Detention at Guantanamo. Drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen. Military intervention in Libya, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Waterboarding. Covert action. Military commissions and civilian terrorism trials. Warrantless surveillance. These are just some of the ripped-from-the-headlines topics that we examine in National Security Law, the core course at the University of Texas for the study of how law regulates U.S. national security policies and institutions.
It is a challenging but rewarding course. The issues we study implicate the Constitution, statutes, treaties, customary international law, executive orders, departmental regulations and guidelines, historical precedents, and just about every other possible source of law--often in overlapping ways. My goal is to acquaint you with the issues that are most currently relevant, and to equip you to analyze and discuss them in the same manner as would experienced professionals--with an emphasis on the real-world institutional, political, and policy contexts within which these legal debates actually play out.
If you have the slightest inclination to pursue a career touching on these issues, or if you simply find them interesting, and wish to be able to understand them at a sophisticated level, this is the course for you. And that's true whether you enter the course inclined to be concerned primarily with security, primarily with civil liberties/human rights, or both.
Students with further questions may wish to visit the course website: https://webspace.utexas.edu/rmc2289/NSL/Index.htm. Also feel free to contact me directly, particularly if you intend to pursue a career in this field.