Faculty Focus is a monthly publication documenting the activities, accomplishments, and honors of the University of Houston Law Center Faculty.

April 2009

Previous editions of Faculty Focus can be accessed here


Richard Alderman gave a presentation on the law at the Texas Association of School Librarians, he presented a paper on consumer arbitration at the 12th Annual Consumer Attorneys Conference in Hyderabad, India, and he spoke at the Honors College’s Great Conversation on the disappearing jury. He also was elected to co-chair President Khator’s Strategic Action Group, which will propose ways to implement the University’s six long-term goals, as set out by the Board of Regents.


Johnny Rex Buckles presented “Does the Constitutional Norm of Separation of Church and State Justify the Denial of Tax  Exemption to Churches That Engage in Partisan Political Speech?” in April, at the New England School of Law. The presentation was part of a panel discussion, sponsored by the local student chapter of the Federalist Society, and based on Prof. Buckles’ law review article of the same title which was just published in 84 Indiana Law Journal 447 (2009). Prof. Buckles has previously presented the paper at two faculty workshops, one at the University of Kansas School of Law on December 5, 2008, and the other at the University of Tulsa College of Law on October 17, 2008. In March, Prof. Buckles participated in a debate at the University of Memphis at an event sponsored by the local student chapter of the Federalist Society. The debate topic was whether intelligent design theory may be taught in public school science courses without violating the establishment clause of the First Amendment. In February, Prof. Buckles spoke at a symposium hosted by the Liberty University School of Law, focusing on teaching intelligent design theory. Prof. Buckles’ presentation examined whether intelligent design theory is necessarily a “religious theory” for purposes of Constitutional Law.  The editors of the Liberty University Law Review have decided to republish, in its symposium issue, Prof. Buckles article, “The Constitutionality of the Monkey Wrench: Exploring the Case for Intelligent Design,” originally published in 59 Oklahoma Law Review 527 (2006). In January, Professor Buckles presented,” Fiduciary Assumptions Underlying the Federal Excise Taxation of Charities” at the Association of American Law Schools 2009 Annual Meeting. The presentation was part of the Section on Nonprofit and Philanthropy Law panel on New Research in Nonprofit Law. Also in January, he presented “New IRS Focus on Nonprofit Corporate Governance” at the 26th Annual Nonprofit Organizations Institute, cosponsored by the Conference of Southwest Foundations and the University of Texas School of Law. This presentation was an adaptation of “Governance of Tax-Exempt Organizations,” which he presented at the 56th Annual Taxation Conference, sponsored by the University of Texas School of Law in November 2008.


Richard Dole’s article, “The Effect of UCP 600 Upon U.C.C. Article 5 With Respect to Negotiation Credits and the Immunity of Negotiating Banks From Letter-of-Credit Fraud,” has been published at 54 Wayne Law Review 735 (2008).


David Dow has signed a contract with Twelve Books to publish his manuscript, “The Autobiography of an Execution.”


Jim Hawkins’ article, “Financing Fertility”, was accepted for publication in the Harvard Journal on Legislation.


Craig Joyce published “Intellectual Property in the United States” in the new Oxford International Encyclopedia of Legal History.


Joan Krause and Richard Saver published Cases in Context: Health Law and Bioethics (2009) (editors, with Sandra Johnson and Robin Wilson).


Douglas Moll and Robert Ragazzo have submitted the manuscript for their treatise, The Law of Closely Held Corporations, to Aspen Publishers.


Tom Oldham has been consulting with the House Judiciary Committee on legislation revising the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines what constitutes a marriage for purposes of federal law. Prof. Oldham has been conferring with the committee staff about various issues that could arise, depending upon which revision strategy is selected.


Michael Olivas engaged in a debate with Cornell labor economist Vernon Briggs about immigration reform proposals at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he also spoke about his book on the Hernandez trial, in conjunction with a showing of the PBS film of the trial, A Class Apart. He also gave the keynote address at the annual banquet for the University of Cincinnati Immigration and Nationality Law Review, “Why State and Local Immigration Ordinances are a Bad Idea”; he was invited because the INLR reprinted his 2007 University of Chicago Law Forum work on the subject. He also consulted with Virginia college officials about the legality of providing scholarships for undocumented students.


Jordan Paust was a member of a panel addressing civil claims against former Bush administration officials for violations of international law at the University of Virginia Sokol Colloquium on Human Rights Litigation in U.S. Courts, April 2. On April 1, he filed an amicus brief for the Human Rights Committee of the American Branch of the International Law Association before the Supreme Court in Republic of Iraq, et al. v. Simon, et al., concerning rights of former prisoners of war and others against Iraq during the 1990’s for torture and other forms of ill-treatment.


Spencer Simons has written a book, Texas Legal Research, to be published by Carolina Academic Press. The book is going to press now and is expected to be available in May. Prof. Simons recently presented “Basic Accounting for Law Librarians” at the annual meeting of the Southwestern Association of Law Libraries in Albuquerque and at a meeting of the Houston Area Law Librarians in Houston.


Diana Velardo was invited for the third year to be a co-panelist at the South Texas College Conference on Human Trafficking. Diana presented on issues of slavery affecting the Houston community and the challenges faced by legal advocates. Diana was also the guest speaker at UH Clear Lake as part of their “Voices of Color” speaker series “Women and the Law Event.” Diana’s provocative presentation on “Have You Met a Slave Today?” generated heated discussion among faculty, students, and guests. Diana was also invited to provide training on immigration remedies for victims of human trafficking to the Missouri Task Force at the Children’s Assessment Center. Diana is part of the Houston Human Trafficking Rescue Alliance (HTRA), a task force that is comprised of governmental agencies and headed by the U.S. Attorney’s office. HTRA is viewed across the nation as the leader and a role model of effective task force collaboration between non-profit agencies and law enforcement. Diana presented at the Human Trafficking-Training on Modern Day Slavery Conference sponsored by the Texas Regional Center for Policing Innovation in Stafford. She was also the guest speaker at Baylor College of Medicine, presenting to faculty and first year medical students on “Human Slavery: How to Identify a Victim. Best Responses for the Medical Field.” Her lecture is part of the Human Sexuality course at Baylor College of Medicine.


Jacqueline Weaver spent a week in Kampala, Uganda at the invitation of the U.S. State Department and met with the members of energy and resources committees of parliament and members of the Ministry of Finance and Energy. She also met with many civic groups, such as the Ugandan Wildlife Society and African Institute for Good Governance, executives from the oil companies operating in Uganda, and the radio and print media. She presented talks on “Understanding a Production Sharing Contract” and “A Model Revenue Management Law.”  The latter type of law is designed to avoid the resource curse of currency fluctuations that destabilize the domestic non-oil economic sectors and to guard against corruption, which is an ever-present problem in Uganda. She also toured the oil fields, which are located in the country’s most beautiful national park and wildlife reserve, and talked with park rangers about the conflict in land uses, including the wave of in-migration from Rwanda and the Congo. Closer to home, she spoke on pooling and unitization at the University of Texas “Boot Camp” on Fundamentals of Oil, Gas, and Mineral Law, on March 26, 2009. Over 300 registrants attended, despite the low price of oil.





Helen Boyce