Influential Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law Celebrates 20 Years of Publication

Reception and Half-Day Symposium on Lenahan (Gonzales) v. United States to Mark the Occasion


WASHINGTON, D.C., April 10, 2012– American University Washington College of Law will hold a half-day symposium and reception April 17 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the launch of the influential American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law (JGSPL).

The event, “Lenahan (Gonzales) v. United States of America: Domesticating International Law,” will be held by the Journal and the law school’s Women and the Law Program.


During the symposium, experts will explore the multiple dimensions of Lenahan v. United States, the first individual complaint by a victim of domestic violence to be brought against the United States for a failure to enforce a mandatory protective order.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ decision in favor of Ms. Lenahan confirms a state responsibility, rooted in international law, to protect individuals from so-called private violence. This ruling stands in contrast to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the same facts in the case ofCastle Rock v. Gonzales, 545 U.S. 748 (2005), in which the Court held that Lenahan’s constitutional rights had not been violated because individuals do not have personal entitlement to police enforcement of a protective order.

Caroline Bettinger-López, associate professor of Clinical Legal Education and director of the Human Rights Clinic at University of Miami School of Law, will provide keynote remarks at the symposium.

A reception honoring the anniversary of the publication will follow the program, with opening remarks by Claudio Grossman, dean of American University Washington College of Law. A special 20th anniversary edition of the American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law contains the transcript of a panel discussion celebrating the anniversary of Reed v. Reed that took place at the National Press Club in November 2011. The edition includes remarks by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a panelist at the event.

More information or register for the event.

Media inquiries should be directed to Megan Smith, (202) 274-4276.


About the Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law

This year, JGSPL is celebrating its 20th Anniversary. Founded in 1992, JGSPL provides a forum for those interested in gender and social policy issues. The current approach reflects JGSPL’s intent to fill a void in legal scholarship by providing an opportunity for academic discussion that is otherwise overlooked by traditional journals. By focusing on gender and social policy issues,JGSPLis committed to creating a dialogue among disparate social, economic, and gender groups in order to find our common humanity under the law. Each year JGSPL publishes approximately ten articles written by its own staff. MORE

About American University Washington College of Law

In 1896, American University Washington College of Law became the first law school in the country founded by women. More than 100 years since its founding, this law school community is grounded in the values of equality, diversity, and intellectual rigor. The law school's nationally and internationally recognized programs (in clinical legal education, trial advocacy, international law, and intellectual property to name a few) and dedicated faculty provide its 1700 JD, LL.M., and SJD students with the critical skills and values to have an immediate impact as students and as graduates, in Washington, DC and around the world. For more information, visit