Professor Bill Slomanson, along with TJSL alumni Christie Edwards ’07 and Chris Bidwell ’92, assumed leadership roles at last week’s American Society of International Law (ASIL) Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. Professor Slomanson moderated a panel titled "Unilateral Secession in a Multipolar World. "Edwards was elected co-chair of the ASIL’s prominent Women in International Law Interest Group. Bidwell moderated a panel entitled Nonproliferation Aftermath: Legal Responsibilities under International Law Once WMD Programs Have Been Secured or Destroyed.
Professor Slomanson has been on prior ASIL panels; chaired the ASIL’s United Nations section from 1995-2006; has been its Newsletter editor since 1992; and is currently a Corresponding Editor for one of the ASIL’s flagship publications, International Legal Materials. He drafted his panel’s hypothetical secession scenario, which is available online at: http://www.tjsl.edu/slomansonb/ASIL_Hypo_Secession.pdf
The U.S. has itself experienced a dozen secessions—first seceding from England, and then witnessing eleven southern state secessions in the Civil War era. With political change sweeping through the Middle East as a result of the Arab Spring, ethnic divisions threatening the breakup of Iraq, and internal strife burgeoning in Mali, the specter of unilateral secession looms large.
The panelists included the following prominent international secession experts: Patrick Dumberry, University of Ottawa; Vanessa J. Jiménez, Public International Law and Policy Group, South Sudan Program; Marcelo Kohen, Graduate Institute of International & Developmental Studies, Geneva; and Jure Vidmar, Oxford University, Institute of European and Comparative Law. Their background and relevant publications are viewable on the above webpage.
Christie Edwards commented, “I was introduced to ASIL as a student in Professor Slomanson's International Law class as a 2L. Since then, ASIL has played a major role in my professional development and I feel privileged to be able to give back to other students as the new Co-Chair of the Women in International Law Interest Group (WILIG), and through our newly launched WILIG Mentoring Program. It was great to witness Professor Slomanson’s poignant shout out for the TJSL annual Women and Law Conference and its Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lecture Series.”
Chris Bidwell’s panel explored a nation state’s legal responsibilities and liabilities—disposal, security, transfer, environmental remediation—when it suddenly takes possession of another country’s WMD program. For example, think of a country going in to take or secure Chemical, Biological or Nuclear weapons in places like Syria, North Korea, or Iran.
Bidwill's take, on the coincidence of three members of the TJSL community in prominent roles at this year’s ASIL conference, is that “TJSL scored a hat-trick at the ASIL annual conference, with three TJSL members taking on leadership and speaking roles. TJSL is becoming a power house on the international law scene. It was great to see the huge plaque, at the conference entrance listing TJSL as an ASIL partnership institution. It was also good to reconnect with my civil procedure professor again, who is partially responsible for my having litigated over 100 civil cases, having to try only a several (successfully), and all without ever being sued for malpractice.”
As Professor Slomanson quipped upon his return, “Many senior TJSL faculty can speak from personal knowledge about secession—based on their having witnessed the San Diego campus’s secession from Western State University in the 1990s, when Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union were also breaking up. So, it’s fitting that one of us should travel to the nation’s capital to speak about secessionist issues.”
On behalf of the Admissions and Alumni Departments, Professor Slomanson also hosted an event at the Renaissance Marriott Hotel. Both admitted students and TJSL alumni came to the event to network. It was a great opportunity for the admitted students to learn more about the law school from successful graduates in the D.C. area.
Pictured in the group photo: top row—Edward Kuch ‘09; Chris Bidwell ’92; bottom row—Joshua Hauptman, admitee for class of 2016; Aaron Gorman ’12; Louise Dunn ’12; Christie Edwards ’07; Jamaca Mitchell ’10; Professor Slomanson; Michael Jackson ’94 and friend Jackie.