- Professor Jamil Jaffer, George Mason Law
- Professor Dakota Rudesill, Ohio State Law
- Mohamed Helal, Harvard Law
The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces recently granted review in United States v. Sterling, in which it will address, for the first time, the nature and scope of Religious Freedom Restoration Act’s applicability within the military. Marine Corps Lance Corporal Monifa Sterling was convicted at a court-martial for refusing to remove a Bible verse she taped to her computer in her workspace. Our expert, along with former U.S. Solicitor General Paul D. Clement, serves as co-counsel for Ms. Sterling, and explained Sterling’s potential significance to religious liberty within the military. Our expert also discussed other significant and recent developments in the field of military religious liberty, such as the case of U.S. Navy chaplain Wes Modder, who faced career-ending punishment after offering pastoral counseling in accordance with his denomination’s teaching and tenets.
“The law of war is of fundamental importance to the Armed Forces of the United States. The law of war is part of who we are.” So begins the new U.S. Department of Defense Law of War Manual, published last June, which had not been updated for nearly 60 years. At 1180 single-spaced pages and with 6,916 footnotes, the manual would seem to be thorough and exhaustive. Our experts will critique the Department of Defense Manual. Does it provide the guidance necessary to troops on the ground, commanders, and all actors in between? How does it address modern warfare, terrorism, and asymmetrical war? How does it define lawful and unlawful belligerents? What does it say about interrogation and detention? These and other questions were addressed by our experts.
Most would agree that the world is unsettled, with hotspots in the Middle East, North Korea, the South China Sea, and the Ukraine, to name but a few. Terrorism has complicated international relations. But exactly when, and how, should America act to maintain order? Is a muscular and expeditionary style of engagement to be favored over quiet diplomacy? Is more and faster better than less and slower? How contextual should the answers to these questions be?
International: When Should America Act to Maintain International Order?
3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
The Mayflower Hotel
This panel will address the ongoing debate regarding trying, convicting and punishing suspected terrorists. Should military tribunals be abandoned in favor of trying individuals in Article III courts? A mere seven individuals held in Guantanamo Bay have been tried and convicted by military commissions, while DOJ reports that more than 500 individuals have been convicted of terrorism related offenses. What has prevented the trial of suspected terrorists held in Guantanamo Bay? Should military commissions for suspected terrorists and other enemies be abandoned or do they serve a valuable function?
The University of Florida Student Chapter hosted this panel discussion during the 2014 Annual Student Symposium on Saturday, March 8, 2014.
Panel 2: “DETAINED SUSPECTED TERRORISTS: TRY IN MILITARY COURTS OR CIVILIAN COURTS?”
1:45 – 3:30 p.m.
J. Wayne Reitz Union
University of Florida Levin College of Law