In June, Santa Clara University Acting President Lisa Kloppenberg announced new endowed professor appointments, which included the appointment of Professor Bradley Joondeph to a 5-year term as Jerry A. Kasner Chair.
“Brad is a distinguished teaching scholar and he embodies all of the characteristics required to hold this chair, especially in the field of taxation,” said Anna Han, interim dean, Santa Clara Law.
Professor Joondeph is a well regarded author on the topics of federalism, judicial behavior, and American constitutional development. He has had extensive experience with the Supreme Court, having served as judicial clerk to the Honorable Sandra Day O’Connor. He also served as clerk for the Honorable Deanell Reece Tacha of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.
Prior to joining Santa Clara University School of Law in 2000, he was an associate professor at Washington University School of Law, a lecturer and head teaching fellow at Stanford Law, and an adjunct instructor at the University of Kansas School of Law. He also served as a research assistant on the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project.
This endowed professorship is named in honor of Jerry Allan Kasner, who taught at Santa Clara University School of Law for 38 years, from 1961 to 1998. Kasner was a nationally recognized estate planning authority who served as a mentor to many estate planners and family wealth/tax planning attorneys in Santa Clara County. The Kasner Symposium, also held in his honor, provides an opportunity for those with careers in estate planning to come together to share developments and innovative solutions to challenges in the field. Proceeds from The Kasner Symposium contribute to the endowment for this chair, as it is not yet fully funded.
Also in June, Professor Michelle Oberman was reappointed to the Katharine and George Alexander Chair for a 4-year term. “Michelle is highly deserving of this award—she has consistently demonstrated her commitment to inspiring students to work for justice as envisioned by the creators of this chair,” said Anna Han, interim dean, Santa Clara Law.
Professor Oberman is an internationally recognized scholar on the legal and ethical issues surrounding adolescence, pregnancy, and motherhood. Her background in public health and law, as well as her long years of work with doctors in health care settings, gives her a unique perspective on women’s health issues arising at the intersection of health law and criminal law.
Her current research focuses on reproductive health and abortion regulation in countries with widely divergent abortion laws. Her work in El Salvador, along with other countries and a range of US jurisdictions, informs her 2018 book, Her Body, Our Laws: On the Frontlines of the Abortion War from El Salvador to Oklahoma, about what will and won’t happen if abortion becomes illegal in the U.S.
She has written numerous law review articles exploring the legal system’s limitations when endeavoring to respond to issues such as abortion, rape and infanticide. She has co-authored two ground-breaking books on the subject of maternal filicide: When Mothers Kill: Interviews from Prison (2008) and Mothers Who Kill Their Children (2001).
Oberman also collaborated with her Santa Clara Law colleague, David Ball, to create a new, unique, and free criminal law casebook–the Ball/Oberman Criminal Law Casebook.
Created in 2014 by a $2 million gift from Katharine V. Alexander in honor of her beloved late husband George J. Alexander, the Katharine and George Alexander Professorship of Law supports student-centered education focusing on the potential for the law to promote access to and equality within the legal system. The Alexander Professor, who is recommended by the law school dean and appointed by SCU’s president, is involved in public and professional service, with a clear commitment to furthering the distinctive mission and quality of Santa Clara Law.
Prof. Alexander taught law for 52 years, from 1970 to 2003 at Santa Clara and before that at the law schools of the University of Chicago and Syracuse University. From 1970 to 1985, he was dean of Santa Clara Law, after which he received the first endowed chair in the school’s history, the Elizabeth H. and John A. Sutro Professorship. He also served as the director of the Institute of International and Comparative Law.
George met Katharine, his lifelong partner and ally, through the practice of law, when both were law students at the University of Pennsylvania. After raising two children, Katharine taught at San Jose State University. She later worked in the Santa Clara County Public Defender’s Office for more than 25 years.
The couple made generous contributions to other SCU projects, including supporting the Katharine and George Alexander Community Law Center, as well as establishing the Alexander Law Prize, created in 2008 to give recognition to legal advocates who have used their legal careers to help alleviate injustice and inequity.