Feature Stories Campus Events

Melissa Lane to Lecture at Washington and Lee University for The Ethics for Citizenship Series

Melissa S. Lane, the Class of 1943 Professor of Politics at Princeton University, will lecture at Washington and Lee University on Oct. 8 at 5 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library. The event is free and open to the public.

Lane will speak on “The Democratic Ethics of Communicating Climate Change: Insights from Aristotle.”

Her talk is part of the year-long series on The Ethics of Citizenship and is sponsored by W&L’s Roger Mudd Center for Ethics. For more information about this series, see: http://www.wlu.edu/mudd-center/programs-and-events/2015-2016-the-ethics-of-citizenship.

Lane is also an associated faculty member in the departments of classics and philosophy. Prior to joining Princeton, she was a senior research fellow of King’s College, Cambridge, and associate director of the Centre from History and Economics at King’s College.

Recent publications include “The Birth of Politics: Eight Greek and Roman Political Ideas and Why They Matter” (2015) and “Eco-Republic: What the Ancients Can Teach Us about Ethics, Virtue and Sustainable Living” (2012).

Lane is co-convener of Princeton Climate Futures based at the Princeton Environmental Institute. She was previously co-convener of Communicating Uncertainly: Science, Institutions and Ethics in the Politics of Global Climate Change sponsored by the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies.

She was named a 2012 fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation for a project on The Rule of Knowledge: Platonic Psychology and Politics. While on leave from Princeton in 2012–13, she was a fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.

Lane received her A.B. in social studies from Harvard University and her M.Phil. and Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Cambridge.

The Mudd Center was established in 2010 through a gift to the university from award-winning journalist Roger Mudd, a 1950 graduate of W&L. When he made his gift, Mudd said that “given the state of ethics in our current culture, this seems a fitting time to endow a center for the study of ethics, and my university is the fitting home.”

Well Read

“I always wanted a bookstore,” said Tyrone Fine Books owner Harry Goodheart in an interview with The Tyron (North Carolina) Daily Bulletin.

Before opening the doors of his store, Harry, who graduated from Washington and Lee University in 1966, served in the Air Force for three years, including one in Vietnam, and then attended law school. He was a trial lawyer for 20 years before switching to mediation, which he still practices. “I decided to give up confrontation and arguing. I’d rather help people peacefully resolve their differences as a mediator,” he explained.

Always a book lover, he read “The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe” at an early age, and in the mid-1990s decided to more actively scout rare books and bookstores for his own pleasure. In 2005, he opened what he calls “Harry’s Folly” with 6,000 of his own books. “I enjoy the tactile pleasure of a book not possible with a screen,” he said. “Electronic books are neither good nor bad, just another medium, and I am for anything that gets people to read.”

His discoveries have included Mickey Mouse first editions, a 1816 edition of “The Travels of Ali Bey,” a Dublin pirated edition of Adam Smith’s “Wealth of Nations” and a 1731 edition of “Gulliver’s Travels.”

“The excitement was the hunt,” he said. “The pay-off was the satisfaction of completing a collection. It was an afterthought to sell anything.”


Author Jonathan Horn to Focus on Lee at Washington College

Lee Chapel and Museum presents “Remembering Robert E. Lee” with a speech by author and former White House presidential speech writer Jonathan Horn on Oct. 12 at 12:15 p.m. in the Lee Chapel Auditorium.

Horn will speak about “Lee at Washington College: The Link and the Legacy.” The public is invited at no charge.

There will be a book signing of Horn’s book, “The Man Who Would Not Be Washington” at 10:30 a.m. in the Lee Chapel Museum Shop the morning of his talk. The book will be available for purchase at that time.

Horn’s writing has appeared in the Washington Post, The New York Times “Disunion” series, The Weekly Standard, and other outlets. He has appeared on MSNBC, the PBS NewsHour, C-SPAN and the BBC radio. “The Man Who Would Not Be Washington” was on the Washington Post bestseller list.

During his time at the White House, Horn served as a speechwriter and special assistant to President George W. Bush. He is a graduate of Yale University.

“For generations, Washingtons and Lees had lived along the Potomac,” said Horn. “Lee’s father was Washington’s most famous eulogist, author of the famous words ‘first in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen.’ Meanwhile, Lee’s father-in-law was George Washington’s adopted son.”

Horn continued, “These connections were so powerful at the start of the Civil War that an emissary for the Lincoln administration actually tried to persuade Lee to accept command of the main Union army by arguing that the country looked to Lee as ‘the representative of the Washington family.’ Lee’s place in history today would be very different had he accepted that offer instead of casting his fate with Virginia.”

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Career Paths: Amanda Fisher ’16L

Amanda Fisher is a third-year law student at Washington and Lee University School of Law. Originally from Ashburn, Virginia, she graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2013 where she majored in Finance and Management. While at USC, Amanda served as a University Ambassador and was an active member of her sorority.  

After her 1L year, Amanda interned with a tech startup, Main Street Genome in Washington, DC, and served as a research assistant.  Amanda spent this past summer in the General Counsel’s office at SPARC, a high tech firm specializing in software development, in Charleston, SC.    

At W&L, Amanda is a Law Ambassador, Student Bar Association 3L Vice President, Journal of Energy, Climate, and the Environment staff writer, and a member of the Women’s Law Student Organization and the Powell Lecture Board.  Outside of school, Amanda enjoys watching Gamecock football, cooking, traveling, and exploring all that Southwestern Virginia has to offer.   

fisherprofile Career Paths: Amanda Fisher '16LAmanda Fisher ’16L

What did you do for work this summer?

I spent the summer working at SPARC, a custom software development contractor, in Charleston, SC. I worked in the Corporate Counsel’s office and experienced a wide variety of legal issues.

How did you find/get this position?

Having gone to undergrad at the University of South Carolina, SPARC was brought to my attention through college classmates living in Charleston. I sent a LinkedIn message to the Head Corporate Counsel inquiring about the potential to intern in the office. After a series of emails and a Skype interview, I secured the position and headed south.

Describe your work experience.

A large percentage of SPARC’s business is government contracting. Thus, I was exposed to that world for the first time. I primarily worked with other government contractors and was solely in charge of negotiating Non-disclosure Agreements and Teaming Agreements with our partners. I also assisted in a number of other steps in the proposal process. A smaller percentage of the business includes commercial undertakings. These relationships had a very different structure and required different agreements.

Apart from the contracts work with company outsiders, we were faced with a number of internal legal issues as well. I was able to experience a mediation with a former client, and an employment dispute. We also conducted an audit of a quasi-Employee Stock Option Plan, for which my Securities Regulation course had been a great introduction.

How do you think this experience will shape the rest of your time at W&L Law?

One of my biggest takeaways of the summer was an understanding of the complexity of the role of General or Corporate Counsel. There are both internal and external people, such as outside counsel, to work with. There are legal concerns for the company both internally and externally.  A delicate balance was required to manage all of the issues and people at once. My summer experience has made me more interested in the role of Corporate Counsel and I hope to use my third year at W&L to become more prepared to take on such a role after graduation.

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Career Paths: Paul Judge ’16L

Paul Judge went to the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia and commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant out of ROTC. He is now a 1stLieutenant in the United States Army. He plans to enter the JAG Corps after graduation. At W&L, he is a Lead Articles Editor on the Washington and Lee Law Review. After graduation, he will be clerking for Judge Margaret Ryan on the Court of Appeals of the Armed Forces, a federal Art. I appellate court in Washington, DC.

pauljudgeprofile-1 Career Paths: Paul Judge '16LPaul Judge ’16L

What did you do for work this summer?

I worked for the United States Army at Fort Hood, Texas. Specifically, the 1stCavalry Division, Division Artillery, Brigade Judge Advocate Office.

How did you find/get this position?

I applied to the Army’s 2L intern program. I am an Army officer and obligated to serve in the Army post-graduation.

Describe your work experience.

I researched a complicated complaint regarding retaliation; assisted with preparing arguments, witness interviews, and litigation strategy for two courts-martial, two administrative separation boards, and one pre-trial confinement hearing; reviewed case files; researched and drafted memoranda analyzing case law and advising commanders on whether to proceed with prosecution; drafted seven charge sheets; drafted a memorandum on a complicated issue involving consumer fraud.

What were some skills you developed this summer?

Developing strategies in the courtroom; advising commanders on military justice matters; witnessing attorneys in Secret-Classified environments conduct operational law exercises (basically telling commanders whether or not they can drop a bomb on a target); legal research and writing.

What classes or experiences were useful in preparing you for the summer work?

Criminal Law, Evidence and Criminal Procedure, mostly. Virtually everything we did was either criminal law under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) or administrative law under other army regulations. My experience externing with the Army JAG Corps Trial Defense Services the previous summer at Fort Hood was invaluable.

What surprised you about the work you did this summer?

The sheer amount of evidence and procedure necessary to bring a trial to court-martial surprised me. The entire process took months and months, even years, between the actual criminal conduct that occurred and the trial itself. I underestimated how difficult it was to get evidence to be admitted and to use it at trial. We had tons of people come in accusing other people, but so much of that was inadmissible, or we wouldn’t be able to get them to testify, or they weren’t specific enough… And so on. Getting evidence to use at trial is way harder than I thought it would be.

Has this experience helped you figure out post graduate plans, and if so, how?

I already knew I wanted to be a JAG. In fact, I have to be, I am contractually obligated. It has, however, helped me develop a plan for managing my career in the Army; where I want to be stationed, what kind of jobs I want, etc.

How do you think this experience will shape the rest of your time at W&L Law?

I am taking the Poverty Law Practicum in the Spring. The consumer fraud issue I worked with was highly concerning to me. Here was a soldier who had been fraudulently exploited by her husband, who opened a credit card in her name. As a result, she ended up racking up tons of credit card debt. She had very few options when she walked in the Legal Assistance office for help. If we didn’t help her, that was it; she would be unfairly on the hook for thousands of dollars. That scenario opened my eyes to the issues that many people face without adequate legal redress. I want to be in a position to help people like that in the future.

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Career Paths: Elaine McCafferty ’16L

Elaine McCafferty is from Newtown, Connecticut and graduated from the University of Connecticut with a BA in Psychology and Philosophy. Elaine is a Burks Scholar and Lead Articles Editor on the Washington and Lee Law Review. After graduation, Elaine will work as an associate at Sullivan & Cromwell.

elainemccprofile Career Paths: Elaine McCafferty '16LElaine McCafferty ’16L

What did you do for work this summer?

I worked as a summer associate for Sullivan & Cromwell, LLP in New York City.

How did you find/get this position?

The Office of Career Strategy connected me with S&C’s recruiting department. I emailed my application to the Chief Legal Recruiting & Professional Development Officer and flew there for an interview.

Describe your work experience.

I gained experience in a breadth of practice areas, including mergers and acquisitions, estate planning, financial services investigations, and employment law. Most of my assignments entailed researching a legal question and writing a memorandum, but I also drafted letters to clients and estate planning instruments. I also took advantage of professional development opportunities, such as workshops that focused on legal writing, negotiation skills, and taking and defending depositions. Finally, I enjoyed social events with other summer associates; I attended a Yankees game, The Tempest at Shakespeare in the Park, and dined at some of Manhattan’s best restaurants.

What were some skills you developed this summer?

During a writing workshop, the speaker, Dianne Rosky, stressed the importance of summarizing the conclusion at the outset of a memorandum or email. And, interestingly, she described this as practicing empathy; a good writer understands that busy readers need a concise, easy-to-find statement of the conclusion. This resonated with me because empathy is also one of the most important qualities for practicing law. Because clients, opposing parties, and judges do not always communicate the considerations driving their decisions, lawyers must put themselves in the shoes of others. The importance of empathy was the most important skill I developed this summer.   

What classes or experiences were useful in preparing you for the summer work?

Civil Procedure, Conflicts of Law, and Publicly Held Businesses. I strongly recommend Publicly Held Businesses to anyone pursuing a career at a large law firm, it provides a fundamental understanding of how corporations work, which is invaluable for practicing litigation or transactional law. Regarding Civil Procedure, I researched the feasibility of contesting personal jurisdiction for two different matters. Last, I researched whether a U.S. court was likely to apply the privilege law of the United States or another nation in an international dispute. The material I learned in these courses was a tremendous asset for completing these assignments.

What surprised you about the work you did this summer?

Every matter I worked on concerned parties or law of another nation. Resolving the inevitable conflicts of law questions in international disputes is challenging, but cultural differences and the clash of perspectives between attorneys from different legal systems is a fascinating and challenging aspect of international disputes.

Has this experience helped you figure out post-graduate plans, and if so, how?

I accepted an offer from S&C to join their litigation practice group in New York City. Working for a large law firm seemed daunting, but everyone I met was friendly and supportive. I completed a lot of litigation assignments and feel confident that litigation is the right path for me.

How do you think this experience will shape the rest of your time at W&L Law?

I hold myself to a very high standard after working at S&C. At S&C, everyone I worked with went above and beyond for every project. It was a pleasure to work with such dedicated attorneys and it motivated me to devote myself to every case I work on.

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Daniel Sharfstein to Deliver 2015 Hendricks Law and History Lecture

On Thursday, October 8, Daniel Sharfstein, professor of law and history at Vanderbilt, will deliver the 2015 Hendricks Lecture in Law and History. The title of Sharfstein’s talk is “Thunder in the Mountains: Chief Joseph’s Encounter with the Administrative State after Reconstruction.”

The lecture will begin at 3:00 p.m. in the Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons on the campus of Washington and Lee University. The event is free and open to the public.

Sharfstein’s scholarship focuses on the legal history of race in the U.S. He received a 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship to support his work on a book-length exploration of post Reconstruction America, “Thunder in the Mountains: The Clash of Two American Legends, Oliver Otis Howard and Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce.” His book “The Invisible Line: Three American Families and the Secret Journey from Black to White” won the 2012 J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize for excellence in non-fiction as well as the Law & Society Association’s 2012 James Willard Hurst Jr. Prize for socio-legal history, the William Nelson Cromwell Book Prize from the American Society for Legal History, and the Chancellor’s Award for Research from Vanderbilt.

His article, “Atrocity, Entitlement, and Personhood in Property” won the Association of American Law Schools 2011 Scholarly Papers Competition. His writing has also appeared in the Yale Law Journal, Minnesota Law Review, New York Times, Slate, Washington Post, Economist, American Prospect and Legal Affairs. For his research on civil rights and the color line in the American South, Sharfstein was awarded an Alphonse Fletcher, Sr., fellowship and a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship, and he was the inaugural recipient of the Raoul Berger Visiting Fellowship in Legal History at Harvard Law School. He has twice won the Law School’s Hall-Hartman Outstanding Professor Award.

A graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School, he was a law clerk for Judge Dorothy W. Nelson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and Judge Rya W. Zobel of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. He was also an associate at Strumwasser & Woocher, a public interest law firm in Santa Monica, California. Prior to law school, he worked as a journalist in West Africa and Southern California.

The Law and History lecture series at W&L was endowed by alumnus Pete Hendricks (’66A, ’69L), who has a private practice in Atlanta specializing in land use zoning and government permitting. A history major himself, Hendricks also endowed the Hendricks History Major Stipend Fund and the Ollinger Crenshaw Prize in History at the University several years ago in honor of his favorite professor.

The event is sponsored by the W&L Center for Law and History.

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W&L's Strong Comments on Republican Debate in Richmond Times-Dispatch

The following opinion piece by Robert Strong, William Lyne Wilson Professor of Politics at Washington and Lee, appeared in the Sept. 25, 2015, edition of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and is reprinted here by permission.

Donald and the Dictionary

by
Robert Strong

It began with twaddle.

I was watching the CNN Republican presidential debate last week and simultaneously doing research about a 19th-century argument over issues in higher education. While the candidates were busily responding to all the insults that had accumulated since their previous debate, I was reading one college administrator criticizing another for proposed curriculum reforms that were “twaddle from beginning to end.”

It was clear that twaddle was a pejorative term, but it wasn’t one I knew. With one eye on the proceedings in Simi Valley, I did a quick check on my iPad for the definition of twaddle. It turns out that it means “trivial or foolish speech or writing,” a kind of nonsense.

By coincidence, my dictionary search had given me the perfect word to describe what I was watching on the television screen. Much of what passes for political speech in a presidential election season is, in fact, twaddle.

Then I searched for synonyms of twaddle and was delighted to find a long list of words that can be used to describe silly speech. There were drivel, claptrap and blather; piffle, bunk and balderdash; gibberish, hogwash, hooey, poppycock and more. There are subtle differences in meaning among those synonyms, and I actually began to enjoy the presidential debate as I tried to categorize each candidate’s comment with the best version of nonsense available from the array of words before me. Was I hearing claptrap or balderdash; drivel or piffle?

Rand Paul called much of what Donald Trump says about the appearance of others sophomoric, just before Trump made a sophomoric comment about Paul’s appearance. The word sophomoric was, unfortunately, an insult to 25 percent of the high school and college students across the country who generally behave better than Trump. But Paul went further. He said that the kind of observations and insults Trump routinely dispenses really sound like the things you hear in middle school. He might have called those insults drivel, the childish version of nonsense.

Then there was Trump’s speculation about the connection between vaccinations and autism, a serious subject that should have prompted a careful response with accurate information and sensitivity to the families with autistic children. Instead, what we got was balderdash, the form of nonsense that involves both stupidity and exaggeration.

It didn’t help when Ben Carson only gently corrected Trump about the inaccurate statements he had just made regarding the safety of vaccinations. I heard balderdash; Carson thought Trump was “a pretty good doctor.” That was piffle, which as a noun means nonsense, and as a verb means “to talk or behave feebly.”

Carly Fiorina had a very effective moment when she said that women across the country understood exactly what Trump’s comments about her face meant. But she also gave a vivid description of video footage showing Planned Parenthood doctors hovering over a squirming fetus while discussing the harvesting of brain tissue. No one has proved that such video footage exists. Asserting that it does is claptrap, which one dictionary calls an “expedient for winning applause” and another calls “mendacious cant.”

My classification game was amusing for a while, but it couldn’t last for the entire three hours of the debate. I was getting ready to abandon the television when I found one more synonym for twaddle: “trumpery.”

Yes, trumpery is in the dictionary. It is an old word. Shakespeare, with a slightly different spelling, used it in the “Winter’s Tale.” It appears in sentences written by Swift, Trollope, Arnold and Scott. And what does trumpery mean? It means “showy but worthless.”

My evening was now complete. I knew exactly what I was watching on television: trumpery and twaddle, and the decline of American political discourse.

Annual Supreme Court Preview Examines Key Cases on High Court Docket

On Monday, faculty at Washington and Lee University will discuss several of the most compelling cases on the 2015-16 U.S. Supreme Court docket during the Law School’s annual Supreme Court Preview.

Sponsored by the American Constitution Society and the Office of Career Strategy, the event will be held on Monday, Sept. 28 beginning at 5:30 p.m. in the Millhiser Moot Court Room, Sydney Lewis Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

During the panel discussion, professors from the law school and the college will analyze several key cases currently on the high court’s docket, framing the important issues of the case and explaining the routes the cases took through the lower courts before being accepted by the U.S. Supreme Court. The cases and participating faculty are as follows:

Prof. Al Carr will explore FERC v. Electric Power Supply Association, a case dealing with regulatory authority. The Court will determine whether the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission reasonably concluded that it has authority under the Federal Power Act to regulate the rules used by operators of wholesale-electricity markets to pay for reductions in electricity consumption and to recoup those payments through adjustments to wholesale rates.

Prof. Ann Massie will discuss Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, an affirmative action case making its second trip to the Supreme Court. This time, the Court will determine  whether the Fifth Circuit’s re-endorsement of the University of Texas at Austin’s use of racial preferences in undergraduate admissions decisions can be sustained under this Court’s decisions interpreting the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment,

Prof. Brian Murchison will discuss Dollar General Corporation v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, a case involving tribal court jurisdiction. The Court will determine whether Indian tribal courts have jurisdiction to adjudicate civil tort claims against nonmembers, including as a means of regulating the conduct of nonmembers who enter into consensual relationships with a tribe or its members.

Prof. Todd Peppers will examine Kansas v. Gleason and Hurst v. Florida, two death penalty cases. In Kansas v. Gleason, the Court will decide whether the Eighth Amendment requires that a capital-sentencing jury be affirmatively instructed that mitigating circumstances “need not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” as the Kansas Supreme Court held in this case, or instead whether the Eighth Amendment is satisfied by instructions that, in context, make clear that each juror must individually assess and weigh any mitigating circumstances. The Hurst case explores whether Florida’s death sentencing scheme violates the Sixth Amendment or the Eighth Amendment in light of this Court’s decision in Ring v. Arizona.

Prof. Mark Rush will discuss Evenwel v. Abbott, a voting rights case. The Court will determine whether the three-judge district court correctly held that the “one-person, one-vote” principle under the Equal Protection Clause allows States to use total population, and does not require States to use voter population, when apportioning state legislative districts.

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A Controversial Canonization

During Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S., he held a mass on Sept. 23 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, in Washington, D.C., to canonize the Franciscan friar Junípero Serra as a saint.

Deborah Miranda, the John Lucian Smith Professor of English at Washington and Lee University, is among those who have criticized the Pope’s actions. Earlier this year, she told The New York Times, “Serra did not just bring us Christianity. He imposed it, giving us no choice in the matter. He did incalculable damage to a whole culture.”

Serra (1713–1784), who was born in Majorca, Spain, and was an influential theological professor, founded the first missions in California, which converted tens of thousands of Indians along the West Coast. Once baptized, they were not allowed to leave the missions, and those who fled were rounded up by soldiers and returned.

Miranda, who is a mestiza (she describes herself as half Indian, half white), has continued to voice her opposition in an interview with National Catholic Register and in interviews with the BBC and CNN. She also traveled to D.C., joining a delegation of Californians as a representative of the Ohlone-Costanoan Esselen Nation of the Greater Monterey Bay Area, which held a press conference to explain its opposition to Serra’s canonization.

Miranda is the author of “Bad Indians: A Tribal Memoir” (2013), which won the 2014 gold medal for autobiography/memoir, in the family legacy category, in the Independent Publisher Book Awards, or IPPYs. She also has a blog, Bad Ndns, where she posts about Native American issues.

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