• Faculty Commentary

    Commentary on scholarship, current events, and other news by Chicago-Kent faculty.

    Perritt on Kurdistan’s strategic future

    by  • November 2, 2009 • Faculty Commentary • 5 Comments

    By Henry H. Perritt, Jr.


    In evaluating ways to clean up the mess that the Bush Administration made in Iraq, too little attention has been paid to the strategic options presented by the Kurds, who comprise about 25 % of Iraq’s population and now control 10-20 % of its territory under the umbrella of the Kurdistan Regional Government (hereinafter “Kurdistan” or “KRG”).

    I was in Kurdistan last week. Its second city, Sulamaniyah, is crowded with traffic, and construction cranes dot the skyline. Civilians rush about, patronizing high-end clothing stores as well as traditional markets. The atmosphere is calm, with few worries about security. Not a single American soldier or marine has been killed, wounded or kidnapped in Kurdistan since the invasion of 2003. Unlike in southern Iraq, Americans are popular.

    KRG is guaranteed political autonomy by the Iraqi constitution. The Kurds intend to hold on to the autonomy and, if possible, to expand it, hoping to extend the geographic reach of KRG to the oil-rich governorate of Kirkuk. With the revenue from Kirkuk’s energy resources, protection from KRG’s Peshmerga–militia forces estimated to number anywhere from 100,000 to 250,000, and a modicum of support from U.S. forces, the Kurds are well-positioned to play a crucial role in the reshaping of the Middle East.

    Five scenarios can be envisioned. The first is least likely: a genuinely unified and democratic Iraq.

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    Birdthistle on Jones v. Harris

    by  • October 31, 2009 • Faculty Commentary, Faculty in the News • 0 Comments

    Morningstar just uploaded a video of our very own Professor William Birdthistle and Professor John Coates of Harvard Law School debating the issues in Jones v. Harris, which will be argued on Monday in the Supreme Court. It’s currently at the top of their website.  Click here to view it.

    And continuing his run with the press, Professor Birdthistle was heard yesterday discussing the same case on NPR’s Markeplace. You can hear that interview here.

    Teaching Brown v. Board of Education

    by  • October 26, 2009 • Faculty Commentary • 0 Comments

    By Sheldon Nahmod [via Nahmod Law]


    Introduction

    Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), is one of the great constitutional law cases and perhaps the most important Supreme Court decision of the 20th century. I want to describe how I approach the case in class and what I hope students will learn.

    History

    Brown cannot be understood in isolation from what preceded it: the history of slavery, the Civil War, the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments and Jim Crow in the South as exemplified by Plessy v. Ferguson, 166 U.S. 537 (1896). In Plessy, the Court, over Justice Harlan’s prescient dissent, had upheld separate but equal for railroad cars, with far-reaching implications for segregation generally.

    Similarly, Brown cannot be understood apart from its own specific historical setting: victory over the racist Nazi regime in the Second World War, the rise of the Soviet Union, the integration of the American military, the urgent need for workers after the Second World War and important demographic changes.

    Finally, there is an obvious moral dimension to Brown, although the Court did not expressly ground Brown on moral considerations.

    In this connection, I raise the question in class whether the Court in Brown was leading the nation, whether it was following the nation or some combination thereof. I also disabuse my students of the notion that the Court as an institution was particularly heroic in Brown, since its own late 19th and 20th century decisions enabled and encouraged the South to continue the segregationist policies that the Court in Brown finally  began to dismantle.

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    “An Unusually Good Eye for Talent”

    by  • October 20, 2009 • Faculty Commentary, Faculty in the News • 0 Comments

    By Sarah Harding


    Brian Leiter, in his infinite wisdom, has identified Chicago-Kent as one of the schools with an “unusually good eye for faculty talent.” See here. Leiter’s method for identifying these schools is the number of faculty who were snapped up by a “top 20ish law school.” Leiter identified some of the key individuals but to his list we should add Anita Bernstein (Emory – since moved on), Tim Holbrook (Emory), Claire Hill (Minnesota), and Peggie Smith (Iowa), not to mention the number of faculty who have turned down offers (e.g. Mark Rosen). Some schools might bemoan such a large number of departures but we here at Chicago-Kent are always delighted to celebrate the individual successes and career aspirations of our terrific scholars, not to mention we appreciate the goodwill these individuals spread to other institutions.   Thanks Brian.

    Let the Faculty Spin

    by  • October 15, 2009 • Faculty Commentary • 0 Comments

    By Sarah Harding


    I often wonder what it would be like to bisect the law school at a single moment in time–to peer into every classroom and to listen to every conversation, debate, and presentation in every corner of this dynamic community, all at the same time. It would be dizzying, to be sure, but also invigorating. The variety of inquiries, perspectives and styles would be downright thrilling.

    The C-K Faculty Blog can’t capture the rich diversity of intellectual endeavors in that single moment in time, but it can capture, open up and expand the rich intellectual life of this law school as it unfolds daily. This is a place where you will find summaries of our recent scholarship, thoughts and opinions about developments in the law and the legal system, descriptions of workshops from visiting faculty, discussions of our own internal workshop series, celebrations of our individual successes and really just about anything that has to do with the intellectual life of the Chicago-Kent faculty. Welcome and enjoy.

    (And plaudits for anyone who can identify the literary allusion in the title and first paragraph of this post.)