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Professor Rod Smith Gives Two Talks at Pepperdine Law School on Monday

September 26, 2012

Smith at Pepperdine

Thomas Jefferson School of Law Distinguished Professor Rodney Smith will be making two presentations at Pepperdine University School of Law on Monday, October 1.

The first talk, about religious liberty is titled “The First Amendment and the Right of Conscience:  A Dying Right?”  It will examine the views of James Madison regarding the First Amendment – Madison is considered to be the author of the First Amendment   – as a right of conscience providing protection for religious conscience, conscience generally, and identity.  Professor Smith will argue that the protection for religious liberty, with a free exercise and establishment provision, differs in nature from the protection provided to conscience and identity generally under the First Amendment. It will then examine where we stand today, pitting interestingly enough Justice Scalia and President Obama (who oppose exemptions) against Chief Justice Roberts, President Clinton and Governor Romney, who seem to favor religious exemptions. Professor Smith will also examine the issues that arise with regard to the conflict between the Affordable Health Care Act and the rights of the Catholic Church.

Professor Smith’s second talk is “Gladiators in the 21st Century: Violence and Injuries in Athletics.” He will state the case that we treat our athletes like gladiators, disregarding injuries by prolonging seasons, failing to respond to evidence regarding the severity of injuries incurred (but largely latent in nature). He also urges the need for the players associations and management at the professional level and the NCAA and high school athletic associations at the amateur level to respond.  Professor Smith will also argue that actions by associations are preferable to litigation as a means of dealing with these issues, while offering suggestions for reform.

Related to this theme, TJSL’s The Center for Sports Law and Policy, of which Professor Smith is the director, will be presenting a major conference “Gladiators in the 21st Century: Violence and Injuries in Athletics” on Saturday November 10, at the law school.

This conference will bring leading scholars and policymakers together to examine the legal and policy implications of violence and injuries in athletics. Panels made up of leaders in the field will discuss issues related to concussions and other injuries in athletics and issues of violence in athletics, including the issues of bounties and records of violent criminal activity on the part of athletes. In keeping with the mission of the Center for Sports Law and Policy at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, this conference will focus on finding solutions to problems associated with violence and injuries in athletics.

Watch here for a link to register for the Gladiators Conference, coming soon.