The Bringing Human Rights Home Lawyers' Network
The Human Rights Institute coordinates and builds the capacity of U.S. lawyers and other advocates to engage human rights standards and strategies. The Institute provides network and advocacy support, develops trainings and cultivates and strengthens partnerships between lawyers and other human rights advocates.
At the center of the Human Rights Institute's networking efforts is our Bringing Human Rights Home (BHRH) Lawyers’ Network, through which members share strategies across issue areas and develop joint responses to common challenges and needs. The BHRH Lawyers’ Network has grown to over 800 members, including individuals working in more than 37 states across the U.S. The membership of our BHRH Lawyers' Network is drawn from approximately 200 advocacy and legal services organizations, including domestic social justice organizations and the U.S. programs of international human rights groups, as well as 50 universities and law schools, a number of private law firms, and several state and local human rights bodies. Members range from law students to attorneys in practice for more than 50 years, and include non-lawyers who are key players in the domestic human rights movement.
The Institute convenes bi-annual BHRH Lawyers’ Network meetings, often combined with a capacity-building workshop or strategy session on using international law in domestic advocacy. These meetings provide a forum for members to report on ongoing cases, discuss common challenges, engage in strategic discussions and develop joint strategies and projects involving U.N advocacy, U.S. policy initiatives, U.S. matters before the Inter-American Commission and updates on pending cases in U.S. courts. Between meetings, BHRH Lawyers' Network members stay connected through the BHRH Lawyers’ Network listserv and participate in the Human Rights Institute's annual Human Rights in the U.S. Continuing Legal Education (CLE) program. Members also have access to the Institute's U.S. Human Rights Online Library. In addition, members can join BHRH Lawyers’ Network working groups, including the Inter-American Human Rights System Working Group.
For more information on the BHRH Lawyers' Network, to join the listerv and to access the U.S. Human Rights Online Library, contact the Human Rights Institute at [email protected].
U.S. Human Rights Online Library
The BHRH Lawyers' Network's U.S. Human Rights Online Library serves as an online clearinghouse for domestic human rights resources, including sample briefs, pleadings, and other materials relevant to BHRH Lawyers' Network members. For access to the library, and to suggest resources for inclusion, contact the Human Rights Institute at [email protected].
As part of our effort to provide support and resources for the domestic human rights legal advocacy community, the Human Rights Institute develops human rights amicus briefs in select litigation in U.S. courts. For example, in 2012, the Institute filed two amicus briefs with the United States Supreme Court highlighting the human rights dimension of cases on the Court's docket. Along with Professors Martha Davis and Margaret Woo at Northeastern University School of Law, we submitted an amicus brief in Florida, et al. v. U.S. Dep't of HHS et al., arguing in support of the constitutionality of the Medicaid expansion provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The brief detailed the international community's concerns about racial disparities in access to health care in the United States, and described the ways in which the United States government has presented the ACA internationally as a response to those concerns.
In Fisher v. University of Texas, challenging the University of Texas' race-conscious approach to admissions decisions, the Human Rights Institute, through the Human Rights Clinic, along with Professor Connie de la Vega at University of San Francisco School of Law, and Neil Popovic at Sheppard, Mulin, Richter & Hampton, filed an amicus brief arguing that such measures are consistent with the United States' human rights treaty obligations as well as international practice.