Program News

Faculty in the News

The following include select news articles by or about Legal Studies Faculty and Affiliated Faculty Members.

Brandeis Series in Law and Society

Brandeis University Press and the Brandeis Legal Studies Program at Brandeis University are pleased  to announce a new book series, " Brandeis Series in Law and Society." This series is edited by Rosalind Kabrhel, JD, and Daniel Breen, JD, and will publish books that take an interdisciplinary approach to the law with a view to towards shedding light on the variety of ways in which legal rules and the institutions that enforce them affect our lives. The books are intended for practitioners, academics, students, and the interested general public. 

May 12, 2022

"When Freedom Speaks: The Boundaries and the Boundlessness of our First Amendment Right" chronicles the stories that narrate our First Amendment right to speak our minds. Greenky’s background gives her a unique perspective upon which to teach and write about the protection we have from laws that abridge our right to the freedom of speech. Rhetoricians focus on language and how it influences perception and moves people to action, this book values a rhetorical approach to teach the concepts as moral narratives that proscribe the boundaries of our constitutionally protected right. Using the characters and drama embedded in the cases that elucidate First Amendment principles, When Freedom Speaks makes the concepts easier to understand and applicable to our lives.   

The aim of this book is to engage today’s increasingly politically active audience and introduce them to the theories, the landmark Supreme Court cases, and recent lower court cases that guide First Amendment jurisprudence.


October 10, 2021

The first book to be written on the Judge Rotenberg Center and its use of painful interventions to control the behavior of children and adults with disabilities.

For more than 40 years, professionals in the field of disability studies have engaged in debates over the use of aversive interventions (such as electric shock) like the ones used at the Judge Rotenberg Center. Advocates and lawyers have filed complaints and lawsuits to both use them and ban them, scientists have written hundreds of articles for and against them, and people with disabilities have lost their lives and, some would say, lived their lives because of them. There are families who believe deeply in the need to use aversives to control their children’s behavior. There are others who believe the techniques used are torture. All of these families have children who have been excluded from numerous educational and treatment programs because of their behaviors. For most of the families, placement at the Judge Rotenberg Center is the last resort.

This book is a historical case study of the Judge Rotenberg Center, named after the judge who ruled in favor of keeping its doors open to use aversive interventions. It chronicles and analyzes the events and people involved for over 40 years that contributed to the inability of the state of Massachusetts to stop the use of electric shock, and other severe forms of punishment on children and adults with disabilities. It is a long story, sad and tragic, complex, filled with intrigue and questions about society and its ability to protect and support its most vulnerable citizens.

The Justice

December 7, 2021

This fall, through the Legal Studies Practicum (LGLS-145A) with Prof. and Chair of the Legal Studies Department Rosalind Kabrhel, Amy Schroder and her classmates were able to get involved with a diverse array of hands-on experiential learning opportunities. Through this practicum, they were able to experience the importance of educational interventions in the communities they worked with, as a way to marginally counteract systemic disadvantages. The hands-on approach to experiential learning allowed them to synthesize and apply the themes of this course’s readings through a critical and concrete lens.

April 27, 2021

On April 21, the Brandeis Democrats hosted “The Supreme Court: Legitimacy and the Future,” a panel discussion featuring Prof. Daniel Breen (LGLS) and Prof. Jeffrey Lenowitz (POL). The panel brought the two professors together to discuss “all things Supreme Court,” according to the Brandeis Democrats’ weekly email. 

April 17, 2021

Women have historically been under-represented in all levels of the U.S. government, and even with decades of advances for women in the workplace, this still holds true. According to a March 8, 2017 Vox article, the U.S. is ranked 104th worldwide in female representation in government. Recent events have spurred a new wave of female candidates for office, but, according to panelists invited by the Education Network for Active Civic Transformation (ENACT) [and moderated by Prof. Melissa Stimell (LGLS)], a national expansion of the University’s International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life’s program Advocacy for Policy Change, many women are still hesitant to run.

April 16, 2021

Prof. Anita Hill (AAAS, Heller, LGLS, WGS) will impart her valediction to members of the class of 2019 at Wellesley College’s commencement on May 31, according to an April 12 PR Newswire article. 

Hill is known for her 1997 memoir “Speaking Truth to Power,” in which she recounted her 1991 Congressional testimony where she accused then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment. It has since amplified discussions on “civil and women’s rights,” according to an April 11 article in The Swellesley Report. 

March 10, 2020

Prof. Daniel Breen (LGLS):  Last week, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Russo v. June Medical Services, LLC, involving the issue of whether Louisiana can constitutionally require doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges in a hospital located within 30 miles of the clinics where they work. Since there is no conceivable reason for a law like this other than to make it harder for women to have abortions, the Court has two choices: it can either follow its own precedents by striking down the law as an "undue burden" on a woman's right to reproductive privacy, or it can ignore those precedents and uphold the law — thus pleasing the Republican constituencies that gave us Justices Gorsuch and Kavanugh. Either decision would further deepen our current partisan divisions; but much more importantly, should the Court discard prior case law and rule for Louisiana, the true losers would be the women of the United States, the institutional integrity of the Court and the Rule of Law.

February 4, 2020

Prof. Sarah Curi (LGLS/HSSP) [The WHO’s] declaration [of a public health emergency] alone will not stop this virus, nor will reactionary quarantines. Concerted, coordinated interdisciplinary efforts will. To most effectively tailor our preventative efforts, we must invest in research into the unique characteristics of 2019-nCoV, including how it spreads and the severity of resulting illness, as well as affordable vaccines. Let us not repeat the mistakes of the past.  Accurate and timely information is essential.  The CDC explains that “this is a very serious public health threat.”  Yet, right now, the seasonal flu is a greater threat in the U.S. and worldwide. History informs us that panic serves no one and that the vitriol that fuels xenophobia is deadly. I will listen to those most affected by the social, political, and economic disruptions and continue to wash many hands, seek to learn and share facts, and stand strong against racism, as many are in France:  #JeNeSuisPasUnVirus (“I am not a virus”).”

March 19, 2019

Prof. Rosalind Kahbhrel (LGLS) The International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life held a screening of “Notes From the Field” on Thursday. Written and played by Anna Deavere Smith as a one-woman show, the film depicts “the American school-to-prison pipeline that pushes underprivileged, minority youth out of the classroom and into incarceration,” according to the event description. … Prior to the screening, Prof. Rosalind Kabrhel (LGLS) spoke to the audience about the opportunities the Legal Studies program affords to fight injustices in the world. Kabrhel talked about the experiential classes offered by the University that require students to do an internship in the criminal justice field. She talked about the class Investigating Justice, which examines the intersection of journalism and the justice system. She also introduced LGLS 89A: Law and Society Internship and Seminar, which places students into internships relating to social justice and law, such as government law offices and nonprofit organizations.

November 6, 2018

Prof. Sarah Curi (LGLS/HSSP) “Medical expansion is a matter of social justice. The primary factor in Americans accessing health care is having health insurance. Those without health insurance have worse health status and worse access to care than do other Americans. Medicaid expansion seeks to redress these disparities through expanded health insurance coverage. Medicaid is a federal/state health insurance program: eligibility is based on income, household size, disability, family status, and other factors. Eligibility rules differ between states. In thirty-three states plus the District of Columbia, Medicaid expansion has improved access to care, utilization of services and the affordability of care. If the five currently considering adopting Medicaid expansion as a direct ballot issue, then such expansion will save the lives and improve the health status of some of the most vulnerable Americans, among the low-income broadly and within specific vulnerable populations in those states.”

Prof. Alice Noble (LGLS/HSSP) “The 2010 Affordable Care Act expanded Medicaid to provide universal health coverage for all below 138% of the poverty line, but the historic SCOTUS opinion, NFIB v. Sebelius, demoted the mandate to an “option” for the states. Staunchly resisted in red states, Medicaid expansion was ultimately adopted in 34 states, where its merits have become apparent. Expansion states are enjoying generous federal subsidies to insure the expansion population, and a better-funded health care sector is improving those states’ economies. Midterm elections may see another wave of states joining the expansion if Democrats make gains in governorships and statehouses. In Republican strongholds, Idaho, Nebraska, Utah, and Montana, a surprising grass roots effort has added Medicaid expansion referenda to the ballot. Thus, the midterm elections will indicate whether Medicaid expansion is finally reaching its intended goal as an important, new  “normal” in our national quest for a just health care system.”

October 11, 2017

Aligning with the values of social justice that lie at the core of the University’s mission, the Student Association for The Right to Immigration Institute is making itself known among the student-run clubs on campus for its commitment to the defense of immigrant rights. The club, in partnership with the non-profit TRII, seeks to provide undergraduate students with the accreditation necessary to represent refugees in Boston courts and practice immigration law before the Department of Homeland Security. 

At the end of 2016, approximately 10,000 cases were pending in the immigration courts of Boston, according to Board Secretary Jonathan Goldman ’19. That same year, Board President Munis Safajou ’16, Board Vice President Victoria St. Jean ’19 and Goldman co-founded TRII, a nonprofit with 501(c)(3) status, alongside Prof. Douglas Smith (LGLS) to help satisfy the demand for more immigrant representation. They are working in collaboration with board member Lauren Gearty, an immigration attorney and a Brandeis University Ph.D. candidate studying legal history.

Digital Publications

April 19, 2021

California health officials have repeatedly said they have no plans to institute COVID-19 vaccine “passports” — digital or paper passes that allow vaccinated residents or those who’ve tested negative into concerts, baseball games and other sports arenas ... Some cities created virus squads, going door to door to check people’s vaccination status, said Michael Willrich, a history professor at Brandeis University. People [and affiliated faculty in LGLS] who refused to get a vaccine resorted to exposing part of their skin to nitric acid. It created a nickel-sized scar similar to the mark left by the vaccine.

April 9, 2021

At the turn of the 20th century, the United States was in the grip of a full-blown smallpox epidemic. During the five-year outbreak from 1899 to 1904, government health officials confirmed 164,283 cases of smallpox, but the real numbers may have been five times as high ... “The vaccine recipient would start to feel quite sick, usually with a fever and a very sore arm,” says Michael Willrich, a history professor at Brandeis University and author of Pox: An American History. “The vaccine site would become more and more irritated, a scab would form, fall off, and what was left behind was a small scar roughly the size of a nickel. And that’s how you’d know that the vaccination took.”

Brandeis Now

July 17, 2019

“The U.S. healthcare system is a major focus of national and state politics, and many of the issues involved have become flashpoints on the right and the left. But there’s more complexity and nuance than can be addressed in tweets and soundbites — and that’s where an innovative, interdisciplinary Brandeis summer program comes in.

Sarah Curi and Alice Noble — professors in the Legal Studies and Health: Science, Society, and Policy (HSSP) programs at Brandeis — launched “Health, Law, and Justice” for students to learn about the U.S. healthcare system and meet activists, lawmakers, and industry professionals.

“Health, Law, and Justice” is part of the Justice Brandeis Semester (JBS), an annual, 10-week intensive academic program during June, July and August that combines classes, site visits experiential learning for course credit …  “It’s amazing to see how much students learn in 10 weeks,” Curi added. “This is complex work, and by the end our students acquire an incredible command of the issues. I often wish we could take some of their work and hand-deliver it to Congress and just say ‘We’ve got something for you.’”

The Hoot

April 23, 2021

TRII is a 501(c)(3) organization that was founded by three students and [Prof. Doug Smith (LGLS0]  with the goal of aiding individuals in the immigration process and making sure that no one goes through it alone. Sara Hogenboom ’21, one of TRII’s most active student members, specifically highlights that “clients who didn’t have an attorney were 90 percent more likely to get their case rejected, but if they had an attorney that would go down to 50 percent, so their chances will increase overall” in an interview with The Brandeis Hoot. The organization has evolved to now serve the legal immigration needs of the greater Waltham community. They are more deeply rooted in the community and have developed relationships with other organizations, so that clients get access to what they need. 

March 19, 2021

The Brandeis community, especially within the philosophy community, have recently mourned the loss of the late Professor Andreas Teuber (PHIL), who peacefully passed away at home on Feb. 15, 2021, at the age of 78. 

As a professor, he “tried to get each and every one of his students to do philosophy,” Provost Carol Finke wrote in an email to the Brandeis community informing them about Teuber’s passing. “To step up onto the stage for a moment and try to discover their philosophical voice; to join a millennium-old conversation about justice or beauty or truth.” 

February 12, 2021

In a Jan. 18 event, Professor Anita Hill (AAAS/LGLS/HS/WGS) talked about the duality of her excitement for Vice President Kamala Harris’ historic inauguration and concern that calls for unity would paper over lingering problems of inequality in America.

Hill started out by addressing the attempted insurrection at the Capitol Building on Jan. 6, where conspiracy theorists, white supremacists and supporters of the former president answered his calls to “stop the steal” by breaking into the building and attempting to violently stop Congress from certifying the electoral college votes. 


October 30, 2021

Prof. Anita Hill (AAAS/LGLS/HS/WGS) said that the goal of the Grand Old Party (GOP) is to implant a conservative body of reasoning that will change the judicial understanding and precedent of equality in America in a Q&A facilitated by Prof. Jill Greenlee (POL) on Zoom on Monday, prior to Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. Hill discussed the future of the United States Supreme Court and how changes over the years shape the status of equality among minority and LGBTQ groups. 

March 6, 2020

TIME Magazine has named University Professor Anita Hill (AAAS/LGLS/HS/WGS) “Woman of the Year” for 1991, as part of a new series recognizing the contributions of influential women. The series, titled “100 Women of the Year,” is described by former TIME Editor-in-Chief Nancy Gibbs as “an exercise in looking at the ways in which women held power due to systemic inequality.” 

May 3, 2019

In 1991, Anita Hill (AAAS/LGLS/HS/WGS) testified that she was sexually harassed by Clarence Thomas, a then-nominee to the Supreme Court. At the time, Joe Biden was the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and now, almost 30 years later, the 2020 presidential hopeful is facing criticism for the way he handled the hearings.

Innovative legal studies class teaches appreciation of diverse legal systems

November 29, 2018

Every year, Brandeis introduces a multitude of new, innovative classes. For those who are looking for a unique class next semester within the legal studies department, “Native American Tribal Legal Studies” could be a class worth looking into.

Anyone who enrolls in this class can be sure that they will be taught by a seasoned professional in his field who already has previous experience at Brandeis. Professor Douglas Smith (LGLS) has been teaching at Brandeis for the past six years, in addition to the time he spent teaching here between 2004 and 2005. In this time, he has taught “Dispute Analysis and Resolution” and “Immigration and Human Rights,” with his most recent course occurring over this past summer’s Justice Brandeis Semester called “Human Rights Advocacy in the Immigration System,” which has since been discontinued.