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Nancy S. Marder’s forthcoming article in the Arizona State Law Journal, The Conundrum of Cameras in the Courtroom, 44 Ariz. St. L.J. 1489 (2013), was quoted in the New York Times on February 18, 2012. The New York Times piece by Adam Liptak, Bucking a Trend, Supreme Court Justices Reject Video Coverage, addresses the U.S. Supreme Court’s reluctance allow cameras into the highest court in the land.
“A pair of new law review articles tries to make sense of the gaps between the American and international approaches. In one of them, in The Arizona State Law Journal, Nancy S. Marder, who teaches at the Chicago-Kent College of Law at the Illinois Institute of Technology, noted correctly that ‘most countries do not allow cameras in their courtrooms’ and concluded that ‘cameras in federal courtrooms will do more harm than good at this time.’ In an interview, she said she worried about a culture in which ‘everything becomes entertainment, focusing on the gaffe.’”
Congratulations to Ms. Marder and members of Arizona State Law Journal for their work on the article.
This article has been written by guest author Harvey Gilmore, LL.M., J.D., Professor Monroe College.
There is a great body of research that states that there is a great deal of career dissatisfaction in the legal profession. Yes, it is true that there are a number of practicing attorneys who detest what they do. Yes, there are any number of stories about attorneys who have suffered from depression, substance abuse, and have even attempted suicide.
However, I am here to tell you that just because there are several horror stories out there, do not automatically assume that you will become the next statistic, just one more victim of job burnout. Why? Not only are there attorneys who enjoy what they do, but there are also law school graduates who enjoy what they do. I know; I am a happy member of the second group. I know what it is to go to a job that one can’t stand. I was an accountant for ten years before I went to law school, and hated a couple of jobs that I had early in my career. Believe me, when one hates his job, he does not look forward to the next day. He cannot get a good night’s sleep because he knows, or more accurately, DREADS what’s coming tomorrow.
No job is ever worth suffering that kind of despair, no matter how good the money is and no matter how good the other perks might be. So, before you find yourself in a similar situation, I suggest that you think about what your true career desire might be. Yes, I know that there might be family and professional obligations to take into account. But, once you realize that that there are several viable career options out there, you will be able to make a better informed decision regarding your career pursuits and find the job that is best for YOU.
After law school, your professional pursuit should be something you enjoy and are passionate about. When you enjoy what you do, the workdays zoom by, and you are much better able to handle the less positive aspects of the job. Does this mean that you will never have to deal with demanding bosses or upset clients? Of course not; there is no such thing as a 100 percent stress free job. However, having a job that you enjoy puts you in a better position to handle the occupational stress that comes every so often.
Also, in this day and age, not only do people change jobs, but people also change careers (sometimes more than once) as well. A very popular misconception suggests that because one graduates from law school, it automatically means that he is confined to practicing law for the rest of his career. I cannot disagree more, and nothing can be further from the truth.
Believe it or not, not every law school graduate fantasizes about being the next Atticus Finch (“To Kill a Mockingbird”), Jack McCoy (“Law and Order”), Denny Crane (“Boston Legal”), or even Arnie Becker (“L.A. Law”). And not every law school graduate fantasizes about scoring a big firm job, getting that corner office, and eventually becoming a partner. I never did. I went straight into academia after law school and that was the greatest career decision I ever made. I enjoy what I do and my getting a law degree made that all possible.
That said, there are law school graduates who want the big firm lifestyle and all the trappings that I just mentioned. As long as you have the desire, stamina, and intestinal fortitude for that career path, I say: GO FOR IT!!! GOD BLESS YOU!!! In the final analysis, it comes down to what you really want to do with your career. This is true whether you are looking at a big firm job, hanging your own shingle, doing something completely different outside of law, or even a little of each.
In addition to legal practice, law school graduates also have successful careers as business consultants, entrepreneurs, sportscasters (Howard Cosell, & ESPN analysts Jay Bilas and Rod Gilmore), professors (like yours truly), & even politicians (Barack Obama, Bill, Clinton, Richard Nixon & Rudy Giuliani, among many others).
The best thing about pursuing a career after law school is that there is something for everyone. We all have our own reasons as to why we wanted to go to law school. The next step is to decide what is best for you. Nobody is going to go to work and do the job BUT YOU. So again, you might as well like what you will do. This is ultimately your call; no one else will make that call for you. I sincerely hope that my two cents helps you in some small way, and not only do I wish you success, but I wish you something even more important: CAREER FULFILLMENT!!!
The Arizona State Journal will soon publish an article written by Thomas Healy, Professor of Law at Seton Hall Law School. Professor Healy clerked for Judge Hawkins during the 1999-2000 term. The article focuses on a dissent written by Judge Hawkins in Redding v. Safford School District.
The controversial dissent was not the “easy” way of analyzing the case but demonstrated the integrity of Judge Hawkins. The case dealt with the strip search of an eighth-grade student. The case seemed clear on a superficial level, but Judge Hawkins delved into the facts to reach a contrary conclusion.
Professor Healy commends the moderate tone adopted by Judge Hawkins recognizing the potential for reasonable minds to differ on such issues. Professor Healy also recognizes the value of the intense factual analysis undertaken by Judge Hawkins. Consideration of these facts and a sound walk-through of the pertinent evidence support the result reached in the dissent.
Professor Healy concludes that “[w]e all know the cliché that hard cases make bad law. But hard cases also make good judges.” This tribute goes a long way in demonstrating this assertion.
This article has been written by guest author Todd Williams, B.A. Bowdoin College, 2004; M.A., J.D., University of Washington, 2010.
The field of Islamic finance has grown popular in the United States. Scholars are discussing the implementation of Islamic banking as a result of, among other things, the meltdown of the Western financial system and studies showing a large untapped market of stable wealth among Muslims. The use of Islamic banking products in the United States is certain to expand in coming years.
Amid this enthusiasm, there are questions, among scholars and in Muslim communities, about whether products created within the confines of United States financial regulations that are marketed as “Islamic” are indeed in conformance with Shari’a, or Islamic law. This disagreement is due, in part, to a lack of consensus among Islamic legal scholars regarding what is required for a modern financial product to be Shari’a-compliant. This lack of consensus hints at the disjointed American terrain of Islamic authority, which presents novel challenges to Islamic institutions, both financial and otherwise, in the United States.
Muslim Authority Structures in the United States
In the United States, where Muslims are a growing and increasingly diverse minority in a nominally Christian nation, the potential for lack of consensus among Islamic scholars is great. Partially due to the diversity of ethnic and cultural backgrounds, the American landscape of Islamic legal authority lacks cohesive definition and is open to new interpretation. Khaled Abou El Fadl, the chair of Islamic Law at UCLA, has noted, “[i]n the United States the field of Shari’a is flooded with self-declared experts who inundate our discourses with self-indulgent babble and gibberish.” These new voices in Islamic law have both mainstreamed the discourse and led to a simplification that lacks the traditional commitment to diverse interpretations.
Despite their general lack of formal Islamic legal education, these new participants are shaping the future of Islamic law in America. They are delivering opinions on modern American issues at the request of their constituents. This practice is supported by leading intellecuals such as El Fadl and Taha Alalwani who discourage the application of Islamic legal decisions rendered elsewhere to the modern American context. Instead they advocate fiqh scholarship in the United States that is shaped by the contemporary American context and rendered by American scholars. With the growth of an ethnically and culturally diverse community, the concept of an “imported” scholar who does not understand local conditions and circumstances has become problematic. Increasingly, the American Muslim community has turned to local experts, familiar with the community and the American legal system, for solutions to their fiqh-related issues.
The lack of connection to traditional methods of Islamic legal interpretation among local authority figures has led to a discourse in the United States that some say lacks respect for the classical schools of thought and principles of pluralism. Western-educated Imams “often earn instant popularity because of reference to the ‘sources,’ but, since their interpretations do not form a continuity with tradition, their impact is often partial and ephemeral.” In order to stay relevant, these new intellectuals are frequently obliged to render dramatic and extremist solutions, further deviating from any consensus view.
Implications for Islamic Institutions in the United States
As a result of these various perspectives and the absence of clear hierarchy among Islamic legal scholars in the United States, questions regarding the acceptability of certain practices have resulted in disagreements. In the context of this uncertainty, and the complex process of determining Shari’a-compliance, Muslims seeking guidance are likely to place more importance on the authority figure endorsing a given practice.
For Islamic financial institutions, this presents potential challenges as they search for a religious advisor who will provide sufficient authority. The backing of a prominent scholar provides consumers with the security that the products they are using are indeed compliant with Shari’a. Many of the larger banks and mortgage companies that offer Shari’a-compliant products employ reputed Islamic scholars as consultants and certifiers for their products. For small institutions without significant capital resources, paying for a well-known scholar to advise them is out of the question. Accordingly, they must seek alternative means of projecting credibility.
As one planned Islamic credit union in Washington State found, it is essential to employ some religious advisor, even a local leader, who has credibility among the target population. This advisor can either provide guidance himself on structuring products or can access a line of scholars who provide guidance. For executives, determining what qualifications are required before a critical mass of Muslims will deem an authority figure to be credible is a tricky problem. Selecting such an advisor may be an increasingly critical prerequisite to the success of an Islamic institution in an environment that is fraught with uncertainty.
As Islamic finance continues to grow in the United States, the trajectory of local Islamic financial institutions will be shaped by the religious scholars who come to define them, often with their own brand of uniquely American Islamic law. In the current atmosphere of uncertain authority, it is likely that local institutions will take on various structures, each of which will reflect the ideas of their authority figures. While this offers potential for actualizing the ideas of Muslims around the country, it may mean that disagreements regarding what qualifies as Shari’a-compliant continue for the foreseeable future.
. Chian Wu, Islamic Banking: Signs of Sustainable Growth, 16 Minn. J. Int’l L. 233, 240–241 (2007).
. See, e.g., Bill Maurer, Engineering an Islamic Future: Speculations on Islamic Financial Alternatives, 17 Anthropology Today 8, 8 (2001) (discussing the heated debate among Islamic banking professionals about the permissibility of financial derivatives).
. Bill Maurer, Pious Property: Islamic Mortgages in the United States 42 (Russell Sage Foundation 2006); Ibrahim Warde, Islamic Finance in the Global Economy 2 (Edinburgh Univ. Press, 2000); Frank Vogel & Samuel Hayes, III, Islamic Law and Finance: Religion, Risk, and Return 42, 10 (Dr. Mark S. W. Hoyle ed., 1998); Ashraf U. Kazi & Dr. Abdel K. Halabi, The Influence of Quran and Islamic Financial Transactions and Banking, 20 Arab L. Q. 321, 328–29 (2006).
. Maurer, Pious Property, supra note 3, at 53.
. Karen Isaksen Leonard, Muslims in the United States: The State of Research 91 (Russell Sage Foundation 2003).
. Fiqh is Islamic jurisprudence and refers to the legal rulings of the Muslim scholars based on their knowledge of the Shari’a. Karen Armstrong, Islam 200 (Modern Library 2000).
. Leonard, supra note 5, at 91.
. Yusuf Talal DeLorenzo, The Fiqh Councilor in North America, in Muslims on the Americanization Path? 80 (Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad & John L. Esposito eds., 1998).
. Leonard, supra note 5, at 91.
. Muhammad Khalid Masud, The Obligation to Migrate: The Doctrine of Hijara in Islamic Law, in Muslim Travelers: Pilgrimage, Migration, and the Religious Imagination 46 (Dale F. Eickelman & James P. Piscatori eds., 1990); Leonard, supra note 38, at 91.
. Maurer, Pious Property, supra note 3, at 3.
. Maurer, Pious Property, supra note 3, at 83.
. Vogel & Hayes, supra note 3, at 10.
. Todd Williams, Islamic Legal Authority in a Non-Muslim Society: The Islamic Credit Union of Bellevue, Washington 15-25 (August 16, 2010). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1660210.
Upcoming Article: The Search For Fair Agency Process: The Immigration Opinions of Judge Michael Daly Hawkins 1994 to 2010
The Arizona State Law Journal will soon publish an article by Lenni B. Benson. Professor Benson is a Professor of Law at New York Law School and a graduate of the Arizona State University College of Law. This article examines primarily the various immigration opinions of Judge Michael Daly Hawkins of the Ninth Circuit. The article also discusses Judge Hawkins’ contributions outside of his opinions, and evaluates needed reforms in the immigration process.
Professor Benson begins with a discussion of the limitations placed on the immigration system by the bureaucratic process. The appeal process and internal working of the courts are discussed, with a strong focus on Judge Hawkins and the Ninth Circuit. Weaknesses of the process are pointed out and room for improvement is shown in various aspects of the system.
Continuing, Professor Benson discusses the extremely deferential review that immigration cases undergo, and a general reluctance of the Board of Immigration Appeals to address errors and issues head-on. Judge Hawkins is compared to a referee at a sporting event, ensuring that all participants receive fair hearings and receive due process rights. Various opinions by Judge Hawkins are discussed in the context of the special processes of immigration law that are at play.
Discussed as well are the various interpretations of law which have resulted in the preservation of due rights to those in immigration cases. These decisions have preserved review and access to federal courts in proceedings where they might have otherwise diminished. Also discussed is the restraint shown by Judge Hawkins, showing that while he is willing to carefully consider the limits of statutes, he defers to Congress at appropriate times.
Professor Benson closes with a summary bringing the entire discussion into focus, portraying Judge Hawkins as standing up for fairness in an area often lacking appropriate review processes. Judge Hawkins is further commended for all of his efforts in this regard.
This article has been written by guest author Erica Goldberg, B.A., Tufts University, 2002; J.D., Stanford University, 2005.
Earlier this month, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a nonpartisan nonprofit organization where I serve as the Justice Robert H. Jackson Legal Fellow, announced that Arizona State University (ASU) had become one of only 14 colleges and universities across the nation to receive our “green light” rating with regard to policies governing speech on campus. This distinction, earned by seemingly small revisions in ASU policy language, means that ASU no longer maintains any university policies that clearly and substantially restrict speech protected by the First Amendment. ASU joined the ranks of universities without unconstitutional speech codes by shifting its advertising policy applicable to student organizations from a mandatory requirement to an aspirational goal. Although the changes in verbiage were slight, they signify the difference between a constitutional and an unconstitutional speech policy.
ASU’s advertising policy formerly required that “[a]ll advertising must avoid the promotion of excessive use of alcohol and must make reasonable effort to avoid demeaning, sexual or discriminatory portrayal of individuals or groups.” (Emphasis added.) This policy was an unconstitutional speech restriction. Supreme Court cases dating back almost 40 years, including the recently decided Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, — U.S. —, 130 S.Ct. 2971 (2010), affirm that public universities like ASU, bound by the dictates of the First Amendment, must not promulgate speech restrictions that discriminate against students and student organizations on the basis of viewpoint. See Healy v. James, 408 U.S. 169, 187-88 (1972) (“The College, acting here as the instrumentality of the State, may not restrict speech or association simply because it finds the views expressed by any group to be abhorrent.”). University policies, including those governing student organizations, must therefore be viewpoint-neutral.
ASU’s former policy restricted those who wished to espouse particular viewpoints or engage in controversial expression. For example, as FIRE wrote in a letter to ASU President Michael M. Crow, the student group “Voices for Planned Parenthood,” whose stated goals include “promoting sexual education and health,” might run afoul of this policy if its advertisements included sexual content–as they very well might. Moreover, because the policy’s restrictions are unduly vague, the university could selectively enforce the policy against groups with controversial viewpoints about, for example, religion and gender roles, or against groups with particular political stances. While ASU is legally required to prohibit and respond to instances of truly discriminatory harassment, and while universities may prohibit acts of discrimination in the form of exclusionary conduct on the basis of protected class status, ASU cannot prohibit student organizations from engaging in pure, protected speech that expresses “demeaning, sexual or discriminatory portrayal of individuals or groups.”
This does not mean that universities must endorse viewpoints that they deem objectionable. Although a public university cannot forbid certain types of protected speech on the basis of viewpoint, it may engage in its own speech that communicates a particular viewpoint. See Three’s a Crowd: Defending the Binary Approach to Government Speech, 124 Harv. L. Rev. 805 (2011). Universities may also create aspirational policies expressing the way it would prefer students to communicate. (For example, a university can articulate that it prefers students to treat each other with civility and respect). So long as these aspirational goals are not perceived as enforceable mandates, and so long as a university does not appear to be using its power to penalize or substantially chill particular points of view, a university can lawfully create policies that articulate the types of expression it would like to encourage.
Fortunately, ASU quickly appreciated the difference between mandatory requirement and expression of preference. Now, ASU’s advertising policy provides that advertising “should be consistent with ASU’s policy of discouraging demeaning, sexual or discriminatory portrayal of individuals or groups.” (Emphasis added.) ASU General Counsel José Cárdenas has assured FIRE that students cannot and will not be punished under the policy for engaging in speech protected by the First Amendment. Other schools, including Penn State University and the University at Buffalo, have also revised their speech policies to reflect the constitutionally significant difference between mandatory and aspirational policy.
Justice Robert H. Jackson, for whom my fellowship at FIRE is named, once eloquently wrote that “[i]f there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.” W.Va. St. Bd. of Educ. v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624, 642 (1943). That sentiment applies just as much to the unconstitutional school policy in Barnette, which required public school students to salute the American flag in order to promote patriotism during World War II, as to equally well-intentioned policies mandating how student organizations on university campuses represent themselves and advertise their activities. On university campuses comprised of adults, even more so than in high schools and lower levels of education, students must be free to voice dissenting or controversial views that may be unpalatable to their peers.
This article has been written by guest author Russell G. Murphy, Professor of Law, Suffolk University Law School
EXECUTION WATCH is an FM radio show out of KPFT 90.1 Houston, Texas. Its unique character is that it only broadcasts on the day that the State of Texas executes a death row inmate. On Tuesday, February 15, one of these inmates, Michael Wayne Hall, was put to death by lethal injection. EXECUTION WATCH was live and on the air that night. Outside of the show and its listeners, no one really paid any attention. Yet, this execution illustrates much of what is wrong with the practice of capital punishment in the United States.
I was asked to appear on the February 15 program to talk about my book VOICES OF THE DEATH PENALTY DEBATE: A CITIZEN’S GUIDE TO CAPITAL PUNISHMENT (Vandeplas Publishing 2010). One of the goals of the book, which describes the 2004 – 2005 New York hearings that resulted in the elimination of capital punishment in that state, was to promote a reasoned and unemotional conversation on the pros and cons of the death penalty. The opposite happened to me during this program – by the time the show, and my comments, ended, Michael Wayne Hall was dead. I could not look at the facts of Hall’s case without condemning his execution. The neutrality that characterizes VOICES was gone. Here’s why.
In 1998, when Hall and his codefendant Neville (also executed by Texas) killed their young victim, Amy Robinson, Hall’s IQ was 67. He had trouble reading the hands of a clock, could not make monetary change, and lacked numerous adaptive skills. Hall’s contribution to the murder was shooting the victim with a pellet gun. Even the prosecution’s expert at trial conceded that Hall was “borderline” mentally retarded. On the other hand, the state’s evidence suggested that Hall could function in society. Hall foolishly gave an interview to Fox News in which he appeared rational and articulate. The interview was later shown during sentencing. More than 10 years of appeals resulted in the conclusion that Hall was not mentally retarded.
U.S. Supreme Court case law prohibits the states from executing a mentally retarded killer. (Atkins v. Virginia). However, the Court left it up to each state to define mental retardation and apply it in individual cases. The Court refused to review Hall’s case. After studying the case, talking about it on EXECUTION WATCH, and considering it in the light of the Court’s rationale for immunizing the mentally retarded, I concluded that executing Michael Hall achieved nothing, whether or not he was technically mentally retarded.
None of the classic justifications or standards for a constitutional death penalty were met. Hall’s execution can have little or no deterrent effect t on the universe of possible killers covered by his crime. The mentally slow or retarded are unlikely to learn a lesson from Hall’s execution. Unless its purpose was to frighten all citizens by its arbitrary character, his death was simply cruel. It is true that Hall was permanently incapacitated by his death, but it is hard to see why society would not have been equally protected by keeping the inmate called “halfdeck” in prison for the rest of his life. Societal retribution was not accomplished; the death penalty is restricted to the very “worst of the worst” killers and killings. Without moral equivalency between society’s revenge and the murderer’s crime, retribution is not a proper basis for an execution. Hall simply was not the worst of the worst. While it is possible that the victim’s family experienced a sense of retribution, that alone seems a thin basis for the death penalty. Finally, EXECUTION WATCH pointed out that it cost Texas at least $3 million more to execute Hall than it would have cost to keep him in prison forever. The death penalty is never cheaper than life without parole. Was it worth it in Hall’s case?
In the end, I could only conclude that, in Justice Stevens words, the lethal injection of Michael Wayne Hall was nothing more than “the pointless and needless extinction of life with only marginal contributions to any discernible social or public purposes.”
Arizona State Law Journal is previewing its upcoming articles in the spring publication. This article is written by third-year student, Rob Gordon.
This article proposes a series of amendments to the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) (9 U.S.C. §§ 1-16) to increase consumer protection. The article is drafted, in part, to address abuses designed to exploit loopholes in the FAA. These abuses were spotlighted by the Minnesota Attorney General in a lawsuit against the National Arbitration Forum (NAF), formerly, the nation’s largest consumer arbitration firm. The Minnesota lawsuit alleged that the NAF partnered with consumer debt firms to perpetuate a “rigged-game” against the American consumer. Allegedly, the NAF colluded with the debt-collection industry by accepting a massive capital infusion, paying commissions to business leaders to include mandatory arbitration agreements in consumer contracts, soliciting creditors to refer disputes to binding arbitration, ruling against consumers in nearly ninety-six percent of disputes, and routinely de-listing individual arbitrators who ruled in favor of consumers.
Because of the abuses identified in the lawsuit, academia, industry, and practitioners have called for major changes in consumer arbitration law. Most proposed legislative reform has centered on the simple elimination of consumer arbitration by creating a per-se invalidation of binding arbitration agreements inserted in consumer contracts. However, this draconian call for the destruction of consumer arbitration ignores that systemic reform can achieve the goal of consumer protection.
This article first examines the history and legal framework of consumer arbitration in the United States; tracing the judicial history of the Federal Arbitration Act and identifying the deficiencies in the current law. The article concludes that reform—not repeal—of consumer arbitration is appropriate. The article proposes that Congress should codify ethical rules for neutral-party arbitrators based on the ABA’s proposed model rule for lawyer-neutrals, amend 9 U.S.C. § 10 to permit the invalidation of arbitration agreements upon evidence of arbitrator bias, and create a per-se presumption of bias when arbitrators have a financial entanglement with one of the parties. These reforms close the holes in the existing law exploited by the NAF and preserve consumer arbitration as a useful tool for resolving legal conflicts.
Upcoming Article in the Spring Issue: Liberia’s “New War”: Post-Conflict Strategies for Confronting Rape and Sexual Violence
Arizona State Law Journal is previewing its upcoming articles in the spring publication. This article is written by third-year student, Sara Cummings.
In the summer of 2009, a crime of sexual violence took place in Phoenix that sent shock waves into the local community. Tragically enough, the victim was an eight year old girl, but the assailants who raped her were also alarmingly young: four boys ranging in age from nine to fourteen. The crime raised implications far beyond Phoenix. Both the victim and her attackers were refugees from Liberia, a country with a troubled history marked by violent atrocities, including fourteen years of recent civil war in which rape and sexual violence were used by factions on all sides as tools for terror and control.
Whatever may have motivated the crime in Phoenix, news of it brought international attention to a problem that persists in post-conflict Liberia. While Liberia’s civil war ended in 2005, rape and sexual violence continue to persist at epidemic levels, primarily endangering very young girls. In my Comment, Liberia’s “New War”: Post-Conflict Strategies for Confronting Rape and Sexual Violence, I chose to investigate this ongoing issue. I look at what Liberia’s post-war government, under the leadership of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, together with the help of the international legal community, has done to promote the rule of law in Liberia. I also explore what more must be done to bring about lasting change in Liberia, particularly in this critical and sensitive area.
While I chose to focus on Liberia, my Comment has broad relevance to the question of how to confront a high incidence of rape and sexual violence in any post-conflict country. Most articles dealing with post-conflict countries focus on how best to confront war crimes and other atrocities committed during the time of conflict, itself, largely proposing and discussing the relative advantages and disadvantages of war crimes tribunals and truth and reconciliation commissions. I make reference to this debate, and I discuss in some detail the nature and consequences of Liberia’s years of violent conflict. My primary focus, however, is on how to promote the rule of law going forward, especially when the criminal justice system requires major rebuilding, and when years of conflict involving widespread sexual violence has fostered a culture where such crimes are widely perpetrated and tolerated in day-to-day life. I argue that in addition to taking steps to extend the reach and effectiveness of its criminal justice system, Liberia must incorporate strategic community-based, restorative justice programs in order to effectuate widespread and culturally integrated responses to sexual violence.
Liberia makes for a particularly relevant case-study of this issue for a number of reasons. First of all, with assistance from the United Nations, Liberia’s post-conflict transitional legislature passed a new law against rape in 2005. Liberia is also the first African country to elect a female head-of-state, and, as part of her inaugural address, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf pledged to make enforcement of this law a national priority. Still, Liberia has failed to make much progress in this area, and rape and sexual violence remain at epidemic levels, indicating that much work still needs to be done.
After establishing the historical background, including the violence of war, informing Liberia’s current political and cultural context, I discuss basic rule of law reforms, including improvements to law enforcement, health-care, and the judicial system, required to enable Liberia to confront rape and sexual violence as a criminal issue. My Comment’s most unique contribution, however, is its recognition that well-integrated, community-based justice programs must also play a role if Liberia is to confront rape and sexual violence on the local level. I draw upon restorative justice literature, as well as models practiced in South Africa, Ireland, and India, to propose ways that Liberia can tailor community-based, restorative justice programs to supplement its response to rape and sexual violence within the traditional justice system. I think my Comment is important because it recognizes the on-the-ground realities of confronting a serious criminal law/international law issue that is especially common in post-conflict settings, and it goes beyond discussing and evaluating the methods of reconstruction traditionally imposed by the international law community to proposing culturally-integrated restorative justice approaches that I believe are equally crucial to confronting these crimes.
Friday, February 18, Judge Hawkins and a panel of his former and current clerks will discuss the clerkship experience. The event will begin at 12:15pm in room 105. Career Services will provide clerkship application information. The Judge and panelists will take questions from students.
Thursday, March 10, the MCBA Diversity Committee is hosting a panel on the importance of Journal experience. The event will begin at 12:15pm in room 105. The MCBA panelists will take questions from students. Lunch provided by Quarles and Brady.
Thursday, March 24, the Arizona State Law Journal is hosting an open house. Interested in learning more about Law Journal? Come visit the Law Journal office and meet with current members. The open house will begin at 12:15pm. Lunch provided.
Thursday, April 7, the Arizona State Law Journal is holding a MANDATORY MEETING about the Write-On Competition. The meeting begins at 12:15pm in room 116. Any student interested in participating in this year’s Write-On Competition must attend.
The Write-On Competition is scheduled for May 12 and May 13.
Questions about joining Law Journal? Please contact email@example.com.