Inauguration & Beyond: Loyola Professors’ Expertise on Top Issues of the Transition

How Loyola Law School professors are contemplating the major issues of the presidential transition

With the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles professors are contemplating the major issues of the transition, including:

Business Dealings & Ethics

Professor Jessica Levinson and Elizabeth Pollman are available to comment on the way in which Donald Trump has attempted to disassociate himself from his business holdings while president. Levinson is president of the Los Angeles Ethics Commission; Pollman is an expert on business associations. Both professors say that Trump’s stated approach to divestiture does not go far enough to allay ethics concerns.

Clemency Legacy

Professor Kevin Lapp, part of a Loyola team that successfully petitioned President Obama for a grant of clemency on behalf of a federal inmate, is available to comment on the process as it comes to a close under the Obama administration. "I believe deeply in redemption, and the clemency initiative was meant to redeem those who were over-punished and who have had to waste too many years of their lives incarcerated.”

Constitutional Law

Professor Kimberly West-Faulcon, James P. Bradley Chair in Constitutional Law, is wary of President Trump’s adherence to constitutional principles. “Regrettably, the new president has already demonstrated a lack of basic civic literacy regarding the role the U.S. president has in our constitutional system,” says Professor West-Faulcon. “In my view, this presidential administration will be one of, if not the, greatest tests of the provisions of the U.S. Constitution's delineation of three separate branches of federal government…. Today, more than any other day in modern history, should be the day we recognize that we are not saved by the Constitution. We must save ourselves.”

Criminal Justice

Criminal Law Professors Stan GoldmanLaurie LevensonEric Miller and Priscilla Ocen are available to comment on prospective changes at the U.S. Department of Justice, particularly under the leadership of Attorney General nominee Sen. Jess Sessions. “In our current political climate, the question of whom the state represents is a live one: Large chunks of people on the right of the political spectrum have claimed that President Obama does not represent them, and large chunks of people on the left of the political spectrum claim that President-Elect Trump does not represent them, either,” says Professor Miller. “It is that question that is being pressed by the Black Lives Matter movement, and requires a political answer that goes beyond the constitutive rules of the state.”

Health Care Policy

Professor Brietta Clark, advisor to Loyola’s Health Care Law Course of Study, has studied the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) among the states, particularly California. She sees it as a model to adopt, not destroy. “As a candidate, Trump touted the advantages his business acumen would bring to Washington, D.C. This is his chance to prove it. The ACA reflects a huge investment in states, health care providers and the health insurance market, with the dual goals of improving health access and containing costs. A smart businessperson would not simply abandon such a significant investment of time and money; he would leverage it by building on its success and finding the least disruptive way to fix any problems.”

Immigration Policy

Loyola Immigrant Justice Clinic Co-Directors Marissa Montes and Emily Robinson and Faculty Advisor Kathleen Kim are available to comment on Trump’s promises to step up immigration enforcement upon taking office. “Take the time to know your rights and educate your family on what to do should you come into contact with law enforcement or immigration officials,” Montes and Robinson advise members of L.A.’s immigrant community. “Stay abreast of how immigration policy affects you and what steps you can take to protect yourself. Knowledge is power. We are here to help.”

Judiciary & Supreme Court Appointments

Professor Allan Ides, Christopher N. May Professor of Law, is available to comment on U.S. Supreme Court and other judiciary appointment processes. A former clerk to Supreme Court Associate Justice Byron White, Ides has paid close attention to the eight-member court and what a Trump appointment might look like. “Trump has a short list of nominees, mostly vetted by the conservative Federalist Society,” says Ides. “But he could go off the list; he is Donald Trump.”

Tax Reform

Professors Ellen Aprill and Katie Pratt, experts on tax policy and code, are available to comment on Trump’s proposed tax reforms. “During his campaign, President-elect Trump pledged that he would work to repeal the provision of the Internal Revenue Code that prohibits charities, including churches, from intervening in campaigns for elected office,” says Professor Aprill. “With his inauguration platform party including at least six members of the clergy – more than other presidents-elect in the past -- one wonders if he is making a public display of his intent. Such a change would be ill-advised.”

Trade Policy

Professor Justin Hughes has assessed what international trade might look like under President Trump. A former senior advisor to the Under Secretary of Commerce in the Obama Administration, Hughes was the U.S.’ chief negotiator for the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances and the Marrakesh Treaty for the Blind. “Less reliance on input from corporate America means President Trump will need to expand the USTR enforcement staff (as Clinton proposed) and make the components of the U.S. government that monitor foreign business environments – agencies within the Commerce and State departments – do a better job (something so wonkish not even a Clinton policy paper mentioned it),” he has written.

Read more about Loyola Law School professors' expertise on Loyola's Election 2016 Commentary Guide.