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. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues