Howard University

Faculty Highlights-March 2008

Ballard-Thrower, Rhea
Professor Ballard-Thrower served as an Election Judge for the Maryland Primary held on February 12, 2008. She was assigned to a precinct in Montgomery County.

Black, Derek
Two of Professor Black’s articles were published in February 2008:

  • The Mysteriously Reappearing Cause of Action: The Court’s Expanding Concept of Intentional Discrimination in Gender and Race Discrimination Statutes, 67 MARYLAND L. REV. 101 (2008).
  • Turning Stones of Hope into Boulders of Resistance: The First and Last Task of Social Justice Curriculum, Scholarship, and Practice, 86 N.C. L. REV. 101 (2008).
  • On February 22, Professor Black was scheduled to present at “A Tribute to Justice Sandra Day O’Connor: Reflecting on Justice O’Connor’s Jurisprudence Relating to Race and Education” at Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, but the event was cancelled due to weather. Professor Black did, however, complete and submit his article for the symposium titled, The Uncertainties of School Desegregation: Good Will, Good Sense, and a Misguided Decision. It will be published in the Catholic Law Review this fall.

Crooms, Lisa
On February 18-22, 2008, Professor Crooms coordinated a group of more than 125 U.S.-based human rights organizations and activists who traveled to Geneva, Switzerland to brief members of the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination as part of the Committee’s review of the U.S. government’s periodic report regarding compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. For additional details, visit

While in Geneva, the delegation also briefed the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Racism and Racial Discrimination in connection with his upcoming mission to the U.S. this spring. In addition to serving as the Senior Coordinator for this effort, Professor Crooms wrote an essay entitled, “Who Wasn’t in New Orleans with Tavis,” for The Washington Post’s on-line magazine, The Root, which can be found at

Echols, Marsha
As Director of The World Food Law Institute, Professor Echols participated in a panel discussion of Cross-Sectoral Alliances at the University Hunger Summit, which was co-sponsored by the Alliance to end Hunger, Auburn University, George Washington University and others.

On March 3, 2008, the World Food Law Institute co-sponsored another Round Table discussion about food product standards. The theme of the program was “Product Standards and New Technologies: Animal Cloning and Nanotechnology.” The panelists were drawn from the legal, scientific and diplomatic communities. The Round Table was held at the American Society of International Law.

Ellis, Atiba
Professor Ellis presented a guest lecture on February 27, 2008 in Professor Gresham’s Estate Planning class. For additional details, see the Teaching Innovations section of this Report.

Professor Ellis also presented a guest lecture in Professor Gavil’s Federal Courts class on February 28, 2008. Professor Ellis lectured on Gonzaga University v. Doe, 536 U.S. 273 (2002), where the Supreme Court of the United States held that Congress was required to state the existence of a federal right in a statute in “clear, unambiguous terms” for the right to be enforceable under 42 U.S.C. s 1983. Section 1983 litigation is an interest of Professor Ellis’, and he discussed the case, the history of this legal issue, and the ramifications of the Gonzaga ruling on future civil rights litigation.

Professor Ellis has also been busy outside of the law school. He presented a workshop entitled “On and Beyond: Using Your Student Leadership Skills beyond High School” at the 81st annual convention of the North Carolina Association of Student Councils in Greenville, NC. The Association is the official organization for middle and high school student government associations in North Carolina. At the convention, which was held this past March 1-3, 2008, Professor Ellis received the Frances Bounds Excellence in Leadership Award. The award is presented to former members of the association “who [have] exemplified through [their] life and career the skills of leadership obtained through [their] association with Student Council Organizations.” Professor Ellis’ legal experience, service to Operation Understanding DC, and service to the Howard University School of Law were recognized in his citation.

Additionally, Professor Ellis recently was interviewed for the “The Urban Flow” television program this past Saturday, March 8. Professor Ellis spoke to the panel about Operation Understanding DC, a youth dialogue and leadership program for African American and Jewish high school students. Professor Ellis is president of the Board of Directors of OUDC.

Finally, Professor Ellis will be supervising nearly 60 HUSL students who will attend this year’s Alternative Spring Break program in New Orleans, LA this March 17-21. The students will provide volunteer legal assistance to nonprofit legal service providers, community groups, and government agencies to assist with the ongoing post-Katrina recovery.

Gavil, Andrew
On March 10, 2008, Professor Gavil was quoted in a Bloomberg News article discussing the implications of the DOJ Antitrust Division’s decision not to pursue an extension of its consent decree with Microsoft while the States successfully did so.

Professor Gavil also was quoted in a Reuters article on March 11, 2008 discussing “Will Antitrust Change if Democrats Take the White House?” See

On March 26, 2008, Professor Gavil will be participating as a panelist at the Spring Meeting of the Antitrust Section of the American Bas Association here in Washington. His topic will be “Antitrust Fundamentals.”

And his latest article was published by Oxford’s Journal of Competition Law and Economics: Andrew I. Gavil, The Challenges of Economic Proof in a Decentralized and Privatized European Competition Policy System: Lessons from the American Experience, 4 J. COMP. L. & ECON. 177 (2008).

Gresham, Alice
Judge Juan F. Vasquez (appointed by President Clinton as Judge, United States Tax Court, on May 1, 1995) was the guest lecturer for Professor Gresham’s Federal Income Tax class on March 6, 2008. The lecture was open to all students at the law school interested in tax as a career. Judge Vasquez discussed US Tax Court clerkships as well as substantive lecture on tax issues.

Professor Gresham was a member of the ABA/AALS Accreditation Site Visit Team for Emory University Law School from March 2-5, 2008. In addition to writing her section of the report regarding faculty, Professor Gresham was also the AALS Reporter. As AALS Reporter she will write a report for the AALS regarding issues related to AALS Requirements of Membership.

Jamar, Steven
Professor Jamar was a peer reviewer of an article on Cyberlaw submitted to a peer-reviewed publication.

Professor Jamar assisted Professor Mtima in organizing and conducting the 5th Annual IIPSJ CLE at HUSL on March 6-7, 2008. The event was well attended with more than 80 attendees over the two days. Headlining the remarkable list of presenters were three judges from the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, including Chief Judge Michel, and a federal district court judge. Other presenters were from academia, law firms, and businesses. A special thank you is due to the staff involved in making it work and to the HUSL students for their efforts on behalf of the conference.

La Rue, Homer
Professor La Rue has been nominated by Governor Martin O’Malley to be a member of the Maryland State Labor Relations Board. Professor La Rue has been nominated for a six-year term and is due to be confirmed by the Maryland Senate during the current session.

The Maryland State Labor Relations Board is an independent state agency responsible for implementing the provisions of the Maryland state public employees’ collective bargaining law. That law provides for collective bargaining rights for certain state employees.

Ross, Josephine
Professor Josephine Ross wishes to announce publication of her article: Crawford’s Short-Lived Revolution: How Davis v. Washington Reins In Crawford’s Reach, 83 NORTH DAKOTA L. J. 387 (2007).

On February 29, 2008, Professor Ross was on a panel on The Administration of Justice in New Orleans along with Zack Rosenburg, Director of the St. Bernard Project, Eric Balaban of the ACLU National Prison Project and Miles Swanson, founder of New Orleans Common Ground Legal Clinic. This was part of a symposium at University of the District of Columbia David A Clarke School of Law entitled: Katrina’s Wake: Emergency Preparedness and Response from the Bayou to the Beltway.

She attended a conference at the University of Baltimore School of Law on March 6, 2008 on “How New Feminist Legal Theories and Feminisms Are Changing Society.”

Professor Ross co-sponsored the Spring Externship Fair on March 11, 2008 to help HUSL students find work in government and non-profit organizations for the summer and fall. A range of employers set out tables and students were invited to talk to these employers about opportunities and hiring deadlines. The fair also helped students who wish to enroll in the externship class offered here in the fall and spring semesters.

Taslitz, Andrew
Professor Taslitz spoke at the University of Texas School of Law last week. The title of his talk was The Roberts’ Court’s Vision of Constitutional Harm Under the Fourth Amendment.

The Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review has also agreed to publish a symposium that Professor Taslitz has organized on the Jena 6 case, and Professor Taslitz has contracted with Sage Publications to write a lengthy entry on Date Rape for the forthcoming Encyclopedia of United States Public Policy.

Thomas, Alice
Professor David Brennen, current Deputy Director of the AALS and Professor at the University of Georgia, spoke to Professor Thomas’ Nonprofits Organizations class on February 21, 2008. Professor Brennen is the author of the textbook used in the course, and the students looked forward to asking him questions about the text.

Highlights from the Deans’ Corner

Kurt L. Schmoke
Dean of the Law School
On February 19, Dean Schmoke participated in a Roundtable on Law School Leadership Education at the University of Maryland School of Law. The Roundtable was jointly sponsored by the University of Maryland Academy of Leadership and provided a forum for learning across sectors and disciplines, exchanging ideas, and identifying goals and methodologies for introducing high impact leadership education into law schools.

On February 22, Dean Schmoke attended a HUSL Los Angeles Alumni Reception hosted by Clarence A. Daniels (HUSL ‘78). The reception was an opportunity for alumni to network and learn about the law school’s current initiatives and vision for the future.

On February 28, the Dean presented the Carter Woodson Lecture at St. Mary’s College in St. Mary’s County, Maryland. The lecture is given as part of their African American History Month celebration. The title of the Dean’s speech was, Dilemmas in Leadership: Echoes from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

On March 2, Dean Schmoke appeared in an interview on CBS Evening News regarding the National Urban League’s State of Black America report.

Okianer Christian Dark
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
On February 23, 2008, Associate Dean Dark spoke about a career in law at the Saturday School program held at the Blackburn Center for middle school students. This school is sponsored by the National Caucus of Black Women.

Associate Dean Dark is a member of the AALS Committee on Recruitment and Retention of Minority Law Teachers. She recently attended the planning meeting for the 2008 AALS Annual Meeting.

On March 6, 2008, she attended the National Conference of Bar Examiners Law Faculty Workshop at the University of Baltimore School of Law. The key speakers at the workshop were responsible for designing and coordinating the development of the MBE, MEE (essay) and the MPT (performance test).

Reginald McGahee
Assistant Dean of Admissions
Assistant Dean Reginald McGahee represented the law school at forums in Houston, LA and San Francisco, CA in February 2008.

He joined Dean Schmoke and Ms. Novella Ford in representing the law school at an alumni event in LA.

Assistant Dean McGahee was also asked to serve on the Advisory Board of the National Black Pre-Law Conference.