RebLaw 2014: Keynote and Endnote Addresses
30 June 14 05:41 AM | RebLawger | with no comments

Robin Steinberg's Keynote address may be viewed here.

Cristina Tzintzun's Endnote address may be viewed here.

 

 

RebLaw 2014: Thoughts and Take-aways - III: Unpaid Labor
31 May 14 09:00 AM | RebLawger | with no comments

Our panelists were:
  • David Yamada, Professor of Law and Director, New Workplace Institute, Suffolk University
  • Ross Perlin, author, Intern Nation
  • Rachel Bien, partner, Outten & Golden LLP
And I was the moderator:
  • Eric Glatt, named plaintiff, Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures, Inc., and 2L at Georgetown University Law Center
Note, panelist David Yamada posted his own summary to his blog:
I provided a brief overview of why I organized the session and welcomed everyone for attending, highlighting that the three assembled panelists are collectively responsible for the very fact that the economics, ethics, and legality of internship work have become a national issue. Ross Perlin described the evolution of the intern economy, summarizing and updating the findings in his book, Intern Nation. Rachel Bien outlined the core legal issues, emphasizing wage & hour questions but also touching upon standing issues regarding sexual harassment and other workplace anti-discrimination protections. David Yamada put these issues into the broader context of how law student career development, internships, etc., have evolved over the past 30 years.
The subsequent conversation with attendees was wide-ranging, including questions about the role of volunteering and pro bono work for law students, the neoliberal drive away from public funding towards more nonprofit charity work, a feminist reading of gender discrepancies between legal aid and firm lawyers, the tension inherent in both serving needy clients and demanding better labor conditions for legal aid lawyers, and whether one technique to create greater law school accountability might be exploring the Title IX implications of sending unpaid students to workplaces where they have no Title VII protections against sexual harassment.
I picked this issue as I entered law school already personally invested in it, as named plaintiff in a federal lawsuit that occasionally receives media attention. Frankly, since starting law school I have been surprised that there is not greater scrutiny of unpaid experiential learning practices, given its questionability under the law—instead finding what I would characterize as a blind embrace. This has become the central focus of my academic research, and I welcomed the chance RebLaw provided to share the product of my research to date and reflect on it among intelligent, engaged, well-informed lawyers and law students. Everyone from RebLaw I was in touch with in the preparation for the session was incredibly thoughtful, responsive, and helpful. It was a great experience all around.
- Eric Glatt
RebLaw 2014: Thoughts and Take-aways - III: Indian Rights and the Baby Veronica Case
31 May 14 08:58 AM | RebLawger | with no comments

Here's media coverage of our panel that gives a good idea of what was discussed: http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/03/12/baby-veronica-and-future-icwa-whats-next-153971?page=0%2C0

My initial goal with the panel was to educate attendees about Indian law. Given the high profile of the Baby Veronica case, that seemed like the perfect topic. The session went better than I could have even hoped for. The panelists all brought different and very valuable perspectives to bear on the subject. They hit all of the important points to the discussion and kept to our time plan, which left plenty of room for audience Q&A. 
- Katie Jones
RebLaw 2014: Thoughts and Take-aways - II: The Disability Panel
31 May 14 08:57 AM | RebLawger | with no comments

The disability justice panel brought a great group of activists and lawyers together for an energizing conversation and call to action. 

 

All of the panelists emphasized the problems of institutionalization of people with disabilities. TL Lewis of H.E.A.R.D. opened by asking the audience to take a moment to remember those who aren't with us and to think about what she termed "freedom privilege," the privilege to not be locked up in mental hospitals, prisons, and other institutions. Jennifer Mathis of the Bazelon Center talked about the importance of getting people out of institutions and integrated into the community -- a rejection of the "Disability Services Industrial Complex." TL Lewis and JT Tozier spoke about deaf people in prisons and the criminal justice system, describing for example how the police practice of handcuffing and binding a deaf person's hands, making it impossible to sign, is the equivalent of covering their mouths. 

 

Extending the conversation about institutionalization to schools, Bernard Dufresne of Advocates for Children of New York noted that kids with disabilities make up one third of suspensions in schools, a big part of the school to prison pipeline. Chris Griffin of the Disability Law Center described how young kids with autism are put in the prone position for misbehaving in some schools, and given timeouts in closets and boxes. 

 

Again and again, the panelists emphasized a message of outrage, not pity. And they ended the panel with a call to action for future social justice lawyers. 

 

Bernard told the packed room to "appreciate the small victories, even while understanding the broader context and the big system you're fighting." 

 

JT emphasized the need to be aware and recognize bias against deaf people. 

 

TL reminded the group that disability is ubiquitous and not always visible: "it can happen to anyone and it touches everyone." She asked future lawyers to apply disability consciousness to all areas of the law.

 

Jennifer cautioned the audience to not over-focus on law. Before bringing a case, she said, try go figure out where people are coming from and get them on your side -- including communicating with families, schools, and sheriffs. 

Chris challenged everyone to make disability rights activism part of their lives and practice. "Speak up!," she said, even about seemingly small things like making sure a meeting presentation has subtitles, because "the small things are big things." 

RebLaw 2014 Thoughts and Take-aways - I: Grassroots Organizing in Reproductive Justice
31 May 14 08:51 AM | RebLawger | with no comments
We were fortunate to be joined at our panel by stellar reproductive justice advocates from across the country. To begin the panel, student moderator Kaitlin Welborn asked each panelist to share something that they felt encapsulated their work. Keely Monroe of Law Students for Reproductive Justice gave a succinct, but rich explanation of the concept of reproductive justice, which is a multi-issue movement-building tool that looks at the root causes of reproductive oppression and calls for systemic change. Megan Tackney of the National Women’s Law Center shared the new ‘State Action Center’ of the This is Personal campaign. This tool allows everyday advocates to use the connectivity of Facebook to share information about state attacks on reproductive health care and to encourage affected friends to take action. Heather Busby of NARAL ProChoice Texas shared a short video compilation of images and clips from this summer’s rallies at the Texas capitol.

Our panelists were then asked to share part of their ‘secret recipe’ for reproductive justice grassroots organizing success. Malika Redmond ofSPARK Reproductive Justice NOW emphasized the importance of getting young people invested in the work, encouraging them to lead, and then getting out of their way as their capacity and passion grows. Tannia Esparza of Young Women United discussed the importance of being responsive to what issues are actually affecting a given category; everything that Young Women United does is informed by the communities it serves.

Kaitlin then asked our panelists, some of whom are lawyers and some of whom are not, to discuss how they interact with lawyers in their daily organizing work. This was a particularly productive point in the conversation, as the panelists gave ways that lawyers who are not reproductive rights litigators or policy experts can still aid the movement. For instance, lawyers are needed to help nonprofits with 501(c)(3) and fundraising compliance and to provide legal assistance to advocates charged with civil disobedience. Malika shared an example where her organization partnered with the ACLU of Georgia to host a free name change clinic for trans people. Keely encourage attendees to interrogate how they relate to the reproductive justice movement as lawyers with educational privilege: while lawyers have vital expertise and capacity, it is important that we listen more than we speak, and follow more than we lead, in a movement meant to be by and for underprivileged and otherwise marginalized communities.

We then opened the discussion up for questions and comments from the audience. One attendee suggested that lawyers undergo community organizing training so that they can better understand the perspectives of their organizer partners. Another attendee commented on the value of legal skills within rights-based organizations that otherwise do not have many lawyers on staff. One attendee asked the panelist how they balance defensive work with their longer-term strategies. Megan noted the propensity for activist fatigue and the importance of keep supporters updated on proactive work. Similarly, Heather mentioned the introduction of a bill to repeal Texas’s 24-hour waiting period law and an accompanying press conference as something that lifted supporters’ spirits. Malika discussed shackling of pregnant women who are incarcerated as something that all sides should be able to come together against. Tannia emphasized the importance of disrupting the framework that has been set up by those opposed to reproductive justice, and within which we all too often operate; we should be creating our own framework that better reflects our values.
- Jessica Hunter

My RebLaw session—Grassroots Organizing in Reproductive Justice—went better than I ever could have imagined. The leadership of YLS’s Law Students for Reproductive Justice, which I am a part of, picked this topic because we thought it was both current (with Wendy Davis, et al. in the news) and a way for law students to learn about something that they probably wouldn’t learn about in law school (reproductive justice, grassroots organizing). In terms of looking for speakers, we went for breadth over depth.

 

We wanted to make sure to showcase the “justice” aspect of reproductive justice—an area that covers so much more than just abortion or contraception. We wanted people on the panel who had legislative experience and direct service provision; people who were lawyers and not lawyers; people from big cities and rural areas; people who worked on national campaigns and in local government. Finally, it was important to us that we were inclusive and gave platforms to women of color who lead the reproductive justice movement.

 

One thing I was surprised about was how interested people were in speaking at RebLaw. We contacted 6 potential speakers and 5 agreed to be a part of the panel. While this made a much larger panel than average, it met our goal of showing how diverse and wide ranging the field of grassroots organizing in reproductive justice is.

 

Though it was definitely a pain at times to organize schedules and travel details, RebLaw was definitely one of my favorite things I’ve done at YLS. I’m thankful that we were able to share what we’re passionate about at Yale’s LSRJ with students from around the country.

 

Kaitlin Welborn

RebLaw Panel Details - XVII: Feminist Resistance to the Drug War
22 February 14 09:41 AM | RebLawger | with no comments

In this session we will explore the ways in which the U.S. drug war is a distinctly feminist issue, and the unique perspectives and strategies feminists bring to anti-drug war resistance. Our speakers will also discuss the skills they feel have prepared them to contribute to the movement, providing students with concrete ideas for effective organizing and legal education.

  • Kylee Sunderlin, Soros Justice Fellow, National Advocates for Pregnant Women
  • Kerbie Joseph, Women Organized to Resist and Defend
  • Kassandra Federique
  • Cilla Smith, Director, Program for the Study of Reproductive Justice, Yale Law School
RebLaw Panel Details - XVI: Grassroots Organizing in Reproductive Justice
22 February 14 09:40 AM | RebLawger | with no comments

Fighting for Wendy Davis in Texas. Defeating one of the first local abortion bans in the country. Empowering Southern women of color to develop their own reproductive justice movement. Running a national social media campaign to educate young people about women's health policy. Mobilizing law students around the country to develop legal expertise around reproductive justice. These are just some of things our panelists did in 2013; 2014 is looking even brighter.

Forty-one years after Roe, advocates are still fighting to keep reproductive health decisions between patients and their doctors. In 2013 alone, 39 states enacted 141 provisions related to reproductive health and rights -- half of which restricted abortion. While national organizations like Planned Parenthood most often make the news, grassroots organizers truly fuel changes in law and policy around women's health. Our panelists will discuss their successes, their struggles, and their advice around grassroots organizing in reproductive justice.

  • Keely Monroe, Director of Campus and Community Programs, Law Students for Reproductive Justice
  • Tannia Esparza, Executive Director, Young Women United
  • Heather Busby, Executive Director, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas
  • Megan Tackney, Outreach Manager for Health and Reproductive Rights at the National Women's Law Center and Campaign Manager, This Is Personal
  • Malika Redmond, Executive Director SPARK Reproductive Justice
  • Kaitlin Welborn, JD Candidate, Yale Law School (moderator)
RebLaw Panel Details - XV: Money in Politics: Equality and Elections in the Era of Super PACS
22 February 14 09:39 AM | RebLawger | with no comments

Our campaign finance system is undoubtedly broken. In the wake of Citizens United, money floods our election cycles with little disclosure or regulation. This panel will consider how efforts to undermine limits on campaign spending have changed our elections, and explore ways to resist the tide of money and its potentially corrupting effects .

  • Paul S. Ryan, Senior Counsel, Campaign Legal Center
  • Adam Lioz, attorney and advocate, Demos
  • Courtney Dixon, 2L at Yale Law School (moderator)
RebLaw Panel Details - XIV: Law, Organizing & Economic Justice: Mobilizing Communities in Crisis
22 February 14 09:38 AM | RebLawger | with no comments

Fifty years after the March on Washington, economic justice remains--in the words of President Obama--"our great unfinished business." This roundtable-style discussion will explore the roles of social justice lawyering, organizing, and policy in the continuing struggle for economic opportunity in communities of color. Featuring social justice legal practitioners and organizers from both in and outside of New Haven, this session will explore the particular barriers to economic justice faced by people of color and generate discussion around effective lawyering and advocacy models. Along with thinking about these issues broadly, we will focus on the roles of economic justice lawyering, organizing, and advocacy in our own communities and discuss potential avenues for meaningful change. 

  • Ady Barkan, staff attorney, Center for Popular Democracy
  • Connie Razza, Director of Strategic Research Initiatives, Center for Popular Democracy
  • Alexis Smith, Deputy Director, New Haven Legal Assistance
  • James Rawlings, President, Greater New Haven Chapter, NAACP
  • Caleb Pilgrim, chair, Legal Redress Committee, Greater New Haven Chapter, NAACP
  • Marbre Stahly-Butts, Soros Justice Fellow, Center for Popular Democracy
RebLaw Panel Details - XIII: Radical Activists and the Lawyers Who Defend Them: Animal Rights Case Study
22 February 14 09:37 AM | RebLawger | with no comments

This session will address the relationship between radical activists, the communities they serve, and the legal community, with an emphasis on how attorneys can work with and support those activists and communities, through the lens of the National Lawyers Guild's (NLG) developing relationship with the animal rights movement. The focus is on radical legal culture, rather than litigation, in order to make the point that radical lawyering involves more than merely bringing and defending cases. As the first integrated bar association, the NLG has long been at the forefront of expanding its vision of radical lawyering and social justice. Yet, it has at times also struggled to figure out how to build that expanded radical vision into the structure of the larger organization when legal culture champions cases over structural change. The panel will also address the ethical issues that accompany offering legal support to an activist community in which the lawyer is involved, as well as how to provide meaningful and respectful support to activist communities to which a lawyer does not belong. The panel will also discuss what it means to be an animal rights activist and about the experience of dealing with repression and legal consequences of such activism, and of working with attorneys when confronted by such repression.

  • Bina Ahmad, public defender with Legal Aid Society and National Vice President, NLG
  • Rachel Meeropol, senior staff attorney, Center for Constitutional Rights
  • Lauren Gazzola, animal rights activist and SHAC 7 defendant, Center for Constitutional Rights
RebLaw Panel Details - XII: Disability Justice: New Approaches to an Age-Old Struggle
22 February 14 09:36 AM | RebLawger | with no comments

This panel brings together leading disability rights advocates from diverse practice areas. Panelists focus on issues from criminal justice to employment to education to housing. They bring experience working with both children and adults and fighting for the rights and dignity of people with mental and physical disabilities. They will discuss their work, current cutting-edge legal issues for people with disabilities, and the relevance of disability rights to social justice lawyering in general. 

  • Bernard Dufresne, Staff Attorney, Advocates for Children of New York
  • Jennifer Mathis, Deputy Legal Director and Director of Programs, Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
  • Christine Griffin, Executive Director, Disability Law Center
  • Talila A. Lewis, Founder, Helping Educate to Advocate for the Rights of the Deaf
  • Jason Tozier, Advocate, Helping Educate to Advocate for the Rights of the Deaf
  • Rachel Judd and Dorothy Tegeler, JD candidates, Yale Law School (moderators)
RebLaw Panel Details - XI: Roots, Shoots, and Buds: Past, Present, and Future Perspectives on the Intersection of Law and Agriculture
22 February 14 09:35 AM | RebLawger | with no comments

Regulatory choices of law and policy profoundly influence our nation's agricultural systems and food culture. The recent upwelling of smaller-scale organic farming and growing awareness of the impact of industrial food systems on the environment and public health have brightly illuminated both winners and losers of the modern regulatory framework. During this panel, our speakers will critically discuss and challenge the current governance structure shaping food and agriculture in the US. We hope participants will walk away with:

  • A heightened awareness of the legacy of historical law and policy on American food systems and the biases it has exerted against small-scale farmers
  • Enhanced knowledge and tools to evaluate attendees' own relationships with food and agriculture, and to critically examine current and proposed regulation
  • Inspiration for new directions they can pursue to further fair, community-based agricultural practices
  • Christina Oatfield, Policy Director, Sustainable Economies Law Center
  • Gabriela Steier, Legal Fellow, Center for Food Safety
  • Margiana Petersen-Rockney, farmer and coordinator, Beginning Farmer Network Massachusetts
RebLaw Panel Details - X: Roots, Shoots, and Buds: Past, Present, and Future Perspectives on the Intersection of Law and Agriculture
21 February 14 03:14 PM | RebLawger | with no comments

Regulatory choices of law and policy profoundly influence our nation's agricultural systems and food culture. The recent upwelling of smaller-scale organic farming and growing awareness of the impact of industrial food systems on the environment and public health have brightly illuminated both winners and losers of the modern regulatory framework. During this panel, our speakers will critically discuss and challenge the current governance structure shaping food and agriculture in the US. We hope participants will walk away with:

  • A heightened awareness of the legacy of historical law and policy on American food systems and the biases it has exerted against small-scale farmers
  • Enhanced knowledge and tools to evaluate attendees' own relationships with food and agriculture, and to critically examine current and proposed regulation
  • Inspiration for new directions they can pursue to further fair, community-based agricultural practices
  • Christina Oatfield, Policy Director, Sustainable Economies Law Center
  • Gabriela Steier, Legal Fellow, Center for Food Safety
  • Margiana Petersen-Rockney, farmer and coordinator, Beginning Farmer Network Massachusetts
RebLaw Panel Details - IX: Progressive Action Through Local Governance
20 February 14 09:59 AM | RebLawger | with no comments

Federal and State governments can be difficult places to gain access, are slow moving and often dominated by a conservative politics. Americans’ primary and most frequent interactions with government occur at the municipal level. With these bodies being closest to people, more accessible, and generally left leaning in urban areas, they are fertile ground for progressive legislation that may never have same chance at the state or federal level. This panel explores the municipal-level legislative dynamic by using two Hartford, CT ordinances and their players as a jumping off point: one on immigrants’ rights and one regarding racial profiling. One was successful and one was not. These experiences are a jumping off point for a discussion on best practices, pitfalls, opportunities, limits for municipal law making, municipalities as kernels for broader campaigns and the role of legislative exchanges and model ordinances.

  • Nate Ela, American Legislative and Issue Campaign Exchange
  • Luis Cotto, former Hartford City Councilor
  • Tara Parrish
  • Mongi Dhaouadi
RebLaw Panel Details - VIII: Reducing Gun Violence: Local Approaches
20 February 14 09:58 AM | RebLawger | with no comments

With political will to combat gun violence at the federal level nearly nonexistent, state and city actors have been working to fill the vacuum. This panel will explore some of the recent ways in which local actors have sought to reduce gun violence, including both litigation and legislative reform, and will examine the constitutional and political questions that stem from such efforts. In addition to highlighting the San Francisco City Attorney's suit against gun accessories companies and a gun show promoter for selling disassembled high-capacity magazines in violation of state law, panelists include California Assemblymember Bonta, who was involved with the recent slate of gun control bills vetoed by Governor Brown; Yale Law School Professor Tracey Meares; and a representative from Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

  • Rob Bonta, California Assemblymember
  • Tracy Meares, Professor of Law, Yale University
RebLaw Panel Details - VII: Public Housing and Formerly Incarcerated People: Creatively Using Civil Rights Law to Support Successful Community Organizing
20 February 14 09:57 AM | RebLawger | with no comments

Over the past few decades, an increasing number of families have been barred from public housing or evicted because of a criminal conviction. In low income communities, where over half of families may have a member with a criminal conviction, people have organized to demand that affordable housing be available to all. New Orleans is the most incarcerated city in the most incarcerated state in the most incarcerated nation in the world. This is where two grassroots groups, Stand With Dignity and Voice of the Ex-Offender (VOTE) led a city-wide campaign to successfully change these policies into a national model. This panel will discuss civil rights law and community-based lawyering.

RebLaw Panel Details - VII: Sex Work and the Law: Choice, Circumstance, and Coercion
19 February 14 11:55 PM | RebLawger | with no comments
  • Who are sex workers?
  • What are the shades of autonomy with which one might choose to sell sex?
  • What legal protections are available and which legal challenges are most significant, and why?
  • How can practitioners navigate the tension between sex workers’ rights and human trafficking laws?

The initial panel discussion will leave you with many possible answers to these global questions and will equip you with some terminology and background. After the panel, small discussion groups will permit you to engage directly with one panelist. Each speaker will use a short case study to bring to life a real issue or dilemma arising in that panelist's narrower field of action (community mobilization, LGBTQQ, youth, defense work). It should be an opportunity for you to feel inspired by our amazing panelists and to see a few different, real, paths available to someone who aspires to a career in workers' rights and/or human trafficking. This session will also address how other practice areas impact sex workers and should be of interest to anyone who thinks that they might encounter sex workers in future work.

  • Marissa Ram, Equal Justice Works Fellow at Safe Horizon Anti-Trafficking Program
  • Kate Mogulescu, Trafficking Victims Advocacy Project, Legal Aid Society
  • Kate D'Adamo, community organizer, Sex Workers Outreach Project
  • Robin Richardson, Sex Workers' Project (moderator)
RebLaw Panel Details - VI: The Fight to End Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining in Appalachia
19 February 14 07:52 PM | RebLawger | with no comments

In the 1970s, coal companies seeking more economical coal extraction techniques began to engage in the practice of mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining in the coal-rich region of Appalachia. This practice involves using explosives to remove a mountaintop and expose the coal seam beneath. While profitable for coal companies, MTR is also a highly destructive process that causes many environmental and economic problems for people living in the region. This panel will focus on the legal battles to end MTR, highlighting the work of attorney Joe Lovett and his public interest law and policy organization, Appalachian Mountain Advocates. When Mr. Lovett began his practice in 2001, he was the first and only attorney dedicated to ending the practice of MTR. Today, Appalachian Mountain Advocates has grown into one of the most important environmental law organizations in Appalachia, commanding a powerful presence in the region. 

  • Joe Lovett, co-founder and executive director, Appalachian Mountain Advocates
  • Derek Teaney, senior attorney, Appalachian Mountain Advocates
  • Krisztina Nadasdy, 3L at Boston College Law (moderator)
RebLaw Panel Details - V: Unpaid Labor, Experiential Learning, and Law School: The legal, economic, and policy implications of the unpaid internship critique for law students
19 February 14 01:00 AM | RebLawger | with no comments

While the growth of unpaid work during and immediately after law school is frequently touted as a form of credentialing greenhorn lawyers -- conferring practical skills otherwise left undeveloped in school -- this session locates such "experiential learning" within the broader critique of unpaid internships, exploring legal, policy, and economic implications. The social desirability of mapping this practice onto student pro bono service will also be considered. It will be an interactive session inviting attendees to work through many on-point questions in small groups, based on material distributed at the session.

  • David Yamada, Professor of Law and Director, New Workplace Institute, Suffolk University
  • Ross Perlin, author, Intern Nation: How to Earn Nothing and Learn Little in the Brave New Economy
  • Rachel Bien, partner, Outten & Golden LLP, representing unpaid interns in cases against Fox, Hearst, Condé Nast
  • Eric Glatt, named plaintiff, Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures, 2L at Georgetown University (moderator)
RebLaw Panel Details - IV: Roper, Graham, Miller: What Now, What Next
18 February 14 01:34 PM | RebLawger | with no comments

The importance of Roper, Graham, and Miller is clear: No longer can juveniles be sentenced to death, life without parole for non-homicide offenses, or mandatory life without parole. And yet people continuously debate the larger impact of these decisions. These successes raise the question: What now? Have lawyers gotten better outcomes for clients not covered under Roper, Graham, or Miller? Have advocates been able to leverage these victories into legislative changes that extend beyond the decisions? Will the next case challenge the constitutionality of trying juveniles in adult courts and sentencing them to prison? And, just as important, have the set-backs in the wake of Miller threatened the prospects for broader change? This panel will attempt to address these questions while offering us insight gained by their considerable work and experience.

  • Vincent Schiraldi, Commissioner, New York City Department of Probation
  • Jessica Sandoval, Vice President and Deputy Director at the Campaign for Youth Justice
  • Brandon Buskey, staff attorney, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project
  • Marsha Levick, co-founder, Deputy Director, and Chief Counsel, Juvenile Law Center
RebLaw Panel Details - III: Immigration Reform: Executive Action in the Wake of Congressional Inaction
18 February 14 08:54 AM | RebLawger | with no comments

In the absence of congressional action on immigration reform, there has been a growing campaign for executive action to provide legal status to undocumented immigrants in the United States. In 2012, after the U.S. Senate failed to pass the DREAM Act, President Obama issued an executive order to provide Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to individuals who would have been eligible to adjust their status under the DREAM Act. Most recently, the U.S. Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill, which has been stalled in the House of Representatives. This session will explore questions of separation of powers as well as potential executive action and discretion as it relates to U.S. immigration and deportation policies.

  • Chris Newman, Legislative Director of the National Day Laborers Organizing Network
  • Ju Hong, DREAM Activist
  • Michael Wishnie, Clinical Professor of Law, Yale University
  • Cristina Rodriguez, Professor of Law, Yale University
RebLaw Panel Details - II: Fighting for More Just and Transparent Financial and Extractive Sectors
17 February 14 03:49 PM | RebLawger | with no comments

All too often, Wall Street and Big Oil successfully lobby for the laws they want. These bad laws and policies can have especially tragic consequences on the poor, whether in the US as a result of the financial crisis, or in poorest countries suffering from the so-called "resource curse." To ensure meaningful corporate and government accountability, transparency is a necessary first step. In this panel, leading progressive lawyers will report from the frontlines of the fight for transparency in the extractive and the finance sectors. Highlights of recent successes and challenges include: implementation of US and EU legislation mandating extractive revenue disclosure, calls on companies to disclose resource contracts, shining the light on businesses profiting from conflict and putting an end to secretive shell companies by requiring disclosure of corporate beneficial owners.

  • Jonathan Kaufman, Legal Advocacy Coordinator, EarthRights International
  • Heather Lowe, Legal Counsel and Director of Government Affairs at Global Financial Integrity
  • Jenik Radon, Adjunct Professor, Columbia School of International and Public Affairs
  • Eryn Schornik, Senior Research and Engagement Specialist, EIRICS Conflict Risk Network
  • Amir Shafaie, Legal Analyst at Revenue Watch Institute
RebLaw Panel Details - I: Deconstructing the "Baby Veronica" Case: Implications for the Future of the Indian Child Welfare Act
16 February 14 06:13 PM | RebLawger | with no comments

In June 2013, the Supreme Court decided Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, a widely publicized case involving the adoption of a Cherokee child by non-Natives over the objections of her Cherokee father. At the heart of the controversy was the Indian Child Welfare Act, a federal law designed to protect the best interests of Native children and promote the stability and security of Indian tribes and families. This panel will explore the history behind this landmark law, the current landscape of Indian child welfare, and the implications of the "Baby Veronica" decision for the future placement of Native children. Additionally, panelists will discuss how their organizations collaborated with both tribal and non-tribal stakeholders to develop legal, media, and other advocacy strategies for the case as part of the Tribal Supreme Court Project.

  • Claire Chung, 3L, Supreme Court Advocacy Clinic, Yale Law School
  • Jacqueline Pata, Executive Director, National Congress of American Indians
  • Joel West Williams, Staff Attorney, Native American Rights Fund
  • Sparky Abraham, 3L, Yale Law School (moderator)
Indian Child Welfare
17 January 14 07:38 PM | RebLawger | with no comments

In reference to the Reb Law Panel on Indian Child Welfare Act, this recent resolution by the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council is relevant - here

In brief:

The tribal resolution, which passes unanimously, states: "In any adoptive placement of a Cherokee child under state law, a preference shall be given, in the absence of good cause to the contrary, to a placement with a biological parent or parents; a member of the child's extended family; other mambers of the Cherokee Nation; or other Indian families."

The National Indian Child Welfare Association responded: "NICWA commends the Cherokee Nation on their unanimous resolution specifying placement preferences in the wake of Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl. It represents a way to assert the sovereignty ICWA recognizes and to work culture and custom into the state code via tribal code, and aligns with NICWA's published recommendations."

The Trans-Pacific Partnership
10 January 14 11:45 PM | RebLawger | with no comments

Relevant to the broad RebLaw theme of meaningful and grassroots participatory democracy is the debate surrounding the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The TPP is a highly-secretive agreement presently being negotiated by twelve Pacific nations, behind closed doors. The intellectual property chapter of the TPP, leaked to the public by Wikileaks, highlights a far stricter IP regime, with greater enforcement and penalty powers, than at present. Currently, the TPP is being attempted to be pushed through Congress through a fast-track procedure. It is to be hoped that there will be substantial mobilisation both now - to stop the fast-track procedure - and subsequently, to generate a public debate around this hugely consequentlal agreement, and the domestic legislation it will require. 

RebLaw 2014 Schedule
30 December 13 09:12 PM | RebLawger | with no comments

This is the Schedule for RebLaw 2014. A more detailed description of sessions and speakers shall be posted shortly. 


Friday, February 21, 2014

2:30-4pm             Registration (Room 122)

4-5pm                     Happy Hour

 

5:15-6:45pm      Session 1

1.     Indian Child Welfare Act

2.     Transparency in Extractive & Financial Economies

3.     Immigration

4.     San Francisco Affirmative Litigation Project: Gun Control

5.     Feminist Resistance to the Drug War

6.     Mountain Top Mining

 

7-8pm                     Keynote Speech (Robin Steinberg, Bronx Defenders)

 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Breakfast 8:30-9:30

 

9:30-11am           Session 2

1.     Protecting Residents in Municipal Bankruptcy

2.     Sex Worker Panel

3.     Organizing around Housing Rights for Ex-Offenders

4.     Campaign Finance

5.     Disability Justice

6.     Grassroots Organizing Around Reproductive Justice

7.     Progressive Action through Local Governance

 

11:15-12:45       Session 3              

1.     Sustainable Food

2.     Unpaid Internship Crisis

3.     Radical Activists & Lawyers Who Defend Them: Animal Rights Case Study

4.     Law, Organizing & Community Reconstruction: Mobilizing Communities in Crisis (BLSA)

5.     Criminal Justice Panel

6.     Education Law Panel

 

1-2:45pm             Lunch: Caucuses & Anti-Oppression Training

 

3-4:30                     Session 4 (Workshops & Trainings)

1.     Plaintiff-side/Alternative-models

2.     Identity and Self-Defense

3.     Self-care and Vicarious Trauma Training

4.     Movement Lawyering

5.     Marketplace of Ideas

6.     National Lawyer’s Guild Training

7.     Students for Justice in Palestine

 

4:30-5pm             Coffee Break

 

5-6pm                     Endnote (Cristina Tzintzun, Workers Defense Project)

RebLaw 2014: Introduction
07 November 13 07:46 PM | RebLawger | with no comments

RebLaw 2013/14 is scheduled for February 21 and 22, 2014, at the Yale Law School, CT. Information about registration and other details may be found on the RebLaw website, here.

Over the next few weeks and months, we will be putting up details about the schedule, various panels and speakers, and other relevant matters, here. Stay posted! We hope to see you in New Haven in February. 

Taxis in Connecticut
04 February 12 04:45 PM | RebLawger | with no comments

The taxicab accessibility story in Connecticut:http://ctmirror.org/story/14587/wheelchair-accessible-cabs-be-deployed-advocates-still-fighting

Taxicab Accessibility in NYC
04 February 12 04:42 PM | RebLawger | with no comments

We hope you'll attend our RebLaw workshop on Taxicab Accessibility in NYC and New Haven! Hear about the advocacy that led to this exciting ruling from the advocates themselves. http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2011/12/24/judge-rules-that-nyc-cabs-must-be-wheelchair-accessible/

Eaters’ Guide to Fair Employment
10 December 11 06:21 PM | RebLawger | with no comments

Ariel Stevenson

Restaurant Workers

Conscientious eaters are expert interrogators. They barrage their servers with well-meaning questions, like: Is it local? Is it organic? Is it fair trade? Did it descend from a proud heirloom lineage never sullied by human design? The server will smile, answer, perhaps even agree. It probably never crosses his mind that the saintly diner before him forgot one very important question: Are you being treated fairly?

Restaurant Opportunity Centers United is working to bring this issue to the front of eaters’ minds with the First Annual ROC Diners Guide. The Guide helps conscientious diners support restaurants with admirable labor policies, and avoid those that exploit workers. It looks at wages, paid sick leave policies, discrimination, and opportunities for workplace advancement. Though it isn’t comprehensive just yet—it focuses on restaurants in eight major cities and analyzes either national corporations or ROC partner restaurants—it’s a good start to raise awareness of what heretofore has gone all but unnoticed on the food justice movement agenda.

The end of the guide features “tip cards” that diners can leave on tables to promote labor rights among restaurant workers. The cards say things like, “You are entitled to… [o]vertime pay of 1½ times your regular pay for every hour worked over 40 hours in a given week.” That way, even if you’re forced to eat at a restaurant that doesn’t earn the highest ROC rating—which is inevitable since so few restaurants satisfy even a modicum of fair labor standards—you can advance workers’ rights by educating your server.

And don’t forget, a generous tip goes a long way. 

Short Film about Thai Floods Provides Unique View of Everyday Impact of Climate Change
10 December 11 05:51 PM | RebLawger | with no comments

Ariel Stevenson

Thailand Flooding

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change met in Uganda last week to discuss the current state of global climate change. The main conclusion of the meeting had a familiar ring: weather is changing, and it’s probably our fault (but we still need to conduct more research).

While the IPCC was debating the conclusiveness of the data, people in Thailand were wading through waist-deep water that has filled their shops, streets, and homes for months. The death toll of the Thailand floods has just topped six hundred, most from drowning. Economic growth is projected to be stunted at 2.4%.

This short film by photojournalist Gideon Mendel documents the everyday impact of these floods on the people of Thailand. It is a spellbinding image of perseverance in the face of hardship and adaptation amidst profound strangeness. 

Clarence Thomas Remains Silent for 5 Years of Oral Arguments
13 February 11 09:26 AM | RebLawger | with no comments

The New York Times writes "A week from Tuesday, when the Supreme Court returns from its midwinter break and hears arguments in two criminal cases, it will have been five years since Justice Clarence Thomas has spoken during a court argument. If he is true to form, Justice Thomas will spend the arguments as he always does: leaning back in his chair, staring at the ceiling, rubbing his eyes, whispering to Justice Stephen G. Breyer, consulting papers and looking a little irritated and a little bored. He will ask no questions."

New Frontiers in Fair Housing Litigation
03 February 11 06:03 PM | RebLawger | with no comments

In August 2009, Westchester County in New York signed an agreement to spend over $50 million to construct hundreds of affordable housing units for moderate-income people.  The agreement, brokered by the US Department for Housing and Urban Development, settled a suit brought by the Anti-Discrimination Center, which argued that Westchester had falsely certified that it would encourage fair housing when applying for federal grants.  The agreement stipulates that the housing is to be built in overwhelmingly white communities and aggressively marketed to nonwhites in Westchester and New York City.  This was a landmark agreement in housing desegregation and one example of innovative litigation strategies currently being adopted by advocacy groups and legal organizations across the country. 




Come hear about the Westchester case and other cutting-edge legal strategies being implemented to combat housing segregation at the “New Frontiers in Fair Housing Litigation” panel at 4pm on Friday, February 18.  
House Republicans Limit the Definition of Rape in Abortion Funding Exception
31 January 11 05:03 PM | RebLawger | with no comments

House Republicans' have introduced a new bill, the "No Taypayer Funding for Abortion Act" which would limit the exception to the federal abortion funding restrictions for rape to "forcible rape" only.  Nick Baumann of Mother Jones explains "Other types of rapes that would no longer be covered by the exemption include rapes in which the woman was drugged or given excessive amounts of alcohol, rapes of women with limited mental capacity, and many date rapes."  Is rape less so if done by drugging or otherwise?  The bill reintroduces the "force" element of rape that reformers have fought against for decades. 

 

Check out RebLaw's issue lunch on Sexual Violence & the Law on February 19th and discuss how such definitions impact the broader questions surrounding sexual violence.

 

The Rise of American Imprisonment
28 January 11 05:22 PM | tyson | with no comments

Panel: The Rise of American Imprisonment

February 19th, 9.30am

Over 2.3 million Americans are currently incarcerated and millions more are on probation or parole.  While some incarceration is appropriate, America's current system is indefensible. In addition to the obvious toll unnecessary incarceration takes on those imprisoned, its impact on impoverished communities and racial minorities is unparalleled. For the most part,
there is no corresponding benefit in public safety.  This panel aims to explore issues surrounding unnecessary incarceration and prison advocacy.  Panelists include an academic expert on the history and rise of America's unique system of justice, one of the country's most experience prison advocates, and an expert advocate on sentencing policy.  The ultimate goal of the panel is, as with all panels at RebLaw, to sustain outrage and stimulate advocacy.

The Future of the Labor Movement: What is the Lawyer’s Role?
28 January 11 03:24 PM | RebLawger | with no comments

 

Panel: The Future of the Labor Movement: What is the Lawyer’s Role?

Saturday, February 19th, 2011, 9.30am

 

We’ve all seen the bumper stickers.

Unions gave us the weekend, the 8-hour day, the middle class, etc. etc. But in 2011, with median wages stagnant and unemployment at record highs, it’s easy to think of the labor movement as something from the past. In the words of The Wire’s Frank Sobotka:

>

But the panelists at the Saturday morning panel are proving Frank wrong. With innovative legal and organizing strategies, they are building worker power to address the pressing economic issues of the 21st century. Join us as we discuss past campaigns they’ve worked on, and new opportunities for workplace justice.

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REGISTRATION FOR 2011 IS OPEN! Go go go!
27 December 10 08:07 PM | RebLawger | with no comments

Check out our homepage here and the registration site here for RebLaw 2011: Feb. 18-20. 

Our amazing/awesome/inspiring panels are listed here, in no particular order. 

Also, as a bonus, check out this rooster. So metal. 

Or maybe you like monkeys better?

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Single-Sex Public Schools?
22 December 10 03:05 PM | RebLawger | with no comments

Single-sex public schools have become increasingly popular over the last decade. Should we worry about this? Are there equity concerns here? Or is this just a better and legally justifiable way to serve some low-income students? 

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Homeowners Struggle to Find Lawyers
22 December 10 03:02 PM | RebLawger | 1 comment(s)

An interesting instance of well-intentioned regulation creating unintended problems: here

Is there a better way for the law to protect struggling homeowners? 

Another Legal Challenge to DOMA
09 November 10 11:05 AM | RebLawger | 1 comment(s)

Legal forces are gathering, hoping to ensure all marriages are treated equally

 

In Wake of Foreclosures, Homes for the Needy
09 November 10 10:53 AM | RebLawger | with no comments

Some innovative legal entrepreneurs are trying to use adverse possession to claim abandoned, foreclosed properties for the homeless--but is the law on their side?

Come debate housing policy, racial and socioeconomic integration efforts, and much more at this year's RebLaw Conference: February 18th-20th, 2011.

 

Prison Economics Drive SB 1070
31 October 10 11:53 AM | RebLawger | with no comments

On Friday, NPR unleashed a disturbing story on how the private prison industry influenced and drove Arizona's now-infamous immigration law (currently being challenged in the courts).  NPR delved into the drafting bill and the lobbying and campaign contributions that followed.  It found the private prison industry, an industry with much to gain from the law, involved at key stages.  

"At the state Capitol, campaign donations started to appear.

Thirty of the 36 co-sponsors received donations over the next six months, from prison lobbyists or prison companies — Corrections Corporation of America, Management and Training Corporation and The Geo Group.

By April, the bill was on Gov. Jan Brewer's desk."

RebLaw is hosting a panel discussing overincarceration and the prison economics behind it.

State Senator Pierce, a key figure in drafting the immigration law

 

 

 

 

Illegal stop and frisks abound in NYC
30 October 10 05:12 PM | RebLawger | with no comments

Bob Herbert penned a powerful Op-Ed this week about the atrocious rate of suspicionless stops that take place in New York City--which, of course, disproportionately affect young people of color, regardless of the neighborhood in which they are stopped. 

Read more about the report and the case, Floyd v. City of New York, here

RebLaw will be sponsoring a panel on the topic of stop and frisks during this February's conference (Feb. 18th-20th, 2011). 

WIRAC Students Stand Up for Immigrant Rights and Racial Justice
26 October 10 09:20 AM | RebLawger | with no comments

When Yale students discovered that police were harassing the Latino community in East Haven, they took action

Stand out! Be a Rebel: Come to RebLaw!
24 October 10 11:15 AM | RebLawger | with no comments

Don't be a conformist. Be a cool cat and come to RebLaw 2001: February 18th-20th at Yale Law School.

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Undocumented students risk lives (as they know them) for the Dream Act
24 October 10 11:09 AM | RebLawger | with no comments

The Times ran a great magazine article on the topic that paints a vivid picture of the victims of this debate.

 

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Specter Calls for SCOTUS Arguments to Be Televised
21 October 10 02:33 PM | RebLawger | with no comments

Senator Arlen Specter is calling for a law that would televise most U.S. Supreme Court arguments live. Is this an unnecessary formality--or will make the Supreme Court more democratic?

 vs.

Court Grants Stay re: Don't Ask Don't Tell
21 October 10 02:29 PM | RebLawger | with no comments

Read about it here

U.S. Military Starting to Accept Openly Gay Recruits
20 October 10 01:26 PM | RebLawger | with no comments

Exciting news. Do you think this change in policy will now take on its own momentum? Is more court intervention needed so that progress toward equity can't later be reversed? 

 

SCOTUS Reconsiders DNA Evidence for Death Row Inmate
18 October 10 01:28 PM | RebLawger | with no comments

Is a Texas law that allows DNA evidence in some instances but not other unconstitutional? The Post and the Times cover the argument. 

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Supreme Court Campaign Spending Decision Having an Impact
18 October 10 01:18 PM | RebLawger | with no comments

Spending is up on campaigns, ABC News, NPR, and others report--but does democracy or free speech benefit? 

"Culture of Poverty"--a dangerous myth? Or a web of social ills that deserves our attention?
18 October 10 01:12 PM | RebLawger | 1 comment(s)

In the 1960s, the Moynihan Report was criticized for describing a so-called "culture of poverty." The topic was off-limits for decades, but is once again receiving attention from groups like the Brookings Institution and even Congress, according to the Times

Is this a dangerous debate that risks blaming the poor for society's ills? Or a study that could help break the cycle? 

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Legalizing marijuana--state by state? What impact could the California initiative have?
18 October 10 01:00 PM | RebLawger | with no comments

Several articles--one by the New York Times, one on MyStateline.com, and another from the San Diego Union-Tribune--debate what impact legalizing marijuana might have on politics in Mexico and on American's health.

CBS News counters that legalizing pot in California still won't make it truly "legal." What do you think, Rebels? Is there a way to put an end to drug wars?

RebLaw 2011
17 October 10 10:22 PM | RebLawger | 1 comment(s)

...and i iz tellin you, come to RebLaw 2011. Feb.18th-20th. Yale Law School. U can haz sweet, sweet justice. 

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Wasteful and Ineffective?
17 October 10 10:12 PM | RebLawger | with no comments

 

A New York Times Editorial reports that New York State will spend $170 million this year on it 21 juvenile facilities and calls the practice "wasteful and ineffective." Can you envision a more just and effective way to help at-risk youth? How can we build a better (more rebellious) future? Come to RebLaw 2011 to discuss! 

 

 

How can we better help families and youth?
17 October 10 10:09 PM | RebLawger | with no comments

Rebels: How can we better serve children--and their families--to avoid tragedies like this?

 

Suicides Put Light on Pressures of Gay Teenagers
17 October 10 09:55 PM | RebLawger | with no comments

A rash of suicides puts cyber-bullying--and particularly the harrassment of gay and lesbian youth--in the spotlight. Can the law help? 

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/04/us/04suicide.html?scp=1&sq=several%20recent%20suicides%20put%20light%20on%20pressures%20facing%20gay%20teenagers&st=cse

 

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The End of Legal Services?
17 October 10 09:48 PM | RebLawger | with no comments

The Times worries that, in tough economic times, the future of Neighborhood Legal Services is in jeopardy.

Can Rebels unite to keep low-income legal services strong? Come find out at RebLaw 2011!

 

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Judge Orders U.S. Military to Stop ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’
17 October 10 09:42 PM | RebLawger | with no comments

 

 DADT

A victory for equality--but likely a long road ahead. What do you think about the recent ruling, Rebels?

 

Are you ready for RebLawwwwwww???
17 October 10 09:18 PM | RebLawger | with no comments

Save the dates. February 18th-20th, 2011. Yale Law School. Get ready to rock. 

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THANKS EVERYBODY!
25 February 10 01:36 PM | seth | with no comments

"RebLaw, smashing success!"

- the New York Review of Conferences


"Originalism, schmoriginalism! Thanks RebLaw."

- Justice Scalia

 

"RebLaw set my thoughts on fire with the burning intensity of one thousand suns. By Odin's eight-legged horse, what an experience."

- Actual conference attendee*

 

Now that the 16th Annual Rebellious Lawyering Conference has come and gone, we have time to reflect a little.

All invented but realistic quotes aside, RebLaw this year went fantastically. And I would like to thank everyone who had a hand in its production:  first and foremost, my fellow directors, who devoted nearly a year of blood, sweat and tears into making it all happen.  A big round of applause is also due for Sachi Rodgers, Sharon Brooks, Robert Post, Dean Mike, and the rest of the administration for supporting us financially, logistically, and emotionally, without which the conference could never happen.  A huge thanks to our panel organizers, who are responsible for all the wonderful panels and workshops that make the conference what it is.  We cannot forget, either, the diligent and efficient dining hall staff, who came in on a weekend and made sure that we had a space to mingle, and that feeding 700+ conference attendees was not a giant clusterfudge.  Thanks to the keynote speakers and panelists, who took time out of their busy schedules to come to Yale and speak to all of us, without payment, out of pure commitment to the cause.  Thanks to T. Lee, who did all the awesome artwork.  Thanks to our volunteers, who gave up their Fridays and Saturdays to usher people around just for the privilege of wearing a yellow badge.  And finally, last but not least, thanks to everyone who came to the conference!!!! All more than 700 of you were an absolute pleasure to meet and to host and to exchange ideas and party with. We're so glad you could join us and hope you can come again very, very soon.

For those of you still in New Haven, leftover RebLaw apparel will be available at discount prices. Keep your eyes peeled for an announcement.

Otherwise, keep on being rebellious y'all, and we'll see you at RebLaw next year.

Love,

Seth Wayne

Reblaw Co-Director 2010

 

*Not actually.

 


BONUS REBELLIOUS TRACK: Dead Kennedys- I fought the law

 

 

Welcome to REBLAW!
19 February 10 09:21 PM | oreillyh | with no comments

Thanks for coming.  Come find us in Room 122 if you have questions.....

 

Join NYU in Boycotting Coca-Cola for Its Human Rights Abuses
18 February 10 10:13 PM | Vanessa Selbst | with no comments

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Rebellious Track #6: Country Joe and the Fish - Feel Like I'm Fixin' to Die Rag
16 February 10 12:05 PM | seth | 1 comment(s)

This one's a classic, coming straight from Woodstock in 1969.  Country Joe McDonald and his band were famous for songs protesting the Vietnam war. In the Fixin' to Die Rag, they satirized the fact that so many young people were being sent off to fight with little conviction or understanding of why they were at war.

One, two, three, what are we fighting for?

Don't ask me I don't give a damn, the next stop is Vietnam

And it's five, six, seven, open up the pearly gates

Well there ain't no time to wonder why, whoopee we're all gonna die!

Why is this relevant now? Almost 80% of Americans think that dealing Afghanistan war in the coming year (a war which the majority has opposed for months), is "extremely important" or "very important."  As the war(s) drag on, it becomes easier to forget that there was a time when we weren't fighting.  It is crucial to remember that these seemingly endless conflicts cost lives.

In an interesting side note that conceptually ties the song to this conference, the band's co-founder and guitarist, Barry "the Fish" Melton, became a practicing lawyer and celebrated public defender in California, and even served as President of CA's Public Defenders Association.  He continued to play music throughout his legal career.  Activism, music, and public interest law? Sounds like the kind of guy we'd like to have here at Reblaw.  See what a career like Barry's would be like by attending our public defense lunch talk or learning about interview techniques from the superstars at the Connecticut PD's Office.

 Reblaw is just a few days away! We're so stoked to see you all here at YLS.

 

 

Something is happening along the U.S. - Mexico border...
15 February 10 10:45 PM | grivera | 1 comment(s)

In 2006, Congress passed The Secure Fence Act, calling for construction of 700 miles of fence along the U.S.- Mexico border. They were not prepared for what followed. "The Wall documents the construction of the border fence across the Southwest, and the human impact it has and constitutional issues that follow. From policy makers to citizens of border towns, the debate intensifies as residents respond to having a fence built in their backyard. We're thrilled to have the film director, Ricardo Martinez, present the documentary and conduct a Q&A.  Please join us for an open dialogue on United States border policy. 

 

border fence

 

Film Screening: "The Wall"

Q&A with Director Ricardo Martinez

1:00 - 2:30, Saturday, February 20

Guantanamo, Military Commissions and Civilian Trials
15 February 10 07:47 PM | bethcompa | with no comments

Bearing Witness to Military Commissions in Guantanamo

Friday, 4 – 5:30 pm, Room 121

 

The Obama Administration announced late last year that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other Guantanamo detainees would be transfered to the mainland U.S. for trial in federal court for their suspected participation in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.  However, reports are now percolating that the administration is considering reversing this decision, similar to its reversal some months ago on the release of photographs depicting torture.

 

Professor Eugene Fidell appeared recently on the PBS News Hour with former Attorney General Michael Mukasey to debate, among other issues, the decision to try terror suspects in federal courts.

 

Come to the Military Commissions panel on Friday afternoon to hear more about these developments from Professor Fidell and two students who have attended proceedings at Guantanamo!

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Locked Up and Locked Out
14 February 10 01:07 AM | tyson | with no comments

The Future of Labor Unions
13 February 10 08:52 PM | oreillyh | with no comments

 

Organized Labor in Our Age: Is There Still a Seat at the Table for Unions in the Future of the American Workforce

Saturday 2/20 at 3 - 4:30 pm in Room 128

 

As American jobs have transitioned away from manufacturing, union membership has declined. Yet, unions can still play a vital role in safeguarding the wellbeing of working people as the country climbs out of recession and high unemployment rates. Growing and emerging sectors like the service industry and green jobs are increasing in numbers even as manufacturing sectors decline. As technology and the landscape of American jobs evolve, the ability of employers to exploit and mistreat their workers lives on, and the need persists for working people to pool their strength to defend their rights and interests. Panelists will discuss the role that labor – union organizers and the workers who comprise union membership – will play in determining the future of the American workforce, and whether existing labor and employment laws are equipped to handle future challenges.

Panelists:

  • Dean Hubbard (Transport Workers Union)
  • Kathy Krieger (James Hoffman and AFL-CIO)
  • Liz Vladek (Workers United).
  • Moderator:  Yale Labor history professor, Jennifer Klein
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Friday 2/19 Schedule. Panels, Happy Hour, KeyNote, Party
13 February 10 11:16 AM | oreillyh | with no comments

Hi RebLaw!

We'll see you all in less than a week.  Safe travels and email us at rebellious dot law dot questions at gmail.com if you have any last minute concerns!

Feb 19, 2010

3pm:  REGISTRATION OPENS

4:00 - 5:30pm:  First round of panels.  They are all so interesting.  Good luck choosing between them.

    * Juvenile Justice From South Africa to the South Side
    * Balancing the Measurable and Immeasurable in School Reform
    * Domestic remedies for human rights violations: the future of Alien Tort Statue litigation
    * Bearing Witness to Military Commissions at Guantanamo

5:30 - 6:30:  HAPPY HOUR, YLS Dining Hall

6:30 - 8:00pm:  Welcome Address, Dean Robert Post then KEYNOTE address by Bryan Stevenson

8:30 - 10:30pm:  Party for a Cause at Lansdowne Bar and Grill (pay your own way).  179 Crown Street, New Haven, CT 06510-3005

 

Reducing Drug Crime Without Putting People in Prison
13 February 10 10:58 AM | oreillyh | with no comments

Reducing Drug Crime Without Putting People in Prison: The High Point Initiative

In May 2004, the High Point, NC Police Department launched an innovative crime initiative in an effort to reduce drug related crimes in the most violent sections of the city. The High Point Crime Initiative assumes that violent crime is closely related to street level drug dealing and drug use and that building individual social capital and strong social bonds is a key component in helping individuals to disassociate from criminal activities.

By eradicating open air drug markets and, thereby, eliminating drug-related crime, the program attempts to heal old wounds between urban communities and law enforcement.  A key component of the High Point initiative is community involvement, the theory being that the disapproval of those who matter most to the dealers is a greater deterrent than squadrons of police. The High Point Initiative first identifies local drug markets and then builds evidence for criminal cases against drug dealers caught on video surveillance. Next, law enforcement enlists the entire community to participate in the program.

Unless the community itself commits to addressing the problem, there won't be a significant impact on the drug trade.

Once the community is on board, the initiative holds a large gathering where the community confronts the dealers, reprimands them for their destructive behavior and demands change.

Learn More at RebLaw 2010, Saturday 3:00pm- 4:30pm:

  • Meg Reiss, Nassau District Attorney's Office, Investigation Division
  • Teny Gross, Executive Director of the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence
  • Rev. Sherman Mason, High Point Community Against Violence, Inc.
Check out the new NY Times Op-Ed by Linda Greenhouse
12 February 10 10:28 AM | oreillyh | with no comments

Check out the new op-ed by Linda Greenhouse about the U.S. decision to relocate the Uigher detainees to Switzerland, and thus to arguably moot out the Kiyemba v. Obama case scheduled for Supreme Court argument on March 23, 2010.

Learn more at RebLaw

Bearing Witness to Military Commissions at Guantanamo

Friday 2/19

4:00pm -5:30pm

 

Muslims in the Legal Profession Post 9/11: Saturday, 2/20 at 11:30am
11 February 10 08:29 PM | oreillyh | with no comments

 

Muslim Americans and the Legal Profession After September 11

 
A Conversation with

  • Sameer Ahmed, Skadden Fellow, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund
  • Umbreen Bhatti, Staff Attorney, American Civil Liberties Union of Delaware
  • Asaad Siddiqi, Associate, Walder Hayden & Brogan & Vice President, Muslim Bar Association of New York


 Saturday, February 20, 2010, 11:30 AM

Undoubtedly, the tragedy of September 11, 2001 transformed the Muslim American community -- but in what ways did this extend to perspectives on the law and the legal profession? Join us for a conversation on how terrorism has impacted, influenced, and encouraged Muslim Americans’ civic activism, political engagement, and attitudes toward the historically non-traditional career of law.

 

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KeyNote Announcers...are...Announed!
10 February 10 09:14 PM | oreillyh | with no comments

Hi everyone - We are happy to announce that the new Dean of the Yale Law School, Robert Post, wil be introducing our Keynote speaker, Bryan Stevenson, on Friday night 2/19 at 6:30pm in the YLS Auditorium.

On Saturday, Febuary 20th, The J. Skelly Wright Professor of Law at Yale Law School, Heather Gerken, will be introducing Keynote speakers, Lani Guinier and Gerald Torres.

Don't miss it!!! Register here.

 

9 More Days until....REBLAW!
10 February 10 09:08 PM | oreillyh | with no comments

This is how we are all feeling right now! Safe travels, everyone and SEE YOU SOON!

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Rebellious Track #5: Fela Kuti & Afrika 70 - Zombie
07 February 10 01:10 PM | seth | 1 comment(s)

Hey everyone,

 

It's been super long since we've had a rebellious track!  Going to one of the most incredible and revered musicians of the 20th century for this one, here's Fela Kuti's "Zombie."  For those unfamiliar with Fela, here's a brief snippet from the wikipedia description:

"The album was a scathing attack on Nigerian soldiers using the zombie metaphor to describe the methods of the Nigerian military. The album was a smash hit with the people and infuriated the government, setting off a vicious attack against the Kalakuta Republic (a commune that Fela had established in Nigeria), during which one thousand soldiers attacked the commune. Fela was severely beaten, and his elderly mother was thrown from a window, causing fatal injuries. The Kalakuta Republic was burned, and Fela's studio, instruments, and master tapes were destroyed. Fela claimed that he would have been killed if it were not for the intervention of a commanding officer as he was being beaten."

In 1978, at a performance of the song "Zombie" in Accra, Ghana, riots broke out, and Fela was banned from coming back in to Ghana. Now THAT'S rebellious. Oh, and the conference is fast approaching. It's gonna be damn awesome, so register ASAP if you haven't yet!

 

 

 

 

Locked Up and Locked Out: the Experiences of LGBT Prisoners
02 February 10 09:02 PM | oreillyh | with no comments

Locked Up and Locked Out: the Experiences of LGBT Prisoners

Come to this panel 3:00- 4:30pm pm on Saturday, February 20th!!

In addition to facing the often harsh and degrading conditions of the general prison population, LGBT prisoners face unique challenges in prison.  Prisons are designed and regulated on the assumption that all prisoners are straight and non-transgender, an assumption that is obviously false.  The three panelists on the panel all have extensive experience with LGBT prison issues: one as a scholar on issues of incarceration, one as a legal advocate for transgendered prisoners, and one with firsthand experiences as an LGBT identified prisoner.  The panel will explore these neglected and important issues from a variety of angles and promises to be one of the most rebellious at the aptly named Reblaw!

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Guantanamo Bay: A View from the Inside
26 January 10 09:05 PM | oreillyh | with no comments

Hear Gene Fidell, Travis Crum Valerie Kaur and Muneed Ahmed (an all-star line-up!) speak about their recent visit to Guantanamo Bay and their experience on the island, conversations with soldiers, and the inside perspective from inside the Military Commissions.

Bearing Witness to Military Commissions at Guantanamo: Friday 2/19 4-5:30pm

 

 

 

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“One of the most provocative and challenging books on race produced in years”
23 January 10 08:33 PM | oreillyh | with no comments

That is Publishers’ Weekly description of The Miner's Canary: Enlisting Race, Resisting Power, Transforming Democracy

Fellow Reblaw speaker, Ian Haney Lopez calls the book “a hymn of hope” for those who fear the future.

The authors of The Miner's Canary  - Lani Guiner and Gerald Torres  - are the Kerynote speakers on Saturday evening, February 20th! Come to RebLaw to hear more about this topic from the authors themselves! Register here.

In the book and their Keynote talk, Profs. Guinier and Torres will discuss how ignoring racial differences – color blindness – has failed. Race and power intertwine at every level of social interaction, from classrooms to courtrooms to congressional districts. Only cross-racial coalitions can expose these embedded hierarchies of privilege and – through innovative power sharing and democratic engagement – demolish them. Guinier and Torres call this concept of enlisting race to resist power political race. The methodology of political race has policy implications for affirmative action, racial profiling, criminal justice, access to educational opportunity, voting and democracy. It is a methodology for diagnosing systemic injustice and then organizing to resist it.

 

Mountaintop Removal Mining: 11:30am - 1pm Saturday, February 20th
21 January 10 06:07 PM | oreillyh | with no comments

 

One of the speakers coming to RebLaw is Julia "Judy" Bonds, a coal miner's daughter and the director of Coal River Mountain Watch. Over the past six to eight years, Bonds has emerged as a formidable community leader against a highly destructive mining practice called mountaintop removal.

In 2001, Bonds and her family became the last residents to evacuate from her own hometown of Marfork Hollow where six generations of her family had lived. Marfork had been virtually destroyed by mountaintop removal mining, which involves completely blasting off the tops of mountains so that huge machines can mine thin seams of coal. Mountaintop removal mining completely annihilates streams and forests, and causes extensive flooding and blasting damage to homes. The pollution from mining and the toxic chemicals used in the preparation of coal for market have been linked to rising asthma rates and other serious respiratory ailments, particularly among children, including Bonds' grandson.

In 2003 she won the coveted Goldman Environmental Prize. The prize is awarded to one person from each continent and she was the North American winner.


Since winning the award Julia and others at Coal River Mountain Watch have embarked on a road show to educate America about the clean water act and to educate and motivate Americans about where their electricity comes from and who pays the true price. 

Come to RebLaw to see Judy Bonds in action!

 

 

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Haiti Disaster & Red Cross Text2Help Program
13 January 10 07:31 PM | seth | with no comments

Just yesterday, violent earthquakes rocked the nation of Haiti, leaving thousands dead and thousands upon thousands more in need of immediate help.  Haitian President Rene Preval says the situation is "unimaginable" and describes stepping over bodies in the street, and hearing cries for help from those trapped beneath the rubble. For those of us too busy to make any serious aid efforts during this humanitarian catastrophe, an easy way to do a small part is to contribute $10, right from your mobile phone, to the Red Cross' earthquake relief efforts. They have already raised over $800,000, but much more is needed. Just text "Haiti" to 90999, and the $10 is deducted from your cell phone bill. What are you waiting for?

 

For more opportunities to donate or volunteer, check out Hands On Disaster Response.

 

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Hey Government, Don't Touch My Medicare!!
12 January 10 10:24 PM | seth | 1 comment(s)

By now, pretty much everyone is exhausted of the American health care debate, even though the slog is going on, and on, and on.  It's hard to stay dogged and determined, even for something so essential, when dealing with ludicrous assertions by even such credentially-well-endowed folks as Art Laffer (inventor of the theoretically sound but catastrophically misapplied "Laffer Curve"). Laffer, a Stanford-trained economist, warned viewers on CNN to "just wait till you see Medicare, Medicaid and health care done by the government."  I know, right? Come ON. But rather than being able to steamroll these ill-informed objections, the current administration battles on to get something done in the realm of health care reform.  As the New York Times noted today, even if a bill is passed, many obstacles yet remain, including the naming and vetting of a health care "czar" -- and let's not even get in to how the Tea Party crew has had a field day preying on misunderstandings about modern American usage of the word "czar".

Beware the moustache panels!

Imagine if you had THIS guy running health care. Beware the moustache panels!

As a proud canuck who grew up watching curling on my pappy's knee, I've always been particularly ruffled by the way Canadian socialized health care has been mischaracterized, derided, and dragged through the mud in the U.S. media and in the health care debate (this is a very mild example). Just talking to American friends of mine, many are mildly surprised to hear me speak favorably about the Canadian system- but ask just about any Canadian who has spent a while living in the U.S., and you will find out that we often fly back to the great white north when we get hurt or sick, just for the privilege of being treated there (and not just because it's free, the Ontario government will cover many health care costs incurred while living abroad in the U.S. as a student or for other reasons).

CHING CHING!

And before you laugh, that colorful money covered in polar bears, beavers and caribou is now at parity with the greenback.

While I won't deny that the Canadian system does, indeed, have many problems (it's actually a congolmerate of different systems across the provinces and territories), what it doesn't have is a shockingly large percentage of people who cannot afford any care, or are bankrupted by the care they receive.  Very few people in Canada shuffle off to the poor house paying for care to combat a disease bestowed upon them by grace of God(s), genetics, or chance. (On the flip side of the coin, according to a recent study, over 60% of USA bankruptcies in 2007 were medical in nature).  What we also don't have is waits for essential emergency service, which is provided immediately, just like in the U.S., regardless of one's insurance coverage or income level. While waits for nonessential services run somewhat longer than those in the USA, I can speak from personal experience that these waits are far from unreasonable. In the last 8 years, I have had three knee operations, all because I insist on playing a sport my body was clearly not designed to excel at, even though I have been told my skills are comparable to Michael Jordan. I could walk fine and participate in most athletic activities, but the particular planting and twisting demands of my sport of choice meant that surgery was preferable. For each elective procedure I had to wait a few months, but in return, I received world-class medical care, absolutely free of charge.

In fact, a recent popular show on national TV in Canada awarded the title of "the Greatest Canadian" to Tommy Douglas: founder of public health care in Canada, socialist, and Jack Bauer's grandaddy.

God dammit, Obama, there's no time!

"Dammit Chloe, there's no time! Pull up the schematics on the Laffer curve."

In fact, truths, damned truths, and statistics, all demonstrate that we Canadians love our health care.  Stop the fear-mongering, America, and bring on health care that would make your northern neighbours proud.

 ALSO, register for RebLaw!!!!  Now new and improved registration system. We're so excited to have all of you here.

 

 

 

 

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West Side: Fighting for the rights of domestic workers in California
09 January 10 11:36 PM | bethcompa | with no comments

When Vanessa and I attended the Shaking the Foundations conference at Stanford in the fall, we heard many fascinating and inspiring stories about progressive lawyering on the west side.  Luckily, one of those stories has a video -- check out Vilma's story!

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Rebellious Track #4: Immortal Technique - The 4th Branch
27 December 09 08:01 PM | seth | with no comments

Happy holidays, rebels!

 

As we are bombarded with images of rampant consumerism in advertising, 30 000 more American troops gear up to go to war in Afghanistan, and a new would-be Al Qaeda terrorist dominates headlines and brings the war on terrorism back into mainstream discourse (and travellers get interrogated by the FBI for spending "an unusually long time in the aircraft lavatory"), it's a great time to think about the role the media plays in the way we regard ourselves, our foes, and our own place in history.  Cue Immortal Technique.

 

 

Labor & lawyering: the Hyatt 100
08 December 09 05:01 PM | bethcompa | with no comments

Le Patron

One panel in the works for RebLaw, "Organized Labor in Our Age: Is there still a seat at the table for unions in the future of the American workforce?" will examine the changing make-up of unions in the US and the role lawyers can play in defending workers' rights. We look forward to a robust discussion with labor lawyers at unions and firms, as well as a labor historian. In the mean time, an incredibly compelling story has been in progress over the past few months in Boston.

The Hyatt 100 is a group of former housekeeping employees of three major Hyatt hotels in the Boston area. These workers, many of whom had been in their jobs for years or decades, were asked to train temporary workers in the late summer. Sensing something strange about training so many temps, some employees asked their managers what this push was all about. The managers reassured them that their jobs were not in jeopardy and they were simply training temporary workers to fill in when regular employees took time off or were sick.  In fact, however, the housekeepers were gathered together one morning and told that the workers they had just trained would be permanently replacing them.

Hyatt attributed this "restructuring" move to "challenging economic conditions"; the chain has faced declining revenue in recent months. Their incentive was to get rid of employees who made well over the minimum wage and had benefits in order to replace them with temps who would earn nearly half the hourly rate with no benefits. In other words, all the workers get screwed.

Meanwhile, Hyatt's higher-ups aren't quite hurting: "According to Bloomberg News and other sources in the business press, Hyatt earned $1.09 Billion on the sale of 44 Million shares of stock [in November]." (Source.)

These 100 housekeeping employees were not unionized and it initially appeared -- and Hyatt counted on this -- that they would have no recourse. But they reached out to Unite Here Local 26, which organized a protest a couple weeks after the firing to gin up negative publicity for Hyatt. (The Boston Globe has been covering this story extensively.) A public outcry went up, and cries for a boycott rang out. Individuals and organizations condemned the company's actions. Hyatt scrambled to find a way to save face.

Hyatt 100 and Local 26 protest at the Hyatt

"Several hundred hotel workers and their supporters turned out yesterday for a raucous rally in front of the Hyatt Regency Boston for the 100 housekeepers who were fired by the hotel chain. Politicians called for businesses to boycott the Hyatt, and workers banged on drums, rattled detergent bottles filled with rocks, and chanted 'Hyatt, shame on you' as they marched in front of the hotel with picket signs." (Source.)

More than two months since this effort got underway, the fate of the Hyatt 100 remains unclear. Hyatt has offered "alternative employment" with another temporary staffing firm. (As one former Hyatt employee points out, "We don’t want [temp jobs] from Hyatt. Because I think that is really unfair. Because we’re going to do to the other people the same thing Hyatt is doing to us.") 

Meanwhile, the governor and others have called for full reinstatement. Protests continue. The holidays approach, and the stipends Hyatt offered to the dismissed employees dwindle.

Local 26 continues to agitate on behalf of the Hyatt 100, and hotel workers across the country have taken up their cause.

Join us at RebLaw to discuss the Hyatt 100 and the challenges -- and imperatives -- to organizing service workers and other emerging sectors.

 

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Rebellious Track #3: Mos Def - Mathematics
04 December 09 01:31 PM | seth | with no comments

Most people know Mos Def's "Mathematics" for its dirty DJ Premier beat.  In his lyrics, however, Mos Def uses numbers and statistics to touch on a wide range of social issues, which, taken together, trace the links between racism, drugs, inner city poverty, the criminal justice system and the prison-industrial complex. Not to mention the fact that the hook also contains a sample from the movie Ghostbusters. Now that was a great movie!

The white unemployment rate, is nearly more than triple for black

So frontliners got they gun in your back

Reblaw Directors and Reblove!
02 December 09 07:13 PM | oreillyh | with no comments

A big shout-out to last year's Reblaw Directors (pictured below).  We just opened registraiton --- and one of the first few registrations and shirt purchases are from ---- them.  Reblove!  Keep on registering, folks.  We look forward to seeing you soon.

 

 

 

RebLaw 2010 Registration has Begun!
01 December 09 10:48 PM | Vanessa Selbst | with no comments

After a lot of work from the whole RebLaw team, we've opened registration.  We're still finalizing programming information, and will be making changes for the next couple of months.  But for now, come check out what we have in store, let us know what sounds interesting to you, and buy some RebLaw gear to help support the conference.  All the cool kids are doing it.

2010 RebLaw Registration

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Ann Skelton on litigating children's rights in South Africa
27 November 09 11:32 AM | seth | with no comments

Happy Thanksgiving to all the Americans out there, and TGIF to everyone else! As part of our preparation for Reblaw 2010, the Reblawg will be featuring commentary from our panelists on topics they will be discussing at the conference.  Ann Skelton, a human rights lawyer in South Africa specializing in the rights of juveniles in the criminal justice system, was kind enough to send us some material in anticipation of her exciting panel on the same topic.

 

Strategic litigation of children's rights in South Africa: A focus on sentencing of children

by Ann Skelton

Children were involved in the forefront of the struggle against apartheid. Iconic pictures and anecdotes of the Soweto riots provide pungent memories of this. As the end of apartheid lurched into view, rebellious lawyers in South Africa began to turn their attention towards the shaping of a new system for children in the criminal justice system, with a heady mix of protest, advocacy, and legal proposals for change. The coming to power of a democratically elected government in South Africa spelt great hope for the future. After 1994 rebellious lawyers donned sober suits and got down to the work of drafting laws and planning with government for effective implementation of systems that would improve the treatment of child offenders.

Incremental improvements were seen during the democratic government’s first 15 years - increased diversion of child offenders, the growth of restorative justice options, a reduction in the number of children awaiting trial in prison. In addition, a comprehensive new law, the Child Justice Act (soon to come into operation) was drafted). However, the struggle to ensure fair and appropriate treatment of child offenders was not over. ‘Tough on crime’ agendas were persuasive to politicians, and so South Africa saw the introduction of legislated minimum sentences, which were applicable to 16 and 17 year olds, as they were to adults. These sentences included automatic life imprisonment for certain categories of murder, rape and robbery. A life sentence in South Africa means that a prisoner must serve 25 years in prison before being considered for parole, and this pre-parole period is applicable to prisoners below or above the age of 18 years.

The Centre for Child Law has been undertaking strategic litigation on children's rights since 2003. The work was found to be necessary to close the gap between the promises made to children and the actual reality on the ground, and to shore up children’s rights in situations where new laws are introduced that are not in their interests, such as the minimum sentences laws. In a sense, this kind of litigation in the children's rights field presents a partial return to rebellious lawyering, within a democratic governance context. Strategic litigation, sometimes also called impact litigation, involves selecting and bringing a case to the courtroom with the goal of creating broader changes in society. People who bring strategic litigation want to use the law to leave a lasting mark beyond just winning the matter at hand. This means that strategic cases are as much concerned with the effects that they will have on larger populations and governments as they are with the end result of the cases themselves. South Africa had a vibrant history of strategic litigation dating back to the Apartheid era, and we have the advantages (since 1994) of a Bill of Rights in the Constitution which contains an impressive array of fully justiciable rights, relatively relaxed rules on standing, an inclusive approach to litigation and an independent judiciary. The rule of law and the separation of powers, whilst occasionally seeming precarious, are generally upheld.

In Centre for Child Law v Minister of Justice (National Institute for Crime Prevention and Reintegration of Offenders and Amicus Curiae) 2009 (6) SA 632 (CC), the Centre successfully challenged the constitutionality of minimum sentences (long terms of imprisonment including life) for 16 and 17 year olds. The court declared certain subsections of the minimum sentences Act to be invalid insofar as they referred to 16 and 17 year olds. The effect going forward is that when a court is sentencing any person who was below 18 years at the time of the commission of the offence, the court has full discretion and must follow the Constitutional injunction to use imprisonment as a last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time. This judgment and its implications going forward will be discussed in detail during the panel presentation.

Crime and Punishment in the United States criminal justice system
25 November 09 01:15 PM | oreillyh | 1 comment(s)

Our Keynote speaker, Bryan Stevenson, recently was quoted in the NY Times regarding his representation of Joe Sullivan, a young man sentenced to life in prison without parole for a crime he commited when he was 13 years old.  Bryan Stevenson asked the court to say that the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment forbids such sentences for youths under the age of 14 convicted of any crime, including murder.

“To say to any child of 13 that you are only fit to die in prison is cruel,” said Bryan Stevenson, Mr. Sullivan’s lawyer. “It can’t be reconciled with what we know about the nature of children.”

Bryan Stevenson is an outspoken advocate for fairness and humanity in the criminal justice system. As he said in a recent speech

"I have been trying to say things about poverty and race and injustice in America. It's not always an easy thing to talk about. There's a lot of fear in our society ... Within the work I do, I see it manifesting itself in some very tragic ways. Today, in the United States, we've had this phenomenon emerge that has fundamentally changed our society. It's called mass incarceration. In 1972, there were 300,000 people in jails and prisons. Today there are 2.3 million. There are 6 million people on probation and parole in this country, and the consequence of that is devastating. The United States incarcerates more people per capita than any other country in the world. For poorer communities and for communities of color, the consequences have been absolutely horrific. One out of three black men between the ages of 18 and 30 is in jail, in prison, on probation, or on parole. In some states, we actually take away the right to vote, permanently, for people with criminal convictions. In my state of Alabama, 31 percent of the black male population has permanently lost the right to vote. We now have economic incentives because we built these prisons to keep 2.3 million people in jail and prisons, and so there are a lot of folks who actually don't want crime to decrease. They don't want there to be fewer people in jails and prisons. And this creates this world where there are these real human problems."

To learn more about making the law work better for all people, come to Reblaw 2010!

 

Rebellious Track #2: The Pogues - And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda (written by Eric Bogle)
23 November 09 04:53 PM | seth | 4 comment(s)

President Obama has recently called a summit to discuss the Afghan war and to debate the contentious issue of whether to send 40,000 more troops to fight in the conflict that has been battering the country since 2001. Polls in the U.S. indicate that people are split nearly evenly on whether more or less American soldiers belong in Afghanistan. This comes along with the news (reported here in the New York Times), that Iraq faces a constitutional crisis in the coming year, on the eve of America's planned "waterfall" troop withdrawal in the spring, throwing another wrench into George Bush's plan to spread democracy in the Middle East with the midas touch of the American military. Never has there been a more important time to reflect upon the purpose and impact of war. Eric Bogle's mournful and inspiring song And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda (1971), covered here by Irish/English band the Pogues, tells the story of a young Australian man recruited to fight in the First World War and sent into battle at Gallipoli. The song eloquently expresses the brutality and futility of war, the fate of veterans, and the apathy of later generations, and has become an anthem for thousands of Australians and New Zealanders who make pilgrimages to Turkey for Anzac day to commemorate those lost in the battle.

"And as our ship pulled into Circular Quay

I looked at the place where me legs used to be

And thank Christ there was nobody waiting for me

To grieve and to mourn and to pity"

 

Rebellious Track #1: The Clash - The Guns of Brixton
18 November 09 01:58 AM | seth | with no comments

Foreshadowing the Brixton race riots of the 1980s, The Guns of Brixton (1979) reflected growing local discontent due to ongoing oppression by police.

When they kick down your front door, how you gonna come?

 

RebLawg 2010 alive and kicking!
17 November 09 05:48 PM | seth | 2 comment(s)

Hi everybody!

Welcome to the Reblawg, the 2010 Rebellious Lawyering Conference's official blog.  We are going to start posting regularly about all things RebLaw, and I hope you keep checking back to see what we're up to as the conference approaches!

As the weather gets colder, winter begins creeping up on the calendar, fireplaces turn on, turkeys are roasted and sleigh bells start ringing, we are all reminded of one thing: turning the legal world on its head through rebellious advocacy and activism!  RebLaw 2010 is beginning to draw near, and, in preparation, our loyal team of seven directors (with a lot of help, obviously) has been putting together an amazing program.  This year's conference is going to be better than ever, and we already have a diverse array of panels and workshops being finalized that are going to be incredible, featuring speakers from all over the U.S. and overseas.  First things first: we have three (3) keynote speakers this year lined up and ready to go.  On Friday, our speech will be delivered by public interest lawyer extraordinaire Bryan Stevenson, known for making his audience, and prosecutors, burst into tears, albeit for different reasons. On Saturday, we will have reknowned scholars, and two of America's premier critical race thinkers, Lani Guinier and Gerald Torres speaking together, which should be bad ass indeed. I recommend everyone check out their biographies on the RebLaw main page, or just google their names, to get stoked for the conference.

Registration will be available online in a number of days, and we highly encourage everybody to check as often as possible to see when panels and workshops have been put up, and to register as soon as you have a chance.  We will be adding them to the site as they are finalized, which should be very soon. Our panel topics include juvenile justice in the USA and South Africa, mass incarceration and its effects on communities, clinical legal education in the Middle East, the challenges faced by LGBTQ prisoners, the future of ATCA litigation, state terrorism in Sri Lanka, the destructive effects of mountaintop removal, and more! Reblaw will also feature an array of how-to workshop sessions, career-building lunch talks, and a documentary film showing. I am also pleased to announce that RebLaw is growing its base, and this year will feature the first panel organized, planned and funded without any participation by Yale law students.  To that effect I'd like to give a shout out to Gabe Armas and his sweet coalition of student groups at NYU, who are developing what should be a fantastic panel dealing with abuses of detainees at border detention facilities.

In addition to all this content, we will also be featuring, as always, free housing with local rebels, good food, and a chance to both network and party with your fellow progressives.  We will be updating this blog on the reg to keep everyone up to date with the latest happenings, so keep checking back to find out what's going on, when registration starts, what our t-shirts are going to look like (slick new design coming soon!).  We also will be bringing you informative submissions from Reblaw panelists to get you prepped for the panels.

We know travel can be expensive too, so we're going to find ways to connect you with fellow rebels to share the costs of travelling so that attending the conference can be cheap and easy (and have a smaller carbon footprint). A good place to start would be joining the Reblaw facebook group: just go on facebook and search for "Reblaw", it should be the first thing that comes up.

So get excited, keep checking back, and always remember to fight the power.

Peace,

Seth

 

 

 

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YLS Student Activities Fair kicks off Reblaw 2010
15 September 09 09:03 PM | oreillyh | 1 comment(s)

Today marked the kick-off season of Reblaw 2010 recruitment.  We had a lot of interest from a great group of 1Ls -- all whom seemed to have interesting ideas for panel or workshop content.  Last year's Conference drew a record number of visitors from all of the country -- over 600 law students attended.  I have a feeling this year will be even bigger!

All the Student Directors were on deck to help out!  A special thank you to Publicity Chair, Beth Compa, who did an awesome job setting up, getting snacks, and enduring the fly-infestation/ threatening rain clouds! 

Stay tuned for more updates and information about the September 22, 2009 Reblaw Panel/ Workshop Information Session!

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