February 2017 Starbucks Challenge

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During the semester we feature a technology with potential legal, social and/or ethical  implications and ask:

What’s YOUR answer?

One $25 Starbucks gift card awarded per challenge based on what we feel is the most judicious response to the highlighted technology, below. 

Deadline to be eligible for this month’s Starbucks gift card is March 20,2017.

On February 14, 2017, the National Academies of Sciences (NAS) Engineering and Medicine released a report* on human gene editing.  With regard to human germline gene editing, the NAS committee recommends  “clinical research trials only for compelling purposes of treating or preventing serious disease or disabilities, and only if there is a stringent oversight system able to limit uses to specified criteria.”  With regard to human enhancement gene editing, the committee’s recommendation is to “not proceed at this time with human genome editing for purposes other than treatment or prevention of disease and disability.”  See more here and here.

What are some of the implications, legal and/or ethical, with respect to human gene editing for serious health conditions? Do you agree with the NAS committee’s recommendations?  Why? Why not?

*You are not expected to read the full report.


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TGIF Funny Fix for February 17, 2017

Squelch that feeling of murderous rage.  Click here.

Happy Friday All!

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Worldwide Web Watch

Image result for He-la cells

Henrietta Lacks

February 16, 2017

The HeLa cells controversy is back in the news.  We previously reported on HeLa cells here: http://blogs.asucollegeoflaw.com/lsi/2013/08/12/doing-the-right-thing-hela-comes-home/.

It was announced yesterday that Henrietta Lacks’ eldest son will be seeking compensation from Johns Hopkins University for the unauthorized and uncompensated medical use of his mother’s valuable cancer cells.  The elder Lacks claims that an agreement reached among certain family members and the National Institutes of Health in 2013 regarding use of the HeLa cell line is unenforceable — that he, as executor of the estate, never executed the 2013 agreement.  For its part, according to Andrea McDaniels, Johns Hopkins alleges it has not profited financially from discoveries made through the cell line.  The family, however, challenges this and claims that various entities have realized profits through the HeLa cells.  The lawsuit, once filed, may, therefore, name additional defendants.

The cells were key in the development of the polio vaccine and many modern scientific applications.

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Marchant Co-authors Noteworthy NAS Report on Human Gene Editing


LSI Faculty Director and Regents’ Professor of Law, Gary Marchant,was one of the co-authors of today’s National Academies of Sciences report on Human Gene Editing.  Here is a one paragraph summary of the report:

“Genome editing is a powerful new tool for making precise alterations to an organism’s genetic material. Recent scientific advances have made genome editing more efficient, precise, and flexible than ever before. These advances have spurred an explosion of interest from around the globe in the possible ways in which genome editing can improve human health. The speed at which these technologies are being developed and applied has led many policymakers and stakeholders to express concern about whether appropriate systems are in place to govern these technologies and how and when the public should be engaged in these decisions. In a new report from the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Medicine, an expert committee considers important questions about the human application of genome editing including: Balancing potential benefits with unintended risks, governing the use of genome editing, incorporating societal values into clinical applications and policy decisions, and respecting the inevitable differences across nations and cultures that will shape how and whether to use these new technologies. The committee sets forth criteria that must be met before permitting clinical trials of heritable germline editing, provides conclusions on the crucial need for public education and engagement, and presents 7 general principles for the governance of human genome editing. Download the report now to read the recommendations: http://bit.ly/2lhyg9S #GeneEditStudy”

See also:




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Worldwide Web Watch

WWWearthFebruary 8, 2017

What does it mean to be “practice ready” after law school these days?  Ask yourself: what industry is responsible for most of the transactions, litigation, hiring, innovating, issue-creating, precedent-setting, legislation-enacting — you name it?  The tech industry.  And what are we focusing on in law school?  Not enough of it.  Technology and scientific enterprise are the future.  Not what the past perceived as the forever present.  That means future lawyers must understand what most clients are envisioning and developing: and it’s not the Rule Against Perpetuities.  Also, newly-minted attorneys should be required to understand the technology that is infiltrating their own firms.  If they understand it and how to use it to their advantage, they will likely stay ahead of it.  Law schools need to not just think ahead but be ahead.  As noted by Gabrielle Orum Hernandez, “[s]ome law school programs have partnered with technology vendors to get students both technologically prepared for careers in law and thinking about ways they can use technology to boost efficiency and workflow in practice.”  Colorado Law School’s Philip Weiser adds, “while many law schools hope to be forward-looking, they rarely change traditional learning methods without a push…”   ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law‘s Center for Law, Science & Innovation realized this over 30 years ago.  As the oldest, most established Center dedicated to addressing the present and future, it offers the latest in curriculum, workshops, independent study and conferences to make its students practice ready.  Read more here.

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TGIF Funny Fix for February 3, 2017


Happy Friday (almost Saturday) All!

TGIF Funny Fix courtesy of Lucy Tournas, JD Candidate,

ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law

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Worldwide Web Watch


February 3, 2017

Games without frontiers? The Founder is a start-up simulator game, developed by Silicon Valley techie Francis Tseng, that highlights the dark side of Silicon Valley tech industries.  With players building their own start-up ventures, the game draws attention to the powerful effects of technology, whose development, says Tseng, often ignores social responsibility and impacts.  As author Katharine Schwab points out, “When the system demands that companies continually grow the bottom line, how do the people driving the tech industry keep up in an ethical way?”  Such is the case with The Founder, where the only way to win the game is to keep churning up profit and global domination — or, according to Tseng, “not play.”  Schwab’s article is available here.

Article courtesy of LSI Community Board member Gregory Wilmoth.

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Special Event: Hate Crimes in Cyberspace

Hate Crimes in Cyberspace

Cyber Citron

Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017

5:30 p.m.

Beus Center for Law and Society
111 E. Taylor St. Phoenix, AZ 85004
W. P. Carey Foundation Armstrong Great Hall, Room 141 / 

Kindly RSVP by Thursday, Feb. 16 here: keith.chandler@asu.edu


More Info

Lecture and Panel Discussion with Prof. Danielle Citron

In a society that has become attached to its social media, how do we balance the freedom of speech with the growing dangers of cyberstalking and cyber threats? The author of the award-winning book, “Hate Crimes in Cyberspace,” Citron, will address that challenge. She will then be joined by social media and free speech experts for further panel discussion and a question and answer period.

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Worldwide Web Watch


January 25, 2017

Remanded! The saga continues in Chadham v. Palo Alto Unified School District as noted by Jennifer Wagner in her case update.  The case concerns a boy who, as an infant, had undergone testing in connection with a heart condition.  Testing indicated he had genetic markers for cystic fibrosis though additional testing revealed he did not have cystic fibrosis.  He was, nonetheless, removed from his middle school by the Palo Alto Unified School District for allegedly constituting a health threat to two other students with cystic fibrosis (which, if the boy had cystic fibrosis, could have a detrimental health impact on others with the affliction).

The boy’s parents sued the school district under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act.  Interestingly, as Wagner points out, they did not rely on California’s broad genetic non-discrimination law, CalGINA.

The district court dismissed the complaint against the school district and the plaintiffs appealed.  In November 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit overturned the earlier decision and remanded the case back to the district court.  Specifically, the Court of Appeals found that the school district’s reliance on a “direct threat” defense was not justified in the circumstances, for procedural and other reasons.  Stay tuned for another trial.

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2017 Beyond Annual Lecture – ASU


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