Fall 2018, Issue #4 (12/5/18)

Finals advice from your new Academic Achievement team
A look at the upcoming Supreme Court docket
By Oliver Fredrickson
By Michelle Kellogg, Moot Court Honors Board President
Moot Court teams conquer the competition
Pollination Nation? Bee decline makes crops suffer
By Breanna Hayes
Pride Law commemorates Transgender Remembrance Day
By Mark Simpliciano
A Unique Destruction: A Burning Camp Fire?
Or the Beginning Stages of Climate Change?
By Matthew D. Batista
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In this new edition of The Commentary:

STRESSED ABOUT FINALS? — Meet your new Academic Achievement team and read their advice

Supreme Court News and Views — How will Kavanaugh’s confirmation affect upcoming cases?

Moot Court Shines — Twenty students competed in trial, appellate, and negotiation competitions

California on Fire — The Camp Fire in Northern California was the deadliest blaze in CA history 

Bee Decline Threatens Food Supply — Crops are at risk from reduction of bees and other pollinators

Transgender Remembrance Day — Pride Law hosted speakers addressing transgender issues 

Student writers are what make The Commentary so great! This trimester we have had an amazing group of talented writers join our team, and we want to thank everyone for their contributions.

Special thanks to Oliver Fredrickson, our Supreme Court reporter, who was a visiting student this trimester from Victoria University in New Zealand. He wrote an in-depth report on Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation and an overview of upcoming U.S. Supreme Court cases. We appreciate his time and talent and wish him the very best finishing his legal studies in New Zealand!

For next trimester, we are always looking for students to submit articles on topics of their choice — including, but not limited to: campus news, legal news, sports, entertainment, etc. No long-term commitment is required, so feel free to submit a draft and share your academic/creative talents with the campus community, when you’re not out fighting crimes, going to class, or studying in the library! We also have meetings with free food 🙂

To learn how to contribute to The Commentary in the spring, contact us at commentary@law.cwsl.edu for submissions and questions/story ideas.

Sara Gold & Tandis Taghavi, Editors-in-Chief

Special thanks to our Webmaster, Parsa Nozzari


Unique Destruction: The Camp Fire Shows What the Beginning of Climate Change Looks Like

By Matthew D. Batista

I. The Camp Fire

Bad Signs. The Mendocino Complex fire is the largest wildfire by area in California history. The Mendocino and Carr fires together burned nearly 650,000 acres. Fast forward six weeks and move south less than 100 miles, and now, both the most destructive fire, by structure count, and most deadly fire in California gripped the state. The Camp Fire is considered the deadliest fire anywhere in the United States in 100 years.

Picture1By 9:00 AM or so on Thursday, November 8, I started receiving images from friends and family in Chico, CA, showing the all too familiar orange glow in the sky. Think “The Upsidedown” from the Netflix series “Stranger Things,” but orange. A few hours later, it became apparent that this fire was serious. I arrived at a ghostly landscape the next evening to meet with evacuated family members.

A Uniquely Destructive Fire. Rain mercifully fell at long last in Northern California during the week of Thanksgiving. The rain helped fire crews contain the blaze at 95% as of the morning of November 24. As of the same day, 153,336 acres burned and 18,733 buildings, including 13,954 residences, were destroyed. There were 84 people who lost their lives, 3 firefighters were injured, and 475 people remain missing. Nearly 6,000 firefighters, 23 helicopters, and 630 fire engines fought the fire. The cost of such a response will be staggering.

Continue reading “Unique Destruction: The Camp Fire Shows What the Beginning of Climate Change Looks Like”

Pride Law commemorates Transgender Remembrance Day

By Mark Simpliciano

On November 19, CWSL Pride Law hosted a night to commemorate Transgender Remembrance Day (November 20) and Transgender Awareness Week (November 12-19). Transgender Awareness Week aims to raise the visibility of transgender people and address the issues trans people face.

Committed to helping make the California Western community more inclusive and tolerant, Pride Law hosted an evening event with informational boards and guest speakers who addressed the many issues transgender individuals face today and the need to respect one another. Continue reading “Pride Law commemorates Transgender Remembrance Day”

Moot Court teams conquer the competition

By Michelle Kellogg, Moot Court Honors Board President

California Western’s Moot Court Honors Board and the Competitive Advocacy Program sent nine competition teams to five competitions this trimester. Students proudly represented CWSL in trial, appellate, and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) competitions.

CWSL’s five trial teams collectively included 20 team members (five former competitors joined by fifteen enthusiastic rookies this season!). Four teams competed locally: two teams competed in the San Diego Defense Lawyers (SDDL) trial competition, and two teams competed in the Association of Business Trial Lawyers trial competition. Our fifth team had the privilege of representing CWSL at the Tournament of Champions trial competition, held in Philadelphia this year. The Tournament of Champions is invitation only, and CWSL’s team faced schools from around the country. Continue reading “Moot Court teams conquer the competition”

Finals advice from your new Academic Achievement team

Your new Academic Achievement team consists of Imran Malik, Assistant Director of Academic Achievement, and Kiyana Kiel, Assistant Dean of Academic Achievement. Both of them started working at Cal Western over the summer.

Luda Malik
Cute puppy alert: Prof. Malik’s dog, Luda

Prof. Malik grew up in the suburbs of Houston, Texas, where he did his best to avoid the sweltering heat. Determined to live somewhere with snow, Prof. Malik attended Pennsylvania State University for undergrad where he graduated with a BA in Political Science and a BA in History with a minor in Middle Eastern Studies. After a couple of years advocating for policy change at think-tanks and working for Congress in D.C., he moved to the West Coast to attend law school at Seattle University. After law school, he moved to San Francisco to work for Kaplan Bar Review, and most recently he worked as an Academic Director of Academic Support Programs at another law school. Prof. Malik is a political junkie, regularly practices yoga, and has been a vegetarian since high school. He is also very happy to show you a picture of his little puppy named Luda.

Dean Kiel earned her undergraduate degree in American Literature & Culture from UCLA and her law degree from UC Berkeley. Her prior law school administration experience includes working as Director of Academic Success and Bar Programs at University of San Diego School of Law. In addition to working in legal education, she also has worked as an attorney, focusing on real estate, land use, and environmental transactions. Her passion for environmental law stems from her upbringing on her family farm in Compton, California, where she grew up riding horses, climbing avocado trees, and collecting eggs from the chicken coop.

Here’s the advice Prof. Malik and Dean Kiel have for finals prep: Continue reading “Finals advice from your new Academic Achievement team”

Pollination Nation? Bee decline makes crops suffer

By Breanna Hayes

Photo: Rebecca Leaman via Flickr

Fear surrounds our collective image of bees. Media reinforces the notion that these insects are more ‘killer’ bee than honeybee. If you’ve ever seen the 90s movie “My Girl,” you were no doubt devastated when McCauley Culkin dies of anaphylaxis from a bee sting. Maybe you also thought the next time you got stung by a bee, you would die too.

Perhaps you saw the final season 3 episode of “Black Mirror” (on Netflix – highly recommend). “Black Mirror” too preys upon our fears, depicting a swarm of robo-bees controlled by a killer hive mind-linked to social media networks.

A startling reality is robotic bees are not so farfetched. Scientists are researching how to create mechanized pollinators in the wake of pollinator decline. And Walmart has had a patent pending for pollination drones since March of this year. If you’ve never heard the term “pollinator,” it generally refers to the multitude of bugs, insects, birds, bats and rodents that aid in the transfer of pollen to fertilize plants. Only fertilized plants will reproduce and bear fruit or seeds, making pollinators the essential messengers of love. Pollinator populations across the board have dwindled due to climate change and environmental stressors such as habitat loss, pesticides (particularly neonicotinoids), monocultures, parasites, and diseases. Continue reading “Pollination Nation? Bee decline makes crops suffer”

A look at the upcoming Supreme Court docket

By Oliver Fredrickson

Back at full strength with the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court began its new term on October 1.  Although this term’s docket does hold the same high-profile cases that we saw last term, it will nonetheless provide valuable insight into the trajectory the court will take in the coming years. The confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh entirely recalibrated the ideological make-up of the Court, leaving the traditionally conservative Chief Justice John Roberts at the Court’s ideological centre. To give context of what a Court with Chief Justice Roberts at the center looks like, some of his notable decisions include: Continue reading “A look at the upcoming Supreme Court docket”

3L earns prize in national FDA law writing contest

By Sara Gold, Editor-in-Chief

Tyler_MarquezTyler Marquez was caught by surprise when she finally found out that her scholarly article, which she had submitted to the Food and Drug Law Institute’s annual competition months earlier, had won an award!

Marquez placed third in the Institute’s national Austern Writing Competition, which solicits articles about the legal implications of FDA-regulated industries, including food, drugs, cosmetics, dietary supplements, and medical devices. She submitted her article back in early June.

“From June to October, time passed and I assumed I was not even being considered, so the news was a shock but also a nice surprise,” Marquez said.

Her paper, titled “The Phenomenon of Financial Toxicity: Health Care’s Insatiable Disease,” discusses the negative effect that rising pharmaceutical drug costs have on overall patient health. Continue reading “3L earns prize in national FDA law writing contest”

Dubai’s Sustainable City May Provide a Blueprint for Cities of the Future

By Matthew D. Batista

I. Background

SEE Development. Faced with a changing climate, the need for smarter development is clear. Unfortunately, cities in the U.S. and across the planet have developed without social, environmental, and economic foresight. This result is some combination of inefficient design, extensive energy demand and carbon emissions, tremendous waste, negative health outcomes, etc. The solution to this problem is SEED, which stands for social sustainability, economic sustainability, environmental sustainability, and design. Adoption of these principles as a systematic approach to development is expanding across the globe. The United Nations, for instance, issued its most recent Environmental, Social, and Economic Sustainability Framework in January of 2015. Failing to take all these concerns into account is inherently unsustainable and leaves cities and populations across the globe vulnerable.

Dubai. Thinking about sustainable development, you would be forgiven if Dubai was not the first city to come to mind. Like many cities in the region, Dubai’s primary economic catalyst has been oil. Continue reading “Dubai’s Sustainable City May Provide a Blueprint for Cities of the Future”

Student orgs recap: ILS, SIPLA, PILF & APALSA

International Law Society panel -- Stephanie Ramos, ILS President
Bettina Hausmann, third from left, spoke at ILS’s October meeting.

On Wednesday, Oct. 24, the International Law Society celebrated United Nations Day by hosting a speaker from San Diego’s United Nations Association (UNA) chapter. UNA San Diego’s executive director, Bettina Hausmann, spoke about the UNA’s 17 goals for sustainable development–specifically, climate action.

Hausmann also gave insight on what is referred to as the trial of the century, Juliana v. United States. In that case, 21 plaintiffs ages 11-22 are suing the federal government for violating the youngest generation’s constitutional rights by contributing to global warming. Continue reading “Student orgs recap: ILS, SIPLA, PILF & APALSA”