Tuesday, November 08, 2005

How a Group of Law Students Shut Down the First Guantanamo Prison Camp 

Room 305 at 4:30 pm
Monday, November 14th at
New England School of Law

Meet Brandt Goldstein, attorney and author of "Storming the Court: How a Group of Yale Law Students Sued the President - And Won" . Golstein will speak about the book as well as what law students can do when they put their minds to it. And there's even free pizza!

Goldstein is entertaining and enthusiastic about his topic and his visit promises to be a lot of fun!

Copies of the book will be available at the event.


Friday, October 28, 2005

A week of Fair v. Rumsfeld - Nov. 7 at NESL, Nov. 11 at BC 

Warm up event:
Monday, Nov. 7, 3:30-4:30, Room 305 at New England School of Law.
Prof. Alan D. Minuskin, Associate Clinical Professor of Law at BC Law School who has been working on the FAIR side of the case will be on hand to discuss the case.

All-day event:
FAIR v. Rumsfeld: Exploring the Solomon Amendment Challenge
At Boston College Law School
Friday, November 11, 2005

The Coalition for Equality, the American Constitution Society, the Federalist Society, and students of Boston College Law School are proud to present this day-long conference on FAIR v. Rumsfeld, the landmark case challenging the Solomon Amendment, a federal law which withholds government funding from universities that treat military recruiters differently than non-discriminatory recruiters.

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear the arguments on Dec. 6, and this conference will preview the case's many dimensions and implications. Panels will explore the expressive association, compelled speech, and unconstitutional conditions arguments of the case. A luncheon address by Joshua Rosenkranz, lead counsel for FAIR, will be followed by a moot court, presided over by Herbert Wilkins, former Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, in which FAIR President Prof. Kent Greenfield will face nationally-recognized appellate advocate and "How Appealing" author Howard Bashman.

Please join Profs. Mark Tushnet, Paula Johnson, Larry Yackle, Diane Mazur, Charles Baron, Kathleen Clark, Bruce Hay, Joseph Zengerle, Margaret Burnham, Tobias Wolff, Taylor Flynn, Michael Gerhardt, and many more for this exciting day.

Free and open to the public. Lunch provided, with reception to follow the presentations. For more information, please seewww.bc.edu/clubs/cfe.


Volunteers Needed for Legal Protection for Gender-Variant People Discussion at Suffolk Law 

On Nov. 1st, Suffolk Law School will be hosting a high-profile panel discussion entitled “Legal Protection for Gender-Variant People: Challenging Discrimination”.

Participants include two well-known Suffolk professors – Michael Avery and David Yamada – and the Assistant Attorney General and Director of the Employment Discrimination Project in the Civil Rights/Civil Liberties Division of the Attorney General’s office. From what we’ve been told, the Boston Globe and some wire news services will also be covering the event.

The Suffolk University Queer Law Alliance is looking for a few volunteers to help out and make sure the event runs smoothly. If you’re interested in volunteering your time for a few hours, please contact Laura Freedman at lfreedman@suffolklaw.com as soon as possible.

It should be an event that triggers interesting discussion and thought.


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

ACS Northeast Regional Student Leadership Conference 

Registration for the "first-ever" Northeast Regional Student Leadership Conference is now open (go to www.hlacs.org)! The conference is free for ACS members (go to www.acslaw.org and join for $10) and offers a great opportunity to network, discuss and learn.

The featured event of the one-day conference is a panel discussion on "Equality and Justice Through the Lens of Hurricane Katrina." While some details are still being confirmed, there will be a lunch with a keynote speaker and student discussion panels in the afternoon.

At this writing there are approximately 20 students from NY coming, along with numbers from the Boston area ACS chapters at Harvard (the host), New England School of Law, Boston College, Boston University, Northeastern School of Law and Suffolk University. This is a great opportunity for networking with like-minded individuals with whom you could potentially be seeing for the rest of your professional lives.

For more details on speakers and the conference agenda, check out www.hlacs.org regularly.


The Passing of Legend 

School teachers, when teaching the unit on Civil Rights, usually use the illustration of a petite, unassuming but iron-willed black woman who refused to give up her seat in the front of a bus to a white man. Her challenge of the law sparked a boycott that gave critical fuel to the already smoldering civil rights movement.

Ms. Parks passed away on Monday at the age of 92, but her act will always be a classic illustration of a watershed event which caused a nation to sit up and take notice of the wrongs being perpetrated under the color of (ridiculously stupid) law.

From the Reuters story by Tom Brown this morning:

"Parks was not the first black Montgomery bus rider to be arrested for failing to give up a seat, but she was the first to challenge the law. For years before her arrest, Parks and her husband had been active with local civil rights groups, which were looking for a test case to fight the city's segregation laws.

Four days later, she was convicted of breaking the law and fined $10, along with $4 in court costs. That same day, black residents began a boycott of the bus system, led by a then-unknown Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

The boycott lasted 381 days, and the legal challenges led to a U.S. Supreme Court decision that forced Montgomery to desegregate its bus system and put an end to 'Jim Crow' laws separating blacks and whites at public facilities throughout the South. "


Friday, October 21, 2005

Employment Law & First Amendment Protections 

Richard Ceballos may be in trouble for one simple reason:
he performed his job exactly as he was supposed to

Supreme Court Case Discussion of Garcetti v. Ceballow
re: Job related speech and First Amendment protections

Tuesday, October 25, 2005 / 5:15-5:50 pm / Room 502
Snacks provided!

**Save the dates**
November 7, 3:30-4:30 pm - Rumsfeld v. FAIR discussion with Prof. Alan Minuskin, Associate Clinical Professor of Law, Boston College Law School and an attorney working on the FAIR side of the case!Re: Solomon Amendment and impact on First Amendment protection.

November 14, 4:30-5:30 pm - Reading and Book signing with Attorney and Author: Brandt Goldstein: Storming the Court: How a Band of Yale Law Students Sued the President--And Won (Scribner, Sept. 2005) – note: Warner Brothers just bought the movie rights to this book!


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Miers Senate Questionnaire Responses 

You can read all 57 pages of the Senate questionnaire completed by Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers if you care to. She's not very clear on a lot of dates - they're either "not available" or are in a range. Some of them aren't incredibly relevant, such as the time during which she was a "Computer Center Helper" at the Southwestern Medical School, but I would have thought that she could have come up with something more narrow than "Sometime between 1963 and 1972."

Anyway, you can link to her Financial Disclosure Report and Financial Statement, along with the Final Questionnaire, from Sen. Patrick Leahy's website.

The Senate hearings on her nomination will commence on November 7.


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Saturday's Movie: Deadline 

ACS of NESL will be presenting the documentary Deadline this Saturday (Oct. 15) in room 507, from 2-4 pm. Full details about this film can be found at the official website, but here's the blurb:
In January 2003, Republican Governor George Ryan granted blanket clemency to all 167 people on death row in Illinois, commuting their sentences to life without parole. With astounding access to special clemency hearings, the death row prisoners, exonerated men and Governor Ryan himself, directors Katy Chevigny and Kirsten Johnson bring us directly into the emotional and legal storm surrounding Ryan's extraordinary decision.
From Anita Gates of the New York Times:
The film includes comments from a number of experts, including the author and lawyer Scott Turow and representatives of organizations like the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the Center on Wrongful Convictions in Chicago. Stephen Bright, director of the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta, laments the opinion of many politicians that "the ultimate way to show you're tough is the death penalty." No wonder Governor Ryan said, on the day he announced his decision, "I didn't believe I would do it myself."


Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Update / Very Cool Additions to ACS of NESL Event Calendar 

Below is an updated calendar for ACS of NESL Fall Events!

Two items to note:
(1) The November 7 discussion of Rumsfeld v. FAIR will have an outside speaker, notably Alan D. Minuskin, Associate Clinical Professor of Law at BC Law School who has been working on the FAIR side of the case!

(2) Reading and Booksigning with Attorney and Author Brandt Goldstein
Storming the Court: How a Band of Yale Law Students Sued the President--And Won (Scribner, Sept. 2005) - note: Warner Brothers just bought the movie rights to this book!

The true story of a group of Yale law students who took on the U.S. government to free innocent political refugees held at Guantanamo Bay in the early 1990s. Goldstein says, "If I've done my job right, I've written a human rights legal thriller - a tale about passionate idealists determined to hold America to its highest principles . . . and the collision between those principles and the harsh realities of the political world and the courts." For more information, visit http://www.brandgoldstein.com/
Monday, November 14, 2005 / 4:30-5:30 pm / ROOM TBA - Watch for notices!

As always, plan ahead and bring a friend!

SCT Kickoff Discussion with Prof. Lawrence Friedman: Gonzales v. Oregon
Re: assisted suicide and the Controlled Substances Act.
Oct. 5, 2005 / Room 504 / 5:00 – 5:50 pm.

ACS Movie Matinee: “Deadline”
Documentary on the Illinois governor and death row.
Oct. 15, 2005 / Room: 507 / 2:00 - 4:00 pm.

SCT Case Discussion: Garcetti v. Ceballow
Re: Job related speech and First Amendment protections
Oct. 25, 2005 / Room 503 / 5:14 – 5:50 pm

SCT Case Discussion: Rumsfeld v. Forum for Academic and Institutional RightsSpeaker: Alan D. Minuskin, Associate Clinical Professor of Law, Boston College Law Schooland an attorney working on the FAIR side of the case!
Re: Solomon Amendment and impact on First Amendment protection.
Nov. 7, 2005 / Room 303* / 3:30 – 4:30 pm
*look for possible room change, as ACLU and other groups have expressed interest in co-sponsoring.

Reading and Booksigning with Attorney and Author: Brandt Goldstein
Storming the Court: How a Band of Yale Law Students Sued the President--And Won (Scribner, Sept. 2005) – note: Warner Brothers just bought the movie rights to this book!
This is the true story of a group of Yale law students who took on the U.S. government to free innocent political refugees held at Guantanamo Bay in the early 1990s. Goldstein says, “If I’ve done my job right, I’ve written a human rights legal thriller – a tale about passionate idealists determined to hold America to its highest principles . . . and the collision between those principles and the harsh realities of the political world and the courts.”
Monday, November 14, 2005 / 4:30-5:30 pm / ROOM TBA – Watch for notices!

Movie #3: Ghosts of Rwanda – opening remarks from Prof. Ansah of NESL.
Documentary marking the 10-year anniversary of the Rwanda genocide.
Nov. 15, 2005 / Room 507 / 8:00 – 10:00 pm


Monday, October 03, 2005

Gonzales v. Oregon Discussion - Wed., Oct. 5 

American Constitution Society of NESL
Supreme Court Case Discussion with Prof. Lawrence Friedman

Gonzales v. Oregon, 368 F.3d 1118 (9th Circuit 2004)
Is prescribing a lethal dose of drugs a legitimate medical use?

ACS of NESL kicks off the new Supreme Court term of the Roberts Court with a discussion of States Rights, Federal Preemption, and Assisted Suicide

Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2005
Room 504
5:00 – 5:45 pm.


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

ACS Boston Lawyer Event: "What's at Stake in the Upcoming Supreme Court Term?" 

The Roberts Nomination and the O'Connor Vacancy: What's at Stake in the Upcoming Supreme Court Term?"

A panel featuring Charles Fried, Beneficial Professor of Law, Harvard Law School and former Solicitor General under President Ronald Reagan; Kent Greenfield, Professor of Law, Boston College Law School and Elliot Mincberg, Vice President, General Counsel, and Education Policy Director, People for the American Way. Moderated by Renee Landers, Associate Professor of Law, Suffolk University Law School.

Thursday, September 29, 6:00 pm-7:30 pm. The Brown Rudnick Center for the Public Interest, One Financial Center, Boston. Refreshments will be served. Due to a generous grant from the Open Society Institute, this event is free.

RSVP to Boston@ACSLaw.org by Wednesday, September 28 at 5pm.


Thursday, September 22, 2005

"Deadline" Rescheduled for Constitution Day Forum with Justice Cordy 

The ACS of NESL's screening and discussion of "Deadline," the movie regarding the Illinios governor's pardoning of several and granting of clemancy to the rest of the death row inmates, has been re-scheduled for October 15, 2005 in order to not conflict with the Lawmatters Discussion to be held by the NESL Faculty and the The Center for Law and Responsibility. ACS's screening of "Unconstitutional" will be rescheduled at a later date, probably during the Spring 2006 semester.

Constitutional Law Forum to Feature Justice Cordy

The Center for Law and Social Responsibility, in conjunction with the New England School of Law's celebration of Constitution Day 2005, presents its first LawMatters discussion for the academic year. "Changes on the Supreme Court and the Future of American Constitutionalism" will be held on September 27 at 4 pm in the Cherry Room on the second floor of the library.

Justice Robert J. Cordy of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court will join Constitutional Law professors George Dargo, Sonya Garza, Lawrence Friedman, and Elizabeth Spahn for a discussion with the New England School of Law Community. All students are welcome and urged to participate. Light refreshments will be served.


Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Massachusetts: No Amendment 

The constitutional convention today featured less than two hours of debate today before the combined legislative bodies rejected the proposed constitutional amendment that would bar marriage equality but establish civil unions, 157-39.

There is the possiblity of a citizen initiated ballot question in November 2008 if the question's backers can collect the 65,825 required signatures and receive 25% of the votes in the legislature in two consecutive sessions. That question would bar same sex marriage, bar civil unions and nullify existing marriages between same sex couples.


US District Court: Pledge Unconstitutional 

US District Judge Lawrence Karlton relied on a 2002 9th Circuit decision today when he ruled that requiring children to recite the Pledge of Allegiance (in its current form) violated their right to be "free from a coercive requirement to affirm God." The decision granted standing to two families.

The 2002 decision was in favor of plaintiff Michael Newdow, who is representing the families in the present case. Newdow's own case went to the Supreme Court last year, but the high court determined that he had no standing, as he was not the custodial parent of the school child involved.


Friday, September 09, 2005

4th Circuit: Detain At Will 

A 3-judge panel of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals today ruled that the President has the authority to detain indefinitely a US citizen suspected of involvement with al-Quada. No charges, hearing or trial necessary. Judges Michael Luttig, M. Blane Michael and William B. Traxler, Jr. reversed a district court order that Jose Padilla must be charged or released, as his now three-year detention has been in violation of his due process rights.

Attorney General Gonzales sees it this way:
As the court noted today, the authority to detain enemy combatants like Jose Padilla plays an important role in protecting American citizens from the very kind of savage attack that took place almost four years ago to the day," Gonzales said.

He did not mention that Padilla is at this point only suspected of criminal activity, as no charges have been brought, let alone convictions entered. Whether he is guilty of the allegations or not, at this point he is no more than an uncharged suspect, and this decision poses a threat to anyone labeled an enemy by the executive branch. No hearing necessary, no complicated charges required, just away you go.

Padilla will likely appeal (once more) to the US Supreme Court. The high court avoided ruling on the substance of the previous habeus appeal by determining that his case had been filed in the wrong jurisdiction (Rumsfeld v. Padilla, 542 U.S. 426).

The case decided today is Padilla v. Hanft.


Monday, September 05, 2005

The Roberts Court? 

With Pres. Bush's nomination of Judge John Roberts to the position of Chief Justice, the Associate Justice slot currently held by retiring Justice O'Connors is back in play. How will this change affect the dynamic of the Roberts confirmation hearings? Will the senators have enough time to prepare properly for hearings of a similar nature but with even greater long term impact? Will the president continue in his efforts to move the court to an even more conservative bent, or will he attempt to heal some wounds by nominating someone more moderate?

Feel the need to discuss these and other questions? Come to the ACS Welcome/Information Reception in the Cherry Room this Thursday, September 8 from 4:30-6:00 and explore the issues with NESL students and professors, members of the Boston Lawyers Chapter and members of other Boston area student chapters. Everyone's got their opinion - let's hear yours.


Sunday, September 04, 2005

Chief Justice William Rehnquist, 1924-2005 

Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist died yesterday at the age of 80. He had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer last fall and missed part of the court's term, but had returned to work and pledged to continue to serve.

The nation is already preparing for the confirmation hearings on the nominee to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. At first Pres. Bush's nomination of Appellate Court Judge John Roberts was seen by many to be a fairly moderate choice in preparation for a more hard-line Chief Justice nominee in the future, but as more information has been brought to light about Judge Roberts, the more controversial he has become.

The president was likely hoping to have more time after the Roberts hearings to repair any goodwill problems that might arise, but he won't have that luxury at this point. The Bush Administration is already facing severe criticism in the last week for what is perceived by many to be federal mishandling of the hurricane that savaged the Gulf Coast.

This could turn into a series of three confirmation hearings, should Pres. Bush decide to elevate a sitting justice to the CJ position. Many have speculated that the president would like to see Justice Antonin Scalia, whom he has described as his model for a nominee, wearing the gold stripes. A Scalia confirmation battle would be extremely divisive, given the Justice's hard line conservative philosophy towards constitutional law, and his originalist, text driven interpretation which does not allow for the application of the Constitution to evolve with society.


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