Law School 'January-Term' attracts top legal scholars

Public lectures will be offered on Saturday, January 11

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Beverly A. Creamer, 808-389-5736
Media Consultant, Law School
Posted: Jan 8, 2014

The William S. Richardson School of Law’s acclaimed “January Term” will again feature renowned legal scholars from across the nation as well as an Hawai‘i Supreme Court Justice to teach a week of specialized law courses. This year the topics they will cover include thorny issues in ocean litigation, race and law in the civil rights movement, refugee and asylum law, the intricacies of the Hawai‘i Constitution, and court oversight of elections.

Instructors for the week-long series of seminars that begin January 6 include Harvard Law School Professor Kenneth W. Mack, who is the Richardson Law School’s Frank Boas Harvard Visiting Professor for 2014.

Boas, who passed away last March, was a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School who generously supported the Richardson Law School in many endeavors.  He initiated the Boas professorship to support the visit of a Harvard law professor each year as the Frank Boas Professor, knowing that both Harvard and the University of Hawai’i gain much from the visit.

Another highlight of  “J-Term” is that the Honorable Simeon R. Acoba, Jr., Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Hawai‘i, has volunteered to teach about Criminal Procedure protections and the Hawai‘i Constitution, though the Law School is not allowed to pay him for his service.

The Wallace S. Fujiyama Distinguished Visiting Professor Fund supports many of the other J-Term professors, who include: Michelle McKinley, Professor of Law at the University of Oregon School of Law; Richard H. Pildes, Professor of Law at New York University School of Law; and Steve Roady, Staff Attorney for Earthjustice in Washington D.C.

Richardson Law School Dean Avi Soifer notes that the J-Term seminars, now in their 10th year, are an “intellectual bonus” for UH Law School students and introduce them to an exciting array of experts teaching subjects that students might not otherwise encounter during the regular semester.

“We are very pleased to host an outstanding group of visiting scholars, as well as one of our own Justices this year,” said Soifer. “By giving up a little vacation time between semesters, Richardson students have a unique opportunity to explore alternative legal fields with some of the very top people in the country and Hawai‘i.”

Dean Soifer added:  “In line with its mission to serve the community, Richardson Law School is also delighted to share these distinguished visitors with the public by making their two-hour classes on Saturday, Jan. 11, open to the public.”

Interested members of the community are welcome to observe these open classes, which will be held at the Law School throughout the day on Saturday. The schedule:

8:30 a.m. -10:30 a.m.: Refugee and Asylum Law (Prof. McKinley) (Classroom 3)

10:40 a.m. -12:40 p.m.: Race and Law in the Civil Rights Movement (Prof. Mack) (Classroom 3)

3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.: The Law of Elections, Democracy & Politics (Prof. Pildes) (Classroom 3)

5:10 p.m. - 7:10 p.m.:  Construing the Hawaiʻi Constitution: Criminal Procedure Protections (Justice Acoba) (Classroom 2)

5:10 p.m. – 7:10 p.m.:  Strategic Ocean Litigation (Mr. Roady) (Classroom 3)


Details about the courses and instructors:

  • Law 546C:  “The Law of Elections, Democracy, and Politics,” taught by Prof. Pildes, will cover the law that structures democratic politics and the processes of democracy, with a focus on constitutional law. The course will include material about contemporary legal issues and the role of courts in overseeing democratic processes, including issues from the 2012 presidential election and the Supreme Court’s decision last Term to hold unconstitutional part of the Voting Rights Act. Prof. Pildes is an expert on such topics as the Voting Rights Act, alternative voting systems and the history of disenfranchisement in the U.S. He was nominated with the NBC News Team for an Emmy Award for coverage of the 2000 Presidential election litigation. His prestigious career includes clerking for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.
  • Law 546E: “Race and the Law in the Civil Rights Movement,” taught by Prof. Mack, will look at ways the civil rights movement was essentially a struggle over law and the role of lawyers. Among other things, the course will look at the relationship between law and the construction of racial identity, as well as the relationship between civil rights lawyers and the communities they claim to represent, plus the appropriateness of the civil rights movement as a model for other movements struggling for equality. Prof. Mack is the inaugural Lawrence Biele Professor of Law at Harvard and co-faculty leader of the Harvard Law School Program on Law and History. His 2012 book “Representing the Race: The Creation of the Civil Rights Lawyer,” was selected as a Top-50 Non-Fiction Book of the year by The Washington Post, and received an honorable mention for the J. Willard Hurst Award by the Law and Society Association. He is also co-editor of the 2013 book “The New Black: What Has Changed – And What Has Not – With Race in America.” He is a sought-after opinion columnist for national television and print media outlets.
  • Law 546F: “Refugee and Asylum Law,” taught by Prof. McKinley, will look at the way nation-states receive and care for innocent victims of larger man-made or natural disasters that cause millions to seek refuge beyond their borders. It will introduce students to basic concepts in Humanitarian law, Public International Law, and the Law of Human Rights. Prof. McKinley is the Bernard B. Kliks Professor of Law at the University of Oregon School of Law and previously served as the Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development. She has published extensively on globalization, public international law, legal history, in particular the law of slavery.
  • Law 546G: “Strategic Ocean Litigation,” taught by Earthjustice Attorney Roady, will explore how law can be used to help ensure the sustainability of ocean and coastal ecosystems.  It will look at cases and materials that reflect the manner in which governments use, manage, and protect these ecosystems. It also will cover the challenges that threaten ocean and coastal ecosystems, including pollution, land development, overfishing, and climate change. Roady is Managing Attorney for Oceans at Earthjustice, a public interest law firm with nine offices across the country. He focuses on ocean conservation, ecosystem protection and related environmental issues. He has worked on ocean policy and litigation since 1998, when he launched the Ocean Law Project at Earthjustice. From 2001-02 he was the first president of Oceana, a non-profit, international ocean conservation organization initiated by the Pew Charitable Trusts.
  • Law 546J: “Construing the Hawai‘i Constitution: Criminal Procedure Protections,” taught by Associate Justice Acoba, will scrutinize the state constitution, its origins, and meaning. Associate Justice Acoba was sworn in to the Hawai‘i high court on May 19, 2000. Previously he served as a judge of the Hawai’i Intermediate Court of Appeals from May 26, 1994 to May 18, 2000. He is a 1962 graduate of Farrington High School; received his BA from the University of Hawai‘i in 1966; and his law degree from Northwestern University Law School in 1969. After law school he served as a law clerk to Chief Justice Richardson before joining UH as a special assistant to the president. In 1979, he was appointed by CJ Richardson as a per diem judge in the District Court of the First Circuit. In 1980, he was elevated to the Circuit Court of the First Circuit, where he served until his appointment to the Intermediate Court of Appeals.

For more information, visit the Law School web site: