The BC Innocence Program (BCIP) featured a discussion with exoneree Eugene Gilyard and Professor Charlotte Whitmore (above), supervising attorney of BCIP, on October 15. With the help of Whitmore, who was then a staff attorney at the Pennsylvania Innocence Project, Gilyard was exonerated in 2014 after spending 16 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit. Whitmore talked about the legal case she built to free Gilyard and he, in turn, shared the story of his ordeal.
Here is a summary of some of the other events at BC law this fall.
LAMBDA, BC Law’s LGBT association, held a panel September 17 on Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The Supreme Court case considered whether or not the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop and other similar public accommodations could refuse customers, particularly same-sex couples or transgender individuals, on grounds that serving them violated their religious beliefs. BC Law Professors Kari Hong, Kent Greenfield, and Ryan Williams discussed the decision’s implications.
On September 25, the Federalist Society invited Sam Gedge, an attorney from the Institute for Justice, to discuss the upcoming Supreme Court case, Timbs v. Indiana. The case investigates whether the Eighth Amendment’s excessive fines clause is incorporated against the states under the Fourteenth Amendment. Gedge shared his insights on the topic using his extensive expertise in litigating cases that promote economic liberty, protect political speech, and secure individuals’ rights to private property. The Institute for Justice is a libertarian, civil liberties, and public interest law firm.
The American Constitution Society of BC Law joined with Austin Evers ’09 on September 27 to share his career path that took him from law school to political fights in DC. Evers previously served as the Senior Counsel in the Department of State for oversight and transparency during the Obama Administration and in March 2017 recently founded American Oversight to hold the Trump administration accountable for their actions and to suppress corruption and scandal in society.
The Dean’s Office held a Legal History Round Table October 2 with Mistra Sharaf, a professor of law and legal studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with history affiliation, and an award-winning author. She presented her paper, “South Asians and West Africans at the Inns of Court: Empire and Expulsion, circa 1900,” which explores the disbarment proceedings of South Asian and West African members of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple in London during that period. Her book Law and Identity in Colonial South Asia: Parsi Legal Culture, 1772-1947 won the Law and Society’s Hurst Prize in 2015, and she is currently at work on Fear of the False: Forensic Science in Colonial India.
Doug Bandow of the Cato Institute, an American libertarian think tank, joined BC Law’s Federalist Society on October 11 to discuss President Trump, his relationship with North Korea, and what to expect in the future. Bandow is a senior fellow who specializes in foreign policy and civil liberties. Previously, he was a special assistant to President Ronald Reagan and editor of the political magazine Inquiry.
The Dean’s Office, in partnership with the BC Carroll School of Management and Winston Center, held an event on October 11 featuring sisters Scheherazade and Salamishah Tillet, co-founders of A Long Walk Home. The organization uses art to educate, inspire, and mobilize young people to end violence against girls and women, according to its website. The nonprofit has its genesis in the siblings’ efforts to deal with a sexual assault against Salamishah.
The Middle Eastern Law Students Association (MELSA) and the Immigration Law group held a panel on October 18 regarding the Trump v. Hawaii travel ban case. The case challenged the presidential proclamation, signed by President Trump, that restricted travel into the US by citizens of several nations. Panelists included immigration specialists Sabineh Ardalana and Phil Torrey (he authored an amicus brief in the case) of Harvard, Karen Pita Loor of Boston University, and Heather Yountz of the law firm Demissie & Church.
The Center for Human Rights and International Justice, co-directed by BC Law’s Daniel Kanstroom, presented human rights lawyer and educator H. Victor Condé on October 20. His talk was titled “Freedom of Religion: Kurdistan, Kathmandu, and the Masterpiece Cakeshop Opinion.”
Isabelle Bauer contributed to this report.