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October 31, 2006

Press Contact: Kirston Fortune, Assistant Dean for Communications, (512) 471.7330 or

National Security Expert to Discuss Guantanamo and the Supreme Court, Nov. 2

Neal Katyal

Neal Katyal

AUSTIN, Texas—Scholar and national security expert Neal Katyal, who recently won a U.S. Supreme Court case which challenged the policy of military trials at Guantanamo Bay, will speak at The University of Texas School of Law on Thursday, Nov. 2. The event is free and open to the public.

The lecture, “Guantanamo, the Supreme Court, and the Rule of Law,” will be held in the Connally Center’s Eidman Courtroom from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. and is co-sponsored by the Marvin K.Collie Lectureship and the William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law at UT Law. After the lecture, a reception will be held in the Jamail Pavilion.

A professor at Georgetown University Law School, Katyal won Hamdan v. Rumsfeld in the U.S. Supreme Court, a case that challenged the policy of military trials at Guantanamo Bay Naval Station, Cuba. On June 29, 2006, the Supreme Court sided with him by a 5-3 vote, finding that President Bush's tribunals violated the constitutional separation of powers, domestic military law, and international law. As former Solicitor General and Duke law professor Walter Dellinger put it "Hamdan is simply the most important decision on presidential power and the rule of law ever. Ever."

The New York Times' Linda Greenhouse wrote it was "a historic event, a defining moment in the ever-shifting balance of power among branches of government that ranked with the court's order to President Richard M. Nixon in 1974 to turn over the Watergate tapes, or with the court's rejection of President Harry S. Truman's seizing of the nation's steel mills." The Washington Post called it "a huge victory for fundamental American values -- and one that will dramatically aid in putting the war against terrorism on a sound legal basis."

Katyal is a dynamic speaker who represented uniformed men and women in the Armed Services who challenged the Guantanamo policy. An expert in national security law, the American Constitution, the Geneva Conventions, and the role of the President and Congress post 9-11, Katyal forged a worldwide coalition of support for his challenge to the Guantanamo policy, including 422 members of the European and British Parliaments and several former Generals and Admirals of the United States Armed Forces, all of whom have publicly supported his work.

Katyal previously served as National Security Adviser in the U.S. Justice Department and was commissioned by President Clinton to write a report on the need for more legal pro bono work. He also served as Vice President Al Gore's co-counsel in the Supreme Court election dispute of 2000, and represented the Deans of most major private law schools in the University of Michigan affirmative-action case that the Supreme Court decided in 2003. (Katyal has written widely on affirmative action as well.)

Katyal clerked for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer as well as Judge Guido Calabresi of the U.S. Court of Appeals. He attended Dartmouth College and Yale Law School. His articles have appeared in virtually every major law review and newspaper in America, and he appeared on every major American nightly news program, as well as in other venues, such as the Colbert Report. Katyal recently won the 2004 National Law Journal pro bono award for his Guantanamo work.

The Marvin Key Collie Lectureship was established in 1983 by Marvin K. Collie “to establish a program through which outstanding scholars or practitioners in law or related disciplines may be brought to the Law School to enlighten both faculty and students.” Mr. Collie, who died in 1989, was a senior partner with the law firm of Vinson & Elkins and a Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Texas. He was active in the tax field throughout his legal career, including serving as an adjunct professor at the UT Law School (1983-85).

The William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law is dedicated to promoting equal justice for all. The Justice Center works toward this goal by educating students and attorneys about public interest issues through conferences, scholarship, and clinical courses; by encouraging all students to participate in pro bono and public service throughout their careers; and by creating public service opportunities for students and graduates.

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