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    12.10.09 Papers by Professors Baer and Mazzone Chosen for Federalist Society's Young Scholars Panel
    Miriam Baer

    Papers written by Professors Miriam Baer and Jason Mazzone were competitively selected for presentation at the Federalist Society's Young Legal Scholars Panel at the Society’s 12th annual faculty conference to be held in New Orleans in January. In addition, Professor Robin Effron was selected to moderate another panel at the conference.

    Professor Baer’s piece analyzes the practice of cooperation, whereby federal criminal defendants receive reduced sentences in exchange for assisting the government in detecting and prosecuting other criminals. The article contends that cooperation exerts two effects on deterrence: a “Detection Effect,” which increases the government’s overall ability to detect and punish criminals, and a “Sanction Effect,” which reduces the sentence that the defendant expects to receive upon being apprehended, assuming he believes he can cooperate. The article contends that contrary to common assumptions, cooperation may reduce overall deterrence, particularly if the government extends too many cooperation agreements or overpays cooperators, or if criminals become overly optimistic about their ability to secure such agreements.

    Professor Baer teaches in the areas of corporations, corporate compliance, and criminal law and procedure. Her scholarship often focuses on private and public efforts to restrain undesirable behavior in corporate settings. Prior to entering academia, she was an assistant general counsel for compliance with Verizon and an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York, where she focused on white collar criminal prosecutions.

    Professor Mazzone specializes in constitutional law and history, and in intellectual property law. His scholarship in constitutional law involves a close look at how constitutional provisions have operated in particular historical circumstances in order to generate lessons about constitutional interpretation and institutional design. He also studies the role state courts played historically in interpreting the federal Constitution.

    His article, “When the Supreme Court is Not Supreme,” 104 Nw. U. L. Rev.__ (forthcoming 2010), focuses on how the Supreme Court shares authority with the state courts. “State courts,” the article shows, “have always exercised a good deal of authority to determine, independently and definitively, the meaning of the Constitution. Until the early twentieth century, this authority was formalized in the statutory law that governed the Court's appellate jurisdiction. Today, though that law has changed, in practice the state courts continue to hold and to exercise substantial authority on issues of federal constitutional law.” The article offers a proposal to formalize the authority state courts exercise today in practice.

    Professor Richard Epstein of the University of Chicago Law School and New York University Law School will comment on the papers presented by the panelists. The moderator will be Professor Steven Calabresi of Northwestern University Law School.

    Read abstract of Professor Baer’s paper (PDF abstract)

    Read Professor Mazzone’s paper