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IBA: Interrogatories

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By Tyler D. Helmond, Voyles Zahn & Paul

fuentesLuis Fuentes-Rohwer

Professor of Law and Harry T. Ice Faculty Fellow, Indiana University Maurer School of Law

He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the University of Michigan Law School. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and an LL.M from the Georgetown University School of Law. He is an expert on race, democracy, and Puerto Rico. He is Dr. Luis Fuentes-Rohwer, and he has been served with interrogatories.

Q: Much of your scholarship has focused on the Voting Rights Act. The United States Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral argument later this month in Shelby County v. Holder, a case that challenges the constitutionality of the “preclearance” provision of the VRA. What will you be looking for in the argument?

A: I will be looking for a discussion of the original intent of the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment over the scope of congressional powers. I will not be looking too hard, however. For some reason, originalists don’t spend a lot of time with the 14th Amendment. I’ll let you figure out why that is.



Q: Are you willing to make a prediction for how the case might come out?

A: Are you kidding? I love predictions! Like the Sebelius case, I just don’t think the Chief Justice wants the Court to strike down the Voting Rights Act under his watch. Imagine the headlines.



Q: There is a relatively new challenge to the procedure in which trial court judges are elected in Marion County. The plaintiff in Common Cause Indiana v. Indiana Secretary of State argues the unique system of primary election that ends up filling the entire bench with half Democratic nominees and half Republican nominees deprives Marion County citizens of the right to case a meaningful vote. What are your thoughts on how that questioned ought to be resolved?

A: Can you think of anything crazier than electing judges? Apparently, Marion County did. I am looking forward to reading how the Attorney General defends this process. It will be very challenging.



Q: The Maurer School of Law has lost three legendary faculty members recently: Patrick Baude, Dennis Long, and most recently, Leonard Fromm. What will be their legacies?

A: I don’t even know how you begin to replace them. They were remarkable teachers and mentors.



Q: You have three degrees from the University of Michigan and you teach at Indiana. Describe what you will be feeling on March 10th when the Hoosiers play the Wolverines in Ann Arbor in a game that could determine the Big Ten Title.

A: It was hard watching the first game, and it might be harder watching the finale. My youngest son couldn’t even watch the first one; he was very conflicted about it. I do think IU pulls it out and wins the Big Ten championship.

Q: President Obama recently remarked that if he had a son, he’d have to think long and hard before he would let him play football. With all of the challenges facing the modern law student – including rising tuition and diminishing job prospects – would you have any hesitation encouraging your children to go to law school?

A: On football, I agree with the president. But law school presents different challenges. If my children wanted to go to law school, I would ask them to be smart about it. Buying a legal education is not much different than buying anything else. Do your research and make smart decisions.



Q: Who has had the biggest influence on your writing? What advice would you give to law students and lawyers looking to improve their writing?

A: The biggest influence, believe it or not, was from a foreword I read a long time ago. The author didn’t quite say it like this, but the message was clear. Writing is a process and it “takes a village.” Don’t be afraid to take criticism, to ask for help, to edit your writing as many times as necessary. Great writing doesn’t just happen.



Q: What are the three best legal books of the past decade?

A: Oh man, that’s a tough question. If you are looking for fiction, anything by Grisham is quite entertaining. I loved Akhil Amar’s “America’s Constitution.” If I had to pick one book to recommend, it would have to be Fehrenbacher’s “The Dred Scott Case.”



Q: If you were starting a soccer team and you had to pick between Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo, which would be the leader of Team LFR?

A: Will this be an MLS team? And will it be in Indianapolis? I am hoping this happens sometime soon. As for my pick, it’d have to be Ronaldo. If I picked anybody else, my boys would kill me.•

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  1. "Am I bugging you? I don't mean to bug ya." If what I wrote below is too much social philosophy for Indiana attorneys, just take ten this vacay to watch The Lego Movie with kiddies and sing along where appropriate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etzMjoH0rJw

  2. I've got some free speech to share here about who is at work via the cat's paw of the ACLU stamping out Christian observances.... 2 Thessalonians chap 2: "And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last."

  3. Did someone not tell people who have access to the Chevy Volts that it has a gas engine and will run just like a normal car? The batteries give the Volt approximately a 40 mile range, but after that the gas engine will propel the vehicle either directly through the transmission like any other car, or gas engine recharges the batteries depending on the conditions.

  4. Catholic, Lutheran, even the Baptists nuzzling the wolf! http://www.judicialwatch.org/press-room/press-releases/judicial-watch-documents-reveal-obama-hhs-paid-baptist-children-family-services-182129786-four-months-housing-illegal-alien-children/ YET where is the Progressivist outcry? Silent. I wonder why?

  5. Thank you, Honorable Ladies, and thank you, TIL, for this interesting interview. The most interesting question was the last one, which drew the least response. Could it be that NFP stamps are a threat to the very foundation of our common law American legal tradition, a throwback to the continental system that facilitated differing standards of justice? A throwback to Star Chamber’s protection of the landed gentry? If TIL ever again interviews this same panel, I would recommend inviting one known for voicing socio-legal dissent for the masses, maybe Welch, maybe Ogden, maybe our own John Smith? As demographics shift and our social cohesion precipitously drops, a consistent judicial core will become more and more important so that Justice and Equal Protection and Due Process are yet guiding stars. If those stars fall from our collective social horizon (and can they be seen even now through the haze of NFP opinions?) then what glue other than more NFP decisions and TRO’s and executive orders -- all backed by more and more lethally armed praetorians – will prop up our government institutions? And if and when we do arrive at such an end … will any then dare call that tyranny? Or will the cost of such dissent be too high to justify?

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