The following article, "Influence: Faculty members are influencing the formation of state, national and international law and policy through scholarship and service," explores the impacts of faculty activities in law and society. It is part of Elon Law's 2013 annual report. A print version is available here.
Members of the Elon Law faculty regularly apply their scholarship and expertise to improve law and policy.
Here are five examples
PRESS LAW IN MYANMAR
Elon Law Professor Enrique Armijo traveled to Myanmar (formerly Burma) in 2012 as part of a State Department- funded team of experts aiming to help the Myanmar government draft new press laws and other communications-related legislation. Armijo’s work in Myanmar has also included statute drafting, encouraging pro-democracy reforms, interviewing key stakeholders in the Myanmar government and meeting with journalists and other interest groups in the region. His group’s insights were included in several legislative proposals awaiting ratification in the Myanmar Parliament. Armijo’s work in that country is part of his broader engagement in freedom of expression work in Rwanda, Jordan, Yemen and other countries throughout the Middle East and South America.
LEGAL GUIDANCE FOR CONTRACT FARMING
Elon Law Professor Henry Gabriel, a member of the Governing Council of the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law, is leading the institute’s working group for the preparation of a legal guide on contract farming. The group is developing an international framework for agricultural contracts to be used by agricultural producers, food processors and distributors in order to achieve more predictable quantities and qualities of produce, at mutually agreed prices. Such provisions will help to ensure the contract parties’ capacity to build stable, commercially sound and fair relationships. The provisions also help mitigate the imbalance of economic power between the contracting parties. This project is part of Gabriel’s endeavors for the past two decades to develop uniform commercial laws domestically and globally.
RELIGIOUS RIGHTS OF CORPORATIONS
Based on his research exploring the free exercise rights of corporations under the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Elon Law Professor Scott Gaylord authored amicus briefs for cases in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third, Sixth, Seventh and Tenth Circuits, challenging the requirement under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that most employers provide health insurance that covers all Food and Drug Administration approved contraceptive methods and sterilization procedures. Gaylord argues such constraints impermissibly discriminate against for-profit corporations that promote religious views and business owners who seek to promote their faith through their businesses. Gaylord’s article on this subject, titled, “For-Profit Corporations, Free Exercise, and the HHS Mandate” is forthcoming in the Washington University Law Review.
DISCLOSURE RULES IN FRACKING
In 2013, Elon Law Professor David S. Levine applied his expertise in trade secret law and information policy to inform debates in several states over disclosure requirements for chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as fracking. Levine coauthored a letter to the Alaska Oil & Gas Conservation Commission in April, signed by ten intellectual property law scholars, advocating for regulations that require corporations to disclose trade secret information, like chemical ingredients, used in fracking activity in Alaska. In June, Levine became a member of the N.C. Mining and Energy Commission Protection of Trade Secrets and Proprietary Information Study Group, charged with rulemaking for chemical disclosure requirements for companies fracking in the state. Levine has offered expertise on the same topic in several other states. In addition, Levine co-authored a letter to the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management regarding rules for the disclosure of fracking chemicals used on federal land.
PRO BONO REPRESENTATION OF DEATH ROW INMATES
Elon Law Professor Patricia Perkins’ research and service interests converge in her nearly decade long pro bono representation of North Carolina death row inmates in civil rights litigation raising constitutional challenges to the manner in which their executions will be carried- out by lethal injection. With expertise in methods of execution and Eighth Amendment jurisprudence, Perkins has authored several briefs for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court arguing both jurisdictional and constitutional issues. During the course of the litigation, which is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, North Carolina has revised its lethal injection process including changes in the order of drug administration and the use of a bispectral index monitor.