The Opposite of #Winning.

By Chris G. As I sat down to write this blog post at roughly 7:00 p.m. on September 21, 2011, it sadly was all too easy and apparent what the focus should be.  Not to point fingers, but if nothing rang a bell, you’re either living under a rock, or you’re already way too consumed in briefing cases and prepping for class, but regardless, I won’t hold it against you.  This story concerns no film, no reality TV show, and definitely has nothing to do with Charlie Sheen.  Rather it is the story of Troy Davis, a man whose life, and oncoming death, are now controlled by the hand (and sadly, the needle) of the United States legal system. On the night of August 18, 1989, a scuffle broke out between a group of individuals near a Burger King parking lot in Savannah, Georgia, that would forever change the lives


Thoughts On Collective Responsibility

By Alicia Barber I was puzzled by the groups used as examples for collective responsibility during a lecture by Forum Director Thane Rosenbaum. Jews responsible for the financial crisis. Blacks guilty for the crimes of inner city criminals. While I recognized it as a provocative rhetorical technique, I couldn’t help but see a manifestation of the very harm he was, I thought, trying to prevent. Of course, middle class and successful blacks do pay for the crimes of their disadvantaged counterparts in the “soft justice” of inaccurate stereotypes and sweeping generalizations, of which that lecture was certainly not my first painful reminder as a pre-professional in an often unconscious white business culture. Yes, it was an effective way to provoke and engage the audience, but also a way of perpetuating the lucrative narrative in the mainstream media of the dangerous minority, and perhaps the starkest example in the lecture of


The First Holocaust Conference In The Middle East

By Hannah Furst The news this month about Palestine’s bid to become a member of the United Nations is just the latest headlining story that reminds American Jews of the fraught tensions that exist in the Middle East between the Jewish and Muslim populations. However, even amidst this tense political backdrop, there are signs of progress and change. This week, the first Holocaust conference in the Arab world took place in Morocco.  To say that this was a momentous occasion would be an understatement. The conference was hosted by Al-Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco and it featured three days of presentations and discussions about not only the Holocaust, but also about the relationship between Jews and Muslims in the Middle East.  Among the attendees were noted Holocaust scholars, like Dr. Michael Berenbaum, Holocaust survivors, and Muslim university students. During World War II, Morocco’s king, Mohammed V, resisted the commands of


One Man Is Murdered, One Man Is Executed

By Patricia Chang At 11:08pm on September 21, 2011, Troy Davis was executed by injection for allegedly murdering Mark MacPhail by shooting him once in the heart and once in the face in August of 1989. Twenty-two years after the Savannah, Georgia murder, the story can now finally be put to rest. Or can it? Davis maintained his innocence, even after receiving the death sentence following a convoluted murder trial in 1991. The sentence didn’t sit quite right with many people for numerous reasons. The murder occurred in the deep south during the 1980s; Davis was a young black man and Mark MacPhail was a white off-duty cop. The authorities never found the 0.38 caliber murder weapon. Seven of nine eyewitnesses who testified against Davis later signed affidavits recanting their testimony. Some witnesses said that the police intimidated them into giving false testimony implicating Davis. At least one witnesses said


10 Million Dollars And A Frown

By D.B. Mann v. Ford, a documentary released by HBO this past summer, put a national spotlight on a troubling mass tort case that has been well publicized in New Jersey in recent years. The case involves allegations that in the 1960s and 1970s Ford Motor Company contractors dumped thousands of tons of paint sludge into mine shafts in an Upper Ringwood, New Jersey neighborhood populated by the Ramapough Mountain Indians. In the ensuing years an extremely high percentage of this community developed a variety of serious illnesses, which they claimed were related to exposure to the toxic chemicals. Mann v. Ford sets the scene for the tribe’s day in court by giving us some background on Ford’s dumping activities and the problems with the clean up including the site’s addition to the Superfund list, its removal from the Superfund list after an initial clean up effort and an addition


Palestinian Bid For Statehood

By Sharon Warhit While over 120 countries currently recognize the proclaimed State of Palestine, many believe – including President Obama – that the Palestinian bid to appeal directly to the U.N. for statehood will only exacerbate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are advocating direct peace talks, as such an emotionally charged issue hotly debated for decades can only be settled through deliberate negotiations, as opposed to a one-shot passionate plea to the world body. Surprisingly, even the House Majority Leader and Minority Whip have crossed party lines and united on the issue; in a joint op-ed in the New York Daily News, Cantor and Hoyer joined Obama and Netanyahu’s critique of Abbas’ actions stating that “it is time for Abbas to forgo his public relations battle and return to the negotiating table.” However, the Palestinians have become restless and believe that an appeal to the


John Grisham Awarded The Harper Lee Prize For Legal Fiction

By Chrissie Cahill Author John Grisham was awarded the inaugural 2011 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction, a new literary award sponsored by The University of Alabama School of Law and the American Bar Association Journal, for his novel The Confession. This year’s award was given in conjunction with the Library of Congress National Book Festival and held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Following the presentation, David Baldacci led a discussion of The Confession in relationship to Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, which included guest panelists Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center, former ABA president Robert J. Grey, Jr., Dahlia Lithwick, Senior Editor of Slate.com, and Thane Rosenbaum, John Whelan Distinguished Lecturer in Law and Director of the Forum on Law, Culture & Society at Fordham University School of Law. The Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction was announced at a ceremony in 2010, commemorating


Park 51 – Ground Zero Mosque

By Alberto C-M Ten days following the tenth anniversary of 9/11, the infamous mosque is finally opening. For most of its defenders, this is a sign of reconciliation of the misunderstandings of a specific religion and culture. It seems far from trendy and contemporary to have a disapproving and negative opinion towards the mentioned Mosque. Well, in that case, I’m comfortable and content to be conservative and outdated in this particular matter. It is probably true that the immense majority of the Islamic World doesn’t approve what happened on that terrible day; the relation to that religious group though, is not only enormous but also inevitable. Those attacks were made under the context of a “Jihad,” commonly know as an Islamic “Holy War.” Scholars of Islamic Studies frequently disapprove this definition; nevertheless, the translation as “struggle” in the idiomatic expression “striving in the way of God (al-jihad fi sabil Allah)”


11 Angry Men and the Reasonable Man

By Graham Amodeo With the release of a Blu-Ray version of 12 Angry Men, it is worth revisiting this film, which was part of last year‘s Forum Film Festival. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor even said that this film had an incredible influence (click on the link and scroll down to her video) on her legal career. Sidney Lumet’s 12 Angry Men presents an interesting example of the points at which the law and morality diverge. The divergence occurs in what one might think would be an unlikely location: a jury deliberation room. In the film 12 strangers, pressed into public service as jurors, attempt to decide the fate of a young man who is accused of murdering his father. In the process, a legally “correct” result (12 jurors agreeing as to guilt or innocence) nearly results in a moral travesty, until the morally righteous (and nameless, until the


Sony Plays Games With Its Terms Of Service

By Ben Chynsky Earlier this year Sony’s PlayStation Network was attacked by a string of hackers that compromised the private data of as many as 100 million many users’ accounts. Sony issued apologies, offered some compensation packages, and promised to strengthen its security network. At the same time, Sony was subject to a number of lawsuits including some class-action filings. One class action lawsuit filed against Sony in April could ultimately cost the company billions of dollars. It is no coincidence that Sony quietly updated its PlayStation Network Terms of Service (“TOS”) agreement last week. The company added a new section to its TOS that will prevent users from joining together in the future in any class-action lawsuits against the company.  It also provides for binding arbitration as the sole means of dispute resolution with the company before any lawsuit is brought. The new section was not announced by publicly