Monthly Archives: March 2006


Have I mentioned how mean-spirited and contemptible the official UNICCO strike blog is is both tone and content? Here’s the latest screed,

With the deadline looming on its 30-day recognition strike, the SEIU has to end its picketing, chanting and tub-thumping today and the few striking workers have to come back to work. Meanwhile, a meeting between all the parties called for by UM President Donna Shalala will convene soon and we expect the message in that gathering will be clear: “Let ‘em vote.” The union really has no alternative except to try and bolster more support among students, but they will soon be departing for summer vacation. It’s over. I feel kind of sorry for the students whose heads have been filled with union mush. But, hey, students and protests used to go hand in hand and it’s actually good to see students seriously engaged in something other than keg parties. And, it’s the last chance they get to stick it to the man before they become the man.

(The “university truth” blog has neither links to individual items, nor does it allow comments, so that link will only take you to a category; look for today’s entry, currently at the top.)

Some colleagues of mine have also noted that the site — especially the main UNICCO page’s link to it — uses colors, type and language in a way meant to evoke the official UM pages. I’m doubtful that this is actually a trademark violation as I think the likelihood of confusion is low; that said there might be an initial interest confusion claim based on this item,

currently found at the UNICCOtruth page with a link to UNICCO’s (not UM’s!) “UniversityTruth” blog.

I mention this not because I think trademark law should be used to stomp UNICCO’s advocacy, and I don’t, but rather because it’s somewhat surprising that UM’s trademark lawyers, normally quite protective of the University’s rights, don’t seem to have sent a cease and desist letter which I would presume would be immediately complied with by UNICCO, whose customer they are. Just something to think about when UM touts its neutrality…

Posted in Law: Trademark Law, U.Miami: Strike'06 | 3 Comments

Look Who’s Talking

Interesting and generally positive line-up of participants in today’s UNICCO-SEIU-community meeting. The list is notable for the very large participation by UM law faculty — and our Dean.

Disclosure: President Shalala asked me to participate in this effort (I’m unclear as to why, and even feared she may have thought I was Michael Fischl!), but I declined, both because I’m in Boston today and because I know how little I know about labor law.

cf. Picketline blog

Posted in Law School, U.Miami: Strike'06 | Comments Off on Look Who’s Talking

More on the ASIL Resolution

Roger Alford has a well-written and informative post describing the process by which the plenary of the American Society of International Law (ASIL) adopted the resolution I blogged about yesterday.

Prof. Alford disapproves, and he gives his reason,

My own view, which clearly is a minority one today but appears to be the traditional view if one looks at the historical sweep, is that the ASIL should avoid passing these resolutions. Such resolutions, while perhaps uncontroversial in content, are nonetheless controversial in their choice of forum and timing.

In this case, the clear implication of the resolution is that these norms are being ignored or violated by the United States. The drafting history of the resolution undeniably underscores this fact. It is in this sense a political resolution directed at the United States, admonishing it for its misconduct. It appears to be the first resolution in the Society’s history that relates to broad issues of international compliance with the laws of war and humanitarian law. In the past 100 years, a century in which “mankind experienced some of the most destructive wars of all times,” States have transgressed these international obligations on innumerable occasions. And yet the Society only now sees fit to pass such a resolution. One can only help but ask, “Why now?”

It seems to me that the multitude of replies to this question begin with “Do you read the newspapers?” and “If not now, when?”

If the US makes detention without trial or POW statuts official policy and torture its de facto national policy, something which has not frequently been the case in the past 100 years, then maybe that’s an occcasion for the American Society of anything to speak up. Especially if it’s something to do with law.

Posted in Law: International Law, Torture | 2 Comments

Explorers Everywhere

It seems I will be teaching Jurisprudence again next year after a long hiatus. (That link is to the old syllabus; it will change some.)

Although I start with The Case of the Speluncean Explorers, I think, slightly wistfully, that I won’t be able to include this modern version from Legal Fiction.

Posted in Legal Philosophy | 2 Comments

“People Should Obey the Law” is Political. Discuss.

Exactly which of the following statements from yesterday’s proposed resolution of the American Society of International Law (ASIL) is political?

1. Resort to armed force is governed by the Charter of the United Nations and other international law (jus ad bellum)
2. Conduct of armed conflict and occupation is governed by the Geneva [Conventions] of August 12, 1949 and other international law (jus in bello)
3. Torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment of any person in the custody or control of a state are prohibited by international law from which no derogations are permitted.
4. Prolonged, secret, incommunicado detention of any person in the custody or control of a state is prohibited by international law.
5. Standards of international law regarding treatment of persons extend to all branches of national governments, to their agents, and to all combatant forces.
6. In some circumstances, commanders (both military and civilian) are personally responsible under international law for the acts or their subordinates.
7. All states should maintain security and liberty is a manner consistent with their international law obligations.

(Leave aside the possibly Freudian slip by the scribe, who wrote “Contentions” for “Conventions” in paragraph two.)

This is actually pretty tame stuff. Statements 1-6 are pretty standard boilerplate recitations of well-known principles of international law. (For example, I think you would be hard-put to find a teacher of international law in any civilized country who would give a student credit for writing the opposite on a final exam.) Number seven just says that countries should follow the law.

So what is “political”? And if this is “political,” what’s non-political? Cowed silence in the face of barbarity?

Posted in Law: International Law, Torture | 13 Comments

Off to Boston

I’m leaving for Boston shortly in order to attend what promises to be a really interesting symposium organized by the Boston College Law Review on Owning Standards. I think that the conference organizers and moderators (Profs. Lawrence Cunningham, Joe Liu and Fred Yen) have done something very clever: they’ve identified an important but under-theorized topic and are focusing attention on it. Not only do I get to see a bunch of smart and nice folks, but I hope to learn a lot too. And the weather forecast says it will only be cold at night.

Posted in Talks & Conferences | 1 Comment