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


January 2015


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


Previous editions of Faculty Focus can be accessed here.


Aaron Bruhl presented a paper on statutory interpretation at Duke Law School.


Jim Hawkins was elected as the Chair of the Commercial & Related Consumer Law Section of the Association of American Law Schools. On January 29, he will present his research on title lending at the University of Texas School of Law as part of the Financial Methods for Lawyers class.


A redacted version of Tracy Hester’s forthcoming article, Restating Environmental Law, was published by The Environmental Forum as the lead article for its January/February 2015 issue. The full version of the article will appear in The Columbia Journal of Environmental Law’s Spring 2015 issue. Professor Hester was also named as a resident scholar at the Environmental Law Institute for 2015, and will work at ELI’s Washington, D.C. office during the summer on his research projects involving the governance of climate engineering and on the application of U.S. and foreign environmental criminal laws to disasters.


Geoffrey Hoffman travelled back to Karnes Detention Center to prepare a client for an asylum trial with two students and staff. He also represented the client with the students the next day before the Immigration Court in San Antonio. Along with Supervising Fellow Veronica Bernal, Professor Hoffman taped the show Latina Voices hosted by Sofia Adrogue and Minerva Perez, where they discussed the work of the UHLC immigration clinic. Future air date to be determined soon. In addition, Professor Hoffman’s law review article on Immigration Regulation co-authored with Professor Susham Modi will be cited in an upcoming article in the N.Y.U. Law Review, Unshackling Habeas Review (forthcoming 2015).


Craig Joyce was reappointed to the Editorial Board of the Supreme Court of the United States-sponsored Journal of Supreme Court History and began his 28th consecutive year of service on the board. The proceedings of the 2014 Institute for Intellectual Property & Information Law’s National Conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico, ReCalibrating Copyright: Continuity, Contemporary Culture, and Change, organized and moderated with an Introduction by Professor Joyce, was published as Issue 52:2 of Houston Law Review.


Sapna Kumar was invited to give a talk at National University of Singapore's Law School--Asia's premier law school. In her talk "Myriad and the Future of Genetic Testing," she discussed the status of gene patents after the Federal Circuit's December 2014 decision and talked about the implications of the decision for Asian biotechnology companies. 


Rick McElvaney was an Honorary Speaker at the swearing in ceremony of Judge Laryssa Korduba as Justice of the Peace, Precinct 4, Harris County, Texas. Professor McElvaney also spoke to the Ismaili Professionals Network Southwest on Consumer Protection & Landlord and Tenant law at The Ismaili Jamatkhana and Center in Sugarland, Texas. He was also recently interviewed by Telemundo television for two segments to air on Telemundo47 on consumer rights.


Michael A. Olivas was a busy boy during the 2015 AALS Annual Meeting, when he gave a Keynote to the Librarians’ Workshop, on the Joys of Scholarship and Research Libraries, a talk on the 50th anniversary of the Higher Education Act to the Section on Education Law, and chaired the Law and Film Series, which showed Judgment at Nuremburg, Hot Coffee, and Anita; he also moderated a panel on the documentary film, Anita, which included Professor Anita Hill as a participant. He also represented member schools in a tribute to departing AALS Managing Director Jane LaBarbera. He was involved in briefing reporters on several news stories, including President Obama’s new executive actions on immigration, campus sexual assault policies, and other immigration and higher education law topics.


Jordan Paust’s article Can You Hear Me Now?: Private Communication, National Security, and the Human Rights Disconnect was published in 15 Chicago Journal of International Law 612-651 (2015), available at http://ssrn.com/abstract=2451534.


D. Theodore Rave spoke on a panel about voting rights and the problem of electoral gerrymandering on January 16 at the Louisiana Law Review’s Voting Rights Symposium at the LSU Law Center in Baton Rouge. Professor Rave discussed the Arizona legislature’s constitutional challenge to the Independent Redistricting Commission that the voters of Arizona empowered to draw congressional district lines, which is currently pending in the Supreme Court.


Jessica L. Roberts presented The New Disability Discrimination at the 2015 AALS Annual Meeting during the Joint Program for the Sections on Disability Law and Employment Discrimination Law. Professor Roberts’ panel also featured Senator Tom Harkin and EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum. She also accepted a position as the Secretary-elect for the AALS Disability Law Section.


Susan Sakmar returns to UHLC this Spring to teach Shale Gas & LNG. Her book, Energy for the 21st Century: Opportunities and Challenges for LNG(2013) was recently chosen an Outstanding Academic Title for 2014 by Choice Magazine. Choice is widely read by academic librarians in the U.S. and the awards are chosen based on the best-reviewed titles during 2014. Her book will also be part of an exhibit of all the Outstanding Academic Title winners at the American Library Association’s Mid-winter Conference later this month. Professor Sakmar’s article, LNG Exports: Will the United States Become the World's Largest LNG Exporter? was published in the recent edition of the State Bar of Texas Oil, Gas & Energy Resources Section Report.


Spencer Simons organized, presided over, and presented at the day-long Workshop for Newer Law Library Directors on January 5 in Washington D.C. The workshop was the annual program of the AALS Committee on Libraries and Technology, of which Professor Simons served as Chair in 2013. He also has prepared his portion of the 2nd edition of the co-authored Federal Legal Resaearch text, scheduled for publication by Carolina Academic Press this summer. On campus, Professor Simons is serving as the Chair of the Search Committee for Executive Director of the Center for Faculty Engagement and Development (FED). He also has accepted an appointment as member of the Advisory Board of the FED.


Ronald Turner’s recent publications include A Critique of Justice Antonin Scalia’s Originalist Defense of Brown v. Board of Education, 62 UCLA Law Review Discourse170 (2014), and Same-Sex Marriage and Due Process Traditionalism, 49 University of Richmond Law Review 579 (2015). His essay Same-Sex Marriage and Loving v. Virginia: Analogy or Disanalogy? will be published by the Washington & Lee Law Review Online. He also participated in a panel discussion of several constitutional issues decided in recent federal appeals court decisions at the January 2015 meeting of the Garland Walker Inn of Court.     


Greg Vetter attended the Association of American Law Schools Annual Meeting in January 2015 in Washington, D.C. as a member of the Executive Board of the Intellectual Property Law section. The Board put on two panels, and additionally the UH Law Center’s Institute for Intellectual Property and Information Law (IPIL) sponsored a reception held by the IP section for IP professors attending the meeting.


Jacqueline Weaver was the Course Director and a lecturer for a 5-day Advanced Legal Studies Program on specialized topics in oil and gas law presented to lawyers from Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. (Petrobras) at the University of Houston Law Center; Houston, Texas from December 8 to 12. Before that, she moderated a panel on Offshore Exploration & Production: Challenges & Opportunities Panel at the 2nd Mexico Oil & Gas Investment Summit; a conference organized by PetroRock Energy LLC; Mexico City, Mexico; December 4, 2014. This conference followed her lecture on “Offshore Safety in the Gulf of Mexico, the New U.S. System,” that was part of a 4-week training program entitled “Regulation of Hydrocarbons: An Advanced Training Program for Professionals,” organized by the University of Houston Law Center, Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) – Centro de Energía y Recursos Naturales, and Wood Mackenzie; Mexico City, Mexico; December 3, 2014.


Kellen Zale presented her work-in-progress, Sharing Property, at the Section on Property Law Breakfast on January 4, 2015, at the Association of American Law Schools Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.