Georgia Law clinic joins in publishing advisory for immigrant detainees

The Community Health Law Partnership Clinic at the University of Georgia School of Law and four other law school clinics have published a lengthy practice advisory intended to assist immigrants currently or previously held at Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia.

The practice advisory is designed to help them in seeking damages, stays of removal, and long-term immigration relief based on the abuse they suffered at the detention center (prior posts). It thus provides detailed instructions on how to: file claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act; request stays of removal from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); file complaints with the U.S Department of Homeland Security Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties; and apply for U Visas.  

Taking part in this effort at the Georgia Law were Jason A. Cade, Associate Dean for Clinical Programs & Experiential Learning, J. Alton Hosch Professor of Law, and Director of the Community HeLP Clinic, Staff Attorney Kristen Shepherd, and 3L Frederick King.

Joining them were the Boston University School of Law Immigrants’ Rights & Human Trafficking Program, Columbia Law School Immigrants’ Rights Clinic, Harvard Law School Immigration & Refugee Clinical Program, Texas A&M School of Law Immigrant Rights Clinic, and National Immigration Project of the National Lawyer’s Guild. These and other entities have been collaborating on behalf of the Irwin detainees, including in ongoing litigation in Oldaker v. Giles, a consolidated habeas petition and class action complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia. 

UGA Professor Peters presents to judges in Uzbekistan about social media

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 at the University of Georgia. (prior posts) Professor Peters teaches and researches in the area of media law and policy, and his post here discusses his participation April 19 in an online training event hosted in Uzbekistan.

I was honored recently to deliver a presentation to judges and court staff in Uzbekistan about using social media to engage with the public and press. The event was hosted by the Supreme Judicial Council of the Republic of Uzbekistan, as part of a project facilitated by the U.N. Development Programme and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

One 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. And a key priority has been to grow citizen knowledge of the courts and to improve the society’s legal culture and the population’s overall legal literacy.

To those ends, I shared an American perspective on how U.S. judges and courts—at the federal and state levels—use social media. Courts often use Twitter and Facebook to share information, and judges often use them to humanize themselves and to discuss matters of trial and appellate practice with other members of the legal profession. Over 42 percent of court public information officers reported in a recent survey that using social media is essential for courts to communicate with the public. As one put it:

There is an emerging recognition among courts that in order to fulfill the requirement that courts are transparent and understandable to the public in the new media age we are in, courts will have to play an active role in facilitating access to information and perform many of the same functions that traditionally have been performed by the now dwindling traditional media.

Judicial ethics codes even encourage judges to engage with their communities in various ways. For example, Canon 4 of the Code of Conduct for United States Judges says that a “judge may … speak, write, lecture, and teach on both law-related and nonlegal subjects.” The associated commentary says that “[c]omplete separation of a judge from extrajudicial activities is neither possible nor wise; a judge should not become isolated from the society in which the judge lives.”

But judges must be careful on social media not to run afoul of certain limits on their extrajudicial speech, namely those on ex parte communications and their ability to comment on cases pending before them. They also must avoid activities that would reflect adversely on their impartiality or independence. As I told the judges in Uzbekistan, recognizing the risks posed by specific types of content will enable them to create and maintain a social-media presence that is effective and productive—and respectful of the unique responsibilities of a judge.

Georgia Law Professor Cohen presents “Culture Clash: Sociology of WTO Precedent” at Tel Aviv Law 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, gave an online presentation Monday of “Culture Clash: The Sociology of WTO Precedent,” as part of the International Law Workshop at the Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University. Conveners of the weekly workshop series are Tel Aviv Law faculty members Natalie Davidson, Aeyal Gross, and Eliav Lieblich.

Georgia Law clinics’ advocacy helps client secure U.S. citizenship

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Years of advocacy by two clinics at the University of Georgia School of Law recently helped secure U.S. citizenship for a longtime immigrant client.

The earliest work with the client was undertaken by the Jane W. Wilson Family Justice Clinic, as at that time the client was facing severe domestic abuse. Working under the supervision of Clinical Assistant Professor Christine M. Scartz, then-student Eric Abney, a member of the Georgia Law Class of 2020, secured a 12-month family violence protective order and successfully negotiated a resolution that gave the client exclusive possession of the marital residence and a vehicle, sole child custody, and child support.

After the client had gained this measure of safety and stability, the client then was referred to Georgia Law’s Community Health Law Partnership Clinic for further advocacy. Working under the supervision of Jason A. Cade, Associate Dean for Clinical Programs & Experiential Learning, Amy Buice and Carter A. Thomas, members of the Classes of 2019 and 2020, respectively, used the Violence Against Women Act to ensure the client retained permanent residency without having to rely on her abusive former-partner. Subsequently, 3L Ansley Whiten helped the client file an application for naturalization, while 2L Luis Gomez prepared her for the naturalization interview; both were supervised primarily by Kristen Shepherd, the Community HeLP Clinic’s Staff Attorney.

The client became a U.S. citizen in April 2021, on her birthday.

Georgia Law Professor Cohen on WTO precedent at ESIL IG 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 as part of a 2-day Behavioural Approaches in International Law Workshop.

It was sponsored online by the at Hamburg University, and organized by Hamburg Professor Eva van der Zee, Leiden Professor Daniel Peat, and Copenhagen Professor Veronika Fikfak. It was the first event of the new European Society of International Law Interest Group on Social Sciences and International Law.

Georgia Law Professor Walter Hellerstein presents on valued added tax law issues

Walter Hellerstein, Distinguished Research Professor & Shackelford Distinguished Professor in Taxation Law Emeritus here at the University of Georgia School of Law, recently participated in numerous events related to tax:

He was a member of a panel on “Taxable Persons and Related Issues in VAT Law,” at a conference entitled “Court of Justice of the European Union: Recent VAT Case Law,” sponsored by Austria’s Vienna University of Economics and Business.

And at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Global Workshop on Implementing a Comprehensive Valued Added Tax/Goods and Services Tax Digital Strategy, Hellerstein spoke about OECD International VAT/GST Guidelines and presented a talk entitled “The Existing Legal Instruments for the International Exchange of Information.”

Georgia Law Professor Amann presents on Nuremberg to help open KU Leuven seminar on women and international Law

Diane Marie Amann, the Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law and Dean Rusk International Law Center Faculty Co-Director here at the University of Georgia School of Law, last week took part in an online panel kicking off a Women in International Law seminar series, hosted by the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies and the Faculty of Law of KU Leuven.

Professor Amann spoke on “Nuremberg Women as Shapers of International Criminal Justice,” as part of a panel entitled “Hidden Figures in International Courts and Tribunals.” She joined Howard University Professor J. Jarpa Dawuni, Director of the Institute for African Women in Law, and University of Baltimore Law Professor Nienke Grossman, Co-Director of the Center for International and Comparative Law. One of the seminar series’ organizers, Nina Pineau, moderated, while her co-organizer, Rita Guerreiro Texeira, gave opening remarks. Both are doctoral researchers at the Belgium-based Leuven Centre, with which our own Center partnered, pre-pandemic, on our Global Governance Summer School.

Scheduled to run throughout the 2021 spring and fall terms, the Women in International Law seminar commemorates 100 years since the first arrival of women law students at KU Leuven, one of the premier institutions of higher education in Europe. Details on and registration for subsequent sessions, at which experts who work in in Amsterdam, Istanbul, Lisbon, London, Geneva, The Hague, and Rome, on issues including international organizations, international fair trials, and law of the sea, here.

Professor Lori A. Ringhand, Center’s interim director, earns top teaching professorship at University of Georgia

Lori A. Ringhand, J. Alton Hosch Professor of Law and Interim Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center here at the University of Georgia School of Law, has been awarded a Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professorship, the most prestigious teaching honor at the University of Georgia. She is one of five faculty recognized, in the words of university Provost S. Jack Hu, as “exemplary educators who engage students at all levels through innovative instruction and experiential learning.”

Ringhand, whose courses have included Constitutional Law, Elections Law, and Comparative Constitutional Law, is among Georgia Law’s most highly regarded instructors. Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from 2015 to 2018, she has twice received the law school’s highest teaching honor, the C. Ronald Ellington Award for Excellence in Teaching, as well as the John C. O’Byrne Memorial Award for Significant Contributions Furthering Student-Faculty Relations.

In Spring 2019, as a Fulbright Distinguished Chair, Ringhand was Visiting Professor at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, and delivered a Gresham College Fulbright Lecture in London (prior posts). She recently received a Stanton Foundation grant to develop and teach an undergraduate course, “Democracy and the Constitution.”

Georgia Law Professor MJ Durkee publishes in ASIL Proceedings on participation of nonstate actors

Melissa J. “MJ” Durkee, the Allen Post Professor here at the University of Georgia School of Law, has published an essay in the most recent volume of proceedings from an annual meeting of the American Society of International Law.

Her article, which appears in a section called “Between Participation and Capture: Non-state Actor Participation in International Rule-Making,” is entitled “Welcoming Participation, Avoiding Capture: A Five-Part Framework,” and may be found at 114 Proceedings of the ASIL Annual Meeting 39-42 (2020). It’s also available at SSRN.

Here’s the abstract:

What role should non-state actors have in the work of international organizations? It is particularly fitting that this panel is titled “between participation and capture,” because the phrase calls up the conflicting values that animate this question. When we think of non-state actors “participating” in the work of international organizations, we think about open, transparent organizations that are receiving the benefit of diverse perspectives and expertise. We may associate this phrase with process, access, and legitimacy in governance. On the other hand, when we think about non-state actors “capturing” the agenda of international organizations, we have a conflicting set of mental images: we imagine corruption, mission-drift, and the erosion of legitimacy in global governance. Openness is both valuable and dangerous.

Georgia Law clinics share in national CLEA Award for work on behalf of immigrant women who endured abuse, retaliation while in ICE detention

Efforts on behalf of immigrant women detained in a U.S. immigration center have earned national recognition for the Community HeLP Clinic and First Amendment Clinic here at the University of Georgia School of Law.

The Georgia Law clinics will share that recognition – the 2021 Clinical Legal Education Association Award for Excellence in a Public Interest Project – with law clinics at Harvard, Columbia, Texas A&M, and Boston universities.

The CLEA Award will be presented online 12 noon-1 pm Eastern Friday, April 30, as part of the annual Conference on Clinical Education of the Association of American Law Schools.

The clinics’ project confronted abuse of immigrant women while in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the Irwin Detention Center, a privately run facility in south Georgia. As previously posted, the women there were subjected to nonconsensual, medically unindicated, or invasive gynecological procedures. Those who spoke out about abuses faced accelerated deportation proceedings, solitary confinement, and other acts of retaliation. The project has pursued several administrative, judicial, and advocacy avenues, including ongoing litigation of Oldaker v. Giles, a consolidated habeas petition and class action complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia.

The Project’s efforts have resulted in the release of nearly all 80 women in ICDC, as well as over 200 men, and stays of deportation for most of the Oldaker plaintiffs.

Leading the project on behalf of Georgia Law were Jason Cade (above right), Associate Dean for Clinical Programs & Experiential Learning, J. Alton Hosch Professor of Law, and Director of the Community HeLP Clinic, and Clare Norins (above left), Clinical Assistant Professor and Director of the First Amendment Clinic. Also taking part in this team effort were 3L students Raneem Ashrawi, Frederick King, Julia Griffis, and Anish Patel, 2L students Thomas Evans, Paige Medley, and Davis Wright, First Amendment Clinic Legal Fellow Samantha Hamilton, Community HeLP Clinic Staff Attorney Kristen Shepherd, and administrative associate Sarah Ehlers.

Other collaborators included non-profits, private firms, legislative advocates, and community organizers.