News and Announcements

  • Passing of former U.S. Sen. Carl Levin
    Statement from President M. Roy Wilson The entire Wayne State community is saddened to hear the news of Senator Carl Levin’s passing. He was a tremendous friend of the university, and it’s gratifying to know that his name will live on in perpetuity at the Levin Center.  Senator Levin devoted his life to public service and was a staunch advocate of Michigan families, civil rights, protecting Michigan’s environment, Michigan’s men and women in the military, and many, many other issues rooted in justice and equality.   His was a life well-lived. We have been honored by Senator Levin’s association with Wayne State and are grateful for his deep commitment to Wayne Law and its students and faculty. Statement from Dean Richard A. Bierschbach Senator Carl Levin was the consummate statesman. He lived and breathed Detroit. First as City Council president, then as Michigan’s longest-serving U.S. senator, and after his retirement when he chose Wayne State University Law School - Detroit’s Law School - to be home to the center that would bear his name.  To everyone who knew him, Senator Levin will be remembered as one of the kindest, most humble, genuine and loyal individuals you would ever encounter. When he first came to Wayne Law, I’m told that he was very concerned about the size of his office. He felt it was simply too big and should really have gone to somebody else. That’s the kind of person Senator Levin was. It would be wrong to say that today marks the end of an era. We have lost a giant, yes. But he taught and inspired Wayne Law students to not only do something, but to do the right thing no matter the cost. Because of his lessons, he leaves behind a lasting impact for generations to come. We are all better because of Carl Levin.   For more information, please visit law.wayne.edu/levincenter. # # # Contact (Wilson): Ted Montgomery Phone: 248-880-6838 Email: tedmontgomery@wayne.edu Contact (Bierschbach): Kaylee Place Phone: 906-250-6134 Email: kaylee.place@wayne.edu
  • News outlet logo for legalnews.com
    Levin Center expert takes part in panel on insurance oversight
    State legislators from across the country learned about the importance of insurance oversight from a National Conference of Insurance Legislators panel entitled, “The Delicate Balance of Legislative Oversight.” One panelist was the Levin Center’s Ben Eikey, an expert on state legislative oversight. “Oversight can play a critical role in state legislatures seeking to promote a healthy insurance sector and so that families and businesses can obtain effective insurance at a fair price,” said Eikey. “Legislative oversight can help identify and analyze problems, encourage best practices, and help make sure financial help is there if disaster strikes.” The Levin Center at Wayne Law is named in honor of former U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, Michigan’s longest-serving U.S. senator who retired in 2015 after 36 years in the Senate conducting fact-based, bipartisan oversight investigations. Levin serves as the chair of the center which is headquartered at Wayne State University Law School. The center’s mission is to promote high quality oversight in Congress and the 50 state legislatures through oversight workshops, research, events, and other activities.
  • News outlet logo for cnbc.com
    Big Tech is trying to disarm the FTC by going after its biggest weapon: Lina Khan
    Amazon and Facebook have filed petitions seeking Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan’s recusal in antitrust cases involving their companies. Khan’s confirmation to the FTC and appointment to lead the agency presents one of the clearest threats of major regulatory action in the tech sector in years. By seeking to recuse Khan, the companies are going after one of the biggest antitrust weapons the FTC has and, whether Khan is recused or not, the decision could muck up the antitrust charges against either company. Experts told CNBC that it makes sense for Facebook and Amazon to try to get Khan removed from the suits. Experts interviewed by CNBC said petitions for recusal of FTC commissioners happen but aren’t common. That makes the two petitions in a matter of weeks seem like an outlier. But, the experts said, it makes sense the companies would pull out all the stops given their opportunity to do so. “The last thing a party would want to do would be to sleep on its rights, so it’s not surprising that they would go ahead and raise the issue now,” said Stephen Calkins, a law professor at Wayne State University and a former FTC general counsel. “And raising it could serve a purpose even if all it does is to provide an argument the parties could make if any matter ever goes forward and ends up in a court.”
  • Amazon seeks recusal of FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan in antitrust
    Amazon.com Inc. filed a request with the Federal Trade Commission seeking the recusal of new Chairwoman Lina Khan from antitrust investigations of the company, in light of her extensive past criticisms of the online giant. Khan has been a leading critic of dominant technology companies—especially Amazon—and a central figure in a movement that favors sweeping changes to antitrust enforcement to take on the nation’s most powerful firms. The Senate confirmed her earlier this month for the FTC, and President Biden immediately installed her as the head of the agency. Wayne State University law professor Stephen Calkins, a former general counsel of the FTC, said there is “very little history of successful challenges” to commissioner participation in recent times. However, he added, some important government ethics cases have involved court rulings that vacated FTC enforcement actions on the grounds that a commissioner should have been disqualified.
  • News outlet logo for crainsdetroit.com
    Independent businesses hang on as their industries decline
    A Digital Entertainment Group study found that video rentals, excluding digital video on-demand services, fell by more than 27 percent in the first quarter of 2021 from the previous year, bringing in a shade under $236 million for the quarter. Income plays a role, too, according to Anne Choike, an assistant clinical professor at the Wayne State University Mike Ilitch School of Business and director of Wayne State's Business and Community Law Clinic. Some consumers can't afford streaming services like Netflix, Choike said, which charges from $8.99 to $17.99 per month. For music, Spotify has monthly plans at $9.99 and $14.99, with a $4.99 option for students. "When Family Video was open, they offered kids' videos for free," said Choike, who is working with a group on the Detroit Community Technology Project, whose goals include advancing equitable internet access and service. "A rental from a video store, or buying an album from a record store, is still a much cheaper option than watching something streaming on Amazon." Choike talked fondly of past trips to Harmony House, the Hazel Park-based music retailer that saw its last store close in 2002.
  • Antitrust crusader Lina Khan faces a big obstacle: The courts
    The fiercest foes of America’s technology giants cheered when Lina Khan, a professor at Columbia Law School, was confirmed by the Senate last week for a seat on the Federal Trade Commission. Khan has since been named by the president as the chairwoman of the antitrust agency. Khan is one of the most prominent antagonists of big business, and in her role she will be responsible for challenging mergers and taking on companies when they use their market muscle to snuff out competition. According to antitrust experts, the biggest hurdle to putting her agenda into action is a judiciary that has made it very difficult for competition watchdogs to win ambitious cases. To make any change of consequence, whether breaking up a monopoly or stopping a takeover, enforcers must prevail in court. “None of that is easy, and it’s particularly not easy when courts are very conservative, as they are today,” says Stephen Calkins, a law professor at Wayne State University and a former general counsel at the FTC. “She’s certainly talked about breaking up companies but, my golly, that’s incredibly hard to do.” 
  • News outlet logo for theconversation.com
    Supreme Court affirms tribal police authority over non-Indians
    Kirsten Carlson, associate professor of law and adjunct associate professor of political science, wrote an article for The Conversation on police authority over non-Indians. “The Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the sovereign power of American Indian tribes on June 1, 2021, ruling that tribal police officers have the power to temporarily detain and search non-Indians on public rights-of-way through American Indian lands. In most communities in the United States, the local government has the authority to investigate and prosecute both misdemeanor and felony crimes. And local police can detain and search individuals suspected of state and federal crimes, at least until handing them off to the appropriate authorities. Tribal governments – the local governments in Indian country – have the power to prosecute tribal citizens on tribal lands. When it comes to non-Indians, though, the situation is different. In 1978, the Supreme Court ruled that tribal governments could not prosecute non-Indians for any crimes in Indian country. Tribal governments have to rely on state and federal governments to prosecute non-Indians – which doesn’t happen often. Effectively, non-Indians have been able to commit crimes in Indian country with impunity.
  • News outlet logo for wdet.org
    Michigan Supreme Court suspends decertification of Proposal P, allowing Detroit Charter question on August ballot
    The Michigan Supreme Court is ordering the Court of Appeals to rush a hearing on the validity of Detroit’s Proposal P, allowing the charter ballot question to be printed for the August primary by suspending a decision by the Wayne County Circuit Court. The Detroit Charter Revision Commission filed dual emergency appeals last week, seeking to reverse Wayne County Circuit Judge Timothy Kenny’s decision to decertify the charter revision question. The Court of Appeals denied the group’s stay last week, but the state Supreme Court’s order will supersede that decision, requiring the appellate courts to hear the case. The Supreme Court is denying the Charter Revision Commission’s attempt to bypass the lower courts. A group of legal scholars from Wayne State University is writing in support of putting the charter question forward to voters. The group includes John Mogk, chair of the Levin Center at Wayne Law faculty committee, and Peter Hammer, director of the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights. Along with professors Khaled Beydoun and Justin Long, the group argues that the Michigan Constitution positions statutes “in favor of the voters” and the previous judgments on the charter lawsuit “stifles the voices of the Detroit electorate as well as the constitutionally protected political process.” “The people of Detroit have faced many attempts — some successful, like the state takeovers of the city finances and city schools — to inhibit their democratic control of those who govern them,” the group wrote in an amicus brief filed with the Court of Appeals. “In this case, the Governor’s failure to approve the proposed charter should be treated as the political act it clearly was intended to be, not as a democracy-blocking veto. The voters of Detroit are constitutionally and statutorily the only proper authority to decide whether to accept the proposed charter or reject it.”
  • News outlet logo for wdet.org
    Wayne State University launches “holistic defense” pilot for criminal defendants
    Wayne State University will implement a holistic defense partnership program in fall 2021. The program will pair social work and law students to assist clients in criminal defense offices in Detroit. The students will tackle systemic issues in the criminal justice system under the supervision of licensed attorneys and social workers. Administrators at the university believe that the holistic approach will spur criminal justice reforms and inspire change in their community. Dan Ellman is an externship professor at the Wayne State University Law School. “When people become enmeshed in the criminal justice system, they face a lot of consequences,” Ellman says. For some individuals, he explains, these consequences can include the deprivation of employment, parental rights and housing. Sheryl Kubiak is the dean of the Wayne State University School of Social Work. Kubiak says interdisciplinary partnerships are often fraught with misunderstandings about objectives. “In these offices, we hope to produce lawyers and social workers who are used to working together,” Kubiak says. Though this initiative may prove to be costly, Kubiak says it is a necessary investment to improve the livelihood of citizens. She explains, ”When you look at the unintended consequences of an individual who goes further and further into the criminal legal system, you have to think about what happened to their children, what about their lost revenue, what about the issues of family disruption, and what are those costs to our society?” 
  • News outlet logo for legalnews.com
    Wayne State to pilot holistic defense partnership for law and social work students
    Wayne State University Law School and School of Social Work are launching a holistic defense partnership for J.D. and M.S.W. students beginning in fall 2021, with the goal of addressing clients’ legal and social support needs in tandem. Holistic defense – also referred to as community orientated or comprehensive defense – is a term used to describe an innovative approach that employs an interdisciplinary team to consider both the individual and community needs when working with a person charged with a criminal offense. Unintended or collateral consequences of arrest and conviction can include loss of housing, removal of children, and even deportation. The holistic defense approach brings lawyers and social workers together to achieve positive legal and social outcomes for criminal defendants. “Holistic defense is an underutilized opportunity to effect real change in the lives of people navigating the criminal justice system,” said Wayne Law Dean and Professor Richard A. Bierschbach. “Lawyers and social workers have the same goal – to achieve the best possible outcome for their client. By training lawyers and social workers together, we open the door for future professional collaboration that can make all the difference.” In fall 2020, Social Work students embarked on the initial holistic defense pilot year, completing an immersive field placement experience and Social Work courses focused on the intersection of the criminal legal system and the behavioral health needs of their clients. Five students who recently completed the initial requirements in May 2021 worked with lawyers and fellow allied health professional teams to assess client needs, provide resources and information, and serve as an advocate for their client as they navigate complicated social systems. “The holistic defense model encompasses much of what we do each day as social workers – working in tandem with our clients, colleagues and community partners to provide comprehensive care and empower change in our community. What is unique about this approach is the integration into the criminal legal system, which has resulted in shorter client sentences, a reduction in pre-trial detention and ultimately saved taxpayer dollars,” said Social Work Dean and Professor Sheryl Kubiak.
  • News outlet logo for wnem.com
    Michigan businesses must decide to keep or drop their mask mandate
    As more businesses announce new policies on vaccinations and masks, business owners have to decide whether to keep a mandate in place and how to enforce it. For some, a relaxation on mask recommendations is, as Bay City commissioner Kerice Basmadjiam says, “a light at the end of the tunnel.” But Lance Gable, a law professor at Wayne State University, says it could be problematic. “If everyone just stops wearing masks and just stops taking precautions, including people who are unvaccinated, that’s going to result in a lot more spread of the disease,” Gable said. The problem is the unknown. “A lot of people now are going to be going around without masks and you’re not going to be able to tell who’s been vaccinated and who hasn’t been,” Gable said. But are separate businesses and entities allowed to require proof of vaccination? “They certainly could request that information, but if a person refuses, there’s nothing the business can necessarily do to force them. You can’t force someone to divulge their private medical information,” Gable said. “It’s not only going to be confusing, but I think it’s going to be unsettling for a lot of people,” Gable said.
  • Is the ‘DEFCON 3 culture war’ over religious freedom bills coming to an end?
    Six years ago, Indiana lawmakers’ efforts to pass a new religious freedom law spawned protests, travel bans and boycott threats from national athletic organizations, including the NCAA, NFL and NBA. This year, when Montana and South Dakota passed similar legislation, the backlash was so muted by comparison that even some religious freedom experts didn’t hear about the bills until the Deseret News sent an interview request. The laws are called religious freedom restoration acts, or RFRAs. Although they come in different forms, all varieties seek to prevent the government from interfering with religious activity except in cases where there’s no other way to achieve important public policy goals. Research done in 2016 by Christopher Lund, law professor at Wayne State University, showed that RFRAs were rarely cited in legal cases and even more rarely used to sidestep LGBTQ anti-discrimination rules. Then, as in the past, religious freedom laws primarily benefitted people of faith who lacked the clout to force legislators to respond to their needs, he wrote, noting cases in which a Muslim prisoner won the right to avoid cross-gender pat-downs and Orthodox Jews successfully challenged no-beard policies enforced by police and fire departments. “Whatever else can be said of them, (the federal) RFRA and state RFRAs have been valuable for religious minorities, who often have no other recourse when the law conflicts with their most basic religious obligations,” Lund said.
  • News outlet logo for freep.com
    Michigan's new mask rules for fully vaccinated people: What you need to know
    Fully vaccinated Americans can now safely shed their masks and skip social distancing, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this week, sparking a flurry of questions about how the new guidelines will be implemented at businesses, schools, and other places where fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people mingle. How will people know who's been vaccinated and who hasn't? For the most part, you won't. That could make the weeks ahead pretty messy, said Lance Gable, an associate professor at the Wayne State University Law School. "It's going to create a real challenge for a lot of people because you don't know that the person who comes into your business or the person you see on the street ... whether they've been vaccinated or not," Gable said. For families with kids who are not yet eligible for vaccines, for people who have compromised immune systems, it's a tricky time to be out in the world. "They're not going to know if the person walking next to them or the person who is in the grocery line with them is not wearing a mask because they're vaccinated and are safe or because they're refusing to wear a mask and are not vaccinated and therefore pose a risk," he said. "It creates a lot of complexity, and ... I think it's going to raise some significant problems." Can businesses still enforce mask wearing? "Private businesses can still decide that they want to keep the mask requirements in place; they're still permitted to do that" even for fully vaccinated people, Gable said. "It's going to be really difficult for them to tell who is not wearing their masks because their fully vaccinated and who is not wearing their masks because they are just opposed to wearing a mask and, maybe, still posing a risk of spreading the disease to other people."
  • News outlet logo for crainsdetroit.com
    Unchartered territory: Legal strife over Detroit's charter revisions seems certain to end up in court
    Michigan's top lawyer says the Detroit Charter Revision Commission can bring the amended city-governing document to the voters even though the governor didn't approve it. But Detroit's top lawyer? He says no. This disagreement could have long and expensive legal ramifications, as the commission elected to edit the document that's essentially Detroit's constitution must put its changes on the Aug. 3 ballot, or dissolve and leave the charter as is. The revisions would have wide-spanning impacts on businesses and residents. If the city did sue ahead of the vote, it could also delay the process to the point that the charter revisions are no longer eligible for the ballot, Wayne State University Law School professor John Mogk said. The commission dissolves Aug. 6.
  • News outlet logo for newsweek.com
    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.
  • News outlet logo for detroitnews.com
    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."  
  • News outlet logo for freep.com
    '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.
  • News outlet logo for legalnews.com
    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.”
  • News outlet logo for wxyz.com
    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.
  • News outlet logo for wxyz.com
    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.
  • News outlet logo for theconversation.com
    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.”
  • News outlet logo for legalnews.com
    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.”