Georgia Law Professor Lori Ringhand reflects on faculty exchange in Israel

Pleased today to welcome a contribution from Lori A. Ringhand, J. Alton Hosch Professor of Law here at the University of Georgia School of Law. Professor Ringhand concentrates her teaching and scholarship in the areas of constitutional law, election law, and state and local government law – including comparative approaches. She is currently in residence at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, as a Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Spring 2019. She contributes the post below on her recent faculty exchange experience at Bar-Ilan University in Israel.

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I recently had the pleasure of participating in the faculty exchange between the University of Georgia School of Law and the Bar-Ilan University in Tel Aviv, Israel. This initiative lets faculty members from each school teach a mini-course at the other, as well as providing faculty with the opportunity to spend time sharing ideas and working with their colleagues abroad.

I taught Comparative Constitutional Law to a group of about fifteen law students at Bar-Ilan. Each day involved introductory readings, a short lecture, a group project, and student presentations. My students gave presentations on judicial selection methods, judicial review of executive powers in wartime, and the international law of secession. I learned a great deal, and hope they did as well.

df26b686-af56-4ff9-887a-262b0ccbb8e6I also had the opportunity to talk about my work on the U.S. Supreme Court confirmation process. Despite the dismal reputation of confirmation hearings, my empirical work in this area demonstrates that these hearings play an important role in providing public validation of constitutional change over time. Israel is debating its own high court confirmation process, and I was honored to share my views on the U.S. system on Walla! Global! with anchor Oren Hahari, to do an interview with renowned Israeli journalist Ya’akov Ahimeir, and to lead a research seminar with the Bar-Ilan faculty. It was fun – and challenging – to defend my views in the wake of the hotly contested Kavanaugh hearings.

IMG_0036The highlight of the trip, though, was a weekend trip Jerusalem. I had never visited this part of the world, and touring such an ancient city was an unforgettable experience. The religious and cultural significance of the city is obvious, and seeing such a mix of cultures and peoples figuring out how to share their holy lands was an extraordinary experience. History really does come to life in places like Jerusalem, and I am grateful to the Dean Rusk International Law Center and Bar-Ilan University for making my trip possible.

Georgia Law memorial Friday for Professor Alan Watson (1933-2018), Roman and comparative law scholar

The University of Georgia School of Law will honor Professor Alan Watson (1933-2018) at a memorial service at 10:30 a.m. this Friday, March 8, 2019, in the University of Georgia Chapel.

Watson, who passed away last November 7 at age 85, had been a Distinguished Research Professor and holder of the Ernest P. Rogers Chair during the more than two decades that he taught at Georgia Law. He had retired in 2012.

He was one of the world’s foremost authorities on Roman law, comparative law, legal history, and law and religion. At Georgia Law, his courses included Comparative Law, Jurisprudence, Law in the Gospels, and Western Legal Tradition. Watson taught and lectured widely throughout the world, in addition to publishing nearly 150 books and articles, many of which were translated into other languages. (He himself knew more than a dozen languages.)

One seminal text was Legal Transplants: An Approach to Comparative Law (1974). As stated at the Georgia Law website, which sets forth a detailed account of Watson’s distinguished background, accomplishments, and legacy:

“Notably, he coined the term ‘legal transplants’ which is now ubiquitous in legal literature.”

His survivors include his wife, Professor Camilla E. Watson, Ernest P. Rogers Chair of Law at Georgia Law.

Further information, including links to obituaries and memorials from the universities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Oxford, here.

Georgia Law Professor Christopher Bruner takes part in financial regulation conference in Singapore

Christopher Bruner, Stembler Family Distinguished Professor in Business Law here at the University of Georgia School of Law, took part in two panels at a conference entitled “Financial Services Law and Regulation in Singapore.” Hosting the February 28-March 1 conference was the Centre for Banking & Finance Law at the National University of Singapore Faculty of Law.

On the conference’s 1st day, Bruner presented on “Development of Financial Services in a Globalising Financial World,” focusing his remarks on the framework developed in his 2016 Oxford University Press book, Re-Imagining Offshore Finance. (prior post). Bruner also participated in the reflections panel that concluded the conference.

Occasioning the conference was the the publication of Financial Services Law and Regulation (Academy Publishing, 2019), edited by Dora Neo, Hans Tjio, and Luh Luh Lan, and featuring Singapore-based contributors. Professor Bruner and others from abroad provided global and comparative context.

Georgia Law Jessup team earns awards

Jessup team 2019Congratulations to our 2019 Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court team, which advanced to the quarterfinals and brought home awards at the recent Regional Rounds in New Orleans.

The team – from left, student coach Allison Gowens, along with competitors Andrew Hedin, Lyddy O’Brien, Hanna Karimipour, and Sam Hatcher – were recognized for the 4th Best Brief. Meanwhile, O’Brien earned the Best Oralist award, and Hedin the 6th Best Oralist award.

Great effort, and thanks to faculty, alums, and friends of Georgia Law who helped prepare them for the meet.

Georgia Law Professor Durkee presents space law paper at British Columbia

Georgia Law Professor Melissa J. Durkee recently presented her scholarship at the University of British Columbia Allard School of Law as part of the school’s faculty colloquium series.

Durkee, who is a J. Alton Hosch Associate Professor of Law, researches new forms of global governance, particularly interactions between government and business actors that affect the content and success of international legal rules. Her paper, “Interstitial Space Law,” explores these topics in the context of space. Here’s the abstract:

Private space companies have begun to stake massive investments on the prospect of deriving commercial value from objects in outer space. The multinational asteroid-mining company Planetary Resources recently explained to a U.S. Senate Subcommittee that it will “conduct a historic and unprecedented mission to. . . . prospect several near-Earth asteroids.” Amazon’s Blue Origin just launched a collaboration with German space companies to start a “permanent presence on the moon.” Elon Musk’s SpaceX intends to “focus all its engineering talent on building its Mars rocket.” Yet it is unclear whether these companies have a legal right to appropriate outer space materials for private commercial use. The controlling international law is a cluster of 1960s-era treaties, designed for the realities of cold war space exploration. The centerpiece of the early treaties, the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, clearly specifies that materials cannot be appropriated for national use, but the treaty is silent on private commercial use. Exploiting the opportunity this silence affords, private companies have begun to advance their own interpretation of the treaty in addresses to lawmakers, press releases, and corporate disclosures. They have also acted as though their interpretation were law, pressing forward with plans to commercialize space, and seemingly content to gamble on the possibility that international law will develop in their favor. The paper argues that this practice merits our attention as one of the diverse ways private companies take roles in international lawmaking. Here, private companies are working on two levels. First, they are shaping the development of international customary law by exploiting the failure of nation-states to shut down their activities. Second, they are creating a body of practice that would constitute the building blocks for customary international lawmaking, if the private companies were governmental actors, raising the possibility of a private common law for space.

 

LL.M. students take professional development trip to learn about accountability courts

LLM courthouseLL.M. students at Georgia Law took a professional development trip to the Athens-Clarke County courthouse for an introduction to the local justice system. Organized by Paige Otwell (J.D.’88), Assistant District Attorney, the students were treated to a panel on Accountability Courts.

In Georgia, voluntary participants in these innovative judicial programs plead guilty to the offense with which they have been charged and agree to enhanced supervision, including mental health or substance abuse treatment measures, in exchange for reduced terms of confinement and sometimes shortened periods of probation. For the large majority of the foreign attorneys present, this approach to criminal justice was unfamiliar.

llm courthouse2The students heard from Nicole Cavanagh, Felony Drug Court Program Coordinator; Will Fleenor, Chief Assistant Solicitor General, who discussed DUI/Drug court and Veterans Court; and Elisa Zarate, the coordinator of the Treatment and Accountability Court Program.

The panelists stressed the high level of success of these courts, both in terms of the decrease in re-arrests among participants as well as anecdotal evidence of the positive impact on participants’ lives. Describing the non-adversarial, team approach of the courts to the LL.M. students, Cavanaugh remarked that prosecutors, defense attorneys, and court personnel are “all trying to work together to get people to succeed in the program.”

The LL.M. students will have the opportunity to visit the courthouse again in the coming months to watch a trial.

Georgia Law Professor Cohen speaks at “Rabbinic Idea of Law” conference

Interrelations of jurisprudence and Jewish law were the focus of a daylong conference whose speakers included Harlan Cohen, who is 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. (photo credit)

Held last week at Pennsylvania’s Villanova University School of Law, the annual Norman J. Shachoy Symposium explored implications of Halakhah: The Rabbinic Idea of Law, a 2018 Princeton University Press book by Villanova Law Professor Chaim Saiman.

Cohen spoke on a panel entitled “The Rabbinic Idea of Law in Conversation with Movements in Legal Theory.” The gathering brought together scholars of legal theory, law and literature, religious law and theology, and religious studies, from institutions including the University of Chicago, New York University, and the University of Texas.