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


March 2014


Editor, Katy Stein Badeaux, kastein@central.uh.edu


Previous editions of Faculty Focus can be accessed here.


Janet Beck spoke on the implementation of the new U.S. Dept. of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review Phase I program for pro se, mentally incompetent immigrant detainees at the American Psychology Law Society in New Orleans. Her co-panelists were two PhD psychologists, from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, who have performed numerous competency evaluations in criminal court.   She also had the opportunity to speak with Assistant Chief Immigration Judge Jack Weil, the designer of the Phase I program, regarding the training given to immigration judges as well as to psychologists and psychiatrists regarding immigration competency evaluations.

Aaron Bruhl’s latest article was recently accepted for publication by the University of Chicago Law Review. Professor Bruhl made several media appearances in the last month, most of them concerning a recent federal court decision on the status of same-sex marriage in Texas.

Meredith J. Duncan spoke at the 2014 Southeast/Southwest People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference hosted by Thurgood Marshall School of Law on the topic of "Breaking Into the Legal Academy” on February 27th. On March 12th, she presented at the Houston Bar Association’s Environmental Sections monthly meeting on the topic of “Ethical Issues in Environmental Law Practice.”  

Barbara Evans’ paper, Preventing Harms to Patients Who Know Too Much About Their Own Genomes, has been posted to the conference website for the Petrie-Flom Annual Conference at Harvard Law School, where she will present it in May. Professor Evans has been invited to serve on the Texas Medical Center’s Clinical Research Design Team which will assist with designing the new Clinical Research Institute that is part of TMC’s recently announced strategic plan. She is one of thirty industry and academic invitees to a Workshop on Innovation in Evidence Development for Molecular Diagnostics to be held on April 3rd in Scottsdale, Arizona.  She also will speak at a Roundtable on Personalized Medicine and Malpractice Liability hosted by Arizona State University on April 4th.

Jim Hawkins accepted an offer to publish his article, Law's Remarkable Failure to Protect Mistakenly Overpaid Employees, in the Minnesota Law Review

In his role as the new chair of the Texas Environmental Research Consortium, Tracy Hester opened the meeting of TERC's Science Advisory Committee meeting in Houston on March 3rd to discuss next-generation technologies and strategies for air pollution control (he then chaired the TERC Board meeting later that week). Professor Hester and former U.S. Representative Bob Ingliss on February 20th overviewed the role of free market mechanisms in addressing climate change as part of the UH Energy Speaker series. On March 6th, Professor Hester joined Professors Aaron Bruhl and Darren Bush for a special joint session of the first year Statutory Interpretation classes to hear U.S. district court judge Lee Rosenthal and Texas appellate judge Brett Busby give their judicial perspective on statutory interpretation doctrine. And on March 15th, Professor Hester joined Professors Stephen Zamora and Jacqueline Weaver in Vancouver for NACLE's symposium on cross-border energy issues where he overviewed the current status of NAFTA's environmental submissions process, and he provided a report on the legality of the Commission on Environmental Cooperation's practice of limiting the scope of environmental submittals.

Geoffrey Hoffman spoke at Austin College in February on immigration, legal rights, and human rights on a panel with retired Immigration Judge Zimmer. Professor Hoffman met with an official from EOIR (Executive Office for Immigration Review) and Clinical Assistant Professor Janet Beck to discuss the new Phase I roll-out of the mental competency guidelines which require appointment by immigration judges of qualified representatives in cases where incompetency has been found. Professor Hoffman attended the Houston Immigration Coalition meeting at the United Way, where he represented the immigration clinic. He also spoke on March 6, 2014 at the Arrival Awards, an event honoring immigrants and their achievements. In early March, Professor Hoffman along with 2 colleagues served as judges in an oral argument moot for a Dallas-based attorney who will be presenting his case before the Fifth Circuit later in March, helping him to prepare on a complex case involving the issue of the parole power and returning lawful residents. Professor G. Hoffman helped organize and also spoke at the 4th Annual Immigration Symposium held at TSU. Professor Hoffman was on the panel on immigration and the Fourth Amendment and he moderated a Q&A with immigration judges.

Craig Joyce presided over IPIL’s Spring Lecture and associated events, sponsored by Baker Botts LLP and featuring Professor Julie E. Cohen of Georgetown speaking on “Post-Industrial Property.” The lecture will be published in Houston Law Review.

Sapna Kumar spoke at the Hofstra IP Colloquium about her article Public Law, Standing, and the Federal Circuit. Professor Kumar also spoke at the 2014 Southeast-Southwest People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference. She discussed the process of applying for fellowships and visiting assistant professorships, and how they can help aspiring academics find a tenure-track job. Professor Kumar furthermore organized the IPIL Colloquium, bringing Professor Irina Manta from Hofstra University to speak about her paper Intellectual Property and the Presumption of Innocence.

Jacqueline Lipton recently presented a paper entitled ISP Liability as a Focus of Online Regulation at the Trade Secrets and Information Policy Workshop hosted by the University of Florida Levin College of Law in Gainesville, Florida on February 28, 2014.

During the past few years the English Law Commission has been engaged in a review of English law regarding whether premarital agreements should be enforced, as well as a consideration of the current English rules applicable to property division at divorce.  In connection with this review, they surveyed the law of various jurisdictions, including of course the United States. They asked Tom Oldham to be their contact to discuss various aspects of U.S. family law, and he was happy to help. Their final report was issued February 28, 2014.  The report is mainly focused on current English law and the changes suggested in the report, but it does also refer in places to the law of other jurisdictions. The report discusses some of Professor Oldham’s work as well as the work of some other American commentators. Professor Oldham has been impressed with the quality of this review process.

Michael A. Olivas was the Keynote Speaker at the SE/SW People of Color Legal Conference in Houston, where he spoke on Legal History developments, and participated in another panel on his book, In Defense of My People: Alonso S. Perales and the Development of Mexican-American Intellectuals. In San Antonio, he gave the Keynote Address to the Texas State Historical Association, entitled, “The Accidental Historian.”

Jordan Paust’s article Armed Attacks and Imputation: Would a Nuclear Weaponized Iran Trigger Permissible Israeli and U.S. Measures of Self-Defense? has been published at 45 Georgetown Journal of International Law 411-443 (2014), available at http://ssrn.com/abstract=2402414.

D. Theodore Rave spoke on a panel at the Louisiana Law Review’s Symposium in Baton Rouge on Multidistrict Litigation about “How Remand Should be Effectuated” in MDLs on March 7th. On March 4th, Professor Rave provided commentary at a UH Federalist Society event on Pepperdine Professor Derek Muller’s talk on the Voting Rights Act after Shelby County v. Holder. And on March 13th, he was a guest on Houston Public Radio’s Houston Matter show on the 28th Amendment, providing commentary on Houston residents’ suggestions for new constitutional amendments.
Professor Rave’s article from last year’s LSU MDL Symposium, The BP Oil Spill Settlement and the Paradox of Public Litigation (with Samuel Issacharoff) has been published at 74 Louisiana Law Review  397 (2013-2014), available at http://ssrn.com/abstract=2278378.

Jessica Roberts was invited to speak on the Employment and Labor Law Section's panel honoring the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act at the AALS 2015 Annual Meeting.

Sandra Guerra Thompson spoke on a panel entitled “The Effects of Mass Incarceration” at South Texas College of Law on March 6th. The event was co-hosted by numerous student groups at the law school.

Jacqueline Weaver served as a Panelist for “Justice and Valhalla – Legal Issues in Wagner’s Ring” (speaking on ownership of the gold and the resource curse); presented by the Houston Grand Opera; Houston, Texas; February 25, 2014 to a group of opera buff-lawyers at Norton Rose Fulbright's auditorium. The event resulted in the first Tweet related to Weaver's life activities.

Bret Wells gave a presentation on the OECD's initiatives to address Base Erosion and Profit Shifting practices of Multinational Corporations to the Houston Bar Association on February 19, 2014.