Acclaimed military historian, prolific columnist and political essayist Victor Davis Hanson discusses President Obama’s foreign policy on a special Teleforum conference call. With a growing number of troubling hotspots throughout the world, and the November 13 attacks on Paris, this discussion was be extremely timely.
Dr. Victor D. Hanson, Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution
On November 10 the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo. In this case, Tyson Foods was ordered to pay $5.8 million in damages in a class action lawsuit brought by employees alleging violations of various federal and state labor laws. A class of employees sued Tysons for failing to properly compensate them for time they spent donning and doffing protective clothing and equipment and washing equipment. The 8th Circuit allowed the plaintiffs to use used statistical sampling to determine damage awards. The Eighth Circuit certified the class under Rule 23 despite a wide variance among class members of time spent donning, doffing and washing equipment. The outcome of the case could have a significant impact on the rules governing class certifications and whether statistical sampling can be used in the class action context.
Karen Harned, Executive Director, National Federation of Independent Business Legal Center
On November 2, 2015 the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Spokeo v. Robins. Spokeo, a “people search engine,” published inaccurate information about Thomas Robins, who sought to file a class action lawsuit under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. A district court found that Robins lacked standing to bring suit, since the incorrect biographical information published by Spokeo had not caused a concrete harm. In a case that could have potentially far-reaching implications for environmental, civil rights, and other class-action litigation, the Court will decide whether Congress may confer Article III standing upon a plaintiff who suffers no concrete harm, and who therefore could not otherwise invoke the jurisdiction of a federal court, by authorizing a private right of action based on a bare violation of a federal statute.
Cory L. Andrews, Senior Litigation Counsel, Washington Legal Foundation
At a time when some argue that the Rule of Law seems to be deteriorating and with a Presidential election heating up, the question of judicial review has perhaps never been more vital. Yet debate over the best methods of conducting judicial review typically present the law's meaning as either rigid or elastic, inherently given, or subjectively projected.
By examining proper modes of judicial review within the framework of a proper legal system as a whole—and more specifically, by identifying law’s function and authority—philosopher Tara Smith’s new book, Judicial Review in an Objective Legal System, seeks to break past this false alternative and chart a distinctive course for genuinely objective review that upholds the Rule of Law.
Prof. Tara A Smith, University of Texas
Prof. Gary S. Lawson, Philip S. Beck Professor of Law, Boston University School of Law
Vanita Gupta, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, delivered an address on criminal justice reform and policing. In announcing her arrival at the Department of Justice, Eric Holder praised Ms. Gupta, saying that “even as she has done trailblazing work as a civil rights lawyer, Vanita is also known as a unifier and consensus builder. She has a knack for bridging differences and building coalitions to drive progress.” This praise has been echoed by sources as diverse as National Rifle Association head David Keene, who told the Washington Post that Ms. Gupta “listens to and works with people from all perspectives to accomplish real good.”
Vanita Gupta, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division, United States Department of Justice