Suffolk University Law School professors are available to analyze the issues involved in U.S. Supreme Court decisions expected this month, as follows.
Obergefell vs. Hodges
Addresses whether states can deny marriage licenses to same-sex-marriage couples:
- Professor Robert H. Smith will discuss constitutional issues raised in the case. Smith, the former dean of the Law School, teaches Constitutional Law, Mediation, Supreme Court Seminar and Clinical Teaching. Among Smith’s professional affiliations is the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
- Professor Renée Landers is the author of “A Marriage of Principles: The Relevance of Federal Precedent and International Sources of Law in Analyzing Claims for a Right to Same-Sex Marriage,” in the New England Law Review, and the book chapter “What's Loving Got to Do With It? Law Shaping Experience and Experience Shaping Law,” in the 2012 book Loving Vs. Virginia in a Post-Racial World: Rethinking Race, Sex, And Marriage. She is a regular commentator on legal issues on radio, television and in print. Landers teaches Health Law and Administrative Law. She is a past president of the Boston Bar Association and has served as deputy general counsel for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and as deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Policy Development at the U.S. Department of Justice during the Clinton Administration.
Ohio v. Clark
Addresses whether a teacher can relate a 3-year-old’s report of abuse in court and thus shield the child from testifying:
- Associate Dean and Professor Kim M. McLaurin, who teaches courses in connection with Suffolk Law’s Juvenile Justice Center said: "On its face this case appears to be about how to balance the desire to protect young children from the stress of testifying at a criminal trial with the rights of the accused to confront adversary witnesses.” This right is addressed in the Confrontation Clause of the Constitution’s Sixth Amendment, which provides that “in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right…to be confronted with the witnesses against him. This case provides a unique opportunity for the court to review its own analysis of the Confrontation Clause; the question of whether issues regarding in court testimony are best decided by applying the Confrontation Clause or rules of evidence; and the definitions of government agents and testimony itself." Before joining Suffolk Law, McLaurin was the attorney in charge of the Juvenile Rights Division within the Queens Office of the Legal Aid Society, where she was directly responsible for the office’s representation of children involved in Family Court matters, including juvenile delinquency and child protective cases.
Texas vs. Inclusive Communities Project
Pertains to whether the Fair Housing Act prohibits practices that have a discriminatory effect on a protected class of people, regardless of intent:
- Law Professor William Berman, director of Suffolk University Law School’s Housing Discrimination Testing Program, which is funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development in partnership with the Fair Housing Commission of the City of Boston.
King vs. Burwell
Contests federal subsidies for health exchanges in states that did not set up a means to support low- and middle-income people purchasing health insurance:
- Professor Renée Landers spoke about legal challenges to the IRS interpretation when she organized and moderated a panel discussion on “Rulemaking to Implement the Affordable Care Act: Diagnosis, Prescription, Prognosis” held in 2014 as part of the 10th Annual Administrative Law Institute sponsored by the Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice of the American Bar Association at the conference “The Next Round of Federal Rulemaking: What’s New in Making Rules,” in Washington, DC. She is the coauthor of “Supreme Court Review of the Health Care Reform Law” in the New England Journal of Medicine and “Medicaid Expansion Under the 2010 Health Care Reform Legislation: The Continuing Evolution of Medicaid’s Central Role in American Health Care” in the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys Journal. She is the author of “The Dénouement of the Supreme Court’s ACA Drama,” an analysis of the Supreme Court's decision upholding the ACA in NFIB v. Sebelius in the New England Journal of Medicine; “Tomorrow’ May Finally Have Arrived—The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: A Necessary First Step toward Health Care Equity in the United States,” Suffolk Law School Journal of Health & Biomedical Law; and “Massachusetts Health Insurance Reform Legislation: An Effective Tool for Addressing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care?” in Hamline Journal of Public Law and Policy.
Journalists who wish to contact Suffolk Law School experts about these and other cases before the U.S. Supreme Court should contact Greg Gatlin, 617-573-8428, firstname.lastname@example.org or Mariellen Norris, 617-573-8450, email@example.com.