• Featured Posts

    An archive of featured posts written by Chicago-Kent faculty.

    Introducing the Spring 2015 Issue of Faculty Perspectives

    by  • May 8, 2015 • Faculty Scholarship, Featured Posts • 0 Comments

    Faculty Perspectives is published regularly to highlight recent faculty scholarship at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. The latest issue spotlights our faculty’s work in the area of law, gender, and society. Katharine Baker, in an article forthcoming in the Minnesota Law Review, argues that the criminal law has been an inadequate vehicle for addressing rape and the norm of male entitlement to sex. In an excerpt from her book just published by the Cambridge University Press, Felice Batlan traces the history of legal aid and women’s role in shaping it. And Michael Spak, along with colleague Jonathan Tomes, enumerate the practical problems they see with modifying the military justice system to better handle sexual assault cases. Also in this issue, constitutional law scholar Steven Heyman considers the recent conservative-libertarian turn in First Amendment jurisprudence at the U.S. Supreme Court.

    View the Spring 2015 issue of Faculty Perspectives below or online at http://bit.ly/1PuQFY3. Find more recent Chicago-Kent scholarship at http://www.kentlaw.iit.edu/faculty/recent-scholarship.

    Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Law

    by  • January 16, 2015 • Faculty Commentary, Featured Posts • 0 Comments

    Martin Luther King, Jr. Lincoln Memorial

    Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Lincoln Memorial, August 28, 1963 | Wikimedia Commons

    Schmidt_Chris thumb By Christopher Schmidt


    Among the most important of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s contributions to American history were his commentaries on the relationship between the law and social justice.

    King’s views toward the law can be divided into two categories: law as obstacle and law as opportunity.

    Law as an Obstacle to Racial Justice

    Much of the civil rights movement was a struggle against law: against racially discriminatory laws or racially neutral laws that segregationists used to attack civil rights activism.

    Southern police arrested civil rights protesters—including, on multiple occasions, King—for violating practically every criminal code provision: disturbing the peace, marching without a permit, violating picketing or boycott laws, trespassing, engaging in criminal libel and conspiracy. The NAACP was prosecuted in Alabama and elsewhere for refusing to disclose its membership rolls as required by state law. Several southern states went after civil rights attorneys for legal ethics violations. Montgomery used minor traffic ordinance violations as a way to undermine the carpools used during the Montgomery Bus Boycotts. Alabama prosecuted King on charges of tax evasion.

    King often struggled to explain why he believed civil rights activists were justified in breaking certain laws—even some laws that on their face said nothing about race—while also condemning segregationists for their defiance of Brown and other federal civil rights requirements. He famously tackled this question in his 1963 Letter from Birmingham Jail, where he differentiated just and unjust laws. “A just law,” he wrote, “is a man-made code that squares with the moral law, or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law.” Since segregation laws fall squarely in the later category, “I can urge men to obey the 1954 decision of the Supreme Court because it is morally right, and I can urge them to disobey segregation ordinances because they are morally wrong.”

    A more challenging situation, King continued, involves a law that “is just on its face and unjust in its application.” It was this kind of law that landed King in his Birmingham jail cell, since he had been arrested for parading without a permit. “Now, there is nothing wrong with an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade,” he explained, “but when the ordinance is used to preserve segregation and to deny citizens the First Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and peaceful protest, then it becomes unjust.”
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    Introducing Faculty Perspectives

    by  • November 18, 2013 • Faculty Scholarship, Featured Posts, Multimedia • 0 Comments

    Chicago-Kent is excited to announce the release of Faculty Perspectives, a new publication that will be distributed regularly to highlight recent scholarship by our school’s faculty members. Each issue will feature four to five excerpts from recent or forthcoming faculty articles and books, as well as a special page specifically dedicated to recently published books. The online publication is presented in an attractive, easy-to-navigate format.

    The first issue features excerpts from new articles by Mark Rosen and Chris Schmidt, Sheldon Nahmod, and Joan Steinman, as well as a summary of a forthcoming book by Bernadette Atuahene. The issue also highlights new books by Lori Andrews, Ed Lee, and Richard Warner.

    View Faculty Perspectives below or click here to view it on issuu.com and to download it as a PDF.