News

Legal Studies response to Executive Orders

January 30, 2017

Dear Legal Studies Students, Friends, and Colleagues:

We are deeply saddened and profoundly troubled by President Trump’s Executive Order signed on January 27, 2017, which immediately operated to bar refugees and legal permanent U.S. residents from seven countries from entering the U.S. The executive order explicitly classifies people on the basis of their national origin and religion. The impact of this order on you, our students, worries us greatly.  As President Schapiro said in his statement, our community and our education is enhanced tremendously by immigrants and refugees from all over the world. The university has promised to “take all the necessary actions to protect our students, faculty and staff.” And as President Schapiro announced today, the University “will refuse to provide information to the federal government regarding the immigration status of members of our community.”

We are troubled by the legal questions raised by this Executive Order. An unknown number of people, including children, are being detained at U.S. airports. Lawful, permanent U.S. residents (with green cards) have been detained or turned away.  Refugees fleeing torture, war, and political persecution are not being allowed to board planes in airports abroad - even with the proper visas. Over the weekend, federal judges issued partial stays on the implementation of the Executive Order. Reports followed that some officials with the Department of Homeland Security declined to follow these rulings.  We are rapidly approaching (are in?) a constitutional crisis.   

Right now, understanding the law is more important than ever. Everyone subject to U.S. law should be (or become) familiar with the balance of power among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches and the checks and balances legally required therein; with the way that law divides policymaking authority across a host of federal agencies and commissions; and with the constitutional balance of authority between the federal and state governments. Given the events of the last few days, it is crucial that we are able to have informed conversations about how executive orders work, how judicial authority functions, and what role Congress has in immigration policy.

We also encourage you to learn more about the way immigration and naturalization standards have historically been used to perpetuate inequality. Examples include the Chinese Exclusion Acts (which barred most immigration from China from 1882 to 1943), the Immigration Act of 1924 (which placed racial quotas on admission from each country, in an effort to limit immigration from countries beyond northern Europe), the internment of Japanese immigrants and Japanese Americans during World War II (for which the U.S. government apologized and awarded survivors reparations in 1988). And, of course, the United States’ troubling history of giving legal support to racial terrorism, segregation, and inequality within its own borders - from the original constitutional designation of slaves as 3/5th of a person for purposes of Congressional representation to Dred Scott to Plessy v. Ferguson and beyond.

While Americans have not always lived up to the values of religious liberty, human dignity, and equality that served as our founding principles, we have continued to work toward those goals. Law can be used as a sword; it can also be used as a shield to defend the rights of minority groups and to put an end to invidious discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, and sexual orientation. Laws and cases like Brown v. Board of Education, the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1991, Romer v. Evans, the Americans with Disabilities Act, U.S. v. Virginia, and Obergefell v. Hodges demonstrate this in abundance. 

We know you have questions about the legal status of executive orders, the history of race and legal exclusion in this country, and the legal rules and precedents that judges will use to determine the ultimate constitutionality of this order.  We are planning open forums about these questions, and would love to hear what questions you have. In the meantime, our office doors are open to anyone who wants to discuss these issues.

Whatever your position on current events, we encourage you to make your voice heard in phone calls, letters, civil actions, and nonviolent resistance. Young people always have been critical participants in the struggle to make the U.S. live up to its ideals.  You have a unique perspective on these issues as Legal Studies scholars.  We know many of you come to Legal Studies thirsty to help produce justice in the world. To whom much is given, much is required.

Kind Regards,

Professors Joanna Grisinger, Robert Nelson, Laura Beth Nielsen, Heather Schoenfeld,  Shana Bernstein, Susan Gaunt Stearns





___________________________________________________________________

Faculty News:

  • Congratulations to Legal Studies faculty members Shana Bernstein and Joanna Grisinger, who were named to the ASG (Associated Student Government) Faculty Honor Roll for 2014-15! View all the winners.

Shana Bernstein

Professor Shana Bernstein's latest op-ed for CNN is entitled How to use the past to fight for your rights today. Her other recent articles and op-eds include: Racist Atticus Finch Has a Lesson for Jews for Forward, The Third Shift: How Mom Became The Family’s Bodyguard in Talking Points Memo,  Big business, government and doubt for The Hill, How Anti-Semitism in Modern America Could Fuel Cross-Racial Unity for Talking Points Memo, and Civil rights has always been more than a black and white issue in the Austin American Statesman. Her op-ed with Jennifer Richeson, "Not Just Kumbaya: Multiracial Coalitions Yield Pragmatic Results for the Common Good", can be found on The American Prospect, and you can read about U.S. product safety, or lack thereof, in Prof. Bernstein's Pacific Standard editorial.

Laura Beth Nielsen

Professor, and Director, Laura Beth Nielsen discusses Senatorial inaction in her latest Huffington Post article about filling Judge Scalia's Supreme Court position. She weighs in on the more recent campus protests in the Huffington Post. She appeared in February 2015 on Chicago's WGNtv during a segment about street harassment, and she argues for legal regulation of street harassment in the New York Times. Her op-ed "Facebook is Not the Government", is available on the Aljazeera website, her op-ed on skateboarding can be seen in the Huffington Post, and  her editorial "Democracy at Stake" is currently on the PBS website. Listen to Prof. Laura Beth Nielsen on NPR's Life of Law Podcast.

Heather Schoenfeld

Legal Studies and SESP Prof. Heather Schoenfeld recently had her op-ed, Reforming criminal justice: The real impact of a law & order administration, published in The Hill. Her research into mass incarseration and conservative states’ lead in prison reform, was recently included in the March 2016 issue of The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science - read more about her research here. Her 2013 article on incarceration earned prizes from the LSA and ASA! Read more about it on the SESP website.

Joanna Grisinger

Prof. Joanna Grisinger published "The Administrative Procedure Act and the Hearing Examiners" in the Journal of the National Association of Administrative Law Judiciary; she also published "Bringing History into the Law School Classroom," a review of Robert M. Jarvis, ed., Teaching Legal History: Comparative Perspectives (2014), at Jotwell.com. She was recently elected to the board of the Consortium of Undergraduate Law and Justice Programs.

Student News:

Laily Sheybani

Legal Studies major, Laily Sheybani's paper "That's Him, Officer!" (Or Is It?): The Effects of Unarticulated Instructions on Eyewitness Accuracy in Culprit Recognition, has been selected to receive the 2015 American Sociological Association Sociology of Law Section's Undergraduate Paper Prize! The ASA Sociology of Law Section provides a forum for intellectual and personal exchange among sociologists interested in the study of law, legal institutions, and law-related structures and processes, and they choose a best student paper to award every year. Congratulations Laily!

Kendall Beeman

Legal Studies major, Kendall Beeman, was selected to receive honorable mention for the 2015 Law and Society Association Undergraduate Student Paper Prize! Nominations for this award are made by members of the Law and Society Association who teach in institutions around the world. Director of Undergraduate Studies and Honors Director, Joanna Grisinger, submitted Kendall's Best Thesis Prize winning paper, Special Education Litigation in Chicago: IDEA and Due Process in Conflict. Congratulations Kendall!

Program News:

Center for Legal Studies at LSA 2016

The Northwestern University Center for Legal Studies was very well-represented at the Law and Society Association’s annual meeting in New Orleans, June 2-5, 2016. The Law and Society Association is the main scholarly organization focused on sociolegal studies; this year’s theme was “At the Delta: Belonging, Place and Visions of Law and Social Change.”

  • Prof. Laura Beth Nielsen, director of Legal Studies, participated in an Author-Meets-Reader Salon Session on Amanda Hollis-Brusky’s Ideas with Consequences: The Federalist Society and the Conservative Counterrevolution. She was also the non-presenting co-author on a paper entitled “Institutional Legacies: Public Interest Law Organizations and the Two-Tiered System of Access to Justice in the United States.”
  • Prof. Joanna Grisinger, Legal Studies, served as chair/discussant for a panel entitled “Rights and Liberties in the Twentieth Century.”
  • Prof. Heather Schoenfeld, Legal Studies, was the co-presenter on a paper entitled “Penal Change and Fiscal Crisis: An Analysis of State Level Developments in New Jersey Since 2000.”
  • Prof. Robert Nelson, Legal Studies Faculty Advisory Board, was the presenting co-author of a paper entitled “Sexual Harassment in the Legal Profession,” and participated in the Methods Café.
  • Prof. Shari Diamond, Legal Studies Faculty Advisory Board, was the presenting co-author of a paper entitled “Race and Jury Selection: The Pernicious Effects of Backstrikes,” was the chair/discussant on a panel entitled “Emerging Jury Systems: Argentina and Beyond,” and participated in a panel entitled “Fifty Years of the Law & Society Review: A Conversation With Past Editors.”
  • Prof. John Hagan, Legal Studies Faculty Advisory Board, was a non-presenting co-author of a paper entitled “Post-Conflict Justice in a Semi-International Tribunal: Witness Perceptions of Procedural Justice at the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina," and was one of two authors in an Author-Meets-Reader session entitled “Crime of Aggressive War, Genocide and Competing Representations: New Books on Iraq and Darfur”
  • Prof. Janice Nadler, Legal Studies Faculty Affiliate, chaired a panel entitled “IRC: Law, Society, and Psychological Science, Part 3,” and participated in an Author-Meets-Reader panel on Richard H. McAdams, The Expressive Powers of Law.
  • Prof. Galya Ruffer, Legal Studies Faculty Affiliate, presented a paper entitled “Is the U.S. Gaming Refugee Status for Central Americans? A Study of the Screening and Refugee Status Determination Process for Central American Women and Children Detained in Artesia, New Mexico,” and chaired a roundtable session entitled “International Responses to the Syrian Refugee Crisis – Discourse, Humanitarianism and the Law.”
  • Atinuke (Tinu) Adediran, a Graduate Fellow in Legal Studies, presented a paper entitled “Elite Law Firm Commitment to Racial Diversification: External Presentation or Internal Value?”
  • Pilar Margarita Hernádez Escontrías, a Graduate Fellow in Legal Studies, presented a paper entitled “Los Indios de Anansaya: Race, Property, and Citizenship in colonial Perú.”
  • Spencer Headworth, a Graduate Fellow in Legal Studies, presented a paper entitled “The Welfare Police: Bureaucrats at the Intersection of Law Enforcement and Public Assistance.”
  • Josh Kaiser, a Graduate Fellow in Legal Studies, was the non-presenting co-author of a paper entitled “Race and Jury Selection: The Pernicious Effects of Backstrikes.”
  • David McElhattan, a Graduate Fellow in Legal Studies, presented a paper entitled “Records, Race, and Risk: The Proliferation of Criminal History Information in the Era of Mass Incarceration.”
  • Mona Oraby, a Graduate Fellow in Legal Studies, presented a paper entitled “Identities that Matter: Baha'i Legal Activism in the Era of Minority Rights.”
  • Talia Schiff, a Graduate Fellow in Legal Studies, presented a paper entitled “Rethinking Migrant Desirability: the Role of Family Reunification in the Construction of the US Immigration Preference System.”
  • Swati Srivastava, a Graduate Fellow in Legal Studies, presented a paper entitled “Configurations of Sovereignty in Transnational Rules: English East India Company and the International Chamber of Commerce.”
  • Arielle Tolman, a Graduate Fellow in Legal Studies, presented a paper entitled, “The Precarious Legitimacy of Legal Standardization: An Empirical Study of Four Model Public Health Laws.”

Center for Legal Studies at ASA 2015

The Northwestern University Center for Legal Studies was extremely well-represented at the American Sociological Association’s annual meeting in Chicago, August 22-25, 2015.

  • Prof. Bruce Carruthers, Legal Studies Faculty Affiliate, was the presider on a panel entitled “Economic Sociology: Law and Regulation in Economic Life.”
  • Prof. Carol Heimer, Legal Studies Faculty Affiliate, presented papers entitled , “Punctuated Globalization: Legal Developments and Globalization in Healthcare” and “With and Without Borders: Global Regulation of Health and Healthcare.”
  • Prof. Laura Beth Nielsen, director of Legal Studies, was a panelist on panels entitled “Organizational Responsibility, Culpability, and Gender Inequality” and “Sexualities in the Penal World.”
  • Prof. Heather Schoenfeld, Legal Studies, presented a paper entitled “Penal Excess in the Age of Decarceration: Implications for Racial Inequality.”
  • Andrew Baer, a Graduate Fellow in Legal Studies, was the presider on a panel entitled “Policing De-Industrial Chicago: Racial Violence and the Struggle for Police Accountability.”
  • Robin Bartram, a Graduate Fellow in Legal Studies, presented a paper entitled “Uncertain Sexualities and Unusual Women: Museum Depictions of Jane Addams and Emily Dickinson” and presided over a roundtable on “Public Spaces.”
  • Magda Boutros, a Graduate Fellow in Legal Studies, presented a paper entitled “Combating Sexual Violence in Egypt’s Streets: On-the-ground Strategies of Action.”
  • Brittany Michelle Friedman, a Graduate Fellow in Legal Studies, presented a paper entitled “The Birth of a Movement: Rethinking the Rise of the Black Guerilla Family.”
  • Spencer Headworth, a Graduate Fellow in Legal Studies, presented a paper entitled “‘I’m Looking At Your Neighbor Over Here’: Databases and Shoe Leather in Welfare Fraud Control.”
  • Joshua Kaiser, a Graduate Fellow in Legal Studies, presented a paper entitled, “Beyond Punishment: The Penal State’s Interventionist, Covert, and Negligent Modalities of Control.”
  • David Reed McElhattan, a Graduate Fellow in Legal Studies, presented a paper entitled “Race, Rights, and Collective Memory.”
  • Jaimie Morse, a Graduate Fellow in Legal Studies, presented a paper entitled “Making Mass Rape Legible: Specialized Post-Rape Care and Medical Documentation in Humanitarian Emergencies.”
  • John N. Robinson, a Graduate Fellow in Legal Studies, presented a paper entitled, “Cleansing Properties: The Commodification of Dirty Work in Low-Income Housing.”
  • Diana Rodriquez-Franco, a Graduate Fellow in Legal Studies, was the presider on a panel entitled “Can Comparative Historical Sociology Save the World?”
  • Talia Shiff, a Graduate Fellow in Legal Studies, presented a paper entitled “A Critical History of Deportation Reliefs: Competing Notions of Membership and Illegality.”
  • Arielle Woloshin Tolman, a Graduate Fellow in Legal Studies, presented a paper entitled “The Precarious Legitimacy of Legal Standardization: A Case Study of Four Model Public Health Laws” and was the non-presenting author on a paper entitled “With and Without Borders: Global Regulation of Health and Healthcare” (with Prof. Carol Heimer).

Center for Legal Studies at LSA 2015

The Northwestern University Center for Legal Studies was extremely well-represented at the Law and Society Association’s annual meeting in Seattle, WA, May 28-31, 2015. The Law and Society Association is the main scholarly organization focused on sociolegal studies; this year’s theme was “Law’s Promise and Law’s Pathos in the Global North and Global South.” (http://www.lawandsociety.org/Seattle2015/seattle2015.html )

  • Prof. Shari Diamond, Legal Studies Faculty Advisory Board, served as a co-chair of a panel entitled “New Developments in Law & Psychological Science - Part 1” and was a non-presenting co-author on a paper entitled “Juries and Attitudinal Representation.”
  • Prof. Joanna Grisinger, Legal Studies, served as chair/discussant for a panel entitled “Rights and Legal Institutions in the 19th Century” and co-organized the Law & History CRN’s business meeting.
  • Prof. Carol Heimer, Legal Studies Faculty Affiliate, presented a paper entitled “Globalizing Regulation and Governance in Healthcare: The Chaotic Process of Creating Order” on a panel on which she served as chair/discussant entitled “Standardization and the Creation of Transnational Legal Orders in Medicine and Healthcare.”
  • Prof. Elizabeth Shakman Hurd, Legal Studies Faculty Affiliate, participated in a plenary session on “Normalizing Religion in Sociolegal Scholarship.”
  • Prof. Ian Hurd, Legal Studies Faculty Advisory Board, participated in an Author-Meets-Reader Session on Gregoire Mallard’s Fallout: Nuclear Diplomacy in an Age of Global Fracture.
  • Prof. Janice Nadler, Legal Studies Faculty Affiliate, presented a paper entitled “The Role of Character in Legal Blame and Punishment.”
  • Prof. Robert Nelson, Legal Studies Faculty Advisory Board, presented a paper entitled “Inequalities in the Careers of American Lawyers: Findings from Wave 3 of the After the JD Study” and participated in the Methods Café.
  • Prof. Laura Beth Nielsen, director of Legal Studies, was a non-presenting co-author on a paper entitled “Democracy, Civil Society, and Public Interest Law.”
  • Prof. Heather Schoenfeld, Legal Studies, presented a paper entitled “Policy Reforms and the Mitigation of Penal Excess.”
  • Anya Degenshein, a Graduate Fellow in Legal Studies, presented a paper entitled “Beyond Risk: Entrapment, Surveillance, and the Creation of Criminal Biographies.”
  • Bonnie Ernst, a Graduate Fellow in Legal Studies, presented a paper entitled “Female Inmates in the Age of Mass Incarceration: Gender, Rights, and Punishment in Michigan.”
  • Pilar Escontrías, a Graduate Fellow in Legal Studies, presented a paper entitled “Indios of the Spanish Crown: Legal Subject Formation in the Archaeological Record of Colonial Perú.”
  • Spencer Headworth, a Graduate Fellow in Legal Studies, presented a paper entitled “Policing Welfare: The Rise and Development of Welfare Fraud Control Units in the United States.”
  • Joshua Kaiser, a Graduate Fellow in Legal Studies, presented a paper entitled “The Contemporary Recreation of the Debtor’s Prison: Legal Financial Obligations and Fiscally Oriented Hidden Sentences” on a panel he chaired entitled “Perils and Promises of Criminal Justice Reform: The Problem of Legal Financial Obligations (LFOs).”
  • Jeff Kosbie, a Graduate Fellow in Legal Studies, presented a paper entitled “Changing Strategies of LGBT Cause Lawyers in the 1990s.”
  • Alka Menon, a Graduate Fellow in Legal Studies, presented a paper entitled “Studying Standards and Standardization in the Transnational and Global Arena.”
  • Jaimie Morse, a Graduate Fellow in Legal Studies, presented a paper entitled “Documenting Mass Rape: The Emergence and Implications of Medical Evidence Collection Techniques in Settings of Armed Conflict and Mass Violence” and served as chair/discussant on a panel entitled “Critical Approaches to Human Rights.”
  • John Robinson, a Graduate Fellow in Legal Studies, presented a paper entitled “Shady Markets: Moral Controversies in Low-income Housing and the Financial Rediscovery of the Poor” and chaired a panel entitled “Re-Envisioning the City: The Limits and Possibilities of Property.”
  • Talia Shiff, a Graduate Fellow in Legal Studies, presented a paper entitled “Deportation and the Institution of Citizenship: Reconfiguring Mappings of Membership.”
  • Swati Srivastava, a Graduate Fellow in Legal Studies, presented a paper entitled “The Emergence of Private Commercial Rule-Making.”
  • Arielle Tolman, a Graduate Fellow in Legal Studies, presented a paper entitled “Standardizing Surveillance: Hard and Soft Law in Global Disease Detection and Response.”
  • Jill Weinberg, a former Graduate Fellow in Legal Studies, who presented a paper entitled “When Kink Goes Mainstream: Legal Consciousness on Consenting to Pain,” served as chair/discussant on a panel entitled “Masculinity, Sexuality & Law,” and participated in an Author-Meets-Readers Salon on Ummni Khan’s Vicarious Kinks: SM in the Socio-Legal Imaginary.