News - August 2006
Michigan Law Sponsors Free Screening of Award Winning Documentary Lost Boys of Sudan
August 25, 2006
Lost Boys of Sudan, a critically acclaimed documentary that follows two Sudanese refugees on an extraordinary journey from Africa to America, is being brought to Ann Arbor by the University of Michigan Law School for a free 5 pm public screening at the Michigan Theater on Wednesday, September 27th. The screening will be hosted by Professor James Hathaway, Director of the University’s Program in Refugee and Asylum Law, and a leading authority on international refugee protection issues. He will be joined by the film’s director, Megan Mylan, and local Sudanese refugees from the Lost Boys group during a question and answer session immediately following the screening. The event is part of a national outreach campaign to raise local public awareness and support for refugees and the current crisis in Darfur, Sudan.
Lost Boys of Sudan was broadcast nationally on PBS, won the Independent Spirit Award, and was nominated for two national Emmy awards.
The film tells the story of Santino Chuor and Peter Dut, who were orphaned in the longest-running civil war in Africa. Along with thousands of other children, they walked hundreds of miles, surviving lion attacks and militia gunfire, to reach a refugee camp in Kenya. There they were chosen to come to America, where they find themselves confronted with the abundance and alienation of contemporary American suburbia.
Director available for interviews, press materials at www.LostBoysFilm.com. Contact: Terra Weikel, (415)987-9777 or Terra@LostBoysFilm.com.
This event is free and open to the public.
Wednesday, September 27, 5:00 pm
603 E. Liberty
Chief Justice John Roberts names Jeffrey Minear, '82, top aide
August 22, 2006
Jeffrey P. Minear, senior litigation counsel and assistant to the Solicitor General, has been named by Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. as his new administrative assistant. In that role, Minear will serve as the Court’s chief of staff, aid the Chief Justice in his overall management of the Court, provide research, and monitor developments in judicial administration and court reform. Additionally, the administrative assistant assists the Chief Justice as head of the third branch of government.
“I have worked with (and against) Jeff over nearly two decades,” the Chief Justice said, “and during that time I have seen first hand his strong commitment to the Supreme Court as an institution and his respect for its role in our system of government. I am delighted that he has agreed to undertake this important service.”
In his roles as assistant to the Solicitor General and senior litigation counsel, Minear argued 56 cases before the Supreme Court and is regarded as one of the nation’s most respected Supreme Court attorneys one, moreover, minus a partisan agenda. According to Richard Lazarus, a Georgetown University law professor who also worked in the Solicitor General’s office, Minear “has filed a lot of liberal positions and a lot of conservative positions. You’re not going to find any ideological trends. He’ll be a great public servant, as he has for the last 20 years.”
Prior to attending the University of Michigan Law School, Jeffrey Minear was a chemical engineer with Union Carbide. Following law school graduation in 1982, he clerked for Judge Monroe G. McKay of the United State Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, then joined the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in 1983 prior to assuming his responsibilities in the Solicitor General’s office in 1985.
Ratner Christian Science Monitor Op Ed urges that governmental consistency and concern for values drive enemy prisoner detention policy
August 8, 2006
In an August 8th Op Ed appearing in the Christian Science Monitor, Professor of Law Steven R. Ratner discusses implications of the Supreme Court’s Hamdan v. Rumsfeld ruling handed down in June of this year. But rather than focus solely on the Bush administration’s military commissions established to try Guantanamo detainees, Ratner argues attention should be paid to U.S. detainees in worldwide custody and to broader examination of Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.
Ratner’s recommendations include the application of Article 3’s ban on degrading treatment to US detainees worldwide, including those held by the CIA in various locations; and defining a coherent policy to meet the stated goal of closing the Guantanamo facility.
Steve Ratner’s research focuses on the challenges facing governments and international institutions after the Cold War, and his teaching follows along similar laws with recently taught courses including: Protecting Human Rights in International Law, The Law of War, International Investment Law, Transnational Law, International Law and Terrorism, Advanced Transnational Law, and Ethics, Justice, and International Law. He received his A.B. from Princeton, his M.A. (diplôme) from the Institut Universitaire de Hautes Etudes Internationales (Geneva), and his J.D. from Yale. He has served as a member of the UN Secretary-General’s three-person Group of Experts for Cambodia; been a Fulbright Scholar at The Hague; is a member of the board of editors of the American Journal of International Law; and served as an attorney-adviser in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the U.S. State Department. The full text of Professor Ratner’s article is also available.
Avi-Yonah testifies on offshore tax abuses before Congressional subcommittee
August 2, 2006
Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, the Irwin I. Cohn Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School, and Director of the International Tax LL.M. Program, testified on August 1, 2006 before the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations’ Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Avi-Yonah’s testimony detailed how U.S. residents have established bank accounts in offshore havens such as the Cayman Islands explicitly for the purpose of evading U.S. income taxes, how they do so, the implications, and what corrective actions might be taken. The instances Avi-Yonah cited differ from cases involving the laundering of funds earned in criminal activity; these monies were legally earned and deposited offshore explicitly to avoid paying taxes.
What makes this possible, Avi-Yonah told the Subcommittee, are minimal transaction costs for setting up such offshore accounts, the ease of electronic transfer, and in most cases, the lack of a reporting mechanism to authorities. Additionally, US residents who invest in these accounts can avoid withholding taxes; avoid local taxes as in the Cayman Islands; and keep their identities unknown to the IRS or other agencies. The actual scope of noncompliance in financial terms isn’t known, but estimates suggest that between $40 billion and $70 billion every year is owed in taxes but not collected.
Avi-Yonah’s recommendations for addressing the situation include: Increased IRS enforcement; bilateral information exchange between the U.S. and other jurisdictions; cooperation with the international Organisation for Co-operation and Economic Development (OECD); providing incentives to tax havens to encourage more information sharing with the U.S.; sanctions on non-cooperating tax havens; changes to the Internal Revenue Code; modifying the law on distributions from foreign trusts; treating foreign trusts as grantor trusts; and modifications of withholding and information reporting requirements.
The Subcommittee is chaired by Norm Coleman (R MN) and its ranking member is Carl Levin (D MI). Witnesses included the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, law firm partners and senior associates, and representatives of major private banks, securities firms, and brokerages. Avi-Yonah was the only law faculty member invited to appear.
Reuven Avi-Yonah specializes in international taxation and law, is Vice-Chair of the American Bar Association’s Tax Section Committee on VAT, a member of the executive committee of the New York State Bar Tax Section, a member of the Steering Group of the OECD’s International Network for Tax Research, and consultant to the U.S. Treasury Office of Tax Policy and numerous law firms. He has published 10 books and over 60 articles on U.S. and international taxation. His educational background includes a B.A. summa cum laude from Hebrew University, an A.M. and Ph.D. in history from Harvard, and a J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law. He has also practiced with Millbank Tweed in New York; Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen, and Katz in New York; and Ropes & Gray in Boston.
2L Erin Dougherty appointed to National Advisory Committee of Equal Justice Works
August 2, 2006
Erin C. Dougherty, a second year Michigan Law student, has been selected as a member of the National Advisory Committee (NAC) to Equal Justice Works, it was announced by David Stern, Equal Justice Works Chief Programs Officer and Tom Schoenherr, NAC Co-Chair.
In her role, Dougherty will provide input on Equal Justice Works programs and operations, including advancing its goal of having students develop a lifelong commitment to working on behalf of under-represented individuals, communities, and causes. The NAC is composed of 10 law students and 10 ten law school professionals who serve 2-year terms. Selection is based on numerous criteria including a commitment to public service and access to justice issues; leadership skills; a strong capacity for critical thinking and problem solving; and experience working with diverse communities, groups, and issues.
“I’m thrilled to have a relationship with Equal Justice Works,” said Dougherty. “In addition to fostering opportunities for all law students to pursue public interest work, I look forward to being part of a larger discussion on professional responsibility and the importance of pro bono efforts.”
Added Michigan Law’s Assistant Dean for Public Service MaryAnn Sarosi, ’87: “Erin’s commitment to public service is little short of extraordinary. As a Harry S. Truman Scholar, she was among a select group of students chosen because of that commitment, and she’s engaged in public service opportunities with the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, the Sitka Conservation Society, with the Fulbright Fellowship, with the Native American Law Students Association, and still others. It’s hard to believe she’s just completed her first year of law school, but there’s no question of either her commitment or her capability.”
Dougherty hails from Sitka, Alaska and grew up in Newport, Oregon. She’s a graduate of Willamette University.