Student Authors Draw on Experience, News Headlines to Fuel Published Work

March 1, 2010 - Each year, the Pence Law Library holds a Student Authors Reception to celebrate the publication of scholarship.  The group of students have had their work published both in internal journals at American University Washington College of Law, and in outside publications nationally and internationally. The Pence Law Library plans to upload all student works in “Student Articles in Law Reviews and Journals” on the Digital Commons @American University Washington College of Law website to showcase student scholarship.

Students have drawn on a combination of professional experience and personal interests to come up with topics for their published work.

Our ‘Jack Bauer’ Culture: Eliminating the Ticking Time Bomb

Kate Kovarovic ‘11 (pictured, at right) was in the audience at last February’s  Founders’ Celebration conference at the law school on the Prevention of Torture and other ill-treatment, and was taken aback by lectures that explained how the public perception of torture had changed in recent years through media campaigns and shows like 24.

“The show 24 began, and in any given season, Jack Bauer can be shown torturing victims upwards of 80 times,” Kovarovic said.  “People have begun to see torture as acceptable, and to justify its use on even those who don't pose an imminent threat.”

Kovarovic’s piece, set to run in the Florida Journal of International Law, focuses on national and international regulations on the use of torture,  and explores the intersection of law and public perception.  Kovarovic argues that the use of torture is illegal under federal and international law. 

Statutory Struggles of Administrative Agencies: The Director of National Intelligence in a Post-9/11 World

After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy, Lauren C. Clark ’11 spent a year working on board the USS Rushmore and then had a standard release from active duty.  She is studying administrative law, and wanted to combine her studies with her interest in national security. 

Her piece in the Administrative Law Review, evaluated the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 – a piece of legislation that restructured the intelligence community after the national security failures of 9/11.

“9/11 seemed so long ago to some people,” Clark said.  “Critiquing this legislation reminds people that it could happen again.”

Biopiracy and Protection of Traditional Medicine in India

A debate about the patentability of the traditional practice of yoga caught the attention of Swarna Latha Soppadandi (pictured, at left), an LL.M. student specializing in intellectual property rights. 

Soppadandi’s research focused on the medical systems and practices of India, and the strategy for protecting them against bio-piracy – the commercialization of traditional knowledge and technologies of developing countries by corporations in developed countries.  Her paper in the European Intellectual Property Review defined traditional medicine’s role, the threat of bio-piracy, and described what needs to happen to put together an effective protection regime. 

“The paper asked ‘how can you protect an already existing traditional practice?” said Soppadandi.  “I wanted to explore what the flaws were in the protection strategy.”

Government Transparency and the Obama Era

Ross Schulman ’10 needed to frame his contribution to the Legislation and Policy Brief within the context of the first year of the Obama Administration.  Having spent five years working in DC, both on the Hill and for the nonprofit public interest group the Center for Democracy and Technology, Schulman decided on “Government Transparency and the Obama Era.”

“It struck me that a lot of Obama’s rhetoric during his campaign was pointed to open government possibilities,” said Schulman.  “I wanted to find out where his administration’s focus was with regard to transparency.”

Schulman’s paper breaks down transparency into two areas.  Policy-based transparency is constituents demanding lawmakers to explain their positions on issues, making sure bills are published online, and other efforts to bring the legislative process out in the open. 

Ethics-based transparency is less focused on the bills themselves, and more on the influences on the legislators creating them.  Who has given them financial contributions?  Who are they having lunch with?

The Pence Law Library is holding the 2010 Student Authors Reception at 2 p.m. on Monday, March 1 on the first floor of the library.