely have the power to do that," said Jonathan Weinberg, professor and associate dean of research at Wayne State University Law School. He said Twitter is well within its legal right to ban Trump from its platform. The same goes for Amazon and others who essentially shut down Parler. "It gets to choose who it does business with and who it doesn't," Weinberg said. He said these actions do not violate anyone's First Amendment rights. "What the law says about your First Amendment rights run against governments,” he said. “They don't run against private companies." Weinberg said in a twist of irony, it was Trump and Republicans who got rid of net neutrality. Weinberg said net neutrality was designed to give people more rights to prevent being silenced by powerful media companies. "The moment President Trump got into office, the Republicans swept that all away,” he said. “They said, 'that's crazy. That's awful. That's communism. Government shouldn't be telling private companies what to do.'"
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    A brief history of the term ‘president-elect’ in the United States
    Mark Satta, assistant professor of philosophy, wrote an article for The Conversation offering perspective on the term president-elect. “On Jan. 20, Joe Biden will be sworn in as president of the United States. Until then, he is president-elect of the United States. But what exactly does it mean to be president-elect of the United States? As a lawyer and philosopher who studies word meaning, I have researched the meaning and history of the term “president-elect” using publicly available resources like the Corpus of Historical American English – a searchable database of over 400 million words of historical American English text. I’ve also used Founders Online, which makes freely available many documents written by the nation’s founders. “President-elect” is not a term that is legally defined in U.S. law. Rather, the term’s meaning has developed over time through its use by the public. Its use can be traced all the way back to George Washington.”  
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    Federal leaders have two options if they want to rein in Trump
    Kirsten Carlson, associate professor of law and adjunct associate professor of political science, wrote an article for the Conversation.” As the world reacts to the Jan. 6 armed attack on the U.S. Capitol encouraged by President Donald Trump, many Americans are wondering what happens next. Members of Congress, high-level officials and even major corporations and business groups have called for Trump’s removal from office. Prominent elected and appointed officials appear to have already sidelined Trump informally. Vice President Mike Pence was reportedly the highest-level official to review the decision to call out the D.C. National Guard to respond to the assault on the Capitol. Informal actions like this may continue, but political leaders are considering more formal options as well. They have two ways to handle it: impeachment and the 25th Amendment.”
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    Can employers require vaccinations?
    As the nation inches closer to a coronavirus vaccine, many businesses are wondering if they can mandate its employees to get vaccinated. Legal experts across the state have already begun to weigh in on the matter. “Employers have quite a lot of authority in requiring something like a vaccination for their employees,” Lance Gable, an associate law professor at Wayne State, said. “It’s especially true if the vaccine is likely to create a safe and healthy work environment.” Gable said we often see vaccinate mandates for those working in health care, but other industries have also set such requirements when it comes to getting vaccinations like the flu shot. In such cases, there are exemptions spelled out by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. “Employers have to allow for exceptions if people have either a disability, which would be covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act, or if someone has a strongly-held religious objection, (then) there are some other civil rights protections that allow them to get an exemption from a vaccine requirement on that basis,” Gable said. Gable said it’s yet to be said whether these same exemptions will apply to the COVID-19 vaccine, but it’s a matter many hope the EEOC will clarify before the vaccine is made available.
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    Meet Michigan's incoming Supreme Court justice: Elizabeth Welch
    Wayne State University professor Robert Sedler, an expert in constitutional law, said while Elizabeth Welch's election to the Michigan Supreme Court means there are more justices nominated by Democrats than Republicans, partisanship doesn't always determine how justices vote. He noted rulings where GOP-nominated justices David Viviano and Elizabeth Clement have sided with their Democratic-nominated colleagues. A notable exception, Sedler said, was the October ruling in which the court decided that a 1945 law that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer relied on for her emergency orders to combat COVID-19 was unconstitutional. The four GOP-nominated justices all ruled to void the law, sparking anger from Democrats. "It was not typical of the decisions coming from the court," Sedler said. "The court acted in a very partisan way." Sedler said while the court and the elections for justices are officially nonpartisan, he believes members keep their political support in mind. "You don't forget who brought you to the dance," he said.
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    Law schools hope to stem enrollment slide
    The U.S. legal industry took a beating during the Great Recession of 2008-09 from which it never fully recovered. And while the COVID-19 pandemic has caused another economic downturn, industry observers are not predicting the same doom and gloom as a decade ago. In some cases, bad times are good for business. Law firms in Michigan are reporting a rebound in work as industries tentatively reboot. Predictably, demand for employment and cybersecurity attorneys is surging as companies untangle a mess of issues related to layoffs, workplace safety and the work-from-home shift. At the same time, the public health crisis and national spotlight on social justice issues is spurring new interest in the legal field. That's cause for cautious optimism from law schools in Michigan and around the country, many of which are a fraction of their former size. For others, however, the downsizing likely isn't done. "After the Great Recession, the legal market was really suffering … and law schools realized that their schools had just been too big for what the economy could handle," Wayne State University Law School Dean Richard Bierschbach said. "So far, we haven't seen anything like what we saw after the Great Recession." Wayne Law, the smallest of Michigan's five law schools by enrollment, saw student headcount drop by about 20 from last year to around 400 in 2020. That's down about 30 percent from a peak of 570 students in 2011. Bierschbach said he does not foresee further decline, even with the pandemic. Application volume for the incoming fall 2021 class is up 40 percent compared to the same time last year, he said, though the priority application deadline is March 15 and it is still too early to draw any definitive conclusions. "When people aren't sure what they're going to do or what their opportunities are, often they'll go to law school," Bierschbach said. To stay competitive, some schools, including Wayne Law, instituted tuition freezes and boosted scholarships. In response to market changes, Wayne Law is debuting next semester a master's degree for nonlawyers in human resources. The program, which could be completed in one year full time at a third of the price of a law degree, is an answer to the swelling demand for nonattorney legal services. Around 25 students are enrolled in the program, which has been under development since 2017. Rolling it out during the pandemic and upheaval of traditional business practices turned out to be a coincidence of perfect timing, Bierschbach said. "Companies are finding it much more efficient cost-wise and otherwise, publicity-wise, you name it, to have a workforce that's trained to anticipate and handle issues early on," he said. "So if you have an HR professional who has exposure to some of the legal issues that can come up … they're gonna nip a lot of issues in the bud."
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    Flying high: Air Force retiree now studying at Wayne Law
    The U.S. Air Force was Phillip Patterson’s ticket out of his native Alabama, providing the opportunity to travel and see the rest of the country and the world. Taking advantage of the Tuition Assistance program he knocked out three AA degrees and a bachelor’s degree, and coursework towards an Executive MBA. He also met his wife Sepideh, who immigrated to the U.S. from Iran. But after a long career in the USAF, and then running his own property management business, Patterson needed a physical and mental break, taking semi-retirement in Mexico. Patterson is now thoroughly enjoying his experiences at Wayne Law. “While there is always room to do more, I love the diversity of our student body. I’m exposed to different schools of thought, people from different walks of life, people with different life experiences, and I love it. It’s a beautiful learning environment,” he says. “I also love our administrators and our professors. Wayne Law provides a top-notch education.”
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    Wayne Law earns Best Value ranking for seventh year
    For the seventh consecutive year, Wayne State University Law School has been recognized as a Best Value Law School by The National Jurist and its sister publication, preLaw magazine. Of the 60 law schools on the list for 2020, Wayne Law was the only Michigan law school included. The ranking is designed to recognize the law schools where graduates have excellent chances of passing the bar and getting a legal job without taking on a ton of debt, according to the publication. Criteria for selection includes ultimate bar pass rate and recent two-year pass rate, modified employment rate, tuition, cost of living and average student debt accumulation. preLaw magazine also recognized Wayne Law among the top law schools in the category of Business Law, out-ranking all other law schools in the state.
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    Michigan's GOP leaders say they will honor popular vote, won't pick electors
    Republican legislative leaders say they have no plans to circumvent the popular vote for president in Michigan by appointing electors friendly to President Donald Trump to cast votes in his favor. Representatives for Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield confirmed Friday that the winner of the popular vote in Michigan will receive the state's 16 votes in the Electoral College next month. President-elect Joe Biden defeated Trump 51%-48% in unofficial results. The question arose because Trump this week raised the possibility with advisers. The New York Times reported the Republican president had asked aides about having GOP legislators in battleground states pick "pro-Trump" electors to deliver him the electoral votes he needs for a second term. Since the 19th century, Michigan law has held that the state's electoral votes automatically go to the presidential candidate who wins the state's popular vote. Democrat Biden defeated Trump by 146,000 votes. But some Democrats worry the GOP-controlled Legislature could try to change the setup to allow lawmakers instead to choose Michigan's electors ahead of next month's Electoral College convention. Bob Sedler, a Wayne State University constitutional law professor, agreed there is no way under state law for lawmakers to meddle in the electors’ process at this point. “Strictly speaking, if you voted for Joe Biden, you are voting for electors who are pledged to vote for Joe Biden,” Sedler said. “This is just simply one of these wild things that are thrown out. It’s not going to happen.” Not only is Michigan law clear on the matter, prior Supreme Court rulings have upheld the rights of the voters and electors in the presidential election, he said. “In today’s world, where so many people can talk, where you have 24/7 social media, so much can be said, but in the end, officials will follow the law,” Sedler said.
  • Should plea bargaining include the right to confront witnesses?
    In a criminal justice system centered around the plea bargain, the Sixth Amendment’s Confrontation Clause should apply to plea bargains as well as trials, according to a forthcoming essay in the Columbia Law Review. “A defendant’s trial rights come bundled—he must take them all, by going to trial, or leave them all, by pleading guilty,” wrote William Ortman, an assistant professor at the Wayne State University School of Law. The Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment grants defendants the right to question witnesses testifying against them, but the clause has only been interpreted to apply to defendants who proceed to a trial. In his paper, titled Confrontation in the Age of Plea Bargaining, Ortman argued this is severely restricting in the United States, where only 5 percent of cases end up going to trial. Some 97 percent of federal cases and 94 percent of state cases end are resolved with a guilty plea negotiated before a trial is ever held. “There is no good reason to design a rule that accomplishes its mission in a small fraction of the cases and leaves the others untouched,” Ortman wrote. Ortman proposed that instead of only applying to trials, the limitation of the Confrontation Clause be changed to apply to “critical adjudication.” Trials would fall into this category, as would plea bargaining. Preliminary and pretrial hearings would not.
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    Constitutional law expert on Trump campaign's lawsuit
    Wayne State University law professor and Constitutional law expert Robert Sedler talks about the lawsuit the Trump campaign has filed in the Michigan Court of Claims seeking to stop the vote counting until the campaign had “meaningful access” to the ballots. Sedler said the suit was unlikely to succeed. “Article II, section 4 of the Michigan Constitution, the "purity of elections" clause, says that the Legislature shall enact laws to preserve the purity of elections, to preserve the secrecy of the ballot, to guard against abuses of the elective franchise, and to provide for a system of voter registration and absentee voting. The Legislature has enacted such laws, and local clerks comply with them. The court will not in any circumstances order a stop to counting of ballots. Every vote must count, no matter how long it takes.”
  • Expert Advice on Finding Cheap Car Insurance in Michigan
    Wayne State University Law School Adjunct Professor Wayne Miller was interviewed by Money Geek for their Michigan auto insurance study. "Michigan insurance regulation has historically been grossly inadequate. The new law contains increased powers of oversight and regulation. It is too soon to tell how effective the new rules and regulations will be. However, preliminary indications are that regulation will continue to be inadequate. Insurers are still permitted to rate policies much as they did before. Preliminary indications are that, contrary to much hype and legislative promises, the 2019-2020 revisions to the law will not result in the advertised savings."    
  • What’s at stake for Hollywood in the presidential election?
    The stakes in the election could not be much higher, as the COVID-19 pandemic rages out of control and the economy struggles to return to life. The entertainment industry also has a lot riding on the outcome. If Joe Biden is elected, companies could see a bigger stimulus bill and a more aggressive response to the pandemic. They could also face higher taxes and stricter antitrust regulation. President Trump has not laid out a second-term agenda in any detail, but it would likely involve more of the same. Though most of the focus is on the presidential race, the battle for control of the Senate is almost as important. Biden could win the White House, but his agenda would be largely dead on arrival if he is confronted with a Republican Senate. Should Democrats take control, much will also depend on how willing they are to eliminate the filibuster. Trump has become more concerned with monopolies when the proposed union involves a business that has rubbed him the wrong way — take for instance, the sale of Time Warner to AT&T, which had to fight off a robust Justice Department challenge that seemed to have had more to do with Time Warner’s ownership of CNN than any debate over the wisdom of vertical integration. A Biden administration would probably also be inclined to let media and entertainment companies link up, though they might place more conditions on the merger, as the Obama White House imposed on Comcast when it bought NBCUniversal. “A Biden presidency would be more willing to scrutinize these deals than a Trump administration, but it’s an open question if they’d do anything different about M&A and consolidation,” says Sanjukta Paul, assistant professor of law at Wayne State University. “A lot will depend on who ends up on the Federal Trade Commission and their willingness to think in a more progressive direction.”