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New Indy Law dean speaks at ACLU-IN event

Rebecca Berfanger
January 1, 2007
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A number of ACLU of Indiana attorneys and supporters attended a reception for Gary Roberts, the new dean of the Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis on Thursday afternoon at Baker & Daniels.

The dean, who was also the keynote speaker, mingled with the attorneys before and after discussing a few of his experiences as deputy dean for Tulane University Law School in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and subsequent flooding, pending sports law cases, and how he plans to encourage more diversity at the Indianapolis law school.

While the dean said he didn't know much about civil liberties law as a sports lawyer, other than a few civil liberties issues that may come up regarding athletes who are suspected of using performance-enhancing drugs in competitions, he did speak at length about the current judicial system, or virtual lack of one, in Louisiana.

He described the literal collapse of civilization in certain areas of New Orleans where martial law was more or less instated; areas that are uninhabited but serve as breeding grounds for crime in the forms of crack houses and chop shops; and how the judicial system including the structures that housed the courts, judges, prosecutors, and public defenders had also contributed to less than adequate handling of both criminal and civil cases.

Roberts added that Tulane's law school's criminal law clinic helped where they could, and some attorneys came in from other cities to volunteer their time, but help is still needed even two years later. Students from Indiana law schools and some Indiana attorneys have also given their time to both reconstruction and legal matters along the Gulf Coast since Katrina's devastation.

The reception also included a few words from ACLU of Indiana Lawyers Council members, especially Carol Seaman of Bloomington, who said they are currently seeking members and looking at other ways to make the organization reach the entire state and appeal to the specific interests of those involved instead of the very broad topic of civil liberties.

ACLU staff members, including Executive Director Claudia Porretti, Legal Director Ken Falk, and disability rights attorney Gavin Rose, also said a few words to those in attendance about the organization's goals and recent lawsuits.
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  1. It's a big fat black mark against the US that they radicalized a lot of these Afghan jihadis in the 80s to fight the soviets and then when they predictably got around to biting the hand that fed them, the US had to invade their homelands, install a bunch of corrupt drug kingpins and kleptocrats, take these guys and torture the hell out of them. Why for example did the US have to sodomize them? Dubya said "they hate us for our freedoms!" Here, try some of that freedom whether you like it or not!!! Now they got even more reasons to hate us-- lets just keep bombing the crap out of their populations, installing more puppet regimes, arming one faction against another, etc etc etc.... the US is becoming a monster. No wonder they hate us. Here's my modest recommendation. How about we follow "Just War" theory in the future. St Augustine had it right. How about we treat these obvious prisoners of war according to the Geneva convention instead of torturing them in sadistic and perverted ways.

  2. As usual, John is "spot-on." The subtle but poignant points he makes are numerous and warrant reflection by mediators and users. Oh but were it so simple.

  3. ACLU. Way to step up against the police state. I see a lot of things from the ACLU I don't like but this one is a gold star in its column.... instead of fighting it the authorities should apologize and back off.

  4. Duncan, It's called the RIGHT OF ASSOCIATION and in the old days people believed it did apply to contracts and employment. Then along came title vii.....that aside, I believe that I am free to work or not work for whomever I like regardless: I don't need a law to tell me I'm free. The day I really am compelled to ignore all the facts of social reality in my associations and I blithely go along with it, I'll be a slave of the state. That day is not today......... in the meantime this proposed bill would probably be violative of 18 usc sec 1981 that prohibits discrimination in contracts... a law violated regularly because who could ever really expect to enforce it along the millions of contracts made in the marketplace daily? Some of these so-called civil rights laws are unenforceable and unjust Utopian Social Engineering. Forcing people to love each other will never work.

  5. I am the father of a sweet little one-year-old named girl, who happens to have Down Syndrome. To anyone who reads this who may be considering the decision to terminate, please know that your child will absolutely light up your life as my daughter has the lives of everyone around her. There is no part of me that condones abortion of a child on the basis that he/she has or might have Down Syndrome. From an intellectual standpoint, however, I question the enforceability of this potential law. As it stands now, the bill reads in relevant part as follows: "A person may not intentionally perform or attempt to perform an abortion . . . if the person knows that the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion solely because the fetus has been diagnosed with Down syndrome or a potential diagnosis of Down syndrome." It includes similarly worded provisions abortion on "any other disability" or based on sex selection. It goes so far as to make the medical provider at least potentially liable for wrongful death. First, how does a medical provider "know" that "the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion SOLELY" because of anything? What if the woman says she just doesn't want the baby - not because of the diagnosis - she just doesn't want him/her? Further, how can the doctor be liable for wrongful death, when a Child Wrongful Death claim belongs to the parents? Is there any circumstance in which the mother's comparative fault will not exceed the doctor's alleged comparative fault, thereby barring the claim? If the State wants to discourage women from aborting their children because of a Down Syndrome diagnosis, I'm all for that. Purporting to ban it with an unenforceable law, however, is not the way to effectuate this policy.

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