An immigration judge has ruled that the British government cannot deport convicted drug dealer Hesham Ali, who has never been in the country legally, because he has a girlfriend and making him leave would therefore violate his “right to family life” under the Human Rights Act [Telegraph]:
He convinced a judge he had a “family life” which had to be respected because he had a “genuine” relationship with a British woman – despite already having two children by different women with whom he now has no contact.
Ali also mounted an extraordinary claim that his life would be in danger in his native Iraq because he was covered in tattoos, including a half-naked Western woman – a claim which was only dismissed after exhaustive legal examination.
Meanwhile, Ted Frank argues that the case of the Tsarnaev family points up the longstanding problem of dubious or fraudulent asylum claims [Point of Law]
Too amusing not to quote:
In my offhand judgment, Justice Breyer’s argument about the ATS and its “fit” with the presumption [against extraterritoriality] has force. (The Chief has an answer, but it’s a very close call.) What this is actually about, though, is a monitoring problem; and on that, the Chief is right.
The ATS has become a playpen for a cabal of international law enthusiasts and plaintiffs’ lawyers. Couple the former’s wild-eyed global aspirations with the latter’s eagerness to drag corporations through our one-of-a-kind tort system, and it’s Katy, bar the door. The Chief’s rule blocks all that: if it happened abroad, that’s it. Justice Breyer’s position, in contrast, would compel the Court to monitor all the places and institutions where this stuff gets out of hand: the Ninth Circuit; the wildest district courts in the country; the folks who are in charge of the Restatement of Foreign Relations; and the people who crank up “customary” international law (which becomes “customary” when someone at Yale Law School says it is, and the Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs agrees). If some foreign employees of a U.S. company sue other employees of that company over tortious sexual harassment at the company’s foreign plants, has the defendants’ conduct “substantially and adversely affect[ed] an important American national interest,” that of serving as a beacon of sexual equality in the world? You tell me.
To ask the Supreme Court to keep an eye on this is to declare surrender. So it’s good that the Court has drawn a line. Whether it’ll hold, we’ll see.
New from me at Cato: in covering the U.N. disabled-rights treaty, the Boston Globe bids to earn back its old nickname of “The Glib.” Earlier on the treaty here, here, etc.
“Human rights advocates claim that the depiction of torture in popular TV shows has had the effect of promoting the practice in real life, implying that the production companies may have failed to meet their responsibility to respect human rights as articulated in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.” [Faris Natour, JustMeans.com; Wired on Zero Dark Thirty] “So, ban Schindler’s List?” [@susanwake]
Meanwhile, the regime in Iran says it will sue over its depiction in the movie “Argo” [CNN; more from Wikipedia on French lawyer Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, whose attempts to marry imprisoned terrorist Carlos the Jackal "have been frustrated by legal issues"]
Because the important thing is to show that lawmakers have their hearts in the right place, which means not lingering over doubts about the constitutionality of the restrictions on speech or the implied rebuke to double-jeopardy norms or the nature of the delegation of federal power to tribal courts. Who cares about that stuff anyway when there’s a message to be sent about being tough on domestic violence?
P.S. In case you wondered, the U.N. is in favor.
A Yale professor calls for using the fledgling U.N.-system court to prosecute multinational businesses and their executives (“Treat Greed in Africa as a War Crime”). Red meat for some Times readers, no doubt, but among others alarm bells might start belatedly going off. I have more details in a new post at Commentary.
P.S. More on the Dutch court’s decision in the Shell Nigeria pollution case from Roger Alford/Opinio Juris, @annaholligan.
By a vote of 61 to 38 with two-thirds needed, the U.S. Senate today failed to ratify the far-reaching Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, criticized in this space before. This morning I published an article in the Daily Caller laying out some of the many bad provisions of this treaty, which the United States is very fortunate to be clear of (at least for the moment; proponents may come back next year and try to ratify it again in a slightly more favorable Senate). After the Senate vote, I added a followup at Cato at Liberty correcting persistent misinformation about the treaty that’s appeared everywhere from a New York Times editorial to a Media Matters blog post (assuming that’s really such a wide range any more).
A footnote: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which really should know better, backed the treaty, which it erroneously asserted “would not require any changes to existing law in order for the U.S. to comply with its provisions.” The Chamber’s most remarkable argument?
…ratification will help to level the playing field for U.S. businesses, which currently compete with foreign counterparts who do not have to adhere to our high standards when it comes to accommodation and accessibility for individuals with disabilities.
So it’s a misery-loves-company argument: if America is going to burden business with costly mandates, we’d better make sure competitors’ countries do so too. Not the Chamber’s finest hour. And as I explain in my Daily Caller piece, the Convention does indeed prescribe mandates that go beyond anything in the current ADA, including employment coverage for the smallest employers (now exempted from the ADA’s equivalent), requirements for “guides, readers and professional sign language interpreters, to facilitate accessibility to buildings and other facilities open to the public,” a new right of disabled persons not to be discriminated against in the provision of life insurance, and much, much more. If U.S. companies find those sorts of new mandates unwelcome, I hope they’ll let the Chamber know.
Great moments in international human rights: “United Nations-affiliated election monitors from Europe and central Asia will be at polling places around the U.S. looking for voter suppression activities by conservative groups … Liberal-leaning civil rights groups met with representatives from the OSCE this week.” OSCE stands for “Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), a United Nations partner on democratization and human rights projects.” [Alexander Bolton, The Hill]
More: Julian Ku writes that although the OSCE is transnational, it is not “U.N.-affiliated,” and notes that contrary to some speculation, the observers’ appearance was unrelated to a separate request to the U.N. by the NAACP asking it to regulate voting methods in the U.S.
President Obama, along with a number of Senators and longtime ADA advocates, have urged rapid Senate ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, hailed in some quarters as an “international ADA”. Sen. Jim DeMint and other senators have objected to the super-fast-track proposed ratification schedule, arguing that the measure might affect the rights of homeschooling families caring for disabled children and that, in general, opponents deserve a right to be heard. If Senators take a closer look at the ambitious views of the treaty held by various disabled-rights and international-law advocates — one advocate says it could revolutionize the legal rights of the mentally ill, for example — they might find further reasons for caution. [hearing]
As noted earlier, last week U.N. Human Rights Council rapporteur James Anaya (who also happens to be a lawprof at the University of Arizona) declared the U.S. to be trampling the aboriginal land rights of Indian tribes. I have a new Daily Caller piece pointing out (as I detail at more length in Schools for Misrule) that the U.N.’s involvement with American law school projects is nothing new: “Now the plaintiff’s counsel [in the Western Shoshone claim] of a few years back re-surfaces as the official instrument of a U.N. body, a revolving-door arrangement that is actually quite typical of the international human rights establishment, where a rather small band of crusading law professors, ‘civil society’ activists and Guardian readers around the world seem to take turns investigating each others’, or as the case may be their own, countries for putative human rights violations.” (& Julian Ku, Opinio Juris)
As I relate in a post at Cato at Liberty, the Obama Labor Department has withdrawn a far-reaching proposal that would have banned much or most work done by kids on farms, even work for their own family members (a narrow exemption would have remained in cases where parents were the sole owners of a farmstead). The proposals drew a huge outcry from rural America (earlier here and here).
According to the American Farm Bureau Federation (PDF),
For approximately a decade, activists have attempted to pass legislation amending the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to restrict the ability of youth under the age of 16 to work in agriculture. The legislation has never been scheduled for a vote or even a hearing, and the DOL-proposed rule change is [was] apparently an effort to restrict youth employment in agriculture through regulation.
If it seems impossibly extreme to forbid 15-year-olds from feeding chickens at a neighboring farm owned by their aunt, be aware that many groups organized around the fine-sounding mission of ending “child labor” would like to institute bans that go even further. For example, an NGO by the name of Global March Against Child Labor (represented in Washington, D.C. here) supported the DoL rules and declares itself “of the view that child labour in agriculture should not be allowed in any part of the world and in any form- whether as family labour or as hired labour.”
P.S. For more pro-ban sentiment, see this piece by AP labor correspondent Sam Hananel stenographizing the views of groups like Human Rights Watch.