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TAKINGS CLAUSE TAKES CENTER STAGE AT KEEDY CUP

Cast of Keedy Cup, from left to right: Jason A. Abel, Maria I. Gonzalez, Hon. Karen Nelson Moore, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit; Hon. Albert M. Rosenblatt, New York State Court of Appeals; Michael A. Fitts, Dean, Penn Law; Hon. Barrington D. Parker, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit; Elizabeth Kim, and Justin R. Long.
The Court: Zellerbach Theater, Annenberg Center

The Case: “Washington Legal Foundation v. Legal Foundation of Washington”

The Issues: Did the state violate the takings clause in the Fifth Amendment? Is injunctive relief available to enjoin a state from such action?

Welcome to the Edwin R. Keedy Cup, an annual competition between two teams of third-year students who score the highest in Penn Law’s intramural brief writing and oral advocacy moot court. Jason Abel and Maria Gonzalez won the Keedy Cup, but not before a spirited debate. Abel also took the award for Best Oralist.

This is the backdrop to the case: The Legal Foundation of Washington, represented by Abel and Gonzalez, was the respondent. The nonprofit organization runs a state-sponsored program that places funds in real estate escrow accounts. The interest is used to fund legal services for the indigent. Petitioners Washington Legal Foundation argued that program administrators unconstitutionally took that interest. Justin Long and Elizabeth Kim represented the petitioners.

Kim argued that the state appropriated private property, and that the small amount of money involved is not germane to the case. Long, her legal partner, charged the state with infringing the rights of the minority to benefit the majority. He asked the court to stop the state from further takings. Abel countered, in part, that since the petitioners did not suffer a significant economic loss, a constitutional violation did not exist. He accused the petitioners of “bringing the case solely for political motivation because they did not like the program’s recipients.” Gonzalez then argued that even if there had been a taking, an injunction was not an appropriate form of relief under the Constitution.

Presiding judges were the Hon. Karen Nelson Moore, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit; Hon. Barrington D. Parker, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit; and Hon. Albert M. Rosenblatt, New York State Court of Appeals.

Judge Rosenblatt called the presentations “oral advocacy at its very finest.”

 

JLEL PANELS FIND NOT ALL WORKERS ARE CREATED - OR TREATED - EQUAL

In a troubled economy, immigrants and other workers who may not enjoy the same benefits and legal protections as the rest of the workforce face stern challenges. A panel of experts explored the issues facing marginalized workers in a symposium sponsored in February by the Journal of Labor and Employment Law (JLEL).

Twelve academics, attorneys and legal activists discussed the gaps in American labor and employment law, the contraction of immigrant workers’ rights after 9/11, and efforts to improve the social, economic and legal status of so-called “fringe” workers.

 
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