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The Penn State Civil Rights Appellate Clinic has been retained as co-counsel to work with a Washington, D.C. boutique employment firm and a national civil rights group to represent Michael Ford in Ford v. Mansfield (4th Cir. No. 10-1254), in an appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The case involves a Section 1981 racial discrimination claim for interference with contractual relations.
On Wednesday, March 31, 2010, Penn State Law’s Civil Rights Appellate Clinic, acting as counsel of record for six civil rights groups, filed an amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court in Rent-A-Center, West v. Antonio Jackson, Supreme Court Docket Number 09-497.
Students from Penn State Law’s Civil Rights Appellate Clinic recently visited the U.S. Supreme Court to observe oral arguments in Staub v. Proctor Hospital, a case in which the Clinic had filed an amicus brief. While witnessing arguments in front of the U.S. Supreme Court is in itself extraordinary, Penn State Law students arrived a day early and had the opportunity meet privately with some of the most brilliant legal minds in the country – including Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
The Penn State Children’s Advocacy Clinic recently teamed up with several organizations to draft legislation that would require county children and youth agencies to make every reasonable effort to place siblings together in foster care unless doing so is contrary to the safety and well-being of any sibling. Sponsored by State Representative Briggs (D-Montgomery), House Bill 2258: Keeping Siblings in Foster Care Together unanimously passed (49-0) in the Pennsylvania Senate on October 13, 2010, and was signed by Governor Ed Rendell on November 24, 2010.
Can a school regulate off-campus student speech? What is a district to do when a custody order makes no sense, or competes with another state’s custody order? And under what circumstances can a child be interviewed about abuse allegations without parental consent? School administrators, teachers, and education lawyers are invited for a state-of-the-art legal training at the Penn State Law and Education Institute on June 20-24.
Older adolescents in foster care are among society’s most vulnerable populations and have recently become a focus of attention across Pennsylvania. As part of an initiative of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s Office of Children & Youth and Families in the Court, a working group convened at the Penn State Law Children’s Advocacy Clinic has advocated for an improved local judicial procedure and providing training for social workers, attorneys, and foster youth. Communities across the state have led working groups to improve the process for youth transitioning to independence from foster care.
Since 1972, children in abuse and neglect matters have had a right to legal representation through the appointment of guardians ad litem. Effective legal representation and advocacy for children in the dependency system can make a huge difference in improving the chances that fair and accurate determinations are made. However, a lack of investment in supervision, training, and compensation of these child advocates continues to harm children.
Penn State Law’s Center for Immigrants' Rights will host a fall colloquium marking the 30th anniversary of the Refugee Act on November 12.
Refugees are among the world’s most vulnerable people, and last year the United States resettled more refugees than any other country—80,000. But the road to gaining asylum in the United States is anything but predictable. Major players from the human rights, immigration, and advocacy community gathered at Penn State Law to ask two fundamental questions about the now 30-year-old Refugee Act: how did we get here, and where do we go from here?
As part of its mission to promote a modernized immigration system through representation of immigrant advocacy organizations, students from Penn State Law's Center for Immigrants' Rights collaborated with the American Immigration Council's Legal Action Center to co-author a new study, Up Against the Clock: Fixing the Broken Employment Authorization Asylum Clock.

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