Go On! Self-consciously Objecting to Your Conscience Exemption

Emory’s Vulnerability and the Human Condition Initiative and Northeastern University School of Law are co-hosting a Workshop on Reproductive and Sexual Justice on April 29th & 30th at Northeastern’s Dockser Hall.

This workshop will seek to reflect upon the issues of reproductive rights, sexual health, and sexual violence through the lens of vulnerability as a way to advance discussion on related issues of social justice.

I will be presenting a draft paper on A Vulnerability Theory Approach to Individual and Institutional Conscience Exemptions in the Reproductive Healthcare Setting.  Conscience exemption laws allow healthcare providers, institutions, and even insurance companies to object to the provision of reproductive healthcare.  They also allow those individual and institutional actors to block  patients’ access to information and deny referrals to other providers.  Under these expansive federal and state laws, a Catholic hospital can refuse to tell a pregnant patient that her fetus has a serious and significant birth defect because of its belief that knowledge could lead the woman to abort the fetus; a religious provider can refuse to provide a miscarrying woman with care until her life is threatened by a deadly infection; and a pharmacist can refuse to fill a valid prescription for birth control.

While conscience exemptions are written in the language of civil rights – to protect individual religious autonomy – they countenance discrimination against women who seek lawful reproductive healthcare.  Using Martha Fineman’s Vulnerability Theory, I argue that the state has an obligation to ensure all people have access to information and healthcare and the right to healthcare, particularly reproductive care, must outweigh the religious exercise rights of institutions, insurance companies, and sometimes individual providers.

For the conference schedule, click here.  Click here to register.

Call for Papers: “Justice and Dignity under Challenge”

The Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights (CCJHR) at University College Cork is pleased to announce its 8th Annual Graduate Conference which will take place on the June 5-6, 2014.

The theme for this year’s event is “Justice and Dignity under Challenge.”  The aim is to reflect upon how intransigent law making can negatively impact upon human rights protection and criminal law.  The theme will encourage debate on the challenging questions which arise when interpreting the law in rapidly changing and unstable times.

The conference is specifically aimed at those who are undertaking doctoral research in the areas of criminal law, criminal justice and human rights.  Therefore, only law students are eligible to submit papers.  The best paper of the conference will receive a prize of €200 (approx. $275 USD) which is sponsored by the CCJHR.

Please submit an abstract (max. 300 words) to the Organizing Committee by March 30, 2014. Successful conference submissions will be notified by April, 15, 2014.  To be considered for the best paper and the opportunity to present at the plenary session, full papers should be submitted by May 20, 2014.

Submission and further inquiries should be directed to ucclawconf@gmail.com.

Please note that a CPD Certificate of Attendance will be available for this conference.

For further information, click here and see below:

This international two-day event will attract promising research scholars from Ireland, the UK and Europe in the areas of law, politics, philosophy and the related social sciences.  The conference presenters are especially interested in papers that relate to human rights, criminal justice, criminal law or the intersection of these fields. However, the presenters also welcome papers dealing with issues outside these areas that fall within the broader theme of the conference.  Papers will be streamed thematically, with previous years including such sessions as:

  • Governance and Security
  • Issues in Privacy and Surveillance Law
  • Restorative Justice
  • Gender and the Law
  • Refugee Law and Policy
  • Human Rights in Society
  • Technology and State Security
  • Gender Law and Sexuality
  • International Criminal Law
  • White Collar Crime
  • Terrorism
  • Medical and Mental Health Law
  • Juvenile Justice
  • Contemporary Discourse in Criminal Law
  • Transitional Justice
  • Crime and criminalization
  • Civil Liberties

The keynote speakers will be Professor Jeremy Waldron of the University of Oxford and Professor Carol Sanger of Columbia University.

Also, check out the CCJHR’s blog here! and you can follow the CCJHR on Twitter @CCJHRlawucc

On the Job! Physicians for Human Rights, DRC Coordinator

PHR - Physicians For Human Rights

Physicians for Human Rights, a US-based international human rights organization, has recently posted a job listing for a Democratic Republic of Congo (“DRC”) Coordinator as part of the Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones Program.  This position is based in Bukavu, DRC.

PHR launched the Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones Program, a multi-year training and advocacy initiative, in 2011, with the aim of forging coalitions among regional medical, law enforcement, and legal experts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, and Central African Republic. The goal of the Program is to increase local capacity for the collection of court-admissible evidence of sexual violence to support local and international prosecutions for these crimes.

Among a number of other qualifications, a successful candidate for this position will have an advanced degree in international relations, medicine, public health, law, social sciences, education, or a related field;  5 years of experience in the NGO sector in Africa; 3 years of experience in a management position; and be fluent in French.

For more information on this position, click here.

To apply, send a cover letter (with compensation requirements) and resume to resumes@phrusa.org. Please include the job title you are applying for in the subject line of your email.

Fear Mongering and Oppression: Two for the Price of One in the NC Legislature

Mere moments before Americans celebrated Independence Day, the North Carolina Senate gave its final approval to legislation targeted at outlawing the use of Sharia (or Islamic) law and severely restricting the right to abortion.

The bill, text of which is available here, started out as a meaningless attempt by legislators to portray themselves as protecting the fundamental rights of the people from those scary foreign laws (i.e. the laws of countries where the law must be interpreted accord to the precepts of Islam). The law basically states that North Carolina will not apply the laws of a foreign jurisdiction in its courts, nor will it transfer a case to a foreign venue if doing so would mean that the fundamental rights of an American, as guaranteed by the United States and North Carolina Constitutions, would be violated. The reality is that this is already the law. Conflict of law principles, which help courts determine whether to apply the law of its jurisdiction or the law of another state or another country, dictate that public policy concerns – such as the violation of an individual’s fundamental rights – would prevent that court from applying the law of a foreign jurisdiction or transferring the case to a foreign venue, even if the parties had previously agreed to the application of such foreign law. All the law actually does is increase xenophobia, it is a scare tactic aimed at increasing anti-Muslim sentiment in the community. Unfortunately, if passed, the law may also have unintended effects such as impinging on international treaties and souring international business relationships.

Legislators in North Carolina were not satisfied to stop there. Renaming the bill the “Family, Faith, and Freedom Protection Act of 2013,” the Senate added anti-abortion measures to the unrelated bill late Tuesday, where they were passed by the Senate on Wednesday. The new bill would restrict health care coverage for abortions, ban sex-selective abortions, require physicians to be present during a chemical (pill) abortion, and require clinics performing abortions to meet the requirements of an ambulatory surgical center. According to news reports only one clinic in the state would meet those requirements.

On Wednesday, hundreds protested the last minute additions to the bill.

What make me curious is why are these types of bills being proposed with increasing frequency? Why were the anti-sharia and the anti-abortion bills proposed together? From what exactly is the North Carolina legislature protecting its citizens? And, don’t they have anything better to do?

The bill will need House approval before it goes to Republican Governor Pat McCrory‘s desk. The legislation will be taken up this week.

Write On! Cassese Initiative Prize for Papers on New Perspectives in International Criminal Law

The Antonio Cassese Initiative for Justice, Peace and Humanity was founded to continue Antionio Cassese’s legacy and to promote global education, training, and research in the areas of human rights, peace, international justice, transitional justice, and development.   To further its mission, the Cassese Initiative has issued a call for papers on new perspectives in international criminal law.

Abstracts, limited to 400 words, are due July 1st, 2013.  Note that papers will be accepted only from students and young professionals under the age of 30.

Five abstracts will be selected and the authors will be invited to elaborate upon their ideas in a paper of around 8000 words.  From these papers, one will be awarded the Cassese Initiative Prize and the author will receive a collection of books from Oxford University Press and her paper will be submitted for publication in the Journal of International Criminal Justice.

For more information on the Cassese Initiative, click here.

For more information on the Call for Papers, click here.

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

On April 17, 2013, President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key administrative posts.

• Avril D. Haines – Legal Adviser, Department of State
 Andrea Levere – Member, Board of Directors of the National Consumer Cooperative Bank

• Brian Kamoie – Assistant Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency for Grant Programs, Department of Homeland Security
• Jim W. Balsiger – United States Commissioner, United States Section of the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission
• Gary T. Smith – United States Commissioner, United States Section of the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission

For more information on the nominees, click here.

On the Job! Director, CWRU Center for Women

(On the Job! pays occasional notice to interesting intlaw job postings)

Case Western Reserve University seeks applications for the position of Director of the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women.  The mission of the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women is to support and empower women through education, advocacy, and leadership.  The Flora Stone Mather Center for Women offers a variety of initiatives focused on leadership development and recognition, gender equity in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields, and women’s health.

The Director will provide overall leadership and administrative oversight of the Center, including staff and student supervision, budgeting, community relations, university leadership in women’s issues, programming, and fundraising.  The Director will also have the opportunity to teach and will be affiliated with the Women and Gender Studies interdisciplinary program.

Required qualifications: 1) Doctorate or equivalent terminal degree; 2) Eligibility for faculty appointment; 3) Minimum of 3 years’ experience in higher education administration; 4) Excellent communication, interpersonal, and organizational skills; 5) Knowledge of and experience with issues of women students, faculty, and staff; and 6) Demonstrated background in the study of gender/ethnicity/race and class.

The position will be open as of July 1, 2013.  Letters of interest should be addressed to Professor B. Jessie Hill, Search Committee Chair.  All other inquiries may be directed to Helen Day at helen.day@case.edu.

For a full job description and to apply online, click here