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Stop and Frisk Essays by Professor Anil Kalhan Gain Nod from Federal Judge, Legal Scholars

Professor Anil Kalhan

November 12, 2013

As a legal battle over the New York City Police Department’s stop-and-frisk policies roils, essays by Professor Anil Kalhan have sparked the interest of legal scholars and at least one high-ranking U.S. District Court judge. 

One essay, appearing on the Dorf on Law blog, details efforts by the administration of outgoing New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to overturn U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin’s ruling that city police had engaged in unconstitutional racial profiling through the department's longstanding stop and frisk policies.

With Second Circuit judges finding last week that Scheindlin had violated the rules of judicial conduct in her ruling and that she should be dismissed from stop and frisk cases, the outgoing Bloomberg administration has aggressively stepped up efforts to discredit Scheindlin, Kalhan wrote.  Kalhan compared the Bloomberg administration’s efforts to the lame duck Congress of 1998, which impeached then-President Bill Clinton, despite the fact that the Democrats who had gained seats in the mid-term elections were unlikely to remove him from office.  

Richard Kopf, senior U.S. District Court judge from the District of Nebraska, called Kalhan’s piece “a must read essay” and used his own blog to “urge all who are interested in the tragic comedy (soap opera) that envelopes Judge Scheindlin” to read it. 

Another essay has gained widespread notice in the legal scholarship blogosphere, including citations in Concurring Opinions, Balkinization and Civil Procedure and Federal Courts Blog

Meanwhile, another column by Kalhan appearing in the November issue of Herald magazine offers a nuanced look at the complex judicial record of Iftikhar Chaudhry, the chief justice of Pakistan’s Supreme Court (subscription required).

Chaudhry, removed from office when former President Pervez Musharraf suspended the constitution of Pakistan in 2007, has gained widespread recognition since being reinstated for leading the nation’s high court to assert its independence from the military, Kalhan said in the column.  But Kalhan observed that Chaudhry has led the court to also assert its autonomy from civilian rule, raising potential concerns.

“The Chaudhry Court’s treatment of judicial independence as an abstract but justiciable constitutional guarantee raises concerns whether or not it is understood as part of the constitution’s basic structure,” Kalhan wrote. “Aggressive assertions of judicial autonomy against weak representative institutions can weaken those institutions even further — and, in the process, can further reinforce the already well-entrenched power of status quo interests.”

Herald is the leading monthly magazine in Pakistan.

Kalhan is an expert in immigration law, criminal law, comparative constitutional law and international human rights law.  He was nominated for a South Asian Journalists Association award in August for his essay, “’Truly Civil’ Torture.”  He received a SAJA award in 2008 and was nominated for another in 2011.