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

Fall 2005

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

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
42643 M
4:00 PM-7:00 PM
CRD 007A

Course Description

This seminar will explore legal and ethical issues related to the response of the United States to 9/11 and threats of terrorism. The overall objective of the course is to examine (i) what is known about Al-Qaeda and international terrorism; (ii) past and recently enacted laws dealing with national security and terrorism; (iii) the challenges presented in trying to balance national security concerns with basic democratic principles of civil liberties, free speech, and due process of law, and also comply with international commitments for treatment of prisoners of war as set forth in the Geneva Conventions; and (iv) legal and ethical issues arising out of the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, including problems of holding U.S. and foreign citizens as enemy combatants and of interrogation methods and treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and other detention facilities.

The seminar is designed for students with a wide range of academic majors and experiences. It is not intended just for students who may be interested in attending law school. There will be extensive reading assignments and a substantial writing component; this seminar will likely take more time than a regular course. The last half of the semester will be devoted to small group or individual research projects. These projects involve researching and writing a term paper and giving an oral presentation to the class. The research paper may involve an analysis of a specific case or legal issue. For example, during the spring of 2005, research topics included: A Case Study of Sami Omar Al-Hussayen: the Prosecution and Deportation of a Graduate Student for Providing Material Support to Terrorism by Creating an Internet Site; Analysis of Federal Court Decisions on the Due Process Rights of Persons Detained as Enemy Combatants after the Supreme Courts Hamdi and Rasul Opinions; and Extraordinary Rendition of Detainees by the United States in the War on Terrorism.

Grading Policy

This course contains a substantial writing component. Short essays, memoranda and other writing assignments, and class presentations on assigned topics: 40% Semester research project; including an outline, draft and revision, and final paper (approx 8000 words): 40% Oral class presentation on research topic: 10% Class participation: 10% This seminar is limited to 16 students. The seminar format of this class is designed to encourage student interaction and open discussion and debate of important facts and principles. As we will be confronting a broad range of issues, the responsibility of each member to attend each class session and be prepared is very important. We will work together to make this an interesting and rewarding learning experience.


New books and materials on the war on terrorism are being published weekly. A list of materials for students to purchase will be posted in early August 2005; the list will also be sent by email to registered students. Readings may include the following: Jason Burke, Al-Qaeda: Casting a Shadow of Terror Richard A. Clarke, Against All Enemies: Inside Americas War on Terror Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, The 9/11 Commission Seymour M. Hersh, Chain of Command: The Road from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib Articles by Lawrence Wright in The New Yorker magazine on the 2004 Madrid bombing and a profile of Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri Legal memoranda, court cases, law review articles, documents and other materials related to the U.S response to terrorism


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