People Who Have Shaped the Teaching Careers of Our Faculty—Part 5: Walter Weyrauch, Mentor and Friend

The editors of this blog have asked a number of faculty members to write about those who have been influential in their understanding of the law. In this, the fifth post in the series, Professor Alison Barnes writes about her mentor and friend, Walter O. Weyrauch (1919-2008), who was Professor of Law at the University of Florida and Honorary Professor of Law at Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

Walter Weyrauch remains a unique thinker in the law, known by many worldwide, and for more than two decades since I took his classes at University of Florida, my principal guide and inspiration in law and law teaching. Our dialogue, which included hundreds of snail mail letters on goofy art note cards, reflected Walter’s world view and legal philosophy, and confirmed and developed mine.

In demeanor, he had an impassive face and long pauses. What seems a dissonance in style became cause for student comment towards the very end of his teaching career. He said of his student evaluations: “They noticed I have a German accent” for the first time since he began to teach at University of Florida 50 years before. His chuckle over this was signature. Indeed, perception of him had evolved from the days when he was rumored to have been a lieutenant in the Luftwaffe. (Chuckle.) Well into his eighties, he negotiated his retirement three years away. He said, “I thought I would be ready; I am not ready.” In part, he feared he would have too much time to reflect on unresolved feelings about his own experience.

Walter provided to me two versions of his memoirs, one hard copy (typed on his manual typewriter) and a later electronic revision, scanned in by his assistant, for my editing. He had received annotations from several scholars, but these were the last so I have worked with them and hope they will be available for any who wish to read, search for their own names, comment.

Continue ReadingPeople Who Have Shaped the Teaching Careers of Our Faculty—Part 5: Walter Weyrauch, Mentor and Friend

Affordable Care Act Issues at the Supreme Court, in Tweet Style

The Tweets:

Monday/The Anti-Injunction Act – Pay taxes now, sue later, delays the decision. Decide about penalties now.

Tuesday/Individual Mandate for Minimum Coverage – The mandate is too much or too little for the Commerce Clause.

Wednesday – Severability and Medicaid Expansion – Strike down the ACA if the mandate is unconstitutional because it’s all part of one plan or save as much as possible. Strike down the Medicaid expansion because the states foresee it will cost and confuse them as have past expansions.

Continue ReadingAffordable Care Act Issues at the Supreme Court, in Tweet Style

A Non-terminal Man

I was asked to talk about the law’s view of the case of Dan Crews, age 27, who wants to die as soon as possible. You may have read about him last fall in the Journal-Sentinel, and in spring in the Chicago Tribune as the story unfolded. You might hear about him on the WISN 10 o’clock news on Sunday, November 6.

Dan has had quadriplegia since a traffic accident when he was three years old, and uses a ventilator because his chest muscles don’t allow him to breathe on his own. He’s mentally sharp, and verbal since the ventilator is attached through a trachea tube. He has earned an AA degree.

He wants to switch off the respirator so he will stop breathing. Specifically, he wants help from Froedtert Hospital, where he has received his care over the years, to switch off the respirator.

My totally unscientific poll revealed that the well-settled law in this area is about as well-known as speed limits. Dan has a right to refuse medical treatment, and no one thinks the use of a respirator is anything other than medical treatment.

Continue ReadingA Non-terminal Man