Law prof to lecture on post-Sept. 11 civil rights at Wayne

Wayne State University Law School's Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights will welcome Georgetown University Law Center Professor David Cole on Thursday, Sept. 29, for a lecture on civil rights in a post-Sept. 11 world.

The lecture, which will take place at 5 p.m. in the law school's Spencer M. Partrich Auditorium, will pay tribute to the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 tragedy and reflect on its long-term civil rights consequences. It is the first lecture of an ongoing Keith Center program to examine the relationship of the War on Terror and respect for individual rights.

"The 10th anniversary of the tragedy of Sept. 11 presents an important opportunity for thought and reflection," said Peter Hammer, Wayne Law professor and director of the Keith Center. "We are honored to have Professor Cole, a leading expert, present the inaugural Keith Center Post-9/11 Civil Rights Fellowship Lecture. Individual rights and liberties are often most threatened at times of perceived national crisis. Law schools present an appropriate forum in which these difficult issues can be examined in a sober and thoughtful manner."

In addition to his role at Georgetown, Cole is a volunteer attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights, a legal affairs correspondent for The Nation, a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books, and a commentator on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered." He is the author of six books. His first book, No Equal Justice: Race and Class in the American Criminal Justice System, was named Best Non-Fiction Book of 1999 by the Boston Book Review, and best book on an issue of national policy in 1999 by the American Political Science Association. Enemy Aliens: Double Standards and Constitutional Freedoms in the War on Terrorism received the American Book Award in 2004. Less Safe, Less Free: Why America Is Losing the War on Terror, published in 2007 and co-authored with Jules Lobel, won the Palmer Civil Liberties Prize for best book on national security and civil liberties. His most recent book is The Torture Memos: Rationalizing the Unthinkable (2009).

Cole has litigated many significant constitutional cases in the Supreme Court, including Texas v. Johnson and United States v. Eichman, which extended First Amendment protection to flag burning; National Endowment for the Arts v. Finley, which challenged political content restriction on NEA funding; and most recently, Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, which challenged the constitutionality of the statute prohibiting "material support" to terrorist groups, making speech that advocates peace and human rights a crime. He has been involved in many of the nation's most important cases involving civil liberties and national security, including the case of Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen rendered by U.S. officials to Syria and tortured there.

Cole has received numerous awards for his human rights work, including from the Society of American Law Teachers, the National Lawyers Guild, the ACLU of Southern California, the ABA Section on Individual Rights and Responsibilities, and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

This lecture is free and open to the public. RSVP at Parking is available for $5 in Structure #1 across from the Law School on West Palmer Street. Contact Holly Hughes, program coordinator for the Keith Center, at or 313-577-3620 for more information.

Published: Thu, Sep 8, 2011