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  • Stanford Lawyer
    Issue 92 Categories Our History Back Issues Editor s Notes Contact Comments on Professor William Cohen Should Illinois Governor Cut Pensions to Lower Debt Faculty On Point Professor Buzz Thompson on the Need for Policy Changes to Foster New Water Tech and Combat Drought Students Simulate Security Crises to Learn About Legal Implications John Nys Gov Bruce Rauner has decided that allowing Illinois municipalities to declare bankruptcy is an important tool to minimize union influence and membership rates in the state Chicago which he says is in deep deep yogurt with pension obligations seems to be his primary concern The logic of reducing pension debt Michelle Wilde Anderson Professor of Law Professor Buzz Thompson discusses California s historic drought and the urgent need for policy changes that encourage real conservation better management of the state s water system and incentives to foster new water technology research Here he sites research done at Stanford as an example where new technology has been developed to In March Stanford students participated in a two day terrorism and national security simulation exercise that was hosted by the Georgetown University Law Center The event which was developed by Georgetown Professor of Law Laura Donohue JD 07 aimed to better prepare law students for difficult national security situations There is Read more Read more View more Read more From the Dean By Liz Magill Line up 100 Stanford Law School graduates and ask them about their careers You will find almost as many career paths as graduates Our grads are practicing law in firms in government agencies in nonprofits and in corporations in this country and around the globe But our graduates are also appointed or elected to office as judges ambassadors and legislators they are starting or running companies big and small they are journalists

    Original URL path: http://stanfordlawyer.law.stanford.edu/ (2015-06-08)
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  • Lawyers Leading Nonprofits « Stanford Lawyer
    Professor of Law frequently counsels students about the pros and cons of nonprofits in her role as director of the Stanford Center on the Legal Profession at SLS and the Program on Social Entrepreneurship a joint program of Stanford s Center on Democracy Development and the Rule of Law and the Haas Center on Public Service She acknowledges that a lot of the public interest jobs that they can get right out of law school are not high status But she also assures students that nonprofit careers can be rich in psychic income pointing to studies showing that the happiest lawyers are those who believe in the social value of their work In a multi decade survey of University of Michigan law school alumni for example 71 percent of lawyers in government and public interest law said they were quite positive about their careers compared with 59 percent in law firms and 63 percent in corporate legal departments Indeed public interest lawyer satisfaction rates are right up there with law professors Rhode says I just try to give my students every possible measure of support I can and tell them to be willing to take some risks Laura Weidman Powers JD MBA 10 experienced some of those trade offs firsthand in 2012 when she left a Silicon Valley high tech startup to launch CODE2040 a nonprofit aimed at boosting the low number of African American and Latino computer programmers To date the San Francisco based organization has placed 50 college students in closely mentored 10 week internships at some of Silicon Valley s best known companies including Facebook and LinkedIn Another 40 interns will be starting work this summer Powers acknowledges that her first few months as CODE2040 s CEO were rough While her new husband also a Stanford Law grad had gone to work for a traditional law firm and had a lively cohort of young colleagues she was plugging away alone first at home and then in office space donated by a friend she knew from Stanford s Graduate School of Business Now that her staff is up to 15 the social aspect of her work is much better And she loves the time she spends traveling to colleges raising public awareness and funds working out contracts with employers conferring with the organization s pro bono counsel and hand selecting clients she really respects talented young minority computer programmers from around the country One of her favorite student interns last summer was a freshman from the University of Maryland a young African American woman who was placed at Jawbone a company specializing in consumer technology and wearable devices The experience helped her realize that she loved entrepreneurship Powers says Today she has a whole network of people excited to help her break through and succeed Derek Gaubatz JD 97 is another alumnus serving people close to his heart even if they are scattered to all ends of the earth As general counsel for the Southern Baptist Convention s International Mission Board he looks out for the welfare of more than 5 000 Christian missionaries working in some of the most dangerous places on earth 150 countries in all We have a crisis action team to address situations where our people run into problems with legal authorities vigilantes or even terrorist organizations he explains He also spends time ensuring that the missionaries have the resources they need everything from food and medical supplies to startup funds for small churches and micro businesses Gaubatz s commitment to his religion deepened during the summer after his freshman year in college when he survived a horrific automobile accident in England He went to law school hoping for a career that would combine his faith and law After graduating from Stanford Law he started out clerking for the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals He then became director of litigation at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty a nonprofit legal and educational institute that works to protect the free expression of all faiths He was inspired to become a member of the Southern Baptist s Mission Board in 2007 after joining a Baptist church in Washington D C and serving on his own short term mission in central Asia Gaubatz says he enjoys the intellectual side of his work traveling to remote places at least two months a year and digging into complex problems involving legal systems around the world He also gets personal satisfaction out of helping others who share his worldview In litigation if you win a case that s exciting he reflects But the real heroes in this organization are the people out in the field There s an expression that we use in the missions Holding the ropes It goes back to the days of coal mines when miners were let down into the dark pits I think of myself as holding the legal ropes for those out there who are risking their lives The reward he says is sleeping well at night knowing that I m always acting consistently with my values On a warm spring evening in Oakland California the neatly uniformed eighth graders at KIPP Bridge Charter School are putting in some extra time on their math homework The weekday support sessions at this free public charter middle school along with an intensive two week summer program are hard work but the results clearly are worth it More than 80 percent of KIPP s students have gone on to college compared with 45 percent of low income students nationally KIPP Bridge is one of 162 KIPP schools in 20 states and Washington D C preparing students in underserved communities for success in college Nolan Highbaugh JD 00 is general counsel for the KIPP Foundation a nonprofit based in San Francisco which among other things recruits and trains school leaders to open and operate KIPP schools evaluates school performance and facilitates the exchange of effective practices across the KIPP schools network If you had asked me when I

    Original URL path: http://stanfordlawyer.law.stanford.edu/2015/05/lawyers-leading-nonprofits/ (2015-06-08)
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  • Post 9/11 Civil Liberties « Stanford Lawyer
    didn t do that Historically the ACLU has usually been in the right place but not always There were moments when we have gone along to get along and we ve regretted that One of my predecessors was too close for comfort to J Edgar Hoover and we purged Communists from our board including Elizabeth Gurley Flynn and we shared minutes of our board meetings with FBI agents it was seen as a necessary accommodation to Hoover s aggression I d like to think that we learned a lesson from that sad chapter Rhode So you had to calibrate the response taking into account this national tragedy Romero Yes I think we could have been too shrill and too extreme to be taken seriously I remember early on getting some blowback from my constituents that I was being a little too patriotic The annual report in 2002 had the American flag on the cover and some thought it was too nationalistic So there was some ambivalence about wrapping ourselves in the flag but I was saying No no We have to wrap ourselves in the flag we re not going to relinquish the flag to anyone else In my first week in this job after 9 11 I put out an email to all of the staff all over the country asking that they refrain from talking about civil liberties violations I said the focus needed to be on the 3 000 Americans who were killed so I didn t want our people out there crying about the civil liberties onslaught that we expected to come I thought it important to meet our client the country where it was So I said keep your powder dry and stay quiet We ll mourn the loss of life and as soon as they start changing laws or policies or programs that have an adverse effect on civil liberties then we ll go full guns Here I think we mostly got it right The Great Recession was another big challenge with lots of difficult decisions Rhode Yes tell us about navigating the ACLU through the Great Recession Anthony Romero JD 90 Photo courtesy by ACLU Romero The market meltdown in 2007 2008 2009 was a nightmare I m a CEO at the end of the day and so the mission and the values will get you only so far if you don t have the money to actually turn them into programs Some of our donors were going bankrupt contributions were down and income streams were not what they used to be So we had to do some very difficult rounds of reductions in staff and cutting of expenses I like to build the organization I don t like to take it apart But those are necessary decisions when we have to be here for today to have this thing powered and still be here 100 years from now And we will be No one can imagine Harvard or Stanford or Princeton shuttering its doors right As long as we have an America we re going to have a Stanford Well it s the same with the ACLU We ve been here for 95 years This is not an organization where we re ever going to be able to announce Mission accomplished We re done So we have to have the commitment to do the work today but we must also have the long view to keep the staying power and the vibrancy to endure for the next 100 years Rhode You ve said you re proud of the ACLU s decision to represent Edward Snowden Do you think that whistleblowers who break the law should ever be punished Romero I think we need to see whistleblowers as an essential part of a system of checks and balances That s not to say that everyone should get a blank check and be able to break the law whenever he or she feels like it but we should be able to contextualize the reasons people step forward and release information that would otherwise remain secret and understand the context of it So you have to look at these case by case And I think you want to do it on the inverse of how we re currently approaching it that we have to look at what public good has been accomplished when a whistleblower steps forward In any institution it sometimes takes the courage of whistleblowers to uncover wrong whether they re whistleblowers working in a factory plant and discover unsafe working conditions or whistleblowers who step forward and talk about a hostile work environment and sexual harassment or whistleblowers who uncover wrongdoing in the government Rhode You called Snowden a patriot Why Romero You know Ed Snowden stepped forward after watching many years of litigation and advocacy play out to no effect It wasn t that we discovered the NSA or the surveillance issues once we got the first tranche of Snowden s documents We knew that these issues were a problem for our democracy We had some indication we had some evidence and we had a great deal of doubt It was only after he stepped forward however that we could substantively engage the legal issues For instance before Snowden we brought two different lawsuits one went all the way up to the Supreme Court challenging the surveillance programs but we got kicked out because we didn t have standing So it s a catch 22 How do you have standing in a court to challenge secret surveillance if you don t know if you re the subject of the secret surveillance The very first document that Snowden revealed the very first one fixed my standing problem It was not by happenstance Now I m actually asserting some of the same arguments on the surveillance filing the Fourth Amendment and Fifth Amendment but I can get it over the procedural hurdles Rhode So the government knew you had standing but it took Snowden for it to be acknowledged Romero You know the government knew full well that we and our clients had standing to challenge the lawsuit we just couldn t prove it And so it was only with the revelation of an Ed Snowden that we could prove we had standing Whereas the government knew all the time Well these guys do have standing They just can t prove it so we re just gonna knock them out of court We have to rethink the system When all the cards are in the government s hands there s got to be some kind of mechanism that allows civil society to come forward with bona fide well thought out cases to proceed I believe that when prosecutors have exculpatory evidence against a defendant they have an affirmative obligation to turn over the exculpatory evidence They don t get to keep it secret and go ahead and try and convict the person And something of that same kind of doctrine has to be evolved in a national security context Rhode You said in a Boston Globe article that the most divisive case that the ACLU has worked on under your leadership is assisting the legal defense of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay Romero Yes Rhode That case seems very consistent with the ACLU s history of defending unpopular defendants What made this litigation so controversial Romero You re talking about the most infamous criminal defendants in modern American history including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed And when you say we re going to spend a million dollars a year to bolster the defense team defending the most notorious criminal defendant in the country that inspires a lot of ire I get these questions from liberals Why are you spending millions of dollars to defend the most high value detainees There are only five of them You should spend that fighting for the detainees at Rikers or L A County Men s Jail instead And what I say is that the reason I think it s incredibly important that we focus on Gitmo is that these are the most notorious crimes and we have totally jerry rigged the system to ensure conviction We re not using our tried and true justice system or the military system or the civilian court or the Article Three court system We ve not resourced the defense functions properly they re the most hated of criminal defendants and the policies and decisions that led to the torture arrests detention and adjudication of these defendants have been set by the highest levels of our government Torture happens at Rikers but it s not with the White House Office of Legal Counsel as its architects However the architects of the torture of the most high value detainees happened in the West Wing in the highest branch of the government That for me kind of leapfrogs it into an injustice of enormous gravity given the protagonists who were involved RELATED LINKS Watch Anthony Romero answer the question Is the ACLU a liberal organization Watch Anthony Romero discuss his disappointments with Obama s presidency Rhode Do you think Guantanamo can be closed How do we move on from this legacy of what you ve called a human rights free zone Romero Guantanamo can certainly be closed President Bush didn t seek congressional approval in opening Guantanamo And President Obama has the executive power to close it should he wish to exercise it and fight a separation of powers lawsuit The ability to decide whom to prosecute when and for what crime is exclusively reserved for the executive branch That means Obama chooses not to run the gauntlet not to pick the separation of powers argument but one exists We briefed it we ve presented it to the administration and the administration just chose not to upset the apple cart The closure of Guantanamo the power to do it exists but the political will appears lacking RFK Robert F Kennedy did not ask the permission of members of Congress or the Chicago City Council or the Chicago mayor when he went after Hoffa It s not how the justice system works The executive branch and the Department of Justice exclusively have that prerogative And here the president has put both hands behind his back allows Congress to tie his hands and then decries the fact that his hands have been tied He s been equally as complicit in allowing his hands to be tied He chooses to allow them to be tied It s ironic He has invoked the prosecutorial discretion to say I m not going to deport these four million immigrants who can stay in this country I m gonna give them work visas He has totally used the executive prosecutorial discretion the executive branch of powers to grant immigrants greater rights He could use that same prosecutorial discretion of executive rights to close Gitmo and get the defendants in federal court One gets him votes the other gets him no votes in fact it might hurt him politically which is why he hasn t moved on Gitmo Rhode Can you talk about another controversial case your amicus brief in the Citizens United litigation supporting unrestricted campaign expenditures by corporations as a form of constitutionally protected political speech Did you worry about the consequences of allowing wealthy corporations such power in the political process Romero Sure So our brief in Citizens United and the opinion in Citizens United really are two different things with the decision opening the floodgates for corporations to contribute directly into the coffers of the political candidates If you go back and look at our brief we ultimately did argue that the film on Hillary Clinton Hillary The Movie a film critical of Clinton produced by Citizens United Productions and released in 2008 should not be banned by the campaign finance restrictions that were otherwise going to be invoked So we made a more narrow argument that the film was the prime example of political speech that it was political speech when it matters most around an election and that it was important that the political speech be heard And I think it s important to say that this is an issue that has roiled my organization for the 15 years I ve been here and at least the preceding 15 There s no other issue that has been more debated by my board than this one And I think everyone on our side believes that money can have a corrupting influence And that there s something fundamentally wrong with the role that money plays in our political system And that often it s the concern about how to remedy it And then I should say that after the Citizens United Supreme Court case my board decided to revise its position on campaign finance and now accepts reasonable limits on both campaign contributions and expenditures Deborah Rhode is a prolific scholar whose books often have popular appeal Rhode What are your thoughts on a fix for Citizens United Romero We re trying to find a new way to deal with the corrupting influence of money in the political sphere and lamentably there is no easy fix for the Citizens United problem The only way to fix Citizens United would be with another Supreme Court case which is not going to make much difference with the same composition of the Supreme Court or through a constitutional amendment process which we don t believe is the right way to approach it at this moment If we try to amend the First Amendment right now in this political climate with this Congress we ll end up with a weaker round of First Amendment protections I think for us in the end we need to think creatively about what solutions will help address the money and politics problem I think greater disclosure and I certainly think greater strictures and the taxing of big players in the political sphere We can look to possibly the nonprofit IRS statutes as an example the excise taxes that are placed on foundations the limits on political speech in C3s the prohibitions on electoral activity on C4s What s unusual now is that all of these restrictions exist in the nonprofit world but they don t exist in the super PAC 527s or the for profit world And I think we need to kind of use some of the same restrictions that are in place in the nonprofit sphere as a way to harness it in the for profit sphere All of this is new thinking that we re now just engaged in Rhode At the helm of the ACLU you have a lot of important decisions to make where to put resources how to cut them in a recession how to calibrate responses after a national tragedy and during wartime etc What have been the biggest challenges during your tenure at the ACLU Romero I think cynicism and fear are our two biggest challenges Fear that we won t get it right and cynicism that there s nothing we can do to change it And the only real antidote to fear and cynicism is hope and optimism We can t build a more perfect union based on fear and cynicism I think the greatest challenge is right now in the Obama years It s ironic but we had no problem convincing people of the importance of civil liberties and civil rights in the Bush years That was a moment when people got it and people reacted Somehow a quiet acquiescence has enveloped the folks who were previously enraged motivated and engaged now they are a bit more complacent maybe a little more cynical Rhode It is ironic And you ve said that if anything the situation has worsened under the Obama administration that since you ve been in this position you ve seen the rise of anti democratic politics and policies with the rule of law in peril Can you talk about that a bit more Romero You know I think on the positive side of Obama s legacy there s been enormous progress in LGBT rights there s been an effort to reinvigorate civil rights enforcement and the president has certainly been better than his predecessor on a right to choice and reproductive rights My big concern with Obama s legacy is in the context of national security where this is a president who continues to use the Guantanamo military commissions to prosecute individuals for the 9 11 attacks a system that is not working will never work and should never be used Right And yet he persists in using it The president inherited and then grew expansively the use of drones It s a breath taking use of executive power when the president of the United States uses the full fury of the Defense Department to go after an American citizen without any mediating institution for death outside the specter of the battlefield So when he went after Anwar al Awlaki and we killed Awlaki and then called his 16 year old son collateral consequences that was just too far to discount in this Yemen was not an active battlefield You don t get to send the Department of Defense hunting the head of a U S citizen without some kind of legitimate adjudicative process This is a president that not withstanding his rhetoric around transparency and accountability has invoked the state secrets privilege and has targeted more whistleblowers for prosecution than any prior president Rhode The tale of two presidents Romero Yes indeed I think you have this tale of two legacies On the one hand you have a president who has championed rights and opportunities that affect millions of Americans and real constituents On the other hand he s been the defender of policies that he inherited and amplified that have enormous implications for the rule of law generally The only way I can square

    Original URL path: http://stanfordlawyer.law.stanford.edu/2015/05/post-911-civil-liberties/ (2015-06-08)
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  • Gabriela Franco Parcella: From GC to CEO, Leading Mellon Capital « Stanford Lawyer
    excelled academically and attended the University of Texas at Austin where she studied accounting and received a master s degree She found that she enjoyed the regulatory side of accounting most so set her sights on law Parcella arrived at Stanford Law School clear about her goals if somewhat hesitant When I first got to Stanford frankly it was pretty intimidating she says Coming from a big state school and having this idea that I was going to be a tax lawyer which wasn t that common I really wasn t sure how I would fit in Two professors helped ease the transition says Parcella Barbara Babcock was so welcoming to new students she made us feel like we were going to be fine and we could succeed in this challenging academic environment And when I met Barbara Fried who is a tax lawyer I thought Okay I can do this too Law degree in hand Parcella followed her planned career path accepting an associate position with Orrick LLP where she practiced tax law for three years She might have stayed on that course but was intrigued by an invitation to join the in house legal team at Mellon Capital What she found there didn t fit neatly into the popular notion of the financial industry I was impressed with the diversity of the leadership team she says Out of the six people I interviewed with three were women I couldn t believe it That was in 1997 when there weren t that many senior women at law firms particularly in tax And I liked the team oriented culture at Mellon Capital I could see myself a part of it She dove into her new job developing a deep understanding of the details of deals and regulatory risks But she also went further From the start as a junior lawyer I took a real interest in understanding our clients and their investment strategies perhaps more than some lawyers I would sit with our portfolio managers and ask them to explain the investments to me she says Parcella also saw an opportunity to learn something new investment law When I first started at Mellon Capital it was a much smaller company and no one felt really constrained by a job description so I probably did more than what you would consider typical for a junior lawyer or general counsel more in terms of making sure that I understood the business side of the work which I found was very enjoyable she says RELATED LINKS Listen to Parcella discuss Mellon Capital on Bloomberg Radio s The Hays Advantage There were though key adjustments Parcella had to make regarding the way she thought through things as an in house attorney At a law firm you re talking to lawyers all the time so there are lawyer to lawyer conversations with everyone getting the jargon even in shorthand But when you re in house you have to understand how the law applies to the

    Original URL path: http://stanfordlawyer.law.stanford.edu/2015/05/gabriela-franco-parcella-from-gc-to-ceo-leading-mellon-capital/ (2015-06-08)
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  • Applying Psychology to Tax Law—and Legal Education « Stanford Lawyer
    providing information on emotional issues and treatments is often helpful He collaborated with Barbara Fried the William W and Gertrude H Saunders Professor of Law at Stanford and Ian Ayres the William K Townsend Professor of Law at Yale to design a two hour course for first year law students The course presents anxiety from a CBT perspective and describes some CBT techniques for reducing anxiety In the first hour the professor asks students to think of a situation that might raise their anxiety The classic scenario is being cold called and flubbing the answer says Bankman So Barbara or Ian might say to the students Imagine that I call on you and you blow it Once the anxiety inducing situation has been recreated the professor asks the students to immediately record and report their negative thoughts and the counterproductive behaviors that might follow as a result For instance Bankman says a student might think I don t belong in law school or Everyone is going to think I m an idiot The behavioral response in turn might be I m not going to speak again unless forced to or I m going to go out and get drunk The professor then assigns the students 10 pages of reading about anxiety and depression that focus on dealing with negative thoughts and counterproductive behavior A week later during the second hour the professor gives the students an anonymized typed list of the thoughts and behaviors that the students reported in the first class and the group discusses techniques for combating them Hearing that other people experience similar thoughts in the same situation helps normalize the feelings of anxiety says Bankman And hearing the wisdom of the herd is invaluable in encouraging more positive behavioral responses Finally the professor challenges the students to use one of the cognitive or behavioral coping techniques before the end of the quarter Students then report whether they have done so and whether they experienced any diminution in their anxiety levels Fried and Ayres have offered the program on a voluntary basis twice over the past two years Fried to her students in first year Contracts and Ayres to Yale s first year class of approximately 200 students and the student response has been overwhelmingly positive As one student put it More than anything I loved the opportunity to see that everyone else is feeling the same thing and to talk openly about something I ve thought about a ton but never discussed with anyone One hundred percent of Fried s 27 students who evaluated the program in 2013 agreed that it should be offered again And when Fried followed up with her students a year and a half later they reported using the techniques not only in law school but also in their daily lives This was exactly the result that Bankman had hoped for If we can expose students to useful anxiety reducing techniques when they enter law school they ll have a much greater

    Original URL path: http://stanfordlawyer.law.stanford.edu/2015/05/applying-psychology-to-tax-law-and-legal-education/ (2015-06-08)
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  • Making a Difference, Behind the Scenes « Stanford Lawyer
    s Antitrust Division which had become understaffed after losses due to sequestration and budget cuts I am working hard to integrate and train a whole new generation of attorneys economists and paralegals We are in the midst of the biggest hiring bubble in antitrust As such Baer will leave his mark on generations of antitrust public servants We hire smart then we invest in training and mentoring of individuals who will continue in public service This is the most challenging and rewarding thing I have done in my life Meanwhile Hendry took an entirely different path into public service Growing up abroad and in university settings Hendry always believed she would work internationally or as an academic After undergraduate studies at Radcliffe College she served in the Peace Corps in Senegal It was during this time that her interest in the law took hold as she began to understand how it could be used as an instrument of social change She arrived at Stanford during a heady time when enrollment of women was on the rise and tenure track women such as Professor Barbara Babcock were finally joining the faculty Hendry embraced everything Stanford Law had to offer studying with some of what she fondly remembers as the best taking Professor Paul Brest s seminar on the constitutional aspects of equality and Babcock s clinical course on gender discrimination Hendry recalls being encouraged to ask questions and to speak her mind essential training for all lawyers During one special meeting that Babcock had arranged with Justice Lewis Powell and the 12 clinic students Hendry recalls I asked Justice Powell about Geduldig v Aiello a 1974 equal protection case seeking to have pregnancy discrimination treated under the law as sex discrimination Hendry was intrigued by a footnote that stated a denial of benefits for work loss for pregnant women was not gender based discrimination because the category of non pregnant persons included both men and women I asked him what it meant He paused a bit and then responded Did we really say that He mentioned the exchange later at a meeting with the larger student body and went on to comment briefly on the decision Hendry says After law school graduation Hendry joined Wald Harkrader and Ross in D C lured by its commitment to pro bono and its treatment of women I had interviewed almost exclusively with government agencies but the firm practiced law in a way that stood out says Hendry She focused on antitrust and trade regulation law but handled matters in other fields as well Hendry next worked at the Department of Education but later jumped to a post with national exposure as vice president deputy general counsel and assistant corporate secretary of PBS the Public Broadcasting Service She served there from 1981 to 1995 during a very dynamic time that saw increased criticism of some of PBS s programming which threatened to compromise its government funding She negotiated a large acquisition of the public television

    Original URL path: http://stanfordlawyer.law.stanford.edu/2015/05/making-a-difference-behind-the-scenes/ (2015-06-08)
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  • Should Illinois Governor Cut Pensions to Lower Debt? « Stanford Lawyer
    leaders in both cities decided in the end that it would not be a good idea to cut too deeply into their pension commitments Why First in Detroit it became apparent that the city had few fat cats on the pension rolls Indeed cuts to pension income would sink hundreds of city retirees below the poverty line This was a painful humanitarian reality but so too was it an economic one When a city comes out of bankruptcy it must be able to keep up with its obligations under its bankruptcy plan More concentrated local poverty would harm the city s people as well as its bank account A second main argument against cutting pension benefits showed up in Stockton Officials there determined that cutting benefits would make the city uncompetitive for hiring public employees especially police That was a hard pill to swallow for a city with a troubling crime rate and no cash to spare on competitive wages The cities did not spare retirees entirely to be sure Instead of cutting pension payments both cities canceled pension health care benefits These cuts were extremely painful to retirees but in the end they were politically and morally preferable to the alternatives for one reason The Affordable Care Act was there as a safety net The ACA provides that even an ailing 85 year old retiree is able to find some kind of health care coverage With the ACA on the chopping block both at the Supreme Court and with Congress will that safety net still be there if Illinois cities file for bankruptcy The reality of pensions in city bankruptcy is much more about fiscal facts and humanitarian imperatives than Rauner s partisan anti union rancor might suggest The decision to preserve most pension payments but rely on the

    Original URL path: http://stanfordlawyer.law.stanford.edu/2015/06/should-rauner-cut-pensions-to-lower-debt/ (2015-06-08)
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  • Faculty On Point | Professor Buzz Thompson on the Need for Policy Changes to Foster New Water Tech and Combat Drought « Stanford Lawyer
    Back Issues Editor s Notes Contact See It Hear It Faculty On Point Professor Buzz Thompson on the Need for Policy Changes to Foster New Water Tech and Combat Drought April 9 2015 Professor Buzz Thompson discusses California s historic drought and the urgent need for policy changes that encourage real conservation better management of the state s water system and incentives to foster new water technology research Here he

    Original URL path: http://stanfordlawyer.law.stanford.edu/2015/04/faculty-on-point-professor-buzz-thompson-on-the-need-for-policy-changes-to-foster-new-water-tech-and-combat-drought/ (2015-06-08)
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