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Stanford Law School’s Lucas Guttentag to Advise Obama Administration

STANFORD, Calif., September 8, 2014 – Stanford Law School’s Lucas Guttentag began serving the Obama administration today as Senior Counselor to the recently confirmed Director of U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS), Leon Rodriguez. USCIS is a component of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

“I’m honored and delighted to have the opportunity to contribute to the administration at this very important time on an issue to which I’ve devoted most of my professional life,” said Guttentag, who has taught courses at Stanford Law School (SLS) since 2012 and was appointed Professor of the Practice of Law in 2014.

Lucas Guttentag

Lucas Guttentag

“We will miss Lucas Guttentag’s expertise at Stanford Law School, but we are pleased he will share that expertise with the nation at this critical time,” said M. Elizabeth Magill, Dean and Richard E. Lang Professor of Law at Stanford Law School.

Guttentag described his new role as “advising the director on policy matters in support of the administration’s efforts to improve and reform the immigration system.” The White House announced last weekend that President Obama has decided to postpone action on immigration reform until after the November elections.

Guttentag has a long history of expertise in immigration law and rights. He founded the Immigrants’ Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation in 1985 and was its national director for 25 years. He has argued major class action and constitutional cases on behalf of immigrants before the U.S. Supreme Court and many federal circuit and district courts for three decades.

In 2001 he successfully argued a case in the Supreme Court that established the right of immigrants to have independent federal judicial review of administrative deportation orders. He has litigated other cases that challenged the indefinite detention of Haitian refugees at Guantanamo Naval Base, a federal law penalizing citizens and immigrants who marry during deportation hearings, and numerous challenges to state and local immigration laws.

More About Lucas Guttentag

Guttentag was named a Human Rights Hero by the American Bar Association’s Human Rights journal in 2001, was honored as one of the leading immigration advocates of the last 25 years by the National Immigration Forum in 2007, and was chosen as California Lawyer of the Year for Appellate Law by California Lawyer magazine in 2002. He received the annual outstanding litigation award from the American Immigration Lawyers Association four times.

He received his JD cum laude from Harvard Law School and his BA with honors from the University of California at Berkeley. Early in his career, he served as law clerk to Judge William Wayne Justice in Texas and practiced civil rights law in Los Angeles. In addition to being on the Stanford faculty, he was regularly teaching at Yale Law School.

About Stanford Law School

Stanford Law School (www.law.stanford.edu) is one of the nation’s leading institutions for legal scholarship and education. Its alumni are among the most influential decision makers in law, politics, business and high technology. Faculty members argue before the Supreme Court, testify before Congress, produce outstanding legal scholarship and empirical analysis, and contribute regularly to the nation’s press as legal and policy experts. Stanford Law School has established a new model for legal education that provides rigorous interdisciplinary training, hands-on experience, global expertise, global perspective and focus on public service, spearheading a movement for change.

Stanford Law School’s Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar Confirmed to California Supreme Court

STANFORD, Calif., August 29, 2014 – Stanford Law School’s Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar won unanimous confirmation Thursday to the California Supreme Court during an hour-long hearing before the state Commission on Judicial Appointments. Cuéllar, known as “Tino” among colleagues, is the Stanley Morrison Professor of Law and director of the university’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.

Prior to the hearing, Cuéllar received the highest rating possible from a state bar commission charged with evaluating him.

Mariano-Florentino Cuellar

Stanford Professor Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar won unanimous confirmation to California’s highest court.

“Our system rightly calls for judges to leave behind all policy preferences and all partisan goals,”Cuéllar said during the hearing. “To my mind, judges must be humble yet decisive, committed to integrity, and impartial and fair in every single case. If I am fortunate enough to serve on this court, each day will find me working to honor these ideals and earn the public’s trust.”

Jeff Bleich and Danielle Gray, two lawyers who worked with Cuéllar in the Obama administration, along with former Stanford Law School dean Larry Kramer, spoke on behalf of Cuéllar at the hearing praising his scholarship and character and noting the breadth and depth of his experience. Kramer quipped, “I’ve often joked that there are two or three of him out there because there’s no other way to explain the amount of things he gets done.”

“Professor Cuéllar’s experience, skill, wisdom and compassion will make him a distinguished member of the California Supreme Court,” said M. Elizabeth Magill, Dean and Richard E. Lang Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, who attended the hearing. “We have been honored to call him a member of our faculty and are extremely proud that he will be serving the people of California on the bench.”

If approved by voters on the November ballot for a 12-year term, Cuéllar, a Democrat, will assume office in January and will be the first Latino immigrant and the only Latino on the court. He would replace conservative Justice Marvin R. Baxter and, along with another judge yet to be appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown, could continue to give the governor an opportunity to shape the court.

More on Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar

Prior to joining the faculty at Stanford Law School, Cuéllar served on the Obama-Biden transition team on immigration policy and as a special assistant to President Obama on justice and regulatory matters for the White House Domestic Policy Council. In that role, he worked on a wide range of issues that included funding for drug treatment, responding to crises such as the BP oil crisis, administrative efforts to close the gender gap and the U.S. Defense Department’s repeal of its “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

Cuéllar also worked in the Clinton administration as Senior Advisor to the Treasury Department Under Secretary for Enforcement, providing counsel on issues including money laundering and firearms policies, and clerked for 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Mary Schroeder.

About Stanford Law School

Stanford Law School (www.law.stanford.edu) is one of the nation’s leading institutions for legal scholarship and education. Its alumni are among the most influential decision makers in law, politics, business, and high technology. Faculty members argue before the Supreme Court, testify before Congress, produce outstanding legal scholarship and empirical analysis, and contribute regularly to the nation’s press as legal and policy experts. Stanford Law School has established a new model for legal education that provides rigorous interdisciplinary training, hands-on experience, global perspective, and focus on public service, spearheading a movement for change.

Stanford announces 2014 Stanford Bright Award recipient

This news story was originally written by Bjorn Carey and published August 5, 2014, in the online version of the Stanford Report. 

Art Sterritt, who has played a critical role in establishing and protecting the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia, has been selected as the second annual recipient of the Stanford Bright Award. The $100,000 prize is given annually to an unheralded individual who has made significant contributions to global sustainability.

Art Sterritt  Photo Courtesy Coastal First Nations

Art Sterritt
Photo Courtesy Coastal First Nations

As the founding executive director of Coastal First Nations (CFN) in British Columbia, Sterritt has negotiated many agreements between Canadian federal and provincial governments and coastal native peoples, the crowning achievement being the establishment of the 21-million-acre Great Bear Rainforest north of Vancouver. While protecting the Canadian ecosystem from deforestation and other exploitation, CFN has established services that support its member nations’ efforts to create sustainable businesses within the territory.

“Art Sterritt has done remarkable work in helping to preserve the Great Bear Rainforest, one of the great environmental achievements in North America in recent memory,” said M. Elizabeth Magill, the Richard E. Lang Professor of Law and dean of Stanford Law School. “We are thrilled to be able to honor him with Stanford’s Bright Award.”

The Stanford Bright Award, issued by Stanford Law School, is the only award to recognize significant achievement in conservation across different regions of the world. The prize was made possible by a gift to Stanford Law School from Ray Bright, Stanford Law School class of 1959, and his wife, Marcelle. Bright passed away in 2011, but his brothers, George and Michael Bright, serve on the advisory board.

“For several decades now, Stanford has been committed to research and education that leads to practical solutions for environmental problems,” said Nomination Committee Chair Barton H. “Buzz” Thompson Jr., a law school alumnus, the Robert E. Paradise Professor in Natural Resources Law and the Perry L. McCarty Director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. “The Bright Award allows us to recognize and promote the work of people like Art, who are doing exactly what we’re teaching our students they should do when they get out of Stanford.”

21 million acres protected

A few hours north of Vancouver, the Great Bear Rainforest stretches along 250 miles of the British Columbia coast. The land, rich in plant and animal life, accounts for 25 percent of the world’s remaining coastal temperate rainforests. In recent years, Sterritt said, large-scale commercial activity had taken its toll on the natural capital in the region as well as on the indigenous people who once lived comfortably in harmony with the land.

Coastal First Nations is the first-ever alliance of indigenous nations in British Columbia. After it was founded in 2000, Sterritt and other leaders began working closely with environmental organizations, such as Greenpeace and the Sierra Club, corporations and local, provincial and federal governments. The result, achieved in 2006 and added to in 2009, was that 21 million acres of the rainforest were placed under a sustainable form of ecosystem-based management by the CFN member tribes.

Five million acres of the Great Bear Rainforest are under full protection, comprised of 128 new conservancies and biodiversity areas. These are totally off-limits to outside activities and are reserved for indigenous social and cultural uses, allowing communities to pursue limited conservation-based commercial activities such as gathering conifer essential oils for the aromatherapy market.

Sterritt led negotiations for commercial access to the rest of the territory. Any activity must meet strict ecosystem-based management guidelines – the individual CFN member nations must grant permission to outside corporations wishing to conduct business in their areas. These are by far the toughest environmental standards for forestry in Canada. Only decades-long sustainable business plans are considered.

Linking environment, economy

To ensure that both the forests and the people flourish, Sterritt raised $120 million from private, corporate and public gifts to endow two funds. Half of that amount endows the Coast Opportunities Fund, which supports many programs, such as the Resource Stewardship Offices and the Coastal Guardian Watchmen. These programs employ CFN members to steward, monitor and protect the forests, rivers and coast, tending to any problems and making sure that laws and regulations are enforced.

The remaining $60 million funds the Economic Development Fund, which is available to all communities in the region that are designing sustainable businesses within the territory. The fund has already nurtured many businesses aimed at reintroducing traditional activities into the modern economy. These include ecotourism ventures, such as guided whale- and bear-watching tours, and shellfish hatcheries. The protected forests also allow CFN to sell a million tons of carbon-offset credits, the income from which Sterritt expects will eventually make CFN’s members entirely self-sufficient in managing the forest.

“Our people inherently understand that if you treat the forest and ocean properly, they will take care of you,” Sterritt said. “But the anchor of this is the economy. You can’t just save the environment; you need to build an economy that supports the environment. If there’s no economy built on preserving a sustainable forest, you will not have sustainable forest. The people who live there will protect the environment for years and years to come if their economy depends on it.”

Sterritt will visit Stanford on Oct. 2 for the formal award ceremony in Paul Brest Hall on the Stanford Law School campus, He will be interviewed in a public event by New York Times national environmental correspondent Felicity Barringer. The event is co-hosted by the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.

Sterritt was nominated for the award by a committee comprised of Stanford Law School faculty and students, with assistance from consultants experienced in this year’s designated North American region. The dean of Stanford Law School selected the final award recipient. An advisory board, consisting of Michael Bright, George Bright and Alan Markle, helps oversee the Stanford Bright Award.

The inaugural Stanford Bright Award was given to Tasso Azevedo of Brazil, recognizing his innovative ideas on promoting sustainable forest management. His efforts have contributed to a reduction in the rate of deforestation in the Amazon by 80 percent, along with a 35 percent reduction of Brazil’s greenhouse gas emissions. His work serves as a formula for similar efforts around the world. The 2015 award winner will hail from Europe and will be announced in the fall of 2015. For more information about the Stanford Bright Award, see brightaward.stanford.edu.

Stanford’s Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar tapped for California Supreme Court

This news story was originally written by Clifton Parker and published July 22, 2014, in the online version of the Stanford Report. 

Photo of Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar

Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar

Stanford’s Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar was nominated by Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday to serve as an associate justice on the California Supreme Court.

A member of the Stanford faculty since 2001, Cuéllar, widely known as “Tino,” has worked in two presidential administrations and has a significant track record in public service.

He is the Stanley Morrison Professor of Law and director of the university’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. An expert in public law, Cuéllar has taught a variety of subjects, including administrative law, criminal law, international law, executive power and legislation. He is also a professor of political science, by courtesy, at the School of Humanities and Sciences.

Cuéllar, in the Office of the Governor’s announcement, said, “I am enormously honored by Gov. Brown’s nomination, and if confirmed, I look forward to serving the people of California on our state’s highest court.”

Stanford Provost John W. Etchemendy said, “Tino Cuellar has a depth of experience as a legal scholar and on federal policy that has made him invaluable to the Law School and the Freeman Spogli Institute.  We will sorely miss him at Stanford, but our loss is California’s gain. We are proud that the governor has recognized Tino’s expertise. I know he will serve the people of California with dedication and distinction.”

M. Elizabeth Magill, the dean of the Stanford Law School and the Richard E. Lang Professor of Law, said, “The governor has made a brilliant choice in nominating Tino Cuéllar to the California Supreme Court. We have been honored to call Tino a member of our faculty for over a decade.”

She added that beyond his many accomplishments as a lawyer, academic and policy maker, Cuéllar is “fair-minded and deeply committed to equal justice under the law. Although we are sad to see him go, this is a great day for California and the nation because a talented and compassionate individual will be serving the public as a member of the California Supreme Court.”

“Tino Cuéllar is a renowned scholar,” Gov. Brown said in a news release. “His vast knowledge and even temperament will – without question – add further luster to our highest court.”

Born in Mexico, Cuéllar eventually attended school in nearby Texas, walking across the border to a Catholic school in Brownsville. At age 14, he moved with his family to Imperial County, California, where he graduated from high school before going on to earn a bachelor’s degree at Harvard College, a juris doctor degree from Yale Law School and a doctorate in political science from Stanford.

About his role at FSI, Cuéllar said, “I have been privileged to lead this extraordinary institute, and to have worked with our faculty to strengthen our research capacity in our core areas of governance, security, international development and international health.”

This year, he said, the institute launched the International Policy Implementation Lab to engage faculty in real-world problems of global health, security and governance, and partnered with the Graduate School of Business to start the Stanford-wide Global Development and Poverty Initiative. Both programs have expanded FSI’s research impacts and campus partnerships, he added. Cuéllar is also proud of helping to provide new opportunities for Stanford students to do research abroad in places like India and Brazil through the Stanford Global Student Fellows program and partnerships with the Bing Overseas Studies Program.

“Our work in global development, nuclear security, and cybersecurity has also benefited from our progress this year in raising funds to support faculty, hiring key personnel and engaging more of the Stanford campus,” he said.

Ann Arvin, vice provost and dean of research, said, “As FSI director, Tino has brought a creative and strategic vision that will have a lasting impact on the research and education missions of the institute. While his departure is our loss, we know that his scholarly expertise, practical experience in government and commitment to excellence will be invaluable for the people of California.”

In other areas of his public service career, Cuéllar has served as special assistant to President Obama for Justice and Regulatory Policy, where he worked on issues such as enhancing food safety laws and sentencing reform, and was a co-chair of the Obama-Biden Transition Immigration Policy Working Group. He also worked as a law clerk to the Honorable Mary M. Schroeder at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

During the second term of the Clinton administration, Cuéllar handled financial crime regulatory issues as senior adviser to the Under Secretary at the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

From 2011 to 2013, Cuéllar co-chaired the National Equity and Excellence Commission, created by Congress to address the achievement gap in America’s public schools. He serves as a presidential appointee to the Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States and is a member of the board of directors for the bipartisan Constitution Project.

Cuéllar will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of the Honorable Marvin R. Baxter on Jan. 4, 2015. His nomination must be confirmed by the State Bar’s Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation before it can appear on the Nov. 4 ballot for voter approval.


Stanford Law School Policy Lab Students File Recommendations to Update National Environmental Policy Act

STANFORD, Calif., July 18, 2014 – Stanford Law School students this week filed detailed recommendations to the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality on how to update the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), the nation’s foundational environmental law. Their submittal made a strong case for requiring better coordination among the project proponents, interested federal agencies, and important stakeholders so all of the key parties can identify major project flaws early, ensure that the environmental impact statements (EISs) will cover the key environmental issues (and not tangential issues that elongate the process and divert attention from the issues that matter) and that the process covers the full range of permitting and review needs.

The students worked closely with David J. Hayes, former deputy secretary of the Department of the Interior and a Distinguished Visiting Lecturer at Stanford Law School, in a unique policy practicum called “The National Environmental Policy Act: Pushing the Reset Button” to research the recommendations. They focused on major federal projects, for which NEPA requires the preparation of full EISs.

SLS Visiting Distinguished Lecturer David J. Hayes

SLS Visiting Distinguished Lecturer David J. Hayes

“The policy lab was an incredible experience, and a very different experience from other law school classes,” said Rebecca Vogel, JD ’15. “We learned about NEPA and the related agency regulations with an eye toward how to make the process work better in practice; that purpose really shaped our approach and added extra motivation to learn.  David’s experience in the field did not diminish his receptiveness to new ideas, and every student got the chance both to brainstorm reforms and to delve more deeply into the areas that intrigued us.”

In the submittal, students recommended that agencies be required to use modern information technology tools when preparing EISs, including searchable databases and geographic information system-based mapping. Together, these types of reforms should cut down on the preparation time for EISs, while producing better, more readable and relevant products.

“Students in the policy lab have made a major contribution to the current debate on how to improve implementation of one of our bedrock environmental laws,” said Hayes. “Their product will be an invaluable resource for the Council on Environmental Quality, legislators and other interested parties who are committed to improving the EIS process.”

In addition to Vogel, students involved in the practicum included Julia Forgie, JD ’14, Elizabeth Hook, JD ’15, Matthew Miller, JD ’15, and Laura E. Sullivan, JD ’15.

You can read more about the practicum and view the submittal in its entirety at: http://stanford.io/1nk5yTI.