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Vanderbilt has a campus broadcast facility with a dedicated fiber optic line for live TV interviews and a radio ISDN line. The News Service number ((615) 322-2706) has 24/7 on call information. Visit our website to view this information online and to view other experts-at-a-glance. Visit our news website where you can also access our online searchable database of experts. (Last updated May 2010)
Mike Newton, professor of the practice of law
Newton is an expert in international law, international criminal law, terrorism and counterterrorism and special tribunals. He helped establish the Iraqi Special Tribunal and led the training in international criminal law for its judges, including holding sessions in Baghdad. He still advises the tribunal and is part of the academic consortium supporting it. He helped establish the leading online source of information regarding the trial and has been a frequent commentator online and in broadcast media. Newton also co-authored a book titled Enemy of the State: The Trial and Execution of Saddam Hussein (Fall, 2008). Newton is an expert on war crimes laws. He served as the United States representative on the United Nations Planning Mission for the Sierra Leone Special Court and was also a member of the Special Court academic consortium. Newton served in the Office of War Crimes Issues at the U.S. Department of State and was one of two U.S. delegates who negotiated the Elements of Crimes document for the International Criminal Court. He also coordinated the interface between the FBI and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and deployed into Kosovo to do forensics fieldwork to support the Milosevic indictment. Prior to his retirement from active duty, Newton was senior adviser to the U.S. ambassador-at-large for war crimes issues, where he implemented a wide range of policies relating to international criminal law and the law of armed conflict. Newton is also a member of the International Institute of Humanitarian Law.
Vijay Padmanabhan, assistant professor of law
Padmanabhan served in the Office of the Legal Adviser for the U.S. Department of State, based in Washington, D.C., from 2003-08, where he was an attorney-adviser for political and military affairs. He served as the State Department’s chief counsel on Guantanamo and Iraq detainee litigation and advised the department on law of war, human rights and public diplomacy questions. He also was an attorney-adviser for international claims and investment disputes from 2003-06, during which time he worked on litigation at the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal and on Holocaust restitution claims.
Suzanna Sherry, Herman O. Loewenstein Professor of Law
Sherry is considered one of the top scholars in the field of constitutional law and the Supreme Court. She often is asked to provide federal district and court of appeals judges with a review of recently completed U.S. Supreme Court terms. With more than 20 years of experience teaching law, she has written more than 70 books and articles on constitutional law and the Supreme Court. Sherry formerly was a regular guest on a Minneapolis PBS affiliate KTCA public affairs program and is contacted regularly by national reporters to give insight on the latest Supreme Court decisions. In 2008, Sherry released her latest book, Judgment Calls, which tackles one of the most important and controversial legal questions in contemporary America: How should judges interpret the Constitution?
Tracey George, professor of law and political science
George has done extensive empirical research on the Supreme Court and the federal courts, including the behavior of federal judges and courts. George can talk about judicial selection and the history behind the past judicial picks. George and Vanderbilt Law School Dean Chris Guthrie recently published research on “Remaking the United States Supreme Court in the Courts’ of Appeals Image.” They argue that Congress should increase the number of Supreme Court justices and then allow the justices to split into smaller panels to make decisions, thus expanding the Court’s decision-making capacity. (abstract)
She’s done interviews on the Supreme Court with CNN.com, the New York Times, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report and Vogue.
Brian Fitzpatrick, assistant professor of law
Fitzpatrick researches judicial politics and judicial selection and is an expert on the Senate confirmation process. He can talk about the role senators play in influencing the process even before the President nominates someone. Fitzpatrick served as a law clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia in 2001-2002 and as a Special Counsel for Supreme Court Nominations to Sen. John Cornyn in 2005-2006. Candidate Elena Kagan was one of Fitzpatrick’s law school professors. Fitzpatrick has done numerous interviews.
Terry Maroney, associate professor of law
Maroney is a leading scholar of emotion’s influence on law. She is available to discuss the role of judicial “empathy” and emotion, which emerged as a major issue in the Sotomayor confirmation and is likely to recur in future picks. Maroney has written, for example, about how Supreme Court Justices’ emotions color their rulings in constitutional cases(abstract at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1282368) She’s also an expert in the Court’s criminal law jurisprudence, including juvenile cases. Maroney served as a law clerk on the influential Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, is a member of the Supreme Court bar, and has co-authored briefs in a number of high-profile cases before the Court, including for the University of Michigan in the affirmative action cases.
Ellen Wright Clayton, professor of pediatrics; professor of law; Rosalind E. Franklin Professor of Genetics and Health Policy; director, Genetics Health Policy Center
As a physician and attorney, Clayton provides a unique perspective to medical ethics issues. Her primary research interest is in the ethical, legal and social implications of recent developments in genetics. She also specializes in medical ethics and legal issues affecting children and families. She has been an active participant in policy debates, advising the National Human Genome Research Institute as well as numerous bodies concerned with the ethical conduct of research involving human subjects.
Robert Mikos, professor of law
Mikos is one of the nation’s top emerging scholars of federalism. His most recent scholarship analyzes the unanticipated – and often harmful – influence of federal law on state policy, including ways in which federal law distorts state criminal proceedings, weakens state supervision of risky behavior, and undercuts state efforts to control state agents. He has done extensive writing and research on the debate surrounding legalizing marijuana. Mikos’ article is the first to explain the daunting legal hurdles posed by federal law on this hot button issue. You can read his full paper online. Mikos has done numerous print interviews and been on CNN and FOX Business News.
Owen Jones, professor of law; professor of biological sciences; director of the MacArthur Foundation Law & Neuroscience Program
Jones, who is one of the nation’s few professors of both law and biology, is an expert on law and behavioral biology; law and neuroscience and the breakthrough new field of evolutionary analysis in law. His current research spans brain-imaging (fMRI), primatology, and behavioral economics. Jones is Director of the MacArthur Foundation Law and Neuroscience program, which is a collaboration among researchers at Vanderbilt and more than two dozen other universities. Research includes analyzing the human brain to better understand how the brain’s actions impact the law. He is also director of the Society for Evolutionary Analysis in Law (S.E.A.L.)—an international interdisciplinary scholarly organization, whose members focus on issues at the intersection of law, biology, and behavior.
Nita Farahany, assistant professor of law; assistant professor of philosophy; member of Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues
Farahany focuses on the intersection of criminal law, behavioral genetics, neuroscience and philosophy. She specializes in criminal law and its ties to behavioral genetics and neuroscience. She has researched the difficulties arising from the use of scientific criteria to define legal concepts and the use of behavioral genetics in criminal law cases. She edited and contributed to a book titled The Impact of Behavioral Sciences on Criminal Law and recently wrote about the controversy surrounding “pre-crime technology.” Farahany was recently appointed to President Obama’s Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. Farahany holds an undergraduate degree in genetics, cell and developmental biology, a master’s degree in biology, a law degree and a Ph.D. in philosophy of biology and philosophy of law.
Christopher Slobogin, professor of law & psychiatry
Slobogin is an expert in criminal procedure, mental health law and evidence law and is director of Vanderbilt Law School’s Criminal Justice Program. He is one of the 20 most cited criminal law and procedure law professors in the country, according to the Leiter Report and co-authors Psychological Evaluations for the Courts, which is considered the standard-bearer in forensic mental health. He helped draft standards dealing with mental disability and the death penalty that have been adopted by the American Bar Association, the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association. Slobogin has appeared on Good Morning America, Nightline, the Today Show, National Public Radio, and many other media outlets, and has been cited in over 1,200 law review articles and over 100 judicial opinions, including at the Supreme Court level. Slobogin has a secondary appointment as professor in the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry.
Randall Thomas, John S. Beasley II Professor of Law and Business; director, Law and Business Program
Thomas has earned a reputation of being one of the most productive and thoughtful corporate and securities law scholars in the nation. His recent work addresses issues such as hedge fund shareholder activism, executive compensation, corporate voting, corporate litigation and the structure of firms. Those articles include “Litigating Challenges to Executive Pay: An Exercise in
Futility?”; “The Globalization Trend for Executive Pay”; and “Should Shareholders Have Greater Say Over Executive Pay? Learning from the U.S. Experience.”
Margaret Blair, professor of law
Blair is a leading scholar in corporate law. A former senior fellow of the Brookings Institute, she is an expert on corporate governance. She had a prior career as a journalist, serving as bureau chief for Business Week magazine in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Michael Vandenbergh, professor of law; Co-Director of Regulatory Program; Co-Director of Climate Change Research Network; former chief of staff of the Environmental Protection Agency
Vandenbergh is a leading scholar in environmental law whose research explores the relationship between formal legal regulation and informal social regulation of individual and corporate environmental behavior. His work with Vanderbilt’s Climate Change Research Network involves interdisciplinary teams that focus on the reduction of carbon emissions from the individual and household sector. His corporate work explores the influence of social norms on firm behavior and the ways in which private contracting can enhance or undermine public governance. Before joining Vanderbilt’s law faculty, Vandenbergh was one of the nation’s foremost environmental lawyers. He served as Chief of Staff of the Environmental Protection Agency from 1993-95.
James Blumstein, University Professor of Constitutional Law and Health Law and Policy; director, Health Policy Center
Blumstein ranks among the nation’s most prominent scholars of health law, law and medicine, and voting rights. As director of the Health Policy Center, Professor Blumstein has served as the principal investigator on numerous grants concerning managed care, hospital management and medical malpractice. He co-authored a major study on TennCare, one of the first statewide experiments in universally enrolling Medicaid patients in managed care. He has been elected to the prestigious Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and is co-editor of a leading casebook on health law and policy. He has extensive experience with national media.
Erin O’Hara, professor of law; director of the Law and Human Behavior Program
O’Hara is an expert on the influenc of an apology on law, dispute resolution and the influence of law on interpersonal trust in relationships as it pertains to the law. O’Hara uses a formula to grade an apology to see how strong it really is. O’Hara’s most recent work includes two books on choice of law.