Summer 2009 Law Briefs
Panetta has close ties to SCU.
On Jan. 9, then President-elect Barack Obama announced his nomination of Leon Panetta B.A. '60, J.D. '63 to be the next head of the Central Intelligence Agency. The Senate Intelligence Committee approved Panetta's nomination, and on Feb. 13, Panetta was confirmed by the full Senate on a voice vote.
At the press conference announcing the nomination, President-elect Obama described Panetta as "one of the finest public servants of our time" adding, "he has handled intelligence daily, at the very highest levels, and time and again he has demonstrated sound judgment, grace under fire, and complete integrity."
"Let me be clear. In Leon Panetta, the Agency will have a director who has my complete trust and substantial clout," President-elect Obama continued. "He will be a strong manager and a strong advocate for the CIA. He knows how to focus resources where they are needed, and he has a proven track record of building consensus and working on a bipartisan basis with Congress. I am confident that he will strengthen the CIA's capability to protect the American people as it continues to adapt to our reformed intelligence community."
An eight-term congressman and the former chief of staff to President Clinton, Leon Panetta earned his bachelor's degree from Santa Clara University in 1960, and, in 1963, his juris doctor from Santa Clara Law, where he served as an editor of the Law Review. A former member of Santa Clara Law's Board of Visitors, Panetta celebrated the 45th anniversary of his graduation at his class reunion this past September at the Law Reunion Weekend festivities. He also received the Santa Clara Law Diversity Award at a celebration in october.
"Leon Panetta has a long and distinguished career of service to this country," said Santa Clara Law Dean Donald Polden. "His confirmation as head of the CIA reflects the tremendous respect that President Obama and Senate members have for Leon and his ability to lead that critical agency with ethics and integrity. The entire Santa Clara Law community is proud of him and his commitment to government service and leadership in public service."
At his swearing in ceremony on Feb. 13, Leon Panetta underscored the importance of strong leadership in his new role. "In our democracy, we govern either by leadership or by crisis...too often in this country, we have governed largely by crisis...Too often in this country, we have governed largely by crisis," he said. "And today we have the responsibility to exercise leadership and to take the risks associated with leadership to guide this country in the right direction. And so I take this oath with the commitment that I will seek to provide that leadership as director of the CIA."
photo: Charles Barry
The Pace competition was the North American preliminary round for the global ICC competition at the Hague, the seat of the ICC. Santa Clara Law's team, along with runner-up Yale Law School, moved on to compete at the Hague against teams from all over the world. In the global competition among more than 100 law students from 14 countries, the Santa Clara Law team ranked fourth. While Santa Clara has won the Pace competition before, this was the first time that the winners at Pace qualified for the global competition.
"This is a great testament to Santa Clara's program in international criminal law," said Van Schaack. "One observer commented that the Santa Clara team's arguments were ‘devastating.' Another team's coach remarked that he had never seen such quality of presentation at a moot court competition before."
In the preliminary stage of the competition, the judges named Douglass and Birnbaum best oralists for their respective rounds. Douglass was named best oralist in the final round, where Santa Clara Law argued for the defense against the prosecutor, Yale Law School, and the victim's advocate, Pace University School of Law.
The ICC competition is unique in that teams consist of three members, each of whom assumes the role of one of the three participants in ICC prosecutions: the prosecution, the defense, and the victims' advocate, a new role developed for the first time for the International Criminal Court. Each team member must also be able to argue "off brief," providing an incnredible opportunity to understand the relevant substantive and procedural law from multiple perspectives.
"The judges really made sure we had a hot bench," said Birnbaum. "They pushed the teams until we reached the edge of our understanding of the law, and then they kept pushing just to see how we held up. I think we got a lot of points for not cracking under the barrage of questions."
Santa Clara Law has had students and graduates intern and work at all of the international criminal tribunals, which are adjudicating grave international crimes committed in Cambodia, Sierra Leone, the former Yugoslavia, and Rwanda. Plus, several Santa Clara Law alumni are among the few American nationals working at the ICC (although the United States is not a member). Santa Clara's summer program in interational criminal law in The Hague is based out of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, where several Santa Clara graduates are senior trial attorneys with the office of the prosecutor. In connection with its Southeast Asia summer program, Santa Clara also offers students the opportunity to work with the international criminal tribunal in Phnom Penh, which is prosecuting surviving members of the Khmer Rouge.
On March 13 and 14, Santa Clara Law hosted a symposium on international criminal law that included a keynote speech from DePaul University College of Law Professor M. Cherif Bassiouni, one of the foremost proponents of international criminal law and the ICC.
Mario Joseph. Photo: Jenny-Brooke Condon
On March 8, Santa Clara Law hosted a dinner in San Jose to present Mario Joseph with the second annual Katharine and George Alexander Law Prize.
Mario Joseph is widely considered one of Haiti's most influential and respected human rights attorneys. Since 1996, he has served in Port-au-Prince, Haiti as managing attorney of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux which uses prominent human rights cases to force open the doors of Haiti's justice system for the country's poor majority.
"We honor Mario Joseph for his passionate fight to improve the justice system in Haiti, and his selfless work on behalf of political prisoners, victims of political violence, and the poor," said Professor Cynthia Mertens, associate dean for academic affairs at Santa Clara Law. "He is a fierce voice calling for justice amid threats to his own life. Mr. Joseph has not only freed individuals from injus¬tice but has placed systematic pressure on the dictatorship to respect the rule of law."
The Katharine and George Alexander Law Prize, an annual award and substantial monetary prize presented by Santa Clara University School of Law, recognizes a member of the legal community who has used his or her skills, knowledge, and abilities to correct an injustice in a significant manner. Selection criteria include the innovative nature and sustainability of the programs the individual has implemented, the courage and self-sacrifice required, the number of people benefited, and any other indications that the recipient is committed in both heart and mind to alleviating injustice and inequity. For more information on present and past winners, or to nominate someone for a future prize, visit law.scu.edu/alexanderprize.
In January, Santa Clara Law entered another world, inviting prospective students to learn about applying to the law school through a workshop that took place in Second Life, the "virtual world" inhabited by 15 million "residents" who turn themselves into cartoon "avatars."
Posing as her own self-created avatar, Penny Canucci, Assistant Dean of Admissions Jeanette Leach hosted the event for prospective students, which took place on January 22 at "Santa Clara Island" on Second Life.
Participants watched a welcome from Dean Donald Polden (appearing in real-life video footage, not as an avatar). After Leach's workshop, participants asked questions of the admissions office staff and gathered information about applying to Santa Clara Law.
"We believe we are the first law school in the United States to use Second Life to interact with prospective students," says Julia Yaffee, senior assistant dean of external relations. "We are located in the heart of Silicon Valley, one of the most vibrant business centers in the world and home of world leaders in the technology industry, so it only makes sense for us to reach out to prospective students in a high tech way."
"We need to meet prospective students where they are, and more and more, we find potential law students in various online arenas, including virtual worlds," added Yaffee. "This is an exciting opportunity for us to offer a live application workshop that prospective students from around the world can attend."
The story was picked up by a host of online legal news leaders including Tech Chronicles (San Francisco Chronicle blog), Legal Technology (Law.com's blog), BusinessWire, PatentArcade, Above the Law, ABA Journal, National Law Journal, JD Journal, and JD Underground. Second Life News also ran a story on it.
The School of Law is planning other events on Second Life, including a presentation by Dean Polden on the state of the school. For more information, e-mail Prano Amjadi, law librarian, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Witch Hunt Producers Don Hardy and Dana Nachman with the film's Executive Producer and Narrator Sean Penn.
The documentary, which was executive produced and narrated by Sean Penn, had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2008. Its U.S. premiere followed two months later at the Los Angeles International Film Festival. The film was purchased by MSNBC Films and aired on cable channels this spring.
For more information on the film, visit http://ktffilms.com.
Law students participated in a negotiation and role-play exercise in which they represented various nation-states and had to draft a statute for a fictitious international tribunal to prosecute crimes of terrorism.
January 6-9, the Center for Global Law and Policy at Santa Clara Law hosted its third International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Workshop with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The workshop, which was open to LL.M. and second- and third-year law students, featured lectures and hands-on workshops led by members of the ICRC, current and former members of the Judge Advocates General Corps, and Santa Clara Law Professor Beth Van Schaack. In light of events in the Middle East and elsewhere, the topics were timely and included discussion of such subjects as conflict classification; prisoner treatment; targeting of civilians; and dealing with non-state actors such as terrorists, underprivileged combatants, and military contractors.
The workshop culminated in a negotiation and role-play exercise, in which students, representing various nation-states, were tasked with drafting a statute for a fictitious international tribunal to prosecute crimes of terrorism. Students had to grapple with defining the crimes within the court's jurisdiction; reaching consensus on whether to address domestic as well as international terrorism; theorizing the interface between crimes of terrorism and IHL; establishing the relationship between proceedings before domestic courts and the jurisdiction of the proposed international tribunal; and agreeing upon punishable forms of participation.
The workshop is held annually, and the Center for Global Law and Policy accepts applications beginning in September. Interested law students from any U.S.-accredited law school are encouraged to apply next year. The workshop is free, and the ICRC and the American Red Cross issue a certificate upon completion. Many law schools sponsor select students to attend to help defray the costs of travel and lodging. For more information, visit law.scu.edu/international.
By Cynthia Mertens, Professor, Santa Clara Law
"It is hard to explain what happens to a person while visiting El Salvador. I could say the most obvious things; the surprise of finding a people so compassionate and warm, the sickening enlightenment achieved from viewing slums and impoverished children…El Salvador to me is more about getting hit deep inside with passion, pain, fear, hope, guilt, and joy all in the span of an hour. It is a rawness of emotion and feeling that cannot be achieved in a society where email can be checked every five minutes and the tragedies of the world stand behind $2,000 TV screens. El Salvador changed me, certainly for the better, and I would not trade the experience for anything."
—David Reagan '10
"First, it breaks your heart, then you fall in love, then you're ruined for life...." —Dean Brackley, S.J.
January 1-10, 2009, twenty law students participated in what many have described as the most intense experience of their law school career, if not their lives—an immersion trip to El Salvador to study human rights.
Hearts were broken our first day as we listened to Father Paul Schindler describe what it was like to be one of the first persons called to identify the bodies of the four church women who were brutally raped and murdered during the civil war in 1980. That was followed immediately by a visit to an extremely poor squatter community on the outskirts of San Salvador, where we interacted with hungry children and saw the flimsy, corrugated tin-roofed shacks that served as shelters for almost 500 inhabitants. We listened attentively as the community leaders described their struggle for land rights and explained the issues surrounding the lack of medicine even when they were lucky enough to see a doctor.
Nicholas Webber JD/MBA '09 becamse a walking jungle gym for the children
By the second day, we had fallen in love with the people. Their warmth, their hope, their gratefulness for our presence were conveyed through their willingness to share incredible accounts of the suffering that is so much a part of their daily lives, all without any expectation of anything being given in return. The genuine hugs, shared so often, captivated our hearts.
Gemma Daggs '09 and her new friends Jose and Maria on the family pickup truck, headed to "town."
Yes, we are all "ruined for life" in a good sense. You cannot undergo an experience as intense as this without changing. Each of us has changed in his or her own way, but we each have re-committed ourselves to continue to walk in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in El Salvador and in other parts of the world where hunger, homelessness, strife, corruption, and illness are so prevalent. We have a new appreciation for how the majority of our world lives. We will go beyond empathy; we will take action.
Here are reflections from a few of the students who experienced this journey. For more reflections and photos, visit law.scu.edu/socialjustice/elsalvador-reflections.cfm.
"I can't imagine another trip where you would get to meet with an ex-FMLN guerilla one day, stay overnight with a campesino family the next, and meet with the president of the Supreme Court the following day…. I am very grateful to Prof. Mertens for providing us with a truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Going to El Salvador will stay with me, and I know I have grown as a result of this experience."
—KAREN CROWE '09
Interested in a 2010 Alumni Immersion Trip?
"If you, or anyone you know, ever gets an opportunity to do a trip like this to El Salvador you MUST go! It will change you, but only for the better."
—GEMMA DAGGS '09
Professor Cynthia Mertens is organizing an immersion trip to El Salvador for SCU Law alumni in January 2010. To sign up, or for more information, contact Professor Mertens at email@example.com or call (408) 554-4025.