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March 28, 2006

Event Contact:
Sarah Bubb, UT Law, (512) 232-1301,

Human Rights Defense Attorney to Speak at UT Law, April 6

Streaming Video of the Lecture Now Available in Windows Media Format:
(Requires Windows Media Player)

AUSTIN, Texas — Michael Tigar, research professor of law at American University, will give a lecture entitled “Universal Rights & Wrongs” at The University of Texas School of Law’s Eidman Courtroom from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Thurs., April 6. Sponsored by the Will E. Orgain Endowed Lectureship, the lecture is free and open to the public.

Tigar, formerly a professor at UT Law, will lecture on the movement to enforce human rights internationally and the importance of defining torture in the current “war on terror.” He will also discuss the U.S. Supreme Court case of Roper v. Simmons where the Court ruled that it is unconstitutional to impose capital punishment on crimes perpetrated while under the age of 18.

Tigar will also talk about the views of Richard Posner, U.S. Court of Appeals Judge for the Seventh Circuit and senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School. In an essay titled "Torture, Terrorism, and Interrogation" in Torture: A Collection, edited by Sanford Levinson, a professor at UT Law, Posner writes that "if the stakes are high enough torture is permissible." Interestingly, Posner seems to think torture is more acceptable if it takes place far from home. "Torture is uncivilized, but civilized nations are able to employ uncivilized means, at least in situations of or closely resembling war, without becoming uncivilized in the process," he writes. "I suspect that this is particularly true when the torture is being administered by military personnel in a foreign country."

Michael Tigar’s areas of expertise include constitutional law, Supreme Court litigation and practice, the French legal system, criminal law and procedure, and human rights. He has argued seven cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and more than 100 appellate cases. Tigar has represented numerous clients in landmark trials, including Terry Nichols in the Oklahoma City bombing trial. His books include Fighting Injustice, Federal Appeals: Jurisdiction and Practice, and Examining Witnesses.

Related Link:
Torture: A Collection: