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In the last few years, events have profoundly affected the direction of human society. Both in the United States and abroad, the tragedy of September 11, 2001 has precipitated a dramatic reevaluation of our core beliefs about liberty, security, and order in a society that seeks to be simultaneously both free and safe. As a result, widespread debate has occurred about the proper balance between security and civil liberties.
As is to be expected, these issues are quickly making their way through the legislatures and courts of law. Likewise, the resulting invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq have raised complicated issues related to the relationship between law and freedom abroad. In particular, because information and intelligence-gathering are integral to fighting the War on Terror, new issues have arisen regarding the role of international treaties and federal law, as well as the proper scope of Presidential and Congressional power, in the interrogation of detainees. Moreover, the preemptive invasion of Iraq has raised fundamental questions regarding the strategic use of preemptive action and its proper role as a tool of statecraft.
Following the tradition of previous symposia, the twenty-fourth annual Federalist Society Student Symposium will explore these important and pertinent issues in law and public policy through the topic “Law and Freedom.” From the “cutting-edge” legal issues surrounding the War on Terror to the perennial disagreements between libertarians and conservatives, this symposium promises to deliver insight into these fundamental questions.
–Symposium Committee, Harvard Law School Federalist Society
Friday, February 25
Panel: What is Freedom?: Competing Philosophical and Jurisprudential Perspectives on Liberty
Saturday, February 26
Panel: Freedom and Identity: A Limitation or a Starting Point?
Debate: Freedom and Virtue: The Conservative/Libertarian Divide
Panel: The War on Terror, Civil Liberties & the Court
Debate: Freedom and Intelligence: The Role of International Treaties and Federal Law in Interrogation of Detainees
Debate: Freedom and Preemption: Strategic Considerations Concerning Preemptive Action in Iraq and Beyond