Professor Jerry Organ’s scholarship continues to focus on the formation of lawyers and the role of law school culture in shaping lawyers with the knowledge, skills and values necessary to be effective professionals and community leaders.
Along with his co-authors, professor Wilson Freyermuth (Missouri) and professor Alice Noble-Allgire (Southern Illinois), Organ has revised his property casebook, Property and Lawyering. Initially published in 2000, it was written in response to the MacCrate Report, to present the substantive doctrine of property law in a way that integrates and reinforces the early development of fundamental lawyering skills and values. This third edition responds to the spirit of the Carnegie Report, “Educating Lawyers,” by continuing to embrace this “integrative” approach to the study of property lawyering.
Organ had an essay published in the Journal of Legal Education titled “Missing Missions: Further Reflections on Institutional Pluralism (or its Absence),” which highlighted that nearly 60 law schools have no discernable mission manifested on their web pages. He is working on a follow-up article evaluating the extent to which public, private and religious law schools have missions that demonstrate some distinctiveness across categories of law school.
Organ also has an article forthcoming in the Journal of Legal Education tentatively titled “The Impact of Scholarship Programs on the Culture of Law School.” It evaluates the two approaches law schools have to merit scholarships. The article notes that among roughly 120 law schools on which information was available, about 20 to 25 percent of law schools (including the University of St. Thomas School of Law) offer scholarships that are renewable, provided the student remains in good standing academically, while 75 to 80 percent of law schools offer conditional scholarships, renewable only if the student maintains a certain GPA (3.0 or 3.2) or a certain rank in the class (top one-third or top one-quarter).
The article notes that one rationale for conditional scholarship programs is that they allow a school to overinvest scholarship resources in first-years (thus bolstering the objective criteria of their entering class for purposes of the U.S. News rankings). The trade-off, of course, is that a significant percentage of first-year scholarships are not renewed, exacerbating the competitive environment that is commonly found in law school and creating a barrier to the collaborative learning community such as the one the University of St. Thomas tries to foster.
Organ was named to the ABA Questionnaire Committee and will be working on issues associated with law school dissemination of employment and salary data. That work may result in an article recommending best practices for assuring transparency and clarity with respect to employment and salary statistics.
In addition, Organ gave a presentation at the Conference on Empirical Professional Ethics, sponsored by the Holloran Center on Ethical Leadership in the Professions, in which he analyzed the data set generated over the last two-and-a-half decades associated with the professional satisfaction of attorneys and their mental well-being. Much literature suggests that lawyers are unsatisfied with their jobs and suffer from mental illness and alcoholism at higher rates than the general public, but recent surveys suggest relatively high levels of job and career satisfaction. Organ will be working on anarticle for the St. Thomas Law Journal in which he hopes to make sense of this conflicting data. He also is hoping to update information about alcohol, drug use and mental health issues among law students – data that has not been gathered since the early 1990s. He has an interdisciplinary team ready to go on the project, but is still looking for funding.
Finally, Organ will be working with professor Neil Hamilton and Dr. Verna Monson from the Holloran Center to develop metrics and assessment tools to foster outcome assessment for a variety of learning objectives, most particularly those related to the formation of professional identity.
Professor Michael Stokes Paulsen continues to write and publish widely in many areas of constitutional law. He is the lead co-author, with Steven Calabresi, Michael McConnell and Samuel Bray, of a justreleased casebook, The Constitution of the United States (Foundation Press, 2010), a comprehensive new approach to teaching and learning constitutional law that emphasizes the text, structure and history of the actual Constitution, along with the “great cases” that have come to define modern constitutional interpretation.
Paulsen published “The Constitutional Power to Interpret International Law” in The Yale Law Journal (118 Yale L. J. 1762 (2009)). The article addresses and attacks the conventional academic wisdom concerning the legal status of international law as a matter of U.S. constitutional law. Paulsen’s article concludes that, when international law obligations are in conflict with U.S. constitutional rights and powers, international law is, to that extent, unconstitutional and U.S. officials have an obligation to disregard it. International law is sometimes validly made a part of the U.S. legal regime, but always remains subordinate to the U.S. Constitution.
His article concludes with an examination of some of the most highly controversial actions and legal interpretations of the United States in the course of the War on Terror.
Paulsen also is the author of “The War Power,” published in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy (33 Harv. J. L. & P.P. 113 (2010)). The short article sets forth the Constitution’s allocation of powers with respect to the authorization and execution of war by the United States. It argues that the Constitution’s allocation of war powers is a paradigmatic illustration of the Constitution’s separation of powers generally, with certain powers being assigned exclusively to one or another branch, and certain powers shared or overlapping. Paulsen argues that the power to declare, or initiate, a condition of war rests exclusively with Congress (with the president left with the residual executive power to engage in defensive actions to repel attacks initiated by other nations or forces). The power to conduct war, once legally authorized, however, rests exclusively in the president as a function of the Commander-in-Chief Clause of Article II of the Constitution; Congress may not, in the exercise of its ancillary war powers, interfere with the president’s power to direct and control all uses of force in execution of a lawfully authorized war. This presidential power also includes, Paulsen argues, the ability to prescribe U.S. military powers with respect to the capture, detention, interrogation and military punishment of captured enemy combatants.
Paulsen also has spoken and debated widely on matters of constitutional law and public policy. He has made presentations or presented papers at Columbia Law School, Yale Law School, NYU School of Law, Fordham Law School, Northwestern University School of Law, Georgetown University Law Center, Seton Hall University, Princeton University, Washington University, the Seventh Circuit Bar Association (Chicago), the Federalist Society National Lawyers Convention and the University of Minnesota Law School, as well as at the University of St. Thomas.
During spring 2010, Paulsen was a visiting professor at Daystar University, a Christian university located in rural Kenya, where he taught African undergraduates business and contract law and Social Foundations of Law. While there, he also worked with students to engage in presentations on the draft Kenya Constitution, and also designed a law curriculum for a prospective Bachelor of Laws degree program for Daystar.
Paulsen is at work on several projects, including a new book, written with his son, provisionally titled The Constitution: An Intelligent Introduction and Brief History.\
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