SMNR: Law, National Security, and the Courts

Course Information

Registration Information

Meeting Times

Day Time Location
TUE 3:30 - 5:20 pm JON 6.206

Evaluation Method

Type Date Time Location


What is the judiciary's role in the conduct of national security affairs? Post- 9/11 events have repeatedly drawn our attention to this question. Should courts review the use of military detention at Guantanamo or elsewhere? Can judges adjudicate civil actions implicating classified information or programs, such as the use of so-called extraordinary rendition? When courts do entertain claims associated with national security, must they defer to the legal or factual judgments of the executive branch? And what do we mean by "national security" in this setting anyway? Most of these questions--and others like them--are not actually new. They have long been with us, and as a result we have a rich body of scholarship examining the descriptive and normative issues they raise. And while we cannot absorb it all in the course of a single seminar, we can come to grips with many of the leading texts and thereby develop an understanding of whether, how, and why the judicial role in national security affair has evolved over time. No prerequisites; students from other disciplines with an interest in national security affairs are welcome.