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 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 Professor Amann in roundtable on international criminal justice at GW Law journal conference

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, recently took part in an online panel entitled “International Courts and Their Role in Cross-Border Criminal Prosecutions.”

The panel was one of several at the 2021 symposium of the George Washington University International Law Review, which considered international law and policy challenges created by global technological and physical shifts.

Joining Amann, who is also the Special Adviser to the International Criminal Court Prosecutor on Children in & affected by Armed Conflict, in the roundtable discussion were: Olympia Bekou, Professor of Public International Law and Head of the University of Nottingham School of Law; and Patricia Viseur Sellers, Special Advisor for Gender for the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Visiting Fellow, Kellogg College, University of Oxford, and Practicing Professor, London School of Economics. Moderator was Michael J. Matheson, Adjunct Professor at GW Law.

Georgia Law Professor Harlan Cohen presents “Nations and Markets” to University of Trento, Italy

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, recently gave an online presentation of his new article “Nations and Markets” at Italy’s University of Trento School of International Studies.

Available at SSRN, “Nations and Markets” was published in December in the peer-reviewed Journal of International Economic Law.

Its description:

“Economics and security seem increasingly intertwined. Citing national security, states subject foreign investments to new scrutiny, even unwinding mergers. The provision of 5G has become a diplomatic battleground—Huawei at its center. Meanwhile, states invoke national security to excuse trade wars. The USA invoked the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade national security exception to impose steel and aluminum tariffs, threatening more on automotive parts. Russia invoked that provision to justify its blockade of Ukraine, as did Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to excuse theirs of Qatar. And with the spread of COVID-19, states are invoking national security to scrutinize supply lines. Multiplying daily, such stories have led some observers to dub the era one of geoeconomics.

“Nonetheless, these developments remain difficult to judge, and the relationship between economics and national security remains confused and slippery. The essay seeks clarity in the deeper logic of these labels, revealing a fundamental choice between the logics of markets and the logics of state. Whether invoked to ‘secure’ borders, privacy, health, the environment, or jobs, ‘national security’ is a claim about the proper location of policymaking. Appeals to economics, with their emphasis on global welfare and global person-to-person relationships, are such claims as well. Resolving disputes, this essay argues, requires recognizing these root choices.”

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.