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School of Law
Fink publishes article for Notre Dame Law Review

Eric FinkAn article by Eric Fink, associate professor at Elon University School of Law, will appear in an upcoming edition of the Notre Dame Law Review.

Titled "Liars & Terrorists & Judges, Oh My: Moral Panic and the Symbolic Politics of Appellate Review in Asylum Cases," the article is scheduled to appear in Volume 83, Number 5, due for publication in the spring.

The article examines a change in U.S. immigration law that was enacted as part of the REAL I.D. Act of 2005. The new provision attempts to limit the scope of judicial review in appeals from administrative denials of asylum cases; specifically, the new provision limits the ability of appellate courts to consider whether the administrative immigration judge had a sound factual basis to determine that the asylum applicant's testimony was not credible.

In a few well-publicized cases, appellate courts had concluded that immigration judges had based their adverse credibility determinations on conjecture without supporting evidence. Proponents of the legislative change alleged that those appellate court decisions amounted to "judicial activism" and posed a threat to national security by making it easier for "alien terrorists" to enter and remain in the U.S. on the basis of false asylum claims.

Fink's article argues that the facts do not support those claims, and that the legislation is better understood as an example of "symbolic politics" in the context of ongoing "moral panic" over "judicial activism," "terrorism," and immigration.