Law, Politics & Public Affairs

Legal Hot Spots

Much of the drama of history and life is played out in
legal discussions, court trials and in the decisions of the
Supreme Court. These seven lectures will provide the
background for major legal controversies, competing
arguments, the decisions and what happened later.

1. Nixon v. Fitzgerald — Impact Then and Now
(Peter Raven-Hansen): The instructor represented
Ernest Fitzgerald in his whistleblower’s lawsuit
against former President Richard Nixon for a retaliatory
firing. The discussion will trace the litigation
up to the Supreme Court and its possible ramifications
for presidential immunity, executive privilege
and presidential pardons.

2. Sonia’s Asylum Case (Paulina Vera): After
fighting her case for over seven years, Sonia
was recently granted asylum by a judge in the
Baltimore Immigration Court. The case withstood
two challenges in the Court of Appeals for the
Fourth Circuit and it illustrates the many moving
parts of the asylum system: the players, the ICE
Trial Attorney, the Immigration Judge and the
appellate bodies; the need for creative advocacy;
the roadblocks that asylum-seekers encounter;
and the benefits of asylum. The status of asylum
law will be discussed. Note: For this one session
the time will be 3:00 to 4:30.

3. Solitary Confinement — Cruel and Unusual
Punishment (Kathryn M. Ali): Solitary confinement
is widely used in the U.S. with prisoners
isolated for years. This class will discuss why solitary
confinement is problematic and how courts
are examining the issue. We will focus on a recent
Virginia case, Porter v. Clarke, in which the U.S.
Court for the Eastern District of Virginia was the
first court in the U.S. to hold that extreme isolation
is cruel and unusual punishment.

4. Privacy and Technology, Carpenter v. US (Jay
Stanley): In June 2018 Carpenter v. US decided

whether the government needed a warrant to
access a phone company’s records in order to
determine someone’s whereabouts from an active
cell phone. The case also represents an important
landmark in the court’s ongoing attempt to grapple
with new technology.

5. Fido, Babe, Shamu, Koko and the Law (Joan E.
Schaffner): State anti-cruelty laws protect animals
from criminal abuse and neglect and the federal
Animal Welfare Act is designed to avoid cruel treatment
of certain animals in research, entertainment
or breeding. Recently, advocates have tried creative
approaches to seeking “personhood” for certain
animals, step one in attaining legal “rights” for them.
This class will review the current state of animal law.

6. Elder Law (Elizabeth L. Wildhack): Seniors face
complex legal concerns that are often different from
those faced when they were younger. Elder law is a
specialized legal area focused on older adults and
their adult children. The class will focus on the questions
seniors need to consider in their planning.

7. Legal Protections for the LGBT Community/
Those with HIV (Diana Flynn): In this class we will
examine the current and recent legal decisions on
behalf of members of the LGBT community and
people living with HIV. What are the significant concerns
of the courts? What are the successes? What
are the issues currently under litigation? Where are
the Courts heading? Given the composition of the
current Supreme Court and the Constitution, what
are the possible outcomes of the cases?

Peter Raven-Hansen is the Glen Earl Weston Research
Professor of Law Emeritus at the George Washington
University (GWU) Law School, where he taught the Law of
the Presidency, among other courses, for 37 years. He is
a co-author of National Security Law, among other books.
He currently represents American servicemen and missionaries
as well as Americans in Israel and their families,
who were victims of acts of international terrorism.

Paulina Vera supervises GW Law Immigration Clinic
students and provides legal representation to asylum-
seekers and respondents facing deportation in
Immigration Court and also lectures on immigration
law. She previously served as sole Immigration Staff
Attorney at the National Court-Appointed Special
Advocate Association (CASA). She practices law in
Maryland and before federal immigration tribunals and
serves in leadership positions in numerous law organizations,
including the Hispanic Bar Association-DC and
as a board member of LEAD.Latinoamerica.

Kathryn M. Ali is a Senior Associate with Hogan Lovells.
She has represented Fortune 500 clients, including
health insurers and pharmaceutical companies, and has
a comprehensive knowledge of substantive law, including
product liability and consumer protection, contract
disputes and RICO. She has litigated several solitary
confinement and capital punishment cases in state and
federal courts, including the Supreme Court. She clerked
for the Honorable Robert G. Doumar of E/VA.

Jay Stanley is Senior Policy Analyst with the ACLU’s
Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, where he
researches, writes and speaks about technology-related
privacy, civil liberties issues and their future. He
writes for and edits the ACLU’s technology policy blog,
Free Future, and has authored and co-authored various
influential ACLU reports. He is a graduate of Williams
College and holds an MA in American history from the
University of Virginia.

Joan E. Schaffner is an Associate Professor of Law at
the GWU Law School. She received her BS in mechanical
engineering and JD from USC, and her MS in
mechanical engineering from MIT. She has been a presenter
on animal law panels and conferences worldwide.
Her most recent work has focused on the compassionate
management of free-roaming cats. She is the author
of Introduction to Animals and the Law and is the recipient
of many awards, including the 2018 Excellence in
Animal Law Award: Scholarship-Teaching Service from
the American Association of Law Schools.

Elizabeth L. Wildhack is a partner at the firm of
Thompson Wildhack, and focuses on elder law and
estate planning/administration. She is a Commissioner of
Accounts for the 17th Judicial Circuit (Arlington County
and the City of Falls Church). She currently serves
as a director and as board secretary of the Arlington
Retirement Housing Corporation, a nonprofit housing
provider for low-income seniors. She is a member of the
National and VA Academies of Elder Law Attorneys.

Diana Flynn is the Litigation Director of Lambda Legal, the
country’s largest and oldest legal organization committed
to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of the LGBT
community and individuals living with HIV. Her litigation
efforts have helped lay the legal foundation for some of the
most important principles of constitutional and civil rights
law. She serves as counsel on significant litigation teams,
including the challenge to the Trump Administration’s transgender
ban, and the efforts to secure fair and equal treatment
for transgender students in the Drew Adams case.

Additional Information

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GMU - Arlington Campus- Van Metre Hall
Room 111
Multiple Instructors 10/17 - 12/12 Th 02:00 PM - 03:30 PM $55.00 View