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Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

Fall 2008

T C 357 • Legal Perspectives of the War on Terrorism-W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
43865 M
4:00 PM-7:00 PM
CRD 007B

Course Description

This seminar will focus on the major legal and ethical issues raised by the "War on Terror" conducted by the United States after the attacks of September 11th and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will begin with an examination of how the United States responded to the security risks of World War II, including the legal status of Japanese-American internment camps and, after conclusion of the war, the Nuremberg trials and adoption of international conventions and treaties. We will then examine and research contemporary issues such as: the concept of justice in a war against terrorism; several trials of terrorists in U.S. courts prior to September 11; several international tribunals held before September 11th that addressed terrorism, crimes against humanity, or genocide such as the terrorist bombing of PanAm flight 103 and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda; the Geneva Conventions and domestic U.S. laws relative to the detention and treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, and the May 2006 report issued by a committee of the United Nations calling for the United States to close the prison; the response to Abu Ghraib and the "rendering" by the U.S. of detainees to countries known to engage in torture; the current controversy over domestic surveillance and how immigration laws have been used in the war against terrorism; and how the U.S. judicial system has responded to an expansive executive branch view of the Constitutional powers of the President to conduct a war on terror.

Grading Policy

Short assignments: 40%
-Including one essay, weekly written questions or comments on reading materials, and class presentations of group research assignments
Term research paper; including an outline, draft, and final paper: 35%
Oral presentation of term research paper: 15%
Class participation: 10%


Bruce Hoffman, Inside Terrorism
Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11
Mark Danner, Torture and Truth
Michael R. Marrus, The Nuremberg War Crimes Trial, 1945-46: A Documentary History

About the Professor

Amon Burton teaches legal ethics at The University of Texas School of Law. He is a member of the national committee that drafts the multi-state professional ethics examination that law students take to obtain a law license. He has also served as a visiting lecturer in legal ethics at Cornell Law School. His latest article, "Reexamining the Role of In-House Lawyers After the Conviction of Arthur Andersen," (co-authored with Prof. John S. Dzienkowski) was published in the book, Enron: Corporate Fiascos and Legal Implications (Foundation Press, 2004). He is a corporate and securities lawyer whose current practice involves consulting with law firms on professional ethics issues and consulting on legal malpractice cases. His avocations include cycling and travel.


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