This pod cast features Visiting Assistant Professor of Law Deborah A. Widiss discussing her article Shadow Precedents and the Separation of Powers: Statutory Interpretation of Congressional Overrides soon to be published in the Notre Dame Law Review. Professor Widiss won the Scholarly Paper Award for the article at the 2009 AALS Annual Meeting in early January in San Diego. The Special Committee to Review Scholarly Papers chose her paper out of almost 60 papers submitted.
In the article, Professor Widiss addresses Congressional overrides of judicial interpretations of statutes. She argues that because judges are often faced with determining the exact extent to which Congress has overridden a judicial decision, they can easily leave in place as precedent the very concepts that Congress sought to override. When other courts follow these “shadow precedents,” legislative supremacy is threatened and the standard rationales offered for adherence to precedent are undermined. In this pod cast, Professor Widiss discusses the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, the most recent Congressional override of a Supreme Court decision.
Professor Widiss joined Brooklyn Law School’s Visiting Assistant Professor Program in 2007 and is completing her two-year term this spring. She teaches Employment Discrimination, Legislation and Statutory Interpretation, and Family Law. Her research interests include employment law, the legislative process, and the significance of gender and gender stereotypes in the development of law and government policy. Her recent publications include Domestic Violence and the Workplace: The Explosion of State Legislation and the Need for a Comprehensive Strategy in the Florida State University Law Review (2008) and a co-written article, Exposing Sex Stereotypes in Recent Same-Sex Marriage Jurisprudence which appeared in the Harvard Journal of Law and Gender (2007) and received a Dukeminier Award from the Williams Institute at UCLA Law School.