Courthouse Libraries BC Hosting Webinar for Canadian Lawyers on the Impact of Recent Executive Orders

I feel I must write this quick, as every day the terrain shifts and the battle lines move in the escalating conflict between the 45th POTUS and virtually the entire machinery of justice.

FYI, the ABA yesterday released its resolution 10C calling on Trump to withdraw his order restricting travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Less than two weeks ago Trump started the whole mess when he slapped on brass knuckles to deliver not one, not two, but three immigration-related executive orders to finish his first week as President.

The world sucked wind.

Even north of the 49th people reeled. Social justice listservs began to light up with questions about what to do at Canadian borders and airports. The CCLA ran a full page ad in the Globe and Mail with a call to action regarding impact in Canada on refugees and immigrants. We at Courthouse Libraries BC scrambled to put a resource together on our public-facing website to help Canadians affected by the Muslim ban. Even the legal tech space reacted, with startups like Clio and Casetext offering tangible supports through discounted or free product licenses to immigration lawyers and volunteers.

Of course south of the border US lawyers were dropping writs and filing suits left, right and center. Judges have been putting the executive branch in check. And ABA groups have built a rapid-response website to help respond to the Trump immigration order.

Meanwhile, my colleagues and I reached out to Peter Edelmann, an immigration lawyer here in Vancouver, to ask if he would help Canadian lawyers orient themselves in the pandemonium by participating in a webinar on the various issues.

Canadian Lawyers and the Impact of the US Executive Orders (Muslim Ban) — Upcoming Webinar from Courthouse Libraries BC at the end of February

The conversation was productive, and I can let you know that Courthouse Libraries BC is pairing up with BC lawyer Peter Edelmann and US attorney Nikhil Shah, to bring a webinar canvassing:

  • The EO and whom it affects.
  • The effects of the various injunctions (MA, NY, CA, etc.) and appeals and what this means practically for affected people seeking access to the US.
  • Legal procedure and rights at the US Border.
  • Some expectations/predictions re future banned countries.
  • Canada’s next possible moves (e.g. Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement).
  • Information about the Canadian and US lawyer alliances/participation in this crisis.
  • What you, the lawyer on the front lines (or who wants to get involved) needs to know, e.g. what you can accomplish v. what you should expect.

Details for the session may change, but all you need to know regarding registration will be available here: under Special: Immigration and Trump’s Executive Orders.

The Embers of Legal Activism

As an aside, when you read about how 4,000 lawyers flooded the airports after Trump’s Jan 27 EO, it’s easy to feel like we’re witnessing the revival of something… call it legal activism.

Back in the early 1970s, John Lindsay—as a lawyer, former congressman and current Mayor of New York City—shared his views on legal activism. He was New York’s mayor when Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated. He had stood on the creaking scaffolds of civil society amid the riots and unrest that followed. He had seen what the Rule of Law looked like under strain. And he had an innate appreciation of the need for legal activism in those moments.

His American Bar Association Journal piece, “A 1970s Agenda for Lawyers”, proposed sociolegal priorities for that time: environmental protection laws; reformation of drug laws; consumer protection legislation; and a critical inquiry into the legality of the war in Vietnam.

Lindsay talked about the “twin strands” of the US legal tradition: the conservative force on one hand, which preserves values, rights and ideals; and the innovative, activist strand that serves as the cutting edge of social change. He also wrote:

  • Courts must act when other institutions fail.
  • Law must respond to social need.
  • The life of the lawyer is to be an “activist”.

Mayor Lindsay, whose familiar presence in Harlem helped quell unrest after Dr. King’s assassination as other cities rioted and burned, understood the imperative driving progressive lawyers.

“I would rather have social tensions and disputes resolved in the courts—however crowded they may be—than in the streets.”

Lets keep rooting for the courts in this.

Check in at to see about our webinars.

— Nate Russell is a liaison lawyer with Courthouse Libraries BC. Find him on Twitter @nrusse.


  1. Elizabeth Greenfield

    Where does one register for the upcoming webinar, Canadian Lawyers and the Impact of the US Executive Orders (Muslim Ban) ? I don’t find a place to register.

    Thank you.