Widener Law Journal (Harrisburg)
For more information on the Widener Law Journal, please visit their website at: widenerlawjournal.org.

The Widener Law Journal is the flagship law journal of Widener University's Harrisburg campus. Membership on the journal offers you the opportunity to demonstrate your initiative, honed legal skills, and commitment to the advancement of legal scholarship. You can serve on a staff selected from students on the Harrisburg campus who demonstrate drive, commitment, and academic excellence.

Student Opportunities
Membership on the Widener Law Journal enhances the legal education you receive in the classroom by building on your legal writing skills through the training and practice of rigorous reviewing and editing. As an associate staff member, you will write a comment and a Pennsylvania administrative law case survey. Writing a comment provides a unique opportunity to publish novel legal scholarship in a wide-array of topics early in your career. Student comments provide fresh insight and explore recent developments in emerging areas of the law. Your case survey will have an excellent chance of being published in the Journal’s Annual Survey of Pennsylvania Administrative Law. This special issue provides you with an excellent opportunity to publish your own legal scholarship as the journal seeks to build a substantial record of commentary on Pennsylvania administrative law. As a senior staff member or survey staff member of the journal, you will work with your colleagues to publish all of the material for the Annual Survey of Pennsylvania Administrative Law.

First published in 1992 under the moniker of the Journal of Public Policy, the Widener Law Journal focuses on a wide range of topics including constitutional law, civil and criminal law, professional ethics, administrative law, commercial law, and other emerging developments in the law. The journal is published three times annually with one issue per year dedicated to the Annual Survey of Pennsylvania Administrative Law examining the administrative law decisions of Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court, and Commonwealth Court, one of two intermediate appellate courts. The Annual Survey of Pennsylvania Administrative Law contributes to the Harrisburg campus’s mission of providing critical resources to the Capital by publishing student-written case analyses of recent administrative law decisions.

Annual Symposium
Each year, the Widener Law Journal sponsors a symposium focusing on one particular aspect of the law. The Annual Symposium brings together leading scholars, professors, judges, and practitioners to discuss the history, advancements, and emerging issues related to the topic selected. Past topics have included Internet Expression in the 21st Century, the 50th Anniversary of the National Conference of State Trial Judges, Sustainable Energy, and the Judicial Division of the American Bar Association. In addition to providing a regional legal event for judges, lawyers, and legal professionals, the Annual Symposium also provides credits for Continuing Legal Education in Pennsylvania, including ethics credits.

2012 Symposium
“[N]or shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation,” states the Fifth Amendment’s Just Compensation Clause. This Clause constitutes an important limitation on government power. Its exact scope, however, remains a topic of great debate. For example, the meaning of the phrase “public use” was at the heart of Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005), where the Supreme Court of the United States controversially allowed the transfer of property from one person to another in the pursuit of “economic development.”

Another deeply contentious issue is deciding what kind of government actions fall under the scope of the Just Compensation Clause. Exercises of the power of eminent domain such as those involved in Kelo have always been understood to be canvassed within the Clause. In contrast, courts have long struggled with the issues of whether and when an exercise of a state’s regulatory police power might violate the Fifth Amendment’s takings protections.

Stop the Beach Renourishment v. Florida Department of Environmental Protection, 130 S. Ct. 2592 (2010), another recent Supreme Court decision, added a new layer of controversy Stop the Beach presented an issue that had previously been an obscure academic one: when, if ever, can an action by the state’s judiciary be an unconstitutional taking of private property? Recent Supreme Court precedent has established that some changes in property law made by the executive or legislature could be unconstitutional takings. Would the result be the same if the judiciary made the change instead?

By simply considering the issue, the Supreme Court made judicial takings a constitutional law hot topic. The way the Justices delivered fragmented opinions in Stop the Beach made the issue even more interesting. While the Justices agreed that no taking had occurred, they were deeply divided in their reasoning. No opinion commanded a majority of the Supreme Court on any of the open issues. The Supreme Court therefore dramatically raised the profile of judicial takings while leaving all of the important constitutional issues unresolved.

Due to its importance and status as a hot legal topic, the issue of judicial takings will be the focus of this year’s Widener Law Journal Symposium. The symposium will be organized by Professor Barros, a recognized expert in takings law, and Nicole Radziewicz, the Journal’s Symposium Editor, along with other members of the Journal’s Administrative Board. The Journal anticipates hosting the event, which will include presentations by many distinguished authorities on the topic of takings law, in February.