June 22, 2018
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Rutgers to debate discrimination cases in free public forum



(Newark, N.J.,  – Must local officials certify the results of employment and promotional tests, even when use of the results will prevent all or almost all qualified minority applicants from employment or promotion?


That issue will be the center of the Constitution Day program at Rutgers University in Newark on Sept. 16, when two Rutgers School of Law-Newark students present a mock appellate argument before a panel of judges and an audience, who will then “rule” on the basis of their arguments.  The program, which is free and open to the public, begins at 2:30 p.m. in the Paul Robeson Campus Center

350 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
The first 100 attendees will receive a free copy of the U.S. Constitution in honor of the 222nd anniversary of the document’s signing.


The program, “Does race-conscious decision-making by an employer to remedy disparate impact, deny equal protection under the law?” is subtitled,  “An Affirmative Action narrative through the lens of Ricci v. DeStefano,” referring to the case in which white New Haven, CT., firefighters sued their city on the grounds they were unfairly denied promotions because of their race. 


Assistant Chancellor Mark Winston will moderate, and two distinguished members

of the faculty of Rutgers Law School-Newark will act as “appellate judges:” Professor of Law and Herbert Hannoch Scholar Bernard Bell, and Professor of Law and Sidney Reitman Scholar James Gray Pope (biographies attached).  After Professor Bell presents asummary of the case, he and Professor Pope will hear “arguments” presented by two Rutgers law students:  Israel Burns, arguing for DeStefano, and Jessica Rivera, arguing for Ricci.  An audience Q & A will follow, and a “decision” on the case will be voted. Refreshments will be served.  For more information, go to http://www.newark.rutgers.edu/constitutionday/


This year’s annual Constitution Day Program continues the theme, “Conversations on Citizenship,” which in past years has examined issues such as prisoners’ rights and the immigration debate.


  This is Rutgers-Newark’s fifth annual program marking Constitution Day, an American federal observance that recognizes the completion of the drafting of the United States Constitution in 1787. The document was the work of a distinguished group of delegates, including two future Presidents of the United States, who had been called upon to remedy the defects of the Articles of Confederation.  The Constitution was adopted when New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify the document the following year.


The federal law establishing Constitution Day was created in 2004; previously it was known as "Citizenship Day."  Although a federal mandate, “It is important to celebrate the Constitution because many students don’t appreciate the historical importance of the Constitution as the foundation for democratic rights, not only for the past but for the future as well,” states Vice Chancellor Marcia Brown, coordinator of the event.

 For more information: Carla Capizzi, 973/353-5262, or email: capizzi@rutgers.edu.


 The Paul Robeson Campus Center is wheelchair-accessible, as is the Rutgers-Newark campus. Rutgers‑Newark can be reached by New Jersey Transit buses and trains, the PATH train and Amtrak from New York City, and by Newark Light Rail. Metered parking is available on 

University Avenue
 and at Rutgers‑Newark's public parking garage, at 
200 University Ave.
  Printable campus maps and driving directions are available online at: http://www.newark.rutgers.edu/maps/index.php.



Bernard W. Bell, Professor of Law and Herbert Hannoch Scholar

Professor Bell teaches Constitutional Law, Legislation, Administrative Law, and several other courses.

He received a B.A. cum laude from Harvard and a J.D. from Stanford, where he was notes editor of the Law Review and a member of Order of the Coif. He clerked for Judge Amalya L. Kearse of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Byron R. White. Before coming to Rutgers in 1994, he served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney (Civil Division) in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

Professor Bell has written numerous articles which have appeared in several journals, including the Stanford Law Review, the Texas Law Review, the North Carolina Law Review, the Ohio State Law Review, the George Washington Law Review, the Pittsburgh Law Review, and the Journal of Law and Politics. He has a visiting professor at Columbia Law School and the George Washington University School of Law.

Professor Bell served as Associate Dean for Faculty and then Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Faculty from June 2004 to July 2008. 

James Gray Pope, Professor of Law and Sidney Reitman Scholar


Professor Pope received an A.B. and J.D. from Harvard, and a Ph.D. in politics from Princeton. From 1974 to 1980, he worked in the metal trades and was an active member of the International Association of Machinists and the Industrial Union of Marine and Shipbuilding Workers.

After law school, he clerked for Chief Justice Rose Elizabeth Bird of the California Supreme Court.  Prior to joining the Rutgers faculty in 1986, he was associated with the Boston law firm of Segal, Roitman & Coleman, where he represented labor unions and employees.


Professor Pope's articles about constitutional law, workers' rights, and labor history have appeared in a wide variety of publications including the Columbia Law Review, Law & History Review, the Michigan Law Review, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review,the Texas Law Review, the Yale Law Journal, Labor History, New Labor Forum (with Peter Kellman & Ed
Bruno), and Working USA (also with Kellman & Bruno).



Carla Capizzi, Senior Public Relations Specialist
973/353-5263;  (fax) 973/353-1050
Office of Communications, Rutgers-Newark
249 University Ave., Room 210
Newark NJ 07102-1896 

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