Teaching National Security Law / Counterterrorism Law Next Year?

As folks may have noticed, my blogging has tapered off a bit quite a lot lately… Although most of the drop-off has baby-related causes, I’ve also been spending a lot of time with my co-authors (Steve Dycus, Bill Banks, and Peter Raven-Hansen) putting the finishing touches on the brand new sixth edition of Aspen Publishers’ National Security Law casebook, which should be rolling off printing presses sometime next month, and available well in time for next year’s coursework. (Our Counterterrorism Law book will also be out in a new edition — its third — by this summer.)

In addition to lots of updating and refining of existing materials, the new editions also include the following new developments / cases / materials:

  • Zivotofsky v. Kerry (2015);
  • Clapper v. Amnesty International USA (2013), and additional materials on substantive hurdles to judicial review;
  • a new chapter on the extraterritorial reach of U.S. law, including Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. (2013) and follow-on cases in the lower courts;
  • materials on the U.S. intervention in Syria and operations against ISIL;
  • materials on standards for targeted killing;
  • a new chapter on cyberwarfare;
  • completely re-organized chapters on intelligence methods, the organization of the intelligence community, and intelligence operations;
  • a new chapter on bulk collection and data-mining;
  • new materials on border searches and watch-listing, including United States v. Cotterman (9th Cir. 2013) and Ibrahim v. Dept. of Homeland Security (9th Cir. 2014);
  • the Second Circuit’s decision in Turkmen v. Hasty (2d Cir. 2015);
  • re-organized chapters on the structure and scope of the Suspension Clause;
  • the Second Circuit’s decision in Hedges v. Obama (2d Cir. 2013);
  • reorganized chapters on “enhanced interrogation,” including the Executive Summary of the SSCI torture report;
  • separate chapters on procedural and evidentiary issues in terrorism prosecutions;
  • substantial updates to the materials on military commissions, including a detailed discussion of Al Bahlul v. United States (D.C. Cir. 2015).

Needless to say, I’m biased. And folks teaching in this field are lucky to have a wellspring of materials from which to choose. But in addition to all of these substantive updates, we’ve also revamped the pedagogical approach. As we wrote in a note to our adopters,

One change that you will see in the new edition is a brief boxed “read-in” instruction for each principal case, alerting students to some basic issues and asking a few preliminary questions. This change will focus the students’ reading and provide needed perspective. Another change is a “summary of basic principles” at the end of each chapter. While we are cautious to warn that these are not intended and should not be used as “black letter law,” we believe that they will give students a sense of closure and coherence that they sometimes feel they lack in this fluid field. We are convinced that both changes will leave students better prepared to discuss and understand the materials and thus help to build their confidence in their command of the materials.

So if you’re teaching in this area next year, or just curious about how teaching our field has evolved, please do check out the sixth edition of National Security Law — and feel free to send me any and all comments, feedback, and suggestions for the <gasp> seventh edition! 

About the Author(s)

Steve Vladeck

Co-Editor-in-Chief of Just Security and Professor of Law at the University of Texas School of Law. Follow him on Twitter (@steve_vladeck).