The primary focus of the course will be a straight academic assessment of the legality of the government's post-September 11 policies. The class, however, will also explore the issues from a variety of other perspectives, including whether the government has curtailed the rights of non-citizens to a greater extent than in previous periods in which the country's national security was threatened, and whether the role of the courts, lawyers and the media during such periods has changed over time. Because many of the issues are ongoing, the class will also examine the issues from the strategic perspective of the lawyers and litigants involved in the major September 11 cases. We will read the briefs in a number of these cases, and invite guest speakers where appropriate.
Among the specific areas covered are: (1) the legality of holding secret immigration hearings and withholding the names of non-citizens arrested and detained in connection with the September 11 investigation; (2) the lawfulness of the various means used by the Justice Department in the wake of September 11 to detain non-citizens charged with immigration offenses; (3) whether the government has selectively applied its post-September 11 policies to non-citizens on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity or nationality, and if so, whether such selective application is unlawful; and (4) the legality of the government's designation of non-citizens as enemy combatants inside the United States.