ICYMI: Spring break edition

Call for Papers: Human Rights and the ‘Forever War’—Columbia Human Rights Law Review Symposium

The Columbia Human Rights Law Review (HRLR), in collaboration with the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute (HRI), is publishing a symposium edition about the relationship between the U.S. ‘War on Terror’, sometimes referred to as the ‘Forever War,’ and human rights law. We invite proposals on topics of your own framing consistent with the symposium’s general purpose of advancing scholarship and critical analysis regarding human rights law and its relationship with international humanitarian law and jus ad bellum during and after the ‘Forever War.’ We are seeking articles that examine both the short-term and long-term challenges that arise from the relationship between the ‘Forever War’ and human rights law, and are particularly interested in papers that seek to strengthen the role of human rights law in institutions and policy decisions worldwide. We invite papers from both scholars and practitioners, and encourage submissions from outside the United States. Individuals interested in publishing should submit a prospectus summary of no more than 1000 words describing the paper’s proposed topic, themes, and research methodologies by no later than April 20, 2015.  HRLR and HRI will select 4–6 papers for presumption of publication. Please submit abstracts to HRLRsubmissions@law.columbia.edu under the subject line “HRLR Symposium Abstract.” Visit our website for more information and suggestions for possible themes and issues.


On March 10, 2015, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) released its judgment in Y.Y. v. Turkey, where it unanimously held that the State’s refusal to authorize gender reassignment surgery for the transsexual applicant violated the right to respect for private life under theEuropean Convention of Human Rights. See ECtHR,Y.Y. v. Turkey, no. 14793/08, Judgment of 10 March 2015 (decision is currently being processed). The Court reasoned that the State’s grounds for denying the surgery – including that the applicant was not unable to procreate – were not sufficient, and that the State’s interference with Y.Y.’s right to respect for his private life was not “necessary” in a democratic society, thus violating Article 8 of the European Convention. The Court stated that transsexuals’ rights to personal development and physical and moral security “could not be regarded as a matter of controversy.” [ECtHR Press Release]

To read more, click here.

‘Transformation’ ahead, says Seattle lawyer chosen for ACLU national leadership from The Seattle Times, by Steve Miletich

Jeffery Robinson grew up in racially segregated Memphis, Tenn., where in the late 1960s the FBI had to move his African-American family into a hostile white neighborhood, and where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.

It was during this time, at age 11 or 12, that Robinson decided he wanted to be a criminal-defense lawyer.

So nearly 50 years later, at age 58, after graduating from Harvard Law School and working 34 years in Seattle as a public defender, federal defender and in private practice, becoming one of the city’s most prominent criminal-defense lawyers, it was a “big deal” for Robinson to say the words he did on Monday: that he will be “leaving the practice of law.”

But after much soul-searching, he said during an emotional interview, he realized his deceased parents would have been deeply disappointed if he had turned down the “humbling” and thrilling opportunity he has accepted: to serve as the director of The Center for Justice of the national American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in New York City.

To read more, click here.