Writ's Columnists Discuss the September 11th Attacks on the US and the Aftermath
FindLaw columnists and law professors Akhil Reed Amar and Vikram David Amar
weigh in on the new Department of Justice regulation relating to
attorney-client communications. The regulation would allow federal agents to
monitor traditionally confidential meetings between inmates (including
detainees and those held as witnesses) and their attorneys, whenever Attorney
General Ashcroft determines that "reasonable suspicion exists to believe that
an inmate may use the communications with attorneys . . . to facilitate acts
Friday, Nov. 16, 2001
In Part One of a two-part series, FindLaw columnist and federal prosecutor Barton Aronson discusses the law governing our borders and skies. Aronson considers measures such as facial recognition technology, increasing INS tracking and enforcement, improving inter-agency coordination, instituting a government takeover of airport security, and using air marshals.
Thursday, Sep. 27, 2001
In Part Two of a two-part series, FindLaw columnist and federal prosecutor Barton Aronson discusses ways to amend federal statutes to protect our security after the September 11 attacks. Having discussed the security of our borders and skies in Part One of the series, Aronson goes on in this part to advocate revising the barriers between the CIA and FBI that prevent them from exchanging information, and amending the wiretaps laws to better fit our cellphone society.
Monday, Oct. 08, 2001
FindLaw columnist and Rutgers law professor Sherry Colb explains how the debate on racial profiling may change when the profiling is designed to find not drug dealers, but terrorists. Colb also considers the role the Korematsu decision -- in which the Supreme Court upheld World War II Japanese internment camps -- may play in the debate.
Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2001
FindLaw columnist and Rutgers law professor Sherry Colb contends that the meaning of courage is often misconceived when we discuss the terrorist acts of September 11. Colb suggests that bravery is not enough by itself; fear is no vice; and altruism and love are the qualities that should primarily define our heroes.
Wednesday, Sep. 26, 2001
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean discusses the historical use of military tribunals. Drawing his examples from the Mexican-American War, the Civil War, and, especially, FDR's Presidency, Dean contends that these historical precedents should give us less concern about the use of tribunals to try suspected terrorists than many critics have suggested.
Friday, Dec. 07, 2001
FindLaw columnist and former Counsel to the President John Dean responds to critics who have claimed President Bush's recent executive order allowing foreign terrorists to be tried before military tribunals, not civil juries, is a serious infringement of civil liberties. Surveying legal and historical precedents, Dean contends that President Bush's measure is appropriate given that we are at war, and that the accusation that the tribunals will be kangaroo courts is both inaccurate and unfair.
Friday, Nov. 23, 2001
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean discusses playwright Arthur Miller's theory of Presidents as, in part, actors who give public performances. Dean employs the theory to explain why President Bush has seemed to be a different and better President since September 11 -- with his recent speech, press conference, and ground zero appearance far more effective than his performances in the three campaign debates.
Friday, Oct. 26, 2001
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean discusses the reasons Middle Eastern immigrants to the U.S. are worried after the September 11 attacks -- from racial profiling at airports, to broad new detention and deportation powers, to a history that includes not only Japanese internment camps but similar abuses towards Germans and Italians that we have only recently acknowledged, to post-September 11 hate crimes.
Friday, Oct. 12, 2001
FindLaw columnist John Dean tells Writ readers where they can go for listings of books on terrorism, the Middle East, and Islamic Fundamentalists.
Wednesday, Oct. 03, 2001
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean contends that this may be the time to use military tribunals, not civil juries, to try suspected terrorists. Drawing in part on the work of commentators Spencer J. Crona and Neal A. Richardson, Dean analyzes the relevant Supreme Court precedents, notes Chief Justice Rehnquist's view on the matter, and explains the advantages of military tribunals in cases like these.
Friday, Sep. 28, 2001
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean provides a thorough discussion of the President's power to fight terrorism -- ranging from prior Presidents' actions, to constitutional debates about Presidential versus Congressional power, to international law sources that may come into play.
Friday, Sep. 14, 2001
Dorf clarifies the legal status of the al Qaeda and Taliban detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Dorf explains the Geneva Convention test governing whether a detainee is a prisoner of war or an unlawful combatant; considers the consequences of each status for the detainees and the Administration; and discusses the two Supreme Court cases that create the basic legal framework within which the Administration must operate.
Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2002
FindLaw columnist and Columbia Law School Vice Dean and professor Michael Dorf challenges Attorney General John Ashcroft's claim that the Brady Act forbids the FBI from cross-checking the names of aliens detained on suspicion of terrorism against a federal database containing information about persons who attempted to purchase firearms. Dorf contends the only source of this prohibition is not a statute, but rather a regulation the Bush Administration could quickly rescind.
Monday, Dec. 10, 2001
FindLaw columnist and Columbia Law School Vice Dean and professor Michael Dorf discusses the Supreme Court's upcoming term. Dorf surveys three types of legal issues that will likely arise before the Court in the wake of the terrorist acts: equality issues for Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans, issues of balancing and privacy, and due process issues. Dorf also explains two conflicting forces at work on the Court: a tradition of deference to the executive branch and a trend of increasing Court power.
Wednesday, Oct. 03, 2001
FindLaw columnist and Columbia Law School Vice Dean and professor Michael Dorf discusses what lawyers can do to contribute after the terrorist attacks -- including volunteering for New York's Legal Aid Society, which has lost its offices, and otherwise helping preserve civil liberties.
Wednesday, Sep. 19, 2001
FindLaw columnist and Hofstra law professor Joanna Grossman critiques the recent comments by Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and Louisiana Congressman Cooksey that suggested the terrorist acts of September 11 are the fault of groups within our own society. Using our own legal system as a guide, Grossman explains why we should be careful about placing blame, particularly on Arab-Americans.
Tuesday, Sep. 25, 2001
FindLaw columnist and Cardozo law professor Marci Hamilton contends that the
Bush Administration's apparent inclination to impose relatively limited
penalties on John Walker, the "American Taliban" may be based in part upon
the fact that Walker's illegal actions were motivated by a religious quest.
If so, Hamilton argues, the Administration's position is in error; Walker's
religious motivation should not mitigate his culpability -- for no man can be
a law unto himself.
Thursday, Jan. 03, 2002
FindLaw columnist and Cardozo law professor Marci Hamilton offers a new perspective on the controversy over the Bush Administration's use of military tribunals. Hamilton argues that it is hypocritical for liberals who, in the past, have favored wide executive discretion with respect to the environment and other policy areas, to now oppose the exercise of executive discretion to create the tribunals when the need for discretion in wartime is particularly great.
Thursday, Dec. 06, 2001
FindLaw columnist and Cardozo law professor Marci Hamilton critiques law schools for continuing, even after September 11, to resist military recruitment on campus because of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy regarding sexual orientation. Hamilton explains the steps the Society for American Law Teachers advocates to "ameliorate" recruiters' on-campus presence.
Thursday, Nov. 08, 2001
FindLaw columnist and Cardozo law professor Marci Hamilton takes issue with the assertion, made by Linda Greenhouse of the New York Times and other commentators, that the September 11 tragedy spells the end of the Supreme Court's states' rights federalism. Hamilton argues that, to the contrary, the events of September 11 should convince Congress to draw a sharp line between the truly national concerns, such as bioterror preparedness, on which it should focus, and those concerns that can best be addressed on the State or local level.
Thursday, Oct. 25, 2001
FindLaw columnist and Cardozo law professor Marci Hamilton pens a letter on behalf of the U.S. Constitution, in response to Osama bin Laden's statements and recently released video. The letter explains, among other points, why the fight against bin Laden is no "crusade."
Thursday, Oct. 11, 2001
FindLaw columnist and Cardozo law professor Marci Hamilton discusses the public statements of commentators Ann Coulter and Jerry Falwell, as well as President Bush's "crusade" reference, and stresses that we should not play into the Taliban's concept of the war against terrorism as a war of religion against religion. Hamilton also critiques recurrent claims that freedom to believe implies freedom to act on one's beliefs.
Friday, Sep. 21, 2001
FindLaw columnist and Cardozo law professor Marci Hamilton recalls the horrible terrorist acts of Tuesday, and discusses what happens when extremists confront the constitutional order and the rule of law.
Thursday, Sep. 13, 2001
FindLaw columnist, attorney, and author Julie Hilden contends that -- especially in the wake of the revelation of a credible October 2001 New York City nuclear threat that went undisclosed -- all terrorist threat information should be made public, unless disclosure of such information poses an additional security risk. Hilden argues that fears of panic are overstated, and chances of prevention will be greatly increased by disclosure.
Thursday, Mar. 07, 2002
FindLaw columnist, attorney and author Julie Hilden discusses the recent
decision by a Virginia federal judge not to allow television coverage of the
trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, the man alleged to have been the planned fifth
hijacker on United Airlines Flight 93, which went down in Pennsylvania.
Hilden considers both the First Amendment argument to televise the trial and
the government's and judge's arguments against doing so.
Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2002
FindLaw columnist, attorney and author Julie Hilden discusses whether the First Amendment tradition of protecting speakers who advocate violence, as long as the violence is not imminent, can possibly survive after September 11. Hilden surveys past Supreme Court precedents and contrasts them with the government's domestic and international position on those who support organizations connected to violence.
Thursday, Dec. 27, 2001
FindLaw columnist, attorney, and author Julie Hilden discusses the way, in the wake of the September 11 attacks, the government has undermined anonymity online, and how it may in the future continue to compromise Internet anonymity. Hilden also analyzes the Supreme Court's leading opinion on the First Amendment right to anonymity, warning that it provides far less protection for online speech than might appear to be the case.
Thursday, Nov. 29, 2001
FindLaw columnist, attorney and author Julie Hilden discusses proposed legislation that would address anthrax hoaxes, as well as the sentencing guidelines that would be needed to implement such legislation.
Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2001
FindLaw columnist, attorney, and author Julie Hilden considers the potential free speech question presented by the government's recent requests to networks to use caution in airing videos of speeches by Osama bin Laden. Among other points, Hilden examines the government's justification that the bin Laden videos may contain coded messages.
Thursday, Oct. 18, 2001
FindLaw columnist, attorney, and author Julie Hilden discusses New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's proposal to cope with mayoral transition in a time of crisis. Giuliani has suggested that mayoral candidates should agree to postpone the transition, so that it occurs months after the currently scheduled date of January 1. He also has suggested that, alternatively, the state legislature should abolish New York's term limits statute so he can serve another term -- though he reportedly withdrew this proposal yesterday. Drawing on what the U.S. Supreme Court has said about term limits, Hilden contends that while the agreement to extend is a bad idea, Giuliani's original idea of abolishing the term limits statute may be a good one.
Thursday, Oct. 04, 2001
FindLaw columnist, attorney and author Julie Hilden discusses possible abridgements of our Fourth, Fifth, and First Amendment rights in the coming war on terrorism -- and comments on which civil liberties we should care about most. Hilden emphasizes the need for war reportage, but notes that we will have to lobby for it since the First Amendment is unlikely to protect this type of press access.
Thursday, Sep. 20, 2001
FindLaw columnist, attorney and author Edward Lazarus discusses the government's decision to seek the death penalty in the case of alleged September 11 co-conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui. Lazarus carefully analyzing the leading Supreme Court precedent that has been cited in favor of imposing the death penalty on Moussaoui. He also explains why the penalty might well have been appropriate for the hijackers themselves, had they somehow survived, but may not (depending on the government's evidence) be appropriate in the case of Moussaoui -- who is charged with conspiracy alone.
Thursday, Apr. 04, 2002
FindLaw columnist, attorney and author Edward Lazarus offers some intriguing theories for why Vice President Dick Cheney so often resides at a "secure location." Lazarus considers possible political and health explanations -- and explains why he finds the Administration's national security explanation unconvincing.
Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2001
FindLaw columnist, attorney, and author Edward Lazarus discusses the unusual history of Ex Parte Quirin -- the World War II Supreme Court opinion upon which proponents of President Bush's military tribunals order most heavily rely. In Quirin, Lazarus explains, the Supreme Court, under pressure, announced its result -- supporting the President's use of military tribunals to try Nazi saboteurs -- first; gave reasons later; and then regretted this backwards process. For this and other reasons, Lazarus argues, Quirin should not be invoked in defense of President Bush's order.
Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2001
FindLaw columnist, attorney, and author Edward Lazarus assesses the challenges the Supreme Court will face in the months and years ahead, as legislation enacted in the wake of terrorism inevitably comes before the Court. Lazarus suggests that, in light of the recent tragedy, the Court should abandon two of its pre-eminent doctrines in recent years: a federalism that limits what the federal government can require states to do, and a church/state separation doctrine that has been increasingly lax.
Tuesday, Oct. 02, 2001
FindLaw columnist, attorney and author Edward Lazarus points out that where the recent terrorist acts are concerned, courage, while valuable, can take us only so far. Choosing our ends matters just as much as acting courageously, Lazarus contends; the terrorists, in their own twisted way, showed determination and resolution, but towards evil results.
Tuesday, Sep. 18, 2001
FindLaw columnist and human rights attorney Joanne Mariner clarifies the issues in the debate that persists over how Guantanamo detainees should be treated. Mariner explains the clash over what article of the Geneva Conventions applies to Taliban prisoners; sets forth the procedures that should be followed when POW status is in doubt; and notes the trend towards seeking to discard the Conventions entirely when terrorism is at issue.
Monday, Mar. 11, 2002
In Part Two of a two-part series, FindLaw columnist and human rights attorney Joanne Mariner discusses the difficulty in reaching an international consensus on the definition of terrorism. Mariner surveys different nations' widely divergent views on what qualifies as terrorism, notes historical examples of actions that could be called terrorist but are thought by many to be justified, and chronicles the U.N.'s attempts to address terrrorism over the years.
Monday, Jan. 21, 2002
In Part One of a two-part series on terrorism, FindLaw columnist and human rights advocate Joanne Mariner discusses the provocative question of whether there can be such a thing as good terrorism -- going well beyond the cliche that one man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter. Among other points, Mariner contends that while there is a strong international consensus that terrorism is bad, the consensus is ultimately a trivial one, for it masks deep disagreements as to what terrorism is in the first place, and who should be properly labeled a terrorist.
Monday, Jan. 07, 2002
FindLaw columnist and human rights advocate Joanne Mariner takes strong issue with Attorney General John Ashcroft's view of the Constitution -- arguing that Ashcroft accords Second Amendment gun rights as outsized a position as that of New York City in Saul Steinberg's famous "View of the World From 9th Avenue" cartoon on the New Yorker's cover. Mariner contrast the Attorney General's endorsement of military tribunals, among other positions, with his recently expressed view that the FBI should not check terrorism suspects' gun purchase records.
Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2001
FindLaw columnist and human rights attorney Joanne Mariner examines Attorney General Ashcroft's comparison of a possible trial of Osama bin Laden to the trial of O.J. Simpson, and contends that the fear of a Simpson-like proceeding does not justify abridging due process. Mariner also notes the cost, in terms of international opinion, of affording suspected terrorists military proceedings rather than civil trials.
Monday, Nov. 26, 2001
FindLaw columnist and human rights attorney Joanne Mariner comments, from the perspective of international law, on terrorists' mass killing of civilians and their threats to use weapons of mass destruction. She also discusses Afghan civilian casualties inflicted by U.S. bombing -- and, in particular, takes issue with U.S. use of cluster bombs.
Monday, Nov. 12, 2001
FindLaw columnist, attorney, and human rights advocate Joanne Mariner urges the Bush Administration, having voiced support of a Palestinian state, to move forward in trying to revitalize the Middle East peace process. Mariner contends that while we should never capitulate to terrorists, we should nevertheless ask ourselves why the extremists' appeal sweeps beyond the radical fringe, and should take steps to address the legitimate grievances of the moderate Arab and Muslim public.
Friday, Oct. 19, 2001
FindLaw columnist and human rights advocate Joanne Mariner cautions against a response to the recent terrorist attacks that would mirror the thinking behind the attacks themselves, and emphasizes why we should not resort to believing in collective guilt, or placing blame on ethnic groups.
Monday, Sep. 17, 2001
FindLaw columnist and Brooklyn law professor Anthony Sebok discusses the final rules for September 11 victims' compensation, set by Special Master Kenneth Feinberg. Sebok explains how the final rules, developed after Feinberg received comments, differ from the earlier version; why they nevertheless may not satisfy some critics; and whether they should serve as a model for compensation for future mass torts.
Monday, Mar. 25, 2002
FindLaw columnist and Brooklyn law professor Anthony Sebok takes a careful look at some of the most difficult questions arising from families' criticisms of the September 11 victims' compensation fund. Sebok asks: Are families of air passenger victims getting less from the fund than they would in settlements from a typical, non-September 11 plane crash? Do claims by families of victims who were not air passengers, and by property owners who lost property, have any legal merit, in light of foreseeability issues? And finally, is the plan fair to all, or only to some? Sebok explains both sides of each question, and offers his own conclusions.
Monday, Feb. 11, 2002
FindLaw columnist and Brooklyn Law School professor Anthony Sebok argues that before the September 11th victim compensation scheme becomes final, Special Master Kenneth Feinberg should amend it to expressly address and resolve the situation of unmarried domestic partners -- gay, lesbian or straight -- and to ensure greater fairness as between victims' spouses and other victims' unmarried partners. Among other points, Sebok shows that, in one hypothetical example, a married victim's heirs could receive a million dollars less than an unmarried victim's, even if the victims were exactly the same age and had made exactly the same amount of money.
Monday, Jan. 14, 2002
FindLaw columnist and Brooklyn law professor Anthony Sebok discusses the virtues of, and criticisms of, Special Master Ken Feinberg's plan for compensating September 11th victims pursuant to Congress' directive. Sebok also notes parallels between the September 11th plan and the plan Feinberg set up when he acted as Special Master in an earlier, high-profile case, regarding the use of Agent Orange in Vietnam.
Monday, Dec. 31, 2001
FindLaw columnist, Brooklyn law professor, and author Anthony Sebok discusses the three major post-September 11 tort reforms supported by the Bush Administration. Sebok also argues strongly that the last of these reforms -- which is not yet law -- should be rejected, for it would harm future terrorism victims by limiting their legal remedies for terrorist acts.
Monday, Dec. 03, 2001
FindLaw columnist, author, and Brooklyn law professor Anthony Sebok discusses the recently-enacted airline act. Under the act, potential September 11 plaintiffs may proceed under an alternative compensation system rather than suing the airlines. Sebok contends the choice of the Special Master who will administer that system is crucial, and advises that a multi-member commission should serve in the Special Master's role.
Monday, Oct. 22, 2001
FindLaw columnist, author, and Brooklyn law professor Anthony Sebok discusses some of the pros and cons of a terrorist attack victim's family's deciding to forgo a lawsuit and instead proceed under the system set out in the recent Air Transportation Safety and System Stabilization Act. Using the Act means giving up punitive damages claims but, as Sebok explains, those claims may be worth less than one might think.
Monday, Oct. 08, 2001
FindLaw columnist, Brooklyn law professor, and author Anthony Sebok takes a careful look at the new airline law, the result of a September 22 agreement between Congress and the President. Sebok explains that the law not only provides financial support to rescue the airlines, but also effects radical tort reform governing claims against the airlines in the wake of the attack. He provides a through explanation of exactly what that reform entails.
Monday, Sep. 24, 2001
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