Thursday, December 31, 2009

End of the decade?

In recent weeks the media have featured much about the end of the decade:
► The decade in politics;
► Best architecture of the decade;
► Worst fashions of the decade;
► Best films of the decade;
► The stock market's worst decade;
► The decade in music; and
► A condemnatory label, "Decade from Hell."
But is it in fact the end of the decade?
Maybe, maybe not.
Counting from midnight January 1, 2000, the answer's yes -- 11:59 tonight will end 10 years.
But here in the States, at least, we count birthdays beginning at the end of the 1st 12 months of life. Counting decades the same way, this one won't end till 11:59 p.m. next December 31.
We've been here before.
Not that long ago, the popular trend was to start the "new" millennium the 1st moment of 2000, even as the purists among us marked the "real" millennium a year later. Confusion's back: letters to the editor decrying the "misinformation" of the end-of-decade stories, even as others label such complainers "bozos."
In truth, "decade" simply means 10 years. The startpoint determines the endpoint. So it seems everyone's right. Or wrong.
Here's hoping your last 10 years (however you count them) were good, and your next 10 even better.

On December 31

On this day in ...
... 1964 (45 years ago today), Indonesian President Sukarno, who in 1945 had led his country to independence from Dutch colonialism (prior post), declared that if Malaysia were to assume a seat on the Security Council, Indonesia would leave the United Nations, just as it had boycotted the Tokyo Olympic Games earlier in the year. According to The New York Times, The source of Sukarno's complaint was the 1963 formation of the Malaysian federation (prior post):
The Indonesian leader charged that Malaysia was formed from the former British territories of Malaya, Singapore, and the Borneo states of Sarawak and Sabah (North Borneo) against the will of the people in order to maintain British influence in Southeast Asia.
Months later Sukarno made good on the threat and withdrew his country from the United Nations; Indonesia did not rejoin until 1966.

(Prior December 31 posts are here and here.)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Lesbian soldier inching to asylum in Canada

An American lesbian is breaking new ground in the fight for refuge from the U.S. military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.
On September 11, 2007, Army Private Bethany Smith (right), then 21, fled to Canada after enduring taunts, physical abuse, and a
death threat from her military cohorts because she is gay. (photo credit)
On November 20, 2009, Judge Yves de Montigny of the Federal Court of Canada granted Smith's petition for judicial review of the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board's denial of her application for asylum on the grounds that she had failed to seek state protection, which would have been adequate.
The petition by Smith, who is represented by Jamie Liew of the law firm Galldin & Liew, states that Smith began experiencing homophobic harassment from her fellow soldiers soon after she was assigned to the motor pool at Fort Campbell in Kentucky. The situation deteriorated after a soldier spotted her holding hands with a woman off base. Smith alleges that she received hundreds of written threats, including a specific death threat, as well as one physical assault. When Smith revealed her sexual orientation to her supervising sergeant in an attempt to be discharged, she was refused and ordered not to speak to any higher ranking officers about the matter. Even after Smith fled Fort Campbell, she received several anonymous calls, threatening her with abuse and death if she returned. In addition to these threats, Smith faces court martial for desertion upon return.
After reviewing Smith application for asylum, Judge de Montigny:
Held that she had presented "clear and convincing" evidence that the United States is unwilling to protect her from persecution on account of her sexual orientation.
Held that Smith had established "a serious possibility" of persecution on account of her sexual orientation or that she is "more likely than not" to face a risk to her life or cruel and unusual treatment or punishment upon her return to the United States.
Placed particular emphasis on the ability and/or willingness of the United States to protect Smith from persecution based on her sexuality. Judge de Montigny wrote that, even though refugee applicants must normally make multiple attempts to obtain state protection, "it is clear that in the Army reigns an atmosphere of unconditional obedience to the hierarchy" which the Board should have taken into account when evaluating Smith's claim. Smith's testimony that she had been told by her superiors to "tone down her behaviour" and that she endured harsher treatment from superiors once her sexual orientation became known supported her contention that it would have been futile to seek further protection within the military. The judge added that "documentary evidence indicating that superiors in the U.S. military are too often complacent and sometimes even actively participate in the harassment and abuse directed at gays and lesbians in the military" also indicated an absence of state protection.
► Found, finally, that the Board's conclusion that the fatal beating of Private Barry Winchell in at Fort Campbell in 1999 was an "isolated" event, rather than evidence of insufficient state protection, went beyond the record and was speculative.

On December 30

On this day in ...
...1972, the United States ended "nearly two weeks of heavy bombing" of North Vietnam by order of President Richard M. Nixon. The White House announced that National Security Adviser Henry A. Kissinger would go back to Paris to resume peace talks with Vietnamese diplomats. The Paris Peace Accords would be formally signed less than a month later, on January 27, 1973, at the ceremony depicted above right (credit).

(Prior December 30 posts are here and here.)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Nomination stalled

Over the last year or so -- 358 days, to be exact -- we've posted periodically about the failure to bring to full Senate vote the nomination of our colleague Dawn Johnsen (left) to become head of the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice.
Dawn's eminently qualified for the post; indeed, she served as acting head during the Clinton Administration. She's a super lawyer and legal academic, and was a vocal opponent of OLC memoranda that sanctioned waterboarding and other post-9/11 interrogation practices. Her IntLawGrrls guest post concerned that very issue.
Now TPM's reporting that this round of her nomination is at an end, that the Senate sent back her nomination, "presumably" because Senators were "unable to achieve universal agreement" necessary by their rules to carry her nomination over to next year's legislative session. It's now up to President Barack Obama to decide whether to resubmit her name for the post.
Today we stop the nomination clock we've run in our righthand column for months, pending further word from the White House.

On December 29

On this day in ...
... 1934 (75 years ago today), U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull expressed "genuine regret" at receiving Japan's formal notice of its renunciation of the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922, in which Britain, France, Italy, Japan, and the United States had agreed to limit armaments on their naval vessels. (credit for image of diplomats at 1922 Washington Naval Conference) The withdrawal came 21 months after Japan had quit the League of Nations (prior posts here and here).

(Prior December 29 posts are here and here.)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Guest Blogger: Mona Paré

It's IntLawGrrls' great pleasure to welcome Dr. Mona Paré (left) as today's guest blogger.
In 2007, Mona joined the faculty in the Civil Law Section at the University of Ottawa, Canada, as an Assistant Professor, teaching, in French, courses on public international law, human rights, children's rights, and international law respecting equality and discrimination. She has published and presented on these subjects in English as well as French.
Mona is a founding member of the Laboratoire de recherche interdisciplinaire sur les droits de l'enfant, a children's rights research unit affiliated with Ottawa's faculty of law. Before entering academia Mona had worked for human rights and children's rights organizations in Asia and Europe. She also was a member of the United Nations' disability programme team during the negotiations leading to the 2006 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the subject of her guest post below.
Holder of a Ph.D. from the University of London, Mona also earned a Diplôme d’études Supérieures en relations internationales from the Institut de hautes études internationales in Geneva, as well as 2 law degrees from Université Aix-Marseille in France.
Mona dedicates her guest post to Eglantyne Jebb (below right). Born in Shropshire, England, in 1876, Jebb helped her mother, a social worker, as a child, and so began a career aiding children in need. She taught children who lived in England's slums and helped children who'd survived war in Macedonia. Jebb was the founder in 1919 of the International Save the Children Union and author of the 1st international Declaration on the Rights of the Child. The League of Nations adopted that Geneva Declaration in 1924. Four years later Jebb died, at age 52. But her declaration inspired a movement that continues to this day, as evidenced by the United Nations' adoption in 1959 of the Declaration on the Rights of of the Child, and in 1989 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Today Jebb joins IntLawGrrls' other foremothers on the list just below our "visiting from..." map at right.

Heartfelt welcome!

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: (potential) international law impact

(Thank you to IntLawGrrls for the opportunity to contribute this guest post on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities)

Having followed closely the negotiations on the disability convention as a member of the United Nations' disability programme team between 2003 and 2006, I was struck that this convention was rich and carried much potential for human rights and international law more generally. In this guest post I share some of my findings, based on my article “La convention relative aux droits des personnes handicapées : quel impact sur le droit international ?”, published recently in the Revue Générale de Droit International Public.
The UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in December 2006, after only four years of negotiations. An ambitious treaty, it aims to ensure human rights by persons with disabilities. As stated in Article 1:
The purpose of the present Convention is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.
The Convention was enthusiastically welcomed by the international disability community, which considers itself as the largest minority in the world.
In addition to its explicit purpose, the Convention is at the heart of developments that concern international law more widely:
► First, the participation of civil society in the negotiations will certainly contribute to the development of the international legal capacity of civil society actors. The number of nongovernmental organizations that participated in the negotiations and the way their participation was facilitated and made official by General Assembly resolutions was unprecedented. It is fair to say that the major part of the text comes from NGOs.
► Second, the text of the convention and the process that led to it will no doubt result in a renewed interest in the right to development, and even international development law. Indeed, the convention was considered by many as a “development convention” or at least a “hybrid” convention, blending development, human rights and non-discrimination. Notably, it is the first human rights convention that includes an article on international cooperation, Article 32.
► Third, the convention further reinforces the fading of artificial categories of human rights, especially the dichotomy between civil and political rights, on the one hand, and economic, social and cultural rights, on the other. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities focuses on detailed implementation measures, which prove that all rights require positive measures from States. Moreover, the Disability Rights Optional Protocol supports the justiciability of all categories of rights, and this most likely helped to clear the deadlock in the negotiations for an Optional Protocol for the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. There is no doubt that the disappearance of categories of rights both will have positive impacts on equality and will empower weaker segments of society.
So far 76 States have ratified the Convention, and 48 have ratified its Optional Protocol. (credit for map below showing Convention parties in dark green, nonparty signatories in light green, and nonmembers in grey) It is with much eagerness that we await the ratification of the Convention by Canada and the United States, both now signatories, and for State practice to reveal the extent to which the potential of the Convention will actually be developed.

On December 28

On this day in ...
... 1816, Elizabeth Parsons Ware was born. Twenty-three years later, "at her parents' insistence," she married, and as Elizabeth Packard (left) gave birth to 6 children. But after she began questioning her husband's beliefs on matters of religion, child rearing, family finances, and slavery, he had her committed to a state mental asylum. It released 3 years later; in response, her husband confined her to a boarded-up room in the house, prompting the filing of a petition for writ of habeas corpus. In the 1864 trial of Packard v. Packard -- recently treated in a book, a play, and a law review article -- jurors found her sane after just 7 minutes of deliberation. Subsequently the founder of the Anti-Insane Asylum Society and advocate for reform of the mental health system, Packard died in 1897.

(Prior December 28 posts are here and here.)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

'Nuff said

(Taking context-optional note of thought-provoking quotes)

Thus, Europe is 'blessed' with two distinct but closely related fundamental rights treaties supervised by two independent European courts -- the European Court of Human Rights and the [European Court of Justice]. It remains to be seen how these two fundamental rights systems will interact with each other and how they will accommodate possibly divergent or conflicting jurisprudence.

--Netherlands-based scholar Dr. Nikolaos Lavranos, in his ASIL Insight tracing the history, evolution, and future of efforts to constitutionalize regional integration in Europe. The 2 treaties to which he refers are: respecting the ECtHR, the 1950 Convention of Human Rights, and respecting the ECJ, the 2000 Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, rendered binding by the December 1 entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, on which we've posted.

On December 27

On this day in ...
... 1934 (75 years ago today), Riza Shah renamed the country he ruled -- long called by the Greco-Roman name Persia -- Iran, the older name for the land. Although the country's official name remains Iran (flag at right), as indicated in this U.N. member state listing, the other term did not fully die out, as noted in this 1965 New York Times article.

(Prior December 27 posts are here and here.)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

"The Law of the Land: US Implementation of Human Rights Treaties"

2010's coming. I've resolved to be more hopeful about prospects for implementing human rights in the U.S.
In a promising move, Senator Dick Durbin, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law, convened a significant hearing on human rights in the U.S. on 16 December 2009.
The hearing, titled "The Law of the Land: U.S. Implementation of Human Rights Treaties," drew considerable attention from activists and the general public. It also warranted high-level administration testimony from both the U.S. Department of Justice (Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division) and the U.S. Department of State (Michael H. Posner, Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor).
Elisa Massimino, President and CEO of Human Rights First (photo, left (copyright 2008, Beowulf Sheehan/PEN American Center; see also IntLawGrrls post by Diane Marie Amann ) and Wade Henderson, President and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), testified in person and led the NGO participation.
Interest was so high that there was reportedly a standing-room crowd. More than 40 other human rights and U.S. civil rights organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Amnesty International USA (AIUSA), the Center for Reproductive Rights, the Rights Working Group, and the US Human Rights Network (USHRN) submitted written testimony. (The Bringing Human Rights Home network, Human Rights Institute, Columbia Law School has compiled the submissions.)
One Step Forward, More Steps Needed
IntLawGrrls have been very active in advocating for increased U.S. recognition of, and adherence to, international human rights legal standards internally (see many individual posts and our Human Rights in the U.S. series.) As lawyers and activists celebrate the increasing administrative, legislative, and, (one can hope) prospective judicial attention to this issue, plenty of work remains to be done. Some of it will occur in legislatures (whether federal or subnational) and courtrooms, but a lot of pragmatic work can happen in classrooms and social media contexts as well. Among the framework issues are the following:
►U.S. signature and ratification of core international human rights treaties (such as those listed in my previous post);
►Reorganization of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission into a Civil Rights and Human Rights Commission (as advocated in an American Constitution Society report by Catherine Powell discussed in Diane Marie Amann’s post);
►Passage of implementing federal legislation to clarify enforcement effects of ratified treaties;
►Inclusion of human rights in childhood and adult educational and social media settings in order to build popular awareness, critical analysis, and pressure on political representatives to adhere to human rights norms (see a compendium of good practices from the Human Rights Education Association website.)
My July 2009 post noted with optimism the presidential signing of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) the first major international human rights treaty to be signed by the U.S. in 10 years. IntLawGrrl Connie de la Vega recently posted on the enormous advantages for children in the U.S. of ratifying the Convention on the Rights of the Child. And, in this, the 30th year since its adoption by the United Nations General Assembly, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) remains unratified by the U.S.
Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights in the U.S.
Further, the bitter debates and misperceptions surrounding the passage of U.S. health coverage reforms should be more fully informed by international and comparative jurisprudence and scholarship on the nature, scope, and practical implementation of economic, social, and cultural rights. (See a posthumously published essay on Health Care as a Basic Human Right: Moving From Lip Service to Reality by the late Senator Edward Kennedy here.) At a time when poverty, joblessness, homelessness, and rising health costs and disparities are a nationwide concern, U.S. ratification of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) could add a fresher and more equitable approach to social justice reform efforts.
Civil Society Participation
Ratification, legislation, judicial interpretation, and political action on human rights issues matters. Recent efforts by US-based NGOs to apply the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) to U.S. problems such as discrimination in housing, criminal justice, and education are an inspiring example (see posts in our series on CERD and Race in the U.S.) Human rights advocacy draws national, even global, attention to important problems, galvanizes social action, and if properly implemented, can help chart participatory solutions.
No Time Like the Present
Now is the time. We can't afford not to pursue U.S. implementation of human rights at home and abroad. They should be integral aspects of U.S. domestic and foreign policy agendas. Such a commitment would be a great way to begin a new year. (Source for photo of Wade Henderson (bottom, left), who testified at the Durbin hearing, and Lilly Ledbetter (right) at the presidential signing of the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.)

Write On! International tribunals

(Write On! is an occasional item about notable calls for papers.) A bilingual, peer-reviewed journal based in the Netherlands, The Hague Justice Journal – Journal judicaire de La Haye, is seeking contributions for its 4th year of publication, on the subject of "The Relationships between the International Courts and Tribunals: Conflict and Co-operation." The call states:

The Hague is the home of numerous international courts and tribunals, including the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court, as well as the ad hoc International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the newly founded Special Tribunal for Lebanon. The Special Court for Sierra Leone and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda also make use of facilities available in The Hague. How have these institutions co-operated? Have there perhaps been conflicts of competence? What are the consequences for the development of international (criminal) law of conflict or co-operation between the different courts and tribunals?
Articles of up to 10,000 words, as well as essays and casenotes of up to 3,500 words, may be e-mailed to Details here.

On December 26

On this day in ...

... 2004 (5 years ago today), an 8.9 earthquake under the Indian Ocean near the northern coast of Indonesia touhed off "[m]assive sea surges" -- an Asian tsunami that left more than 200,000 persons dead in 13 countries, more than half of them in Indonesia alone. (credit for photo of tsunami striking Thai coast) Billions of dollars in aid were contributed; however, the BBC later reported, "rebuilding in many of the stricken areas is slow and thousands of people remain homeless."

(Prior December 26 posts are here and here.)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Ghosts of Christmas Present

This cheery picture (right) may closely resemble your living room this Christmas morning, but in fact, it's the living room of AnaPaulina Gomez, a third-year law student at Penn State Dickinson School of Law, pictured exactly a week ago. The many toys are donations from a toy drive that Gomez organized for children detained at the Berks Family Detention Center, the last immigration detention center in the country that still holds children. These are the children of our ghost of Christmas present -- children imprisoned for violations of civil immigration, who seek refuge and find prisons.
Gomez first met these detained families as an intern at the Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center (PIRC), a non-profit organization that provides immigrants with information about their legal rights. Most families are asylum seekers, and the majority come from Latin America, but there are families from all over the world, from China to Iraq, detained at Berks. During her visits to Berks, Gomez learned about the extreme hardships that the families and their children had suffered. Many of the women suffered severe physical abuse at the hands of their husbands or families in their home country and fled to the U.S. in search of a better life. Many of the children bore witness to this violence or were themselves victims of abuse. Their journeys were often terrifying, as they passed through several countries to finally arrive in the United States.
After her internship ended, Gomez often thought about the families and children at the shelter. In her words:
In early November I started thinking that the children at the shelter would be spending Christmas away from their families, in a foreign country, and without knowing what the future will bring. I thought it would be a good idea to organize a toy drive so the children would have presents to open on Christmas. My hope is to put a smile on their face and hopefully take their worries away - at least for a day.
We've blogged many times before (here, here, here, here, and here) about the situation of children in immigration detention, and we've some hope that the Obama administration may release many of these families in January. But every child in detention is one child too many, and as we celebrate this Christmas holiday with our families, let us not forget those who spend it behind bars. In Gomez's words:
I would like to thank all the people who donated toys for the children and remind everyone to have compassion for those who are less fortunate than us. In addition, I would like to encourage all not to only talk the talk but walk the walk. Advocacy entails more than voicing one's opinion, it entails action.

On December 25

On this day in ...

... 1985, an ongoing armed conflict in West Africa, sometimes called the Agacher War because it centered in a resource-rich Agacher Strip between Burkina Faso and Mali, intensified when the troops from the latter country attacked a number of border posts and police stations in the former soon after a dispute over the apparently accidental presence of Burkinabe census agents at refugee camps in Mali. Following failed negotiation efforts by Libya, Nigeria, and the Organization of African Unity, a ceasefire was achieved 5 days after the outbreak of what in Burkina Faso became known as the "Christmas War."

(Prior December 25 posts are here and here.)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

'Nuff said

(Taking context-optional note of thought-provoking quotes)
'I don't think we even begin to know what would be possible if we raised just one generation of children without violence.'
-- Author and rights activist Gloria Steinem last Friday, at this year's Penn Law Review symposium, about which we posted here.

On December 24

On this day in ...

... 1991, Mary Elizabeth Kinnear died at age 93. She'd been born in Port Colborne, Wainfleet Township, Ontario, Canada, where she became active in Liberty Party politics and women's groups. Kinnear (left) did a variety of activities -- worked as a cement shipper, played hockey, and made her own clothes -- and urged women to establish bank account separate from those of their husbands. In 1967 she was appointed among the 1st women to serve in the Canadian Senate, a post she held till retiring on her 75th birthday in 1973.

(Prior December 24 posts are here and here.)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Fantasy on Island of Cuba

Fifty-five years ago American moviegoers escaped with matinee idol Gene Kelly across The Pond to the fantasy world of Brigadoon, a highland town that disappears for a century at a time. That exotic image does fitting service as metaphor in the newest National Institute of Military Justice account of proceedings at the "brig" across the water where the United States continues to detain hundreds of noncitizens, a small handful of whom it's charged with crimes to be adjudicated by military commission.
Telling of his adventures in an account entitled "Brig-adoon: Report from Guantanamo" is our colleague Gene Fidell, NIMJ's cofounder and president who'd served as a judge advocate in the Coast Guard from 1969-1972 and is currently Senior Research Scholar in Law and Florence Rogatz Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School. He's also the co-author, along with Dwight Sullivan and IntLawGrrl Beth Hillman, of a casebook on military justice.
Fidell repeats concerns raised in reports by prior NIMJ observers, including yours truly (all reports are available here): among others, the persistent problem that the law governing GTMO proceedings remains very much in flux. He stresses too the "sheer time, effort, and expense involved" in periodically transporting an entire trial apparatus to and from U.S. military base on the island of Cuba. He questions the "administrative complexity" of bringing in and retraining personnel, and expresses concern that some proceedings are "rehearsed at length behind closed doors," thus "shortchanging the public." A key paragraph:
Is it possible to dispense justice under these circumstances at such a distant location? Yes. The courtroom is entirely acceptable .... Proper decorum is carefully observed. But I have to say, as a taxpayer, that the arrangements are, overall, wildly inconvenient. I am not persuaded that the reasons for conducting military commission proceedings at Guantanamo, assuming they ever had any force, today come even close to justifying the expense in human resources and sheer out-of-pocket costs. If, as the Administration has decided, military commissions should continue to be employed, let it be done on the mainland.
Moving proceedings Stateside, Fidell notes, would both make attendance much easier for victims' families and ensure greater coverage by media, whose shrinking staffs and budgets make trips to GTMO ever less frequent.
Fidell concludes by predicting that in the next decade the commissions will be shut down and "the whole shebang will revert to Cuba" and become "a magnificent resort area, with regular direct flights from New York."
Time will tell.

credit for AP/Mark Wilson photo of Guantánamo at sunset)

On December 23

On this day in ...

... 1911, Adelaide Young was born in New York City. She went to college in Georgia, and then worked at a variety of jobs, among them as a server of tea on transatlantic cruise ship and as a cigarette girl in the New York nightclub that her father owned. As a newlywed Young --- whose prior outdoor experience had been limited to summer-camp counseling in New Hampshire -- in 1934 became the 1st American woman to explore the Himalayas:
Accompanied by her husband, brother-in-law, and an ever-changing cast of local porters, Young preserved botanical specimens for the American Museum of Natural History and slept with a loaded pistol under her pillow as protection against bandits.

(credit for photo of Adelaide, center, on the Young family expedition, along with her husband Jack and her brother-in-law Quentin) Adelaide Young then worked as a journalist for various newspapers in China. She met Ruth Harkness, the woman who brought the 1st giant panda to the United States; on arrival in 1937 at Chicago's Brookfield Zoo, the panda (right) was given Young's nickname, "Su-Lin." (photo credit) A disc jockey in Taiwan before moving back to the United States, Young died in Hercules, California, in May 2008, at age 96.

(Prior December 23 posts are
here and here.)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Guest Blogger: Afra Afsharipour

It's a great pleasure to welcome my colleague, Afra Afsharipour (left), as today's guest blogger.
An Acting Professor of Law here at the University of California, Davis, School of Law, Afra's scholarship and teaching focus on the areas of comparative corporate law, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, mergers and acquisitions, and securities regulation. She posted on these issues here, during a recent guest stint at The Conglomerate Blog: Business, Law, Economics & Society. In her IntLawGrrls guest post below, Afra discusses her forthcoming article on the role of law in encouraging the expansion of Indian multinationals and their acquisition of companies in developed countries.
Before entering academia, she was an associate in the corporate department of Davis Polk & Wardwell, advising clients on domestic and cross-border mergers and acquisitions, public and private securities offerings, and corporate governance and compliance. She also served as a law clerk to Judge Rosemary Barkett, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.
Afra earned her J.D. from Columbia Law School, where she was an articles editor of the Columbia Law Review and a submissions editor of the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, and her her B.A. degree magna cum laude from Cornell University, where she studied government, international relations and women's studies. She was a Board Member for the Iranian Women's Studies Foundation from 2000 to 2008.
At California-Davis, Afra serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the American Society of Comparative Law, as a member of the Faculty Council of our California International Law Center at King Hall, and as advisor the March 2010 Business Law Journal symposium on "Technology Transactions in a Post-Economic Crisis Economy."
Dedicating her post to Myra Bradwell (below right), Afra writes:
I became interested in her when I was a student at Columbia Law. The Columbia Law Women's Association held an annual dinner (which continues to this day) in honor of Myra Bradwell. There are many books and articles about Bradwell's courageous activism and fight to be admitted to the Illinois bar. Her struggle to win the right to be a lawyer, as well as her activism on behalf of women's rights generally, helped lay the foundation for 20th century women's rights activists. Personally, the Myra Bradwell dinner that I attended really inspired me during my first year of law school, so much so that I became heavily involved with both the Columbia Law Women's Association (serving as President in my second year) as well as the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law.
Bradwell joins other foremothers in IntLawGrrls' list just below our "visiting from..." map at right.

Heartfelt welcome!

Law and Outbound M&A by Indian Multinationals

Many thanks to IntLawGrrls for inviting me to say a few words about my forthcoming article, Rising Multinationals: Law and the Evolution of Outbound Acquisitions by Indian Companies, in this guest post. I am working on this piece in connection with my participation in the U.C. Davis Law Review’s 2010 Symposium, entitled “The Asian Century?” As many of you know, in the past decade India has become one the fastest growing economies in the world. During this period, not only have Indian companies achieved significant domestic growth, but they also have launched multimillion and multibillion dollar deals to acquire companies around the globe. What often comes as a surprise is that many of the acquisition targets are companies in developed economies, in particular the United States and the United Kingdom. Just last year, Tata Motors, part of the giant Indian conglomerate The Tata Group, bought Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford in a $2.3 billion deal that received world-wide recognition. This acquisition is one of the many outbound acquisitions completed by the various Tata companies in the past few years (including the acquisition of marquee British brand Tetley Tea). While the mega-deals seen in the 2005-2007 period have certainly slowed down during the economic crisis, Indian companies are continuing to acquire companies in developed countries. In fact, just a few weeks ago, Reliance Industries, one of India’s largest companies, announced its intent to acquire a controlling stake in LyondellBasell, one of the world’s largest chemical companies.
Finance and business scholars have begun to explore outbound acquisitions by Indian multinationals, emphasizing the business and economic motivations underlying these transactions. However, there has been little analysis of the significant role of India’s legal norms and rules, including recent shifts in the country’s regulatory and legal regimes, in the rapid expansion of Indian multinationals. I believe that law plays a number of important roles in the emergence of Indian multinationals. First, legal reforms launched during the economic liberalization period spearheaded by Manmohan Singh, India’s current Prime Minister and former Finance Minister, set the stage for outbound acquisitions by Indian multinationals. Second, legal norms and legal history provide Indian multinationals with competitive advantages that are largely distinct from that of firms from other emerging economies. Third, legal constraints on mergers and acquisition activity by Indian firms impose substantial restrictions not only on the methods used by Indian multinationals in pursuing outbound acquisitions, but also on the future potential of Indian multinationals. An analysis of the role of law and legal norms not only presents a more complete picture of the environment that has both facilitated and constrained outbound acquisitions by Indian multinationals, but also explains in part why Indian multinationals have targeted firms in the west. My article presents this analysis, which I hope other scholars, as well as lawmakers, will find helpful.

On December 22

On this day in ...
... 1989 (20 years ago today), the Brandenburg Gate opened so that all Berliners could join together for the 1st time in nearly 3 decades;
"[t]housands of people spilled on to the city's streets cheering in the pouring rain to watch the historic ceremony which effectively end[ed] the division of East and West Germany." Notable among the many items published this autumn to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Germany's reunification is this commentary, in which Dr. Mary Elise Sarotte (left), Professor of International Relations at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, explained reasons for continuing tensions between Russia and other countries over the ensuant enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

(Prior December 22 posts are here and here.)

Monday, December 21, 2009

IntLaw(Grrls) @ AALS

To head off the complaint of some last year respecting AALS programming of interest to specialists in international, comparative, and transnational law -- a complaint undercut in this 11-month-old post -- it's our pleasure to offer a list of all such events on the program of the 2010, annual meeting of the Association of American Law Schools, to be held January 6-10 in New Orleans.
The list is complete as possible (note that some meal sessions require advance ticket purchases). The list reflects the exercise of 2 prerogatives: sessions sponsored by the Section on International Law, of which yours truly is Chair this year, are featured in pink, and all IntLawGrrls and guests/alumnae are featured by hypertext and photo.
Here goes:

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

2 sessions as part of the all-day American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy Annual Meeting:
1:30-3:15 p.m.
Maintaining or Restoring the Rule of Law after September 11, 2001
3:30-5:15 p.m.
Building the Rule of Law after Military Interventions

Thursday, January 7, 2010

9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Meeting the Needs of Children During Times of Crisis: Hurricane Katrina and Beyond. Speakers: Kristi L. Bowman (Michigan State), Abigail English (Center for Adolescent Health & the Law, N.C.), Gerard F. Glynn (Barry), David R. Katner (Tulane), Charles Ogletree (Harvard), Anna W. Shavers (Nebraska). Moderator: Joan M. Shaughnessy (Washington and Lee).
9 a.m.-12 noon
Re-Examining Customary International Law and the Federal Courts. Speakers: Curtis A. Bradley (Duke), Bradford R. Clark (George Washington), Sarah H. Cleveland (Columbia), Carlos M. Vázquez (Georgetown), Ingrid B. Wuerth (Vanderbilt). Moderator: Anthony J. Bellia Jr. (Notre Dame).
12:15-1:45 p.m.
AALS Committee on International Cooperation Luncheon. Speaker: José Miguel Insulza (Secretary General, Organization of American States).
2-5 p.m.
Teaching Law to Students from Other Countries. Speakers: Cary A. Bricker (Pacific McGeorge), Juliana V. Campagna (John Marshall), Leah M. Christensen (Thomas Jefferson), John Haberstroh (Northwestern), Elizabeth L. Inglehart (Northwestern), Brian K. Landsberg (Pacific McGeorge), Deborah B. McGregor (Indiana-Indianapolis), Mark E. Wojcik (John Marshall).
2-3:30 p.m.
Roundtable Discussion on Comparative Scholarship. Speakers: Daniel D. Bradlow (American), Joan M. Heminway (Tennessee), John C. Knechtle (Florida Coastal), Ronald J. Krotoszynski Jr. (Alabama), Clive Walker (Leeds, England), Russell L. Weaver (Louisville). Moderator: Linda D. Jellum (Mercer).
3:30-5 p.m.
International Cooperation to Create Opportunities for Students. Speakers: Adam Kolker (Georgetown), Bert Lazerow (San Diego), Sophie Robin Olivier (Paris X-Nanterre), Juan Enrique Vargas (Diego Portales, Chile), Hariolf Wenzler (Bucerius, Germany). Moderator: Claudio Grossman (American).

Friday, January 8, 2010

7-8:30 a.m.
Joint Breakfast of Sections on Africa, Comparative Law, Graduate Programs for Foreign Lawyers, International Human Rights, International Law, International Legal Exchange, and North American Cooperation.
Section on Indian Nations and Indigenous Peoples Breakfast
► Section on National Security Law Breakfast: Dealing with a Resurgent Iran: Options & Strategies. Speaker: Afsheen John Radsan (William Mitchell).
8:30-10:15 a.m.
Food Security, the Financial Crisis, and International Regulation: Perspectives from Africa. Speakers: Waheeda Amien (Cape Town, South Africa), Daniel D. Bradlow (American), Erika George (Utah), Carmen G. Gonzalez (Seattle), IntLawGrrl guest/alumna Lisa R. Pruitt (California-Davis) (below right). Moderator: IntLawGrrl guestalumna Penelope Andrews (Valparaiso)(above left).
Working on the Wild Side: Wildlife and Animal Law. Speakers: Taimie L. Bryant (UCLA), David S. Favre (Michigan State), Katherine Anne Meyer (Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal, Washington, D.C.). Moderator: Rebecca J. Huss (Valparaiso).
Tribal Nation Economics and Legal Infrastructure. Speakers: Helaman S. Hancock (Coeur D’Alene Tribe), Robert J. Miller (Lewis and Clark), Judith V. Royster (Tulsa). Moderator: Angelique A. EagleWoman (Idaho).
Is Halakha Jewish Law?

10:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
Reforming the Institutional Structure of Financial Regulation. Speakers & Commentators: Jose M. Gabilondo (Florida International), Anna Gelpern (American), Erik F. Gerding (New Mexico), Jeffrey N. Gordon (Columbia), Julie A. Hill (Houston), Daniel Schwarcz (Minnesota).
Hard Sell: Job Search Strategies for Non U.S. LL.M. Graduates and for J.D. Graduates Wanting to Practice International Law in Local/Regional Job Markets. Speakers: Charles D. Cramton (Cornell), Valeria Elliott (Denver), Timothy M. Henderson (Holland & Hart, Denver), Clara Solomon (New York University). Moderator: Cynthia Adams, Indiana-Indianapolis).
Barbarians at the Gate (or Within?): New Developments in the Detention and Prosecution of Terrorist Suspects. Speakers: Baher Azmy (Seton Hall), Erwin Chemerinsky (California-Irvine), Robert M. Chesney (Texas), David D. Cole (Georgetown), IntLawGrrl guest/alumna Mary Ellen O’Connell (Notre Dame) (left), Stephen I. Vladeck (American). Moderator: Michael J. Kelly (Creighton).
The Transformative Effect of International Initiatives on Lawyer Practice and Regulation: A Case Study Focusing on FATF and Its 2008 Lawyer Guidance. Speakers: James Thuo Gathii (Albany), Thomas D. Morgan (George Washington), Ellen S. Podgor (Stetson), Kevin L. Shepherd (Venable LL.P., Baltimore), Colin Tyre (Arnot Manderson Advocates, Scotland). Moderator: IntLawGrrl guest/alumna Laurel Terry (Pennsylvania State) (right).

2:15-4 p.m.
Transformative Scholarship - Presidential Program I. Speakers: Dana Berliner (Institute for Justice, Virginia), Richard A. Epstein (Chicago), Neal K. Katyal (Deputy U.S. Solicitor General), Charles Swift (Swift & McDonald, Seattle), Catharine A. MacKinnon (Michigan), Maria T. Vullo (Paul, Weiss LLP). Moderator: Robert C. Post (Yale).

4-5:45 p.m.
Empiricism and Transformations in International Law - Joint Program of Sections on International Law and Law and the Social Sciences. Speakers: Susan D. Franck (Washington and Lee; topic: international economic law), John Hagan (Northwestern; topic: genocide/international criminal law; Susan Block Lieb (Fordham; topic: international bankruptcy law), Gregory Shaffer (Minnesota; topic: World Trade Organization dispute settlement). Co-moderators: this IntLawGrrl, Diane Marie Amann (California-Davis; Chair, Section on International Law) and Katherine Barnes (Arizona; Chair, Section on Law and the Social Sciences).
Food, Law and Values. Speakers: Bret C. Birdsong (Nevada-Las Vegas), Donna M. Byrne (William Mitchell), James Ming Chen (Louisville), Marne Coit (Coit Consulting, Arkansas), Neil D. Hamilton (Drake), Gregg W. Kettles (Mississippi), Guadalupe T. Luna (Northern Illinois), Margaret E. Sova McCabe (Franklin Pierce), Susan Schneider (Arkansas-Fayetteville), Stephanie Tai (Wisconsin), Thomas Wilson (Alabama A&M).
Adjudication in Immigration Law: Concerns and Realities. Speakers: Mathilde Cohen (Columbia), Jill E. Family (Widener), Michael C. McGoings (Immigration Judge), IntLawGrrl Jaya Ramji-Nogales (Temple) (left). Moderator: Lenni Beth Benson (New York Law).
Habeas Corpus in War and Peace in the 18th and 19th Centuries. Speakers: Paul Finkelman (Albany), Eric M. Freedman (Hofstra), William E. Nelson (New York University). Commentator: Robert J. Cottrol (George Washington). Moderator: John P. Reid (New York University).
The New Anti Poverty Advocacy: Constructs, Strategies, and Tactics. Speakers: Bernadette D'Souza (Southeast Louisiana Legal Services Corp.), Ron Lospennato (Southern Poverty Law Center), Jennifer J. Rosenbaum (New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice), Saket Soni (New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice). Moderator and Discussant: William P. Quigley (Loyola-New Orleans).
Remedies in Times of Economic Crisis and Financial Scandal. Speakers: John C. Coffee Jr.(Columbia), Lisa M. Fairfax (George Washington), Jack B. Jacobs (Justice, Supreme Court of Delaware), Andrew Kull (Boston University), Russell L. Weaver (Louisville). Moderator: Caprice L. Roberts (West Virginia).

Saturday January 9, 2010

7-8:30 a.m.
How to Publish International Law Textbooks and Other International Law Teaching Materials: American Society of International Law Teaching International Law Interest Group Breakfast, cosponsored by Section on International Law
University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law Breakfast for International Law Faculties
8:30-10:15 a.m.
Climate Change and Legal Education: It’s Getting Hot in Here. Speakers: Maxine Burkett (Hawaii), Michael B. Gerrard (Columbia), Maxine I. Lipeles (Washington University), John C. Nagle (Notre Dame). Moderator: Douglas A. Kysar (Yale).
New Voices in Human Rights Panel of the Section on Human Rights, chaired by IntLawGrrl Christiana Ochoa (below right). Speakers: Thomas M. Antkowiak (Seattle), Samuel P. Baumgartner (Akron), Robert C. Blitt (Tennessee), Jernej Letnar Cernic (European University Institute), Caroline Davidson (Willamette), IntLawGrrl Connie De La Vega (U. San Francisco) (above left), Gregory S. Gordon (North Dakota), Sital Kalantry (Cornell), Lillian Aponte Miranda (Florida International), David Pimentel (Florida Coastal).
Beyond Theory, Beneath the State: Islamic Legal Counseling, Mediation and Arbitration. Speakers: Michael Jay Broyde (Emory University), Yusuf Talal DeLorenzo (Shariah Capital Inc., Connecticut), Talal Y. Eid (Islamic Institute of Boston), Anver Emon (Toronto). Moderator: Sadiq Reza (New York Law).
A New Look at Old Age: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives on Law and Aging. Speakers: A.K. Dayton (William Mitchell), Rebecca Dresser (Washington University), Leslie P. Francis (Utah), Nina A. Kohn (Syracuse), Fusako Seki (Yokohama National University, Japan).
The Future of OSHA Reform. Speakers: Susan Bisom-Rapp (Thomas Jefferson), Jarod S. Gonzalez (Texas Tech), John Howard (Centers for Disease Control), Jayesh Rathod (American). Moderator: Paul M. Secunda (Marquette).
10:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
Hot Topic Program: The Transformation of U.S. Interrogation Policy
Speakers: this IntLawGrrl, Diane Marie Amann (California-Davis) (below right), Julian G. Ku (Hofstra), Sanford Levinson (Texas), Nathan A. Sales (George Mason). Moderator: Michael William Lewis (Ohio Northern).
Climate Change and Adaptation in a Federal System. Speakers: Vicki Arroyo (Georgetown), Robin K. Craig (Florida State), Daniel A. Farber (California-Berkeley), Victor B. Flatt (North Carolina). Moderator: Alejandro E. Camacho (Notre Dame).
The Future of Summary Judgment (Iqbal Case). Speakers: Edward J. Brunet (Lewis and Clark), Stephen B. Burbank (Pennsylvania), Linda S. Mullenix (Texas), Adam N. Steinman (Cincinnati), Suja A. Thomas (Illinois). Moderator: Ronald G. Aronovsky (Southwestern).
1:30-3:15 p.m.
Transforming National Security Law: Comparative Perspectives. Speakers: Robert M. Chesney (Texas), Jacques de Lisle (Pennsylvania), Russell A. Miller (Washington & Lee), Kim Lane Scheppele (Pennsylvania), Thomas Kwasi Tieku (Toronto). Moderator: Michael J. Kelly (Creighton).
Law and Anthropology: The Intersection of Law, Culture and Religion. Speakers: Rebecca R. French (Buffalo), Frank S. Ravitch (Michigan State), Melissa L. Tatum (Arizona). Moderator: Elizabeth A. Kronk, University of Montana).
Black Leadership in the Wake of the Obama Election. Speakers: Randall L. Kennedy (Harvard), Heinz J. Klug (Wisconsin), Sylvia Lazos (Nevada-Las Vegas), Terry Smith (DePaul). Moderator: Guy Uriel E. Charles, Duke).
LL.M.s and J.D.s Together: Synergies and Problems. Speakers: Kevin L. Cole (San Diego), Dorsey D. Ellis Jr. (Washington University), Diane L. Fahey (New York Law), Jennifer Kowal (Loyola), G. Ray Warner (St. John’s). Moderator: Michael B. Lang (Chapman).
3:30-5:15 p.m.
Law, Economics and Catastrophes. Speakers: Michelle E. Boardman (George Mason), Katherine M. Porter (Iowa). Moderator: Margaret Friedlander Brinig (Notre Dame).
Analysis of the Legal Education Systems Among NAFTA Countries Section on North American Cooperation. Speakers: Bruce P. Elman (Windsor, Canada), Luis Fernando Pérez Hurtado (Monterrey, Mexico), Mark E. Wojcik (John Marshall). Moderator: Josè Roble Flores Fernandez (Monterrey, Mexico).
Biolaw: Biology Invading and Transforming The Law. Speakers: June Rose Carbone (Missouri-Kansas City), James Ming Chen (Louisville), Oliver R. Goodenough (Vermont), Michele Goodwin (Minnesota), Christopher M. Holman (Missouri-Kansas City), Jonathan Kahn (Hamline), Eileen M. Kane (Pennsylvania State), Radhika Rao (California-Hastings), Andrew W. Torrance (Kansas).
Open Program on Globalization and Corporate Social Accountability
Open Program on South Asia
6:30-7:30 p.m.
AALS Reception for Legal Educators From Law Schools Outside the United States

Sunday, January 10, 2010

9-10:45 a.m.
Cross-Currents in International Law, Human Rights Law and National Security Law
Section on Co-Sponsored by the Sections on International Law, International Human Rights Law, and National Security Law
. Paper Presenters: IntLawGrrls guest/alumna Cindy Galway Buys (Southern Illinois, left; paper: “The Untold Story of Nottebohm and the U.S.-Latin American Detention Program and Its Lessons for Today”), Eugene Kontorovich (Northwestern; paper: “‘A Guantánamo on the Sea’: The Difficulties of Fighting and Prosecuting Pirates and Terrorists”), Michael P. Malloy (Pacific McGeorge; paper: “Caught in the Cross-Currents: International Economic Sanctions in Contemporary Practice”), Milena Sterio (Cleveland-Marshall; paper: “The Modern-Day Right to Intervene Under International Law”). Moderator: this IntLawGrrl, Diane Marie Amann (California-Davis; Chair, Section on International Law). Discussants: Erika George (Utah), IntLawGrrl Stephanie Farrior (Vermont) (right), Linda A. Malone (William and Mary), Peter S. Margulies (Roger Williams), William B.T. Mock Jr. (John Marshall), IntLawGrrl Hari M. Osofsky (Washington and Lee) (right), IntLawGrrl Jaya Ramji-Nogales (Temple), Gregory C. Shaffer (Minnesota), John Cary Sims (Pacific McGeorge), and Scott Sullivan (Louisiana State).
Originalism and Admiralty Law
Speakers: Robert Force (Tulane), Andrew Kent (Fordham), Garrick B. Pursley (Texas). Moderator: Joseph W. Dellapenna (Villanova).
9 a.m.-12 noon
The Financial Collapse and Recovery Effort: What Does It Mean For Corporate Governance? Speakers: Stephen M. Bainbridge (UCLA), Alan L. Beller (Cleary, Gottlieb LLP), Jeffrey N. Gordon (Columbia), Renee M. Jones (Boston College), Hillary A. Sale (Washington University), Teresa Tritch (New York Times Magazine). Moderator: Lisa M. Fairfax (George Washington).
The Role of Law Schools and Law School Leadership in a Changing World. Speakers: Michael Coper (Australian National University), Claudio Grossman (American), Aalt Willem Heringa (Maastricht, the Netherlands), Chuma C. Himonga (Cape Town, South Africa), Carl C. Monk (Washburn), Elizabeth R. Parker (Pacific McGeorge), Mónica Pinto (Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina), Cheng Han Tan (National University of Singapore), Francis SL Wang (Kenneth Wang School of Law, China). Moderator: Louis F. Del Duca (Pennsylvania State).
The Freedom of Religion and Belief Jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights: Legal, Moral, Political and Religious Perspectives
Speakers: Zachary R. Calo (Valparaiso), Peter G. Danchin (Maryland), W. Cole Durham Jr. (Brigham Young), Carolyn Evans (Melbourne, Australia), Malcolm Evans (Bristol, England), Gerhard Robbers (Trier, Germany). Moderator: Brett Gilbert Scharffs (Brigham Young).
See you there!