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Law professor particpates in John Mercer Langston Writing Workshop

August 6, 2010

Loyola University New Orleans College of Law professor Mitch Crusto joined other distinguished law professors from across the country in the John Mercer Langston Writing Workshop at Southern Methodist University School of Law in Dallas, Texas, June 24-26. The workshop was conceived in response to the shortage of African-American males teaching law and is named for the first African-American male law professor in the country.

The workshop consisted of approximately 10 work-in-progress sessions and three panels designed to address writing, teaching and other issues unique to African-American males in law academics.

Participants presented their work and received feedback from both a select commentator in their area of scholarly expertise and the audience, which included several senior scholars who were available to help them produce high-level scholarly work.

The workshop came to fruition through months of discussions, brainstorming and planning by professors Frank Rudy Cooper of Suffolk University Law School, Areto Imoukhuede of Nova Southeastern University, D. Aaron Lacy of Southern Methodist University School of Law and Terry Smith of DePaul University College of Law.

Crusto also explored new directions for constitutional law at the Southeastern Association of Law Schools 2010 annual conference in Palm Beach, Fla., on July 30.

Crusto’s presentation, “Empathetic Dialogues: Toward Value Principles in Constitutional Law,” was part of a panel titled “Obama, Empathy and the Constitution.” Using Biblical references to Abraham’s dialogue with God on the injustice of the proposed killing of innocent people in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Crusto proposed that judges have a moral obligation to seek justice in their decisions.

Crusto used examples in the Constitution to show how empathetic dialogues are a proven judicial means of achieving value principles of constitutional law.

Also in July, Crusto facilitated a discussion with Louisiana judges and lawyers on state judges’ role in developing constitutional law at the Louisiana Judicial Council’s 16th Annual Jamaican Sunset Continuing Legal Education program in Negril, Jamaica. His presentation, “Retracing the Steps on the Bridge: the Right to Intra-State Travel,” explored the reasoning of the federal court’s decision in the Dickerson Case, which stated there is no constitutional right to travel within the state of Louisiana. In the case, Tracy and Dorothy Dickerson claimed U.S. citizens were prevented by the Gretna police from crossing west on the Crescent City Connection bridge following Hurricane Katrina.

Crusto believed the Dickerson case was the most significant human rights decision in contemporary constitutional law, and urged the state courts as bastions of democracy to continue the serious work of protecting individual constitutional rights. He recently published a leading constitutional law article in the University of Pittsburgh Law Review, “Enslaved Constitution: Obstructing Freedom to Travel,” in which he analyzes the constitutional right to intra-state travel.

For more information on the College of Law, contact James Shields in the Office of Public Affairs at 504-861-5888 or jshields@loyno.edu.

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