Professor Fazal Khan* of the University of Georgia Law School spoke to Muslim lawyers and law students at a special Muslim Bar Association "Lunch & Learn"** on Thursday, July 8, 2010. Imron Aly, a partner at Winston & Strawn, hosted the MBA "Lunch & Learn".
Although the event was schedule on short notice (because Dr. Khan happened to be in town for the 4th of July weekend) it was very well attended. That's probably because Dr. Khan's presentation was so intriguing: "Temptation of Obama: The Emergency State and the Dark Side".
Dr. Khan's presentation focused on the national security issues and the erosion of accountability when the the national security label is affixed to a range of issues from health care emergencies to state sponsored torture. Dr. Khan published an article in the Harvard Law & Policy Review on a related subject (the title of the article is "Ensuring Government Accountability During Public Health Emergencies").
Among the points covered during the presentation were the Bush administration's advocacy of the "unitary executive" theory, the Obama administration's reliance upon the 9/14/01 Authorization of the Use of Military Force (AUMF) (this law gave the president broad powers to detain, interrogate and kill), the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act, Iqbal v. Ashcroft, Arar v. Ashcroft, Padilla v. Yoo and the "state secrets doctrine."
Throughout the presentation Dr. Khan fielded questions from the audience. After the presentation Dr. Khan spoke briefly about his transition from private practice to academia. And at the end he made a verbal commitment to return to Chicago in the near future to talk more about the opportunities in academia for attorneys.
*Professor Khan began his legal career in Chicago and was a member of the Muslim Bar Association of Chicago while working at Jenner & Block.
**The Muslim Bar Association of Chicago hosts brown-bag networking and education events in downtown Chicago called "Lunch & Learn". These events feature lawyers, law professors and the judiciary who speak on a wide range of topics.