Property Ownership: Right or Duty?

In 2003, with ten other adult men, I became a b’nai mitzvah, a son of the commandments, at the age of 60 at Adas Israel in Washington, DC, where we lived until 2008. Both during and since that day, I have been trying to figure out the deeper meanings of the bar mitzvah ritual I undertook as an elder. If I had trouble with that you can imagine how hard it must be for a thirteen year old with a <Read More>


Gender, Stamina, and Politics

Hillary Clinton stumbled while departing early from a New York City ceremony marking the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11. She was in the midst of fighting off what turned out to be a mild case of pneumonia. Trump responded during a speech a short time later with a mocking display of physical ineptitude and a cry that “We need stamina.” Health, of course, has been a common topic of discussion during the ongoing campaign, not only after the 9/11 incident, but <Read More>


Remembering 9/11

September 12—fifteen years ago today—was the most difficult teaching experience of my forty-nine years behind a podium. Georgetown University Law Center, whose faculty I then served, elected not to cancel classes the day after the events of September 11, 2001. Though the city was still disrupted because of the events at the Pentagon the day before, the school decided it was better to go forward together than allow all of us to wallow in our thoughts alone. I was scheduled <Read More>


Obergefell, Parenthood, and Property

On August 30, 2016, the New York Court of Appeals joined a growing list of state courts that have allowed unmarried, same-sex partners who agreed with their companions to create and rear a child to later seek custody and visitation when the couple separates. In the Matter of Brooke S.B. v. Elizabeth A.C.C., 26 N.Y.3d 1113, 46 N.E.3d (2016). The result was particularly interesting because the party seeking access to the child was the not the genetic parent; her partner was. <Read More>


Property, Politics, and Immigration

The ongoing political season has witnessed a plethora of anti-immigration rhetoric. The most notorious are Donald Trump’s statements about Mexicans: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” And, of course, he has promised to bar the immigration of Muslims <Read More>


Wall Street and “Contracts for Deed”

On April 18, 2016 the New York Times ran a story on the business page by Alexandra Stevenson and Matthew Goldstein entitled Wall Street Veterans Bet on Low-Income Home Buyers. They described how investment companies like Shelter Growth Capital Partners, Battery Point Financial, and Harbour Portfolio Advisors—largely run by those who worked in the mortgage arena during the recent real estate crash—are now buying up houses and “reselling” them to low income buyers under “contracts for deed.” Under such contracts, <Read More>


Racism in the Cook County Criminal Courts

On April 15 Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve’s op-ed piece entitled Chicago’s Racist Courts was published by the New York Times. It was prompted by the report recently issued by Mayor Rahm Emanuel noting that racism was rampant in the Chicago Police Department. Van Cleve, a Tulane University scholar and the author of another just released publication—Crook County: Racism and Injustice in America’s Largest Criminal Court (Stanford University Press 2016)—used her first hand knowledge of the Chicago criminal court system to <Read More>