View from the Ground: What Students in the Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic Learn Abroad
In Tunisia over spring break, Vera Iwankiw, ’17, learned some of what the Internet couldn’t tell her about violent extremism and human rights.
Iwankiw and other members of the Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic had prepared for the trip by researching the interplay between gender issues and ideologically motivated brutality in Tunisia, Kenya, and the United States. She and her classmates had been asked to investigate how women were affected by security efforts such as community policing, development programs, and community engagement and dialog? Were their voices being heard? How did attitudes and efforts vary from region to region, and from country to country?
These weren’t easy questions to answer sitting behind a desk.
“There was very little information on Tunisia, and much of what was there was in Arabic or French,” Iwankiw said. “It was hard to find out what was going on locally in different regions.”
But when Iwankiw, Kaitlin Beck, ’17, and their professor, Claudia Flores, the clinic’s director, arrived in Tunisia and began meeting with UN agencies and local NGOs, a fuller picture—one marked by a striking tension between security and human rights—began to emerge. They heard about the government’s efforts to address violent extremism without trampling fundamental protections—and about the frightened citizenry who seemed willing to trade those protections if it meant stamping out brutality. They met domestic violence advocates who drew a hard line between women who were involved in extremist aggression and those who were not, endorsing punishment for female radicals despite knowledge that many are coerced into joining extremist groups. The students, who would eventually use their observations to write a report for the United Nations Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights, also saw how security programs sometimes reinforced underlying gender stereotypes, and they began to more fully understand how women’s needs should be incorporated into the battle against violent extremism.
“We were able to hear people talk about their first-hand experiences, which is often lost when you read a news story reporting on a global trend,” said Iwankiw, who has also worked on an International Human Rights Clinic project devoted to studying a new Pakistani law on domestic violence. “And one thing we got a sense for is how scared people are. It’s different when you hear them talk about it.”
In-country field work is essential to human rights advocacy in large part because these types of insights are only possible in context, said Flores, who guides the students through months of desk research before they travel abroad. Either Flores or the clinic’s associate director, Brian Citro, a Clinical Lecturer in Law, accompany students on trips.
“The in-country work the clinic does is critical to the students’ ability to understand a human rights issue with all of its nuances and particular dynamics,” Flores said. “As they talk to stakeholders, themes begin to emerge. On the violent extremism project, it was that tension between security and human rights, and the ways in which security and other prevention measures impact women’s rights and strengthen systems of inequality, among others. I think in the end, the students are going to be able help OHCHR strategize about the best ways to promote security in a way that takes into account women’s participation and protects gender equality.”
This year six students traveled to three countries for two different projects. Nabihah Maqbool, ’18, traveled to Kenya to study violent extremism (see sidebar for a first-person account of her experience), gathering perspectives and information that she would later share with Iwankiw and Beck. Amanda Ng, ’17, Alli Hugi, ’18, and Roee Talmor, ’17, traveled to Myanmar to examine efforts to deal with land disputes that had arisen from decades of internal conflict and the more recent efforts toward democracy.
Before heading to Myanmar (also known as Burma), Ng, Hugi, and Talmor had done extensive comparative research, looking at land restitution efforts in other countries that had experienced ethnic strife, such as Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Iraq, Zimbabwe, East Timor, and Indonesia. But the real understanding came when the students began meeting with advocates in Myanmar as part of their clinic project with Oxfam.
“It’s hard, even being prepared and doing research in advance, to understand the context without going to a country,” Ng said.
Myanmar, they learned, faces a complex host of issues related to land ownership that can vary by region. Technically, all land in Myanmar is owned by the government, which can grant ownership or lease private property to individuals—as well as rescind those rights later. In some areas, leadership disputes mean competing governments sometimes hand out titles for the same piece of land. In other areas, people who had been displaced during conflict have struggled to reclaim property.
“I think being there made it clear how important it was to understand regional differences,” Ng said. “We had been approaching the issues as a federal problem, but we realized that all the regions were so different and the land issues faced by each region were dissimilar. In some areas, the big issue was land seizure by government, in some it was displacement because of armed conflict. They have different land tenure systems as well.”
What’s more, Flores added, there are multiple stakeholders to consider. “There’s foreign investment, domestic corporations, IDPs (internally displaced persons) and refugees, and local farmers,” she said. “So what’s going to happen with each of those different stakeholders who have some kind of claim to different parts of land is going to be a very complicated puzzle to solve.”
The students also encountered unexpected cultural issues that affected the impact of land reform, such as the gender inequality that emerged when the country began registering land—in some cases for the first time. “It was almost always in the husband’s name, which meant that women were ‘losing’ unofficial property rights,” Hugi said. “It was suddenly solidified that this property is in the male’s name.”
For students in both groups, the visits allowed them to begin teasing out themes and thinking through their recommendations, which they discussed with other members of their projects. Now, they had imagery and first-person experience to flesh out the facts, and they had built trust with stakeholders in the countries they’d been assigned to research.
“One of the primary goals of the clinic is to teach students thoughtful and responsible human rights advocacy,” Flores said. “The in-country project missions are crucial in helping the students to understand the legal issues in the context of the social, political and economic ones.”Faculty: Claudia M. Flores Faculty: Brian Citro
Above: Roee Talmor, ’17, Alli Hugi, ’18, Professor Claudia Flores, and Amanda Ng, ’17, in Myanmar.ihrc_myanmar_1.jpg
Daniel Hemel Reviews Michael Knoll, "Taxation, Competitiveness, and Inversions: A Response to Kleinbard"
Do U.S. tax laws place U.S.-domiciled companies at a competitive disadvantage vis-à-vis foreign firms? In an influential 2014 article, Edward Kleinbard (Southern California) argued that the answer is no: “there is no credible evidence,” Kleinbard concluded, “that U.S. firms are at a fundamental international business competitive disadvantage under current law.” Now, Michael Knoll responds to Kleinbard’s article and arrives at a contrasting conclusion: while acknowledging the limits of existing empirical work, Knoll says that “the stronger case would seem to be that U.S.-domiciled corporations are often tax-disadvantaged relative to their non-U.S. rivals.”
Both authors agree that the competitiveness question has important implications for the debate over corporate inversions. Inversion defenders often argue that U.S.-headquartered multinationals must be allowed to shed their U.S. domicile so that they can compete on even terms with foreign firms. In Kleinbard’s view, this narrative is a “fable”: competitiveness concerns cannot justify inversions. Consequently, Kleinbard concludes that the U.S. Treasury and Congress should crack down on inversion transactions. In Knoll’s view, “improving competitiveness remains a strong reason for U.S.-domiciled companies to invert,” and “policies intended to curb inversions that ignore this state of affairs are likely to . . . produce adverse consequences.”
My own view, to lay my cards on the table at the outset, is that Kleinbard and Knoll are both right.Read more at: Daniel Hemel
As predicted, the United States has filed a cert petition and stay application in Trump v. IRAP, the Fourth Circuit litigation about the validity of his administration’s six-country travel ban. On the schedule that the United States proposes, the case would be briefed over the summer and argued this fall at the Supreme Court.
But commentators such as Marty Lederman and Mark Tushnet have suggested that the case either will soon be moot, or could be made moot without the entry ban ever going into effect. That might be right, but I’m not so sure, and because I found it tricky I thought I’d think through the possibilities here.Read more at: William Baude
Some critics say that because the pact does not require the U.S. to do anything, the withdrawal is “gratuitous,” an insult to the world. But if the pact does not require the U.S. to do anything, why would withdrawal make any difference to the climate? Why is everyone so upset? On the other hand, if the pact does not require the U.S. to do anything, why bother to withdraw? Why not remain in the pact, and—as the critics seem to suggest—simply decline to agree to any U.S. greenhouse gas reductions? Trump, on this view, could avoid the obloquy of the world for withdrawing from the agreement even while eliminating the Obama-era climate regulations and pumping the atmosphere full of U.S. carbon gas.
Meanwhile, other critics argue that the U.S. can’t actually withdraw because the agreement will remain in effect, at least for several years, perhaps indefinitely. We’re not withdrawing from it but violating it (but how…?), and a future president can bring us back into compliance (by, presumably, saying we’re back in even if that future president announces that we will not actually reduce greenhouse-gas emissions).Read more at: Eric A. Posner
Instead, Emanuel's administration is seeking a solution outside of court, one that drew criticism from criminal justice experts, reform advocates and the former federal official who oversaw the yearlong civil rights investigation into the police force that led to a damning report on the department's problems.
Craig Futterman, a law professor at the University of Chicago and frequent critic of the Police Department, lamented that Emanuel had not sought a court-overseen agreement with community groups involving those who've been harmed by police.
"This is the thing I feared most, because this creates the veneer of, 'Look, we are doing something. We entered into this agreement,' " Futterman said. "The memorandum, in many ways, is far worse than just doing nothing, because it is an agreement (with) someone who is not committed to doing anything. It is part of a strategy to avoid doing something real."Read more at: Craig B. Futterman
Remember the scene in “Gladiator” when the Emperor of Rome looks out to the crowd to decide whether to give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down to let Russell Crowe live or die?
Three proposals pending in the Chicago City Council would similarly allow aldermen to decide whether new businesses live or die.
Earlier this spring, Ald. Greg Mitchell introduced an ordinance requiring aldermanic review of every business license application in a ward.
In separate developments, Aldermen Leslie Hairston and Patrick Thompson proposed to rezone commercial corridors in South Shore and Bridgeport, respectively, as single-family residential — meaning every new business would need a special rezoning exemption to open. Each exemption would require the alderman’s support, a $1,025 application fee, public notice, usually a lawyer and sometimes an urban planner and result in at least a two-month delay.Read more at: Elizabeth Kregor
This year's Fulton Lecture examined how Supreme Court nominations in the sixties have shaped the appointments process today
The unprecedented level of media coverage and public scrutiny that surrounded Supreme Court nominations during the presidencies of Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon shaped the confirmation process and narrowed the types of candidates presidents consider, said Professor Laura Kalman when she delivered this year’s Maurice and Muriel Fulton Lecture in Legal History. The Lecture—which invites a prominent legal historian to speak at the Law School each year—examined the long-range impact of Johnson’s and Nixon’s efforts guide the Court in their favor.
Kalman, who is a Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Barbara, said the tumultuous period began when Johnson convinced Justice Arthur Goldberg to become US Ambassador to the United Nations and nominated his loyal advisor, Abe Fortas, to take his place.
“The story starts in 1965, when LBJ decided he needed a spy to apprise him of Warren Court activities,” Kalman said. “He wanted Fortas at the Court to keep an eye on the score, and to advise him on affairs of state.” During this period, she added, justices were often, before coming to the Supreme Court, governors, members of Congress, practicing lawyers (like Fortas), and Presidential intimates—the nomination was widely applauded.
Things had changed by 1968. When Chief Justice Earl Warren announced his intention to retire that year, Johnson nominated Fortas for the position, and another liberal friend, Homer Thornberry, to take Fortas’s place as an associate justice. Opponents of the liberal Warren Court attacked these nominations by assailing the Court’s ‘liberal judicial activism,’ especially on crime.
“They argued that ‘lame duck’ LBJ should save the appointment for the next President, that Fortas was his ‘crony,’ and that he had not respected ‘separation of powers’ when he advised President Johnson,” Kalman said.
None of it worked at first, and Fortas seemed on track to become the next Chief Justice. But “Fortas’s opponents finally got the game changer they needed when the Citizens for Decent Literature belatedly zeroed in on Fortas’ and the Warren Court’s obscenity decisions, and urged senators to watch the constitutionally protected ‘dirty movies,’” Kalman said. “Then there was the late-breaking revelation of Fortas’s honorarium for teaching a course, which was not just huge, but was raised by Fortas’s former partner from former clients.”
Fortas wasn’t confirmed as Chief Justice, and after Nixon became President, the Administration forced his resignation because of alleged ethics violations. He became the only justice ever to leave the Court in disgrace. When the time came for Nixon to fill the Court’s vacancies, he sought nominees who would align with his interests without appearing close to him. Although two of his later appointees, Lewis Powell and William Rehnquist, were practicing lawyers, the President created a presumption in favor of nominating judges with whom the President had no real prior relationship.
“Nixon told reporters that the Fortas hubbub had shown that he must avoid a political intimate—in Washington vernacular, a ‘crony,’” Kalman said. “He also promised to replace Fortas and Warren with judges with appellate and district court experience.”
Nixon managed to get four of the six individuals he nominated as justices confirmed, though not without comparable antagonism from liberal interest groups and reporters in the process. These battles, like the Fortas fight before them, created the template for the contemporary appointments process, which Kalman argued was rooted in the sixties, not in Reagan’s failed 1987 attempt to nominate Robert Bork.
“We see despair over the ‘kabuki confirmations’ in which nominees don’t answer senators’ questions,” Kalman said. “We see media scrutiny—hearings as spectacle, as during the Fortas fight. We see the interest group mobilization that was crucial to defeating Fortas and two of Nixon’s nominees.”
Kalman argued that many of today’s constraints on the nomination process—avoiding cronyism, and emphasizing prior judicial experience along with an elite law school education—stem from this period. Narrowing the pool from which justices can be drawn has transformed the Court as an institution, and not necessarily for the better, she added.
“Cronies are not always mediocrities or ethically challenged,” Kalman said. “Louis Brandeis and Robert Jackson were both presidential cronies, and cronies have populated the court since Washington appointed Jay.”
When Kalman opened the floor for questions, Geoffrey R. Stone, the Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor of Law, asked whether narrowing the pool to nominees with prior judicial experience should have been a constraint from the very beginning.
“Basically, people who haven’t been judges haven’t had the experience and haven’t demonstrated the capacity to do this well,” he said. “So it seems to me, the move of appointing Court of Appeals judges or state Supreme Court justices, makes eminent sense. So why didn’t they do this in the past?”
Kalman agreed that it makes sense to nominate some appellate judges, but added that solely appointing justices with this background might stifle diversity of opinion and approach on the Court.
“I understand what you’re saying, and it makes sense to me, but do you have to have only federal appellate judges?” she asked. “Wouldn’t a senator on the court be good for helping the court get over its antipathy towards legislative history and understanding more about how Congress operates? Do we only have to have justices from this narrow bandwidth?”Faculty: Geoffrey R. Stone 20170420_fultonlecture_2908.jpg
Exxon Mobile’s new CEO Darren Woods will hold his first annual meeting with shareholders on Wednesday, and climate change will be on the agenda. That’s not new for Exxon, which—like many other international oil majors—has grown accustomed to hearing calls from activist shareholders to reduce its carbon emissions and acknowledge climate risk. Yet, there is a unique element this time around: the meeting comes in the midst of an investigation by the New York and Massachusetts Attorneys General over whether Exxon fully disclosed to investors what it knew about the impacts of climate change.
Exxon’s role in—and understanding of—climate science has received a fair amount of public attention, including an environmentalist campaign aimed at demonstrating that Exxon knew about climate risks for decades. However, the implications of the legal case are actually far more expansive in scope than a simple examination of what Exxon knew or didn’t know, and when. On a broader level, it is a fairly significant test of the ability of states attorney generals to hold corporations accountable for their actions related to climate, with far-reaching consequences for the United States and global energy system.
If you haven’t been following the case, here’s a recap.Read more at: Mark N. Templeton
Judging by the media coverage, the Supreme Court’s decision today in Impression Products, Inc. v. Lexmark Inc. will have dramatic implications for producers and consumers of patented products around the world. The decision places “sharp limits on how much control patent holders have over how their products are used after they are sold,” says the New York Times’s Adam Liptak. The ruling is a “sure-to-be-landmark decision,” reports Ronald Mann on SCOTUSblog. It “takes away an important tool used by companies to control the marketplace,” according to Bloomberg.
Well, maybe. But the Court’s opinion, authored by Chief Justice Roberts, also opens the door for creative contract lawyers to draft licensing agreements that severely restrict resale of patented products. The full impact of the Supreme Court’s decision won’t be known for years, but much will depend on how courts view the newfangled licensing agreements that are almost certain to follow in the wake of Impression Products.
To see why, let’s start with a hypothetical: Suppose your firm, Company A, holds a U.S. patent covering a certain widget. You manufacture one such widget and sell it to B on the condition that B not resell the widget to anyone else. In violation of that condition, B resells the widget to C, who then uses the widget. Can you sue B and/or C for patent infringement?Read more at: Daniel Hemel
Alumni talk about the 2017 Reunion and their memories of the Law School.20170505_reunion_6612.jpg
A central theme (if not doctrinal claim) in the dissenting opinions in the Fourth Circuit’s IRAP v. Trump opinions yesterday is the worry, as Judge Shedd puts it, that the President will never be able to “free himself from the stigma of bias” that is the factual predicate for the executive order’s invalidation. In the Ninth Circuit en banc consideration of the first travel ban, Judge Kozinski had articulated a similar fear in the course of rejecting judicial reliance on campaign statements, expressing concern that the president would not be able to “try again.”
This argument is revealing—but ultimately insubstantial. An injunction against an official predicated on a judicial finding of improper motive is not a permanent bar to subsequent action by the same official. If anything, consideration of the enduring effects of judicial review in the travel ban cases should console the government’s supporters.
To understand Judge Shedd’s concern, it is helpful to specify the sense in which an injunction against section 2(c) of the March 6, 2017 Executive Order creates a legal impediment to future executive action in the immigration and national space. To use Judge Shedd’s evocative terminology, what precisely is the “stigma” here?Read more at: Aziz Huq
Craig Futterman, University of Chicago law professor and civil rights attorney, who regularly consults with the DOJ in this process, said he's spoken with members of the team who said they are pushing forward with drafting an agreement. Still Futterman said he remains pessimistic about the Trump administration’s desire to see it through.
"Jefferson Sessions and Donald Trump don't have the political heart to confront this problem. They're not committed to it,” Futterman said. “It's a very sad and tragic day when the feds abdicate their responsibility to enforce our nation’s most fundamental laws—the very Constitution of the United States of America."Read more at: Craig B. Futterman
Many children who have a parent somewhere on American soil could lose their "unaccompanied" designation if Trump's executive orders on border security are implemented. This means children could be sent into immigration courtrooms that DHS deems "adversarial" and "defensive." Or they might face expedited removal, which could put them briefly in DHS custody until they are sent home without even minimal investigation as to whether that home is safe, says Maria Woltjen, executive director of the Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights.
In March, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told CNN that he was considering separating children from their parents at the border. Kelly's proposal immediately rankled child advocates who said his assertions ran contrary to children's best interests. "We are deeply concerned that the separation of children from their parents is being considered," Unicef USA President and CEO Caryl Stern said in a statement. "We implore U.S. leadership to consider the safety and well-being of all children."
The DHS later said it would not routinely separate families except under extenuating circumstances such as illness or injury, says David Lapan, acting deputy assistant secretary of DHS public affairs. DHS aims to discourage migrants from even beginning the perilous trek to the border, Lapan says. "The journey north is dangerous, and children risk exploitation, abuse, and even death."
Still, Woltjen worries that child migrants and their parents could be separated in individual cases. That has happened in the past for various reasons, she says, and the Young Center has been appointed as a "Child Advocate" to represent those children. The separation from family compounds the trauma they faced in their homeland. "They are absolutely tragic cases. The kids are devastated," she says.Read more at: Maria Woltjen
Two Law School-affiliated teams tied for second place on Tuesday in a social entrepreneurship challenge hosted by the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. JuryCheck, a web-based platform that will allow attorneys, advocates, and courts to detect racial and gender underrepresentation in jury pools, and Flipside, a platform that combines social science research and computer algorithms to help users escape so-called filter bubbles, will each receive $20,000 in startup funding.
JuryCheck, which was developed by Kate Miller, ’17, and Christian Kolb, LLM ’17, and Flipside, an interdisciplinary team that includes Michael Killingsworth, ’18, were among seven teams that competed in the final round of the John Edwardson, MBA'72, Social New Venture Challenge.
“The Law School teaches students to identify, analyze and solve complex problems—a skill essential not only in the practice of law, but also in social entrepreneurship,” said Robin Ross, executive director of the Law School’s Doctoroff Business Leadership Program and an advisor to both teams. “We are thrilled to see Chris, Kate, and Michael use their rigorous legal and business training to create innovative and measureable solutions for these pressing social issues. We look forward to following both team's progress and success!"
This is the second year that Law School entrepreneurs have placed in the SNVC. Last year, a team of three Law School students tied for first with AccessArc, a technology service that gives prison inmates increased accessibility to legal advocacy.
"Receiving the $20,000 from the SNVC is amazing,” Killingsworth said. “We couldn't be more thankful for the opportunity the University of Chicago provides and especially the Rustandy and Edwardson families. This grant will give us the resources necessary to fully build out our platform this summer. We all see this as a validation of our hard work the last couple of months, but I think every single person within Flipside is hungrier than ever to make this happen!"
Miller and Kolb were also grateful for their experience in the competition, and look forward to using their winnings to help get JuryCheck off the ground.
“Competing in the SNVC has been such an exciting journey for us,” they said. “We are incredibly proud of the progress that we, Flipside, Provide, and all of the other teams made over the last few months. We are particularly grateful to the all of the judges and coaches who helped us prepare for the finals. Thanks to the momentum and support we received during the competition, we are more committed than ever to making JuryCheck a reality and hope to have a pilot program running soon.”
The SNVC is organized by Booth’s Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation in partnership with the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Provide, a project devoted to lowering administrative burdens for childcare providers took first place.
Photo by Heidi Zeiger Photography.
Read more about Flipside and JuryCheck.jurycheck_flipside.jpg
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein should take a page from the playbook of the man whose firing he recommended: former FBI Director James Comey. Comey once stood in Rosenstein’s shoes: He served as deputy attorney general from 2003 to 2005. And Comey’s handling of the investigation into the CIA leak scandal that rocked the George W. Bush administration holds valuable lessons for the current inquiry into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.
There are strong similarities between the challenges facing Rosenstein and the ones that Comey previously encountered. Today, the possibility of political interference hangs over the investigation by Robert Mueller, a former FBI director selected by Rosenstein to serve as special counsel. Similar doubts swirled around Patrick Fitzgerald, a US attorney from Illinois whom Comey picked to investigate the CIA leak in 2003.
Much to his credit, Comey recognized that regulations laid out by the prior attorney general, Janet Reno, failed to give the special counsel sufficient independence from higher-ranking officials at the Justice Department. So Comey implemented a more robust set of safeguards to shield his special prosecutor.
Rosenstein has thus far failed to follow Comey’s lead. That’s unfortunate, because it leaves Mueller’s investigation vulnerable to interference by political appointees. A few simple changes would raise the confidence of the American people that Mueller is free to follow the evidence where it leads.Read more at: Daniel Hemel
Eighty-one Law School students were honored earlier this month for completing the Law School’s annual Pro Bono Pledge, a record high since the founding of the public service program seven years ago. Those students logged a combined 10,568 pro bono hours during law school.
“This is a tremendous accomplishment, and our students' pro bono service makes our city and our country better,” Dean Thomas J. Miles, the Clifton R. Musser Professor of Law and Economics, said in his opening remarks. “Increasingly our students are known not only for their intellectual acumen as lawyers but also for their dedication to pro bono service and to the public good. It is wonderful that the Pro Bono Pledge has become a way for Law School students to embrace the value of service at the very beginning of their careers. Each year, we have set a new record for the number of students fulfilling the pledge.”
The Pro Bono Pledge, launched in 2010 by Susan Curry, the Law School’s Director of Public Interest Law and Policy, challenges students to complete 50 hours of law-related volunteer work by graduation. Between 2011 and 2017, 713 students took the pledge and 313 completed the pledge.
“People often wonder how our students find the time for pro bono work, and when we’ve asked them, they give the answers you’d expect: to help those in need, to gain practical experience, develop networking contacts, and to expand their career choices,” Curry said. “But they also find the time because it very simply makes them happy. They do it because it makes them feel that their training, their experience, and their judgment can do some good. They do it because it makes them feel like lawyers.”
Added Nura Maznavi, director of the Law School’s Pro Bono Service Initiative: “The students' commitment to public service and work on behalf of the legally underserved is incredibly motivating.”
This year, Alexa Perez, ’17, received the 2017 Pro Bono Award of Excellence for logging the most pro bono hours: more than 910 during her three years at the Law School, much of it focused on immigrants’ voting and educational rights. In addition to her pro bono work, Perez is a PILI Fellow at the Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights under the Law, where she has worked on voting issues that affect low-income and underrepresented communities, and a child advocate with the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights. She has also been a legal intern at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund and at the US Attorney’s Office in Chicago.
Isabella Nascimento, ’18, was given the 2L Public Service Award, which recognizes a second-year student whose dedication to public service both before and during law school, and whose accomplishments and leadership during law school, reflect a strong commitment to public interest work. Nascimento, who is part of the Law School’s Federal Criminal Justice Clinic and has interned for the Legal Rights Center in Minnesota, is an aspiring public defender. She has already logged 350 pro bono hours, Curry said.
Andrew MacKie-Mason, ’17, who has logged more than 700 pro bono hours for organizations such as First Defense Legal Aid, the Woodlawn Clinic, LAF, and other organizations, was awarded the James C. Hormel Public Service Award. In addition to pro bono service, he has worked on both the Federal Criminal Justice Clinic and the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Clinic, and been involved with Defenders, the Public Interest Law Society, Spring Break of Service, and other student organizations. MacKie-Mason has worked for the Alaska Public Defender Agency, the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission, and the Public Defender Service in Washington, DC.
The Domestic and Sexual Violence Project (DSVP) was given the inaugural Student Organization Pro Bono Award. For the past several years, DSVP has worked with the Legal Aid Society of Metropolitan Family Services to train law students to represent victims of domestic violence in Order of Protection Hearings. This year alone, volunteers with DSVP represented more than 10 clients, successfully obtaining Emergency Orders of Protection for each one. DSVP ended the academic year with a new project—recruiting law student volunteers to work with Rise (a sexual assault legislative advocacy nonprofit), the American Constitution Society, and Law School Republicans to draft legislation supporting survivors of sexual assault.Faculty: Susan J. Curry
Nura Maznavi, director of the Law School’s Pro Bono Service Initiative, presents Alexa Perez, '17, with the Pro Bono Award of Excellence for logging the most hours—more than 910—during her three years at the Law School.
Photo by Claire Stamler-Goody20170511_probonolunch_7457_for_website.jpg
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein stands at the center of the controversy over the president’s apparent attempt to obstruct an FBI investigation into the Trump campaign’s Russia ties. Rosenstein played a key role in the firing of FBI Director James Comey earlier this month, as well as last week’s decision to appoint former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel in charge of the Russia inquiry. With Attorney General Jeff Sessions having recused himself from the case back in March, Rosenstein is the highest-ranking official in the Justice Department overseeing Mueller’s efforts to uncover how exactly the Russians interfered with the 2016 election, what kind of help they might have received from members of the Trump team, and whether Trump himself has taken steps to cover anything up.
The fact that Rosenstein is both a central character in the story Mueller is investigating and the man responsible for supervising that investigation raises an obvious but underdiscussed question: Should Rosenstein follow Sessions’ lead and recuse himself from the Russia inquiry?
The case for Rosenstein’s recusal grows out of the case for Trump’s guilt. At this point, we have mounting evidence that the president pressured Comey to end the FBI’s inquiry into links between the Russian government and Trump’s top advisers. When Comey refused, the president fired the FBI chief and claimed he had acted based on the “clear recommendations” of Rosenstein and Sessions. Sessions, for his part, said in a letter to Trump that his recommendation was based on “the reasons expressed by the Deputy Attorney General in the attached memorandum.” That three-page memorandum from Rosenstein, in turn, faulted Comey’s handling of the probe into Hillary Clinton’s emails.Read more at: Daniel Hemel
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein should recuse himself from the probe into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia and the President’s apparent attempt to obstruct the FBI’s inquiry. Rosenstein himself played a key role in the events at the center of the controversy, and his continued involvement casts a shadow over the ongoing investigation.
So far, the core of the case against President Trump is as follows: The President pressured FBI Director James Comey to end the Bureau’s inquiry into links between the Russian government and Trump’s top advisers. When Comey refused, the President fired the FBI chief and claimed he had acted based on the “clear recommendations” of Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sessions, for his part, said that his recommendation was based on “the reasons expressed by the Deputy Attorney General in the attached memorandum.” That three-page memorandum from Rosenstein faulted the FBI head’s handling of the probe into Hillary Clinton’s e-mails.
Put more bluntly: The allegation is that President Trump fired Comey to impede the Russia investigation and then tried to pass it off on Rosenstein.Read more at: Daniel Hemel
The Justice Department appointed former FBI director Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate possible links between associates of President Donald Trump and Russian officials Wednesday.
The move came during a spate of near-non-stop breaking news about the Trump White House related to the investigation.
For context and analysis, Morning Shift turns to Daniel Hemel, assistant professor of law at the University of Chicago Law School.Read more at: Daniel Hemel
As President Trump stumbled from crisis to crisis this past week, he reminded the country of a lesson it didn’t really need to learn: A president’s greatest asset is trust. Once he has lost it, he can’t govern. Mr. Trump’s serial recklessness may change not just the course of his presidency but also the office itself. Whatever happens to him, it’s not too soon to wonder what will happen to the presidency when he’s gone.
For decades, the power of the executive branch has been growing, a trend that Congress has encouraged, both actively and by default. And the courts, the other check on the executive, have often been willing to defer to the president’s prerogatives.
But President Trump’s words and actions are straining the relationship between the executive and the other branches of government in ways that may ultimately diminish the power of the office. By showing he’s unworthy of the trust that a president customarily enjoys, Mr. Trump has essentially been daring Congress, the courts and even the bureaucracy to act against him.
And those institutions are taking him on.Read more at: Eric A. Posner