Georgia Law Appellate Litigation Clinic students win victory for client in 9th Circuit immigration case invoking Convention Against Torture

A woman seeking withholding of removal from the United States has won her challenge to an adverse ruling by the Board of Immigration Appeals – a challenge briefed and argued by students in the Appellate Litigation Clinic here at the University of Georgia School of Law.

By a 2-1 decision issued Tuesday in Case No. 19-72750, Arellano Herrera v. Barr a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed and remanded to the BIA.

The panel majority in Case No. 19-72750, Arellano Herrera v. Barr, comprised Ninth Circuit Judge Margaret M. McKeown and U.S. District Judge Virginia Mary Kendall, sitting by designation. Its opinion effectively reinstated the first decision in the case, in which an Immigration Judge had ruled for the Clinic’s client, Graciela Arellano Herrera, whose parents brought her to the United States three days after her birth.

In oral arguments conducted online this past September (prior post), Georgia Law 3L Jason N. Sigalos argued that if Arellano Herrera were sent back to her native Mexico it was more likely than not that member of a drug cartel would torture her, with the acquiescence of one or more public officials. To permit such a risk, the Clinic team contended, would violate non-refoulement (non-return) obligations that the United States took on when it ratified the 1984 Convention Against Torture. The panel majority agreed.

The panel’s third member, Ninth Circuit Judge Lawrence James Christopher VanDyke, agreed that the BIA had erred on one challenged ground, but in his view the BIA was correct in finding that Arellano Herrera could safely relocate in Mexico. He thus dissented, reasoning that the latter finding alone supported affirmation of the BIA ruling.

The Clinic team included Sigalos and his classmates, 3L Mollie M. Fiero and John Lex Kenerly IV, who earned his J.D. earlier this year. They worked under the supervision of Thomas V. Burch, the Clinic’s Director, and Anna White Howard, the Clinic’s Counselor in Residence. (prior posts)

Georgia Law Professor Amann on depicting Nuremberg artist Laura Knight for symposium on Carsten Stahn’s new Oxford monograph, “Justice as Message”

In this post Professor Diane Marie Amann, the Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law and Faculty Co-Director of our Dean Rusk International Law Center here at the University of Georgia School of Law, discusses her most recent publication.

Among the more captivating women who worked at the 1st Nuremberg trial – women whose stories I’m now researching – was Dame Laura Knight. Already celebrated as the 1st woman in over 150 years to win election to Britain’s Royal Academy of Arts, Knight, then 68, arrived in January 1946, about a third of the way before the year-long proceedings before the International Military Tribunal. Soon after her departure 4 months later she unveiled a 5-foot by 6-foot oil painting, “The Nuremberg Trial,” at a London exhibition.

That work forms the centerpiece of “What We See When We See Law … Through the Eyes of Dame Laura Knight,” my contribution Monday to an ongoing Opinio Juris symposium on Justice as Message: Expressivist Foundations of International Criminal Justice, a new Oxford University Press book by Carsten Stahn, an international criminal law professor at Leiden Law School and Queen’s University Belfast.

My post began by discussing Stahn’s 2020 book in light of my own 2002 article about expressivist theories and international criminal law. The focus was Nuremberg: not only is it much-discussed in Stahn’s book, but the book’s cover features her 1946 painting, pictured above. Those facts launched my post’s cameo about Knight-as-messenger, available here.

Contributors of other posts in the book series include Marina Aksenova, Mark A. Drumbl, Angela Mudukuti, Darryl Robinson, Priya Urs, and Stahn himself.

(Cross-posted from Diane Marie Amann)

Georgia Law Professor MJ Durkee discusses “Interpretive Entrepreneurs” at St. John’s international law colloquium

Melissa J. “MJ” Durkee, the Allen Post Professor here at the University of Georgia School of Law, recently presented “Interpretive Entrepreneurs” as part of the annual colloquium at the Center for International and Comparative Law, St. John’s University School of Law, New York.

Durkee’s article on the subject is forthcoming in the Virginia Law Review

University of Georgia Professor Jonathan Peters, of Grady College and School of Law, presents on press freedom to court personnel and journalists in Uzbekistan

Pleased today to welcome a contribution from Jonathan Peters, an associate professor who has faculty appointments in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and the School of Law here at the University of Georgia. Professor Peters teaches and researches in the area of media law and policy, and his post here discusses his participation December 3 in an online training event hosted in Uzbekistan.

I was delighted recently to deliver two virtual presentations to court personnel and journalists in Uzbekistan, as part of a project facilitated by the United Nations Development Programme and supported by the United States Agency for International Development and the Supreme Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

The purpose of the project, called the “Rule of Law Partnership in Uzbekistan,” is to strengthen public access to the nation’s judicial system as well as public trust in it. One related priority has been to improve citizen knowledge of the courts and to encourage collaboration between court personnel and journalists. This has enabled the local media to tour Uzbekistan’s regional courts and to learn about international practices in court-journalist relations.

To those ends, I delivered presentations to a group of journalists and court personnel, including members of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan, on U.S. rights of access to courts and how American journalists cover legal issues. First, I discussed the tension between the First and Sixth Amendments and the various reasons that U.S. courts have generally protected media rights of access to judicial proceedings and records.

For example, the U.S. Supreme Court has observed repeatedly the historical importance of public trials and has reasoned that openness improves a trial’s functioning, that it has therapeutic value by “providing an outlet for community concern, hostility and emotion,” and that it enhances the public’s acceptance that justice is being done.

Moreover, in significant part, American journalists exercise their First Amendment rights as surrogates of the public when reporting on courts. As Justice Lewis F. Powell put it in Saxbe v. Washington Post Co., in his dissent: “For most citizens, the prospect of personal familiarity with newsworthy events is hopelessly unrealistic. In seeking out the news, the press therefore acts as an agent of the public at large. It is the means by which the people receive the … information and ideas essential to intelligent self-government.”

Then, in my second presentation, on how American journalists cover legal issues, I explored how the rule of law is preserved partly by public knowledge of court decisions and activities, and thus the media is a critical link between the judiciary and the public. So it is democratically important for journalists to explain what courts are doing and why—and to convey the implications (if any) for the public.

That means the journalists must be able to translate legal terms and concepts for a lay audience, and they must be able to distill into a short news story a complex legal action. It is also helpful for them to develop sources in the court system, while appreciating and respecting the ethical limits within which judges, lawyers, and court aides usually work.

After these remarks, the Q&A session opened up conversations among the journalists and court personnel in attendance, allowing us to have a dialogue on some of the issues most pressing for them. I hope the ultimate result is a more open judiciary and a freer press in Uzbekistan.

Georgia Law Professor Cohen presents “Sociology of WTO Precedent” at Leiden “Behavioral Approaches” workshop

Harlan Cohen, the Gabriel M. Wilner/UGA Foundation Professor in International Law and Faculty Co-Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center here at the University of Georgia School of Law, presented on “The Sociology of WTO Precedent” last month at a workshop entitled “Behavioral Approaches to International Law.”

It was sponsored online by the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies at Leiden Law School in the Netherlands, in partnership with the Institute of Law and Economics at the University of Hamburg in Germany, and iCourts at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. Organizers were Leiden Professor Daniel Peat, Copenhagen Professor Veronika Fikfak, and Hamburg Professor Eva van der Zee.

Georgia Law Professor Christopher Bruner publishes on AI and corporations in Cambridge Law Journal

Professor Christopher Bruner, the Stembler Family Distinguished Professor in Business Law here at the University of Georgia School of Law, has published “Distributed Ledgers, Artificial Intelligence and the Purpose of the Corporation” in 79 Cambridge Law Journal 431 (2020).

Here’s the abstract:

“Distributed ledgers and blockchain technology are widely expected to promote more direct shareholder involvement in corporate governance by reducing costs of voting and trade clearance. Meanwhile, artificial intelligence may shrink the decision-making terrain where corporations rely on human management. This article analyses these technologies and concludes that, while such outcomes are plausible, their potential corporate governance impacts are likely more complex and contingent. Despite the implicit libertarianism that characterises much of the discourse, we in fact have choices to make about how such technologies are developed and deployed – and these policy decisions will have to be grounded in a normative conception of corporate purpose external to the technology itself.”

Bruner presented the work at a conference on “The Future of the Firm” held last year in London.