Katyal Delivers TEDx Hague Academy Talk

September 11, 2013 —

On September 9, Georgetown Law Professor Neal Katyal delivered a TEDxHagueAcademy talk at the Peace Palace in The Hague — and the Law Center community watched the live video at a special viewing party. 

In “Standing Up for the Rule of Law in an Age of Terror,” Katyal described the moment when, following the attacks of September 11, 2001, he heard that then-President George W. Bush had issued an order for military trials to bring suspected terrorists to justice. “I thought it was a joke … because the president was saying, I’m going to set up a brand new system of justice,” Katyal said. 

By 2006, Katyal was challenging the military commissions in a case brought by Salim Hamdan, Osama Bin Laden’s driver, in the U.S. Supreme Court — a case that Katyal won. 

“Here’s what this decision means — [that] the lowest of the low … could bring a case … against the nation’s most powerful man, the world’s most powerful man, the president of the United States — and he could win … in the highest court of the land, the Supreme Court of the United States,” Katyal said. “That says something great about America.”

Following Katyal’s talk, Professors David Luban, Rosa Brooks and David Cole continued the discussion in the Gewirz Student Center, where the conversation on the rule of law turned to the current debate on chemical weapons in Syria. 

Following Katyal’s speech, organizers in The Hague (aware of those watching from Washington) thanked Dean William M. Treanor, the Law Center community, and Rudolf Bekink, the Netherlands’ ambassador to the United States. The event was co-organized by the Royal Netherlands Embassy; Treanor and Bekink delivered opening remarks.

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