Faculty in the News

Ohio State law professors are sought out for their expertise by a number of news media outlets and blogs with large audiences. Topics range from the death penalty to voter ID laws to artificial insemination – and our faculty members’ quotes and analysis can be found everywhere from small-town and national newspapers to radio broadcasts to cable news programs. The following is a selection of media coverage for Moritz College of Law faculty.

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Recent Media Coverage

Anti-Trumpers’ Most Futile Effort Yet to Stop Trump from Being Sworn In

January 16, 2017

Featured Expert: Edward B. Foley

Professor Edward Foley was quoted in Law Newz about efforts to persuade Chief Justice John Roberts to decline conducting Donald Trump’s Oath of Office on Inauguration Day. Even though the U.S. Constitution requires the President to take an oath of office, the the Chief Justice is not required to administer it. It is unlikely that such attempts will prevent Trump from being sworn in, Foley said.

“I think the main point is that the oath doesn’t need to be administered by the Chief Justice,” he said. “After Kennedy’s assassination, a federal district judge in Texas administered the oath to Johnson.”
 


National security, media professors analyze November campus attack

January 9, 2017

Featured Expert: Dakota S. Rudesill

Professor Dakota Rudesill was quoted in The Lantern about the November attack on Ohio State’s campus. Although the FBI has not officially declared the attack an act of terrorism, the federal agency reports that it may have been inspired by the Islamic State.

“Certainly, some of the early indications do point in the direction of this being a terrorist attack,” Rudesill said.
 


YES: Israel has abused the negotiation process

January 8, 2017

Featured Expert: John B. Quigley

A recent column written by Professor John Quigley was syndicated by the Tribune News Service. Quigley describes the Obama Administration’s recent decision not to veto a resolution passed by the United Nations Security Council condemning Israel’s settlement activity in Palestinian territory.

“The United States should sponsor a Security Council resolution to put teeth into the December resolution,” Quigley writes. “The council has the power to adopt diplomatic, financial and military measures against states that pose a threat to the peace. Israel’s occupation of Palestine, not to mention its construction of settlements there, qualify as a threat to the peace.”


Prominent prisoners’ supporters pin pardon hopes on Obama

January 7, 2017

Featured Expert: Douglas A. Berman

Professor Doug Berman was quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle about the clemency decisions before President Barack Obama as he prepares to leave office in January.

Several notable clemency requests await review from prisoners including Leonard Peltier, an activist with the American Indian Movement who was convicted of murdering two FBI agents in 1975; Chelsea Manning, a former Army private who was convicted by court-martial of disclosing 700,000 classsified documents to WikiLeaks about U.S. conduct in Afghanistan and Iraq; and Ethel Rosenberg, who was executed with her husband for espionage in 1953.

Although Obama has avoided controversial clemency requests, “now that he’s shown a commitment to reduce sentences that he thinks are unjust or excessive, maybe his last few batches will include some high-profile folks,” Berman said.
 


Man serving life without parole in KC firefighters tragedy gets resentencing hearing

January 6, 2017

Featured Expert: Douglas A. Berman

Professor Doug Berman was quoted in The Kansas City Star about the case of Bryan Sheppard, one of five defendants convicted for the arson deaths of six Kansas City firefighters in 1988. Sheppard was sentenced to life in prison without parole, but will request his immediate release next month.

Because Sheppard was a juvenile at the time of the crime, he has the right to seek a shorter sentence owing to a 2012 Supreme Court case, Miller v. Alabama. According to the ruling, sentencing juveniles to mandatory life sentences without parole violates the cruel and unusual punishment clause of the Eighth Amendment.

Several states have since passed legislation offering juvenile offenders serving life sentences a chance for release or parole after serving 20 years in prison.

“That may put some wind at the back of his defense attorney,” Berman said.


Voter ID Laws Are So Last (Election) Season

January 6, 2017

Featured Expert: Edward B. Foley

Professor Edward Foley was quoted in Bloomberg BNA about voter ID laws implemented during the last election cycle. The “voting wars will continue,” Foley said, as incoming state legislators start to reconsider new election laws.

He also discussed the number of last-minute, conflicting court decisions made throughout the election cycle that struck down voting restrictions in some states, while upholding them in others. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to dismantle part of the Voting Rights Act in 2013 created a “hunger for clarity” in regards to how lower courts consistently determine the legality of voting restrictions, he said.

 

 


This Law Could Still Stop Donald Trump, Says This Constitutional Expert

January 5, 2017

Featured Expert: Edward B. Foley

Professor Edward Foley was quoted in Bustle about the federal law permitting members of Congress to challenge Electoral College ballots. The law was enacted in 1887 -- as part of the Electoral Count Act -- in response to the 1876 election, Foley explained.

“We came much closer to a genuine constitutional crisis over the 1876 election,” Foley said. “Inauguration Day back then was on March 4, and we still didn’t know who was President until the early hours of March 2. Ulysses Grant was considering declaring martial law.”

The law requires the president of the Senate to call for any challenges as electoral ballots are counted. Any objections must be submitted in writing and also must be signed by one senator and one representative. Even with the law in place, it is unlikely to disrupt an election's outcome, Foley said.

“First, we’ll need to see if a senator signs on to any of these objections,” he said. “Then, under the statute, each house deliberates for up to two hours on the objection. It would take both houses to sustain the objection in order to disqualify that electoral vote.”
 


https://www.byuradio.org/episode/a808bfae-c68f-41f4-8a93-fe534ae8ebbe/the-matt-townsend-show-presidential-cabinet-selection-help-pregnant-workers

January 5, 2017

Featured Expert: David Stebenne

Professor David Stebenne was interviewed on BYU Radio’s The Matt Townsend Show. Stebenne discussed the history of cabinet selection as it relates to President-elect Donald Trump’s recent picks.

Former presidents Zachary Taylor, Ulysses S. Grant, Herbert Hoover and Dwight D. Eisenhower -- who were also all elected without previously holding a political office -- also all made similar cabinet selections to Trump’s, according to Stebenne.


Ohio judge’s death sentence rejection highlights rare trend

January 1, 2017

Featured Expert: Douglas A. Berman

Professor Doug Berman was quoted in The Associated Press about the rare occasions in which judges have overridden death penalty sentences in Ohio.

Since Ohio’s death penalty took effect in 1981, more than 320 death penalty sentences have been handed down across the state, compared to just nine judicial overrides. More recently in December, a Cleveland judge overruled a jury’s death penalty sentence, citing that the physical and mental abuse sustained by the defendant as a child, as well as the defendant’s history of mental health issues and incarceration, warranted a life sentence without parole instead.

Cases with strong mitigating evidence against the death penalty -- like a history of abuse -- are typically resolved with plea bargains, according to Berman.

“It’s relatively rare a case will get to a jury verdict if it looks like there’s a pretty significant possibility that the mitigators will outweigh the aggravators,” he said.


Ohio medical marijuana program takes shape: 3 things to watch in 2017

December 29, 2016

Featured Expert: Douglas A. Berman

Professor Doug Berman was quoted in Cleveland.com about Ohio’s burgeoning medical marijuana industry. According to state law, all rules and regulations for the program have to be adopted by September of this year so that it can be in working order by September 2018. 

Berman, who teaches a course on marijuana law and policy, said he believes that even though licenses for dispensaries and growers are bound to be expensive, investors will likely seek to capitalize on Ohio’s new industry.

"Ohio got in early enough to take advantage of the excitement the industry is building and the opportunity it creates for local investors and players to be part of the industry," Berman said. "[Investors are] not going to want to set up in rural Ohio anti-marijuanaville. They will find communities that see it's great economic development."