Faculty News

Free Justice, a new book by Sara Mayeux, chronicles the history of public defenders in the U.S.

Jul. 10, 2020—Legal historian Sara Mayeux’s book focuses on the legal struggle for due process in twentieth-century America.

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Brian Fitzpatrick proposes “The Right Way to End Qualified Immunity” in The Hill

Jun. 29, 2020—Fitzpatrick, a complex litigation expert, proposes a way to end qualified immunity while still discouraging frivolous lawsuits against police and government officials in a June 25 opinion piece published in The Hill: eliminate qualified immunity for liability, but keep it for attorneys' fees.

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Anti-discrimination law expert Jessica Clarke discusses the Supreme Court DACA case and its implications for discrimination law

Jun. 25, 2020—The Supreme Court's DACA decision has given Dreamers new hope, but it could have dangerous implications for anti-discrimination law, by suggesting that courts should not consider the biased statements of policymakers in evaluating whether their policies were motivated by discriminatory intent.

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Financial regulation expert Morgan Ricks selected for the 2020 cohort of Vanderbilt Chancellor Faculty Fellows

Jun. 19, 2020—Ricks is one of 10 scholars from across Vanderbilt University selected for the honor, which includes additional funding for research and opportunities to exchange ideas with scholars from other schools.

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Chris Slobogin proposes substantive reforms to federal criminal courts and sentencing

Jun. 12, 2020—In a forthcoming California Law Review article, Slobogin proposes the establishment of separate federal courts specializing in criminal cases, backed by a National Court of Criminal Appeals, along with a “modernized regime” of indeterminate sentencing to relieve overcrowded dockets in the federal justice system and reduce the federal prison population. The article is discussed in a June 12 article, "The Case for Federal Criminal Courts and Sentencing Reform," published by The Crime Report. Slobogin directs the Criminal Justice Program at Vanderbilt.

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Criminal justice expert Chris Slobogin joins coalition to propose first steps toward policing reform

Jun. 10, 2020—Report by eight prominent criminal justice scholar proposes urgently needed reforms to address enduring problems in American policing.

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Time to Act: A Message from Dean Chris Guthrie

Jun. 5, 2020—The recent killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and countless others form part of a long and tragic history of racial violence and injustice. It is time for us to act.

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Criminal justice research sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Law & Neuroscience featured in June ABA Journal

May. 28, 2020—The story, "Millions have been invested in the emerging field of neurolaw. Where is it leading?", highlights the results of projects sponsored by the Research Network and features its director, Owen Jones, who holds the Glenn M. Weaver, M.D., and Mary Ellen Weaver Chair in Law, Brain and Behavior.

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Research by Owen Jones, Christopher Jaeger ’09 and two other scholars addresses “endowment affect”-how we overvalue items we’ve acquired

May. 27, 2020—New research by Owen Jones, Christopher Jaeger '09 and two colleagues may explain why we sometimes overvalue items we’ve acquired—to an irrational degree—irrespective of their market or sentimental value. The endowment effect can lead people to make unpredictable economic decisions and has far-reaching implications for legal policy relating to markets and business. Jones holds the Glenn M. Weaver, M.D. and Mary Ellen Weaver Chair in Law, Brain, and Behavior, and Jaeger is an acting assistant professor of lawyering at New York University who also holds a Ph.D. in psychology from Vanderbilt.

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Vanderbilt establishes Nicholas S. Zeppos scholarship with $8 million gift

May. 26, 2020—The scholarship was endowed by a gift from the Sarah and Ross Perot Jr. Foundation to recognize Zeppos’ extraordinary tenure as Vanderbilt chancellor from 2008 through 2019. Ross Perot Jr., BA’81, announced the gift Feb. 7 at a meeting of Vanderbilt’s Board of Trust, on which he has served since 2010. The chancellor emeritus is currently on a yearlong sabbatical and will return to the Vanderbilt faculty as professor of law and political science.

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Chris Serkin, Dan Sharfstein, Kevin Stack, Yesha Yadav, Ingrid Wuerth and Debra Lee receive 2020 Hall-Hartman Outstanding Teaching Awards

May. 8, 2020—Hall-Hartman Awards are based on a poll of students in each first-year section and also honor outstanding teaching in large and small upper-level classes.

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Listen to W. Kip Viscusi interview about the value of reducing risks to life on Top of Mind

Apr. 20, 2020—Julie Rose interviews W. Kip Viscusi about balancing the economic toll of sheltering in place with the risk of more coronavirus cases if businesses reopen in this April 8 podcast.

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Morgan Ricks and co-author Lev Menand propose “digital money” as a fast, low-cost way to distribute emergency aid in Bloomberg Finance

Apr. 20, 2020—Their column, "Let's Pay the Stimulus in Digital Dollars," touts the advantages of a "digital dollar" in allowing for faster distribution of stimulus funds, supporting social distancing, reducing the cost of distributing funds to recipients, and eliminating check-cashing costs and other fees for recipients who don't have bank accounts.

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W. Kip Viscusi featured on Planet Money podcast addressing “Lives vs. the Economy”

Apr. 20, 2020—In a discussion with Planet Money hosts Sarah Gonzalez and Kenny Malone, Professor Viscusi applies his research on the value of reducing risks to life to two pressing questions: "Is it worth it to shut down the economy to save lives?" Or "Should we let people die to save the economy?" He talks about how he came up with a value for a human life and how that value could inform decisions about when to reopen the economy. Viscusi co-directs the Ph.D. in Law and Economics program.

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Ganesh Sitaraman proposes a “war production board” for coronavirus testing in co-authored Boston Globe opinion piece

Apr. 13, 2020—Sitaraman and co-authors Julius Krein and E. Glen Weyl propose the formation of a Pandemic Testing Board tasked with scaling up production, coordination and deployment of COVID-19 tests. The board's mission would be to increase the supply of tests and to launch a Pandemic Response Corps of civilians trained to administer them.

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Read John Hasnas’s review of Brian Fitzpatrick’s book, The Conservative Case for Class Actions

Mar. 27, 2020—John Hasnas, executive director of the Georgetown Institute for the Study of Markets and Ethics, touts The Conservative Case for Class Actions as "a well-constructed, informative, and clearly expressed argument for the value of class action lawsuits." In his review, published in Regulation, Hasnas says Fitzpatrick's book "should appeal to thoughtful readers regardless of prior ideological commitments."

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Ganesh Sitaraman and co-author Lev Menand propose measures to address economic impact of coronavirus

Mar. 22, 2020—In a coauthored opinion piece published by The American Prospect, Ganesh Sitaraman and co-author Lev Menand look back at policy choices made during the economic crisis of 2008 to provide insights for navigating the current economic emergency. By examining what worked and what didn’t in response to the 2008 crisis, they suggest, we can reprise successful strategies while avoiding pitfalls. Sitaraman is the author of The Great Democracy, and Menand, an academic fellow and lecturer at Columbia Law School, served as a senior advisor to the Deputy Secretary of the Treasury from 2015-16.

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Ganesh Sitaraman elected to membership in American Law Institute

Mar. 16, 2020—Professor Sitaraman’s research addresses issues in constitutional, administrative and foreign relations law. His most recent book is The Great Democracy (Basic, 2019).

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Jim Rossi and Christopher Serkin win 2020 Morrison Prize for best scholarship on sustainability

Feb. 26, 2020—Rossi and Serkin were honored for their Cornell Law Review article, “Energy Exactions,” in which they propose that cities use exactions to hold developers accountable for their impacts on the electrical system. The Morrison Prize is a peer-reviewed honor bestowed through the Law and Sustainability Program at Arizona State University.

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Health policy expert James F. Blumstein: Current constitutional challenge to the ACA has two dimensions

Feb. 24, 2020—Blumstein discusses "The Current Constitutional Challenge to the Affordable Care Act" in a Feb. 21 "Insights" column published online by the Journal of the American Medical Association Network. He is the University Professor of Constitutional Law and Health Law and Policy at Vanderbilt University, where he directs the Vanderbilt Health Policy Center.

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Read New York Times profile of Ganesh Sitaraman: “A Scholar of Democracy Gets a 2020 Lab for His Ideas,” by Emma Goldberg

Feb. 17, 2020—Ganesh Sitaraman’s work as a longtime advisor to presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren and a friend of presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is the subject of a New York Times profile by Emma Goldberg, “A Scholar of Democracy Gets a 2020 Lab for His Ideas.” Sitaraman is a professor at Vanderbilt Law School and the author of a new book, The Great Democracy. Morgan Ricks, a colleague on the VLS faculty, is quoted describing Sitaraman as a “structural thinker.”

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J.B. Ruhl provides an overview of NEPA in podcast hosted by Daniel Raimi of Resources Radio

Feb. 12, 2020—Ruhl provides an overview of the National Environmental Policy Act drawing from his years practicing environmental law in this podcast interview with Raimi, a senior fellow at Resources for the Future. Ruhl explains how NEPA lawsuits are especially complex, involving statutes, court opinions and recent regulatory changes that are often at odds, and discusses the implications of a proposed rule change by the Trump administration that could limit the types of litigation that can be pursued under NEPA. A transcript of the interview appears below the audio link.

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Research by W. Kip Viscusi finds post-9/11 wars may have resulted in twice as many deaths at home as in battle

Jan. 10, 2020—Viscusi, an economist whose research focuses on fatality risks, found that post-9/11 wars resulted in indirect deaths in the U.S. due to the diversion of war costs from the U.S. economy and the subsequent impact on consumers who had less money to spend on better nutrition, health care, safe housing and safe products. His article, "The Mortality Cost Metric for the Cost of War," appears in the journal Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy.

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Legal historian Sara Mayeux among 13 rising Vanderbilt scholars to receive Provost Research Studios for 2019-20

Jan. 8, 2020—Provost Research Studios provide up to $4,000 to support the professional development of full-time faculty early in their academic careers.

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Paige Skiba and Caroline Malone, JD/PhD’22 on how payday lenders use installment loans to evade regulation

Dec. 9, 2019—In a Dec. 9 article published by The Conversation, Skiba and Malone explain why payday lenders have embraced installment loans, based on their recent study that explored the effect that the larger installment loans have on borrowers. Their results suggest that installment loans may create additional financial strain for consumers rather than benefiting them.

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