Digital Media

NSA Surveillance: Decision in ACLU v. Clapper

What does the new ruling against the NSA’s bulk metadata collection mean for the citizens of the US and for the program itself? RT’s Ben Swann interviews TCP Senior Counsel Rita Siemion about the effects of the ruling and what’s next for America’s security state.

Supreme Court Update: The 2014-2015 Term

The Constitution Project hosted an analysis of major cases decided by or pending before the U.S. Supreme Court during its current 2014-15 term at a briefing on Tuesday, March 17, 2015 on Capitol Hill. The discussion was led by Steve Vladeck, Professor of Law at the American University Washington College of Law and Supreme Court Fellow with The Constitution Project. The discussion also included Sarah Turberville, Counsel at The Constitution Project. Audio recording only.

Exposing the Truth of U.S. Torture: Restoring Human Dignity

Dr. Azizah al-Hibri, Founder & Chair of KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights; Member of The Constitution Project’s Task Force on Detainee Treatment; Ambassador James R. Jones, Co-Chair of The Constitution Project’s Task Force on Detainee Treatment; and Diane Randall, Executive Secretary of the Friends Committee on National Legislation lead a panel discussion to mark the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.

WKTV – Executions Carried Out In US While Oklahoma Conducts Investigation

TCP’s Senior Counsel Sarah Turberville was interviewed by WKTV about the three executions following Lockett’s botched execution in Oklahoma.

Irreversible Error Rollout Webcast

The following video is the full webcast from the May 7, 2014 launch of Irreversible Error: Recommended Reforms for Preventing and Correcting Errors in the Administration of Capital Punishment.


Botched Lethal Injection Incident Reignites National Debate

Sarah Turberville, The Constitution Project’s Senior Counsel of the Criminal Justice Program, was interviewed on Al Jazeera America about the Lockett execution and TCP’s groundbreaking report on the death penalty: Irreversible Error: Recommended Reforms for Preventing and Correcting Errors in the Administration of Capital Punishment.

Death Penalty Reform: What Can Be Done?

Former Republican attorney general from Virginia Mark Earley joins Marc Lamont Hill from HuffPo Live to discuss Irreversible Error: Recommended Reforms for Preventing and Correcting Errors in the Administration of Capital Punishment.

Method of executions under question

Former Republican attorney general from Virginia Mark Earley joins Craig Melvin from MSNBC to discuss new questions that are being raised over the use of the three drug execution combination.

Fixing the death penalty

Former Republican attorney general from Virginia Mark Earley sits down with Ari Melber of The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC to discuss Irreversible Error: Recommended Reforms for Preventing and Correcting Errors in the Administration of Capital Punishment.

Pushing for an end to lethal injection ‘cocktails’

Former Governor Mark White, D-Tx., joins the Reid Report on MSNBC to discuss the debate over terminating the use of multiple-drug lethal injection cocktails, such as the one used in a recent botched execution in Oklahoma.

2014 Constitutional Champions Gala

The Constitution Project hosted its 7th Annual Constitutional Champions Gala on Thursday, April 24, 2014 in Washington, DC. This event honored individuals who have, in the face of adversity, stood up for the American ideals of liberty, justice, and the rule of law and fought to defend our nation’s Constitution and the rights it guarantees.

Honorees included Gary B. Pruitt, for publicly challenging the government’s unprecedented use of surveillance to intimidate journalists; Brendan V. Sullivan Jr., Robert M. Cary and other members of the late Senator Ted Stevens’ legal team at Williams & Connolly LLP, for their insistence that federal prosecutors fulfill their constitutional obligation to disclose exculpatory evidence; and Henry F. Schuelke III along with William B. Shields, his colleague at Blank Rome LLP, for writing the report that highlighted the prosecutors’ failure to hand over exculpatory evidence in the Stevens case.

Lifting the Veil on the FISA Court

On March 18, TCP and the National Constitution Center hosted a panel discussion, “Lifting the Veil on the FISA Court,” in Philadelphia, PA. Keynote speaker Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) discussed his recently proposed bills to move the one-sided, secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) towards greater accountability, and to ensure that the intelligence community operates within the rule of law. Drawing on his experience as a prosecutor, Senator Blumenthal explained the essential role of adversarial process in judicial decision-making and provided details of his proposals to appoint a special advocate to represent the public interest.

Following Senator Blumenthal’s remarks, a panel of experts—M.E. “Spike” Bowman, former Deputy General Counsel for the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Angela Canterbury, Director of Public Policy for the Project on Government Oversight; Alexander Joel, Privacy and Civil Liberties Officer for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence; and Judge James Robertson, a former FISA Court judge and member of The Constitution Project’s Liberty and Security Committee–discussed ways to reform the FISC to make it more transparent and accountable. The National Constitution Center’s Jeffrey Rosen moderated the discussion.

Executive Power In A Time Of War

On February 4, 2014, panelists Chris Edelson of American University and Lou Fisher of The Constitution Project joined National Constitution Center CEO Jeffrey Rosen to examine if the President has the authority to wage war without a formal Congressional declaration of war.

Constitution Day 2013 – False Confessions: When the Innocent Confess and the Guilty Go Free

On September 17, 2013, The Constitution Project celebrated Constitution Day by presenting its annual Constitutional Commentary Award to the acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns and his colleagues, Sarah Burns and David McMahon, for their documentary, THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE.

The event also featured panel discussion, moderated by NPR’s Carrie Johnson, focusing on false confessions. Mr. Burns was joined by Professor Saul Kassin, Distinguished Professor of Psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice; Shawn Armbrust, Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project; and James Trainum, Retired Detective, Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia.

Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, Policy Perspectives

“Policy Perspectives” was a panel at a hearing by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board at the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel. TCP Senior Counsel Sharon Bradford Franklin, along with other policy experts, offered insight into the policy challenges presented by the NSA surveillance programs.

The legality of the programs was challenged. Several options for improving transparency and limiting the scope of the data collection were explored and members of the panel endorsed the idea of creating an ombudsman or advocate who would participate in the process of obtaining court orders for data collection.

6th Annual Constitutional Champions Gala

On April 18, 2013, The Constitution Project held its 6th Annual Constitutional Champions Gala observing the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Gideon v. Wainwright. On this evening, TCP honored four luminaries connected to the historic case: Abe Krash, who represented Mr. Gideon; Bruce Jacob, who represented the state of Florida; Walter Mondale, then-Minnesota Attorney General who organized an influential amicus brief from 22 other attorneys general in Mr. Gideon’s favor; and Anthony Lewis, author of “Gideon’s Trumpet.”

Acclaimed author of Gideon’s Trumpet and former New York Times journalist, Anthony Lewis, passed away on the morning of March 25. He was a tireless advocate for justice and a great man. He will be sorely missed. His award was accepted by his wife and former Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall. Following the award presentation, special tribute was paid to the late Mr. Lewis, with remarks from Professor Charles Ogletree of the Harvard Law School, Jack MacKenzie, Mr. Lewis’s colleague at The New York Times, and E.J. Dionne, syndicated columnist at The Washington Post.

Is Privacy a Thing of the Past?

Can the government read through your private email without you knowing it? Can law enforcement track you wherever you and your cell phone go without any reason to suspect you of wrongdoing? What standards should apply before the government should have access to such personal information?

On April 3, 2013, The Constitution Project held a panel discussion to examine the current debate surrounding efforts to reform the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), the law that regulates government access to electronic communications. This panel discussion provides a variety of perspectives on the issues before this Congress as it considers legislation designed to bring ECPA into the 21st century.

Defending Gideon

Fifty years ago, Clarence Earl Gideon was charged with breaking into a pool hall. He could not afford a lawyer to defend him in court, and after a hasty trial, he was convicted. Had Gideon accepted his fate, he’d have been imprisoned for five years. But Gideon did challenge his conviction —all the way to the Supreme Court. The result was the landmark case Gideon v. Wainwright, which guarantees poor defendants the right to counsel in criminal cases. Weaving the story of this iconic case with contemporary portraits of legal injustice, the film DEFENDING GIDEON highlights the importance of a system that guarantees representation for all—and the dire consequences when that system fails.

– It’s time to finish what he started 50 years ago –

Webinar: Federal Advocacy After the Obamacare Decision

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Affordable Care Act case raised questions about the constitutionality of existing and proposed federal programs that seek to promote federal policies by threatening to withhold funds unless the states meet certain requirements. For example, to what extent can the federal government tie federal educational funds to state accommodation of children with disabilities, tie law enforcement grants to state provision for indigent defense, or tie highway funding to license eligibility criteria? On Thursday, January 31, 2013, The Constitution Project and Arnold & Porter hosted a webinar to discuss how the Court’s decision affects Congress’ ability to act through its commerce clause, taxing and spending powers. The webinar features Robert Weiner, a senior partner at the law firm of Arnold & Porter, who served as Associate Deputy Attorney General at the Department of Justice, overseeing the defense of Obamacare from the outset of litigation through the arguments at the Supreme Court.

Clemency: Old Problems and New Solutions

Clemency, Alexander Hamilton said, “is an act of grace and humanity.” While President Obama has, at least so far, granted clemency only 22 times, other presidents, both Democrat and Republican, have been far more generous. On December 10, 2012, The Constitution Project, Heritage Foundation, and Families Against Mandatory Minimums hosted a panel of bipartisan experts who explored whether and how the clemency process has deviated from its proper, traditional function. Our panelists also considered how to make pardons, as Chief Justice John Marshall said, “an act of grace, proceeding from the power entrusted with the execution of the laws, which exempts the individual, on whom it is bestowed, from the punishment the law inflicts for a crime he has committed.”

Law & Disorder: Criminal Justice on TV and in Real Life

Do all people really get equal treatment under the law? Do accused people always get an adequate defense? Do most accusations go before a jury? Our criminal justice system isn’t always how it appears on TV. On September 18,  The Constitution Project, American Civil Liberties Union, and National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers co-hosted a live webcast featuring a short video and expert panel discussion on the myths and realities of American justice. If you couldn’t tune in for the live event, it’s not too late to watch the video and the discussion.

AUDIO – Fusion Centers: Concerns and Recommendations for Information Sharing Post 9/11

Fusion centers, information-sharing hubs designed to pool the knowledge of state, local and federal law enforcement agencies, have expanded significantly in the last decade, both in number and in scope. Initially intended to better coordinate information about possible terrorist activities, there are now 77 fusion centers working to collect a wide array of information about individuals from sources ranging from law enforcement files to private sources of information such as financial records and medical histories. A panel of experts discussed various concerns and recommendations for fusion centers at an event held in conjunction with the release of TCP’s new report, “Recommendations for Fusion Centers.”

Boumediene’s Legacy and the Fate of the Guantanamo Detainees

On July 17, 2012, TCP and Covington & Burling LLP hosted an event to discuss the legacy of the landmark Supreme Court case Boumediene v. Bush. In 2004 the Supreme Court ruled in Boumediene that Guantanamo detainees have a constitutional right to meaningful judicial review of their detention. A distinguished panel of experts discussed the legacy of the case, and the future of Guantanamo detainees.

The False Choice: Cybersecurity v. Civil Liberties

On April 17, The Constitution Project, the ACLU, and CDT hosted a staff briefing on Capitol Hill to discuss cybersecurity legislation.

TCP’s 2012 Constitutional Champions Gala

On March 29, The Constitution Project presented its annual Constitutional Champion awards to David A. Keene, former chairman of the American Conservative Union, and the Digital Due Process Coalition, a diverse coalition of technology companies, privacy advocates, and think thanks. Al Hunt, executive editor of Bloomberg News, and Judy Woodruff, senior correspondent for “PBS NewsHour,” acted as masters of ceremony. Former Congressman Mickey Edwards (R-OK) and Morton Halperin, senior advisor to the Open Society Foundation, presented the awards.

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