Connie de la Vega

Professor and Academic Director of International Programs and Dean's Circle Scholar

Full-Time Faculty

(415) 422-2296

Biography

Professor Connie de la Vega writes extensively on international human rights law and participates in United Nations human rights meetings. She has submitted amicus briefs detailing international law standards to U.S. courts for juvenile death penalty and affirmative action cases, including Roper v. Simmons and Graham and Sullivan v. Florida, and has been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court. De la Vega is the co–author of The American Legal System for Foreign Lawyers (Wolters Kluwer, 2011) and International Human Rights Law: An Introduction (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007), and serves on the advisory group for the Human Rights Institute at Columbia University. She established the Frank C. Newman International Human Rights Law Clinic at USF and is a founding member of Human Rights Advocates.

Education
BA, Scripps College
JD, UC Berkeley
Prior Experience
Managing Attorney, Legal Aid Society of Alameda County
Staff Attorney, East Palo Alto Community Law Project
Expertise
International Human Rights Law
Sentencing Practices
Discrimination - Race
Application of International Law in the U.S.
International Law
Awards & Distinctions

Sarlo Prize, University of San Francisco (2011)

Dean's Circle Scholar, USF School of Law (2010)

Books
Dictionary of International Human Rights Law ( Edward Elgar Publishing , 2013) ) Read More
The American Legal System for Foreign Lawyers ( Wolters Kluwer , 2011) (Co-authored with Professor Emeritus Eldon Reiley.)
International Human Rights Law: An Introduction (Philadelphia, Pa.: University of Pennsylvania Press , 2007; published in paperback in 2010) (Co-authored with David S. Weissbrodt.)
Law Review and Journal Articles
“Using International Human Rights Standards to Affect Criminal Justice Reform in the United States,” 41 ABA Human Rights Magazine 13 (2015).
“The Promotion of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of Vulnerable groups in Africa Pursuant to Treaty Obligations: CRC, CEDAW, CERD, & CRPD,” Washingto University Global Studies Law Review (2015). SSRN
Book Contributions
“Entry on international law in gender and sexuality” in Encyclopedia on Gender and Sexuality (Wiley-Blackwell , 2014)
“The Responsibility of States to Ensure that Companies Comply with Human Rights Mandates” in International Human Rights Forum Lucerne Series: Human Rights and Migration edited by Peter G. Kirchschläger and Thomas Kirchschläger (IHRF Volume Eight Stämpfli Verlag Bern , 2011)
“Peer Review in the Mix: How the UPR Transforms Human Rights Discourse” in New Challenges for the Human Rights Machinery edited by Cherif Bassiouni and William Shabas (Cambridge: Intersentia , 2012) (Co-authored with Tamara Lewis.)
“Customary International Law” in Encyclopedia of Human Rights edited by David P. Forsythe (Oxford University Press , 2009)
“Jus Cogens” in Encyclopedia of Human Rights edited by David P. Forsythe (Oxford University Press , 2009)
“Advocates Should Use Applicable International Standards to Address Violations of Undocumented Migrant Workers in the United States” in Human Rights and Refugees, Internally Displaced Persons and Migrant Workers: Essays in Memory of Joan Fitzpatrick and Arthur Helton edited by Anne Bayefsky (Leiden , 2005) (The section was reprinted in 3 Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal 35. Co-authored with Conchita Lozano-Batista.)
“International Human Rights Mechanisms: The Effects of the UPR on Human Rights Practices in the United States” in Human Rights and the Universal Periodic Review:Rituals and Ritualism (Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press , forthcoming)
“Human Rights: International Laws and Policies” in Encyclopedia on Gender and Sexuality (Wiley-Blackwell , 2016) (Co-authored with Kendall Kozai.)
Opinion Pieces and Blog Posts
Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, and the Relevance of Human Rights”, Human Rights at Home Blog (December, 2015)
Letters to the Editor: Nov. 18”, San Francisco Chronicle (November 2015)
Other Publications
Report, "Juvenile Life Without Parole in the United States," to the Human Rights Council for the Universal Periodic Review of the United States on behalf of Human Rights Advocates and co-submitted with the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth and Human Rights Watch (September 2014).
Report, "Report on the United States of America to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination," UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination issued concluding observations on its review of the United States and referred to two issues covered in a report we submitted to that body -- affirmative action and juvenile life without parole (September 2014).
Challenging Juvenile Life Without Parole: How Has Human Rights Made A Difference? (Human Rights Institute, Columbia Law School)
Report, "Issue Submission for the Review of the United States of America” to the U.N. Human Rights Committee on behalf of Human Rights Advocates and the Human Rights Sentencing Project, USF Center for Law and Global Justice (December 2012) (Co-authored with Dana Isaac.)
Report, “Cruel and Unusual: U.S. Sentencing Practices in a Global Context,” published by the USF School of Law Center for Law and Global Justice (May 2012) (Co-authored with Amanda Solter, Soo-Ryun Kwon, and Dana Marie Isaac.)
Report, "Holding Businesses Accountable for Human Rights Violations: Recent Developments and Next Steps" (Dialogue on Globalization/Friedrich, Ebert, Siftung, July 2011) (Co-authored with Amol Mehra and Alexandra Wong. This report was one of two policy papers distributed at the July 2011 session of the Friedrich, Ebert, Siftung on steps toward business and human rights reforms at the U.N.)
Briefs
Supreme Court of the United States , Bobby James Moore v. Texas, et al. , "Bobby James Moore v. Texas", U.S. Supreme Court (U.S. 2016) (No. 15-797) (Urges USSC to grant cert on behalf of petitioner who has been on death row for 34 years based on international law standards that consider long stays on death row as torture. Co-authors are Lucy Martinez, Anastasia Davis Bondarenko, Three Crowns, LLP )
U.S. Supreme Court , Abigail Noel Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, amicus brief filed on behalf of five amici curiae, Human Rights Advocates, Poverty & Race Research Action Council, The Advocates for Human Rights, University of Minnesota Human Rights Center, and the USF Center for Law and Global Justice. ( 2015) (No. 11-345) (Co-authored with Neil A.F. Popovic and Risa E. Kaufman.) Read More
Illinois Supreme Court , Davis v. Illinois , Brief in regards to juvenile life without parole. ( 2014) (No. 09-8354)
Supreme Court of the United States , Hill v. U.S.A , Amicus brief for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on the international standards regarding juvenile life without parole. ( 2014) (No. 12.866)
Supreme Court of California , People v. Moffett , Amicus brief on behalf of Amnesty International, the Disability Rights Legal Center, Human Rights Advocates, Loyola Law School Center for Juvenile Law and Policy and the USF Center for Law and Global Justice ( 2013) (No. E050406)
Connecticut Supreme Court , State of Connecticut v. Santiago , amicus brief filed on behalf of 11 amici including the Human Rights Advocated and the USF Center for Law and Global Justice ( 2013) (The briefs refer to international treaty standards and practice of other countries in urging the court to rule that the legislation should be applied retroactively.)
Connecticut Supreme Court , Webb. v. Commissioner of Correction , S.C. 18857, amicus brief filed on behalf of 11 amici including the Human Rights Advocated and the USF Center for Law and Global Justice ( 2013) (The briefs refer to international treaty standards and practice of other countries in urging the court to rule that the legislation should be applied retroactively.)
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri , Bostic v. Bowersox , amicus brief filed on behalf of the Center for Law and Global Justice, Human Rights Advocates, and the Juvenile Law Center that argues Bostic's 241-year sentence received as a minor for a non-homicide crime is the equivalent of life without parole and unconstitutional ( 2012) (No. 4:11CV2193 FRB) (Co-authored with Dana Isaac.) Read More
U.S. Supreme Court , Miller v. Alabama and Jackson v. Hobbs, amicus brief filed on behalf of 19 international bar associations and seven international NGO and human rights centers on international law, practice, and treaties that address juvenile life without parole sentences. ( 2012) (Co-authored with Dana Isaac, Neil Popovic, and Courtney Barklem.)
California Supreme Court , People v. Caballero ( 2011) (No. S190647) (Co-authored brief on behalf of numerous human rights organizations. The brief argues that the 110-year to life sentence given to a juvenile offender for a non-homicide crime violates the Constitution, international law, and U.S. treaty obligations. ) Read brief
Missouri Supreme Court , State v. Andrews ( 2010) (No. SC91006) (De la Vega and Director of Human Rights Programs Michelle Leighton's article "Sentencing Our Children to Die in Prison: Global Law and Practice" was cited in the dissenting opinion. ) Read brief
U.S. Supreme Court , amicus brief in support of petitioners in Graham v. Florida and Sullivan v. Florida ( 2009) (Co-authored with Professor Connie de la Vega and Neil Popovic. ) Read brief
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights , Human Rights Advocates and fosters on behalf of v. United States ( 2009) (No. P-120-07) (Petitioners' response alleging violations of his human rights by the United States and California. ) Read brief
Presentations
Moderator, “Closing Guantanamo or Moving it North?,” 31st Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Geneva, Switzerland (March, 2016)
Panelist, “A Decent Respect for the Opinion of Mankind"- Looking at International Law and the Duty to Eradicate Housing Discrimination,” Approaching Fifty: The Federal Fair Housing Act 1969-1918, John Marshall Law School, Chicago, IL (September, 2015)
Panelist, “US Universal Periodic Review,” Human Rights Council (28th Session), Geneva, Switzerland (March 2015)
Panelist, “Guantanamo and Accountability for Torture,” Human Rights Council, Geneva, Switzerland (March 2015)
Presenter, “Protecting Women’s Rights: Training in Human Rights Law and Advocacy,” UC Hastings College of the Law,, “United Nations Human Rights Mechanisms,” San Francisco, Calif. (June 2014)
Presenter, “An Analysis and Celebration of 30 Years of HRA Advocacy at the UN and the 20th Anniversary of the Vienna Declaration,” Human Rights Advocate and The University of San Francisco School of Law Frank C. Newman International Human Rights Clinic, “Evolution of Human Rights Advocacy at the United Nations,” San Francisco, Calif. (November 2013)
Presenter, “Bringing Human Rights Home (BHRH) Lawyers' Network Fall 2013 Meeting,” Columbia Law School, New York, N.Y. (November 2013)
Presenter, “Bringing Human Rights Home (BHRH) Lawyers' Network Spring 2013 Meeting,” Columbia Law School, New York, N.Y. (June 2013)
Panelist, “Universal Rights, East and West? The Local, Regional and Global Work of Human Rights Clinics in Kyrgyzstan and the United States,” University of Puerto Rico Law School and the Association of American Law Schools,, “Conference on Clinical Education, The Value of Variety: Opportunities, Implications, and Challenges of Diversification in Clinical Programs,” San Juan, Puerto Rico (May 2013)
Presenter, “Panel on Careers as a Human Rights Defender,” University of San Francisco School of Law International Law Society, (April 2013)
Panelist, “International Law in Domestic Courts,” University of California, Irvine School of Law,, “Opposing the Criminalization of Homelessness: Building a Human Rights Framework,” Irvine, Calif. (March 2013)
Moderator, “Affirmative Action: Beyond the Classroom,” University of San Francisco Law Review Symposium,, “The Future of Affirmative Action After Fisher,” (February 2013)
Presenter, “The United States and the UPR,” Australian National University,, “Workshop on Rights, Rituals and Ritualism: The Universal Periodic Review,” Canberra, Australia (December 2012)
Panelist, “Race and Fisher v. University of Texas Oral Argument,” Stanford Journal of Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Fall 2012 Symposium,, “Civil Rights and the Roberts Court,” Palo Alto, Calif. (October 2012)
Presenter, “Juvenile Life Without Parole: Miller v. Alabama,” American University Washington College of Law Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law and the American Society of International Law Webinar,, “Human Rights Implications of SCOTUS Decisions in the 2012 Term,” Washington, D.C. (July 2012)
Panelist, “Developments at the UN – Presentations by the Frank C. Newman International Human Rights Law Clinic,” University of San Francisco School of Law (April 2012)
Panelist, “Global Health and Human Rights,” UC Berkeley 13th Annual Harvey Masonek International Career Symposium, Berkeley, Calif. (April 2012)
Presenter, “Inhuman Sentencing and the Process Which Enables It: Death Penalty, Life Imprisonment and Corporal Punishment,” Human Rights Council Annual Full-Day Meeting on the Rights of the Child,, “Children and the Administration of Justice,” Geneva, Switzerland (March 2012)
Presenter, “The Implications, Impacts, and Constitutionality of Juvenile life Sentences,” Shaking the Foundations', “West Coast Conference on Progressive Lawyering,” Palo Alto, Calif. (October 2011)
Presenter, “The Responsibility of Companies for the Implementation of Human Rights,” Centre of Human Rights Forum Lucerne, Lucerne, Switzerland (May 2011)
Presenter, “The Responsibility of States to Push Companies to Get Their Human Rights Performance Right,” Centre of Human Rights Forum Lucerne, Lucerne, Switzerland (May 2011)
Presenter, “U.N. Human Rights Council,” Columbia Law School, “Bringing Human Rights Home Lawyers' Network Spring 2011 Meeting, U.N. and IAHRC Advocacy Panel,” New York, N.Y. (May 2011)
Panelist, “How International Human Rights Law is Being Used in the United States to Protect Human Rights,” 13th Annual Trina Grillo Public Interest and Social Justice Retreat, University of San Francisco School of Law, (March 2011)
Presenter, “U.N. Accountability Measures,” Santa Clara Law Lecture, Santa Clara, Calif. (March 2011)
Panelist, “Human Rights in the United States,” U.N. Human Rights Council Event, Geneva, Switerzerland (March 2011)
Presenter, “Universal Periodic Review,” University of San Francisco School of Law Conference,, “The United Nations Human Rights Council: The Five Year Review and the Future of Human Rights,” (January 2011)
Presenter, “Frank C. Newman International Human Rights Law Clinic work on the right to food,” Human Rights Advocates International Human Rights Day Celebration at UC Berkeley School of Law, Berkeley, Calif. (December 2010)
Presenter, “The U.N. Human Rights Council and the Universal Periodic Review,” University of San Francisco School of Law, “The Universal Periodic Review: From Ideas of Freedom to Implementation of Rights--Where is the World in Achieving Human Rights for We the Peoples 65 Years After the Creation of the United Nations,” (June 2010)
Presenter, “Criminal Justice, Death Penalty, and Prison Conditions,” University of San Francisco U.S. Consultation on the Universal Periodic Review, (March 2010)
Presenter, “Disability Rights,” University of San Francisco U.S. Consultation on the Universal Periodic Review, (March 2010)
Presenter, “Human Rights as Essential Conditions for Human Health,” UC Hastings International and Comparative Law Review Symposium, “Health as a Human Right: The Global Option,” San Francisco, Calif. (March 2010)
Panelist, “Juvenile (In)Justice: Human Rights Can Break the School-to-Prison Pipeline,” International Human Rights Funders Group Semi-Annual Conference, San Francisco, Calif. (January 2010)
Presenter, “New Voices in Human Rights,” Annual Meeting of the Association of American Law Schools, San Diego (January 2009)
Presenter, “The Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child,” Human Rights Day Celebration at Berkeley High School, Berkeley, Calif. (December 2009)
Presenter, “The Special Measures Mandate of the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination: Lessons from the United States and South Africa,” Northern California International Law Scholars Roundtable, Davis, Calif. (September 2009)
Panelist, “The Special Measures Mandate of the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination: Lessons from the United States and South Africa,” American University Washington College of Law, 14th Annual LatCrit Conference "Outsiders Inside: Critical Outsider Theory and Praxis in the Policymaking of the New American Regime", Washington, D.C. (October 2009)
Presenter, “Looking Within: Domestic Advocacy Using International Human Rights Law,” UC Berkeley School of Law, “The 2009 Stefan A. Riesenfeld Symposium: Beyond the Bush Era: International Human Rights Law Looking Forward,” Berkeley, Calif. (April 2009)
Presenter, “The Impact of Human Rights Law on Civil Legal Services,” 11th Annual Trina Grillo Public Interest and Social Justice Retreat Stanford Law School, Palo Alto, Calif. (February 2009)
Panelist, “The United Nations Human Rights Council: What Would Eleanor Roosevelt Say,” American Branch of the International Law Association's International Law Weekend 2008, “The United States and International Law: Legal Traditions and Future Possibilities,” New York, N.Y. (October 2008)
Presenter, “Just Back from the Human Rights Council,” American Society of International Law's 102d Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C. (April 2008)
Presenter, “Protecting the Human Rights of Migrants in the United States,” Seventh Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Geneva, Switzerland (March 2008)
Media
"The Human Right to Personal Security: Guns: Friedman v City of Highland Park", law Professor Blogs Network, 12/10/2015
"U.N. takes stand against 'sit-lie' laws", San Francisco Chronicle, 05/04/2014
"US marijuana laws: Will records be wiped clean?", BBC News Magazine, 01/29/2014
"Don't just legalize marijuana, free prior offenders", Los Angeles Times, 01/16/2014
"International Context for Affirmative Action Argument", IntLawGrrls, 10/09/2012
"Justices Bar Mandatory Life Terms for Juveniles", New York Times, 06/26/2012
"Supreme Court Rules Juvenile Life Sentences are Unconstitutional", The Guardian, 06/25/2012
"Why are Prison Terms Getting Longer and are They Worth the Cost?", AllGov, 06/08/2012
"Good and Mad Reading for the Weekend", SentenceSpeak (Family Against Mandatory Minimums blog), 06/01/2012
"Breaking the Addiction to Incarceration: Weekly Highlights", ACLU Blog of Rights, 05/25/2012
"Charge: U.S. Sentencing Out of Step With World Practices", The Crime Report, 05/25/2012
"Cruel and Unusual: U.S. Sentencing Practices Vs. Everybody Else", Witness LA, 05/25/2012
"Cruel and Unusual: U.S. Sentencing Practices in a Global Context", Sentencing Law and Policy, 05/24/2012
Broadcast on juvenile sentencing in the U.S., NTN24 Nuestra Telenoticias, 05/22/2012
"Summary Judgments for May 22: Comparative Sentencing", Thomson Reuters News & Insight, 05/22/2012
"Insight: Sacramento's Human Rights Violations", Insight Capital Public Radio, 02/08/2012
Interview to provide info for radio broadcast "American Soldiers Pose with Dead Afghani Civilans", The Wire (Australia), 03/22/2011
Broadcast on Virginia federal court decision on health care plan, Univision, 12/13/2010
"CERD General Recommendation 32 on Special Measures", IntLawGrrls, 10/17/2010
"USF Professor Applauds Supreme Court Decision Barring Life Sentences for Teens" , SF Appeal, 05/17/2010
"How Ratifying the Convention on the Rights of the Child Would Affect Children in the United States", IntLawGrrls, 12/15/2009
Discussion about juvenile life sentences, Flashpoints (KPFA, 94.1), 04/13/2009
"Professor de la Vega discusses juvenile life sentences", Flashpoints (KPFA, 94.1), 04/13/2009
"Give Lifers Sentenced as Kids Second Chance", Des Moines Register, 02/25/2009
"Anniversary of the International Declaration of Human Rights", Your Call (KALW, 91.7), 12/09/2008
"Moving Forward to a New Day", A Voice for Juvenile Prison Reform , 11/18/2008
"Time for U.S. to reaffirm commitment to principles enshrined 60 years ago in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights", IntLawGrrls, 11/06/2008
Service
She submitted a report on the United States of America to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on behalf of Human Rights Advocates, the USF Center for Justice and Global Justice, and the Rocky Mountain Collective on Race, Place and Law. (2014)

De la Vega was an amici on the case re: United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Abdul Rahim Abdul Razak Al Janko, v. Robert M. Gates, et al. (January 2013).


(2013)

De la Vega participated at the Stanford Law School & Berkeley Law's "2013 Human Rights Clinicians' Conference" in Palo Alto, Calif. (January 2013).


(2013)
De la Vega was a guest speaker in a junvenile advocates training in association with the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana. (2010)
De la Vega accompanied USF law students to proceedings of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland. Students made oral presentations on issues such as counter-terrorism and prison privatization. (2010)
Organizer, U.S. Consultation on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), at the University of San Francisco. UPR is a U.N. Human Rights Council process where the human rights records of U.N. Member States are assessed. De la Vega moderated the event and provided an overview of the UPR process in her welcome address. (2009)
De la Vega and the Frank C. Newman International Human Rights Law Clinic filed a petition before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), representing an inmate who has been on death row for 18 years and has not had his first appeal. (2007)