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International Human Rights Law

Courthouse Steps: Maslenjak v. United States Update

Criminal Law & Procedure Practice Group Teleforum Wednesday, July 05, 02:00 PMFederalist Society Teleforum Conference Call

At the close of the Bosnian civil war, Divna Maslenjak sought refuge for herself and her family in the U.S. due to fear of persecution regarding their Serbian identity in modern-day Bosnia and the threat of reprisal against her husband, who she claimed had evaded military conscription in the Bosnian Serb militia. After the family was granted refuge and Maslenjak became a U.S. citizen, a U.S. court convicted Maslenjak’s husband Ratko on two counts of falsifying claims regarding Serbian military service on U.S. government documents, since Ratko had in fact served in the Serbian military. When Ratko applied for asylum to avoid deportation, Divna Maslenjak admitted to lying about her husband’s military service and was charged with two counts of naturalization fraud for previously denying that she had given false information to a U.S. official. At her trial, jurors were told that a naturalization fraud conviction could be carried out for false claims in Maslenjak’s application process, even if the claims did not affect whether she was approved. Convicted on both counts, Divna Maslenjack faced two years of probation and lost her citizenship. The Sixth Circuit affirmed her conviction, claiming that naturalization fraud did not require proof of a material false statement.

Please join us as Vikrant Reddy, a Senior Research Fellow at the Charles Koch Institute, discusses the potential impact of the recent Supreme Court ruling and the main question of the case: whether immaterial false statements should be a basis for withdrawing an individual’s citizenship.

Featuring: 

  • Vikrant P. Reddy, Senior Research Fellow, Charles Koch Institute

Courthouse Steps: Hernandez v. Mesa Decided

International & National Security Law Practice Group Teleforum Thursday, June 29, 12:00 PMFederalist Society Teleforum Conference Call

On Monday, the Supreme Court vacated and remanded Hernandez v. Mesa to the Fifth Circuit. The case involved a cross-border shooting and a Bivens claim.

In July of 2010, a 15-year-old adolescent named Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca and his friends were playing along a concrete structure on the border of the U.S. and Mexico. When Jesus Mesa, Jr., a U.S. Border Patrol Agent arrived, he detained one of the youths on the border, and shot and killed Hernandez, who was hiding behind a pillar of the Paso Del Norte Bridge on the Mexican side of the border. Hernandez’s parents sued Agent Mesa under the Fourth and Fifth Amendment for the use of unlawful and disproportionate force. Agent Mesa argued that the Fourth and Fifth Amendments did not apply because Hernandez was not a U.S. citizen.

The District Court found for Agent Mesa, while the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that the Fifth Amendment protections against deadly force applied but the Fourth Amendment did not, and that Agent Mesa should not receive qualified immunity.

Steve Giaier of the House Committee on Homeland Security will join us to discuss the Court’s decision to vacate and remand and what it means for the case going forward.

Featuring:

  • Steven Giaier, Senior Counsel, House Committee on Homeland Security

Courthouse Steps: Hernandez v. Mesa - Podcast

International & National Security Law Podcast
Steven Giaier March 08, 2017

On February 21, the Supreme Court heard argument in Hernandez v. Mesa. In July of 2010, a 15-year-old adolescent named Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca and his friends were playing along a concrete structure on the border of the U.S. and Mexico. When Jesus Mesa, Jr., a U.S. Border Patrol Agent arrived, he detained one of the youths on the border, and shot and killed Hernandez, who was hiding behind a pillar of the Paso Del Norte Bridge on the Mexican side of the border. Hernandez’s parents sued Agent Mesa under the Fourth and Fifth Amendment for the use of unlawful and disproportionate force. Agent Mesa argued that the Fourth and Fifth Amendments did not apply because Hernandez was not a U.S. citizen.

The District Court found for Agent Mesa, while the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that the Fifth Amendment protections against deadly force applied but the Fourth Amendment did not, and that Agent Mesa should not receive qualified immunity. The main questions for the Supreme Court to answer are: Does the Fourth Amendment apply? Should qualified immunity apply to the border patrol agent? And can Agent Mesa make a Bivens claim?

Steve Giaier of the House Committee on Homeland Security attended oral argument and shared his perceptions.

Featuring:

  • Steven Giaier, Senior Counsel, House Committee on Homeland Security

The UNSCR 2334 Against Israel: What Is President Trump To Do? - Podcast

International & National Security Law Practice Group Podcast
Bernard Avishai, Orde Kittrie, Eugene Kontorovich January 30, 2017

Since the Obama administration abstained from the United Nations Security Council vote on Resolution 2334 that condemns Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem, there has been much speculation as to the force, effect, and consequence of this Resolution. There are many concerns, including that this United Nations declaration may enable boycotts of Israel and that the Palestinian government might attempt to utilize the pronouncement to bring Israel before the International Criminal Court. President Trump’s has stated that he intends to alter or blunt the instrument. What will be the effect of this United Nations censure, and what are the options available to President Trump? 

Featuring:

  • Prof. Bernard Avishai, Adjunct Professor of Business, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Visiting Professor of Government, Dartmouth College 
  • Prof. Orde Kittrie, Senior Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Professor of Law, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Arizona State University
  • Prof. Eugene Kontovorich, Professor of Law, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law 

Will International Law Matter to the Trump Administration? - Event Audio/Video

International Law in the Trump Era: Expectations, Hopes, and Fears
John B. Bellinger, III, Rosa Brooks, David Stewart January 27, 2017

The Federalist Society's Practice Group and Student Divisions and the American Branch of the International Law Association (ABILA) are pleased to present a half-day conference on the future of international and national law under freshly inaugurated President Trump. This panel will feature a lively discussion between leading international lawyers the Hon. John Bellinger and Associate Dean and Professor Rosa Brooks about whether international law will matter to the new administration. The luncheon panel will be moderated by Professor David Stewart.

This panel was part of the conference on International Law in the Trump Era: Expectations, Hopes, and Fears held on January 23, 2017, at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC.

Luncheon Panel: Will International Law Matter to the Trump Administration?
12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

  • Hon. John B. Bellinger, III, former Legal Adviser, U.S. Department of State and the National Security Council
  • Prof. Rosa Brooks, Associate Dean, Graduate Programs & Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center
  • Moderator: Prof. David Stewart, President, American Branch of the International Law Association (ABILA)

Georgetown University Law Center
Washington, DC