Wednesday, January 31, 2007

German Court Issues Warrants for CIA Agents

Required for Con Law and Internship Students (Read WP Report)
The Washington Post reported that : "Prosecutors in the southern German city of Munich today obtained warrants for 13 CIA agents they say were involved in the kidnapping of a German citizen, Khaled el Masri." The article explained that:
The 13 C.I.A. agents have been charged with kidnapping and inflicting bodily harm on Mr. el Masri, who was abducted in the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia in December 2003. He has charged that he was drugged, beaten and then flown by the C.I.A. to a detention center in Afghanistan. Mr. Masri says he was held there for five months before the American government flew him to Albania and left him there.
El Masri is also suing the United States and the private companies assisting the CIA with transportation in its extraordinary rendition program in U.S. Federal Court. See the latest decision in the case here. More from the BBC.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Can the ICC Put Teeth in Human Rights Law?

The International Criminal Court announced today that it would prosecute Thomas Lubanga, for recruiting child soldiers during the Democratic Republic Congo's civil war. Advocates of the ICC argue that it has the potential to enforce basic human rights standards worldwide. While the Clinton Administration signed the Treaty of Rome creating the ICC, President Bush "unsigned" the treaty in 2001 and has opposed the ICC. See this BBC article on the Lubanga prosecution. One of the most important questions for those who study and practice law is whether and how the law can meaningfully confront the atrocities committed in conflict all over the world.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Warrantless Wiretapping

Required for Con Law Students (Read WP Article Linked Below)
The litigation over President Bush's warrantless surveillance program is a compelling case through which to examine many of our Constitutional Law issues. While the question of whether a warrant is constitutionally required is better left for Professor LaNoue's First Amendment Freedoms class, several issues remain:

1. Does the President have the power to order the Executive Branch to monitor telephone and electronic communication?

2. Do the courts have the authority to question the President's actions?

The ACLU convinced a federal court that the program was unconstitutional. (See the court's decision PDF). Then last month the Administration agreed to let judges on a secret court (FISA) review the surveillance orders. Now Administration lawyers are arguing that the ACLU case is moot (WP Article).

Welcome to Class

Welcome back Con Law and Internship students. I am going to experiment a bit with using a blog this semester. The purpose will be to point you to some compelling legal issues being fought out in the courts and in government. Your feedback is encouraged.