Home » Natsu Taylor Saito: “Rebellious lawyering can open up space for effective community mobilizing.”

Natsu Taylor Saito: “Rebellious lawyering can open up space for effective community mobilizing.”

natsu

“The odds are weighted against those who advocate for fundamental social change. As a result, if we are to engage in rebellious lawyering rather than serve as functionaries of the status quo, we need to assess the significance of a legal victory not simply in terms of whether our clients are the ‘prevailing’ party, but in terms of the justice that has (or has not) been achieved. This requires expanding our vision of both rights and remedies.”

“Innovative, humanity-focused lawyering helps us stretch common understandings of what falls within the realm of legal remedies. The coram nobis cases took a remedy at the ‘edge’ of the box and infused it with new life and meaning. Similarly, the human rights cases that have been brought under the Alien Tort Claims Act illustrate the importance of utilizing remedies that are theoretically available within our legal system, but rarely utilized. In turn, this kind of rebellious lawyering can open up space for effective community mobilizing.”

Excerpted from Natsu Taylor Saito, REBELLIOUS LAWYERING IN THE COURTS OF THE CONQUEROR: THE LEGACY OF THE HIRABAYASHI CORAM NOBIS CASE, 11 Seattle J. for Soc. Just. 89 (2012).

Natsu Taylor Saito joined the College of Law faculty in 1994. She teaches public international law and international human rights; seminars in race and the law, federal Indian law, and indigenous rights; and professional responsibility.  She has served as advisor to the Asian American Law Student Association and the Hispanic Student Bar Association. Professor Saito’s scholarship focuses on the legal history of race in the United States, the plenary power doctrine as applied to immigrants, American Indians, and U.S. territorial possessions, and the human rights implications of U.S. governmental policies, particularly with regard to the suppression of political dissent. She is currently writing a book on settler colonialism and race in America.

Professor Saito graduated from Swarthmore College in 1977 and received a Masters of Education from Georgia State University in 1982. She worked as a community organizer for the South DeKalb Community Center from 1977-1980, then taught social studies at Horizons School and English as a Second Language for the Adult Education Department of the Atlanta Board of Education.

After receiving her J.D. from Yale Law School in 1987, Professor Saito worked for Arnall, Golden & Gregory, Troutman Sanders, and Powell, Goldstein, Frazer & Murphy, and taught as an adjunct at Emory Law School prior to joining the GSU College of Law faculty. She is a member of the Georgia Bar and has served on the Committee on the Involvement of Women & Minorities in the Profession and the Georgia Supreme Court’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Bias in the Courts.

In 1993 Professor Saito helped found the Georgia Chapter of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, and she has served on the Board of the Conference of Asian Pacific American Law Professors, as well as the boards of the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless, the Center for Democratic Renewal, the Paideia School, and the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee. She is a co-director of the Human Rights Research Fund, and a member of the board of governors of the Society of American Law Teachers and chair of its Academic Freedom Committee.

J.D., Yale Law School
M.Ed., Georgia State University
B.A., Swarthmore College