Counterterrorism Law and Institutions


Course Code:
LAW 556
Law Honors/Pass/Restrd Cr/Fail


This seminar will explore a range of legal and policy questions in U.S. law related to the prevention of terrorism. Topics include intelligence-gathering, investigations, and the prosecution of suspects in U.S. courts, including controversies surrounding the use of informants, material support laws, racial and religious profiling, electronic surveillance, terrorist watchlists, and terrorism trials. In exploring these controversies, the course focuses on several core themes: 1) the contested relationship between rights and security; 2) the question of institutional choice in national security decision-making and oversight; and 3) the challenge of assessing the efficacy of counterterrorism measures. The course pays special attention to the policy controversies that affect U.S. communities, including minority and immigrant communities. To develop skills central to the work of practicing lawyers, students will write two short papers that simulate the actual work assignments of lawyers for government agencies, human rights groups, or other interested parties. For instance, students might draft a local ordinance on police intelligence-gathering, prepare a memo for a national security agency head or member of Congress, or design an administrative mechanism for resolving watchlist complaints. These assignments, for Professional Writing (PW) credit, will be due before the end of the quarter. Alternatively, students may opt to take the seminar for Research (R) credit with the professor's approval, according to the standard requirements and deadlines. In addition to completing the writing assignments, students are expected to read thoroughly and contribute to a thoughtful and lively discussion each class. Special Instructions: After the term begins, students accepted into the course can transfer from section (01) into section (02), which meets the R requirement, with consent of the instructor. Elements used in grading: Class participation and two short papers or research paper.

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