Epps: In immigration area, Court could paint ‘very ugly picture’

Professor Garrett Epps

Professor Garrett Epps

In his most recent Atlantic column, “The Supreme Court’s Immigration Law Showdown” (May 24), Professor Garrett Epps writes that what seems a low-key term could be remembered in history as a “blockbuster” in one area: how much due process is owed to immigrants, undocumented aliens, aliens outside the United States and even naturalized citizens.

In this area, eight cases remain to be announced. The Court granted review in most of them before the election, when, Epps writes, “they seemed legally important but not overwhelmingly so.”

But, he says, in today’s America – “the era of deportation force, mass immigrant roundups, expanding detention of allegedly unlawful immigrants, and hypertrophy of the Department of Homeland Security’s already overgrown enforcement apparatus” – they may become literal matters of life and death.

Epps describes the eight cases, which he divides evenly into “warm-up acts” and “the big boys.”

In the first category is Sessions v. Morales-Santana, which challenges a ruling denying citizenship to the foreign-born son of an American citizen. Epps writes that current immigration law discriminates between citizen fathers and citizen mothers when they have children abroad. Mothers who have lived in the United States for a year can pass citizenship on to their children, but fathers must have lived in the U.S. for 10 years, including five years before they were 14.

Among the “big boys” is Jennings v. Rodriguez, which tests whether aliens awaiting deportation can be held indefinitely without a hearing. Epps writes that many undocumented aliens may, for statutory reasons, be eligible to stay and are not being held on criminal charges. Nonetheless, the government argues that immigration statutes permit them to be held, possibly for years without bail, while the matter is resolved.

Another major immigration case is Hernandez v. Mesa, a federal lawsuit against a U.S. Border Patrol officer who shot across the U.S.-Mexico border and killed a teenager on the Mexican side. The government argues that constitutional protections against unlawful killings by law enforcement do not apply to aliens not on American soil.

Noting that the justices seem to lean toward the government in all the major cases, Epps says: “Step back from the details, and a winning streak for the government will paint a very ugly picture.”

Read the Atlantic article here.

Learn more about Professor Epps and access the archive of his Atlantic columns.

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Governor appoints Dolin to Perkins Center Advisory Board

Greg Dolin -- for blog

Professor Gregory Dolin

Professor Gregory Dolin has been appointed to the Clifton T. Perkins Center Advisory Board by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan. (See photo of Dolin’s commission below.)

Dolin, who earned an M.D. from the State University of New York at Stony Brook School of Medicine in 2005 — a year after he earned his J.D. from Georgetown — is the co-director of UB’s Center for Medicine and Law.

Dolin will complete a former board member’s unexpired, four-year term, which runs through July 1, 2018.

The Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center is a maximum-security psychiatric facility operated by Maryland’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Learn more about Professor Dolin.

Greg Dolin award

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Tiefer discusses Michael Flynn, Trump-Russia investigations

Professor Charles Tiefer, former general counsel (acting) of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, was interviewed by VICE News for a May 18 article on former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s refusal to comply with a subpoena from the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is looking into reports that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 election.

The chairman of the committee, Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), said Thursday that Flynn would not comply with the subpoena, which seeks documents from the former general, who in February resigned as national security adviser after it was revealed he had lied to administration officials about his contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the United States.

The Associated Press reported later Thursday that Burr had rephrased his statement to say Flynn’s lawyers had not yet responded to the subpoena.

Speaking with VICE News, Tiefer said that Flynn’s noncompliance was highly unusual but that it might be his only move if he wants to avoid jail time.

“It signifies that [Flynn] expects prosecution,” Tiefer said.

Asked about Flynn’s possible strategy, Tiefer said: “Flynn may be invoking his Fifth Amendment privilege. There was an earlier time some weeks ago when he said that he wanted an immunity deal with the Senate committee, and that often signifies fear of self-incrimination.”

In late March, Flynn told FBI and congressional officials investigating possible links between the Trump campaign and Russia that he was willing to be interviewed in exchange for a grant of immunity from prosecution. His offer was rebuffed. (See Tiefer’s March 30 column for Forbes.com, “Flynn’s Pursuit of Immunity Means He May Be Willing to Tell All About Trump and Russia.”)

Read the VICE News story here.

Tiefer contributed an article to Forbes.com on May 17, “The Special Counsel Isn’t Enough – Why It’s Vital That Congress Vigorously Continue Russia Probes,” in which he dismissed arguments that congressional investigations of potential Trump-Russia ties would undermine the work of the special prosecutor appointed this week by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Robert Mueller III, a former FBI director, was named to lead the inquiry into allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Tiefer, who writes regularly for Forbes, pointed out that Washington has a long history of simultaneous and well-coordinated investigations by special prosecutors and congressional committees: “During Watergate, special prosecutors Archibald Cox and Leon Jaworski worked at the same time as the Senate Watergate Committee [and in] the case of the Iran-Contra affair, special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh worked at the same time as the House and Senate Iran-Contra Committees.”

Tiefer served as special deputy chief counsel of the House Iran-Contra Committee in the 1980s.

In addition, congressional investigations, unlike Mueller’s investigation, can keep the public informed, Tiefer pointed out: “The special prosecutor works in private, slowly, and with a closed-door grand jury. If delving into former FBI Director James Comey‘s conversations with President Trump were left to the special prosecutor, it might easily be 2018 — if ever — before the public would learn the details.”

Moreover, the congressional investigations could help inform measures that should be considered before the 2018 midterm elections, Tiefer said: “The Senate Watergate Committee is most famous for preparing the way for President Nixon’s impeachment. It is sometimes forgotten that the Watergate Committee studied the need, and built the case, for the campaign finance law that was subsequently passed.”

Concluded Tiefer: “Congress must learn the lessons in time to act on them in months to come. That is neither Mueller’s job nor his timetable.”

Learn more about Professor Tiefer.

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Veterans’ legal assistance conference scheduled for June 2

The 9th Annual Veterans’ Legal Assistance Conference & Training – “Servicemember to Civilian: Understanding Veterans’ Needs After Service” — will be held Friday, June 2 at UB’s John and Frances Angelos Law Center (1401 N. Charles St., Baltimore 21201).

The daylong program, which runs from 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., will feature a keynote speech by Judge John J. Farley III, a Vietnam veteran with two Purple Hearts who served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims for 15 years.

Program — 9th Annual Veterans’ Legal Assistance Conference & Training

The event is free, but please RSVP – registration includes a light breakfast and lunch. The full program will be live-streamed and recorded.

Designed for lawyers, law students, veterans, policymakers and other service professionals, the conference will provide a forum for the discussion of critical legal issues facing veterans.

Click here to RSVP.

For questions, contact Kiah Pierre at 443-703-3046 or kpierre@probonomd.org.

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In commencement speech, Barbera emphasizes power of words


Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera gives the commencement address Monday.

In her keynote address at the law school’s 90th commencement ceremony, Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera encouraged the graduates to make sure their words are clear and meaningful.

“As you become more and more fluent in the language of law, I urge you to remember that what you say and write matters, each and every time,” Judge Barbera told the 225-strong Class of 2017 on Monday at The Lyric. “As lawyers, we are not poets or playwrights, yet we, too, must recognize the art of language, both its subtlety and imprecision, for words are both our most powerful tools and our greatest challenges.”

Barbera emphasized that the profession of law is defined by the use of language: “[W]e live in a democracy based upon the rule of law – a common agreement that the laws of our land govern each of us equally, that no man or woman is above the law, and that no man or woman is the law.”

She paused.

“What an extraordinary thing it is to live in a society that looks to words, rather than to swords, for the rules by which we live,” Barbera said. “We tend to take that for granted until we look back in history, and in the present, beyond our borders and, too often, even within our borders, to know that the rule of law is not something we may take for granted if we are to preserve it.”

Barbera urged the graduates to do pro bono work and to help those “who do not yet stand in the full sunshine of equality under the law, who struggle to gain access to justice.”

“When we engage in that work – when we put to such use the language of the law – we pay it forward, not simply to the individual, family or group we help, but also to the greater community,” she said. “When we engage in some form of pro bono work, we make the investment that strengthens the rule of law for all of us.”

Judge Barbera recalled the words of President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, given to mark the dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery in 1863:

“President Lincoln said that it is not for those who died in the battle, who gave ‘full measure,’ but rather ‘for us the living’ to ‘be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us’: to ‘resolve … that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.’”

In closing, Judge Barbera said: “May you be remembered for having used the words of our profession to strengthen the rule of law, so that, as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. so beautifully used his words to remind us, the arc of the moral universe bends toward justice.”

Access a recording of the commencement ceremony.

Read the commencement brochure.

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12 alums are among 2017 ‘Leadership in Law’ honorees

Twelve UB law alums were among the honorees at The Daily Record‘s Leadership in Law event, held May 11 at the BWI Hilton:

Peter Angelos, LL.B. ’61 (Law Office of Peter G. Angelos) — 2017 Lifetime Achievement honoree

The Hon. John Debelius, J.D. ’78 (Circuit Court for Montgomery County) — 2017 Lifetime Achievement honoree

Steven K. Fedder, J.D. ’77 (Fedder & Janofsky)

Renee Lane-Kunz, J.D. ’03 (Shapiro Sher Guinot & Sandler)

Brett S. Lininger, J.D. ’05 (Semmes, Bowen & Semmes)

Cylia E. Lowe-Smith, J.D. ’03, M.S. ’08 (U.S. Office of Personnel Management Office of the General Counsel)

Sierrah B. Mitchell, J.D. ’12 (Meng Law)

G. Adam Ruther, J.D. ’07 (Rosenberg Martin Greenberg)

Lisa Y. Settles, J.D. ’94, M.P.A. ’94 (Pessin Katz Law)

Jennifer J. Stearman, J.D. ’99 (McGuireWoods)

Ryan Walburn, J.D. ’14 (Franklin & Prokopik)

Flavia Williamson, J.D. ’08 (Social Security Administration)

Congratulations to all!

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Fannie Angelos Program founders accept ABA diversity award

Mikes wrapping up

The “two Mikes”: Fannie Angelos Program founders Michael Meyerson (left) and F. Michael Higginbotham at a gala celebration for the program in 2014.

Professors F. Michael Higginbotham and Michael I. Meyerson, founders of the UB School of Law’s Fannie Angelos Program for Academic Excellence, accepted the Diversity Leadership Award from the American Bar Association on May 3 at the ABA Section of Litigation’s annual conference in San Francisco.

The “two Mikes” began the program in 1995. Inspired by Baltimore lawyer Fannie Angelos, LL.B. ’51, the initiative finds talented young people and helps them to overcome obstacles on their path to becoming top-notch litigators and advocates.

The program works with Maryland’s four historically black colleges and universities, or HBCUs — Bowie State University, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Coppin State University and Morgan State University.

Each year, eight applicants are chosen as Fannie Angelos Scholars, qualifying them to receive a full scholarship to the UB School of Law. The program also admits up to 72 additional HBCU students, enabling them to attend a rigorous LSAT review course.

“We do not consider ourselves a diversity program,” said DLA Piper Professor of Law and program director Michael Meyerson. “We are a talent search. We have found that if you discover talent and truly level the playing field, diversity will happen.”

The Fannie Angelos Program not only helps students from the HBCUs gain admittance to law school; it also encourages them to excel in law school and assists them in finding jobs upon graduation.

“Our students have overcome the odds,” Dean Joseph Curtis Professor of Law F. Michael Higginbotham said. “It could be poverty, racism or other socioeconomic barriers that present a significant obstacle to their success. Yet they still thrive. All of us have deep respect for what these students have achieved. They have a drive and a focus that shows through in so many ways.”

Learn more about the Fannie Angelos Program for Academic Excellence.

FA at podium II

Fannie Angelos, LL.B. ’51, at an October 2014 gala celebration for the Fannie Angelos Program for Academic Excellence. Angelos died in April 2015 at age 88. (Photo by Jim Burger.)

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