Hot Topics

For the second year, time has been reserved in the Annual Meeting schedule for programs devoted to late-breaking legal issues or topic. The purpose of this special “hot topics” slot is to provide a forum for a panel presentation on a timely and important issue of general interest that arises after the deadline for section and other programs.

Proposals were evaluated by the immediate Past President of the AALS in consultation with the Executive Committee. If no program proposals are chosen for any particular year, the reserved slot will not otherwise be filled.

The following Hot Topics have been selected for the 2005 Annual Meeting:


4:00 - 5:45 p.m.
The Significance of the Criminal Prosecutions in the Cambodian Adoption Scandal for the Future of Intercountry Adoption
Yosemite C, Ballroom Level

Professor Marianne D. Blair, University of Tulsa
Mariano-Florentino Cuellar, Stanford Law School

Moderator: David M. Smolin, Samford University Cumberland School of Law

4:00 - 5:45 p.m.
Supreme Court Surprises on Guideline Sentencing, Enemy Combatants and the Confrontation Clause: Happenstance or a new assertiveness?
Yosemite B, Ballroom Level

Erwin Chemerinsky, Duke University School of Law
David D. Cole, Georgetown University Law Center
John C. Eastman, Chapman University School of Law
Jeffrey Fisher, Davis Wright Tremaine, Seattle, Washington
Kenneth Starr, Pepperdine University School of Law

Moderator: Joseph E. Kennedy, University of North Carolina School of Law

Towards the end of last term, the Supreme Court issued surprising decisions in three areas. In a decision that Justice O’Connor described as a “10 point earthquake,” the Court in Blakely v. Washington declared a common form of guideline sentencing to be unconstitutional. In a second decision that prosecutors have described as “a shot heard around the nation,” the Court in Crawford v. Washington abandoned its settled approach to the Confrontation Clause in favor of one that favored criminal defendants. Finally, the Court also held that Guantanamo detainees can bring habeas corpus petitions in federal court (Rasul v. Bush) and that due process must be accorded American citizens apprehended in foreign countries who are held as enemy combatants (Hamdi v. Rumsfield). Have two decades of a renewed war on crime and three years of greatly expanded governmental powers in the war on terror pushed this Court into a more protective posture towards personal liberty? What do these cases tell us about the future direction of this Court?


10:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
“Public Use” Strikes Back: Eminent Domain After Hathcock and Kelo
Yosemite A, Ballroom Level, San Francisco Hilton

Speakers: Eric R. Claeys, Saint Louis University School of Law
David A. Dana, Northwestern University School of Law
Lee Anne Fennell, University of Illinois College of Law
Ilya Somin, George Mason University School of Law

Moderator: Adam Mossoff, Michigan State University College of Law

This panel will address the implications for eminent domain doctrine and urban development policies given the recent decision in late July 2004 by the Michigan Supreme Court in County of Wayne v. Hathcock and the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to grant cert in October 2004 in Kelo v. City of New London.