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Annual Meeting 2014: The war on terror’s effect on the rule of law to be discussed at ABA meeting


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Annual Meeting 2014: The war on terror’s effect on the rule of law to be discussed at ABA meeting

By John Glynn

The legal reverberations of the Boston Marathon bombing will take center stage at the American Bar Association Annual Meeting in Boston just as the city gears up for accused bomber Dzhohkar Tsarnaev’s trial. The issues of due process rights, rights of free speech and assembly, law enforcement challenges and protections against invasion of privacy that have been the source of ongoing friction between the war on terror and the rule of law will again come to the forefront.

“From Guantanamo to Boston: The
War on Terror and the Rule of Law,”

2-3:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 9
Room 312, Hynes Convention Center

These tensions lead us to reflect whether our responses to terrorist activity have helped to develop useful technology and law enforcement techniques and/or have strained the rule of law to the breaking point, and whether — as the Tsarnaev case again asks — there is still room for extremely unpopular defendants to get a fair trial.

The Section of Litigation will host a CLE Showcase Program: “From Guantanamo to Boston: The War on Terror and the Rule of Law,” an interactive panel discussion, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 9, in Room 312, Level 3 of the Hynes Convention Center.

“We will explore some of the most important security and liberty issues to confront our society in this high-technology era,” said Lawrence D. Rosenberg of Jones Day, Washington, D.C., who will moderate the discussion. He was the court-appointed appellate counsel for Adham Hassoun, who was convicted of terrorism-related charges involving Jose Padilla, who was at one time the government’s go-to example for the supposed success of the war on terror.

“The issue of how the U.S. will extract itself from using Guantanamo for administrative detention is one that has been with us for years and continues to demand attention,” said Professor Phillip B. Heymann of Harvard Law School, a former deputy attorney general in the Clinton Administration and the author of “Terrorism and America: A Commonsense Strategy for a Democratic Society” and “Terrorism, Freedom, and Security: Winning Without War” (both published by MIT Press). Heymann also will be on the panel. “A major alternative to detention for major suspects who can’t be arrested for trial is the targeted use of drones,” he said. “In both cases, important consequences turn on whether U.S. citizens are treated differently from foreigners.”

The discussion, which will incorporate video, will also include the use of the death penalty in terrorism cases (the government is seeking the death penalty in the trial of 21-year-old Tsarnaev).

Heymann will be joined on the panel by Dean R. Alexander Acosta of the Florida International University College of Law. As the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Acosta prosecuted a number of high-profile defendants, including Padilla on terrorism charges. Rachel Brand, a member of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board and former assistant attorney general for Legal Policy at the U.S. Department of Justice, and Pardiss Kebriaei, senior attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York, who represents men currently and formerly held at Guantanamo, round out the panel.

The program will include time for questions and comments.