The Center for Law and Social Justice promotes research and teaching in areas of public policy and law relating to civil rights, civil liberties, international human rights, and equal access to justice. In particular, the Center addresses the continuing effort to preserve and define the fundamental values of liberty and equality in a constantly changing world.
The Center runs two important programs. First, it provides a platform for bringing to the law school distinguished speakers whose own work relates to social justice concerns. Speakers have addressed a wide array of topics in recent years from the rights of detainees at Guantanamo Bay to workers’ fragile right of association in a post-9/11 world to the social justice implications of the federal sentencing guidelines.
Also within the Center’s jurisdiction is a program that leads to granting a Certificate in Law and Social Justice to those students interested in specializing in the area. Students must fulfill a number of requirements including: completing an enrollment form; CLSJ Enrollment; participating and documenting their attendance at the Center’s events; Event Attendance Log; rendering 10 hours of pro bono service to individuals or organizations of limited means; completing 12 elective units; and maintaining the Center’s required GPA. The Center’s certificate requirements, along with supporting documents, are available below.
The Center's Certificate Program endeavors to educate students in the fundamental values of the American legal system to prepare them to counsel and represent clients in the full range of settings in which questions relating to the cause of social justice arise. Such settings may include, for example, criminal defense, allegations of employment discrimination, claims for equal treatment by gays, lesbians and intersexuals, or environmental litigation.
How Washington State Legalized Marijuana with speaker Alison Holcomb
Wednesday, January 30, 11:30 - 1:00, Room 323
Ms. Holcomb, an attorney for ACLU Washington, was campaign director for Initiative 502, the ballot measure to legalize marijuana under state law in Washington, passed in the November elections. She will talk about how how the law was drafted, what happened during the campaign, and what lies ahead under this new, groundbreaking law.
How a Railroad Lawyer Because the Great Emancipator presented by Professor Paul Finkelman, Albany Law School
Thursday, February 14, 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m., Room 225
Event description: Was Abraham Lincoln "the Great Emancipator"? Who really freed the slaves? Did the Emancipation Proclamation have "all the moral grandeur of a bill of lading," as one scholar claims, or was it in fact one of our great documents? These are the questions raised -- and answered -- in this lecture "How A Railroad Lawyer Became the Great Emancipator." Paul Finkelman is the President William McKinley Distinguished Professor at Albany Law School in Albany, NY and the author or editor of more than 40 books.
TJSL's Center for Law and Social Justice will be co-hosting a presentation by one of the nation's leading election law experts, Richard L. Hasen
Monday, April 15, 6:00 - 7:30 pm, Room 325
Sponsored by: The TJSL Center for Law and Social Justice, the TJSL Colloquium Committee, the American Constitution Society, the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties, and the League of Women Voters.
Professor Hasen will be talking about important and interesting voting law disputes, from voter ID laws to Citizens United. He is author of The Voting Wars: From Florida 2000 to the Next Election Meltdown and the Chancellor's Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of California, Irvine School of Law. He will be speaking on the topic "The Voting Wars Revisited."
TJSL Center for Law and Social Justice is happy to be co-sponoring one final event for the semester
Monday, April 22, 11:30 - 1:00 pm, Room 225
Cynthia Lee, Charles Kennedy Poe Research Professor of Law at George Washington University, will be presenting on the topic "Making Race Salient: Trayvon Martin and Implicit Bias in a Not Yet Post-Racial Society."
Here is a description of the paper Professor Lee will be discussing: This Article uses the Trayvon Martin shooting to examine the operation of implicit racial bias in cases involving claims of self-defense. Recent research on race salience by Samuel Sommers and Phoebe Ellsworth suggests that individuals are more likely to overcome their implicit biases if race is made salient than if race is simply a background factor, known but not highlighted.
Current or recent faculty research relating to the work of the Center for Law and Social Justice includes topics such as:
- intersexuals and the definition of gender
- the location of environmental hazards in minority communities
- constitutional defenses for alternative lifestyles
- the conflict between religious freedom and open housing laws
- the use of litigation prevention measures in employment discrimination cases
- same sex marriages and free speech
- religious defenses to allegations of terrorism
feminist perspectives on the law