Curriculum Guide · Curriculum
International/National Security Law
[Note: this listing is not intended to represent the Graduate Programs' National Security Law Certificate. This list of courses is for J.D. students who are interested in courses within this area of law.]
In recent years, international and national security law has emerged as an increasingly important field of study. The courses in this area of the curriculum examine the domestic and international legal frameworks that shape U.S. foreign policy and international relations more generally. They also explore particular substantive areas of security policy and law. Some of the courses in this field have a core content that is relatively consistent over time, while others change markedly from year to year in light of world events and related developments in the law. As the world becomes more interconnected and threats to peace and security more diverse, knowledge about both domestic and international legal norms and institutions (and the interrelationships between them) has become critical to a full understanding of the ways in which law both restrains and empowers states in their pursuit of national and international security.
The courses in the field of international and national security law can be divided into three main categories. In one category are course offerings that focus primarily on U.S. domestic law governing the conduct of foreign relations. These courses examine the Constitution's allocation of power between Congress and the President regarding foreign affairs, such as the treaty power and the war power, and also explore the role of the courts as a check on the political branches. Domestic statutory law, including framework statutes such as the War Powers Resolution, is examined as well. The core course in this category is the Constitutional Aspects of Foreign Affairs Seminar offered by Professors Wallace, Lazarus, and McGrath. More specialized courses are also offered in this area. Professors Martin and Zirkle, for example, offer a seminar on Strategic Intelligence and Public Policy, which examines U.S. law bearing on intelligence activities and on the relationship between national security and individual rights. These courses focusing primarily on U.S. law build upon students' exposure to the separation of powers in Constitutional Law I, and that course is generally a prerequisite for the advanced courses in this area.
A second major category of courses focus primarily on the international legal framework that governs international relations among states, with a special emphasis on the United Nations Charter. The United Nations Charter not only sets forth legal principles regarding the use of force by states, it also establishes an institutional framework for collective efforts to maintain international peace and security. The United Nations Security Council has played an increasingly important role in authorizing collective responses to threats to the peace in a variety of recent cases, such as in the Persian Gulf War, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, and elsewhere. It also has authorized an increasing number of complex, multi-component peacekeeping operations, as in Cambodia, El Salvador and Mozambique. Students who have taken International Law I: Introduction to International Law should have a basic knowledge of the United Nations Charter. Professor Stromseth's International Law Seminar: Use of Force and Conflict Resolution is designed for students desiring a fuller understanding of the law governing the use of force and the role of the United Nations in conflict resolution. While International Law I: Introduction to International Law is not a prerequisite for the courses in this category, it does provide helpful background.
A third cluster of courses in the area of international and national security law are those that examine both international and U.S. law and focus on particular substantive issues of security law and policy. Professor Koplow's seminar on Issues in Disarmament: Proliferation of Modern Weapons explores a wide range of weapons technologies and examines the legal and political mechanisms -- both international and domestic -- that constrain them. National Security Law likewise introduces students to national and international law bearing on conflict management and security generally, and also examines a number of specific topics, such as arms control and liability for war crimes. International Law I: Introduction to International Law provides helpful background for each of these courses.
Students who have taken Constitutional Law I and International Law I should have a basic understanding of the distribution of power between Congress and the President and of the nature of the international legal system. Students who want a fuller understanding of both the domestic and international law that shapes international and national security policy will benefit, however, from further course work in this area. Which courses the student chooses will depend on the specific substantive areas of most interest to the student as well as the number of courses the student can devote to this subject. Ideally, students should develop their knowledge of both domestic U.S. law and international law and institutions. This can be done by taking a basic course or seminar in each of the first two course categories described above or by taking a course or seminar in the third category that bridges domestic and international law. Students with a special interest in a particular issue area can benefit from the more specialized offerings in each category.
In addition to the courses specifically focusing on international and national security, students will find many related course offerings to be relevant and helpful to their understanding of the complex post-Cold War world in which we live. Weapons proliferation and inter-state aggression remain central concerns, but other security issues -- including regional conflicts, ethnic strife, refugee crises, and humanitarian emergencies across the globe -- are also taking center stage. Students thus will benefit from the rich array of international law courses offered at Georgetown. These include courses or seminars on Human Rights Enforcement, International Human Rights, Immigration and Nationality Law, International and Comparative Law on Women's Human Rights, International Institutions (graduate), and Refugee and Asylum Law. Also helpful are courses in comparative law or foreign law that touch on security issues. In addition, students can pursue independent research projects with individual professors.
Students interested in immigration and refugee issues will benefit especially by participating in the Center for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) Clinic, in which students assist refugees applying for political asylum in this country. In so doing, students become experts on the human rights record of the applicant's country of origin and assist in presenting evidence of a well-founded fear of persecution before an administrative law judge. In short, the opportunities to study national and international security law and policy at Georgetown are considerable.
Center for Applied Legal Studies
Detention in the National Security Setting
Managing National Security
National Security Crisis Law
National Security Surveillance
Research Skills in International and Comparative Law
U.S. Foreign Relations and National Security Law
Contemporary Peacekeeping: Legality, Legitimacy & Accountability
Federal Regulation of Financial Institutions
Intelligence Reform and the Modern Intelligence Community
Law and Measures Against International Terrorism
National Security & the Law of the Sea
National Security Law
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Law & Policy: Preventing Nuclear Terrorism
Domestic Preparedness: Law, Policy, and National Security
Foreign Relations Law
Global Cybercrime Law
Intersection of National Security and Race in a Post-9/11 America
Law of War Seminar
War Crimes & Prosecutions
War and Peace Seminar: New Thinking about the Causes of War and War Avoidance
Constitutional Aspects of Foreign Affairs Seminar
Current Issues in National Security and Civil Liberties Seminar
Cyber and National Security: Current Issues Seminar
Foreign Relations Law Colloquium
International Law Seminar: Use of Force and Conflict Resolution
Issues in Disarmament: Proliferation and Terrorism Seminar
Judicial Review of Military Justice Proceedings: Current Issues and Constitutional Perspectives (formerly: Judicial Review of Military Justice Proceedings: Separation and Sharing of Powers in Historical Perspective)
Law and Terrorism: Theoretical and Comparative Perspectives Seminar
Law of War Seminar
National Security Lawyering Seminar
Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies: Advanced Research Seminar
Strategic Intelligence and Public Policy Seminar