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Fall 2020 Seminar

National Security Law

Prerequisite: Enrollment is by permission of instructor. Interested students should email a CV and statement of interest to Mr. Baker at

Exam Type: No Exam
Students will be required to write 6 short thought papers during the semester.

This seminar will address various aspects of the law governing national security. Topics will include constitutional issues regarding national security, electronic surveillance conducted pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), investigative tools authorized under the USA PATRIOT Act, and related topics. National security law is often inaccessible, and can be particularly hard to follow when divorced from the context of historical tradition, governmental structures, and the operational reality in which it functions. The course will aim to present national security law in context, exposing students as much as possible to the real-world effects of applicable legal standards and rules.



  1. Charlie Savage, Power Wars: The Relentless Rise of Presidential Authority and Secrecy, (New York: Bay Back Books/Little, Brown and Company, Rev. Ed. 2017) [hereinafter: Charlie Savage, Power Wars]. [ISBN-13: 978-0316286572].
  2. James Comey, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership, (New York: Flatiron Books, 2018). [ISBN-13: 978-1250192455].
  3. Rosalind S. Helderman and Matt Zapotosky, The Mueller Report, Presented with Related Materials by the Washington Post (New York: Scribner, 2019) [ISBN-13: 978-1982129736].
  4. Jack Goldsmith, In Hoffa’s Shadow: A Stepfather, a Disappearance in Detroit, and My Search for the Truth (New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2019) [ISBN-13: 978-0374175658].