Access to Justice

  • October 3, 2017
    Guest Post

    by Ryan J. Suto, J.D., Government Relations Manager, Arab American Institute

    On September 24, the Trump White House released a new Presidential Proclamation effective October 18, which essentially makes permanent the temporary Muslim/refugee Ban the president signed earlier this year. The Proclamation, like Trump’s previous Muslim Ban actions, relies on the fundamental assumption that foreigners, and specifically Muslims and Arabs, pose a heightened threat. Arguing “...foreign nationals who may commit, aid, or support acts of terrorism, or otherwise pose a safety threat…” the Administration holds tightly to creating xenophobic fears, despite no existing evidence to show that foreign nationals commit crimes at greater rates than citizens.

    Whereas the temporary travel ban, EO 13780, included Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, the Sept. 24 proclamation removed Sudan and added Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela. It also added nuance by providing a rationale to the Administration’s additions to the banned countries list, something we hadn’t seen with previous iterations.

  • October 2, 2017
    Guest Post

    *This piece originally appeared on the EPI blog.

    by Heidi Shierholz, Senior Economist and Director of Policy, Economic Policy Institute

    Many financial institutions use forced arbitration clauses in their contracts to block consumers with disputes from banding together in court, instead requiring consumers to argue their cases separately in private arbitration proceedings. Embattled banking giant, Wells Fargo, made headlines by embracing the practice to avoid offering class-wide relief for its practices related to the fraudulent account scandal and another scandal involving alleged unfair overdraft practices.

    New data helps illuminate why these banks—and Wells Fargo in particular—prefer forced arbitration to class action lawsuits. We already knew that consumers obtain relief regarding their claims in just 9 percent of disputes, while arbitrators grant companies relief in 93 percent of their claims. But not only do companies win the overwhelming majority of claims when consumers are forced into arbitration—they win big.

  • October 2, 2017
    Guest Post

    by John M. Eubanks, Member, Motley Rice LLC, Petitioners’ Counsel in Jesner v. Arab Bank

    Imagine a situation where an international bank with a presence in Manhattan holds accounts for known terrorists and serves as the end-payor to beneficiaries of a fund created for the explicit purpose of supporting an armed uprising typified by suicide bombings and indiscriminate killing of civilians carried out by known terrorist organizations with whom the bank’s accountholders are directly affiliated. Then, picture this international bank being immune from lawsuits filed by the victims of these suicide bombings and indiscriminate killings solely on the basis of its corporate form. This is precisely the issue with which the Supreme Court will grapple in Jesner v. Arab Bank, to be argued before the Court on October 11, 2017. 

    Jesner addresses the same question that was raised in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. during the October Term 2011. That question is whether the Alien Tort Statute (ATS),  creates a categorical bar to corporate liability for violations of the law of nations, or customary international law. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit – from which this appeal came – is the only federal court of appeals to determine that corporations are immune from the reach of the ATS, finding itself in conflict with the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Seventh, Ninth, Eleventh, and District of Columbia Circuits. While the Supreme Court had the opportunity to decide this issue in Kiobel, the Court instead answered a distinct question of whether claims under the ATS are subject to the presumption against extraterritoriality – that is, laws do not cover conduct that takes part outside the territorial confines of the United States absent explicit language to that effect. The Supreme Court carved out a test for overcoming this presumption under the ATS – “where the claims touch and concern the territory of the United States, they must do so with sufficient force to displace the presumption against extraterritorial application.”

  • September 28, 2017
    Guest Post

    by Sudha Setty, professor of law and associate dean, Western New England University School of Law. Her book, National Security Secrecy: Comparative Effects on Democracy and the Rule of Law, was recently published by Cambridge University Press.

    President Trump’s September 24 proclamation set forth immigration and entry restrictions that revised the restrictions in his January 27 and March 6 executive orders. In doing so, the administration attempted to reset the dispute over the extent of the president’s immigration and national security powers by claiming that the current administration policy was well-reasoned and the result of a lengthy deliberative process. The administration further argued that the new restrictions could not constitute a “Muslim ban” because North Korea and Venezuela, two of the eight nations included in the September 24 proclamation, are not Muslim-majority nations.

  • September 7, 2017
    Guest Post

    by Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer, Microsoft

    This piece was originally posted on Microsoft On The Issues

    We are deeply disappointed by the administration’s decision today to rescind protection under the program for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). As we said last week, we believe this is a big step back for our entire country.

    The question for individuals, employers and the country is what we do now.