Are democratic governance and the rule of law at risk in Pakistan? For over a year, the news from Pakistan had been ominous: A military general suspends the Constitution; Supreme Court justices are dismissed and put under house arrest; Protesting lawyers are assaulted with baton-charges and tear-gas; Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto is assassinated; Suicide bombings escalate, followed by unprecedented defiance by the dismissed judges and wide-spread protests by lawyers seeking restoration of the rule of law.
A general election held a few weeks ago has further complicated the picture. The electorate overwhelmingly endorsed political parties that aim to reinstate the dismissed judges, reinstate sovereignty of the parliament, and safeguard the constitution. Which forces will prevail in the end remains to be seen. These developments give rise to a variety of legal and political questions: When and why does law fail to contain politics? Can a constitution be suspended? How should the courts respond to unconstitutional usurpation of power? What social forces are necessary to protect a constitution and the rule of law?
On April 10 at 4:30 p.m., Seattle University Associate Dean Tayyab Mahmud will explore these questions against the backdrop of Pakistan's current constitutional crisis and evaluate the impact of this constitutional crisis upon the global struggles for democracy, security, and social justice in a free public lecture at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, 1801 Euclid Avenue.
The Ohio Supreme Court has approved Dean Mahmud’s lecture, “Laws, Limits, and Exceptions: Lessons of the Constitutional Crisis in Pakistan,” for one free hour of CLE credit.
Before joining Seattle University, Dean Mahmud was Professor of Law and Chair of the Global Perspectives Group at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago. He has taught International Relations at various universities in Pakistan and the United States and is a former Professor of Law at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.
He has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard Law School, a Visiting Professor at Seattle University School of Law, and has served as Co-President of the Society of American Law Teachers (SALT). He is presently is a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Governors of SALT and a member of the Board of Directors of Latina/o Critical Legal Studies (LatCrit) and been a member of the editorial boards of The American Journal of Comparative Law, the Hastings International & Comparative Law Review, the Journal of Third World Legal Studies and the Journal of Humanities Research. Professor Mahmud’s publications and research focus on comparative constitutional law, human rights, legal history, legal theory and extra-constitutional usurpation and exercise of power in post-colonial states. He holds a BA from the University of the Punjab, an MS from the University of Islamabad, an MA and PhD from the University of Hawaii and a JD from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.
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Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, founded in 1897 as the Cleveland Law School, was the first law school in Ohio to admit women and one of the first to admit minorities. In 1946, the Cleveland Law School merged with the John Marshall School of Law, founded in 1916, to become the Cleveland-Marshall Law School. In 1969, the Law School joined Cleveland’s new public university as its sixth college and was renamed the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law of Cleveland State University. Early graduates of the College of Law laid the foundation for the legal profession in Northeast Ohio. Now in its 111th year, Cleveland-Marshall is preparing promising students to be America’s leaders in the 21st century in law, business, non-profit agencies, and government.
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