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The Massachusetts Constitution declares the equality of all people and the right of all people to practice religion as they see fit. In article XVIII, the Massachusetts Constitution also declares it unlawful for the state government to pass any law that prohibits an individual’s right to the free exercise of religion. The state’s desire to protect both the equality of people and the practice of religion does not always play out harmoniously and recently, the Catholic Church found its religious views regarding homosexuality and morality in conflict with state adoption laws.
In 2003, the Vatican responded to the debate over gay marriage with a statement entitled “Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons.” In addition to unequivocally opposing homosexual marriage and unions, the statement set forth the Church’s position against homosexual adoptions. The Vatican declared that homosexual adoptions violate church doctrine and are contrary to a child’s best interests. This statement created serious questions about the ability of the Church’s social-service agency, Catholic Charities, to continue offering adoption services in Massachusetts in light of state adoption laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
In Massachusetts, the first case recognizing the legality of adoption by same-sex couples dates back more than a decade. Further, in order to offer adoption services for special-needs children, any potential agency must receive licenses from the Department of Early Education and Child Care and the Massachusetts Department of Social Services, both of which have regulations forbidding licensees to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. Prior to the Vatican’s statement, the Boston branch of Catholic Charities placed a small number of children with homosexual couples since receiving its license in 1987. However, in light of the official statement and increased media attention, and despite any objections from disagreeing members of the branch, church officials decided adoption services could only be offered in accordance with church teaching. . . .
Prohibitions against double jeopardy, whether based on the Double Jeopardy Clause of the United States Constitution or the right provided by Massachusetts law, prevent the government from subjecting individuals to the hazards of standing trial more than once for the same offense. Generally, courts have not interpreted a jury’s silence on one charge as an implied acquittal for purposes of double jeopardy, unless the jury’s guilty verdict on another charge logically excludes guilt of the charge on which the jury remained silent. In Commonwealth v. Carlino, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) considered whether a jury’s silence on one of three alternate theories of first-degree murder at the defendant’s first trial prevented the Commonwealth from retrying the defendant on that same theory. The SJC held that the jury’s silence on the felony-murder theory in Thomas Carlino’s first trial was not an acquittal for double jeopardy purposes and, thus, did not prevent retrial on that theory. . . .
Over the course of my career, I have received a lot of good advice that I want to share with my colleagues in the labor and employment law academy. Specifically, I want to share my thoughts about how to disseminate our research outside the legal academy by testifying before Congress, state legislatures, and government agencies; writing op-eds and magazine articles; and speaking to the general public.
At the outset, I want to offer some general advice. Some is based on things that I was told early in my academic career, and some I have learned on my own.
Perhaps the best advice that I ever received was to “make your research count at least three times.” For me, this has often meant using my research in various capacities: for law review and bar journal articles, for the classroom, for chapters in practitioner-type treatises, for continuing legal education programs, in testimony and submissions to government agencies, for op-eds, and for speeches to community groups like local chapters of the AARP and Kiwanis clubs. . . .
This stimulating collection of essays builds upon the 2008 Annual Meeting program of the Section on Labor Relations and Employment Law of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS), the major professional association for legal educators. The Section devoted its January 2008 program to the topic of “The Employment and Labor Law Professor as Public Intellectual: Sharing Our Work with the World,” which featured presentations by four accomplished law professors who were selected via a Call for Papers issued the previous year. The purpose of the program and the resulting essays is to explore how law professors, particularly those who teach in the field of employment and labor law, can apply their research and scholarship to the important tasks of public education and intellectual activism. . . .
The topic of this symposium issue sponsored by the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) is the role of the labor and employment law professor as a public intellectual. Despite the baggage accompanying the phrase “public intellectual,” the symposium topic is an important one, for the term carries more meaning than a mere “talking head” or “media figure” can express. To make theoretical ideas more accessible to others, to connect theory and practice, to explain academic or scholarly ideas in a way that the public can understand—these ideas resonate with my philosophy of the law professor’s role. In fact, this is the essence of what we strive for as labor and employment law professors, and, to that end, this piece concludes with some advice for others who, like me, are relative newcomers to the academy.
This article concentrates on what I believe can be a fruitful collaboration between labor and employment law professors and groups (worker centers) that provide educational, financial, and technical legal assistance to workers. While I have written some op-ed pieces about worker rights and have written for several law professor web logs about employment law topics, these activities are more about educating the public than any sort of yearning for public recognition. This discussion begins with several key assumptions, none of which are particularly radical. The first assumption is that most employment law professors ground their discussion of the law in the experiences of workers and management. The second assumption is that most—if not all—law professors have a desire to reform labor and employment laws in ways that promote the well-being of workers while at the same time allowing businesses and entrepreneurs to maintain a competitive advantage. . . .