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Volume 65, Issue 3


Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony: Keynote Address

By The Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg | 65 Am. U. L. Rev. 525 (2016)

On February 12, 2016, the Washington College of Law celebrated the opening of its new Tenley Campus.  During the Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony, we were honored to receive a keynote address from Associate U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

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Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony Remarks: President Kerwin

By Dr. Cornelius “Neil” M. Kerwin | 65 Am. U. L. Rev. 529 (2016)

On February 12, 2016, the Washington College of Law celebrated the opening of its new Tenley Campus.  During the Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony, we were honored to receive an address from American University President Neil Kerwin. 

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Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony Remarks: Dean Grossman

By Claudio M. Grossman | 65 Am. U. L. Rev. 531 (2016) 

On February 12, 2016, the Washington College of Law celebrated the opening of its new Tenley Campus.  During the Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony, we were honored to receive an address from Washington College of Law Dean Claudio Grossman.  

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ESSAY: The Court and the Cannonball: An Inside Look

By Lee Levine and Stephen Wermiel | 65 Am. U. L. Rev. 607 (2016)

As lawsuits over the right of publicity proliferate among athletes and other celebrities, there is renewed interest, by litigants and judges alike, in the one decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that addresses a tort action arising from a “publicity” related claim, Zacchini v. Scripps-Howard Broadcasting Co.  Although the 1977 ruling is often cited as holding that the right of publicity tort survives constitutional scrutiny under the First Amendment, an examination of the case and of the Supreme Court Justices’ available papers shows that the Court did not view the case as presenting the type of claim that has become prevalent today.

The Zacchini case involved a human cannonball act in which a television station filmed and broadcast the entire fifteen-second performance of Hugo Zacchini being shot from a cannon to a landing pad.  The Supreme Court rejected the television station’s First Amendment defense that it had a right to broadcast the act on a newscast because the performance itself constituted a matter of public interest.

For the Supreme Court, the internal papers indicate the case was about the right of a performer/producer to control the display of his entire act.  The Court was not focused on the more contemporary claim that athletes, celebrities, and others have a right to control the use by anyone else, especially for commercial purposes, of their name or their visual image.  Nor did the Court’s ruling address the First Amendment issue raised in contemporary cases when a name or likeness is used in a creative work or other public communication.

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As lawsuits over the right of publicity proliferate among athletes and other celebrities, there is renewed interest, by litigants and judges alike, in the one decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that addresses a tort action arising from a “publicity” related claim, Zacchini v. Scripps-Howard Broadcasting Co.  Although the 1977 ruling is often cited as holding that the right of publicity tort survives constitutional scrutiny under the First Amendment, an examination of the case and of the Supreme Court Justices’ available papers shows that the Court did not view the case as presenting the type of claim that has become prevalent today.

The Zacchini case involved a human cannonball act in which a television station filmed and broadcast the entire fifteen-second performance of Hugo Zacchini being shot from a cannon to a landing pad.  The Supreme Court rejected the television station’s First Amendment defense that it had a right to broadcast the act on a newscast because the performance itself constituted a matter of public interest.

For the Supreme Court, the internal papers indicate the case was about the right of a performer/producer to control the display of his entire act.  The Court was not focused on the more contemporary claim that athletes, celebrities, and others have a right to control the use by anyone else, especially for commercial purposes, of their name or their visual image.  Nor did the Court’s ruling address the First Amendment issue raised in contemporary cases when a name or likeness is used in a creative work or other public communication.
 
Juvenile Life Without Parole in Law and Practice: Chronicling the Rapid Change Underway

By John R. Mills, Anna M. Dorn, and Amelia Courtney Hritz | 65 Am. U. L. Rev. 535 (2016) 

This Article provides a comprehensive examination of juvenile life without parole (“JLWOP”) both as a policy and in practice.  Beginning in 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution restricts the reach of JLWOP sentences, first prohibiting it for non-homicide offenses, then proscribing its mandatory application for any offense, and, in 2016, clarifying that it may only be imposed in the rare instance in which a juvenile’s homicide demonstrates his or her “irreparable corruption.”  The legislative responses to these cases have been to either abandon or restrict JLWOP’s application.  These legislative changes undo aspects of the rapid expansion of harsh juvenile sentencing policies enacted across the country starting in the early-1990s and represent a trend away from using JLWOP sentences.

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