William and Mary Law School

Media Advisory: Zick Available to Comment on Salazar v. Buono

Timothy Zick, Professor of Law: (757)221-2076; [[tzick]] 

Suzanne Seurattan, Director of W&M News Marketing: (office) (757)221-1631; (cell)(757)810-7480; [[scseur]]

Timothy Zick is author of a forthcoming article in the Northwestern University Law Review titled “Property As/And Constitutional Settlement,” which examines what he believes is the central issue in Salazar v. Buono -- whether the federal government settled or avoided the constitutional controversy by disposing of the park property on which the cross sits. 

He discussed his research for the article in a November post to PrawfsBlawg. Congress’s action in the case, he wrote, amounted to what he calls “settlement-by-disposition,” a practice that is “neither a new phenomenon, nor one limited to the sometimes contentious public display of religious symbols.” 

Interest in Salazar v. Buono led Zick to look back at instances during the civil rights era when public officials “devised a variety of creative dispositions in an effort to avoid integration.”  However, court decisions from that period “revealed no clear answer to the question whether officials could dispose of constitutional claims by disposing of public properties."  Zick argues that while governments cannot be prohibited from disposing of public properties at the center of constitutional controversies, they owe various duties to the public when deciding whether to engage in settlement-by-disposition.       

Zick has written numerous articles on constitutional issues, with a special focus on issues of free speech and federalism.  He also is the author of Speech Out of Doors: Preserving First Amendment Liberties in Public Places (Cambridge University Press).