Jerry Thomas "Judging Janet Jackson"
Janet Jackson and the Law
On Oct. 30, 2012 Dr. Jerry Thomas, Department of Political Science, presented his symposium titled, “Judging Janet Jackson: Deference to Administrative Agencies in the U.S. Court of Appeals.”
An overview of the presentation is as follows:
Using Janet Jackson’s performance at the 2004 Superbowl, this talk shows that judicial review of federal agency decisions in the U.S. Courts of Appeals appears to be based on legally prescribed deference, not courts’ ideological preferences. Judges comment on courts’ struggles to scrutinize meaningfully agency actions without encroaching into the policymaking functions of the two political branches. At times, review have been almost obsequiously deferential. Other times, courts approach reviews using the hard-look doctrine. Results suggest courts are more likely to support agencies in final case decisions when agencies follow procedures or pass muster under two standards of review - substantial evidence and arbitrary and capricious. Agency supports is not associated with a review panel’s ideological agreement with agency positions, even in the D.C. Circuit, where judges often have political backgrounds prior to taking the bench. Reviews of agency decisions appear to be meaningful ones based on law, neither obsequiously deferential nor excessively encroaching into executive administration.
In her introduction of Thomas, Franca Barricelli, COLS Associate Dean, Social Science Division, said the following:
"On February 1, 2004, CBS presented a live broadcast of Super Bowl 38, which included the now notorious halftime show with the 9/16-of-a-second exposure incident that made Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake’s performance among the most talked-about moments of the game. (Does anyone remember who played?!) Nearly 90 million viewers tuned in to watch that roughly 15-minute spectacle, the intended – or unintended? – crux of which led to an immediate crackdown by the FCC, a widespread debate on perceived indecency in video vs audio broadcasting, and a prolonged battle in the US Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court. The final opinion of the high court was filed in Novemeber of 2011 – 7 years after “wardrobe malfunction” passed permanently into the American lexicon.
"The incident – so (dare I say) revealing of American popular and legal culture – provides a compelling point of departure for our speaker today. Dr. Jerry Thomas comes to this topic from his broad training in public administration, political science, and the law, holding advanced degrees in each of these fields. An assistant professor in the Department of Political Science, he came to our campus last year already an experienced teacher, having taught during his doctoral work in Political Science at Eastern Kentucky University, then at Columbia College in South Carolina and also at the Chicago-Kent College of Law.
"He teaches a wide range of courses from American Government, judicial politics and law to Queer Theory and Minority Group Politics, adopting in all of them a highly interactive and participatory case-teaching method. He balances his love of teaching with a keen sense of public responsibility. In past courses, he has arranged educational trips to DC for students to do research at the Library of Congress, to head Supreme Court oral arguments or to attend judiciary committee hearings. In the short time that he’s been at UW Oshkosh, Jerry has invigorated campus conversations about pedagogy and inclusive excellence and has made great strides in moving to expand the Legal Studies emphasis into a university-wide, full-fledged minor."
In this audio-only podcast, Dr. Jerry Thomas presents his symposium, "Judging Janet Jackson: Deference to Administrative Agencies in the U.S. Court of Appeals."