News & Media http://www.law.uchicago.edu/feeds/newsandmedia.rss en Adam Chilton on the Failure of Constitutional Torture Prohibitions http://www.law.uchicago.edu/news/adam-chilton-failure-constitutional-torture-prohibitions <div class="field field-type-text field-field-news-title"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> The Failure of Constitutional Torture Prohibitions </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-news-author"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Adam Chilton </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-news-publication"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> The Washington Post </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-datepublished"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">April 25, 2015</span> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-lead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>In recent research, however, we show that constitutional torture prohibitions have failed to reduce torture.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p>Last December, the release of the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.intelligence.senate.gov/study2014/sscistudy1.pdf">Senate Torture Report</a>&nbsp;shocked the world. But although the C.I.A.’s use of torture had been more brutal and extensive than previously reported, researchers who study human rights were not surprised to see more evidence that a government—even a democratic one—frequently engages in torture. In fact,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.humanrightsdata.com/">there is data suggesting</a>&nbsp;that in 2011, of the 107 democracies in existence, 40 frequently engaged in torture and another 41 occasionally engaged in torture.</p> <p>It’s troubling that these numbers remain so high despite the fact that reducing torture has been one of the primary goals of the modern human rights movement. Among other efforts, countries have been persuaded and coerced into enshrining a right against torture in their highest and most fundamental legal document: the constitution. In&nbsp;<a href="http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2540701">recent research</a>, however, we show that constitutional torture prohibitions have failed to reduce torture.</p> <p>The first human rights document to prohibit torture was England’s Bill of Rights Act of 1689, which stated that “excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel or unusual punishment inflicted.” The graph below shows that the number of countries with constitutional torture bans has skyrocketed in the past three decades. Today, about 84 percent of the world’s constitutions prohibit torture.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-news-source-url"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Read more at:&nbsp;</div> <p><a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2015/04/25/the-failure-of-constitutional-torture-prohibitions/" title="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2015/04/25/the-failure-of-constitutional-torture-prohibitions/">http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2015/04/25/the-failur...</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-faculty-news"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Faculty:&nbsp;</div> <a href="/faculty/chilton">Adam Chilton</a> </div> </div> </div> Mon, 27 Apr 2015 14:48:15 +0000 willcanderson 27294 at http://www.law.uchicago.edu The Coase Lecture: Hubbard Applies Physics to Law and Economics http://www.law.uchicago.edu/news/coase-lecture-hubbard-applies-physics-law-and-economics <div class="field field-type-text field-field-news-author"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Becky Beaupre Gillespie </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-news-publication"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Law School Communications </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-datepublished"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">April 24, 2015</span> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-lead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Using physics as an analogy to better understand and highlight the contributions of behavioral economics, Assistant Professor William H.J. Hubbard, ’00, delivered this year’s Ronald H. Coase Lecture in Law and Economics with a call to advance the economic analysis of law by finding the discipline’s own “theory of relativity” — one that tells us which laws and institutions actually create well-functioning market economies.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p>Using physics as an analogy to better understand and highlight the contributions of behavioral economics, Assistant Professor William H.J. Hubbard, ’00, delivered this year’s Ronald H. Coase Lecture in Law and Economics with a call to advance the economic analysis of law by finding the discipline’s own “theory of relativity” — one that tells us which laws and institutions actually create well-functioning market economies.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>In his talk, “Newtonian Law and Economics, Quantum Law and Economics, and the Search for a Theory of Relativity,” Hubbard used both Newtonian and quantum mechanics to argue that behavioral economics, which takes the bounded rationality and cognitive bias of individuals into account, doesn’t necessarily challenge or overturn the principles of neoclassical economics, which, for the sake of theoretical simplicity, assumes that people behave rationally. In his analogy, he equated neoclassical economics to Newtonian mechanics, the set of physical laws that describe motion at a macro level but doesn’t hold true at the nano level, and behavioral economics to quantum mechanics, which deals with physical phenomena at the less predictable nano level.</p> <p>“Just as Newtonian mechanics breaks down when you look at the constituent pieces of our universe, neoclassical economics breaks down at the scale of the fundamental constituent pieces of our social universe, individual human beings,” Hubbard said. “And just as quantum mechanics provides the nano-foundations for all of physics, behavioral economics provides the nano-foundations for all of economics.”</p> <p>Mathematical models that assume purely rational actors don’t account for seemingly irrational behavior — for instance, why judges who decided more serious cases early in their careers tend to be more lenient than judges who saw less serious cases (the result of a cognitive bias known as the Contrast Effect) or why having more choices can seem oppressive rather than liberating.</p> <p>“An important lesson from our examination of quantum and Newtonian economics is that all economics is behavioral economics,” Hubbard said. “Indeed, behavioral economics brings economics back to its roots, all the way back to <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_Smith"><span>Adam Smith</span></a>, who grounded his economic reasoning in thoughtful reasoning of the real world — not only of the rational, but also of moral and emotional aspects of human action. This contribution of behavioral economics cannot be understated.”</p> <p>Indeed, even the Coase Theorem, which imagines “a world of zero transaction costs,” isn’t actually refuted by behavioral economics, Hubbard argued, because Coase — the Nobel laureate and longtime Law School professor for whom the lecture is named — wasn’t actually interested in such a world. “Rather, the thrust of his insight was that we can understand deviations from efficient market structures and efficient private ordering if we understand transaction costs. We can sometimes improve markets and improve social welfare by reducing transaction costs.”</p> <p>And these costs, he continued, can be influenced by cognitive phenomena.</p> <p>“Behavioral economics is not a refutation of Coasean economics,” he said. “It <em>is</em> Coasean economics.”</p> <p>Further, in both physics and economics, the macro view offers a good approximation of how matter — or markets — will behave, even if it doesn’t hold true at the micro level, an idea reflected in Correspondence Principle of quantum physics, Hubbard said. As a result, each economic and physical theory has its place, he argued, because not everything needs nano-level analysis.</p> <p>“You don’t need quantum mechanics to build a dam, but you do need quantum mechanics to build a smartphone,” he said. “The challenge for law and economics is figuring out when it is we’re dealing with a dam, and when it is we’re dealing with a smartphone.”</p> <p>A similar analogy applies at the super-macro level as well. Just as Newtonian mechanics does a good job of explaining how things work on Earth but doesn’t explain why some stars give us Earth and others collapse into black holes, Newtonian law and economics does a pretty good job of explaining how markets work in well-functioning market economies “but, frankly, does a terrible job of explaining why some places turn into well-functioning market economics and other places collapse into black holes,” he said.</p> <p>To illustrate his point, he showed a NASA image of dark, energy-poor North Korea sandwiched like a black hole between well-lit South Korea and China — visible evidence of how different laws and institutions on each side of the 38<sup><span>th</span></sup> parallel impacted economic development.</p> <p>Hubbard noted that physics has the Theory of Relativity to explain black holes in the cosmos, but that law and economics has no theory that "tells us how we get 'Earth' and how we get 'black holes.' "&nbsp;</p> <p>"We know that institutions matter, but which institutions? That is the hard question, and that is the search for the theory of relativity,” he said.</p> <p>The challenge for lawyers, therefore, “is to apply to the law the lessons of quantum economics and Newtonian economics with careful regard for the principles that explain their limits and their applications,” Hubbard said. “It falls upon us to piece together a theory of relativity that can make sense of the roles of law and lawyers, not just for our society but for the future of this world.”</p> <p><span> </span></p> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-faculty-news"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Faculty:&nbsp;</div> <a href="/faculty/hubbard">William H. J. Hubbard</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://www.law.uchicago.edu/profiles/palantirprofile/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://www.law.uchicago.edu/files/image/coase_lecture.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=2192278">coase_lecture.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> Fri, 24 Apr 2015 14:32:13 +0000 beckygillespie 27213 at http://www.law.uchicago.edu Futterman: "Hiding a Potential Execution is the Kind of Thing that Destroys Trust" http://www.law.uchicago.edu/clinics/theadvocate/futterman-hiding-potential-execution-kind-thing-destroys-trust <div class="field field-type-date field-field-datepublished"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">April 23, 2015</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>Clinical Professor of Law and director of the Civil Rights and Police Accountability Project&nbsp;<a href="http://www.law.uchicago.edu/faculty/futterman">Craig Futterman</a>&nbsp;was quoted in a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/15/chicago-police-shoot-teen_n_7075010.html">recent Huffington Post article</a> about the unreleased video of the shooting of&nbsp;<span>Laquan McDonald</span>:</p> <blockquote><p>Craig Futterman, a University of Chicago law professor who has studied the city's police department, said videos like the one showing McDonald's death must be released if the department ever hopes to shed its reputation for excessive force, particularly in black neighborhoods.</p> <p>"Regaining the trust of the community, particularly the black community, starts with honesty and hiding a potential execution is the kind of thing that destroys trust," Futterman said.</p> </blockquote> <p>Futterman is the faculty organizer of the <a href="http://www.law.uchicago.edu/youth-police">Youth/Police Conference</a>, which starts Friday, April 24.</p> Thu, 23 Apr 2015 19:18:08 +0000 willcanderson 27228 at http://www.law.uchicago.edu Lawyer/Novelist Makes Gift to Environmental Law Clinic http://www.law.uchicago.edu/news/lawyernovelist-makes-gift-environmental-law-clinic <div class="field field-type-text field-field-news-author"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Jerry de Jaager </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-news-publication"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Law School Communications </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-datepublished"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">April 23, 2015</span> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-lead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>A gift made by Jonathan Mills, ’77, as trustee of a charitable trust, will benefit the Law School’s Abrams Environmental Law Clinic. To be expended at the discretion of the clinic’s director, the gift provides funds for activities that support the clinic’s mission, which might include obtaining expert consultation, underwriting student travel for site visits and client interactions, and covering other litigation costs.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span>&nbsp;</span>A gift made by Jonathan Mills, ’77, as trustee of a charitable trust, will benefit the Law School’s <a href="http://www.law.uchicago.edu/clinics/environmental">Abrams Environmental Law Clinic</a>. To be expended at the discretion of the clinic’s director, the gift provides funds for activities that support the clinic’s mission, which might include obtaining expert consultation, underwriting student travel for site visits and client interactions, and covering other litigation costs.</p> <p>“The desperately needed solutions to our environmental problems will come from the next generations of environmental lawyers, the best of whom will be trained at the clinic,” Mr. Mills says. “Helping them tackle the problems they’ll confront when they graduate transcends a gift to the Law School. It’s a gift to the future.”</p> <p>The clinic’s director, Mark Templeton, says, “In the three years since the clinic was founded through the generous support of Jim and Wendy Abrams, clinic students have challenged polluters, held environmental agencies accountable, and advocated for innovative approaches for protecting the environment. Jon’s greatly appreciated gift helps put our students on the front lines of these battles and will give more students the opportunity to develop the practical skills and judgment that they need to be successful environmental advocates—and to win the cases that they have as clinic students today.”</p> <p>Mr. Mills spent his legal career in Chicago, principally as a partner at Sugar Felsenthal Grais &amp; Hammer. He and his wife, Susan Sneider, moved to South Carolina four years ago after he developed Parkinson’s disease and Chicago winters became intolerable for him. They have three daughters and one grandchild. A former general counsel, Ms. Sneider founded New Vistas Consulting, advising law firms and financial services organizations. She is the author of the American Bar Association publication <em>A Lawyer's Guide to Networking</em>.</p> <p>Mr. Mills’s first novel, <em>The Ronnie Gene</em>, was published in 2011. It was praised by reviewers as “a gently comic tale of financial malfeasance and murder” that is “sure to delight puzzle lovers.” The protagonists, one of whom has Parkinson’s, have been hailed as “strikingly original sleuths.” He completed the sequel to <em>The Ronnie Gene</em> earlier this year.</p> <p>How Mr. Mills came to make this gift is a story as quirky as his novel. A client of a law firm where Mr. Mills worked early in his career wanted to leave her estate to such philanthropic organizations as the administrator of her estate deemed worthy. Her attorney, a senior partner in the firm, accordingly prepared a living trust, which would become a charitable trust on her death. She named her attorney the trustee. He also advised her to name a younger successor in the unlikely event that he predeceased her and recommended Mr. Mills. In the ensuing years the woman developed dementia and a neighbor inveigled her into writing a new estate plan that made him the heir to her estate. The Cook County Public Guardian sued, asserting elder abuse. The court voided the new estate plan and reinstated the trust her now-deceased attorney had prepared for her, and Mr. Mills became the trustee.</p> <p>Before he made this gift, Mr. Mills’s postgraduate connections with the Law School were a few anonymous contributions and a 30-minute digitalization of “<a href="http://www.law.uchicago.edu/video/classof77">home movies</a>” he made during his Law School years.</p> <p>“The real credit for this gift goes to Dean Schill,” Mr. Mills says, “for directing the development office to reestablish communication with graduates who had grown out of touch. The subject of the trust did come up, but with the caution that it was more likely to be depleted by its settlor’s medical needs than to become a source of philanthropic gifts. But the development office and I kept up a dialog, and a year later I found myself back at the Law School for the first time since graduation, this time as the trustee of a charitable trust delivering a check to Mark Templeton. Which shows that there’s serendipity even in something as seemingly prosaic as law school fundraising—the Law School’s graduates might find themselves surprised by what they can offer the Law School, and the Law School might find itself surprised to receive gifts from unanticipated sources.”</p> <p><span> </span></p> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-faculty-news"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Faculty:&nbsp;</div> <a href="/faculty/templeton">Mark N. Templeton</a> </div> </div> </div> Thu, 23 Apr 2015 15:27:53 +0000 beckygillespie 26833 at http://www.law.uchicago.edu WTTW Profiles Youth/Police Project, Upcoming Conference http://www.law.uchicago.edu/clinics/theadvocate/wttw-profiles-youthpolice-project-upcoming-conference <div class="field field-type-date field-field-datepublished"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">April 22, 2015</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>WTTW's program <em>Chicago Tonight</em> delved into the details of The Invisible Institute's Youth/Police Project and this weekend's Youth/Police Conference:</p> <blockquote><p>In Chicago, <a href="http://invisible.institute/" target="_blank">The Invisible Institute</a>&nbsp;launched the <a href="http://invisible.institute/youth-police-project/" target="_blank">Youth/Police Project</a> to help generate conversations about how the countless interactions between teenagers and police in urban America shape kids. Now the police along with the Mandel Legal Aid Clinic of <a href="http://www.law.uchicago.edu/clinics/mandel" target="_blank">The University of Chicago Law School</a> and youths from the Invisible Institute are expanding that conversation with a <a href="http://invisible.institute/youth-police-conference/" target="_blank">Youth/Police Conference</a><span>. We hear more about how students are challenging the thinking of accepted police practices.</span></p> </blockquote> <p><a href="http://chicagotonight.wttw.com/2015/04/21/bridging-divide-between-youth-and-police">Watch the video</a>.</p> Wed, 22 Apr 2015 15:07:42 +0000 willcanderson 27208 at http://www.law.uchicago.edu Grit Under Pressure: Even a Cascade of Mishaps Can’t Keep Law Students From a National Win http://www.law.uchicago.edu/news/grit-under-pressure-even-cascade-mishaps-can%E2%80%99t-keep-law-students-national-win <div class="field field-type-text field-field-news-author"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Becky Beaupre Gillespie </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-news-publication"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Law School Communications </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-datepublished"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">April 22, 2015</span> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-lead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Four Law School students pulled out an against-the-odds win in a national moot court competition despite a cascade of mishaps. Sam Jahangir, Bill Johnson, Robert Sandoval, and Tim White, all ’16, took top honors in the International Trademark Association’s 24<sup>th</sup> annual <a href="http://www.inta.org/Academics/Pages/SaulLefkowitzCompetition.aspx">Saul Lefkowitz Moot Court Competition</a> National Finals in Washington D.C. last month, defeating nine other finalist groups to earn awards for Best Team and Best Brief.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p>Sometimes everything goes wrong.</p> <p>And for Law School students accustomed to powering through anyway, that just makes the win a little sweeter.</p> <p>Just ask Sam Jahangir, Bill Johnson, Robert Sandoval, and Tim White, all ’16, who pulled out an against-the-odds win in a national moot court competition despite a cascade of mishaps —&nbsp;wind and rain, lost luggage, a missed flight,&nbsp;an unfortunately timed half marathon — that might have thrown lesser competitors off their game. The team took top honors in the International Trademark Association’s 24<sup>th</sup> annual <a href="http://www.inta.org/Academics/Pages/SaulLefkowitzCompetition.aspx">Saul Lefkowitz Moot Court Competition</a> National Finals in Washington D.C. last month, defeating<strong> </strong>nine other finalist groups to earn awards for Best Team and Best Brief.</p> <p>“I honestly felt like the win spoke not just to our ability in that courtroom and in our brief, but to how well the four of us could work together,” Jahangir said. “We were really proud.”</p> <p>Each of the four had a key role: Sandoval spearheaded the writing of the winning brief, which also took top honors in the Midwest Regional competition; Johnson provided sharp and thorough research, even standing by to provide as-needed research by text message during the competition; and Jahangir and White argued the case. Each did his part, and the group took second at regionals. Heading into finals, it seemed as though everything was going according to plan.</p> <p>Until it didn’t.</p> <p>To begin with, White had a final exam on Friday, the day before the competition. So, unlike Jahangir, who arrived earlier, White was forced to take a Friday night flight — which he missed after an unexpected gate change. His second flight, at 4 a.m. Saturday, was diverted from Reagan National to Dulles, putting him further away from the competition when he landed. Somewhere along the line, his luggage went missing.</p> <p>Also, it was raining.</p> <p>Still, White was determined to make it, so he grabbed a cab for a 40-minute ride to the courthouse. “Only there was a half-marathon going on, which delayed his cab ride even more,” Jahangir said, laughing as he recounted the story. When White arrived, only the back entrance of the courthouse was open, so he had to walk through the rain. He arrived waterlogged and disheveled about five minutes before the competition was set to begin.</p> <p>Jahangir and White still were not deterred. While White cleaned up in the bathroom, the two decided to switch things up so Jahangir could argue first, a decision that bought White a few extra minutes to prepare.</p> <p>“Still, he walked out of the rain and, 15 minutes later, was arguing in front of a panel of judges,” Jahangir said. “Now I’m laughing about it, but in the moment — when I was the only one there — I will admit, I was freaking out.” With Johnson supporting them by text — providing spot-on research as needed — White and Jahangir each rose to the pressure and pulled out the win.</p> <p>“The teams we argued against were excellent — I'd be lying if I said we weren't surprised after everything that happened,” White said. “Robert and Bill did such amazing work researching and writing; they really deserved the Best Brief award. I wish one of them could have been there to receive the award themselves. Their work made our job so much easier. It was definitely a crazy, but very rewarding, weekend.”</p> <p>The Law School students won $3,000 as Best Team, plus another $1,000 for winning Best Brief. INTA will further honor their win with a $1,000 donation to the Law School.</p> <p>“We are so proud,” Dean of Students Amy Gardner said. “This just goes to show that, even under pressure, our students are smart and fierce competitors.”</p> <p>And thanks to the challenges, these four also have a good story to tell — one that ends with a celebration and a small, ironic twist.</p> <p>“On the way to the airport,” Jahangir said, “We didn’t hit any traffic.”</p> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-faculty-news"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Faculty:&nbsp;</div> <a href="/faculty/gardner">Amy M. Gardner</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://www.law.uchicago.edu/profiles/palantirprofile/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://www.law.uchicago.edu/files/image/20150402_lefkowitzmoot_0277-web.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=21352">20150402_lefkowitzmoot_0277-web.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> Wed, 22 Apr 2015 15:05:04 +0000 beckygillespie 27176 at http://www.law.uchicago.edu Brian Leiter on Whether the Moral Standing of Animals Will Improve http://www.law.uchicago.edu/news/brian-leiter-whether-moral-standing-animals-will-improve <div class="field field-type-text field-field-news-title"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Will the Circle Expand? Probably Not Given the Resilience of Anthropocentric Moral Attitudes </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-news-author"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Brian Leiter </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-news-publication"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Aeon Ideas </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-datepublished"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">April 21, 2015</span> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-lead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>If the moral arguments for expanding the circle&nbsp;are indecisive, we may still ask the predictive question: <em>will</em> our circle of moral concern someday expand to include non-human animals?</p> </div> </div> </div> <p>If the <a href="http://ideas.aeon.co/viewpoints/1808">moral arguments for expanding the circle&nbsp;are indecisive</a>, we may still ask the predictive question: <em>will</em> our circle of moral concern someday expand to include non-human animals? As a colleague of mine once quipped, if soy or tofu could be made as tasty as prime rib, then it seems easier to imagine that in the future our negative emotional response to the suffering of all sentient beings will carry the day, notwithstanding, in the case of non-human animals, their lack of reason and language, and notwithstanding the fact that the moral judgment implicit in the prioritization of such sentience <em>per se</em> might lead us down the Singerian road to infanticide, at least dialectically. That tofu might actually taste good—and thus be integrated into all the cultural and religious traditions in which food figures—is far more likely, of course, than that cows and chickens will talk and reason, which would seem to doom our tolerance of factory farming almost immediately. But that what is really required for human attitudes to shift would be equally appealing non-meat substitutes for the meat of non-human animals is itself instructive: for it means that sentience matters practically along many dimensions beyond suffering, that the multifold pleasures attendant upon our consumption of non-human animals occupies an important place in our thinking about how to live.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-news-source-url"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Read more at:&nbsp;</div> <p><a href="http://ideas.aeon.co/viewpoints/1815" title="http://ideas.aeon.co/viewpoints/1815">http://ideas.aeon.co/viewpoints/1815</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-faculty-news"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Faculty:&nbsp;</div> <a href="/faculty/leiter">Brian Leiter</a> </div> </div> </div> Tue, 21 Apr 2015 18:33:08 +0000 willcanderson 27201 at http://www.law.uchicago.edu Brian Leiter on the Moral Standing of Non-human Animals http://www.law.uchicago.edu/news/brian-leiter-moral-standing-non-human-animals <div class="field field-type-text field-field-news-title"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Should It? The Moral Arguments are Indecisive </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-news-author"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Brian Leiter </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-news-publication"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Aeon Ideas </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-datepublished"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">April 20, 2015</span> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-lead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>But though we may largely renounce discrimination among religions, genders, class, and race, we still takes species differences quite seriously, as the menu of almost any restaurant immediately reveals.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p>A&nbsp;<a href="http://aeon.co/magazine/philosophy/what-will-morality-look-like-100-years-hence/?utm_source=Aeon%20newsletter&amp;utm_campaign=23fcf5ae3c-Daily_newsletter_Tuesday_March_243_24_2015&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_term=0_411a82e59d-23fcf5ae3c-68695241">recent essay</a>&nbsp;at Aeon Magazine raised the important question of how far the circle of moral concern will expand in the years ahead. That circle has expanded over two centuries in the West from propertied Christian white men to include women, as well as people of all races, religions, classes and increasingly sexual orientations. But though we may largely renounce discrimination among religions, genders, class, and race, we still takes species differences quite seriously, as the menu of almost any restaurant immediately reveals. Are we morally wrong to do so?</p> <p>As a moral anti-realist—someone who believes there are no objective facts about what is morally right and wrong—I think there is no way to adjudicate among our fundamental moral attitudes, once we clear up any disagreements about the non-moral facts.&nbsp;&nbsp; We can agree that non-human animals are sentient, and that they suffer, and still “reasonably” believe that their suffering is justifiable or defensible, given our other moral attitudes.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-news-source-url"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Read more at:&nbsp;</div> <p><a href="http://ideas.aeon.co/viewpoints/1808" title="http://ideas.aeon.co/viewpoints/1808">http://ideas.aeon.co/viewpoints/1808</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-faculty-news"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Faculty:&nbsp;</div> <a href="/faculty/leiter">Brian Leiter</a> </div> </div> </div> Mon, 20 Apr 2015 19:58:48 +0000 willcanderson 27184 at http://www.law.uchicago.edu US Senator Dick Durbin Visits Law School, Engages Students in Lively and Thoughtful Discussions http://www.law.uchicago.edu/news/us-senator-dick-durbin-visits-law-school-engages-students-lively-and-thoughtful-discussions <div class="field field-type-text field-field-news-author"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Becky Beaupre Gillespie </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-news-publication"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Law School Communications </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-datepublished"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">April 20, 2015</span> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-lead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>US Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) engaged in a spirited discussion about voting rights during a recent visit to Lecturer Fay Hartog Levin’s Law School seminar, “The Evolving Relationship between the Federal Government and the States,” telling students that “the right to vote is under attack” and offering his expertise and insight on a variety of election issues.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p>US Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) engaged in a spirited discussion about voting rights during a recent visit to Lecturer Fay Hartog Levin’s Law School seminar, “The Evolving Relationship between the Federal Government and the States,” telling students that “the right to vote is under attack” and offering his expertise and insight on a variety of election issues.</p> <p>“I was grateful and pleased that Senator Durbin took time out of his busy schedule to address my students and their student guests,” said Hartog Levin, a former US Ambassador to the Netherlands who invited Durbin to visit the Law School. “His topic is one about which he is both knowledgeable and passionate. His experience on the Judiciary Committee is particularly relevant, and I think the students were impressed with the clear-headed and straightforward manner in which Senator Durbin presented his thoughts and arguments.”</p> <p><img style="margin-right: 10px; margin-left: 10px; float: left;" src="http://www.law.uchicago.edu/files/files/20150408_durbinvisit_2351-web.jpg" alt="" width="320" height="209" />Durbin, the second-highest ranking Democrat in the Senate, discussed the impact of the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in <em>Shelby County v. Holder</em>, which struck down part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He said he has been “troubled” since <em>Shelby</em> by the number of states that have passed voter ID and other laws that have made it more difficult to vote.</p> <p>“These laws are simply an effort to restrict the opportunity to vote for certain Americans,” said Durbin, a cosponsor of the Voting Rights Amendment Act, which essentially would restore the provision requiring states with a history of voting-related discrimination to get federal “pre-clearance” before making changes to their election laws. “We should be working in America to make voting easier.”</p> <p><img style="float: right; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" src="http://www.law.uchicago.edu/files/files/20150408_durbinvisit_2362-web_0.jpg" alt="" width="350" height="233" />Several members of the class, which also includes students from outside the Law School, had the opportunity to engage in a Q&amp;A with Durbin. Their inquiries sparked discussions ranging from gerrymandering to whether elections should be held on Tuesdays to the constitutional argument behind <em>Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, </em>which is the Supreme Court case that struck down limits on independent spending by corporations in election campaigns.</p> <p>“My discussion&nbsp;with Senator Durbin anchored my understanding of voting rights&nbsp;in the real, messy world that they inhabit outside of the classroom,” said Luke Rushing, a ’15 Divinity School student who asked about the impact of <em>Citizens United</em>. “His&nbsp;vigorous support for voting rights validated&nbsp;the enthusiasm I have for supporting them as well.”</p> <p>Added Becca Smith, ’16: “It was definitely exciting to interact with Senator Durbin, hear his thoughts on the restrictive state voting laws, and learn more about how he is working to make it easier for people to vote.” She asked Durbin about the main factors contributing to “hostility toward ease of voting,” noting that she was particularly interested in how the relationship between the states and the federal government factored in.</p> <p><img style="float: left; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" src="http://www.law.uchicago.edu/files/files/20150408_durbinvisit_2369-web_0.jpg" alt="" width="350" height="233" />“I chose the question because, in the seminar, we focus on the changing relationship between the federal government and the states in a variety of fields, and try to analyze what causes or contributes to the shifts in power between the two,” she said later.</p> <p>Durbin told Smith that he thought the restrictions were largely driven by attempts to gain political advantage and noted that she had raised a “fundamental question.”</p> <p>“You have a federal/state issue here: federal legislators, when they believe their state is safely in the hands of their party, want to evolve as much authority as possible to the states at every possible level,” he said. “But I think there is a federal role. If we had left civil rights entirely to the states, where would be today?”</p> <p>He also fielded a question about whether Election Day should be a federal holiday or should move from Tuesday, saying that, “Tuesday is not a bad day of the week, but there’s nothing magical about it.” He said he favors the expansion of voting opportunities, such as weeks-long early voting, as is the case in Illinois, or the ability to vote by mail, as is the case in Oregon.</p> <p>At one point, Hartog Levin asked the audience how many were registered to vote, how many were registered somewhere other than Illinois, and, of those, how many were able to vote by absentee ballot. A number of hands went up.</p> <p>“Let’s be honest,” Durbin said, “you’re well-educated and you don’t get discouraged when something is tough. Now put that decision (to vote) and this process in front of someone who is not as well educated, and is busy, and (is thinking) ‘the baby’s crying, and the car didn’t again start this morning, and forget it — I’ll vote next time.’”</p> <p><strong>A Discussion on Sentencing Reform: ‘What You’re Doing is Meaningful’</strong></p> <p>While he was at the Law School, Durbin also met with students in Clinical Professor Alison Siegler’s <a href="http://www.law.uchicago.edu/clinics/mandel/fcjc">Federal Criminal Justice Clinic</a>, where he praised two “powerful presentations” delivered by clinic students LT Edwards and Elpitha Betondo, both ’15. The students offered deeply human arguments for the proposed Smarter Sentencing Act cosponsored by Durbin. “The SSA is so important because all of the advocacy in the world can do nothing for a client who has no means of avoiding a high mandatory minimum,” Edwards told Durbin. “Sentencing reform efforts like yours have profound effects on the lives of real people.”</p> <p>During the intimate gathering at the Kane Center — which included a dozen students, Siegler, and Clinical Instructor Judith P. Miller — Durbin appeared thoughtful and nodded several times as Siegler and the students recounted poignant stories that underscored their commitment to keeping their clients’ humanity at the forefront of their advocacy.</p> <p><img style="float: left; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" src="http://www.law.uchicago.edu/files/files/20150409_durbinvisit_1162-web.jpg" alt="" width="350" height="233" />“It was a phenomenal experience for our students to meet with a legislator who is such a courageous and impassioned advocate for sentencing reform,” said Siegler, who founded the Federal Criminal Justice Clinic in 2008. “The clinic is so grateful to the Senator for giving us the opportunity to tell him about our own reform efforts and about clients whose lives would be changed by the legislation he has cosponsored. I know the experience will resonate with the students for many years to come.”</p> <p>Indeed, Betondo said later that presenting in front of Durbin was one of the highlights of her Law School career.</p> <p>“It was such a unique opportunity to help my client by speaking directly to a senator whose work will affect my client’s liberty,” she said. “Most importantly, Senator Durbin’s work will greatly impact many of the Federal Criminal Justice Clinic’s clients, and it was an honor to speak on behalf of the clinic and my client to show the Senator how important his work is for the clinic and our society.”</p> <p><img style="float: right; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" src="http://www.law.uchicago.edu/files/files/20150408_durbinvisit_2271-web_0.jpg" alt="" width="350" height="233" />Added Edwards: “I saw the law come to life on a national level. As law students, our legal education is often abstract and local, but with Senator Durbin, we were given the chance to potentially influence criminal justice reform nationwide and, in turn, affect lives across the country.”</p> <p>After they spoke, Durbin addressed the students’ concerns, and Siegler said they were “heartened to hear the Senator talk about the very real possibility that mandatory minimum penalties in drug cases will be rolled back.” He also thanked the students for their commitment.</p> <p>“There is a difference between a job and a profession, and what you’re responding to is a profession,” he said. “Society gives attorneys the authority to do things that other people cannot do. And I believe it asks us, in return, to give something back to society – and that’s what you’re doing. I think what you’re doing is particularly meaningful because it serves folks who, by and large, are casualties of our economy, our political system, our law enforcement system. When you stand up and achieve justice in these cases, I know there is a great feeling of satisfaction. But equal to that, or even greater: your work verifies that this is a just society, despite its imperfections. If enough people care, they can make a difference in the lives of these people — and it can reaffirm why we’re so proud of this country.”</p> <p><span style="font-family: Times New Roman;"> </span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-family: Times New Roman;"> </span></p> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-faculty-news"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Faculty:&nbsp;</div> <a href="/faculty/hartog-levin">Fay Hartog-Levin</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <div class="field-label-inline"> Faculty:&nbsp;</div> <a href="/faculty/siegler">Alison Siegler</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://www.law.uchicago.edu/profiles/palantirprofile/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://www.law.uchicago.edu/files/image/20150409_durbinvisit_1218.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=5454412">20150409_durbinvisit_1218.jpg</a></div> </div>