A Supreme Court challenge to the Dodd-Frank financial reform law could be even more important than last term's testing of the Affordable Care Act, said Michael Greenberger, JD, a professor at the University of Maryland (UM) Francis King Carey School of Law and former director of the agency that oversees the Dodd-Frank Act.
Greenberger, whose federal service included work with the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, said a successful challenge of the Dodd-Frank Act could encourage a return to reckless spending by the "too big to fail" financial firms that spurred the reform measure in the first place. Should the country experience another Wall Street-led financial crisis, he added, the economy won't have the money to bail out the banks again.
Greenberger, director of the University's Center for Health and Homeland Security, made his comments as part of "A Supreme Court Preview" at the law school, held as a celebration on Sept. 21 of Constitution Day. Professors Sherrilyn Ifill, JD, and Doug Colbert, JD, were also on the panel.
Ifill began the event by discussing a case that explores the limits of using race as a factor in affirmative action. Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, she said, will test whether universities may use race - even among a variety of factors - among its admissions criteria. The Fisher case, she noted, comes on the heels of a 2003 case at the University of Michigan - Grutter v. Bollinger - that determined a "narrowly tailored use of race" could be used in admissions decisions.
She also said she is watching the Moncrieffe v. Holder case, which will determine whether a man who was born in Jamaica but grew up in the United States should be deported based on his guilty plea to a charge of possession with intent to distribute a small amount of marijuana. The federal government considered the crime an aggravated felony and thus subject to deportation, but Ifill said defense attorneys will argue that the punishment does not fit the crime.
Colbert said he is watching about a half-dozen criminal cases on the Supreme Court's docket, including two Florida cases that will test the limits of using drug-sniffing dogs and the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure. In each case, police used signals from trained dogs to determine probable cause to conduct a search. One case involves the search of a house; the other the interior of a car.
Colbert said he feared that, if allowed, the use of dogs to sniff out drugs will expand, but mostly in downscale communities. Moreover, the expanded use of drug-sniffing dogs could create real problems for defendants. Using the names of the dogs at the center of each case, Colbert quipped, "It's very difficult to cross-examine Aldo or Franky."