Institute for Legislative and Governmental Affairs
Programs and Events 2002 - 2003
By Arthur D. Wolf, Director
Seminar on the Legal Responses to Terrorism
The Institute's first event of the fall semester focused on the transcendent issue of homeland security. Borne of a conversation among Professors Eric Gouvin, Bruce Miller, and Arthur Wolf last winter, the Institute was privileged to welcome two special guests to the program: Attorney Victor Bernson, associate deputy general counsel, United States Department of Defense, and Professor Linda Kelly, Indiana University Law School at Indianapolis. Attorney Bernson addressed the issue of terrorism from the perspective of the Pentagon, justifying the extensive powers asserted by the Government in this time of national crisis, reminding the audience that government attorneys carefully reviewed each measure to ensure its compliance with constitutional and statutory standards and precedents. Professor Kelly focused on the impact of terrorism on immigration and immigrants, noting the vast power the Supreme Court has given to Congress and the executive through the years to regulate immigration. She observed that few constitutional limitations constrain the government regarding immigrants.
The panel concluded with presentations by Professors Eric Gouvin and Bruce Miller. Gouvin addressed the murky and clandestine issue of international money laundering. Among other issues, Miller explored the ongoing controversy of prosecuting terrorist suspects before military tribunals rather than the ordinary courts of law. Professor Arthur Wolf, director of the Legislative Institute, served as the moderator for the program.
Massachusetts Gubernatorial Debate
One week after the Massachusetts primary election, the Institute hosted the first gubernatorial debate between Commonwealth Treasurer Shannon O'Brien and venture capitalist W. Mitt Romney. Our distinguished panel of journalists included Karen Brown (WFCR Radio), Ray Hershel (Channel 40 News), Barry Kriger (Channel 22 News), Professor William Mandel, Western New England University Department of Government, and Dan Ring (Springfield Republican). Jim Madigan, the thoughtful and experienced public television newsman, served as the moderator for the debate. A panel of students, led by our own Anderson Theodore (SBA president), also asked questions of the candidates that the public submitted.
The debate covered a range of issues that both O'Brien and Romney had addressed in the primary election and would address more fully in the weeks following the Western New England University NEC debate during the general election campaign. Among the more lively exchanges included topics relating to education, local aid, the budgetary crisis plaguing Massachusetts and the other 49 states, healthcare, political patronage, experience, and philosophy of government.
Seventh Annual Supreme Court Review Conference
Inspired by Professor Harpaz seven years ago, this year's panel addressed the major decisions of the 2001-2002 term of the United States Supreme Court. Professor Arthur Leavens began the discussion with the principal cases on search and seizure. Exploring the five Fourth Amendment decisions in the term, Professor Leavens noted, in agreement with Professor Lenese Herbert at last year's conference, the unpredictability of the Court's search and seizure decisions.
Professor John Hill, a visiting professor from St. Thomas University Law School in Miami, followed with an insightful examination of the Court's death penalty jurisprudence. With three decided capital punishment cases during the term (an unusually large number), Professor Hill examined the unexpected ruling that the Constitution forbade execution of even "mildly mentally retarded" defendants. He also noted the inconsistency in the Court's rulings regarding the respective roles of judge and jury in capital cases. In light of the ongoing controversy over the death penalty, especially in light of DNA evidence casting doubt upon such convictions, Professor Hill suggested that the Court might take a more active role in the death penalty cases and perhaps begin to rethink its current position.
Professor Harpaz, making her seventh appearance at the annual Conference, explored the Court's decisions in the areas of free speech and religion. She first addressed two key cases involving child pornography, a very controversial issue in light of general public outrage over such publications. The Court invalidated a federal statute making illegal "virtual child pornography" and remanded a second case challenging the Child Online Protection Act to the lower court for further consideration of the constitutional questions. Professor Harpaz also addressed the Court's important ruling upholding Cleveland's school voucher program under which poor children receive government money that could be used to attend parochial schools.
Following Professor Harpaz, Professor Miller, also making his seventh appearance, addressed again the federalism decisions of the Court. Noting its three sovereign immunity cases, he stated that the Court continued its expansion of state immunity in private litigation, while making clear that injunctive relief for federal constitutional violations was still available against individual state officers. Professor Miller concluded with a discussion of the Court's decision invalidating state law speech restrictions on the campaigns of candidates running for elected judgeships.
Finally, Professors Harpaz, Hill, and Miller concluded the conference with a lively discussion of affirmative action programs, focusing on the current controversy at the University of Michigan that is before the Supreme Court. With insightful and passionate comments from the audience, the panelists sought to provide a legal, social, historical, and moral framework for this concluding topic.
A Conversation with Senator John Kerry
U.S. Senator John F. Kerry (D-MA), held a public discussion at the University's Sleith Hall on November 2 to address his stance on the congressional resolution that authorized President George W. Bush to use military force against Iraq. Kerry, who voted in favor of the War Powers Act, conducted the forum to explain his reasoning behind the vote.
Kerry opened the program with a statement of reasons for his vote in favor of the Iraqi resolution. After completing his opening statement, a distinguished panel of experts questioned him about the Iraq matter. The panel was comprised of Professor Michael T. Klare, Hampshire College, Sue Root, executive director of the World Affairs Council of Western Massachusetts, and our own Professor Bruce Miller. Professor Arthur Wolf, served as moderator of the event, then invited the audience to question and comment on Senator Kerry's presentation and vote.
Continuing Legal Education Programs
Four CLE programs were held during this term. The first focused on the divorce and featured Chair Mary Socha, one of our mainstays on domestic relations programs, and Attorney Ronald Kaufman of Amherst. The session covered ethical issues, preparing financial statements, securing temporary restraining orders, discovery, settlement, and trial preparations.
The public law program was the second, and that focused on a range of issues in public interest practice. Juliana Rice, assistant attorney general, and Maria Mossaides of the Massachusetts Technical Collaborative, served as co-chairs. The panel also included Attorney Peter Sturgis, State Ethics Commission, Attorney Alan Cote, supervisor of Public Records in the Office of the Secretary of State, Jane Davidson Montori '79.
The third and fourth programs addressed commercial issues that included business organizations and bankruptcy. The business organizations seminar focused on the 'various alternatives available in the organization of a business enterprise.' The panel of experts included Attorneys David A. Parke and Amy E. Morrissey. The bankruptcy program drew a very large audience and was a very hot topic. Addressing recent court decisions and pending legislative changes, the panelists moved through a variety of current issues. In addition to co-chairs Judge Boroff and Attorney Jonathan R. Goldsmith, the panel also included Attorneys Richard T. King (assistant U.S. Trustee) and David W. Ostrander '89.
Seminar on the Use of Military Force in Iraq
On April 9, Professors Kalodner, Miller, and Wolf presented differing views on the legality of the United States-led use of military force to remove Saddam Hussein and his Ba'athist Party from power in Iraq. Professor Wolf justified the action based on the authority to enforce international human rights and United Nations Security Council resolutions. Professor Kalodner objected to the unilateral enforcement of UN resolutions on the ground that only the Security Council, under the UN Charter could authorize the use of military force. Professor Miller criticized the intervention on a variety of legal and policy grounds.
Hearings of the Joint Committee on Education, Arts, and Humanities of the Massachusetts Legislature
On April 10, the Joint Committee on Education, Arts and Humanities, co-chaired by Representative Marie St. Fleur and Senator Robert Antonioni, heard testimony on a wide variety of bills pending before the Committee. Included in the package were bills relating to teachers' professional status, contractual relations for teachers and administrators, evaluation of student performance, teacher certification requirements, and related matters.
Continuing Legal Education Programs
On February 4, the Legislative Institute, the Mass Bar (together with the four local bars), and the Alumni Office sponsored "Handling Depositions with Confidence." Chaired by Joseph M. Pacella from Egan, Flanagan & Cohen, Springfield, the seminar proved invaluable to attorneys who had little or no experience taking depositions and to those who needed to brush up on their deposition technique. Contributing to the program were Attorneys John J. Egan, Jeffrey L. McCormick, Lisa Brodeur-McGan, and John P. Pucci. As in the past, we offered this and other CLE sessions at discounted rates for Western New England University graduates and students.
On March 18, the Institute and the four county bar associations, in cooperation with the Massachusetts Bar Association, hosted, "How to Handle a Will Contest." Our distinguished panel of experts included: Hyman G. Darling, the chair of the program and an attorney with Bacon & Wilson in Springfield; the Honorable David G. Sacks, justice in the Hampden County Probate and Family Court; and Attorney Gary P. Shannon, a member of Doherty, Wallace, Pillsbury & Murphy, also in Springfield. The panelists addressed the major issues in a will contest from the perspectives of plaintiff and defendant, including standing, venue, discovery, pre-trial motions, the role of the GAL, attorney fees, and other critical matters, and answered questions during the program and at the reception afterwards.
On April 30, the MBA and the Legislative Institute hosted the very popular, "New Lawyers Mentoring and Networking Session". The program offered a great opportunity for new attorneys to meet and mix with colleagues while learning more about a variety of practice areas in small group discussions led by MBA mentors. The discussion groups, guided by section council leaders and seasoned practitioners, offered a prime opportunity for newer attorneys to ask questions and gain invaluable advice from legal professionals.
Practice areas included civil litigation, estate and probate, corporate business, real estate, family law, and criminal law.
"Selected Topics in HIPAA Privacy Implementation," on May 6, was the fourth program co-sponsored by the MBA and the Institute. Effective in mid-April, federal health privacy regulations contained in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) imposed substantial new burdens on health care providers, health plans, and some employers. Entities have experienced significant issues in implementing and complying with these new rules. This seminar helped attorneys understand who is affected by these rules and provided practical guidance on how to counsel their clients on the most difficult implementation strategies. Attorney Peter J. Martin chaired the program with insightful contributions from Attorneys Terrence J. Briggs, Katherine A. Hesse, and Elizabeth H. Sillin '98.
The final CLE program for the semester occurred on June 3, "Health Care Coverage After Divorce: What You Need to Know." Designed to address the critical question of health insurance after dissolution of the marriage, the seminar covered a wide array of legal issues arising under both federal and state law, which has created a confusing patchwork. The program was structured for both new attorneys and seasoned family lawyers.
Siena College Summer Internship Program
For the past several summers, Siena College has chosen us as one of four law schools in the country to host its summer legal internship program. Designed to expose College seniors to the law school experience, Dr. Leonard Cutler at Siena created this unique program several years ago. With the experienced aid and guidance of Representative Gale D. Candaras '82 (D-Wilbraham), the interns selected a legislative project that required extensive legal and field research, as well as trips to the State House in Boston where they interviewed members and staff of the Legislature. Focusing on the controversial issue of same gender marriage, the interns wrote a lengthy research paper and recommended the enactment of legislation to address this important public policy and legal question. During their summer at the Law School, the Siena interns also explored the intricacies of legal research and writing, the many facets of our Law Library, School of Law, and law program, and attended law school classes.