News

  • News outlet logo for detroitnews.com
    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.
  • News outlet logo for crainsdetroit.com
    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."
  • News outlet logo for legalnews.com
    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.”
  • News outlet logo for legalnews.com
    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.
  • News outlet logo for detroitnews.com
    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.
  • News outlet logo for yahoo.com
    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.”
  • What Barrett's pro-business track record may mean for you
    If Judge Amy Coney Barrett's history of pro-business rulings is any indication, consumer advocates say her appointment to the U. S. Supreme Court could have implications for any number of consumer safeguards. Barrett, confirmed in a 52-48 Senate vote Monday night, replaces the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was renowned for her pioneering influence on gender discrimination and civil rights and one of the justices most likely to rule against big business. Because Barrett's conservative record so starkly contrasts with Ginsburg's, her place on the court could have a particularly meaningful impact on issues expected to split along conservative-liberal lines. "The consumer litigators of the world will be in general trying to stay away from the Supreme Court, would be my guess," said Stephen Calkins, a Wayne State University law professor who was formally general counsel at the Federal Trade Commission. 
  • News outlet logo for detroitnews.com
    High court: Whitmer's orders have 'no continuing legal effect'
    The Michigan Supreme Court told Gov. Gretchen Whitmer her orders have "no continuing legal effect" and denied her request to delay the effective date of its decision that ruled the law underpinning Whitmer's executive orders was unconstitutional. The high court's two orders prompted the immediate cancellation of Monday's previously scheduled virtual city council meetings in Flint and Lansing, and put pressure on Whitmer and the Legislature to replicate her orders about allowing online government meetings during the pandemic into state law. The law governing the state health department's authority to respond to an epidemic has been on the books for decades, stretching back to the Spanish Flu epidemic in the 1910s, said Lance Gable, a Wayne State University associate professor of law. "But there are some things in the governor’s orders that are not covered by the health department orders," Gable said, noting unemployment and public virtual meetings may be beyond the department's scope of power. "At the end of the day, it would have to be the Legislature," he said. No doubt tenuous public health arguments could be made to allow the health department to issue orders allowing for electronic meetings, but it might be a step too far for those already sounding the alarm about executive overreach, Gable said. "The health department I don’t think has the ability to overturn elements of the Open Meetings Act," he said.
  • Slew of private antitrust suits awaits big tech under house plan
    Companies such as Amazon.com Inc. and Apple Inc. would face a rise in private consumer and employee litigation under a House Democratic proposal to dismantle big tech’s market dominance in part by banning mandatory arbitration agreements. “When we’re talking about Big Tech and breaking up these companies, that’s not the type of stuff that’s going to be addressed in class actions,” according to Stephen Calkins, a law professor at Wayne State University who studies antitrust. Consumer antitrust litigation is typically a follow-on to federal lawsuits and part of the system of deterrence, Calkins said. It can be useful in addressing potentially anticompetitive behavior such as mandatory bundles, hidden charges, and automatic renewals. But these typically aren’t the types of cases that change how these companies do business, he said. Forced arbitration clauses can “subvert justice” by moving cases involving important legal issues out of the public view, said Sanjukta Paul, a law professor at Wayne State University whose work focuses on the intersection of antitrust and labor. “One major advantage that we have if there’s a court proceeding is at least we can see what’s going on, and we can’t do that with a private arbitration proceeding,” she said. “What’s happening in the tech sector now is a matter of public concern, however you come out on it.”
  • News outlet logo for freep.com
    Fiat Chrysler vowed to hire Detroiters at new assembly plant: Meet Benny and Bernie
    Fiat Chrysler in February 2019 said it would invest $1.6 billion to expand its former Mack Avenue Engine Complex to produce a new three-row, full-size Jeep SUV as well as the next-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee. Production will begin next quarter, and the automaker forged an agreement with the city and residents in surrounding neighborhoods to make the 4,950 positions at the new plant and the adjacent updated Jefferson North Assembly Plant available to Detroiters first. More than 16,000 Detroiters have submitted their applications with the help of the city and Detroit at Work. Hundreds of job readiness events in the fall and spring helped prepare residents to apply. Fiat Chrysler has conducted 4,139 interviews and extended 2,326 offers. All but three have been accepted. "It's a significant economic lift to the neighborhood," said John Mogk, a Wayne State University law professor who studies urban issues, of FCA hiring Detroiters first. "It’s an important advantage for residents of a surrounding area to be close to their worksite. The area income is increased by virtue of having good-paying jobs. That allows the local retail outlets to have increased support for the sales of their product and services, and the overall quality of the environment will improve."
  • News outlet logo for theconversation.com
    Michigan’s effort to end gerrymandering revives a practice rooted in ancient Athens
    John Rothchild, professor of law, wrote an article for The Conversation. “Michigan has embarked on an experiment in democratic governance using a technique employed in Athens 2,500 years ago but little used since: the selection of government officials by lottery rather than by appointment or election. The 13 officials selected by lot in August make up Michigan’s Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission. By November 2021, the group will draw election districts used to elect officials to the Michigan Legislature and the U.S. House of Representatives. The redistricting process occurs every 10 years, after the Census Bureau determines how many representatives are allocated to each state. Historically, state legislatures have been responsible for redistricting. But throughout U.S. history gerrymandering – drawing election districts to favor the political party that controls the state legislature – has characterized the redistricting process…Michigan’s commission, created by a 2018 ballot initiative, is unique. As a professor who teaches constitutional law and, occasionally, ancient Athenian law, I am fascinated by the fact that Michigan’s seemingly novel experiment in governance is based on a process that is thousands of years old.”
  • Third Circuit limits FTC ability to recoup profits from AbbVie (1)
    Federal district courts can’t allow the FTC to reclaim profits from companies that benefited from unfair competition, the Third Circuit ruled in a case over AbbVie’s control of a testosterone gel patent. The appeals court Wednesday reversed a district court decision ordering AbbVie and Besins Healthcare Inc. to pay $448 million for allegedly filing sham patent lawsuits to stifle competition. Section 13(b) of the FTC Act doesn’t give courts the power to order disgorgement, which would enable the Federal Trade Commission to claw back money from companies engaged in anticompetitive behavior, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit said. While the FTC can seek an administrative trial to get approval for recouping ill-gotten gains, it “is a much more long, involved and unproven route” for disgorgement than going through the federal courts, said Stephen Calkins, former general counsel for the FTC and a law professor at Wayne State University. “I cannot overstate the importance of 13(b) in the day-to-day operation of the Federal Trade Commission,” he said. “Elimination of that power would eliminate the authority that is used in the majority of cases that FTC files.” The FTC has used disgorgement via the courts to redress consumer harm “with incredible success since the Reagan Administration,” Calkins said. “If the FTC loses, there will be a fundamental reworking of how the FTC operates,” Calkins said. “Either the FTC will have to get relief from Congress, or it will have to reinvigorate some under-used authority. But its way of life will be fundamentally changed.” “A betting person with the passing of Justice [Ruth Bader] Ginsburg is probably betting against the FTC,” he added.
  • News outlet logo for fox2detroit.com
    On International Safe Abortion Day, Detroit law professor weighs in on latest SCOTUS nomination
    On International Safe Abortion Day, Sept. 28, organizations that advocate for women to have the right to choose are speculating how the Supreme Court nomination of devout Catholic Judge Amy Coney Barrett will impact their mission. One law professor believes the confirmation hearing might not provide many answers. "Planned Parenthood is always under attack in certain states by the opponents of reproductive freedom," said Robert Sedler, distinguished professor of law at Wayne State University. "I suspect Judge Barrett will try to skirt the question as much as she can." He believes concerns regarding Roe vs. Wade, a landmark Supreme Court decision that protects a pregnant woman's freedom to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restrictions, are unfounded. "I think it's simply hype. My view as a constitutional law professor is that I expect the Supreme Court to follow doctrine and precedent. In terms of the Supreme Court overruling Roe V. Wade, as I say, that would be extremely unlikely," he said. 
  • News outlet logo for thejewishnews.com
    Ginsburg’s Detroit Connections, Admirers, Reflect on Her Legacy
    Jonathan Weinberg, a professor of law at Wayne State University, clerked for Ruth Bader Ginsburg from 1983-1984, also before she was on the Supreme Court. He also heard about Ginsburg’s death during Rosh Hashanah services on Zoom. “Before Ruth Bader Ginsberg, it was simply taken for granted that women, legally, were not expected to, did not and could not play the same role in society as men,” Weinberg said. “Ginsburg wasn’t the only person to play a part in changing that, but she played a tremendously important part in bringing us to a world where it’s so much more taken for granted.”
  • Detroit Equity Action Lab’s Race and Justice Reporting Initiative Provides Outlets and Mentorship for Journalists of Color
    Recognizing the need for inclusivity in Detroit’s media landscape, Wayne State University’s Detroit Equity Action Lab (DEAL) has been working to further the development of local journalists of color through its Race and Justice Reporting Initiative. Led by Martina Guzmán, Race and Justice Journalism Fellow at the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights, and Peter Hammer, Professor of Law and Director of the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights, the Race and Justice Reporting Initiative seeks to support media coverage on racial justice issues in Detroit by BIPOC journalists (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color). The Race and Justice Reporting Initiative launched in 2019 with support from a grant from the Community Foundation and the Detroit Journalism Engagement Fund (DJEF). The DJEF emerged from a scan of the local journalism landscape that collected interviews from more than 60 local and regional stakeholders, including Detroit-area news leaders and national journalism experts.
  • News outlet logo for washingtonpost.com
    Opinion | Don’t fall for filibuster abolition. It’s a trap.
    Former U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, Wayne Law's Distinguished Legislator in Residence, and Richard A. Arenberg, interim director of the Taubman Center for American Politics and Policy and a visiting professor at Brown University, co-wrote this opinion article for the Washington Post. "Some progressives, probably because they assume Democrats are going to control the Senate after the election, are arguing that the filibuster should be abolished. In the words of John Steinbeck, “I guess a man is the only kind of varmint sets his own trap, baits it, and then steps in it.” The temptation to end filibusters during consideration of legislation would create such a trap. It would exacerbate polarization by embracing one-party rule. It would strip the Congress of the only procedural path to forcing negotiation and compromise. And it would be certain to backfire."
  • News outlet logo for legalnews.com
    Jessica Biondo becomes Wayne Law’s first Ms. JD fellowship recipient
    Wayne State University Law School student Jessica Biondo was recently named a 2020 Ms. JD fellow. She is the first Wayne Law student and the second student from Michigan to receive this honor. Created 10 years ago, the Ms. JD Fellowship is a project in partnership with the American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession to promote mentoring and professional development for future female attorneys. This early mentorship and career guidance assist young women leaders in becoming more active in the legal community. Biondo is in her third year at Wayne Law and is an admissions ambassador, senior note editor for The Journal of Law in Society, Mock Trial student coach and a member of the TYLA National Mock Trial team. She’s also co-president of the Italian American Student Law Association and previously served as president of the Health Law Society. Biondo also received the State Bar of Michigan Health Care Law Annual Scholarship.
  • News outlet logo for legalnews.com
    Wayne Law student doubles as a social worker/therapist
    During the Larry Nassar sex offender scandal at Michigan State University, Katelyn Maddock spent two years as a therapist at the MSU Center for Survivors. “Being at the epicenter of such a large-scale trauma was really eye-opening for me in terms of what it meant to create healing and justice for not only survivors, but the public at large,” says Maddock. Now a 2L student at Wayne State University Law School, Maddock’s goal is to bring a social-work lens into the field of law as she pursues a career in public interest. “I saw law school as a way for me to be an active participant in helping shape and change systems that oppress, traumatize, and create substantial harm for those who interact with it,” she says. “My classmates have been one of the best parts of being at Wayne Law. Being in law school has taught me to be more collaborative and I’ve been very fortunate to surround myself with classmates and friends that challenge me to work harder, be more open minded, and step outside of my comfort zone. Being able to talk through everything from Civil Procedure to Property has deepened my understanding of the law and has really helped me excel. Involved in Law Review and Moot Court, Maddock also serves as president of the Women's Law Caucus, and finds it fulfilling to help create an environment people can come to as a ‘home base’ within the law school.  
  • News outlet logo for wxyz.com
    Can jobs or schools require you or kids to get a COVID-19 vaccine? Here's what we know
    Most businesses are open and schools are coming back in session, but there are major concessions to the coronavirus. From kindergarten to college, schools are switching to virtual learning and businesses are operating at reduced capacity. There is a race to create a COVID-19 vaccine to beat back the virus, and now, we're looking at who can require you to get the future vaccine, and what rights you have to push back. There's a lot of hope a coronavirus vaccine can help us get back to normal life, but that only works if the public takes the vaccine. Public Health Law Expert Professor Lance Gable said confidence in vaccines is the key to public health. Gable said despite parent protest, the state can require kids to get a future coronavirus vaccine, just as other childhood shots. "State requirements of this sort, as long as they have scientific evidence supporting their necessity, often they're going to be upheld," he said. He added, "It's really important we get this right and it's really important we maintain trust." Parents can request a non-medical waiver. It will require a visit with a county health educator and during disease outbreaks, non-vaccinated kids can be excluded from school. What about your job? Federal guidance says employers can require a COVID-19 test to look for active infection but not for antibodies. A vaccine can be closer to antibody screening. “So it could violate the Americans with Disabilities Act and it might be a problem for employers to do that," Gable said.
  • News outlet logo for courthousenews.com
    Legal experts call on officials to shore up pandemic response
    The United States’ response to the pandemic is a story of failed leadership, missed chances and untold tragedy. How did the law worsen this disaster? How can it help the country recover? Fifty legal experts tackled these questions in a comprehensive report released Tuesday. Back in October, the world’s richest country won kudos from the world of academia. In a Global Health Security Index led by Johns Hopkins University, which looked at nations’ ability to prevent, detect and rapidly respond to epidemics, the U.S. ranked No. 1. out of 195 countries. The index’s authors apparently believed because the federal government had prepared for a widespread viral outbreak—even conducting an exercise in August 2019 called “Crimson Contagion,” simulating a novel respiratory virus spreading from China across the globe—the preparation would easily be put into practice. The simulation predicted shortages of basic medical supplies, or personal protective equipment, during a global influenza pandemic. Skip ahead five months. It’s February and China’s in lockdown struggling to contain an outbreak of Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Then politics got in the way of public health. With tens of millions of people losing their jobs and filing for unemployment, President Donald Trump started leaning on states to reopen their economies. “The quick removal of restrictions in many jurisdictions was prompted not by public health guidance, but rather by political pressure from President Trump and his supporters, protests organized by conservative groups, and a large number of lawsuits challenging stay-at-home orders and business closures,” wrote report contributor Lance Gable, a law professor Wayne State University in Detroit. Gable told Courthouse News he believes states, not Congress, should address the issue through legislation. “I do not think that a constitutional amendment granting immunity to state governments from legal challenges to their public health powers is feasible, necessary, or wise. I also do not think that this is an issue that even warrants congressional or other federal-level actions,” he wrote in an email. According to Gable, another tragedy in the U.S. response is federal and state governments did not use the time when most people were abiding by stay-at-home orders to ramp up testing and contact tracing. Experts say delays in test results have rendered contact tracing worthless as infected people can interact with dozens of others before it is known they have the virus.
  • News outlet logo for bridgedetroit.com
    Opinion: Detroit’s war vs. structural racism will need help
    John Mogk, professor of law, wrote an op-ed titled “Detroit’s war vs. structural racism will need help.” Mogk wrote: “In 1967, structural racism triggered a civil explosion, the Detroit riot, resulting in the death of 43 people and hundreds of millions in property damages. Rather than taking personal charge of addressing the issue then-Gov. George Romney and Detroit Mayor Jerome Cavanaugh turned the responsibility over to newly formed New Detroit, the nation’s first urban coalition, to identify what went wrong, what needed to change and how to make that change happen. A half-century later, structural racism is alive and well in Michigan. For any progress to be made, Michigan’s elected leadership must be directly involved. Structural racism is entrenched in our society. It fosters public policies, institutional practices and cultural representations that work to reinforce racial inequality in all aspects of African-American life. After Detroit’s disturbance, political leaders provided support to New Detroit, but they kept their distance and Detroit’s white neighborhoods and suburbs were largely uninvolved. These factors contributed significantly to little progress being made in combating structural racism in the decades since then…It is unlikely that progress will be made in Michigan in combating structural racism unless Governor Whitmer takes the lead in a sustained effort, along with other elected officials.”
  • News outlet logo for freep.com
    Detroiters’ Bill of Rights is a positive step forward | Opinion
    Peter Hammer, professor of law and Director of the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at Wayne State University Law School, wrote an opinion piece. “We are living in historic times that open up the possibility for historic change, but only if we chose to seize the moment. A new charter of freedom was revealed last week in front of the Spirit of Detroit. Dozens of community leaders joined Council President Pro Tempore Mary Sheffield and Councilwoman Raquel Castañeda-López to announce the Detroiters' Bill of Rights. These rights are grounded in notions of racial equity — the right to be free from discrimination, the right to water, safety, health, environmental justice, recreation, access and mobility, and basic needs and quality of life…Detroiters’ Bill of Rights is a revolutionary step towards a positive rights agenda.