Counterterrorism and the Law
This seminar will explore legal and policy questions related to the investigation, detention, and prosecution of terrorism suspects under U.S. law. Moving beyond Supreme Court detainee decisions, the course will address contemporary challenges involving civil liberties, national security oversight, and effective counterterrorism policy. Topics addressed will include domestic intelligence-gathering and investigations (including the use of informants, FISA surveillance, racial/religious profiling, and terrorist watchlists); the prosecution of terrorism suspects (material support laws, the choice between civilian and military courts); and the future of detention policy. One core theme will be the extent to which both lawmaking and oversight in the national security context occur outside the courts - often through legal counsel opinions, agency guidelines, internal watchdogs, and other lesser-known institutions and sources of law. The course also pays special attention to the policy controversies that most affect U.S. immigrant and minority communities. This course is designed to complement Professor Janet Alexander's Terrorism and the Courts seminar (Winter term). To develop skills central to the work of practicing lawyers, students will write two short papers that simulate the actual work assignments of lawyers for government agencies, human rights groups, or other interested parties. For instance, students might choose among assignments that ask them to draft a local ordinance governing police intelligence-gathering, prepare a memo for an agency head or member of Congress, revise a section of Attorney General Guidelines for FBI investigations, or write a section of an Inspector General report on a counterterrorism issue. These assignments, for Writing (W) or Professional Writing (PW) credit, will be due before the end of the quarter. Alternatively, students may opt to take the seminar for Research (R) credit with the instructor's approval, according to the standard requirements and deadlines. In addition to completing the writing assignments, students are expected to read thoroughly and contribute to a thoughtful and lively discussion each class. Special Instructions: After the term begins, students accepted into the course can transfer from section (01) into section (02), which meets the R requirement, with consent of the instructor. Writing (W) credit is for 3Ls only. Elements used in grading: Class participation and two short papers or research paper.