INSTITUTE FOR LEGISLATIVE AND
District Attorney Debate With the retirement of Hampden
County District Attorney William Bennett after 20 years of dedicated service, the open position encouraged four candidates to
enter the race. Three of them were graduates of our School of
Law: Shawn Allyn ’99, Hal Etkin ’84, and Anthony Gulluni
’03/L’07. Brett Vottero was the fourth candidate.
The Institute sponsored a debate among the four Democratic
candidates in advance of the primary on September 9, where
Attorney Gulluni prevailed. Because no Republican or unenrolled
candidate entered the race, Attorney Gulluni was elected District
Attorney on November 4.
Constitution Day On September 17, the Institute sponsored
the University’s annual commemoration of “Constitution Day
and Citizenship Day,” a congressionally declared celebration of
the signing of the Constitution on September 17, 1787, and
Congress’ recognition of the importance that citizenship plays in
our constitutional democracy.
This year the Institute assembled a distinguished panel of
faculty from the University to discuss “Ferguson and the Consti-
tution.” Focusing on the shooting of an unarmed young black
man by a white police officer in Ferguson, MO, the featured
panelists: Professor of History John Baick, Professor of Law
Bridgette Baldwin, and Professor of Law Matthew Charity,
explored the historical and contemporary context of police
misconduct against members of the African American commu-
nity. Professor of Law Bruce Miller served as the
moderator. This spring the School will conduct a follow-up con-
ference to examine further this timely and important subject.
Supreme Court Review For the first time in its 19-year
history, the annual Supreme Court Review Conference was held
over two days in mid-October. Professor Emeritus Leora Harpaz,
who founded this conference in 1996, began by examining the
Court’s “Conservatizing the First Amendment.” Among other
cases, she discussed the Hobby Lobby decision which interpreted the Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act to create
an exception from the obligations of the Affordable Care Act so
that closely held corporations cannot be required to provide
their employees with insurance coverage for contraception if
they object for religious reasons.
Professor Jennifer Levi followed with a discussion of the
implications for same-gender marriage of the Supreme Court’s
denying certiorari in cases presenting the constitutionality of
state bans on such marriages. She suggested that because of
the increasing number of lower court decisions invalidating
such prohibitions, the Court would have to accept for review a
same-gender marriage case.
True to Professor Levi’s prediction, the Court will hear four
cases in April, with decisions expected in June, addressing the
During the fall 2014 term, the Institute for Legislative and Governmental Affairs presented several
significant programs: Candidate debates for Hampden County District Attorney and for the senatorial
district of the First Hampden and Hampshire District, the annual Constitution Day and Citizenship Day
program, the 19th annual Supreme Court Review Conference, and the swearing in of new citizens.