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

Former DOJ mediator describes ‘active’ neutrality, at HLS symposium

March 9, 2017

Grande Lum, director of the Divided Community Project, was quoted in Harvard Law Today regarding the keynote address he delivered before the Harvard Negotiation Law Review’s 22nd Annual Symposium, “Reflections on the Intersection of Alternative Dispute Resolution and Activism.”

“Activism creates leverage. Activism creates power. Activism changes the status quo. And change happens when in addition to legislative and litigation victories, people work out solutions on their own,” Lum said. “That’s where those of us in ADR can play an important GPS-navigational role.”

Sessions likely pushing law enforcement to seek longer prison sentences

March 9, 2017

Featured Expert: Douglas A. Berman

Professor Doug Berman was quoted in The Week Magazine. He originally appeared in POLITICO.

In a recent memo from Attorney General Jeff Sessions to all federal prosecutors, Sessions suggests that he may be advocating for policy changes that would result in longer prison sentences. This would include backpedaling on former Attorney General Eric Holder’s guidelines that allow prosecutors to avoid making charges that lead to mandatory minimum sentences.

"My take is the Holder [policy] is toast," Berman told POLITICO. "Holder said you don't have to charge mandatory minimums and it looks like [Sessions is] going to say, 'Oh, yes, you do have to.'"

No: Anti-immigrant approach stokes hate, solves no pressing problems

March 2, 2017

Featured Expert: Ruth Colker

An op-ed by Professor Ruth Colker about President Donald Trump’s anti-immigration executive orders was syndicated through the Tribune News Service, reaching more than 7 million estimated readers.

“Like building a wall along the Mexican border, devoting additional resources to deporting people who pose no risk to American security is expensive and wasteful. Rather than squander money on a huge deportation force, we need to find a constructive path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, who are the backbone of the farming, construction and high-tech industries,” Colker writes. “More fundamentally, the executive orders fly in the face of the bedrock American value of offering refuge to those ‘yearning to breathe free.’”

Colker’s op-ed, “No: Anti-immigrant approach stokes hate, solves no pressing problems,” was published in more than 10 news outlets nationwide, including USA TODAY, The Sacramento Bee, and the Post-Bulletin. 

Amazon Echo and the internet of things that spy on you

March 2, 2017

Featured Expert: Margot Kaminski

Professor Margot Kaminski was quoted in Popular Science about the First Amendment rights of Amazon Echo owners.

In December 2015, following the death of Victor Collins, Arkansas police filed a search warrant with Amazon for audio recordings from an Amazon Echo (a robotic personal assistant) located at the scene of the incident. Because the device is always on and listening to its surroundings, officials believe access to the recordings could offer valuable insight into their investigation. In February, the tech company filed a motion to quash the warrant, however, arguing that the search is a violation of First Amendment and privacy rights. 

“What Amazon’s doing is drawing on a line of cases that say there is a connection between freedom of expression, which is protected by the First Amendment, and privacy,” Kaminski said. “That connection is that when you have government surveillance—especially of intellectual activity, let’s say listening to music or reading books or buying books or even using the search engine—that surveillance implicates intellectual freedom in a way that’s important for free expression.”

What Privacy Do Students Have? Ohio Supreme Court Hears Backpack Seizure Case

March 1, 2017

Featured Expert: Ric Simmons

Professor Ric Simmons was quoted in WOSU Public Media about a recent Ohio Supreme Court case regarding the rights of students at public schools to have their personal property searched.

The case involves a then 18-year-old student whose backpack was searched by a Columbus high school security guard after it was left unattended on a bus. Believing that the student was a gang member, the guard took the bag to the principal’s office, where 13 bullets were subsequently found inside. When school officials tracked the student down, they found that he had brought a gun to school after searching a separate bag.

Two lower court rulings found that the security guard did not have responsible suspicion to search the bag in which the gun was found. Although the student faced charges for possession of a gun on school property, the gun was thrown out as evidence after the courts ruled that it was discovered unlawfully. If the Ohio Supreme Court rules differently, “it could have a very serious impact” across public schools, Simmons said.

"Public school officials generally want more authority to search backpacks, lockers,” he said. “Students themselves, and of course civil libertarians, believe that students should have the same rights as everyone else. It's all about balance, and how you want to balance what the school's rights are to keep the school safe, and the rights of the students to have the same rights that we all do."

White House drops Obama-era discrimination claim against Texas voter ID law

February 27, 2017

Featured Expert: Edward B. Foley

Professor Edward Foley was quoted in The Christian Science Monitor in an article about how the Trump administration dropped a discrimination claim against a Texas voter ID law. Viewed as one of the strictest voting requirements in the country by voting rights advocates, the law required voters to show one of seven valid forms of ID.

A federal appeals court ruled last year that the law disproportionately impacted minorities and those living in poverty. The court required the state to adjust its requirements before the general election. According to court testimony, Hispanic voters were twice as likely to lack proper ID under the law, while black voters were three times as likely.

“Voting litigation is increasing, not decreasing,” Foley said. “The main impression … is that when a law looks like it’s engaging in outright disenfranchisement of a valid voter, even conservative judges have been stopping that. [But] the judiciary is more tolerant with state legislatures adjusting issues of convenience and accessibility, if the adjustment is not outright disenfranchisement.”

Pro&Con: Pre-emptive strike would trigger global disaster

February 24, 2017

Featured Expert: John B. Quigley

An op-ed written by Professor John Quigley was syndicated through the Tribune News Service. Quigley discusses Iran’s ballistic missile test in January and subsequent rumors that Israel is planning a military strike against Iranian missile sites.

“Iran, regardless of what its leaders might boast from time to time, is not on a course to attack Israel. Even if they wanted to, Iranian leaders know such an attack would bring counter-action Iran could not sustain,” Quigley writes. “Hopefully, Trump is savvy enough to see through Netanyahu's long-standing effort to depict an existential threat that doesn't truly exist.”

OSU Law Professor Looks at Nuances of 'Pastor Protection Bill'; Pastors Turn Out in Force in Support

February 21, 2017

Featured Expert: Marc Spindelman

Professor Marc Spindelman appeared before the Ohio House of Representatives Community and Family Advancement Committee to give interested party testimony on the constitutionality of House Bill-36—referred to by its sponsor, Rep. Nino Vitale (R-Urbana), as the “Pastor Protection Act.” Spindelman’s testimony was featured in The Hannah Report. 

Among its key provisions, H.B. 36 would permit ordained and licensed ministers and religious societies statewide to refuse to solemnize same-sex civil marriages when doing so would conflict with their sincerely held religious beliefs. In addition, the Act also would authorize religious societies not to host marriage ceremonies on their property in accordance with their faith. Importantly, the Act creates various immunity provisions to ensure that those who exercise the prerogatives that it supplies will not be held legally liable, either civilly or criminally, for their acts.

“Interested party witness and constitutional and family law professor at Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law Marc Spindelman led off the day’s three hours of testimony, telling the committee that there is validity to the concerns raised by pastors regarding their potential liability over refusing ‘to solemnize a same-sex civil marriage that they are authorized by state law to celebrate ...’ under the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges regarding same sex marriage,” The Hannah Report writes. “However, he maintains, the solution to those concerns does not lie with the state Legislature. Rather, he explained, when conflicts arise between civil liberties—in this case the right to marry and the right of clergy ‘to practice their faith even when acting ... as agents of the state’—it becomes the purview of the U.S. Supreme Court for final resolution.”

Experts: GPS monitors couldn't save OSU student's life

February 17, 2017

Featured Expert: Ric Simmons

Professor Ric Simmons was quoted in The Columbus Dispatch about Brian Lee Golsby, the convicted sex offender charged with aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, kidnapping, and rape in the death of Reagan Tokes, a student at The Ohio State University.

Data from a GPS monitor Golsby had been wearing at the time confirmed that he was at the scene of Tokes’ murder. GPS monitors are not watched in real time, however, and authorities are not always notified immediately if parolees leave their designated areas.

“There are times when it's obvious who the worst of the worst are. But we didn't know at the time that he was one of the worst of the worst. For those terrible, terrible people, nothing works. Even GPS," Simmons said.

“[GPS monitors are] certainly not to be watched all the time. Frankly, that would be unrealistic,” he added. "You can say the system broke down in a lot of ways, but this was not one of them."

Arizona to death-row inmates: Bring your own execution drugs

February 17, 2017

Featured Expert: Douglas A. Berman

Professor Doug Berman was quoted in the Associated Press about a recent policy in Arizona allowing death-row inmates to provide their own lethal drugs for execution.

Executions in the state have been postponed since 2014, after Joseph Rudolph Wood took almost two hours to die following 15 doses of the sedative midazolam. They will remain on hold until an ongoing lawsuit questioning the state’s discretion during executions is resolved.

Overall, it has also been more difficult nationwide to procure the drugs necessary for lethal injections, as many European pharmaceutical companies have since prohibited their use. Berman views Arizona’s policy as opposition to the lawsuit and to the scarcity of lethal injection drugs across the country.

“I think the idea is to say in the protocol, ‘You guys want pentobarbital? Then get it. If you can get us the drugs, we’ll use them,’” he said.