Previous CLE Programs

Race, Poverty & Democracy CLE Series
Fall 2020-Spring 2021

We live in turbulent times. Democracy, poverty, and racism have been at the center of everyday life and at the forefront of national events. Our School of Law's pursuit of justice, understanding, human dignity, and respect is at the center of our mission and vision. To that end, Duquesne Law faculty presented a series of continuing-legal-education programs to highlight the deleterious effects of racism and discrimination, and to examine how democratic institutions have historically perpetuated, and can be used to combat, racial injustice. Our goal was, and continues to be, to educate, lead positive change and serve as active participants against racial injustice.

The series began in the fall 2020 semester, with School of Law faculty leading sessions that examined the "Historical Overview of Race and Voting in the United States," "Discrimination and Voting Rights in America," and, "Hate in America: Anti-Semitism, Misogyny, and Racism."

The spring semester encompassed sessions on "Prohibition's Surprising Role in the Regulation of Modern Police," "Police Dogs: Problems of Violence and Racism," and, "Human Trafficking in Your Neighborhood," a CLE co-presented with The Villanova Law Institute.

As part of a Catholic and Spiritan University Founded in 1878, our Law School's Mission since our very inception in 1911 has been (and steadfastly remains) built upon a pursuit of justice that advances the values of human dignity and mutual respect. As a law school, we are uniquely positioned to foster inclusive excellence and we are obligated to be powerful agents of change in our community. We sincerely appreciate your support of this and future CLE series.

Learn more about the inception of the Race, Poverty & Democracy speaker series in Law School News.

Historical Overview of Race and Voting in the United States
Saturday, September 26, 2020
Presented by Professor Will Huhn

This program is about systemic racism; specifically, the laws and court decisions that historically and to this day are used to suppress and dilute the votes of persons who are members of racial minorities. Covered are the denial of citizenship to persons of color; the battles that led to the adoption of the 15th Amendment; the annihilation of voting rights during the Redeemer Movement; the decisions of the United States Supreme Court initially upholding and then at long last striking down the use of white primaries, poll taxes and malapportionment; the adoption of the Voting Rights Act in 1965; the initial enforcement of the Voting Rights Act; the chipping away at the Voting Rights Act; and current schemes of voter suppression and vote dilution.

Discrimination and Voting Rights in America
Thursday, October 15, 2020
Presented by Associate Professor of Law Jalila Jefferson-Bullock

Today, there are still credible threats to access to voting. In 2013, Shelby County v Holder weakened the Voting Rights Act by declaring Section 4's preclearance formula unconstitutional. For that reason, there is no longer federal oversight in areas with histories of discrimination in voting practices and procedures. Yet, there is still rampant discrimination in voting practices and procedures throughout the United States. For example, voter ID laws, reduced polling places, voter registration purges, lack of absentee balloting, and "poll taxes" of old remain as hurdles that minority voters currently face in accessing the franchise. The question is how will Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act protect against these discriminatory practices?

Friday, November 6, 2020
Hate in America: Anti-Semitism, Misogyny, and Racism
Presented by Associate Professor of Law Rona Kaufman

The CLE will focus on three specific types of hatred in America: Anti-Semitism, Racism, and Misogyny, and will explore similarities and differences between these hatreds and the movements combatting them. It will view these forms of hate through the lenses of intersectionality, history, law, and populism. The CLE will consider both causes of and solutions to these forms of hate with specific attention on opportunities for collaboration between groups to achieve equality and end oppression and persecution.

Friday, February 26th, 2021
Prohibition's Surprising Role in the Regulation of Modern Police
Presented by Wesley M. Oliver, Professor of Law

The legal limits on the use of force by police officers are very unclear and the subject of much controversy. Search and seizure law, by contrast, is governed by a vast body of law and - Breonna Taylor's case notwithstanding - is not a matter of public concern. To put this contrast more starkly, the law very precisely tells an officer when it is appropriate to search the trunk of a car, but provides almost no guidance on when it is appropriate to shoot someone dead. Police academies largely rely on judicial decisions to train officers. The law's lack of guidance on force therefore has significant consequences. How did the law come to thoroughly regulate searches but not shootings? This CLE will demonstrate that judicial responses to Prohibition in the 1920s provide a possible explanation and suggest that the remedy Prohibition gave us - namely the exclusionary rule - is a relic of that era, unsuitable for a world with concerns much more consequential than liquor searches, and unworthy of the deference we typically attribute to precedent.

March 19, 2021
Police Dogs: Problems of Violence and Racism
Presented by Ann Schiavone, Associate Dean for Faculty Scholarship and
Associate Professor of Law

This CLE will discuss the dilemma of using police dogs in the apprehension of criminal suspects, particularly focusing on the issues surrounding use of force and racial bias. Recent severe injuries and even deaths caused by police dogs have triggered media attention and government audits of K-9 programs. This CLE will discuss the legal basis for using police dogs for the apprehension function, while bringing in historical, scientific, and psychological evidence, along with current events to help reevaluate their use.

March 27, 2021
Human Trafficking In Your Neighborhood
Presented by Duquesne University School of Law
and The Villanova Law Institute to Address Commercial Sexual and Exploitation

What is human trafficking? Human trafficking is a serious crime and violation of human rights, involving force, coercion, or fraud to exploit a person into labor or sexual exploitation. A common misconception about human trafficking is that it does not happen in the United States. This is false, sex and labor trafficking happen throughout the United States in nearly every town and city. Recent social media campaigns have drawn attention to this issue, but misrepresent the reality of sex and labor trafficking in the United States.
This CLE will explore Federal and State Trafficking Law with Rebecca Silinski (L'15), Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, and Summer Carroll, PA Office of Attorney General, Organized Crime Unit. Richard Mullen, retired lieutenant with the Allegheny County Police, Karen Davidson, retired Special Agent of the FBI, and Denise Holtz, retired Special Agent of the FBI, will discuss investigating this heinous crime. Rebecca Mackenzie will share her experiences as a human trafficking survivor. Alexia Tomlinson, Senior Justice for Victims Fellow at the Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation at Villanova University's Charles Widger School of Law, will cover the vital importance of trauma informed lawyering's role in representing trafficking victims. The program will be moderated by Judy Hale, Esq. (L'14), MPA, Legal Advocacy Manager at the Women's Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh.

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