Human Rights in an Age of Terror
Thursday, March 4th, 7pm, Edmunds Ballroom
How do we balance our safety as a nation with the rights of individual citizens? Does protecting our nation from terrorist attacks justify selective curtailing of our civil liberties? Since September 11, 2001, these questions have been at the heart of America’s public debate and many Americans’ private fears. Most Americans are familiar with the flash points of the debate, or at least the hotly contested words: Guantanamo, torture, selective rendition, wire-tapping, Blackwater. Yet the answers and—more crucially—the values on which we base our national security choices often still seem murky.
To help clarify these issues, the Pomona Student Union is honored to host leading experts Scott Horton and Peter Berkowitz in debating the ethics of defending our nation.
Scott Horton is a New York attorney specializing in Human Rights Law and the Law of Armed conflict. He is a past president of the International League for Human Rights and is an adjunct professor at Columbia Law School. Since 2007, he has been a contributing editor to Harper’s Magazine, focusing on legal affairs and national security. He is the author of the blog “No Comment” on Harper’s Online and writes frequently for American Lawyer and the Daily Beast. He has tried numerous cases against the US government for their alleged abuses since the start of the War on Terror, including those of Guantanamo Bay detention camp whistle-blower Lieutenant Commander Matthew Diaz and Pulitzer-prize winning photojournalist Bilal Hussein.
He is a co-founder of the American University in Central Asia, a member of the board of the National Institute of Military Justice, the Andrei Sakharov Foundation, the Eurasia Group and the American branch of the International Law Association.
Peter Berkowitz is the Tad and Dianne Taube Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. His scholarship focuses on the interplay of law, ethics and politics in modern society. He is co-founder and director of the Israel Program on Constitutional Government, has served as a senior consultant to the President’s Council on Bioethics, and is a member of the Policy Advisory Board at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
His books include Virtue and the Making of Modern Liberalism and Nietzsche: The Ethics of an Immoralist. He has edited, among others, the volumes Terrorism, the Laws of War, and the Constitution: Debating the Enemy Combatant Cases and Never a Matter of Indifference: Sustaining Virtue in a Free Republic. Additionally, he has written for numerous publications, including the American Political Science Review, Atlantic Monthly, Boston Globe, Chronicle of Higher Education, Commentary, Critical Review, First Things, Jerusalem Post, London Review of Books, National Review, The New Republic and New York Post.
Thursday, February 25th, 8pm, Rose Hills Theatre
Given the perpetual nature of the debate over abortion in the United States waged between two equally impassioned and highly partisan sides, the PSU has decided to approach the topic of abortion in an event this spring. Abortion is a sensitive issue that permanently remains on the national stage, whether as a litmus test in the elections of public officials, discussed in its own right, or within the context of contemporary legislation, such as the most recent controversy over its inclusion in health care reform efforts in Congress. The PSU believes that this staple of contemporary politics merits thoughtful consideration through an event on campus. While the consensus on campus has settled in favor of reproductive rights, the issue of abortion nonetheless features prominently in American politics and has not lost its potential to inflame opinions in the greater public. To address this controversial topic, the PSU has invited two prominent academics to take part in a debate. The event will investigate the topic of abortion through moral and ethical perspectives to illuminate the deep-rooted philosophical arguments of the pro-choice and pro-life movements. It will take place February 25th in Rose Hills Theatre on the campus of Pomona College.
Dr. Patrick Lee is the John N. and Jamie D. McAleer Professor of Bioethics at Franciscan University of Steubenville, and the Director of the Institute of Bioethics. His best-known book, Abortion and Unborn Human Life, is a comprehensive examination of the moral and ethical foundations of the pro-life position. He also authored Body-Self Dualism in Contemporary Ethics and Politics, and has published numerous articles on such philosophical and ethical topics as human nature, marriage, abortion, euthanasia, and metaphysics. His articles have been published in The National Review, Reason Magazine, The New Atlantic, The Public Discourse, and he regularly delivers lectures at universities across the country.
Professor David Boonin is Professor and Chair of the Philosophy Department at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he teaches on applied ethics, ethical theory, and the history of ethics. He is the author of A Defense of Abortion and The Problem of Punishment, as well as a number of articles spanning a wide range of topics, including same-sex marriage, euthanasia, the moral status of animals, race, affirmative action, and hate speech. He has published articles in Public Affairs Quarterly, Philosophy and Public Affairs, Environmental Ethics, the Journal of Applied Philosophy, and the Journal of Social Philosophy, and is the co-editor of a popular philosophy textbook.
Tuesday, February 16th, 8pm, Bridges Hall of Music (Little Bridges)
Overcrowded prisons, declining funds for public education, and budgetary disaster are just a selection of issues that plague the state of California today. As the most populous state and greatest economic contributor to the United States, California has often served as a model for other states considering reform in areas ranging from energy to education. Though there have been many attempts to rectify the California budget, the deficit still stands at an estimated $20 billion. Are California’s problems unique to California? How did the state get into this situation? Would a constitutional convention affect California’s governance and operations? Or is California simply ungovernable?
The Pomona Student Union is proud to announce that leading experts Dan Walters and Thad Kousser, along with former California governor Gray Davis, will be participating in a panel discussion to explore these issues. Please join us on February 16th at 8pm in Bridges Hall of Music (Little Bridges).
Dan Walters is a columnist with the Sacramento Bee and an expert on California politics. He has been a journalist for more than 40 years, working almost exclusively for California newspapers. At age 22, he was the nation’s youngest daily newspaper editor. In 1981, he began writing the state’s only daily newspaper column devoted to California political, economic and social events. In 1986, Walters published The New California: Facing the 21st Century, which has since become a widely used textbook about socioeconomic and political trends in the state. He is also the founding editor of the California Political Almanac, and co-author of The Third House: Lobbyists, Money and Power in Sacramento. Walters is a frequent guest on national television news shows commenting on California politics.
Thad Kousser is a political science professor at University of California, San Diego and received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. He researches legislative politics and political regulation and is an expert in the areas of comparative American state politics and California politics. Kousser has written on topics including term limits, legislative professionalism, reapportionment, campaign finance laws, the recall, and health care policy. His forthcoming book, Term Limits: Undoing the Professionalization of American State Legislatures, is based on his 2003 dissertation that won the William Anderson prize awarded by APSA. He serves as co-editor of the journal State Politics and Policy Quarterly, and has worked as a staff assistant in the California, New Mexico, and United States Senates.
Gray Davis served as California’s 37th Governor from 1999 until being recalled in 2003. Prior to serving as Governor, Davis served as Chief of Staff to Governor Jerry Brown, California State Assemblyman, Controller, and Lieutenant Governor. Davis holds a BA in history from Stanford University and a JD from Columbia Law School. He was awarded a Bronze Star for his service as a Captain in the Vietnam War. During his time as Governor, Davis made education his top priority and California spent eight billion dollars more than was required under Proposition 98. Davis also signed the nation’s first state law requiring automakers to limit auto emissions. On October 7, 2003, he became the second governor to be recalled in American history. Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger succeeded Governor Davis after the election. Since being recalled, Davis has worked as a guest lecturer at the UCLA School of Public Affairs and as an attorney at Loeb & Loeb.