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Leadership in Law 2013: Gary R. Roberts

Dean, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, Indianapolis Stanford Law School

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gary-roberts01-15col.jpg (IL Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

Gary R. Roberts’ six-year tenure at the law school has been called transformational, with the most obvious sign the renaming of the Indianapolis school in 2011 after $24-million donor Robert H. McKinney. Gary has also overseen the addition of 15 faculty members and a doubling of the student financial aid budget. The nationally recognized sports law expert teaches several classes at the school, including labor law and, of course, sports law. Despite his demanding schedule, he has immersed himself in the legal community and community-at-large. He often attends Indianapolis Bar Association board meetings, bar retreats and events. He dedicates time to several community organizations, including the International School of Indiana and the Indianapolis Humane Society.

If you could take a sabbatical from the law for a year to work your fantasy job, what job would you choose?
Commissioner of Major League Baseball.

If you could meet and spend a day with one lawyer from history, who would it be and why?
Bill Clinton, because he seems to enjoy life to the fullest every day in every sense of the word.

What class in law school did you find the most difficult?
I really didn’t find any class to be that difficult. I loved law school, but perhaps it’s just been so many years ago that I can’t remember. Like the song says, “What’s too painful to remember we simply choose to forget.”

What civic cause is the most important to you?
The Indianapolis Humane Society. (I’m on its board.) I truly love animals, especially dogs, and cannot imagine why people are neglectful or cruel to them.

You’re a leading expert in sports law. What’s your favorite sport to watch?
This is a tough one. I’d like to say curling (at least it’s the most amusing), but really it’s probably either NFL football or college basketball.

In life or law, what bugs you?
Hands down, stop and go lights. I’d publicly like to tar and feather the fools who time those lights and who leave them operating all hours of the day and night when there is almost no traffic. A close second is the bureaucracy within Indiana University that creates unnecessary hurdles, delays, and paperwork for almost everything one tries to do.

What do you find scary?
Professor Jegen.

Would a world without 24/7 technology be a good or bad thing?
A bad thing. As frustrating (and even scary) as it can be sometimes, technology has made our lives so much richer and allowed us to do and learn so many more things than would be conceivable without it.

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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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