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PODCAST: Obama's Drone Legacy Conference - Panel 2


A conference on the political and legal implications of President Obama's drone policy

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Duration: 1:57:26


President Obama inherited two controversial counterterrorism program’s from the Bush administration: a harsh interrogation program and the use of drones to kill terrorism suspects outside of traditional battlefields. Upon assuming office, the President repudiated the interrogation standards that had been authorized by his predecessor and emphasized U.S. compliance with international human rights obligations and the anti-torture norm. By contrast, President Obama authorized a marked expansion of the CIA and Pentagon's use of drones for surveillance and targeting. Some have argued that the expansion of the drone strikes will be one of the enduring foreign policy and national security legacies of the Obama administration. This half-day conference will interrogate that assessment as we approach the 2016 elections and enter the final weeks of the Obama presidency. The conference will include two panels, the first considering the administration’s drones policy from a national security perspective and the second evaluating the government’s drones program from the perspective of international humanitarian law.


PANEL TWO: 1:00 - 3:00 PM

was Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel from 2009 to 2010, and an Attorney Advisor in OLC from 1994-2002. From 1988 to 2004, he was an attorney at Bredhoff & Kaiser, where his practice consisted principally of federal litigation, including appeals, on behalf of labor unions, employees and pension funds. In 2008, with David Barron, he published a two-part article in the Harvard Law Review examining Congress's authority to regulate the Commander in Chief's conduct of war. Prior to rejoining the Department of Justice, Lederman was a regular contributor to several blogs and web sites, including Balkinization, SCOTUSblog, Opinio Juris, and Slate, writing principally on issues relating to separation of powers, war powers, torture, detention, interrogation, international law, treaties, executive branch lawyering, statutory interpretation and the First Amendment. He served as law clerk to Chief Judge Jack B. Weinstein on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, and to Judge Frank M. Coffin on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

is an associate professor of constitutional and international law at Cardozo Law School, Yeshiva University. Her work on national security and the separation of powers has appeared widely in law journals and the popular press, including the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, the University of Michigan Law Review, and the Texas Law Review, as well as in Foreign Policy, the Washington Post, and the New York Times. Before joining Cardozo, she was a research scholar in the Law and Public Affairs Program at the Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, and held visiting appointments at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and Georgetown University Law Center. A leading national voice on law and counterterrorism, Professor Pearlstein has repeatedly testified before Congress on topics from military commissions to detainee treatment. She has held appointments as Chair of the American Association of Law Schools’ National Security Law Section, on the ABA's Advisory Committee on Law and National Security, and today serves on the editorial board of the peer-reviewed Journal of National Security Law and Policy. From 2003-2007, Professor Pearlstein served as the founding director of the Law and Security Program at Human Rights First, where she led the organization’s efforts in research, litigation and advocacy surrounding U.S. detention and interrogation operations. Before embarking on a career in law, she served as a Senior Editor and Speechwriter for President Bill Clinton. A magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School, Professor Pearlstein clerked for Judge Michael Boudin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, then for Justice John Paul Stevens of the U.S. Supreme Court.

is the Director of the Counterterrorism, Armed Conflict and Human Rights Project at the Human Rights Institute at Columbia Law School. Moorehead has extensive legal and research experience working on the inter-operability of international human rights law and international humanitarian law in situations of armed conflict. He also has specific expertise on counterterrorism, national security and human rights. Prior to joining the Institute, Moorehead served in a number of roles as a Human Rights Officer with the United Nations. From 2015-16, he was based in Geneva, Switzerland, providing advice to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on policy and legal issues related to counter-terrorism, security, armed conflict and human rights across the globe. From 2013-15 he was based in Ramallah, occupied Palestinian territory, where he advised OHCHR and other UN entities on human rights and other legal issues and carried out monitoring of violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law. As a Human Rights Officer based in Kandahar with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan from 2011-12, Moorehead carried out research and monitoring into civilian casualties, the use of force, torture in detention, and violence against women. After leaving Afghanistan, Moorehead joined Amnesty International as the organisation’s legal advisor focused on security, counterterrorism and human rights. Moorehead has also worked with Human Rights Watch and other non-governmental organizations in Egypt, Uganda and the USA.