WVU Law faculty to review USSC cases

By The West Virginia Record | Sep 15, 2009

MORGANTOWN -- West Virginia University College of Law will review cases from last year's U.S. Supreme Court session in a public forum in observance of U.S. Constitution Day on Thursday, Sept. 17 at 4 pm. in the Marlyn E. Lugar Courtroom at the WVU Law Center.

The event is hosted with the assistance of WVU College of Law of the American Constitution Society.

Constitution Day or Citizenship Day is an American federal holiday that recognizes the ratification of the United States Constitution and all those who have become citizens due to either coming of age or naturalization. It is observed on Sept. 17, the day the U.S. Constitutional Convention signed the Constitution in 1787.

The law establishing the holiday was created in 2004 with the passage of an amendment by Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., to the Omnibus Spending Bill of 2004. Before this law was enacted, the holiday was known as "Citizenship Day."

In addition to renaming the holiday "Constitution Day and Citizenship Day," the act mandates that all publicly funded educational institutions provide educational programming on the history of the American Constitution on that day. In May 2005, the United States Department of Education announced the enactment of this law and that it would apply to any school receiving federal funds of any kind.

Constitution day speakers include:

* Prof. Anne M. Lofaso will discuss two of the Supreme Court's decisions on labor law. She will discuss Locke v. Karass, in which the Court unanimously held that it is constitutionally permissible for a local union (which represents public employees) to charge its nonmembers a service fee, a portion of which goes to its national union organization for litigation on behalf of other local unions. she will also discuss 14 Penn Plaza LLC v. Pyett, in which the Court held a 5-4 upheld the enforceability of a collective-bargaining provision that clearly and unmistakably requires its members to arbitrate ADEA claims.

* Prof. Robert M. Bastress, the John W. Fisher II Professor of Law, will discuss Ricci v. DeStefano, which held that a government cannot take action to avoid unintended disparate impact on a racial minority unless it has a strong basis to believe it will be subjected to disparate impact liability. He will also discuss Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Co., which held that State Supreme Court justice violated due process when he failed to recuse himself from an appeal reviewing a $50 million judgment against a party that had contributed $3 million to the justice's election.

* Prof. Gerald G. Ashdown, the James H. "Buck" and June M. Harless Professor of Law, will discuss several Supreme Court decisions involving criminal law and procedure, including District Attorney's Office v. Osborne finding no constitutional right to post-conviction DNA evidence.

* Prof. Valorie K. Vojdik, the Associate Dean for Faculty Research & Development, will discuss the Court's decision in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, a 5-4 decision holding that a Muslim man who was arrested and detained following 9/11 did not sufficiently plead a claim for purposeful and unlawful discrimination against high-ranking federal officials.

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