Legal scholars from the Justice Department and several U.S. law schools will gather for a symposium on “Official Wrongdoing and the Civil Liability of the Federal Government and Officers” Friday, March 18, at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in downtown Minneapolis.
The spring St. Thomas Law Journal Symposium will be held in the School of Law’s Schulze Grand Atrium. Practicing lawyers, legal scholars and the public are welcome to register for the event. For more information about the symposium and to R.S.V.P., visit the St. Thomas School of Law website.
The symposium will explore the civil litigation avenues by which citizens may seek to hold the government and government officials accountable for official wrongdoing. Speakers will address common-law claims against the government under the Federal Torts Claim Act, constitutional claims against government officials under Bivens Actions, and claims under other statutes waiving federal sovereign immunity.
Participants will be asked to:
- Evaluate whether these legal avenues provide adequate redress for citizens while maintaining effective government.
- Address the separation of powers concerns raised and whether policymaking should be reserved to the elected branches of government.
- Suggest reforms or revisions of the governing statutes or doctrines.
- Consider the legal and ethical issues arising from individual officer versus government liability for wrongdoing.
Keynote speakers will be Hon. Tony West, assistant attorney general, Civil Division, U.S. Department of Justice and Peter Schuck, Yale Law School.
West was nominated by President Barack Obama to be the assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Civil Division on Jan. 22, 2009. As the largest litigating division in the Department of Justice, the Civil Division represents the United States in legal challenges to congressional statutes, administration policies, and federal agency actions. West first served in the department from 1993 through 1994 as a special assistant to the deputy attorney general. He additionaly served as an assistant United States attorney in the Northern District of California and state special assistant attorney general in California. Prior to returning to the Justice Department, West was a litigation partner at Morrison & Foerster, LLP, in San Francisco.
Schuck is the Simeon E. Baldwin Professor Emeritus of Law at Yale Law School, where he has held the chair since 1984. He has also served as deputy dean. His major fields of teaching and research are tort law; immigration, citizenship, and refugee law; groups, diversity, and law; and administrative law. His most recent books include Targeting in Social Programs: Avoiding Bad Bets, Removing Bad Apples; Meditations of a Militant Moderate: Cool Views on Hot Topics; Immigration Stories; Foundations of Administrative Law; Diversity in America: Keeping Government at a Safe Distance; and The Limits of Law: Essays on Democratic Governance.