Published at 15 ILSA Journal of International & Comparative Law 1 (2009)

Document Type



In October 2008, the author moderated a panel discussion addressing the utility of establishing a new national security court system for administering the detention and trial of terrorist suspects. The discussion featured comments by five lawyers with significant academic and practical experience in the field: Richard Zabel, a litigation partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney and co-author of In Pursuit of Justice: Prosecuting Terrorism Cases in the Federal Courts; Glenn L. Sulmasy, an Associate Professor of Law at the United States Coast Guard Academy and author of the forthcoming book, The National Security Court System: A Natural Evolution of Justice in an Age of Terror; Hina Shamsi, a Staff Attorney in the ACLU's National Security Project and author of various works on torture and extraordinary rendition; Gabor Rona, International Legal Director at Human Rights First who has written extensively on the application of international human rights and humanitarian law to terrorism; and Matthew C. Waxman, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs and now an Associate Professor at Columbia Law School and author of "Detention As Targeting: Standards of Certainty and Detention of Suspected Terrorists." The panel discussion was frank and wide-ranging; it contributed to the goal of ensuring an "informed and critical public opinion" the likes of which Justice Potter Stewart endorsed in his New York Times concurrence. The following article presents some of the salient points from that discussion and reflects the perspectives of its author although not necessarily those of the panelists.