Posts for November, 2012

New Faculty: James A. Sonne

November 16, 2012 | Issue 87

James A. Sonne Director, Religious Liberty Clinic, Lecturer in Law James A. Sonne, the founding director of Stanford Law School’s new Religious Liberty Clinic, arrived this fall with an ambitious agenda: to create the nation’s only law school clinic devoted entirely to litigating issues of religious freedom. He comes well-equipped [...]

New Faculty: Shirin Sinnar

November 16, 2012 | Issue 87

Shirin Sinnar, JD ’03 Assistant Professor of Law Shirin Sinnar, JD ’03, didn’t have far to go when she was appointed assistant professor of law this spring and moved into the William H. Neukom Building. As a Stanford Law Fellow, her basement office in the law school’s administrative building had [...]

First Impressions: The Day Forty-Five Report 


November 13, 2012 | Issue 87

On July 24, Stanford University announced that I would be the 13th dean of Stanford Law School. I am both thrilled and humbled by the opportunity to take the helm at this extraordinary institution. Let me share with you some of what I have experienced since late July, and some of my initial impressions from the short time that I have been here.

The first thing that became apparent to me was the depth and warmth of the Stanford community—or, as I have come to think of it, community with a capital C. In the days and weeks following the announcement, hundreds of people affiliated with Stanford called, wrote, emailed, texted, or posted on my Facebook page. I heard from what seemed to be every-one connected to SLS—faculty, administrators, staff, students, and many, many law school 
alums. But I also heard from dozens of people who are not affiliated directly with Stanford Law School, but rather with the greater university—from professors, to human resources personnel, to department chairs. I heard from people hiking in the mountains, floating down rivers on rafting trips, and traveling abroad. Without exception, they congratulated me, they offered help, and they assured me that I would love my time at Stanford.

On the London Olympics

November 13, 2012 | Issue 87

Scott Blackmun, JD ’82, is CEO of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), the orga
nizing body for American participation in “The Games.” Before his appointment to CEO in January 2010, he was general counsel and senior managing director for sport resources as well as interim CEO at the USOC. He [...]

John Atta Mills

November 13, 2012 | Issue 87

John Atta Mills, the president of Ghana since 2009, passed away on July 24, 2012. He was 68 years old. Mills came to Stanford Law School in 1971 and spent a year on campus as a Fulbright Scholar enrolled in the LLM program. Previously, he had studied law at the [...]

Tom Elke

November 12, 2012 | Issue 87

On Sunday, June 3, 2012, Tom Elke, LLB ’52 (BS ’49), one of the founders of Elke Farella & Braun and my dear friend, passed away. Tom, Jerry Braun, LLB ’53 (BA ’51), and I met at Stanford Law School in 1951—and despite our wildly disparate geographic origins and life [...]

New Faculty: Ronald C. Tyler

November 12, 2012 | Issue 87

Meet James A. Sonne, Ronald C. Tyler, and Shirin Sinnar, JD ’03.

Judge Vaughn R. Walker: Measured Justice


November 12, 2012 | Issue 87

Judge Vaughn R. Walker’s silky, announcer-like baritone can make a simple declaration sound ominous. In 2011, the LGBT Advisory Board of Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law invited him to give a lecture. Walker captured the attention of the audience with his opening words, “I’m fully aware that this invitation is largely the product of one, and only one, of the some 8,000 cases I handled as a federal judge. Nestled in that fact is an irony that I’m going to talk to you about today.”

The Sympathetic State: 
Disaster Relief and 
the Origins of the 
American Welfare State


November 12, 2012 | Issue 87

Even as unemployment rates soared during the Great Depression, FDR’s relief and social security programs faced attacks in Congress and the courts on the legitimacy of federal aid to the growing population of poor. In response, New Dealers pointed to a long tradition—dating back to 1790 and now largely forgotten—of [...]

Making a Difference 
in Afghanistan

November 12, 2012 | Issue 87

When I was 16, my brother deployed to Afghanistan for the first time—and I became acutely aware of the ongoing conflict there. At the same time, I saw how little attention most Americans paid to the war. The next year, in 2004, Time magazine ran a cover story titled “Remember [...]