Desautels-Stein, Gruber, Jacobs Recognized for Scholarship

Published: June 14, 2017

Dean Jim Anaya, Sharon Jacobs, Aya Gruber, Justin Desautels-SteinOn May 20, 2017, Dean S. James Anaya presented three awards for outstanding faculty scholarship at the third annual Faculty Scholarship Retreat, held at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park.

The Sandgrund Bi-Annual Award for Best Consumer Rights Work recognized Associate Professor Sharon Jacobs for her article, “The Energy Prosumer,” 43 Ecology Law Quarterly 519 (2016). Established by Ron Sandgrund (’82), the award encourages research and writing in the field of consumer rights.

Jacobs’ article focuses on electric energy and the ways in which the law struggles to keep up with changing realities, such as increasing overlap between consumer and producer. Drawing on her expertise in energy and administrative law, Jacobs identifies the problem of the “energy prosumer” and several doctrinal and procedural problems that prosumers create, including jurisdictional puzzles, distributional concerns, and democratic challenges. Jacobs’ article argues for new regulatory approaches that address these problems and advance important norms in electricity law, including environmental protection and market competition.

Associate Professor Justin Desautels-Stein received the Gamm Justice Award for his work in progress "The Canon Reloaded: Equality and Exclusion in the History of International Legal Thought." The award was established by Boulder attorney Gordon Gamm to encourage faculty to explore issues related to critical issues in “justice” broadly defined.

In this piece, Desautels-Stein takes an historical perspective to modern controversies in international theory and practice. Focusing on libertarian and neoliberal justifications for U.S. counterterrorism actions after 9/11, Desautels-Stein notes certain parallels to arguments attempting to justify European imperialism in the past. Grounded in jurisprudential thought, Desautels-Stein’s book argues for “human equality” as an ordering principle for international law and successfully advances the goal of educating legal audiences about certain historical foundation of justice.

Finally, Professor Aya Gruber received the Jules Milstein Faculty Scholarship Award for her article, “A Provocative Defense, 103 California Law Review 2 (2015). This award, along with support for students, is funded by a gift from Marvin Wolf (’54) creating an endowed fund in memory of his father-in-law, Jules Milstein.

Gruber’s article discusses the “provocation defense,” a criminal law doctrine that mitigates murder in some cases on the theory that the victim provoked the defendant’s actions. Feminist scholars have argued that the provocation defense treats sexist killers too leniently, discriminates against women, and instantiates violence. Gruber both takes these critiques seriously and stakes new ground by claiming that the critiques may overestimate provocation’s effect on gender inequality and underestimate its value to marginalized defendants. The article engages deeply in contemporary debate over law and order, mass incarceration, and race and gender justice as they impact courts and law reform today.

This year’s Faculty Scholarship Retreat was generously sponsored by Hugh Gottschalk (’79), partner and president of Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell LLP.

Read more about research and scholarship by Colorado Law faculty here.

Pictured (L-R): Dean Jim Anaya, Sharon Jacobs, Aya Gruber, Justin Desautels-Stein