20 Years After “Storming the Court”: A Living Room Discussion: Photo Gallery Part 1
20 Years After “Storming the Court”
In 1992, three hundred innocent Haitian men, women, and children who had qualified for political asylum in the United States were detained at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba and told they might never be freed.
On Thursday, January 23, 2014, at Howard University School of Law, several of the principle players involved in the Haitian’s fight for freedom convened at the law school to discuss Haitian Centers Council Inc. v. Sale, as chronicled in the book Storming the Court: How a Band of Yale Law Students Sued the President and Won, by Brandt Goldstein. This gathering was the first time that the author of the book, Brandt Goldstein, the judge in the case, the Honorable Sterling Johnson Jr., and the main attorney representing the Haitian refugees, Harold Koh, met in Washington, DC to reflect on the case, the circumstances leading up to it, and its relevance today. Tory Clawson, one of the Yale law students involved in the lawsuit and who now serves as senior director at Save the Children U.S., also joined the panel.
Howard law Professor Morris Davis, an expert on Guantanamo Bay, was also on the panel. Davis said that he is somewhat optimistic that Guantanamo Bay, while rife with detainment issues that have persisted through three presidencies, will close one day. Howard law student facilitators Amber Jordan and Michael Makinde, Class of 2014, and Cynthia Laurent, Zorba Leslie, and Michelle-Ann Williams, Class of 2015, peppered the panel with several compelling questions. “Did the differences between Haitian and American culture affect communication and the development of trust between the lawyers and the Haitians?” “What prospects do you see for a permanent closure to Guantanamo Bay?” How did you balance the very political nature of being a judge [new to the bench] with ensuring that all parties before the court were granted due process?” “What advice or insight would you give to current students who are similarly committed to important contemporary social justice issues, but who are struggling to manage competing school obligations?”
“Storming the Court is the real-life story of how law students have the potential and power to change the course of history right now, right where we are,” said Okianer Christian Dark, interim dean of Howard University School of Law. “I am very proud of Ms. Michelle Joo, Class of 2015, and the work all of our students and student organizations did to put this program together.”
“Storming the Court” was sponsored by the Office of the Dean, the Asian-Pacific Law Students Association, the Caribbean Law Students Association, the Charles Hamilton Houston National Moot Court Team, the Howard Law Public Interest Society, OUTLAW, the Student Bar Association, the Asian Pacific American Bar Association (APA DC), Kirkland & Ellis LLP, and Reed Smith. For more information about the book, visit http://www.brandtgoldstein.com/thebook/.
Additional information and photos from the event can also be found on the law school’s Web site at http://www.law.howard.edu/1756.
Compiled by J. Young, Howard University School of Law
Photos by Marvin T. Jones and Associates