Vision Series Highlights Law Professor Rotunda

Posted: November 7, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Ronald Rotunda, University Professor of Law, will present “The Development of the Law Governing Detention of Enemy Combatants: Past, Present, and to Come” at the next Vision Series lecture on Monday, Nov. 12, at 8 p.m.

The lecture will take place on Mason’s Fairfax Campus in the Center for the Arts Concert Hall. Admission is free, but tickets are required. Reserve tickets online or visit the Center for the Arts ticket office, Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For information, call 703-993-8888. A reception will follow the lecture.

The War on Terror, more than other wars, involves lawyers, says Rotunda, and detained enemy combatants are now using the U.S. courts to seek release. While there are relevant cases going back to the Civil War, the U.S. Supreme Court has issued major rulings in the last few years that some suggest have dealt severe blows to the administration’s claims.

However, a closer look at the case law indicates that the court has only imposed fairly minor and reasonable restrictions on the military. For the most part, the court has relied on interpreting statutes, not the Constitution, so Congress can change those statutes (and has done so). The court has rejected some overly broad administration claims, but those claims were not necessary to the administration’s arguments, although they served to weaken its position.

A magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School, where he was a member of the Law Review, Rotunda clerked for Judge Walter R. Mansfield of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, practiced law in Washington, D.C., served as assistant majority counsel for the Watergate Committee and was the Albert E. Jenner Jr. Professor of Law at the University of Illinois.

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