13 January 18 2007 VIETNAM IVLP Meeting Summary
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Date Created:January 31, 2013
Date Uploaded to the Library:February 20, 2014
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The International Program Vietnam January 18, 2007 Guests: Vietnamese Delegation The delegation Vietnamese legal experts and professionals were invited the United States under the auspices the U.S. Department States International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), which was administered the Delphi International Program World Learning. The program was designed introduce the visitors representatives legal and judicial agencies around the country order provide them with a wide range professional opportunities their areas expertise. The program for the Vietnamese officials commenced Washington, DC, where meetings were scheduled with representatives federal agencies and nongovernmental organizations that advocate behalf the public good. The delegates were notably interested learning about the following topics: The U.S. judicial system and the different levels courts and their respective jurisdiction The support and training and development lawyers and judges The structure and methods the arbitration process The lawmaking process Judicial Watch was invited meet with the Vietnamese legal professionals discuss the topic transparency and accountability within the legal system. President The International Program Vietnam Tom Fitton and Judicial Watchs director litigation, Paul Orfanedes, met with the delegates. Mr. Fitton began his presentation discussing the Freedom Information Act (FOIA)a very important law passed Congresswhich gives every citizen the right obtain documents and responsive information about the work federal agency doing behalf the American people. law that fundamental the operation Judicial Watch and essential promoting openness and transparency government. government agencies fail comply with the law, they can sued federal court and ordered produce the documents requested. Mr. Fitton informed the delegates that Judicial Watch has aggressively pursued documents concerning general government misconduct from federal agencies under FOIA and has successfully forced the release hundreds thousands documents into the public domain. Judicial Watch has also filed lawsuits against government officials for egregious misconduct the performance their official duties, but Mr. Fitton acknowledged the inherent difficulty prosecuting such cases because the immunity granted agents the government when acting official capacity. The majority JWs lawsuits are brought against representative body, its most recent immigration cases. The immigration lawsuits brought have been filed behalf citizens locals across the country, including Laguna Beach Orange County, California; Houston, Texas; Chicago, Illinois; and Fairfax County and the Town Hernon Virginia. These lawsuits showcase the significant legal right afforded American citizens bring suit against local government agencies when they have standingessentially stake the matter lawas these cases where illegal immigration programs are being funded with taxpayer dollars violation federal immigration laws. Mr. Fitton ended his presentation encouraging the Vietnamese legal professionals promote the rule law and the formation independent organizations like Judicial Watch for the purpose building civil society. This would help ensure The International Program Vietnam safe environment for foreign business investment and assist their economic and social development. Mr. Fitton then introduced the delegates Judicial Watchs chief litigator and member its board directors, who has been with Judicial Watch since its inception 1994, Mr. Paul Orfanedes. Mr. Orfanedes continued the thread discussion stressing the importance civil groups keeping eye government activities. The simple fact that government agencies know someone paying attention what they are doing all the timenot just during election cycleshelps keep government and elected officials honest. And, informed the delegates, there are numerous civil groups like watching all aspects government operations. also emphasized the extraordinary tools given the American people through open records and open meetings laws, which allow them access government documents and operations federal, state, and local levels. With these tools, Mr. Orfanedes stated, citizens have been armed with the power the law and can effectively force government agency stop doing something that determined violation the law. Mr. Orfanedes told the group that being lawyer Judicial Watch very different from private practice, particularly with regard open records and open meetings laws and the types cases the organization chooses litigate. the immigration lawsuits, cases are selected the basis national significance and keeping with its mission investigate and prosecute government corruption. the litigation processfrom investigating and the marshalling evidence, putting together legal argument and defending courtthe public kept informed and educated (through newspaper articles, and radio interviews, Internet postings, symposiums, and speaking engagements). his closing comments, Mr. Orfanedes stated that light the significant amount discovery allowed the civil litigation process, including the taking depositions parties and witnesses under oath, coupled with the tools provided open records The International Program Vietnam and open meetings laws, attorneys are only limited their imagination the creative use these tools investigating and prosecuting government corruption.