While there are two months of classes remaining in the semester, Georgetown’s student government is already preparing to turn over power to a fresh set of leaders. With the elections coming up on March 7-8, candidates have just a week left to make their case. Voting is conducted online, but staffed polling stations will be available in McDonough Hall.
The Student Bar Association (SBA)’s meeting on February 28th, the penultimate meeting of the current class of delegates and executive board members, featured a town-hall style forum where candidates for various executive board positions, including President, both Day and Evening Vice Presidents, Secretary, and Treasurer, were able to articulate their platform and answer questions from attendees.
Half of the 45 minutes allotted for the forum was occupied by the two candidates for SBA President. 2L Delegate Joshua Branch and 1L Delegate Ryan Shymansky both introduced themselves and their platforms in a one minute speech before they were asked questions by the attendees. Shymansky drew attention to his relative inexperience, characterizing his run as something he had not been planning for long. Noting that it was unusual for first-year students to run for SBA President, he leaned on his experience and prior connections during his undergraduate years at Georgetown’s main campus. Branch, who heads the Community Enrichment committee that has organized the speakership series, spoke about his ability to take a middle ground and his level-headed nature as beneficial to his candidacy.
The Georgetown Entertainment and Media Alliance’s Law chapter, known as GEMALaw, held its annual symposium on February 3rd, marking the organization’s its tenth anniversary. The symposium brought dozens of prominent media law practicioners to Hart Auditorium, including GEMA’s founders, and attracted an estimated 200 attendees, ranging from Georgetown students to practioners to content creators, to its four panels spread over six hours.
Before the festivities began, Dean William Treanor introduced GEMALaw and recounted its importance and impact on the law school. In particular, he noted the dramatic expansion of entertainment and media-related course offerings at the Law Center.
The day formally began with an hour-long panel hosted by four of GEMALaw’s founders, Claire Magee (L’09), Raquel Braun (L’10), Daniel Werly (L’09), and Daniel Navarro (L’09). All except Magee, coincidentally, have ended up working in-house, and three of the four in the world of sports. All four readily agreed that Braun was the impetus for the creation of GEMA’s law chapter.
Disappoionted with the entertainment, media and sports law career building opportunities at Georgetown Law, Braun took it upon herself to gather friends and colleagues to expand the existing GEMA to the Law Center. The four also discussed their paths to their jobs, how they got their foot in the door, and the qualities that students should emphasize as they apply for entertainemnt-sector legal jobs.
Public interest students rejoice — the Georgetown University Law Center updated its guaranteed summer funding program earlier this year, increasing the size of grants available.
“[Georgetown Law] is a very public interest-oriented school,” said Barbara Moulton, assistant dean of the Office of Public Interest and Community Service. “The Dean is well aware that it is very hard for students to do this work, and we do anything we can do to help.”
Grants for 1L summer positions years start at $3,250 and fellowships for second years start at $5,500 — an increase from past years, which guaranteed $3,000 and $3,250 respectively. Students are also eligible for an additional $500 supplement from Equal Justice Foundation, provided they volunteer for two or more hours with the organization.
This is a change from past years — students are no longer required to dedicate volunteer hours to EJF to receive the base level of funding. Any Georgetown Law student with a public interest internship or clerkship is eligible.
On January 23, 2017, President Donald Trump signed his “Presidential Memorandum Regarding the Hiring Freeze,” directing the executive branch to implement an across-the-board hiring freeze on civilian employees. Exempted from the freeze are military personnel and positions deemed necessary to national security or public safety. The memorandum ordered the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to develop a long term plan to reduce the federal work force within 90 days. The freeze expires upon implementation of OMB’s plan.
Two days later, OMB released a memorandum providing slightly more guidance. No new positions will be created, nor empty positions filled. Any job offer with a start date before February 22, 2017 will not be affected by the freeze; any offer with a start date after February 22, 2017 or not yet determined will be under the discretion of the Agency head.
The federal hiring freeze was part of Trump’s “Contract with the American Voter” which detailed his campaign platform. Sean Spicer, White House Press Secretary, in a press conference on January 23, said the goal is to eliminate spending on jobs that are “duplicative” in light of the “dramatic expansion of the federal workforce in recent years” – a claim that has been heavily debated in the media. J. David Cox Sr., National President of the American Federation of Government Employees, said the freeze will, instead, disrupt crucial federal services and programs, and will increase government spending through increased reliance on contractors.
“His academic areas of interest include legal ethics and professional responsibility….” This is what Adjunct Professor Jack Vitayanon’s Georgetown Law faculty profile read prior to his arrest this past Wednesday. Although Professor Vitayanon’s arrest has been made public throughout national media and his faculty profile has been removed, the student body has yet to receive a statement from university leadership.
Vitayanon, who also served as an Attorney-Advisor at the IRS’ Office of Professional Responsibility, was arrested Wednesday for conspiring to distribute upwards of 500 grams of methamphetamine. For the visual learners, that’s about the size of 3 and a half apples, or a pack of ground beef. Vitayanon has allegedly been engaged in the aforementioned extracurricular activities since September of 2014. Interestingly enough, Vitayanon’s LinkedIn profile reflects that his employment at Georgetown began that same year in May.
On Tuesday, January 31, President Donald Trump announced that he will nominate 10th Circuit Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the Supreme Court seat left behind by the late Justice Antonin Scalia last February.
Judge Gorsuch was appointed to the 10th Circuit by President George W. Bush in 2006. Judge Gorsuch is a graduate of Columbia University, with honors, and Harvard Law School, with honors. Following law school, Judge Gorsuch completed his doctorate at the University of Oxford as a Marshall Scholar. Gorsuch will become the 6th Harvard Law graduate on the current Supreme Court. Justices Clarence Thomas and Sonia Sotomayor hail from Yale Law School, and Justice Anthony Kennedy, representing the west coast, is of Stanford Law School. Continue reading
This weekend, I, a moderately liberal white female law student raised between California and the Midwest who is admittedly privileged in many regards, went to both President Trump’s inauguration on Friday and the Women’s March the day after. Upfront, my experience came with implicit biases. I am not a Trump voter; I attempted to remain unbiased and objective at inauguration, but fully intended on protesting at the march. I consider myself a pragmatist with a love for dialogue; I wanted to talk to people, hear their stories and perspectives, and see for myself what the mood was like between the two very different groups that descended on Washington this weekend.
Official numbers have not been released of how many people attended the inauguration. As of 11am on Friday morning, WMATA had recorded over 193,000 rides for the day. Presumably, not all of those rides were individuals attending the Inauguration, and a portion of inaugural attendees would not have used the metro. My personal metrics say that the size of the crowd was somewhere between being sparse enough where I could have done a cartwheel in any direction without harming anyone, but condensed enough that I easily inhaled a pack of cigarettes via second-hand smoke. However, photos comparing the inaugural crowds during President Obama’s first inauguration in 2009, and President Trump’s inauguration went viral not long after the ceremony finished. If you have yet to see them, just know that they were less than favorable for President Trump.
My ticket entrance was on 3rd and Constitution, directly adjacent to Judiciary Square. This was the only location where I personally encountered large-scale protests. As we approached the entrance there were four or so young African-American women chained together and to the metal gates delineating the entrance. They – and the protestors wearing all black in front of them – chanted “This checkpoint is closed” along with a number of other refrains denouncing white supremacy and President Trump. A man from Takoma Park who attended with the protestors said he would have preferred the blockade to have been closer to the gate; further out it served as more of a “spectacle” than to stop Trump supporters from entering the inauguration.