TIP SHEET: U.Va. Law School Experts on Supreme Court Decisions

May 30, 2008 — The following University of Virginia Law School faculty members can offer expertise regarding upcoming U.S. Supreme Court decisions:

CASE: District of Columbia v. Heller: This case is a Second Amendment challenge to Washington, D.C.’s handgun ban.

EXPERT: A. E. Dick Howard is an expert in the fields of constitutional law, comparative constitutionalism and the Supreme Court. Howard was executive director of the commission that wrote Virginia's current constitution. He clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo L. Black. He can be reached at (434) 924-3097 or aedh@virginia.edu.


Boumediene v. Bush (and Al Odah v. United States): These cases involve Guantanamo Bay detainees and whether the Military Commissions Acts of 2006 properly stripped detainees of the ability to bring habeas petitions in federal court.

Munaf v. Geren:
This case deals with whether federal courts have jurisdiction to hear habeas petitions filed by American citizens being held by the military in Iraq.

Dada v. Mukasey:
This is an immigration case regarding the proper course of action when someone is granted voluntary departure by the attorney general, but then seeks to reopen his or her immigration case based on new evidence.

Philippines v. Pimentel: This is a Ferdinand Marcos assets case regarding whether an American federal court could order the payout of assets in the Philipines without that country’s participation in the case.

EXPERT: David Martin is a former general counsel of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (1995-99) and a former clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr. He specializes in immigration and refugee law, presidential powers, international human rights and constitutional law. He can be reached at (434) 924-3144 or dam3r@virginia.edu.

CASE: Boumediene v. Bush (and Al Odah v. United States) See above.

EXPERT: Deena Hurwitz is the director of the Law School’s Human Rights Program and the International Human Rights Clinic. She can be reached at (434) 924-4776 or deena@virginia.edu.

CASE: Indiana v. Edwards: This case deals with what degree of competency criminal defendants must show to be able to represent themselves at trial.

EXPERT: Mark Stancil argued this case before the U.S. Supreme Court. He is an instructor with the Law School’s Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, which represented Edwards in his appeal to the Supreme Court. He is also a practicing lawyer with Robbins, Russell, Englert, Orseck, Untereiner & Sauber in Washington, D.C., and can be reached at mstancil@robbinsrussell.com or (202) 775-4520.

Kennedy v. Louisiana: This case centers on the constitutionality of a Louisiana law allowing the death penalty for the crime of child rape.

Anne Coughlin’s primary research and teaching interests are in the areas of criminal law, criminal procedure and investigation, rape and feminist jurisprudence. Coughlin clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr. She can be reached at amc6z@virginia.edu or (434) 924-3520.


Exxon Shipping Co. v. Baker: This is an Exxon-Valdez case on the appropriate amount of punitive damages related to the 1989 oil spill.

Meacham v. Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory:
This case deals with the application of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act to employer downsizing programs.

EXPERT: George Rutherglen’s
research areas include admiralty law, employment discrimination and civil procedure. He clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justices William O. Douglas and John Paul Stevens. Rutherglen advised an amicus who submitted a brief on behalf of the plaintiffs in Exxon Shipping Co. v. Baker. He can be reached at (434) 924-7015 or gar3h@virginia.edu.

Giles v. California: This is a Sixth Amendment Confrontation Clause case on whether, when trying a murder defendant, the state must show that the motive of the murder was to make the victim unavailable to testify in order to introduce statements by the victim.

EXPERT: Darryl Brown teaches criminal law, criminal adjudication and evidence, and is a former public defender. He can be reached at brownd@virginia.edu or (434) 924-3547.


Indiana v. Edwards See above.

Davis v. Federal Election Commission: This case questions the constitutionality of a provision of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law allowing candidates facing rich opponents who are financing their own campaigns to accept higher contributions than usual.

EXPERT: Dan Ortiz specializes in a variety of legal subjects, including election law, campaign finance reform, affirmative action and constitutional law. Ortiz, who clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr., also teaches the Law School’s Supreme Court Litigation Clinic. He can be reached at dortiz@virginia.edu or (434) 924-3127. He will be out of the office between June 5 and June 23.

For assistance in reaching individuals, contact, Mary M. Wood, (434) 924-3786 or mwood@virginia.edu or Rob Seal, (434) 981-9345 or rs7gr@virginia.edu.