Faculty scholarships and activities

Published: October 25th, 2010

Category: News

Elizabeth Dale
Affiliated Associate Professor of Law
Dale presented a paper to the American Bar Foundation/Illinois Legal History Seminar Oct. 18. The paper is “Putting ‘Liberty’ in its Place: Discussions of ziyou, Slavery, and Sovereignty in Turn-of-the-Century China.”

Robert Jerry
Dean, UF Law and Levin Mabie & Levin Professor of Law “UF-sponsored health plan costs $300 more this year” (Oct. 15, 2010, The Independent Florida Alligator)

Because of a change in providers this fall, UF students saw an increase of almost $300 in the cost of their school-sponsored insurance plans, with a very similar plan to what was already in place. The director of the Student Health Care Center said they changed providers to avoid an even bigger increase in rates.

From the article:
Robert Jerry, dean of the Levin College of Law, said he is not surprised that student plans are increasingly expensive. The student population is healthier than most demographics, so student insurance is priced to make more profit than other insurance products, he said.

Jerry believes the new health care legislation passed by Congress may also have an effect on student health care plans. The new law states that full-time students can be covered by their parents’ insurance up until age 26.

There are ways to bring insurance costs down for students, but it’s not in the hands of the university, Jerry said. If the state and federal governments team up to regulate insurance and provide everyone with some degree of health care, costs would go down.

“We ought to have a system where everybody has some kind of access to basic health care,” he said.

Lyrissa Lidsky
Stephen C. O’Connell Chair, Professor of Law
“Wannabe warriors an ‘insult’ to their bravery” (Oct. 17, 2010, Pensacola News Journal)

The Stolen Valor Act of 2005 has been gaining some attention lately with two cases involving the act in federal appeals courts. The act made it a federal offense to wear a military medal or for a person to say he or she earned a military medal if the person did not in fact earn a medal. Opponents of the act say it violates the First Amendment and is unconstitutional, but admit the speech it would protect in this case is reprehensible.

From the article:
Lidsky said it is constitutional to punish people for making false statements in certain contexts — such as fraud, defamation, lying under oath or shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater — but the Stolen Valor Act is tricky because it doesn’t show clear damages to a victim.

“It’s making it a crime to tell a lie, but it’s making it a crime to tell a relatively harmless lie,” Lidsky The authors of the law contend that the lies erode the true value of military honors, but Lidsky asked, “Is there any evidence that that has had any effect on the morale of the troops?”

Joseph Little
Emeritus Professor
“Elect or appoint judges?” (Oct. 17, 2010, Orlando Sentinel)

Little commented on the benefits of having a system where voters can elect trial judges.

From the article:
Those who favor election, including Professor Joseph W. Little of the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida, say it protects the public by making judges more accountable.

Diane Mazur
Professor of Law
“How Does the Military Prove That Someone is Gay?” (Oct. 13, 2010, Slate)

Mazur is thanked as a source at the end of this article, which looks at the various methods the military has used to determine if a member of the military is gay. The determination and discharge proceedings usually focus on the actions of the person under scrutiny, rather than his or her actual sexual preferences.

“There is no legal reason to appeal DADT ruling” (Oct. 18, 2010, San Marcos Mercury)

The column looks at the recent ruling that found the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy unconstitutional and presents an argument about why there is no legal obligation to appeal the ruling. The article references a memorandum Mazur wrote on the topic.

From the article:
Diane Mazur, a professor of law at the University of Florida College of Law, has laid out in a legal memorandum the basics about executive discretion to decline to appeal laws held to be unconstitutional. Mazur’s primary areas of research include civil-military relations and military law generally. In her memorandum, she explains that the usual expectation is that the Justice department “will defend federal laws from constitutional challenge.” However, the usual practice is not mandatory: “There are well-recognized, standard exceptions that give the executive branch discretion in deciding whether or not to defend a law in some circumstances, and they would apply in deciding whether to appeal a court ruling finding that (DADT) is unconstitutional.”

Michael Seigel
Professor of Law
“Should authorities need a warrant to put a GPS tracking device on your car?” (Oct. 17, 2010, St. Petersburg Times)

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that law enforcement can use Global Positioning System (GPS) technology to track suspected criminals – without obtaining a warrant. The court also indicated that police could also go onto private property in order to install a GPS device. Seigel commented on Florida’s laws pertaining to the use of GPS.

From the article:
To use GPS tracking, they simply must convince a judge that it’s “relevant” to their investigation, said University of Florida law professor Michael L. Seigel.

“It’s a much lower standard,” he said. “It’s not requiring them to show any suspicion about an individual’s guilt.”

There’s also an easy way around state law. Local agencies could just ask the federal government for help. Federal agents don’t need a warrant to use GPS tracking devices in Florida, Seigel said.