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News Posted on July 17, 2013

Immigration Law Clinic Students Collaborate with Former Solicitor General Paul Clement on Ninth Circuit Case

UC Davis Immigration Law Clinic students Melanie Young '13, Charlene Chen '13, and Christine Meeuwsen '14 collaborated with former United States Solicitor General Paul Clement on the opening brief for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit case of Immigration Law Clinic client Claudette Hubbard. Also collaborating on the brief were two more of the nation's leading appellate lawyers, Erin Murphy and Michael McGinley.

Paul Clement, who served as Solicitor General from 2005-08, has argued more than 65 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court since 2000 -- more than any other lawyer. A former clerk for Judge Laurence H. Silberman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and for Associate Justice Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court, he is a partner at Bancroft PLLC, and teaches as an adjunct or visiting professor at Georgetown University Law Center. Erin Murphy is counsel at Bancroft, and Michael McGinley is an associate there.

The case, Hubbard v. Holder, concerns Claudette Hubbard, a lesbian who has been ordered removed to Jamaica, a country known for violence against homosexuals. Based upon the Jamaican government's tolerance of violence against gays and lesbians, Hubbard is seeking protection under the Convention Against Torture. The brief outlines the basis of her appeal, which is that the Board of Immigration Appeals failed to apply proper standards in determining whether the Jamaican government acquiesces in the torture of gays and lesbians. The brief includes descriptions of the violence Hubbard experienced in Jamaica as a result of her sexual orientation, including an attack in which she was hospitalized and a female companion was killed.

Holly Cooper, a lecturer and staff attorney with the Immigration Law Clinic, said that Clement had previously expressed an interest in working with the Clinic on circuit court appeals, and the current collaboration came about after she contacted Clement's office regarding the Hubbard case.

Cooper said that the students worked with the Bancroft lawyers in outlining issues in the case, researching complex appellate law, interpreting recent decisions of the Ninth Circuit and how they may apply to the present case, and drafting the initial brief.  They will continue to collaborate on the client's reply brief and assist with oral argument in the Ninth Circuit.

"This has been a fantastic experience for our students, learning legal writing and research at a very high level and working alongside some of the nation's best appellate lawyers," said Cooper.