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

November  2007

Previous editions of Faculty Focus can be accessed through the Faculty Focus Web site


Aaron Bruhl presented a paper entitled, “The Unconscionability Game: Strategic Judging and the Federal Arbitration Act,” at a conference at Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Marcilynn A. Burke has been invited to serve as a founding member of the Environmental Law Reporter and ELI (Environmental Law Institute) Press Advisory Board.

Darren Bush testified on October 3 before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights concerning, “An Examination of S. 772, the Railroad Antitrust Enforcement Act.” In addition to providing written and oral testimony, he provided additional comments in response to questions submitted by members of the Subcommittee after the hearing. His testimony, along with a web cast of the hearing, can be found at:   


Along with six other merger policy experts, he submitted a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission critiquing several facets of a recently issued policy statement on electricity merger review. The other signatories to the letter are Peter Carstensen, Harry First, Richard Gilbert, John Hilke, Diana Moss, and Joseph Tomain. The letter is available at:


He also penned an op-ed piece concerning the problems associated with airline mergers. The piece appeared in the Houston Chronicle on October 21. He also spoke at the American Public Power Association’s Legal Seminar in October on recent U.S. Supreme Court antitrust jurisprudence and its effect on electricity matters.

David R. Dow gave a lecture entitled, “The Fatal Consequences of Being Incompletely Incompetent,” at a death penalty symposium held at the University of Texas on November 2 and 3. His op-ed, “The Last Lethal Injection,” appeared in the Washington Post on November 1, 2007.

Leslie Griffin gave the “Update on Legal Ethics,” at our 23rd Annual Institute on Intellectual Property Law in Galveston on October 5.

Lonny Hoffman delivered a “United States Supreme Court Update” as part of an audio-CLE organized by the ALI-ABA with Tom Goldstein (Akin Gump). The update focused primarily on the Court’s decision last term in Bell Atlantic v. Twombly and on some of the important business cases scheduled to be heard this term. Professor Hoffman also attended the monthly meeting of the Texas Supreme Court Advisory Committee, lectured on exam preparation at Baker & Botts for students in the Black Law Students Association, Hispanic Law Students Association and Asian Law Students Association, and participated in a Chairs Conference Call for the Litigation Council for the Litigation Section of the State Bar of Texas. As editor of The Advocate, the quarterly journal of the Litigation Section for the State Bar of Texas, he worked on the upcoming Winter 2007 symposium issue, which will be devoted to Jurisdiction and Venue.

Craig Joyce attended the American Society for Legal History’s convention in Phoenix as Chair of the Committee on Annual Meetings. Prof. Joyce announced that, as part of the Society’s ongoing project to internationalize the study of legal history, next year’s annual meeting will be held in Ottawa, Canada.

Rick McElvaney is co-author (with Adler, Drolla, Gray, Kennedy, Tompkins) of the O’Connor’s Texas Property Code Plus, which is now available in the new 2007-2008 edition. It was published in October 2007.

Brent Newton’s article,” Lopez v. Gonzales: A Window on the Shortcomings of the Federal Appellate Process,” will be published in the Journal of Appellate Practice & Process (Univ. of Ark. School of Law). Also, one of Prof. Newton’s cases that he is handling as an assistant federal public defender, Gonzales v. US, No.06-11612, was granted certiorari by the U.S. Supreme Court on September 25, 2007. Prof. Newton will argue the case before the Supreme Court in Washington D.C., on January 8, 2008.

Michael Olivas spoke at a number of venues in October: At SMU and University of Southern California (on local immigration ordinances), at the Weil, Gotshal & Manges law firm, Houston, (on Hernandez v. Texas), at the College Board Annual Meeting in NYC (on the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform), and at the Southwestern Association of Pre Law Advisors (on establishing pre-law programs). He also served as Moderator for the UHLC Frankel Lecture.

Jordan Paust was a panelist on a panel,” Whither Reflaut Stercus?: Criminal Prosecution in U.S. Court of U.S. Officials for Violations of International Humanitarian Law and Criminal Law,” during the annual meeting of the American Branch of the International Law Association, New York City, Oct.27, 2007.

Richard Saver presented, “Understanding the Health Care Crisis: Benchmarks of Success and Failure,” at a Houston community forum on health care featuring Dr. Joycelyn Elders, former Surgeon General of the United States. The event was part of Congregation Emanu El’s distinguished speaker series, If not Now When…Five Critical Issues For All Time.

Sandra Guerra Thompson signed a contract to co-author a book with Prof. Susan R. Klein (UT Law) that will be published by Stanford University Press. The book will be titled, “Politics, Impartiality, and the U.S. Department of Justice: A Historical Account of the Role of the Justice Department in a Complex Federal System of Government.” It will be published in 2008.

Diana Velardo presented at the Mountain West Regional Clinical Conference in San Diego on “Best Clinical Practices of Student Recognition.” Diana was also a guest speaker at the Harris County Hospital District VIVA Domestic Violence Conference. The presentation was an overview on human trafficking, domestic violence, special immigrant juvenile and crime victim’s relief for undocumented immigrants.

Greg Vetter submitted his article, “Claiming Copyleft in Open Source Software: What if the Free Software Foundation’s General Public License(GPL) Had Been Patented?” which is to be published by the Michigan State Law Review in conjunction with a symposium issue devoted to historical counterfactual analysis of intellectual property and cyberlaw. He presented the topic, Software Intellectual Property Protection in a Network Environment, on November 5 as part of the University of St. Gallen Postgraduate Program Executive M.B.L. – HSG hosted by the University of Texas at Austin. The Executive Masters in European and International Business Law (M.B.L.-HSG) is a postgraduate law course of study by the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland, one of the top European universities for the study of European and International Business Law.

Jacqueline Weaver spoke to the Princeton Committee of Foreign Relations in Princeton, N.J. on, “The Future of the Traditional Hydrocarbon-based Economy,” on October 18.

Stephen Zamora was a speaker on a panel of the International Law Weekend sponsored by the American Branch of the International Law Association, held at the City Bar of New York on October 27. The title of the panel was,” Is the IMF Just a Twin of the Much-Criticized World Bank or Does it Have New Direction and Functions?”