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BC Law Readies for Mukasey's Visit

Mmukasey This is the week in which Attorney General Michael Mukasey makes his controversial visit to Boston College Law School to speak at its commencement. I've had several previous posts (here, here and here) about the student and faculty dissent resulting from Dean John Garvey's decision to invite Mukasey, given his equivocation on the legality of waterboarding. The law school's Web site has nothing new to report about Mukasey's visit, but it has posted the commencement-week schedule. Mukasey speaks Friday in a graduation ceremony that begins at 2 p.m. at the law school's campus in Newton. (Today, by the way, is the 3L pub crawl, according to the schedule.)

But while the official law school Web site shows no evidence of the controversy surrounding Mukasey's visit, the law student blog Eagleionline yesterday published a draft of an upcoming article by BC Law Prof. Daniel Kanstroom, "On 'Waterboarding': Legal Interpretation and the Continuing Struggle for Human Rights." Kanstroom, director of the law school's International Human Rights Program, is far from equivocal in his stance on waterboarding and on Mukasey. From the abstract:

While some aspects of the 'waterboarding' debate are largely political, the practice also implicates deeply normative underpinnings of human rights and law. Attorney General Michael Mukasey has steadfastly declined to declare waterboarding illegal or to launch an investigation into past waterboarding. His equivocations have generated anguished controversy because they raise a fundamental question: should we balance 'heinousness and cruelty' against information that we 'might get'? Mr. Mukasey’s approach appears to be careful lawyering. However, it portends a radical and dangerous departure from a fundamental premise of human rights law: the inherent dignity of each person. ... [W]aterboarding is and was illegal. Official legal equivocation about waterboarding preserves the potential imprimatur of legality for torture.

Earlier, Eagleionline surveyed students about Mukasey's visit and found that half of those polled supported him speaking. At the same time, several students had concerns about the process used to select the commencement speaker. No word on whether Kanstroom will share a seat on stage with the AG.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on May 19, 2008 at 12:11 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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