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

Fall 2009

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

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
43790 M
3:30 PM-6:30 PM
CRD 007A

Course Description

President Obama stated in his inaugural address: "[W]e reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals." This seminar will focus on legal and ethical issues related to protecting national security and preserving civil rights and Constitutional values during the War on Terror and the current "post-Guantanamo" period (by executive order the prison must be closed by January 20, 2010).

Some of the issues to be explored and discussed in the seminar are: •The detention and interrogation policies of the United States during the War on Terror? •What constitutes "torture?" •The legal justifications provided by the Bush Administration for rejecting the Geneva Conventions and international laws as applicable in the War on Terror? •The role of the CIA in combating terrorism and the establishment of "black site" prisons in foreign countries. •The Guantanamo Bay prison: Who was sent there? How were detainees treated? What should the U.S. do with persons still held at Guantanamo Bay who it has determined are entitled to be released? •Constitutional due process and the role of the courts in dealing with terrorism and suspected terrorists. •Should suspected terrorists be tried in federal courts or by military commissions? •Recent efforts in European countries to bring criminal charges against U.S. governmental employees for war crimes and other conduct during the War on Terror. •Should a Truth and Reconciliation Commission be established to investigate abuses in the War on Terror?

Grading Policy

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


Texts (subject to change): Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 Mark Danner, Torture and Truth Jane Mayer, The Dark Side Philippe Sands, Torture Team: Rumsfeld's Memo and The Betrayal of American Values Joseph Margulies, Guantanamo and the Abuse of Presidential Power About the Professor: Amon Burton teaches legal ethics at The University of Texas School of Law and has served as 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). His current law practice involves consulting with law firms on professional ethics issues and legal malpractice cases. His avocations include cycling and travel.


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