Tuesday morning, bright and early, which is ironic after being up all night debating politics in the lobby bar, was Ann Killenbeck‘s presentation. She was on the New Scholars Workshop panel #6 on constitutional law and her talk was on diversity. Her thesis is that legal institutions need to do a better job of supporting the concept that diversity makes an important difference in the classroom and in legal education. She noted that there were flaws in a number of the studies presented to the Supreme Court and suggested that there was a need for additional research on that issue. She also pointed to the fact that there is pressure from the citizens of states where there have been referenda or valid initiative to do away with affirmative action and so the need to justify and given that sentiment that law schools need to be much more deliberate and careful in terms of justifying the value of diversity in the classroom. Professor Mark Killenbeck also attended the session as well.

Other members of Prof. Ann Killenbeck’s panel were Professor Anthony Schutz, University of Nebraska, who spoke on “The Dormant Commerce Clause Doctrine: Policing States’ Legislative Purposes in the Shadow of the Federal Commerce Power” and Prof. Mark Killenbeck provided him with some helpful questions and guidance on his paper. Professor Gilda Daniels from the University of Baltimore who spoke on “Voter Deception” which was a fascinating paper. If you have an interest in that, I would watch for that paper when it comes into print. And then Professor Ani Satz from Emory who spoke on “‘Equal Protection’ for animals.” The purpose of the New Scholars Workshop is to allow new scholars to vet their research and to get helpful comments and feedback from audience members so as you might imagine at a resort hotel in Florida at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, it was really neat that there were so many people in the audience to provide that guidance. The way the SEALS works is that each new scholar who is presenting a paper gets a mentor and they get very extensive comments from their mentor and the mentor may or may not be in the audience, I’ve seen the panels run different ways, but then the rest of the audience offers helpful encouragement and guidance as well. It’s a really good conference for new scholars. By the way, Professor Anthony Schutz from Nebraska has a real interest in working with other scholars in the agricultural law area and a very strong interest in that area so we need to have him meet our own (if he hasn’t) Professors Schneider and Kelley.

The next sessions began at 10:15 a.m. and one of the nice things about this conference was there were little break snacks in between the sessions which was kind of nice, so there was coffee and fruit which was really healthy and in the afternoons they had not so healthy ice cream bar snacks, but the fruit was also available along with ice tea and lemonade. It was just a nice touch.

Anyway, at 10:15 a.m. I attend the panel on “Domestic Immigration Law.” The panelists presenting at that session were Leticia Saucedo of UNLV, Ruben Garcia from Cal. Western, Richard Rosen of Texas Tech and Molly Beutz of New York Law School.

The first was “Union vs. Immigrant Worker Perceptions of Obstacles to Organizing in the Workplace,” by Leticia Saucedo of UNLV and as you might imagine that was a pretty interesting paper. Leticia’s paper was very interesting and it was talking about how workers perceive themselves and how they are perceived by others and how that gets in the way of union organizing, that sort of disconnect. I thought that was pretty interesting. There was some gendered and class components to her paper. Really she’s bringing together a lot of the literature indifferent areas under her topic.

Next was “Marginal Workers: How Legal Fault Lines Divide Workers and Leave Them Without Protection,” by Ruben Garcia from Cal. Western. He talked about, and I think this is really interesting, how there are people who fall between the cracks of different statutes and why that’s important and why it matters and who those people are. That was an important paper and interesting as well.

It was followed by “Targeting Enemy Forces in a War on Terror: Preserving Civilian Combatant Immunity,” by Professor Richard Rosen of Texas Tech. His paper was talking about the problems with protecting civilians and how in war there are groups that use civilians as shields and how the Geneva Protocol is not quite protecting them. I sort of got that one, but not quite as much. And last was “Citizen Activism: Peer Production of Human Rights Reporting,” by Professor Molly Beutz of New York Law School and her paper was pretty interesting, too. Having worked on the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission and we worked with the Inter-transactional Justice. We talked a lot about human rights reporting and the models that are used and Professor Beutz was trying to figure out a way to get more grass roots input but still not lose the credibility that you have when an Non-Governmaental Organization goes out and gathers that data, so that was pretty interesting.

After that, there was a one hour lunch break. At 1:00 p.m. I attended a session called “Not a Moot Point: The Nuts and Bolts of Moot Court Programs,” and I thought this was really important to attend because I know that there have been a number of discussions around our moot court program and how we might tinker with it to better serve students and also to be more forward thinking about resources in terms of both coaches and expenditures. That was a really good program and I got some good ideas. The moderator was Professor Gary Pulsinelli from Tennessee and the speakers were Lee Coppock from Stetson, Linda Jellum from Mercer, Sander Moody from Florida Coastal, and Larry Pittman from University of Mississippi. They each shared their experience around different aspects of moot court programs, for example, selecting coaches, selecting teams, the structure of the moot court board, which competitions to attend, funding, hosting regionals. It was very helpful and very interesting.

It was then back to the room again to check e-mail and return phone calls and work a little bit on polishing up my own presentation which would be on Friday. After finishing my work, I got dressed in my swimsuit and a cover up and walked about two miles down the beach just for quiet and solitude and to get a little exercise and sun and sat down on the ledge and read a novel, which I never get to do anymore and it was wonderful and then walked back and got dressed for dinner.

That evening my good friend, Mike Green, arrived who you’ve seen consistently throughout the blog and he had a rental car, so we go to dinner, I have to tell you that I don’t get to see Mike that often, but he is truly one of my dearest friends in the academy and I value our time together whenever I get to see him. We went to Charley’s Crab of Palm Beach. It was fantastic. OK, foodies, listen. If you get down this way, I highly, highly recommend this restaurant. So, the way we got there was we asked the concierge and I was trying to get away from the conference so I asked for a recommendation of an out of the way place and she sent us up there. And when we told them we were from The Ritz, they said, “Oh my, we’ll you’re gonna get the VIP treatment,” and boy did we ever. Let me tell you. The chef came out, the manager came out, the wait staff made a big fuss over us, our desserts were comped. It was awesome, but on top of all of that it has a nice view of the ocean but the food was is fantastic. So, what did I have? For appetizers we had some little asian, sort of thai influence, crab dumplings and also the best lobster bisque I’ve had in a long time. It was so rich and it had chunks of lobster in it. It was just awesome. I then had a Parmesan crusted snapper topped with jumbo lump crab and lemon shallot butter. It was so good, you guys. Mike had some, I think it was called volcano or, I’ll have to ask him, I think it was called volcano crab or something like that. It looked really good. It was kind of spicy. For dessert there was a triple chocolate cake. That’s not the name of it, but my laptop is down so I can’t get to the internet to give you the specifics, but it does have a website and we visited with the chef at length. It was just a fantastic meal and Mike is one of the most hilarious people I know. He’s very understated, so you really have to listen closely, but he’s hilarious and he’ll say these things that really crack me up and then I’ll be really laughing and he’ll be sitting there calmly just looking at me. It was just a great meal. It was good to catch up with him. He’s been promoted to Associate Dean for Research at Texas Wesleyan and I visited with him about how that transition was going as well as the fact that he now has a new dean there, Fred White, who was formally at Golden Gate in San Francisco. So, a lot going on to catch up about, a delightful meal, and great company. That was really a fun evening.