Skip to main content

VLS in the News

Layout Builder

VLS In the News

In a Vermont Christian school, a state investigation highlights anxiety over discrimination
... schools in Vermont. And it highlights an unsettled area of state law — one that lawmakers declined to clear up during this year's legislative session.  "We've had parochial schools in the state since the beginning of time, basically," said Peter Teachout, a constitutional law professor at Vermont Law School. But when public dollars enter the picture, "that gets pretty tricky to administer in a fair and effective way." In sparsely populated Vermont, thousands of students live in towns that do not operate schools at all grade levels. School districts in those towns instead use money from the state's ... and private schools, "there (has) been some suggestion from some legal minds that maybe it's not clear," Yang said. There could also be legal questions about whether the state Board of Education has the authority to withhold public money from schools if they discriminate, said
May 09, 2022
The pandemic shut down Vermont's courts. Now, some question whether the case backlog should even be heard
... in an interview with VPR earlier this year. "That's real and detrimental to people's lives."  Sleigh, last year, asked for 27 cases to be dismissed for lack of a speedy trial. Judge Mello ultimately dismissed 22 cases. Robert Sand is the founding director of the Center for Justice Reform at Vermont Law School and a former Windsor County state's attorney. He says the court system was backlogged even before the pandemic. "If I were to editorialize a bit, it's because we file way too many cases," Sand said. "And so, when you have an already backlogged system, and then you lay on top of that inability to ... and compounds the problem." "If I were to editorialize a bit, it's because we file way too many cases. And so, when you have an already backlogged system, and then you lay on top of that inability to gather inside the buildings, it just exacerbates and compounds the problem."
May 09, 2022
Alito’s legal reasoning for ending Roe rests on history, the right to life
... legal reasoning of Roe itself. Instead, they lament the potential end of the world they say Roe ushered in, with easier access to abortion coinciding with women's gains socially and economically. Justice Alito's reformulation of the importance of precedent has also ignited a fierce legal debate. Jared Carter, a professor at Vermont Law School, told The Washington Times that lawyers could use Justice Alito's reasoning to attack the 2015 decision that created a national right to same-sex marriage, or even the 1967 decision striking down bans on interracial marriage. "There are ...
May 06, 2022
How Alito tipped his climate hand in anti-abortion draft
... all along. And yet, exceptions were being made for Roe v. Wade." Brightbill continued: "Everyone is seeing in this what they want to see, either in service of trying to advance themselves or undercut the decision in advance and raise the temperature even more." John Echeverria, a professor at Vermont Law School, noted that Alito's reference to the standing doctrine cites, among other cases, the 2020 decision June Medical Services v. Russo, in which the court struck down a Louisiana law that would have limited access to abortions. In that case, which split the court 4-1-4, Chief Justice John Roberts agreed ...
May 06, 2022
Alito: The Supreme Court’s next environmental law juggernaut?
... regulatory procedure. But the court's 2020 shift in balance to a 6-3 majority diluted the power of Roberts' vote. The leaked draft opinion on abortion rights "seems to confirm the fear that Roberts does not control the court and that Alito may become the new leader of the hard-right wing," said Pat Parenteau, a professor at Vermont Law School. 'Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant' Alito could play a starring role in overhauling laws that guide federal climate policies. In the landmark 2007 climate change ruling Massachusetts v. EPA, Alito was one of the four dissenting justices, ...
May 04, 2022
Supreme Court and Abortion Access: Leaked Decision Shows Roe v. Wade in Jeopardy
... likely to fall when the official decision is made. Roberts called the leak an "egregious breach" of the court's trust and claimed the court's final decision would not be influenced by the leak. "I think he's right — it is an egregious breach of trust — and it needs to be gotten to the bottom of," Jared Carter, first amendment expert, and Professor from Vermont Law School, told Healthline. An investigation into the leak will launch this week. Justice Samuel Alito, who crafted the draft, wrote that the right to an abortion is not written in the constitution anywhere — which, Carter ...
May 03, 2022
Loose lips sink ships: Has the Roberts court been damaged beyond repair?
... say. A major unprecedented leak for the case known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization was published by Politico Monday evening and raised alarm among legal experts over public confidence in the Supreme Court as an institution and its ability to conduct its work. A law professor at Vermont Law School, Jared Carter, told the Washington Examiner on Tuesday the consequences are "terrible for the institution of the court to have draft decisions being leaked." "Especially on an issue such as this, but my guess is that's exactly why it's been leaked is to perhaps call into question ...
May 03, 2022
How some big grocery chains help ensure that food deserts stay barren
... in most instances a lose-lose-lose for the community, perhaps for a generation or longer.  "Having an empty storefront probably impacts people's property values, and increases the potential for there to be crime," said Laurie Beyranevand, director of the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Law School. Not to mention, many of these supermarkets come with "enormous parking lots and all of that space could obviously be used for something else that would be more beneficial to the community." Instead of selling a grocery location, a company may be inclined to hold onto vacant property, preventing ...
May 03, 2022
Supreme Court abortion ruling could have climate fallout
... the court could revisit: the narrowly decided 2007 ruling in Massachusetts v. EPA, which affirmed the federal government's authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. "Precedent is no obstacle to the Trump justices, despite what they said in the confirmation hearings," said Pat Parenteau, a professor at Vermont Law School. He thinks the precedent set in the landmark climate case is "very much in danger," and he expects to see evidence of that when the court issues its ruling in the coming weeks in West Virginia v. EPA, which has the potential to whittle down the ...
May 03, 2022
California Attorney General Investigates the Oil and Gas Industry’s Role in Plastic Pollution, Subpoenas Exxon
... " because it has "the potential to finally hold plastic producers accountable for the immense environmental damage caused by plastics." It will also "address the ongoing deception of claiming that plastics are recyclable when, in fact, less than 10 percent are actually recycled," she said. Pat Parenteau, an environmental law professor at Vermont Law School and the former director of the school's Environmental Law Center, said that if Bonta's investigation seems familiar, it should. "We have seen this movie before," Parenteau said. "This is a page from the same book that ...
April 30, 2022
USA: Animal rights group wants transparency for captive orca at Miami marine park. Animal rights lawyer said USDA has "washed its hands" of Lolita.
... the Animal Welfare Act. USDA inspections will continue at the facility for all covered species and activities. Inspection reports, including animal inventories, will be available through the public search tool." Delcianna Winders, professor and Animal Law and Policy Institute Director at the Vermont Law School, said the USDA has for a decade neglected its oversight responsibility for Lolita under the federal Animal Welfare Act. The 1966 law set national standards for humane care and treatment of animals used for commercial purposes, including for display or entertainment at zoos and marine parks. ...
April 28, 2022
The beef with fake meat: Dairy and meat lobbies take aim at plant-based products
... use of "meat" and "beef" on the labels of plant-based food products. The laws are reportedly meant to protect consumers by ensuring that products derived from plants cannot be confused with those derived from animals. Laurie Beyranevand, director of the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Law School, says much of the force behind these labelling laws comes from the meat, dairy and egg lobbies – or the so-called barnyard lobby. "They are all worried," she says, and "the only legal hook they really have is to challenge the labelling." The Missouri Cattlemen's Association helped draft the first ... from the names of plant-based products actually causes consumers to be significantly more confused about the taste and uses of these products." The only legal hook they really have is to challenge the labelling. -Laurie Beyranevand, director of the Center for Agriculture
April 27, 2022
The Racist Past of the Filibuster and Why it Should End Now
... it a little bit more painful, make him stand there and talk, I'm willing to look at any way we can," Manchin remarked. "But I'm not willing to take away the involvement of the minority." President Joe Biden has refused to public discuss whether he would seek an end to the filibuster. Professor Jared Carter, a constitutional law expert at Vermont Law School, said it's time to end the filibuster. He noted that the first filibuster occurred in 1837 and was used infrequently until after the Civil War when minority parties employed the measure to stop civil rights efforts. "It is a ...
April 25, 2022
Vermont prosecutors rarely have secured hate crime convictions. A recent legislative change might make it easier
... to add a hate crimes charge has been signed by 9,117 people. "It would be enough to show that one of the reasons that the defendant committed the act was because of this person's status in one of those protected categories. And that's simply a much easier bar for the prosecution to meet." Jared Carter, Vermont Law School Kim Jordan, director of the SafeSpace Anti-Violence Program at Pride Center of Vermont, said Brunell's justification for the alleged crime centers around Feather's identity. "That says to me, and I would say to a lot of queer and trans folks that, 'Oh, this ... to prosecute hate crimes, including a change to Vermont's statute. Last year, lawmakers amended the law to classify hate crimes as actions "motivated in whole or in part" by a "victim's actual or perceived" identity. Previously, the statue said the crime needed to be "maliciously motivated." Jared Carter
April 22, 2022
PETA: Miami-Dade must seek, release data on Lolita the Killer Whale
... the Animal Welfare Act. USDA inspections will continue at the facility for all covered species and activities. Inspection reports, including animal inventories, will be available through the public search tool." Delcianna Winders, professor and Animal Law and Policy Institute Director at the Vermont Law School, said the USDA has for a decade neglected its oversight responsibility for Lolita under the federal Animal Welfare Act. The 1966 law set national standards for humane care and treatment of animals used for commercial purposes, including for display or entertainment at zoos and marine parks. ...
April 18, 2022
Tariff investigation causes disruptions for Vermont solar companies
... expanded tariffs, which could be retroactive, has prompted many companies to stop delivering to the United States, industry leaders say. In response to claims from solar companies about the handling of the investigation, Kevin Jones, director of the Institute for Energy and the Environment at Vermont Law School, objected to the idea that the administration shouldn't "follow the law and and honestly investigate claims that are brought to them legally." "To me, there is nothing but trust we should have in the Biden administration and the Commerce Department to look at this in terms of following the law ...
April 17, 2022
Farm-to-Table Serves Fairy Tales to Conscious Consumers
... which can take hours, even days. As Shanker reports, for those farmers wanting to sell their meat as locally-slaughtered, "there simply aren't enough facilities to humanely and safely kill their animals."   According to Laurie Beyranevand, director of the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Law School, neither farm-to-table nor farm-to-fork are legally defined by the USDA. Though under state consumer protection laws, advertising cannot be false or deceptive. She says "the challenge in this instance is demonstrating what consumers believe these terms mean." In other words, because farm-to-table ... can be used broadly with little to no legal oversight. The word 'local' also lacks much government oversight. Though it can imply certain things in some states (mainly that the food came from somewhere within that state), the USDA "has not established a uniform definition
April 12, 2022
Supreme Court EPA order: A warning for Biden regulators?
... Court case still has the potential to throw a wrench into the Biden administration's new WOTUS rule. "If the court comes down with a narrow ruling favoring Justice Scalia's Rapanos opinion, the agencies would then likely have to redo any Biden WOTUS rule to conform to Sackett," Liebesman said. Vermont Law School professor Jim Murphy said yesterday's Supreme Court order emphasizes how critical it is for the Biden administration to craft robust rules to combat the Trump team's widespread efforts to gut federal environmental protections. "We're glad that the courts have recognized that these rules from the ...
April 07, 2022
Vermont's new gun control law and the bipartisan compromise behind it
... Democratically-controlled state House and Senate would have extended the wait period for a background check to 30 days. After Republican Gov. Phil Scott vetoed that bill, he and lawmakers worked on a compromise measure. In March, the governor signed the bill into law, and it takes effect in July. Jared Carter, assistant professor of law at Vermont Law School, explains the new law and how it is a rare example of bipartisan discussions and compromise. Broadcast live on Wednesday, April 6, 2022, at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m. Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message or tweet ...
April 05, 2022
Hinesburg murder case
... -access status of the recording after it issues its opinion."  The short ruling was signed by the four sitting members of the court at the time the opinion was issued last month, including Chief Justice Paul Reiber.  Robert Sand, who is the founding director of the Center for Justice Reform at Vermont Law School and a former Windsor County state's attorney, said that he had never seen the state's high court take such action in more than 30 years in the legal field. "Without knowing the details, it's very hard to engage in much of an analysis of the decision other than to say that it is unusual," Sand said ...
April 05, 2022
Far-flung commuters go the extra, costly mile for Upper Valley Jobs
... for chargers from faculty. In much of the Upper Valley, especially for people whose employers invest in chargers, electric vehicles are an easy choice. Laurie Beyranevand drives a half-hour from Woodstock to South Royalton, where she directs the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at the Vermont Law School. She and her husband pay about $250 a month to rent an electric vehicle. The small, battery-powered station wagon gets her over the hilly route to the Vermont Law School. There, she plugs her car in as she works and has a full charge on her way home. The biggest hurdle is ...
April 03, 2022
A Russian Vermonter is trying to help Ukraine, one refugee at a time
Natalia and Jim May, who met in Russia while Jim was establishing a legal clinic in connection to his work at Vermont Law School, are pictured in St. Petersburg, Russia, in May 1997. Photo courtesy of Natalia May Every morning, before she's fully rubbed the sleep from her eyes, Natalia May checks social media for the latest updates from Ukraine's more than 4 million refugees. Then, she starts digging.  "I basically ... , a Vermonter working to establish the first legal clinic in Russia. The two hit it off, talking about their shared experience in journalism. Now, they're married.  "That was some interview," May joked, thinking back on her banter with James about deadlines. James May, a professor emeritus at Vermont Law School, spent 15 years making trips to Russia to help Russians pursue aid-based legal work. The clinic he founded became a model for subsequent clinics
April 01, 2022
Brown Jackson’s Business Rulings May Stem Pro-Labor Criticism
... 's police chief, and that will likely influence her judicial philosophy, Gomez said. She believes in following earlier court decisions, which could become increasingly important as the conservative-controlled high court considers toppling its own rulings on abortion rights and in other areas, said Jared Carter, a professor at Vermont Law School. Aside from the Lockheed decisions, Brown Jackson also threw out a drivers' lawsuit against Lyft and sent a dispute over benefits to arbitration -- where each driver has to argue their case individually, rather than in a group in a class-action ...
March 21, 2022
Supreme Court Could Undercut Biden's Climate Agenda (Podcast)
Host June Grasso speaks with prominent attorneys and legal scholars, analyzing major legal issues and cases in the news. Host June Grasso speaks with prominent attorneys and legal scholars, analyzing major legal issues and cases in the news. Pat Parenteau, a professor of environmental law at Vermont Law School, discusses Supreme Court oral arguments in which justices debated putting new limits on the Environmental Protection Agency's power to tackle greenhouse-gas emissions. Chase Kaniecki, a partner at Cleary Gottlieb, discusses ...
March 04, 2022
Lawsuit raises school choice issue
... ." Ultimately, for Schmitt, it's a matter of choice. "School choice is about letting these families send their kids to the school that's the best fit," he said. "And taking away some people's choices doesn't solve any kind of equity problem or anything else." Peter Teachout, a law professor at Vermont Law School, said despite federal rulings on the matter, school choice is complicated in Vermont because of the "compelled support" clause in the state constitution, which prohibits the state from providing taxpayer support to independent schools without the aforementioned "adequate safeguards." Teachout ...
March 04, 2022
A former child star turned crypto capitalist is bankrolling his own Senate run in Vermont
... a resident of the state for four years preceding the election, per the state's constitution. Requirements for the U.S. Senate, which are spelled out in the U.S. Constitution, are a bit laxer, and say simply that one must be a resident in that state "when elected." Peter Teachout, a professor at Vermont Law School and constitutional expert, said it's "technically possible," but "realistically highly unlikely," that Pierce could buy or rent a home in Vermont sometime before the election (if he hasn't already) and call it a day.  But if challenged in court, Teachout said Pierce may have difficulty producing ...
March 02, 2022
In State of the Union, Biden plans to tout his climate agenda despite challenges in Congress and the courts
... as well as costs." Solicitor General Elizabeth B. Prelogar, arguing for the Biden administration, said the justices should dismiss the case because EPA has not yet issued a new climate rule for the power sector. "But she did not seem to be having much luck in convincing the court," Barnes writes. Pat Parenteau, an environmental law expert at Vermont Law School, told The Climate 202 that he expects the conservative majority to "put limits on the EPA's authority" to issue a rule similar to Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan, which sought to cut carbon emissions from power plants by 32 ...
March 01, 2022
A closer look at two high court nominations
... Beth Robinson. Waples' parents immigrated to the U.S. from China and she learned to speak English at 9 years old. If confirmed, Waples would be the first woman of color to serve on the Vermont Supreme Court. Jessica Brown, a former public defender and a visiting professor of criminal law at Vermont Law School says Waples and Brown Jackson bring lived experiences to the bench. "They bring a diversity of life experiences which results in a diversity of perspective when they're hearing and interpreting cases that will affect the lives of everyday citizens," Brown said. Judge Waples was not available for ... battle in the U.S. Senate. Experts say the process gets political when there's more at stake. "When the U.S. Supreme Court issues a decision, a constitutional statutory legal decision that is going to affect the entire country and there's a lot of interests that have a stake
February 28, 2022
Ketanji Brown Jackson could affect fight over climate metric
... with the Jordan Cove LNG project (Energywire, Nov. 2, 2021). The following month, project developer Pembina officially told FERC it was canceling the project. It's hard to find any clear pattern with Jackson's environmental opinions, and she would bring an open mind to the Supreme Court, said Pat Parenteau, a law professor at the Vermont Law School. "She seems to take each case on their facts and legal merits and apply standard tools of administrative law and precedent," said Parenteau. "I don't get the sense she leans in any particular direction or has strong views on the ...
February 28, 2022
Mercy For Animals Leads Coalition Asking for Meat Industry Transparency
... and many others see it, the committee is not "fairly balanced." That's why we have led the charge and nominated two people with the expertise, experience, and backgrounds NACMPI desperately needs: Prof. Delcianna Winders , animal law program director and visiting associate professor at Vermont Law School, is not only one of the country's most distinguished experts on meat-processing law, with numerous publications in leading journals, but a steadfast advocate for animal protection, worker safety, food safety, and the environment. Dr. Parthapratim "Pat" Basu is widely recognized as one of the ...
February 25, 2022
Supreme Court backs making swath of Okla. tribal land
... " (Energywire , July 9, 2020). "This decision cannot change McGirt's holding about the boundaries of the Creek Nation's lands, so the lands that Oklahoma had claimed as 'state' lands will not revert to that former claimed status because of this decision," Hillary Hoffmann, a law professor at Vermont Law School, said in an email. Statutes like the Indian Mineral Leasing Act, which allows tribes to lease mineral rights on tribal lands with the approval of the Interior secretary, will still apply because the lands will still be Indian Country. Federal oversight of mineral development and reclamation will ...
February 21, 2022
Tennessee Waltz: Does the Bennington County sheriff still live in Vermont?
... Office referred VTDigger to a 2010 ruling from the Essex County Superior Court that said "the plain language" of the Vermont Constitution does not clearly require sheriffs or state's attorneys to be residents of the counties they were elected to serve. How about being a resident of another state? Jared Carter, a Vermont Law School professor who is an expert on the state Constitution, said he is not aware of a constitutional provision, statute or Vermont Supreme Court decision that answers this question. He said courts often avoid getting into such political issues, believing it's ...
February 20, 2022
Sarah Palin defamation case may be tough sell in a Supreme Court appeal
... justices to consider taking up her case. "My guess is that the Second Circuit is going to do very much what the district court and the jury here did, and that would be to uphold the lower court's decision based on those tenants of the First Amendment that are elucidated in Times v. Sullivan," Jared Carter, constitutional law expert and law professor at Vermont Law School, told the Washington Examiner on Thursday. JURY FINDS NEW YORK TIMES 'NOT LIABLE' IN SARAH PALIN LAWSUIT Palin alleged the Times defamed her and damaged her political career due to an erroneous claim in a 2017 ...
February 20, 2022
Law protects minors on vulnerable end of power dynamic
... abuse of power The law allows for both misdemeanor and felony-level sexual exploitation of a minor charges. The misdemeanor only requires that the person be in that position of power. The felony charge requires that the person is found to have abused that position of power. Robert Sand, a Vermont Law School professor and former prosecutor, said the law is silent on what exactly would constitute an abuse of the person's position. "In terms of lawmaking, and given our belief that statutes are supposed to put people on notice for what they're allowed to do and not allowed to do, it poses some challenges ...
February 19, 2022
Environmental Justice For All Act
... Sheats, director of the Center for the Urban Environment at the John S. Watson Institute for Urban Policy and Research at Kean University Laura Cortez, co-executive director of East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice. Amy Laura Cahn, acting director for the Environmental Justice Clinic at Vermont Law School. Meta permalink, rss, atom
February 15, 2022
With climate bill stalled, Democrats push EJ agenda
... , director of the Center for the Urban Environment at the John S. Watson Institute for Urban Policy and Research at Kean University. Laura Cortez, co-executive director of East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice. Amy Laura Cahn, acting director for the Environmental Justice Clinic at Vermont Law School.
February 14, 2022
China's climate litigation policy must change
... , grasslands, mudflats, wetlands, wildlife conservation, minerals and wood in the world's largest carbon emitter is also surging, according to local media.  The law is forward-looking in expanding the public's access to climate justice, according to Dr Yanmei Lin, a senior research professor at Vermont Law School.  "These developments [The law's implementation and lawsuits] have resulted in a sea-change in the first three years right after the law took effect for both the role of courts and civil society organisations (CSOs) in China," the legal expert, who focuses on the rule of law development in China's ... preventing it.  "There are also no legal provisions or precedents clarifying under what circumstances social organisations can file preventative environmental public interest lawsuits, nor are there guidelines on what evidence they should submit to support their argument,"
February 03, 2022
‘Nothing to do, nowhere to go’: What happens when elephants live alone
... increase. More than 30 North American zoos have phased out their elephant exhibits since the 1990s for various reasons, including the cost and difficulty of caring for elephants. "You're going to have facilities that are down to one elephant," says Delcianna Winders, Animal Law Program director at Vermont Law School. Will they decide to send them to sanctuaries where they'll be with other elephants? "Or are they going to assert that they're too old to move and just keep them alone?" The AZA, which oversees conservation breeding programs for African and Asian elephants, acknowledges that zoo populations can't ... illnesses. 'Why is this even still allowed?' An elephant alone in captivity has "nothing to do, nowhere to go, no one to see, no one to communicate with," Poole says. "Why is this even still allowed for these animals that we know so much about? Why aren't our laws doing
January 31, 2022
Breyer and the environment: ‘He wasn’t a liberal. He was a moderate’
... practical approach that often led him to side with environmentalists in court. But observers note that during his nearly 28 years on the Supreme Court, Breyer has also handed down some rulings that have handcuffed green groups in legal challenges. "He wasn't a liberal. He was a moderate," said Vermont Law School professor Pat Parenteau. "And his environmental record is generally good, but not as strong as [former Supreme Court Justice John Paul] Stevens, for example. He was an administrative law professor, and it showed. He was very much focused on the record." Breyer has indicated that ... . v. Sierra Club, for example, Breyer penned the unanimous opinion finding that a Forest Service resource management plan was not ripe for judicial review — a substantial blow for the environmental challengers in the case. "That has bedeviled environmental litigants ever since," said
January 27, 2022
House Democrats to launch three climate task forces
... argument that at least for me defies logic," said Thacker, a Barack Obama appointee. ​The three judges had few tough questions for Vic Sher, a founding partner at the firm Sher Edling who represents Baltimore as well as other states and municipalities that have brought similar climate cases. Pat Parenteau, a professor at Vermont Law School who has informally advised Sher, told The Climate 202 that he thought the hearing was a "slam dunk for Baltimore." Karen Sokol, a professor of law at Loyola University in New Orleans, agreed with that assessment.  "They were definitely more ...
January 26, 2022