Georgia Law center, ABILA to cohost International Law Weekend South April 7

Delighted to announce that the Dean Rusk International Law Center at the University of Georgia School of Law will cohost International Law Weekend South with American Branch of the International Law Association.

Entitled “Democracy and Governance in the Internet Era,” the daylong online conference will take place on Wednesday, April 7. Registration here.

Following a welcome by Georgia Law Dean Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge and an introduction by ABILA President Leila Sadat, the conference will consist of these four 75-minute sessions, featuring an international array of scholars:

Civil society’s role in informing, protecting the right of peaceful assembly

In July 2020, the U.N. Human Rights Committee adopted General Comment No. 37 on Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Article 21 guarantees the right of peaceful assembly, and the GC provides an authoritative interpretation of that right as well as guidance to ensure its practical enjoyment, online and offline. The GC addresses a wide variety of assembly issues at a particularly critical time. In an effort to raise awareness of what the GC does, how it came to be, and its significance in the United States and beyond, this panel will feature experts from civil society organizations who helped inform the GC’s drafting and who are now helping to see it implemented.

Moderator:  Jonathan Peters, University of Georgia
• Francesca Fanucci, European Center for Not-for-Profit Law
• Paulina Gutierrez, Legal Officer, Article 19
• Michael Hamilton, University of East Anglia
• Daniel Simons, Greenpeace

Political Campaigns: Perspectives from Abroad

Existing rules governing political party spending and campaign finance are increasingly seen as not up to the task of effectively and transparently regulating political communications around elections. Social media algorithms that amplify outrage, rampant disinformation campaigns, and foreign interference in domestic elections all complicate what was already the challenging task of devising effective and fair regulation in this realm. This panel brings together election law scholars from around the world to discuss how their legal regimes are tackling these new and challenging problems.

Moderator: Lori A. Ringhand, University of Georgia
• Irene Couzigou, University of Aberdeen
• Yasmin Dawood, University of Toronto
• Jacob Eisler, University of Southampton
• Galen Irwin, Leiden University
• Graeme Orr, University of Queensland, Australia
• Ciara C. Torres-Spelliscy, Stetson University

Reforming the National Security State

For many, the past four years highlighted growing concerns over the U.S. national security state. For some, the concerns focused on national security priorities, including the last administration’s focus on immigration and trade. For others, the concerns focused on increased presidential unilateralism and broad readings of executive powers over treaty withdrawal and the use of force. For still others, the concerns focused on national security tools and how they have been used, from immigration enforcement to criminal investigations to individual sanctions.
With a new administration and a new Congress, many see this is a unique opportunity to reform the national security state. This roundtable will consider how the current administration might rethink priorities and tools and how Congress might approach its role in facilitating and limiting presidential discretion.

Participants:
• Diane Marie Amann, University of Georgia
• Elena Chachko, Harvard University
• Harlan G. Cohen, University of Georgia
• Maryam Jamshidi, University of Florida

Social Media and the Language of Statehood

Scholars, journalists, and companies increasingly frame social media’s decisionmaking using the language of democratic governance and human rights. From talk of “corporate constitutionalism” to Facebook’s “Supreme Court,” the lines between private and public “governance” are murkier than ever.
This panel will assess these rhetorical moves. Are they helpful in understanding how the companies operate and how their power might be constrained? Or do they provide corporate actions with false legitimacy that undermines or overpowers calls for public regulation?

Moderator: Thomas E. Kadri, University of Georgia
• Evelyn M. Aswad, Oklahoma College of Law
• Elettra Bietti, Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Security, Harvard
• Brenda Dvoskin, Harvard University
• David Kaye, University of California, Irvine
• Genevieve Lakier, University of Chicago

2L Emina Sadic Herzberger, President of the Georgia Law International Law Society, will close the conference.

Professor Ringhand, Center’s Interim Director, takes part in University of Oxford panel on U.S. presidential election

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, took part earlier this month in a University of Oxford panel discussion on the American electoral process.

The panel, entitled “‘Our Character is on the Ballot’: Reflections on the US Presidential Election 2020,” was hosted by Jesus College at Oxford. Ringhand, an Election Law scholar and recent US-UK Fulbright Distinguished Chair, earned her B.C.L. degree at Oxford. (prior posts)

Georgia Law Professor Ringhand presents comparative elections law paper on US, UK at Mercer conference

Lori A. Ringhand, J. Alton Hosch Professor of Law here at the University of Georgia School of Law, presented her comparative elections law scholarship last Friday at the “Contemporary Issues in Election Law” Law Review Symposium at Mercer University School of Law in Macon.

Ringhand, an expert in election law, constitutional law, and comparative law, presented a paper entitled “First Amendment (Un)Exceptionalism: US and UK Responses to Online Electioneering.” It’s a product of her Spring 2019 research as a Fulbright Distinguished Chair at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland (prior posts here and here).

Ringhand is presenting the same paper this semester at other law schools, including George Washington University and Marquette University.

The Mercer symposium also featured a paper by a United Kingdom-based scholar who’d spoken at Georgia Law last Wednesday: Professor Jacob Eisler, University of Southampton Law School.

Delivering prestigious Gresham College Fulbright Lecture in London, Georgia Law Professor Lori Ringhand analyzes laws regulating online election campaign spending in US and UK

Pleased today to welcome back Lori A. Ringhand, J. Alton Hosch Professor of Law here at the University of Georgia School of Law, and, this Spring 2019 semester, a Fulbright Distinguished Chair at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. In connection with her US-UK Fulbright award, Professor Ringhand gave a prestigious lecture this past Tuesday, April 2, in London. Her account of that lecture – available on video – is below.

I recently had the pleasure of delivering the Gresham College Fulbright Lecture at the Museum of London. Gresham College has been offering free public lectures to residents of London for more than 400 years, and has been offering Fulbright lectures in partnership with the US/UK Fulbright Commission for decades.  Recent Gresham lecturers include eminent public law scholar Vernon Bogdanor,  historian and author Timothy Garton Ash, and current Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow.

My lecture focused on the challenges faced by lawmakers in the United States and the United Kingdom as they try to ensure that campaign finance laws remain relevant in the age of widespread online electioneering. As both nations have discovered, our existing regimes are not built for a world in which political advertising spreads, rapidly, organically, and often anonymously, through online social media platforms.

Regulators in the US and the UK nonetheless rarely look to each other’s experiences to inform their own thinking in this complex area. The election law systems of each country are seen as so fundamentally different that comparative consideration seems pointless.

As I explained in my Gresham Lecture, I disagree.

The differences in regulatory approaches certainly are real, and significant:

  • In the UK, political spending is limited, and most of it runs through political parties and regulated third-party campaigners, with outside or unregulated groups historically playing little role.
  • In the US, in contrast, political spending is increasingly dominated by outside groups, which can both raise and spend unlimited amounts of money, often entirely outside of the federal regulatory system.

But in regard to regulating online election activity, the similarities between the two nations are much more meaningful than the differences. As I laid out in the talk, the regulatory challenges presented by online electioneering difficult in both principle and practice, but they are fundamentally the same in each country. Consequently, there is a great deal we can learn from each other in this area.

I hope my lecture helps us take a necessary first step in that direction.

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.

IMG_0084

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.