Professional News

Two Law Professors Cited by U.S. Supreme Court


LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 26, 2011) — Two University of Kentucky College of Law professors were cited by U.S. Supreme Court justices in opinions in recent cases.

During a case in February, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor cited an article by Richard Ausness. Justice Samuel Alito cited Sarah Welling’s book during a case in March.

“I am just so very proud of these particular accomplishments by Professors Ausness and Welling," said David Brennen, dean of the College of Law. "Both professors are wonderful and passionate scholars, and this recognition of their work is well-deserved. I am proud of the research accomplishments of all of our UK Law faculty.”

Ausness’ article, titled “Unavoidably Unsafe Products and Strict Products Liability: What Liability Rule Should be Applied to the Sellers of Pharmaceutical Products?,” was originally published in the Kentucky Law Journal.

Justice Sotomayor cited Ausness' article in her dissent to the 6-2 opinion in the Bruesewitz v. Wyeth case, which dealt with the extent to which the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 could protect vaccine manufacturers from claims of design defect.

“Of course, it was awfully nice. I was very happy," Ausness said of the citation. "For me, it was a big thrill. Not everyone gets cited. The college has been very supportive.”

Justice Alito cited Welling's book, which she co-authored with Charles Alan Wright, titled "Federal Practice and Procedure,Volume 3A," in his opinion for the majority in the Wall v. Kholi case. That case dealt with the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA).

“Supreme Court justices are very careful with their opinions to cite the most reliable sources," Welling said. "The fact that they cited mine is a vote of confidence. I was really surprised and dumbfounded and happy.”

This is the first time Ausness has been cited by the Supreme Court. He is the Gallion & Baker Professor of Law at the UK College of Law. He has taught at the college since 1973.

This is the third time Welling has been cited by the Supreme Court, but her first time being cited by the majority. She is the Ashland-Spears Distinguished Research Professor of Law at the UK College of Law. She has taught at the college since 1981.

“It’s a recognition that your work is respectable," said Welling. "It’s a recognition that your work is some of the best in the field."