ProfNet Experts Available on Hobby Lobby, Immigration Policy, First Amendment, More

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Jul 02, 2014, 17:03 ET from ProfNet

NEW YORK, July 2, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Below are experts from the ProfNet network that are available to discuss timely issues in your coverage area. If you are interested in interviewing any of the experts, please contact them via the contact information at the end of the listing. To receive these updates by email, send a note to with the industries you cover, and we'll add you to the appropriate edition. 

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  • Hobby Lobby and Harris v. Quinn Slight the Role of Employees in the Workplace
  • The Supreme Court: Hobby Lobby Decision is 'A Blockbuster Ruling'
  • Artists' Songs Generating Royalties That They're Unaware Of
  • U.S. Supreme Court Reconciles the Rights of Patients With Those of Abortion Opponents
  • ABC, Inc. v. Aereo Decision Has Implications for Business and New Technologies
  • Police Must Get a Warrant for Most Cell Phone Searches
  • Military Caregivers at Work: Protecting Yourself From Discriminatory Practices
  • Supreme Court Ruling in Riley v. California
  • The President's Immigration Policy and Current Legislation


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Hobby Lobby and Harris v. Quinn Slight the Role of Employees in the Workplace
Harold  J. Krent
Dean and Professor of Law
IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law
"Both Supreme Court decisions were remarkable in slighting the fundamental role of employees within the workplace. In Hobby Lobby, the Court denied employees health benefits in deference to the religious beliefs of the owners,  thereby undermining our goal of a pluralistic workforce. More litigation and divisiveness will follow. In Harris v. Quinn, the Court made it much more difficult for home health care workers -- and likely other public employees in the future -- to be represented effectively by a union because the union can no longer recoup the administrative expenses it incurs in representing non-unionized employees."
Media Contact: Gwendolyn E. Osborne, 

The Supreme Court: Hobby Lobby Decision is 'A Blockbuster Ruling'
Daniel Conkle
Professor of Law, Adjunct Professor of Religious Studies
Indiana University Maurer School of Law
"This is a blockbuster ruling. The Supreme Court for the first time extends religious liberty rights to profit-making corporations, and it makes it clear that such rights cannot easily be overcome.  Even so, the Court's opinion is limited to closely-held as opposed to publicly traded corporations and is confined to the ACA's contraceptive mandate. What's more, the Court's reasoning may actually make it more difficult for nonprofit religious organizations, including religious colleges, to object to the Obama administration's existing ACA accommodation for them, which Notre Dame and other Catholic organizations have challenged as inadequate. More generally, any future claims for religious exemptions will require their own analysis under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which requires context-specific, case-by-case balancing of religious liberty against the government's competing interests."
Conkle, an expert on constitutional law, the First Amendment, and law and religion, is the author of Constitutional Law: The Religion Clauses, which provides a theoretical and conceptual framework for understanding and evaluating the components of the Supreme Court's constitutional doctrine.  His research addresses constitutional law and theory, religious liberty and the role of religion in American law, politics and public life. He is also an adjunct professor in the university's department of religious studies.
Contact: Brianne O'Donnell,

Artists' Songs Generating Royalties That They're Unaware Of
Jamie Purpora
President, Music Publishing Administration
"With all of the different ways songwriters' compositions can be used and distributed, there's a good chance their songs are generating royalties they're not even aware of. Ultimately, this means they're missing out on collecting money that they've earned, and that ain't cool."
Purpora is an expert in music publishing administration, with expertise in areas such as copyrights, royalties and revenue collection for songwriters and performers worldwide. His expertise encompasses both digital and physical channels, including terrestrial and satellite radio, digital downloads and streaming services and sync licensing to films, commercials, TV shows and more. He has 20 years of experience in music publishing administration. Prior to TuneCore, he was with Bug Music Inc., one of the largest independent music publishers in the world.
Media Contact: Sherry Smith, 

U.S. Supreme Court Reconciles the Rights of Patients With Those of Abortion Opponents
Steven J. Heyman
IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law   
"In McCullen v. Coakley, a majority of the Supreme Court made it clear that states can pass laws to ensure that women can enter abortion clinics without obstruction, intimidation, or harassment.  But all nine justices agreed that the state may not do so by creating large, fixed buffer zones around abortion clinics, because this prevents abortion opponents from speaking with women one-on-one in a peaceful and consensual way. Instead, if the state wishes to protect women entering clinics, it must adopt laws that are more narrowly targeted at preventing obstruction, intimidation, or harassment.  In my view, the court's decision is a reasonable effort to reconcile the opponents' right to free speech with the patients' right to obtain access to abortion, although it may be that states should have been given somewhat more flexibility in finding solutions than the court's opinion explicitly allows."
Heyman is a leading First Amendment scholar who has written extensively about freedom of speech and other aspects of constitutional law.
Expert Contact: Professor Steven J. Heyman,
Media Contact: Gwendolyn E. Osborne, 

ABC, Inc. v. Aereo Decision Has Implications for Business and New Technologies
Edward Lee
Professor and Director of the Program in Intellectual Property Law
IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law
"ABC, Inc. v. Aereo is an important copyright case that has received a lot of media attention because it pits a disruptive Internet startup against the old-line broadcast TV networks. However, the case also has the potential to transform the cable industry and the way in which people watch TV. In a 6-3 decision, the Court ruled against Aereo, claiming that its services -- which allowed users to watch major network TV programs over the Internet -- had infringed upon the rights of the programs' copyright holders. At the end of its decision in Aereo, the Supreme Court tried to allay the fears that its decision might negatively impact other technologies and startups in cloud computing.  The Court said its decision was limited to Aereo's service, but acknowledged that it couldn't answer how its ruling 'will apply to technologies not before' the Court. In his dissent, Justice Scalia argued that the Court's vague approach 'will sow confusion for years to come.' At the very least, the Court's decision seems to provide a cautionary tale to Internet companies whose technologies disrupt existing content industries.  Businesses must be careful in developing technologies that utilize copyrighted content without licenses. Until Congress modernizes copyright law for the digital era, such businesses are likely to face great legal risks."
Lee is the author of "The Fight for the Future: How People Defeated Hollywood" and "Saved the Internet–For Now."
Media Contact: Gwendolyn E. Osborne, 

Police Must Get a Warrant for Most Cell Phone Searches
Kimberly Bailey
IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law
"In Riley v. California, the justices recognized the huge privacy concerns at stake with respect to cell phone data. Because most Americans carry a vast amount of personal data on their phones, including financial, health, and other highly personal information, the Court decided against a categorical rule that would allow the warrantless search of cell phones under the search incident to arrest exception. What remains to be seen, however, is whether lower courts will still allow the police to conduct warrantless searches of phones in a significant number of cases by using the exigent circumstances exception instead."
Bailey's research focuses on how social, political and economic inequalities are reflected in criminal law. She teaches criminal law, criminal procedure and evidence at IIT Chicago-Kent.
Media Contact: Gwendolyn E. Osborne, 

Military Caregivers at Work: Protecting Yourself From Discriminatory Practices
Donna L. Wagner, Ph.D.
Associate Dean for Academics, College of Health and Social Services
New Mexico State University
"More than 5 million Americans are caring for ill or wounded service members, and many of these individuals are selflessly fulfilling this duty with little support. Military caregivers may find respite in their work, but when they face employment discrimination based on their status as a caregiver, it is important for them to understand their rights."
Wagner is president of the Association of Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE), fellow of Gerontological Society of America, and on the board of directors of the National Alliance for Caregiving. She is extremely knowledgeable about the rights and responsibilities of employed military caregivers who may be at risk of "family responsibility discrimination" (FRD). On July 10, Wagner will be conducting a webinar that will educate military caregivers about their rights in the workplace, resources available to them and best practices employers should follow. This webinar will be the second in a series of free, online caregiver education and training webinars launched by Easter Seals Dixon Center. The series was created to meet the growing need for caregiver education identified by the RAND study commissioned by the Elizabeth Dole Foundation.
Link to webinar:
Media Contact: Kristen Barnfield,

Supreme Court Ruling in Riley v. California
Eunice Park
Assistant Professor of Lawyering Skills/Assistant Director of Legal Writing & Research
Western State College of Law
"SCOTUS recognized that the cell phone is a "minicomputer" and that while a traffic ticket is reasonable, an unlimited warrantless cell phone search incident to arrest is not, barring exigent circumstances. The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable searches and seizures, and the recurring tension under this amendment between a citizen's right to privacy and law enforcement's need to conduct reasonable searches has faced a modern challenge: the cell phone. The Court acknowledged that its decision will impact the ability of law enforcement to combat crime, as cell phones have become important tools in facilitating coordination and communication among members of criminal enterprises, and can provide valuable incriminating information about dangerous criminals. Granted, privacy comes at a cost, as the Court left the door open for warrantless searches where exigent circumstances arise, such as a suspect preparing to use his cell phone to detonate a bomb, or a child abductor who may have information about the child's location on his cell phone. In such cases, the needs of law enforcement are so compelling as to justify an objectively reasonable warrantless search under the Fourth Amendment. The Court has declared that modern cell phones are not just another technological convenience. The Court in its decision has recognized the immense privacy implications warrantless cell phones searches would pose and concludes that our answer to the question of what police must do before searching a cell phone seized incident to an arrest is accordingly simple--get a warrant."
Park is available to speak about the recent Supreme Court ruling and provide an in-depth analysis on Riley v. California along with the ramifications it will have on an individual's privacy and the protection against unreasonable search and seizure.
Media Contact:  

The President's Immigration Policy and Current Legislation
Jennifer Lee Koh
Associate Professor of Law and Director, Immigration Clinic
Western State College of Law
"The President's plans to exercise executive action over immigration policy have been long-awaited by many immigration advocates, and are arguably long overdue. The House's failure to move forward on comprehensive immigration reform, coupled with the President's aggressive deportation policies to date, have exacted tremendous social and human costs in immigrant communities." 
Koh is available to speak about the President's immigration policy and the impact it will have on our current immigration legislation.
Media Contact:


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