Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality
Shantrice is an intern at the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality. The Center is named after Fred Korematsu, a man who fought for justice by refusing to follow orders to enter an internment camp. Its mission is to advance justice through research, advocacy, and education, and it works to accomplish this goal through two projects: the Amicus Brief program, and the Ad Hoc Task Force on Race and the Criminal Justice System. This summer, Shantrice will be working to ensure that civil detainees are not subject to punitive conditions of confinement. She will also be working on Arce v. Huppenthal, a landmark case from Arizona, concerning the State’s ban on Mexican American Studies in school. She is excited to join this coalition of attorneys and professors and hopes to gain as much experience as possible.
July 2, 2012
I cannot believe it is already July. This summer with the Korematsu Center has flown by. I work with four other talented students and three great supervisors. The greatest part about working at the Korematsu Center is its location; it is right next door to Sullivan Hall so it already feels like home.
I started in May, and needless to say, I was very nervous. I kept trying to understand how one could take the lessons learned in our Socratic classes, and apply it to real world situations and actual cases. However, my nerves quickly melted away. My coworkers each bring a unique set of skills to our work environment and my supervisors are very understanding. They have an open door policy, and are willing to spend as much or as little time needed to give the guidance necessary to complete a task. They have definitely made my experience even better than expected.
It was hard to transition from school to work. The deadlines are different, the expectations are different, and the overall environment is different. My first memo was due two days after it was assigned, and I was really worried about completing it on time because we have always been given at least two weeks to complete a memo in Legal Writing. I got it done and I have learned that I can work quicker than I thought.
The work we have been doing is extremely interesting to say the least. Our first project was to research and write a reply brief to the Ninth Circuit about conditions of confinement for civil detainees. It was definitely a quick start to the summer and a great way to start my legal career. I consider myself lucky because it is rare that a first year law student can say that he/she wrote part of a brief submitted to the Ninth Circuit. After we submitted the brief, I turned my attention to a case based out of the Olympic Peninsula that involves racial discrimination of Hispanics by Border Patrol. The work has been so interesting and exciting. I even have the opportunity to go to Forks later this month and conduct client interviews.
Besides work, I have also had the opportunity to do some fun things. I have met a few other interns through strategy lunches, I have gone to happy hour with my coworkers and supervisor. I even get to attend a baseball game at the end of the month. I would say the Korematsu Center has the perfect balance between work and play.
So far the summer has been rich with opportunities and experiences. As the summer starts to wind down, I cannot wait to see what else I can accomplish through my internship at such an amazing institution. Until next time!
July 26, 2012
As my term at the Korematsu Center is coming to a close, I am sad to say goodbye to my amazing summer, but I am also excited about the possibilities that lie ahead in the fall. I am happy to announce that I will continue my work with the Korematsu Center during the school year.
My work on the Border Patrol racial discrimination case created many interesting opportunities. The case is based out of the Olympic Peninsula and involves instances of racial profiling of Hispanics by Border Patrol, who have increased their presence and role on the peninsula. We were not able to go to Forks this summer, but I hope to reschedule that trip this fall. This case has involved a lot of document review, and I have taken the information from these documents and presented them at a strategy meeting with Northwest Immigration Rights Project (NWIRP), ACLU, and Columbia Legal Services. I have also had the opportunity to represent the Korematsu Center at a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Roundtable between community members, local nonprofit firms, and heads of Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), local police, and Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington.
I have also continued my work on the conditions of confinement case. After submitting our brief to the Ninth Circuit, we received notice of our date for oral arguments. One of the clinical students will be speaking before the court on behalf of our client and we are beginning to stage moot court events to help him practice. I hope to attend oral arguments, which will be held here in Seattle, and I am grateful to have the chance to see my brief being argued.
My summer with the Korematsu Center has been more than just work. All of the interns and supervisors attended a Mariner’s game. We saw the last game against the Yankees and we were sad to see Ichiro playing against us. However, it was the perfect combination of sunshine, good food, and great company. We definitely had fun in the sun, and have the sunburns to prove it. Our supervisor also hosted a barbeque for the interns at his house. We spent the afternoon grilling, relaxing, and recapping our summer.
Overall, my experience with the Korematsu Center has been a great one. The work was challenging, yet exciting. The supervisors were extremely knowledgeable and approachable. The interns were bright and engaging. I had such a great summer and it would not have been possible without my PILF grant.