Student Law Journal Hosts Former U.S. Attorney General

Posted: April 7, 2014 at 5:00 am, Last Updated: April 8, 2014 at 7:00 am

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By Erica Calys

Former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey (C) speaks with Mason law students at National Security Law Journal symposium at the Arlington campus

Former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey speaks with Mason law students at the National Security Law Journal symposium. Photo by Alexis Glenn

The National Security Law Journal (NSLJ) at the George Mason University School of Law recently hosted its second annual spring symposium, “Safe and Surveilled,” featuring former U.S. Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey. The subject matter, like the journal itself, could not be more timely.

“Attorney General Mukasey held a critical role in the evolution of national security law post-9/11, and we were thrilled to bring him to Mason to discuss the legal implications of one of the most significant issues in the field,” says Amy Shepard, editor in chief of the NSLJ.

In his keynote address at the Arlington Campus, Mukasey spoke on the National Security Agency (NSA), wiretapping and the PRISM data collection program, which generate headlines around the world on a daily basis. In discussing the controversial NSA data collection programs, Mukasey argued that the current practices in place are sufficient and strike the proper balance between protecting individual privacy concerns while still allowing the NSA to track potential terrorist activity.

Following Mukasey’s address, Jeremy Rabkin, a professor at the School of Law, moderated a debate on the issue between American University Washington College of Law professor Stephen Vladeck and University of Virginia School of Law professor Robert Turner. While Vladeck argued that the NSA bulk data collection program was illegal for both constitutional and statutory reasons, Turner noted that courts have consistently upheld the legality of the program.

Professor Robert Turner (R) of the University of Virginia School of Law and Professor Stephen Vladeck of American UniversityÕs Washington College of Law debate as Professor Jeremy Rabkin (C) of George Mason University School of Law moderates at National Security Law Journal symposium at the Arlington campus.

Professor Stephen Vladeck of American University’s Washington College of Law, left, and Professor Robert Turner, far right, of the University of Virginia School of Law debate as Professor Jeremy Rabkin of Mason”s School of Law moderates. Photo by Alexis Glenn

“Vladeck and Turner’s academic perspective on national security law nicely complemented Mukasey’s in vivo experience,” says Noah Oberlander, executive editor of the NSLJ.

The event was open to members of the Mason community and to the public. The audience took advantage of the opportunity to ask challenging questions of the three speakers.

The NSLJ hosts one or two symposia each semester. Past events have included topics such as cyber warfare, the use of drones and intelligence reform. These events are planned, organized and executed by the student members of the NSLJ.

“We are fortunate to be able to take advantage of Mason’s proximity to Washington, D.C., as the center of national security — that lets us host dynamic events that can spark meaningful dialogue on pressing issues in the field,” says Alexander Yesnik, managing editor of the NSLJ.

Last fall, the journal hosted a discussion with author Michael Allen on his book “Blinking Red: Crisis and Compromise in American Intelligence After 9/11,” and then published a review of the book in its fall/winter issue, released last month.

The recent issue of the NSLJ features articles on the use of combat drones to fight the threat of terrorism; the effect of exemptions to international traffic in arms regulations on U.S. competitiveness; and a review of the book “Treasury’s War: The Unleashing of a New Era of Financial Warfare” by Juan Zarate. Two student-written pieces were selected for publication in the issue as well: Graduating third-year law student Katherine Gorski wrote on nonjudicial punishment in the military, and third-year evening student/managing editor Yesnik analyzed the federal government’s ability to provide law enforcement support in emergency situations.

“This is an exciting time for the National Security Law Journal,” says Shepard.  “We were glad so many students and practitioners could attend the symposium to hear from such an influential figure as Judge Mukasey.”

Write to Buzz McClain at bmcclai2@gmu.edu

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