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

June 2012

Editor, Katy Stein kastein@central.uh.edu
Previous editions of Faculty Focus can be accessed here.

Janet Beck presented a webinar on “Recent Trends in Asylum Law” for the Center for Victims of Torture on May 16. The webinar focused on the elements of proof required by recent administrative and federal asylum cases and the role of the mental health professionals in proving up the required elements. Professor Beck received an award for “Outstanding Pro Bono Work and Advocacy on Behalf of Immigrants” from the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) at CLINIC’s Annual Convening in Austin on May 24, 2012.  The award was based on the appeals and motions to remand that she had filed with the Board of Immigration Appeals and for Matter of M-A-M, the Board’s precedent decision on mental competency, on which she was the attorney. Professor Beck has been elected Vice-President of Asylum & Refugee Issues of the Immigration & Nationality Section of the State Bar of Texas for the 2012-13 SBOT year, which begins July 1.

Aaron Bruhl and Professor Geoffrey Hoffman presented a program on how to become a law professor on May 19. The program was attended by alumni, current students, and local attorneys.

Darren Bush presented his paper “Out of the DOJ Ashes Rises the FTC Phoenix: How To Enhance Antitrust Enforcement By Eliminating an Antitrust Enforcement Agency,” on a panel on Exceptionalism in Administrative Law at Law & Society in Honolulu on June 5, 2012. He is currently working on revising this article for submission in August. He thanks his outstanding colleagues Sapna Kumar, who hand-crafted the panel and also presented a paper, and Zach Bray (who in addition to moderating the panel presented on another panel) for excellent work. Professor Bush had Appearances on KTRK and KHOU on May 31st regarding United Airlines’ threatened layoffs in the wake of Southwest Airlines’ expansion at Hobby Airport. He also was quoted by the Houston Chronicle in, Kiah Collier’s article “The Fightin’ Side of LUV” on June 3, 2012 and Chris Moran’s article, “Southwest Airlines Agrees to Pay for Hobby Expansion” on May 24, 2012. He also accepted an offer for publication for “Antitrust: An Inflection Point” (with Betsy Gelb) in the peer-reviewed Journal of Business Strategy. He is currently teaching a summer class on Administrative Law and attempting to clean his office.

Tracy Hester participated in a workshop hosted by Widener Law School on “Environmental Constitutional Law:  A Comparative Assessment” on May 31 in Wilmington, Delaware.  He also led a workgroup meeting on proposed environmental law projects at the American Law Institute’s annual conference in Washington, DC on May 21.  His previous article on “Changing the World to Save It:  Applying U.S. Laws to Climate Engineering Projects” was selected and finalized for publication as a chapter in Oxford University Press’ upcoming book on The Law of Geoengineering.  Last, he was selected as one of the top environmental lawyers in Texas for 2012-2013 by Chambers USA.

Geoffrey Hoffman accepted a national pro bono award from the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. in Austin, TX on May 24, 2012.  At the award ceremony, Professor Hoffman spoke to the attendees about the work of the UH Clinic, along with Professor Janet Beck, who also received an award for her work on appeals to the Board of Immigration Appeals. Professor Hoffman also organized and MC’d the Joe Vail Asylum Workshop, which took place on June 8; he spoke in the morning on metal disabilities and forms of relief in the immigration court merits hearing; during the afternoon session, he conducted a mock hearing with members of the immigration clinic and then moderated a panel composed of the day’s presenters including an immigration judge. Professor Hoffman also spoke on a panel of experts to celebrate World Refugee Day at the Houston Central Public Library; the panel followed the screening of the documentary, “Welcome to Shelbyville,” on June 11. Additionally, Professor Hoffman wrote an Op Ed entitled, “The Abuse of the Transgendered in Immigration Detention,” which was posted on the policy mic.com site, and is available at http://www.policymic.com/articles/9351/the-abuse-of-the-transgendered-in-immigration-detention. He was interviewed for an article which appeared in the Color Lines website regarding cases in California and Florida involving law school graduates who passed the bar but are undocumented. The article is available at http://colorlines.com/archives/2012/06/the_undocumented_attorney_an_oxymoron_for_our_dreamless_days.html. Professor Hoffman has been invited The White House for a briefing for community leaders from across the country. The day-long event will be held June 18, 2012, and will consist of multiple policy briefings and small group discussions on a variety of Administration policy priorities.

Craig Joyce began work on the 2013 Cumulative Supplement to the 8th Edition of his Copyright Law casebook, conducted site inspection visits in Denver for the American Society for Legal History’s 2014 Annual Meeting, and briefed members of the Houston Law Review Advisory Board on his forthcoming history of Hous. L. Rev.

Sapna Kumar organized and presented on a panel entitled “Administrative Law Exceptionalism” at the International Conference on Law & Society.

Ellen Marrus is presenting at the Law and Society conference in June on Admissibility of Juvenile Confessions: Why Miranda is Wrong for Kids and at the state-wide Arizona public defender conference in Phoenix on Kids Are Different And So Are Their Offenses and Defenses in late June. Professor Marrus and the Center for Children, Law & Policy sponsored the 11th Annual Zealous Advocacy and provided training to approximately 100 juvenile defense attorneys for two days. Professor Marrus provided expertise in the ethics of representing youth in delinquency hearings and trials. The Center of Children, Law & Policy’s blog, thanks to the work of the Irene Merker Rosenberg Scholars, is also in the top 3% of blogs.

Rick McElvaney , along with Judge Mike Engelhart (’95) of the 151st Civil District Court, Harris County, Texas, represented UHLC at the Texas Center for the Judiciary’s Evidence Summit on May 30 on the topic of non-expert witnesses.  He also was a panelist on teaching consumer law at the Center for Consumer Law Section Teaching Consumer Law on May 17.   

Michael A. Olivas has been a good citizen since April, while he served on a Santa Fe, NM jury panel. He has not been selected yet ("Many are called, but few are chosen, especially me"), but is ready to serve if chosen. He also participated in a national press conference on the DREAM Act, following a letter he and other immigration law professors drafted, pointing out the availability of prosecutorial discretion for low-priority DREAM Act-eligible students. He has also been involved in organizing an amicus brief in response to a Show-Cause Order from the California Supreme Court in an immigration and bar admissions case, Garcia v. CA State Bar. He debated Roger Clegg of the Center for Educational Opportunity on the merits of the Fisher v. UT case before SCOTUS at the national meeting of the Educational Writers Association, in Philadelphia.

Jordan Paust wrote an Op Ed for the Jurist website entitled “The States are Unavoidably Bound by International Law.” The article is available at http://www.jurist.org/forum/2012/06/jordan-paust-states-bound.php. Professor Paust’s article “Still Unlawful: The Obama Military Commissions, Supreme Court Holdings, and Deviant Dicta in the D.C. Circuit” has been published in 45 Cornell Int’l L.J. 367-401 (2012). On May 29th, he spoke during the annual meeting of NAFSA: Association of International Educators at the George Brown Convention Center on Examining Universal Human Rights: Speech, Association, and Education.

Greg Vetter moderated the 2012 IPIL National Conference on June 2.  The topic was Pondering Patents: First Principles and Fresh Possibilities.  He presented at the AALS Mid‑Year workshop in Berkeley, California, entitled When Technology Disrupts Law:  How Do IP, Internet and Bio Law Adapt?  His panel presentation was under the general panel topic of Commercializing Open Innovation, during which he presented Open Source Pathways in Commercializing Software Technology