• Archive for March, 2015

    Know Your Constitution (8): What is State Action?

    by  • March 12, 2015 • Faculty Commentary • 0 Comments

    Nahmod_Sheldon thumb By Sheldon Nahmod [Reposted from Nahmod Law]


    This is the eighth in a series of posts about the United States Constitution written in everyday language with a minimum of legal jargon.

    Previous posts introduced the Constitution, rebutted some commonly held myths about the Constitution,  addressed the Equal Protection Clause, considered free speech and hate speech and discussed procedural and substantive due process.

    This post deals with the important concept of state action. Non-lawyers should understand that private persons cannot violate another’s equal protection, due process or, say, 1st or 4th Amendment rights. Only governments can.

    The Basics

    The term “state action” stems from the language of section 1 of the 14th Amendment which provides in relevant part that states (including local governments) must treat people equally and fairly (equal protection) and must not deprive them of basic rights (due process, which includes most of the provisions of the Bill of Rights through a process called “incorporation”).

    This means that I personally, as a private person, cannot violate your constitutional rights, at least those based on the 14th Amendment. Some governmental involvement is required. For example, if I punch you because I disagree with your views, I may have violated state law but not the 1st Amendment. On the other hand, if a police officers arrests you because of what you said, that arrest is state action and may turn out to violate your 1st Amendment rights.

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    American Academy of Appellate Lawyers Names Steinman Honorary Fellow

    by  • March 5, 2015 • Faculty in the News • 0 Comments

    [Reposted from IIT Chicago-Kent News]


    IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law Distinguished Professor Joan E. Steinman has been named an Honorary Fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers. Members are elected by the Academy’s board of directors. Professor Steinman will be inducted during the organization’s spring meeting April 16 to 18, in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

    Distinguished Professor Joan E. Steinman.

    Founded in 1990, the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers is “committed to advancing the administration of justice and promoting the highest standards of professionalism and advocacy in appellate courts.” Membership in the Academy is by invitation only, following nomination by current Fellows.

    A member of the IIT Chicago-Kent faculty since 1977, Professor Steinman teaches courses in civil procedure, complex litigation, and appellate courts. She was named a Distinguished Professor in 1999.

    Professor Steinman is a prolific legal scholar who has written articles on the associational privacy privilege in civil litigation, class actions, suits for money damages to vindicate First Amendment rights, pseudonymous litigation, law of the case doctrine, removal, supplemental jurisdiction, the effects of case consolidation on litigants’ procedural rights, several aspects of appellate jurisdiction and procedure, and other procedural issues. She is responsible for two volumes of the Wright, et al., Federal Practice and Procedure treatise, and co-authored a casebook on appellate courts.

    Professor Steinman is the first and only scholar to win two Eisenberg prizes from the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers. The award recognizes and encourages “publication of high-quality articles in the field of appellate practice and procedure.” In 2005, Professor Steinman received the award for her Georgia Law Review article “Irregulars: The Appellate Rights of Persons Who Are Not Full-Fledged Parties.” She was similarly honored in 2012 for “Appellate Courts as First Responders: The Constitutionality and Propriety of Appellate Courts’ Resolving Issues in the First Instance,” published in the Notre Dame Law Review. (more…)

    Perritt Presents at National Association of Attorneys General Meeting

    by  • March 3, 2015 • Faculty Scholarship, Faculty Workshops/ Conferences, Multimedia • 0 Comments

    From February 23-25, the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) held its annual Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C., bringing together attorneys general, federal officials, and other professionals to discuss current legal issues. Professor Henry H. Perritt, Jr., spoke at the meeting in a panel on unmanned aircraft systems (“drones”) and the challenges that arise in regulating them. See a video of Prof. Perritt’s presentation above.

    In his presentation, Prof. Perritt urged lawmakers to resist the reflex to rush in and regulate drones with excessive restrictions—especially smaller “microdrones,” which pose little threat to safety or privacy but which are integral to the development of the technology. He commended the FAA’s recent notice of proposed rulemaking, which addresses some of the risks drones pose while leaving sufficient room for markets to drive technological innovation. In this proposal, regulations are tailored to reality, encouraging a culture of compliance and law-abiding autonomy appropriate to the technology. Contrary to a common opinion, Perritt argued that the law serves best when it follows technology in this manner, waiting to see how that technology plays out in the real world.

    Prof. Perritt has written extensively on drones for numerous law and trade publications. See more of his scholarship here.

    Notable speakers at the NAAG Winter Meeting included FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, FBI Director James Comey, and US Vice President Joe Biden.