News and information useful to Cleveland-Marshall College of Law students, faculty and staff.

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“Morris Cohen” Legal History Essay Competition

Photograph of Morris Cohen.The Legal History and Rare Books Special Interest Section (LHRB) of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), in cooperation with Gale, A Cengage Company, is conducting its Annual Morris L. Cohen Student Essay Competition.  Full- and part-time students currently enrolled in accredited graduate programs in law, history, library science, or related fields are eligible to enter.  Essays may be on any topic related to legal history, rare law books, or legal archives.  Criteria on which papers will be judged include originality of topic or approach, quality and depth of research and analysis, clarity of presentation, and contribution to the field.  The winner will receive a $500 prize from Gale and present the winning essay at an LHRB sponsored webinar.  Authors of the winning and runner-up essays will also be invited to publish their essays in LHRB’s online annual scholarly journal Unbound:  A Review of Legal History and Rare Books.  The Competition electronic submission deadline is 11:59pm EDT, Monday, 15 April 2019.

Full Competition details and Application Form are available at the LHRB Morris L. Cohen Student Essay Competition web page.  Questions can be sent to Tim Kearley (TKearley@uwyo.edu), Professor Emeritus of Law, University of Wyoming College of Law.

The Competition is named in honor of Morris L. Cohen, who was Professor Emeritus of Law at Yale Law School and recognized as “one of the towering figures of late 20th century law libraries.”  His scholarly work  focused on legal research, rare books, and historical bibliography.

Mardi Gras and the Law: Louisiana’s Civil Law Tradition

Because of the state’s unique history, Louisiana is a place like none other in the U.S. legal system. Unlike the other 49 states, Louisiana incorporates elements of civil law into its legal system, alongside other aspects of the more typical common law system. You can see a map of the world’s legal systems at JuriGlobe – there you’ll see a tiny sliver of the U.S. (Louisiana) listed as a civil law jurisdiction along with other civil law jurisdictions worldwide, like most of Europe and South America. If you’re interested in a general overview of Louisiana’s civil law system, check out this somewhat dated but still good article: Louisiana Civil Law and Its Study, 60 La. L. Rev. 1 (1999). Or if you’re just looking for a guide to the law of Louisiana, have a look at the Louisiana Practice Materials Guide from the Law Library of Louisiana.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

New HHS Title X Rule Challenged

DHHS logoThe U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Population Affairs recently issued a final rule governing the Title X Family Planning program.  The new rule will become effective 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register (which has not yet happened).  The Title X program was established in 1970 (see Pub. L. No. 91-572, § 6(c), 84 Stat. 1506), and authorized the HHS Secretary “to make grants to and enter into contracts with public or nonprofit entities to assist in the establishment and operation of voluntary family planning projects.”  From its beginning, “none of the funds appropriated under this title shall be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning.”  The new rule “provides for clear financial and physical separation between Title X and non-Title X activities…,” “removes the requirement for abortion referral…,” and “no longer requires nondirective pregnancy counseling” including such counseling on abortion.  [See 2/22/19 Fact Sheet: Final Title X Rule Detailing Family Planning Grant Program.]  Critics of the new rule say it amounts to a “gag rule,” preventing physicians from informing patients that a prenatal care facility also provides abortion services.  Yesterday, the Washington state Attorney General announced a lawsuit challenging the new rule, stating it “permits Title X providers to withhold information from patients about their healthcare options, bars them from referring patients for abortion care, and requires Title X clinics to physically separate abortion care and referrals from their services funded by Title X.”  The Washington branch of the ACLU also plans to file a lawsuit, and the two cases will likely be consolidated in the Eastern District of Washington.

GAO Recommends CMS Action to Ensure Medicaid Abortion Coverage

GAO LogoThe U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) recently released the CMS Action Needed to Ensure Compliance with Abortion Coverage Requirements report.  Federal law prohibits federal funding for abortions in most circumstances, but state Medicaid programs are required to cover abortions if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, or the life of the pregnant woman is physically endangered by the pregnancy.  [See Pub. L. No. 115-245, §§ 506-7, 132 Stat. 2981, 9/28/18.]  The GAO report documents “state variation in Medicaid abortion coverage and payment requirements,” including South Dakota’s Medicaid state plan not covering abortions in cases of rape or incest, and 14 states not covering Mifeprex, a drug used in non-surgical abortions.  The GAO report also identifies “seven key factors that could pose challenges to women accessing abortions…:  gestational limits, mandatory counseling, out-of-pocket costs, parental involvement requirements, provider availability, stigma and harassment, and waiting period requirements.”  As the federal agency that oversees Medicaid, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) monitors state compliance with federal requirements.  The GAO report recommends CMS action to ensure South Dakota’s compliance with federal law, as well as to determine state Medicaid program coverage of Mifeprex and accurate reporting of fee-for-service abortions.

Revised OPTN Liver Transplantation Policy

anatomical images of human digestive systemOn December 3, 2018, the U.S. D.H.H.S. Organ Procurement & Transplantation Network (OPTN) Board of Directors approved a revision to the liver allocation policy.  [Allocation of organs is addressed in 42 C.F.R. 121.8.]  The revised policy is raising concerns in rural areas, and its implementation has been postponed.  Livers have been allocated using a medical urgency formula through a local/regional/national sequence.  The revised policy “eliminates the use of DSA [donation service area] or [OPTN] region in liver allocation or in scoring liver candidate exceptions,” and “would allocate livers to candidates within 150, 250, or 500 nautical miles (nm) of donor hospitals before offering them nationally.”  Under the revised policy’s expansion of geographic availability, rural transplant centers will likely have access to fewer livers.