This course is about the balance of liberty and security in combating threats to the nation and the state. A broad survey course in U.S. national security law, it examines both substantive questions (where to strike the balance?) and institutional questions (who decides where to strike the balance, or who enforces it?) in three major areas: constitutional structure and allocation of national security powers and decision-making among the branches; state restrictions on civil liberties, including privacy rights, in combating national security threats; and issues of secrecy and political accountability. Topics include presidential and congressional war powers, detention and interrogation of suspected terrorists, electronic surveillance, and regulation of covert CIA activities.
In addition to a final examination, active student participation is expected, and during class discussion students will often be asked to assume the role of different actors in our national security law system.