Office of the Dean:
News & announcements from Dean Perritt for the week of
April 10, 2000

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Independent International
Commission Meeting

On April 3-5, Assistant Dean Charles Rudnick and second year law student Randy Clarke will be attending a meeting in Budapest of the Independent International Commission on Kosovo.   Chicago-Kent has been asked by the Commission to assist in its analysis of human rights violations in Kosovo before, during, and after the recent armed conflict there.  A team of Chicago-Kent students enrolled in the War Crimes Documentation IPRO have been contacting national, international, and nongovernmental organizations to obtain available data on human rights violations in Kosovo.  This
information, from over 40 organizations, has been compiled in a preliminary report by the IPRO students and the American Bar Association CEELI program.  Assistant Dean Rudnick, Mr. Clarke, and GLAPI Fellow Scott Carlson of ABA/CEELI will present the report to members of the Commission in Budapest.  The Commission will use the data collected to prepare their final report,
which will be presented to U.N. Secretary General Koffi Anan in September

7th Circuit Court of Appeals Case

Congress overstepped its bounds and individuals who claim they were the victims of disability discrimination are barred from pursuing private litigation against a state entity in federal court, a divided appeals court panel has held.

In an opinion Tuesday, two members of a panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said lawmakers went too far when they created a private right of action against states in the Americans with Disabilities Act.

An individual's right to pursue such an action is limited by the 11th Amendment, which makes states immune from private suit in the federal courts, the panel's majority said.

The majority did acknowledge that Congress has the power under the commerce clause to forbid rational discrimination" -- distinctions that are rationally related to an employer's objective -- even though such discrimination does violate the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause.

But statutes barring rational discrimination against employees do not automatically apply if the employer happens to be a state entity, the majority continued.

Citing three recent Supreme Court decisions, the majority said the extent of section 5 of the 14th Amendment -- which gives Congress the power to enforce that amendment's provisions -- is limited.

Statutes that create new rights, or expand old rights beyond the 14th Amendment's bounds, do not enforce' that amendment,"  Judge Frank H. Easterbrook wrote in an opinion joined by Judge Jesse E. Eschbach.

And the right of private federal action against states contained in the ADA, 42 U.S.C. sec12111, does not enforce the 14th Amendment's prohibition against irrational distinctions based on disabilities," the majority said.

To hold that Congress was merely enforcing the 14th Amendment by giving employees the go-ahead to sue states in federal court for making rational distinctions based on disabilities would be a legal fiction," the majority said.

The panel's third member disagreed.

In a dissenting opinion, Judge Diane P. Wood said that sovereign immunity can be overcome consistently with the law."

One way to accomplish that goal is to enact legislation that abrogates that immunity, Wood said.  And she said Title I of the ADA was an example of such legislation.

Citing Kimel v. Florida  Board of Regents, 120 S. Ct. 631 (2000), Wood said statute's provisions are proportionate to the unconstitutional conduct -- discrimination against people with disabilities -- targeted by statute.

The legislative record showed that Congress found that those who are disabled will suffer during the time they are disabled from the same invidious discrimination that has haunted racial minorities and women," Wood said.

And she said the legislative record showed that Congress found both a pattern of discrimination committed by the states and discrimination that rises to the level of a constitutional violation.

The record showed that discrimination occurred in areas that are controlled to a significant degree by state and local government," including education and transportation, Wood said.

Melinda Erickson v. Board of Governors of State Colleges and Universities for Northeastern Illinois University, No. 98-3614.

The case before the 7th Circuit panel stemmed from a lawsuit that Melinda Erickson brought brought under the ADA and Pregnancy Discrimination Act, 42 U.S.C. sec2000e.

Erickson claimed Northeastern Illinois University violated those acts when it fired her for excessive absences stemming from treatment for infertility.

Northeastern took an interlocutory appeal to the 7th Circuit after U.S. District Judge John A. Nordberg denied its motion to dismiss on the ground of sovereign immunity under the 11th Amendment.  1998 U.S. Dist. Lexis 15779 (N.D. I11 Oct. 1, 1998).

The clashing opinions issued Monday by members of the 7th Circuit panel echoed the debate that has taken place in recent years before the U.S. Supreme Court over the boundaries between state and federal authority.

In Boerne v. Flores, 521 U.S. 507 (1997), the high court struck down the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, which required states to accommodate religious practices.

In three cases decided the same day in 1999, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to limit Congress' power to create laws that intrude on state's sovereignty.

In one of those cases, Florida Prepaid Post secondary Education Expense Board v. College Savings Bank, 527 U.S. 627 (1999), the court held that Congress could not use section 5 of the 14th Amendment to abrogate a state's sovereign immunity from a suit claiming violations of patent and trademark laws.

This year, the high court in Kimel held that section 5 does not allow employees to bring an action against their state employer under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. sec 621.

The Supreme Court reached that conclusion after determining that the equal protection clause permits a state to consider an employee's age unless age has no rational relationship to the state's objective.

On Tuesday, an attorney for Northeastern Illinois University, Mark T. Dunn of Bloomington, noted that the Supreme Court in recent years has been more closely defining the boundaries of appropriate action by Congress under section 5 of the 14th Amendment."

And the 7th Circuit in the Erickson opinions apparently was the first appellate court to consider the question of those boundaries since the Kimel decision came out, Dunn said.

Erickson was represented in the case by Terrance A. Norton, a professor at Chicago-Kent College of Law.  Norton was out of the country and could not be reached for comment.

The United States, which intervened in the case to defend the ADA's constitutionality, was represented before the 7th Circuit by Seth M. Galanter of the Department of Justice in Washington.

In its opinion, the 7th Circuit panel's majority emphasized that Erickson still may pursue a lawsuit against the university -- so long as it is not in federal court.

All our holding means is that private litigation to enforce the ADA may not proceed in federal court,"  the majority said.  Erickson may repair to Illinois court -- for although states may implement a blanket rule of sovereign immunity, see Alden v. Maine, 527 U.S. 706 (1999), Illinois has not done this."

Global Law and Policy Initiative Lecture
On Tuesday, April 4 the Global Law and Policy Initiative and the National Strategy Forum hosted a visit by the South African Ambassador to the United States, Sheila Sisulu.  Her Excellency lectured on the progresses and challenges facing the new South African government since apartheid was 
abolished.   Some of her topics of discussion included racial reconciliation, political and economic development, the increasing problem of AIDS, and the preservation of law and order.

 Dean Henry H. Perritt, Jr. 

Archive Links:  Previous Announcements from Dean Perritt

Week of April 3, 2000
  • Distinguished Professor Lecture featuring Joan Steinman
  • Morris Lecture featuring Professor Patrick Glenn
  • E-Lawyering:  Lawyers Serving Society Through Technology Conference
Week of March 27, 2000 
  • Same as week of March 20, 2000
Week of March 20, 2000 
  • MacArthur Foundation
  • Professor Bart Brown
Week of March 13, 2000 
  • International Travel
  • Third Annual State of the Law School Address
Week of March 6, 2000 
  • Hague Conference on Private International Law
  • Distinguished Labor Leader Lecture
  • Justice Anne Burke 
Week of February 28, 2000 
  • Illinois Appellate Court Visit
  • Institute for Law and the Workplace Event
  • International War Crimes Documentation IPRO Team
Week of February 21, 2000 
  • American Red Cross
  • Chicago-Kent's Downsizing Initiative
Week of February 14, 2000 
  • DuPage Country Bar Association
  • Dean Perritt's Remarks for January Open House
Week of February 7, 2000 
  • Balarus Delegation Reception
  • Hague on Private International Law
Week of January 31, 2000 
  • Professor Bart Brown's Membership to the Council on Foreign Relations
Week of January 24, 2000 
  • Chicago-Kent Alumnus Argues Before the Supreme Court
Week of January 17, 2000 
  • Ukraine/Kosovo Trip
  • Internet Conference in Lublin
  • AALS Annual Conference
  • Zia Hassan's Departure
  • Mickie Voges' Position Change
Week of November 22, 1999 
  • Chicago-Kent receives grant
Week of November 15, 1999 
  • Program on Gun Control
  • Talk on Human Rights in Cuba
  • Talk on Establishing the Rule of Law in Kosovo
Week of November 8, 1999 
  • Distinguished Professor Lecture
  • Center for Law and Computers
  • Russian Professor Visits Chicago-Kent
Week of November 1, 1999 
  • 22nd Annual Derivatives and Commodities Law Institute Program
  • Kosovo/Albania Trip
Week of October 25, 1999 
  • "Well Founded Fear" Event
  • Student Bar Association Meeting
Week of October 18, 1999 
  • Workshop on Promoting the Use of Electronic Payments
Week of October 11, 1999 
  • Meeting with JD/MBA Students
  • Polish Visitors
Week of October 4, 1999  
  • Luncheon for LL.M. Students
  • Security Provisions
Week of September 27, 1999 
  • Orientation Speech to First Year Students
Week of September 20, 1999 - (No new information available) 

Week of September 13, 1999 

  • Dean Perritt and Professor Stewart Participate in Workshop
Week of September 6, 1999 - (No new information available) 

Week of August 30, 1999 

  • Welcome Letter to Returning Students
  • Law House
Week of August 16, 1999 
  • Letter to First Year Students
Week of May 3, 1999 
  • Bart Brown's Presentation
  • The Alumni Luncheon
  • Tasha Kincade -- new arrival and maternity leave
Week of April 26, 1999 
  • Chicago-Kent Receives Gift
  • Faculty Scholarship
Week of April 19, 1999 
  • American Red Cross
  • Award Announcements
Week of April 12, 1999 - (No new information available) 

Week of March 22, 1999 

  • Operation Kosovo team in Albania
Week of March 15, 1999 
  • In Memoriam:  Dr. Rowine Brown Truitt '61
  • In Memoriam:  William F. Zacharias, Professor of Law
Week of March 8, 1999 
  • Dean Perritt's Travels To Central Europe
Week of March 1, 1999 (No new information available) 

Week of February 22, 1999 

  • International Travel Itinerary for Dean Perritt
Week of February 8 and 15, 1999 
  • Second Annual State of the Law School Address
Week of February 1, 1999 
  • Strategies for Excellence:  Law as a Profession 1999
  • Workshop on the International Criminal Court and U.S. National Security
  • Kosovo and Albania Trips
Week of January 18, 1999 
  • Association of American Law Schools Annual Meeting
Week of December 7, 1998 
  • Esther Rothstein
  • Soros Open Society Foundation Grant
  • Alumnus Gift
Week of November 30, 1998 
  • Dean Perritt Appointed to Advisory Commission on Internet Privacy
Week of November 23, 1998 
  • Illinois State Bar Association Award
  • Newly Appointed Distinguished Professors
Week of November 16, 1998 
  • Workshop on Genetic Susceptibility to Environmental Contamination
Week of November 9, 1998 
  • Project Bosnia IPRO Installs Ministry of Justice Database Server
  • Assistant Dean for Career Services and Alumnae/i Relations
Week of November 2, 1998 (No new information available) 

Week of October 26, 1998 

  • Illinois Commerce Commission Relationship
  • Judicial Ratings Available
Week of October 19, 1998 
  • 21st Annual Commodities and Derivatives Law Conference 
  • NCAIR Grant 
Week of October 12, 1998 
  • Update on Jacob Corre' 
  • New Graduation Date 
Week of October 5, 1998 
  • Meeting of the National Academy of Sciences 
  • Committee on Global Networks and Local Values 
  • Presentation to the Great Lakes Supreme Court Justices 
  • Jacob Corre's Condition 
  • Dean's Office Seeks Research Assistant 
Week of September 28, 1998 
  • Meeting with Albanian Ambassador to the United States 
  • Meeting with Counselor for Legal Affairs of the Embassy of the People's Republic of China 
Week of September 21, 1998 
  • Illinois Bar Association Award for Project Bosnia 
  • Jacob Corre' 
  • Operation Kosovo Web Site 
Week of September 14, 1998 
  • Meeting with Vice President for Information Technology at Northwestern University 
  • Meeting with Incoming President of the Chicago Bar Association 
Week of September 7, 1998 
  • Chicago Tribune Coverage 
  • New Member of Chicago-Kent's Board of Overseers 
  • ISLAT/AFB Tour and Dinner 
Week of August 31, 1998 
  • David Gerber's Reception 
  • First Meeting of Project Bosnia IPRO 
  • Discussions with Bosnia Refugee Group 
Week of August 24, 1998 
  • Two Faculty Members Visit China 
  • ABA Jurisdiction Project 
  • New Appointments in Student Services 
Week of August 17, 1998 
  • Creating and building momentum: keeping Chicago-Kent a law school ahead of the times 

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