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Published: November 1st, 2010

Category: News

Lawrence J. Marraffino
Adjunct Professor of Law Practice Management
Marraffino gave a Florida Bar Sponsored Seminar on the Solo Practice of Law on Oct. 22 in Tampa. The seminar was well-attended by mostly experienced solos looking for new ideas on further success in solo practice, as well as lawyers looking to strike out on their own.

Diane Mazur
Professor of Law

“Is Obama’s Excuse for Not Repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Legitimate?” (Oct. 19, 2010, Newsweek)

Although President Barack Obama opposes the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, he claims he is still obligated to enforce it, while others say that he has other options and could repeal the policy if he really wanted to. Mazur addresses legal and historical issues relevant to the issue.

From the article:
“Obama is correct in the most general terms,” says Diane Mazur, a former Air Force officer who teaches law at the University of Florida. “Federal law can go away in one of two ways: Congress can repeal it or a court can find it unconstitutional.”

“Since Lawrence v. Texas, you can no longer discriminate against gays without reason,” says Mazur. “The constitutionality of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ has changed since Congress enacted it.”

“Stop-loss authority is a statutory authority enacted by Congress,” Mazur explains. “It gives the president authority to suspend any law that involves the discharge of service members. In times of national emergency there might be lots of reasons.”

“The president has not openly discussed why [he is not using stop-loss],” says Mazur. “Typically, he has denied that he has any such authority and no one has really pressed him as to why.”

“My only plausible explanation is the president made a political accommodation with the military and Congress that ‘I’m not going to step in the middle of this,’ ” Mazur says. But as pressure builds from his impatient supporters, Mazur adds, “He’s finding it easier said than done for a president to say, ‘Even though I’m commander in chief, I’m going to stay out of it.’ The pressure is becoming greater for him to justify how he can stay out of it.”

“Case against DADT depends on how well injunction against it works” (Oct. 19, 2010, The National Law Journal)

Mazur commented on latest developments on the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

From the article:

“Every day that goes by in which the Pentagon is not enforcing the policy against its current members, and every day that goes by in which the Pentagon enlists openly gay people and the world doesn’t end, it’s going to get harder to make the argument to a court…of irreparable harm,” said Diane Mazur, a professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law and legal co-director of the Palm Center. “The judges are likely to say, ‘What harm are you referring to exactly?'”

“The R.O.T.C. Myth” (Oct 25, 2010, The New York Times)

Mazur wrote an op-ed piece for The New York Times in which she addresses the common misconception that the Reserve Officer Training Corps has been banned on some college campuses, particularly Ivy League schools. In actuality, the R.O.T.C. left the campuses because of a disagreement about complying with standards. However, Mazur said it would benefit the military to return to those campuses.

From the article:
Everyone buys into the myth, but at the expense of military readiness. The military needs to return to the colleges it walked away from, and everyone needs to stop pretending that R.O.T.C. programs ended because of a ban.

Martin J. McMahon, Jr.
Stephen C. O’Connell Professor of Law
McMahon spoke at the University of Montana School of Law, 58th Annual Tax Institute, Missoula, Mont., Oct. 22, on the topic: “Living With (And Dying By) the Codified Economic Substance Doctrine.” Earlier this year, Congress enacted new § 7701(o), codifying the economic substance doctrine, under which tax benefits otherwise allowable under the literal wording of the Code and Regulations can be disallowed. The presentation examined recently enacted § 7701(o) and the associated new strict liability penalty regime applicable to transactions that are found to lack economic substance. It put each of the specific provisions of § 7701(o) in the context of prior case law, and where possible assessed the future impact of the various provisions.

Daniel Sokol
Assistant Professor of Law
Sokol spoke to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C., on the role of the academy in development of a robust competition culture.

Michael Allan Wolf
Richard E. Nelson Chair in Local Government Law

“Halt reveals lenders’, firms’ dubious moves” (Oct. 23, 2010, The Palm Beach Post)

As more information is revealed about how some lenders, law firms and loan managers have been handling foreclosures recently, it is becoming more evident that laws may have been broken and foreclosures were not handled properly.

“What we are seeing is unprecedented, a combination of widespread foreclosures and unemployment, coupled with a change in the nature of the law practice,” said Michael Allan Wolf, a University of Florida property law professor. “We now have very large law firms that have very large financial companies as clients, and that can be a deadly combination.”

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