Ordinary law

»  Reprinted from the January 2009 edition of Bar Briefs  «

People, listening and watching, nodded and wept, and, leaving the theater,
one turned to the other and said, What do you want to do now?
And the other one said, I don’t know. What do you want to do?
It was the Coming of Ordinary Time. . . .

— Marie Howe, The Kingdom of Ordinary Time (2008)

The true wonders in this world do not hide. Rather, they wait in plain sight, obscured by nothing more profound than the shades we draw across our eyes. This column celebrates the ordinary in law and legal education.

The Law School seeks visiting professors

The University of Louisville School of Law anticipates hiring visiting professors, both entry-level and experienced, for the 2009-10 academic year. Our curricular needs may include (but are not limited to) civil procedure, torts, trusts and estates, property, legal writing, and other subjects.

Please direct all Inquiries and applications to:

Jim Chen
Dean and Professor of Law
University of Louisville School of Law
2301 South Third Street
Louisville, KY 40292

(502) 852-6879

A twisted pair of articles on communications law

This week's mailbag included brand-new copies of two pieces by me on radically different aspects of communications law. I reproduce modified versions of Jurisdynamics posts that described these scholarly works:

From Red Lion to Red List: The Dominance and Decline of the Broadcast Medium, 60 Admin. L. Rev. 793 (2008) (as previewed in Jurisdynamics):

Panthera genus

This essay proposes a little housecleaning in the law of communications regulation. Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC, 395 U.S. 369 (1969), deserves to be transferred in its entirety from the realm of doctrine to that of history. Defenders of Red Lion and the discourse-based model of free speech jurisprudence symbolized by that decision seek to preserve one communicative niche where the public at large does absolutely nothing besides watch or listen. Appeals to civic republicanism and other lofty ideals notwithstanding, what Red Lion privileges above all else is sloth, the idea that there should be one form of mass communication that all citizens, without regard to wealth or power, can access solely by virtue of buying a receiving device and turning it on.

For four decades Congress and the FCC have imposed mandatory carriage obligations on cable and broadcast satellite operators for the benefit of conventional television stations. The emergence of intermediate constitutional scrutiny in those decisions has effectively confined Red Lion's deferential standard of review to structural regulation of the broadcast industry itself. Sustained resort to mandatory carriage schemes has reduced conventional broadcasting from a pervasive medium into the legal ward of byzantine regulatory systems designed to leverage the greater dominance of subscription-based platforms for delivering multichannel video programming.

Telecommunications Mergers, in Competition Policy and Merger Analysis in Deregulated and Newly Competitive Industries, at pp. 52-83 (Peter Carstensen & Susan Beth Farmer eds., Edward Elgar Publishing, 2008) (as previewed in Jurisdynamics):

Competition Policy and Merger Analysis

Telecommunications mergers are at once a historical mirror and a harbinger of the legal future. Since the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, no significant telecommunications merger has failed to receive regulatory approval in the United States.


The Telecommunications Act of 1996 has accelerated the trend toward consolidation and concentration. Having devoted most of its energy on issues doomed to become technologically and economically obsolete, the Act failed to anticipate the technological conditions (especially the emergence of the Internet) that drove telecommunications carriers to consolidate. Nevertheless, possible avenues for reform remain open should the federal government ever conclude that the anticompetitive potential of telecommunications mergers outweighs their salutary effects.

Correspondence from the Navy JAG Corps

Navy JAG Corps

I received the following letter from Captain David A. Wagner of the Mid-Atlantic Naval Legal Service Office of the Navy Judge Advocate General's Corps:

Dear Dean Chen,

Mid-Atlantic Navy JAG Corps

Thank you for the outstanding on-campus interview opportunities with your students. Our officers were welcomed warmly by your staff and were impressed by the caliber of your students. I appreciate the opportunity to present the exciting opportunities, both career and personal, that the Navy JAG Corps offers. The success of our judge advocates is a testament to the superb quality of applicants to the Navy JAG Corps and we remain dedicated to seeing out those with the highest quality academic and leadership skills to serve our country. In addition, we view diversity in all aspects as a critical key to our success. Our experience with your students during the recruiting season indicates that we are meeting this goal.

We look forward to visiting your school again in the near future. Please let me know how we can best assist your students and faculty during future visits. Our officers are prepared to provide individual interviews, as well as group presentations and panel discussions or any other scholastic activity you might find helpful for your law school community.


David A. Wagner

David A. Wagner
Captain, United States Navy
Judge Advocate General's Corps
Commanding Officer

UofL Law graduates find success with Woodward, Hobson & Fulton

Patrick O'Bryan Anthony Sammons Christopher Piekarski Joseph Stennis

Woodward, Hobson & Fulton, LLP has announced that its class of new partners and associates includes four graduates of the University of Louisville School of Law:

The Cardinal Lawyer congratulates these UofL Law graduates.

Four University of Louisville law students secure federal clerkships

Federal judiciary

I am pleased to report that four University of Louisville law students have secured federal clerkships this year:

Please join me in congratulating these students. They will do their finest in serving their judges and in representing their alma mater as clerks within the federal judiciary.

Ringing in the new year with items from the Cardinal Lawyer mailbag


2008 2009

It's time to flip the calendar. The Cardinal Lawyer invites its readers to celebrate the new year with a warm trio of letters from its mailbag. A heartening number of correspondents sent e-mail messages in response to the Law School's holiday greetings, both on this site and on the University of Louisville's alumni communications site. I now share three items from the correspondence that I have received during the holidays.

Happy holidays

Happy Holidays!

Happy holidays from Dean Jim Chen and the faculty, staff, and students of the University of Louisville School of Law. This special time reminds us of all you've done for the Law School and the UofL. Peace on earth, good will toward all, and best wishes in the coming year.

Bonus link:

The University of Louisville's Office of Communications and Marketing has transmitted this holiday message via e-mail to Law School alumni and to select members of the University of Louisville community. I invite you to view this message by clicking here or the image below:

Law School holiday message

All hail the 79ers

The Law School's holiday party and Class of 1979 Classroom dedication

A highlight of the Law School's December 12, 2008, holiday party was the dedication of the Class of 1979 Classroom. Now redesignated Room 079, the Class of 1979 Classroom is the only room in the Law School whose renovation has been funded by contributions by a single class.

Top left: Video footage of the Class of 1979 Classroom dedication, as recorded by Reggie Van Stockum. Bottom left: Alan Parsons, Reggie Van Stockum, Jim Chen, Richard Breen, and Wally Spalding. Bottom right: Connie Spalding, Bonnie Breen, and Cheryl Van Stockum.

I invite you to visit this event's full video and photo gallery.

Parsons, Van Stockum, Chen, Breen, Spalding Connie Spalding, Bonnie Breen, Cheryl Van Stockum

Law School holiday party

Join me today at the Law School's holiday party:

UofL Law Alumni Holiday Party
December 12, 2008, 5:30–7:00 p.m.
Law School, Cox Lounge

Please join us for the UofL School of Law annual alumni holiday party. Among the highlights of the party will be the dedication of the new Class of '79 Classroom, scheduled to take place at 6:30 p.m.

For further information, please contact Simone Beach by email or by phone at 502-852-6366.