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Author Archive

‘[Trans] Boy Meets World’: A Comparison of State Anti-Discrimination Laws and First Amendment Protections For Gender Identity and Expression

Andrea J. Schweitzer 

In accepting the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2015 EPSYS, Caitlyn Jenner described her personal transition and experience learning about transgender issues as “eye-opening, inspiring [and] frightening.”[1] In her television series, I Am Cait, Jenner strives to educate the public about transgender problems.[2] Jenner is one of many who have taken on this Herculean feat to bring light to the discrimination transgender people face.[3]

Green Mountain Balancing Act: Exploring the Constitutionality of Vermont’s Anti-SLAPP Statute

Andrew Rome 

Many are sued simply for engaging in public discourse.[1] Lawsuits brought with the intent of silencing or punishing First Amendment activity are called “SLAPP” suits.[2] SLAPP is an acronym for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation.[3] SLAPPs are, by their nature, meritless; the plaintiffs have no intention of recovering damages.[4] A David and Goliath element is central to SLAPPs: the suits commonly pit large corporate entities against citizens of modest means who fear the expense and travails of litigation.[5] The judicial system becomes a weapon, and the threat of costly litigation is the ammunition.[6] The end-result chills free speech.[7] A quintessential SLAPP might involve a defamation suit brought by a developer against a community member for circulating a neighborhood petition against the development project.[8] 

Reopening the Ghost Town: Restitution or Compensation for Displaced Varoshans in Cyprus?

Ruth Roberts 

Before the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus, the small coastal town of Varosha was a popular and glamorous tourist destination.[1] 1974 saw Greeks and Greek Cypriots attempting to annex the island to Greece, after which Turkish forces invaded and ultimately divided the island into the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and the southern Republic of Cyprus (RoC).[2] During the invasion, many Greek and Turkish Cypriots fled their homes in fear of attack.[3] Estimates say around 165,000 Greek Cypriots and 45,000 Turkish Cypriots[4]—around one-third of the Greek community and 40% of the Turkish—were displaced.[5] The residents of Varosha were amongst those who fled.[6]

Maintaining a Fragile Institution to Protect a Delicate Lake: Lessons in Resource Governance from the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s Successes and Failures

Mason Overstreet 

Attempting to preserve a fragile ecosystem, spanning across multiple jurisdictional boundaries with diverse stakeholders and complex politics, is an arduous and noble task. Collaborative resource governance institutions are one model used to address such issues in the United States.[1] Examples vary, ranging from large watersheds and regional bays, to local river systems.[2] Large-scale efforts are found in coastal Louisiana; the Chesapeake Bay; the Florida Everglades; California’s Bay-Delta; Lake Tahoe; and along the Columbia, Delaware, Platte, and Colorado Rivers.[3] Of these efforts, Lake Tahoe’s fragile ecosystem, complex politics, and unique governmental jurisdictions—consisting of two states, five counties, and one major city—serve as an excellent case study for examining large-scale resource governance.[4]

The Department of Labor’s Chokehold: Why Their New Fiduciary Definition Aimed at Consumer Protection is Counterintuitive

Hayley McClenahan 

On April 20, 2015, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) issued a proposed rule that would impose a fiduciary duty on broker-dealers and others who advise clients regarding individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and employee benefit plans within the meaning of the Employee Retirement Income Act of 1974 (ERISA) and the Internal Revenue Code (Code).[1] Although the DOL’s intent behind the rule is aimed at consumer protection, the unintended consequences of the rule’s implementation, such as higher costs for and decreased access to financial services, are likely to be passed onto the consumer.[2]

Justice, Jr.: The Case for a New Form of Juvenile Jury Trials in Vermont

Elijah LaChance 

The right to trial by jury is a cornerstone of the Anglo-American legal system. Its importance is constantly present in history, from Ancient Greece, to the Magna Carta, to the United States Constitution.[1] Until 1899, American courts tried adults and children together in a single system.[2] However, a new juvenile jury system arose in order to foster leniency towards juvenile defendants, and to shield them from publicity.[3] A counter-movement arose in the 1960s that argued the juvenile justice system was fundamentally flawed because it denied juveniles their Constitutional right to a jury trial.[4] However, in 1971, the United States Supreme Court ruled in McKeiver v. Pennsylvania that the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments did not grant juveniles the right to jury trials.[5]

Small Section Leads to Powerful Plan: Is the EPA’s Clean Power Plan Building Block 3 a Permissible Construction of the Clean Air Act § 111(d)

Ashleigh Krick 

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan is the first time the EPA has set carbon dioxide (CO2) emission guidelines on fossil fuel power plants.[1] The EPA considers the Clean Power Plan a “historic and important step” in reducing the United States’ CO2 emissions, and an example towards addressing global climate change.[2] As a direct result of the Clean Power Plan, the EPA projects the utility power sector will reduce its CO2 emissions to “32% below 2005 levels” by 2030.[3] When predicting this reduction in CO2 emissions, the EPA relied heavily on the growth of renewable electricity generating sources to assist the utility power sector in reaching their emission reduction guidelines.[4] However, not everyone approves of the Clean Power Plan, 27 states and many industries challenge the Clean Power Plan, arguing it is an impermissible construction of the EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act (CAA) § 111(d).[5]

The Jurisdictional Water Question Remains: EPA and the Army Corps of Engineer’s New Rule Needs Congressional Legislative Amendments to the Clean Water Act

Bryanna Kleber 

Until 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United States Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) had not amended their definitions of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) since 1979 and 1986, respectively.[1] On May 27, 2015, President Obama announced the EPA and Corps’ jointly proposed Definition of “Waters of the United States” Rule (Clean Water Rule), which was issued under the Clean Water Act of 1972 (CWA).[2] When the final rule was announced, there was immediate pushback.[3] Republican lawmakers proposed bills to overturn the Rule, and different interest groups prepared lawsuits.[4] The EPA, the Corps, and President Obama maintained the new Rule was necessary to protect the waters that so many Americans depend on.[5]

A Solution for the Integration of Demand-Response Resources in Maine’s Competitive Retail Market

Dylan King 

This Note addresses Maine’s legislative options in light of the possible impending doom of demand-response electricity resources in wholesale markets. The Supreme Court is currently reviewing a case that may spell the end of demand-response integration in wholesale markets.[1] Acknowledging this potential issue, the Maine House of Representatives passed “Resolve, to Study Options for a State Demand Response Program” in February 2015.[2] Within, the House requested Efficiency Maine produce a study detailing how Maine could integrate demand-response resources into the state’s retail electricity market.[3] Efficiency Maine is an “independent administrator for efficiency programs in Maine.”[4] In response, this Note proposes one possible solution.

Professor Anthony Renzo: A Remembrance

Brian L. Porto* 


Professor Anthony Renzo passed away on Sunday, November 1, 2015 surrounded by his family after a long fight with cancer.

Tony Renzo’s brave spirit watches over us and encourages us as we go about the important work of training lawyers at Vermont Law School. His continued presence became clear to me just a few weeks after his death, as I prepared for the spring semester by compiling a course packet for Legal Writing II, a course Tony taught often and well. Flipping through the completed packet to make sure the pages were in order, I happened to focus on the following words at the beginning of one Eighth Circuit case: “Anthony Renzo, Des Moines, Iowa for the Plaintiff.” Missing the conversations I had enjoyed with Tony while we were colleagues, I smiled at seeing his name in print, consoled a bit by knowing that he would accompany my students and me through Legal Writing II, inspiring me to inspire them by setting high standards, yet offering warm encouragement. 

The case that Tony argued before the Eighth Circuit featured a freespeech claim against an Iowa school district by a high school student who had been dismissed from the basketball team for criticizing her coach. Seeing his name among the participating attorneys reminded me of who he was and of the considerable assets he brought to the legal academy. Tony was a passionate defender of individual rights who cared deeply about the people he served and a veteran litigator whose advocacy skills had been tested repeatedly in courtroom combat. Law professors are often criticized for not having been “in the arena,” but nobody could say that about Professor Renzo.

Indeed, Tony’s experience as a litigator paid enormous dividends for his students upon his arrival at Vermont Law School in 2001. The best indicators of that are the testimonials to Tony’s inspirational teaching offered by his former students. The testimonials reveal that when he taught, Tony wielded a velvet hammer; that is, he demanded excellence and did not tolerate slackers or whiners, but he always cushioned his critiques with, in one former student’s words, “a healthy dose of encouragement.” Other former students have recalled Tony’s “kind heart and indomitable spirit,” “endless patience for questions,” and “constant reminders to write clearly and succinctly.” One graduate remembered his adherence to the famous maxim of Justice Louis Brandeis: “There is no such thing as great writing; there is only great rewriting.” But Tony received perhaps the ultimate complement a legal writing teacher can ever receive from the former student who wrote, “I brood over words because of you.”

Tony’s considerable experience as a litigator enabled him to impart priceless lessons about oral and written advocacy to his students in Legal Writing II, Appellate Advocacy, and the Civil Rights Litigation seminar, and to the members of the Emory Moot Court Competition team, which he coached. As a professor, he transferred to his students the loyalty he had previously shown to clients, prompting the affectionate and grateful reminiscences noted here. But Tony also became a scholar, producing several probing articles like the one that follows. His writings remind us of the need for democratic societies to check government’s urge to sacrifice individual liberties on the altar of security when faced with perceived
external threats.

Thus, Tony’s rich professional life encompassed the roles of advocate, teacher, and scholar. But I will also remember him as my colleague and my friend. Indeed, I will always remember his laughter, as we shared lateafternoon stories about places we had been, people we had met, and lessons we had learned earlier in life. Both of us were befuddled, and a bit chagrined, by the increasing dominance of technology in our daily work lives, but we usually ended up laughing about those feelings, too. And that is how I will remember Tony: smiling, laughing, and saying, “Have a good weekend, Partner.” A deep humanity always tempered his professionalism, and that humanity makes me grateful to have known him.

*Professor of Law, Vermont Law School. B.A., University of Rhode Island, 1974; Ph.D., Miami University (Ohio), 1979; J.D., Indiana University-Bloomington, 1987.

For Tony Renzo Remembrances, please visit the page here (last visited Feb. 29 2016).

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