Associate Dean MJ Durkee’s “Interpretive Entrepreneurs” in Virginia Law Review

Melissa J. “MJ” Durkee, Associate Dean for International Programs and Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center here at the University of Georgia School of Law, has published “Interpretive Entrepreneurs” in 107 Virginia Law Review 431 (2021).

Here’s the abstract of this latest publication by Durkee, who also holds the title of Allen Post Professor of Law:

Private actors interpret legal norms, a phenomenon I call “interpretive entrepreneurship.” The phenomenon is particularly significant in the international context, where many disputes are not subject to judicial resolution, and there is no official system of precedent. Interpretation can affect the meaning of laws over time. For this reason, it can be a form of “post hoc” international lawmaking, worth studying alongside other forms of international lobbying and norm entrepreneurship by private actors. The Article identifies and describes the phenomenon through a series of case studies that show how, why, and by whom it unfolds. The examples focus on entrepreneurial activity by business actors and cast a wide net, examining aircraft finance, space mining, modern slavery, and investment law. As a matter of theory, this process-based account suggests that international legal interpretation involves contests for meaning among diverse groups of actors, giving credence to critical and constructivist views of international legal interpretation. As a practical matter, the case studies show that interpretive entrepreneurship is an influence tool and a driver of legal change.

The article is available both at SSRN and at the Virginia Law Review website.

Georgia Law’s Diane Marie Amann now Regents’ Professor of International Law

Georgia Law faculty member Diane Marie Amann is now Regents’ Professor of International Law, as her November 2020 appointment to the post by the Board of Regents, University System of Georgia, takes effect today.

She becomes the third law professor and seventh woman to have earned this honor since it was instituted in 1947. In the words of the university:

“Regents’ Professorships are bestowed by the Board of Regents on truly distinguished faculty of the University of Georgia whose scholarship or creative activity is recognized both nationally and internationally as innovative and pace-setting.”

Amann (prior posts) joined the faculty at the University of Georgia School of Law in 2011, taking up the Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law previously by Professor Louis B. Sohn and Professor Daniel Bodansky. From 2015 to 2017 she was the law school’s Associate Dean for International Programs & Strategic Initiatives, a position that included directing the Dean Rusk International Law Center, and she has served since 2017 as a Faculty Co-Director of the Center. She is also a Professor (by courtesy) of International Affairs, University of Georgia School of Public & International Affairs, and an Affiliated Faculty Member of the University of Georgia African Studies Institute.

Under contract with Oxford University Press, Amann is writing what will be the first book on the roles of women professionals at the 1945-46 war crimes trial before the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. As depicted above and available in full on YouTube (59:10), she presented on this research in “Nuremberg Women,” one of the four University of Georgia Charter Lectures that the 2020-21 Regents’ Professors delivered online this past April.

Amann’s expertise in international law includes, as indicated by her more than eighty publications, not only international legal history but also international criminal law and child rights. She served as International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s Special Adviser on Children in and affected by Armed Conflict from December 2012 to June 2021, assisting in the preparation, publication, and dissemination of the 2016 ICC OTP Policy on Children.

A member of the Council on Foreign Relations and Counsellor and former Vice President of the American Society of International Law, Amann was Professor of Law, Martin Luther King Jr. Hall Research Scholar, and Director of the California International Law Center at the University of California-Davis, School of Law. She has been a Visiting Professor, Professeur invitée, or Fellow at Northwestern Pritzker University School of Law, University of California-Berkeley, University of California-Los Angeles, Irish Centre for Human Rights at National University of Ireland-Galway, Université de Paris 1 (Panthéon-Sorbonne), Max Planck Institute Luxembourg, and University of Southern California Shoah Foundation.

Professor Melissa “MJ” Durkee named Georgia Law Associate Dean for International Programs and Director of Dean Rusk International Law Center

We at the Dean Rusk International Law Center of the University of Georgia School of Law are delighted to announce that Professor Melissa J. “MJ” Durkee will be the law school’s next Associate Dean for International Programs, a position that includes service as our Center’s Director. The appointment will take effect this Thursday, July 1.

In assuming leadership of the Dean Rusk International Law Center, Durkee succeeds Professor Lori A. Ringhand, who has served as the Center’s Interim Director for the past year and a half. The law school’s most recent Associate Dean for International Programs was Professor Diane Marie Amann, who served in that post from 2015-2017 and who since then has been a Faculty Co-Director of the Center along with Professor Harlan G. Cohen.

Named after former U.S. Secretary of State and Georgia Law Professor Dean Rusk, our Center has served since 1977 as the international law and policy nucleus for education, scholarship, and other collaborations among faculty and students, the law school community, and diverse local and global partners. As Director, Durkee will lead a Center staff that includes Laura Tate Kagel and Mandy Dixon, respectively the Associate Director and the Assistant for International Professional Education, and Sarah Quinn and Catrina Martin, respectively the Associate Director and the Assistant for Global Practice Preparation.

Durkee (prior posts, SSRN page) also holds the title at Georgia Law of Allen Post Professor, as well as a courtesy appointment in the university’s Terry College of Business. A highly regarded scholar, she teaches, writes, and presents on international law and corporate governance, with focus on international economic and environmental law, global governance, democratic participation, public-private partnerships, and legal theory. Her most recent article, “Interpretive Entrepreneurs,” has just been published at 107 Virginia Law Review 431 (2021).

Her leadership roles in the Washington, D.C.-based American Society of International Law include: Board of Editors, American Journal of International Law; Supervising Editor, AJIL Unbound; ASIL Executive Council; and Vice Chair, ASIL International Legal Theory Interest Group. Wearing that last hat, she organized “The Law and Logics of Attribution: Constructing the Identity and Responsibility of States and Firms,” a conference that our Center hosted online last September. Durkee has also served as faculty advisor to the Georgia Journal of International & Comparative Law.

Before joining the Georgia Law faculty in 2018, Durkee was a professor at the University of Washington School of Law. A graduate of Yale Law School, she practiced international litigation and arbitration at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton in New York and was law clerk to Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and Judge Sidney H. Stein, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Georgia Law Professor Durkee presents “Interpretive Entrepeneurs” at annual meeting of Law and Society Association

Melissa J. “MJ” Durkee, the Allen Post Professor here at the University of Georgia School of Law, recently presented her scholarship at the 2021 annual meeting of the Law and Society Association.

Durkee’s presentation, “Interpretive Entrepreneurs: Business, Interpretive Lobbying, and International Legal Change,” drew from her paper available here.

Her talk formed part of a panel on “Global Legal Pluralism: Perspectives on International, Transnational, and Multilevel Governance.” Chaired by George Washington Law Professor Paul Schiff Berman, the panel also included Law Professors Elies van Sliedregt of the University of Leeds, England, Frédéric Mégret of McGill University, Montreal, Canada, and Erin Ryan of Florida State University, Tallahassee.

Georgia Law Professor Amann publishes “On Command” in Temple Law journal

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, has published “On Command,” her contribution to a Temple International and Comparative Law Journal symposium issue.

The symposium took place in February 2020, just before the coronavirus lockdown, at Philadelphia’s Temple University Beasley School of Law. It brought together a dozen experts to comment on galley proofs of Justice in Extreme Cases: Criminal Law Theory Meets International Criminal Law, a book written by Darryl Robinson, Professor at Queen’s University in Canada, and issued later that year Cambridge University Press.

Amann took up the question of command responsibility, an issue on which she also has published at EJIL: Talk! and ICC Forum. The SSRN abstract for this essay states, in relevant part:

By reference to the Lieber Code and other sources, this essay emphasizes the history of responsibility underlying the doctrine of command responsibility, and further criticizes developments that seem to have intermingled that doctrine with what are called “modes of liability. The essay urges that consideration of commander responsibility stand apart from other such “modes,” and cautions against a jurisprudence that raises the risk that, before fora like the International Criminal Court, no one can be held to account.

The “On Command” essay is available here; the full symposium issue, also featuring contributions from Robinson himself, as well as Elena Baylis, Alejandro Chehtman, Caroline Davidson, Randle DeFalco, Margaret M. deGuzman, Alexander K.A. Greenawalt, Adil Ahmad Haque, Neha Jain, Mark Kersten Jens David Ohlin, Milena Sterio, and James G. Stewart, is available here.

Georgia Law Professor Bruner presents on corporate governance and sustainability to Italy PhD students

Christopher M. Bruner, the Stembler Family Distinguished Professor in Business Law here at the University of Georgia School of Law, delivered a 3-hour seminar online yesterday to students in the PhD Programmes in Legal Sciences and Law and Innovation at the University of Macerata in Italy.

The seminar’s title, “The Corporation as Technology: Re-Calibrating Corporate Governance for a Sustainable Future,” is also the provisional title of Bruner’s forthcoming Oxford University Press book.

Bruner was introduced by Alessio Bartolacelli, who holds the Jean Monnet Business Law Chair in the European Union and Sustainable Economy at Macerata.

Georgia Law Professor Laura Phillips Sawyer gives talk at Justice Department on antitrust law and extraterritoriality

Dr. Laura Phillips Sawyer, Associate Professor here at the University of Georgia School of Law, earlier this month presented her most recent scholarship, related to law and extraterritoriality, at the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Phillips Sawyer’s research paper, entitled “Jurisdiction Beyond Our Borders: United States v. Alcoa and the Extraterritorial Reach of American Antitrust, 1909–1945,” offers a historical explanation for the origins of antitrust extraterritoriality.

The 1945 decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Alcoa is famous in antitrust law for several reasons. To be precise, it:

  • Narrowly defined market share in favor of the federal government;
  • Expanded the category of impermissible dominant firm conduct;
  • Interpreted congressional intent as protecting an egalitarian business environment; and
  • Established the extraterritorial reach of U.S. antitrust laws.

Although each of those contributions has incited legal commentary and critique, Judge Learned Hand’s decision to redraw the territorial application of U.S. antitrust has remained largely unexamined.

The essay that Professor Phillips Sawyer presented advances two arguments:

  • First, right before and during the interwar years, the antitrust doctrine of strict territoriality had been eroded through a series of distinguishing cases and contradictory congressional policies.
  • Second, the well-documented connection between European fascism and cartelization provided strong external pressures to extend American antitrust law and policy abroad and to redouble anticartel and antimonopoly provisions at home. By 1945 extraterritorial antitrust emerged as an acceptable means of governance to curtail international cartel behavior, discipline monopolies at home, and impose an American-led liberal—and hegemonic—internationalism on much of the rest of the world.

The essay will appear in American Democracy and Antimonopoly, a Tobin Project publication, edited by Professors William Novak and Daniel Crane. Additionally, it will play a major role in the first chapter of Phillips Sawyer’s next book, which explores the macroeconomic pressures on American antitrust law and policy. Her first book, American Fair Trade: Proprietary Capitalism, Corporatism, and the ‘New Competition,’ 1890-1940, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2018.

Georgia Law Associate Dean Andrea Dennis gives online talk on “Rap on Trial” at Garden Court Chambers, London

Professor Andrea L. Dennis, who is the Associate Dean for Faculty Development and also the John Byrd Martin Chair of Law How here at the University of Georgia School of law, presented this month as part of an online seminar entitled ‘Black Lives Matter – challenging racist stereotypes in the justice system’. and sponsored by the Criminal Defence Team of Garden Court Chambers, a barristers’ set based in London, England.

Dennis presented in a session called “How the US and UK state criminalise Rap and how to combat it,” along with Erik Nielson, Professor of Liberal Arts at the University of Richmond and her co-author in an acclaimed 2019 book, Rap on Trial: Race, Lyrics, and Guilt in America (prior post), as well as several practitioners from the United States and the United Kingdom.

The YouTube recording of the event (screengrab above) is available here.

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.