Security vs. Freedom: Contemporary Controversies – Conference Agenda



Judge Michael Mukasey

81st Attorney General of the United States

Introduction by Professor Steven J. Willis, University of Florida Levin College of Law

CLE Information


General​​​​ – up to 11.0

Certification Credits:

State and Federal Government and Administrative Practice​​ – up to 5.5


Location: J. Wayne Reitz Union

3:00 – 5:45 p.m.: Registration

6:00 p.m.: Introductory Remarks

Mr. Devon Westhill – Chairman, Symposium Executive Committee
Dean Robert H. Jerry, II – University of Florida Levin College of Law

6:15 – 8:00 p.m.: Roundtable Discussion: “BALANCING PRIVACY AND SECURITY”

Description: This roundtable will address a wide range of issues and potential solutions to the challenges associated with balancing privacy and security in an increasingly technological world. In an era where individuals increasingly entrust their data to third parties, how can the right balance be struck between the government’s need to collect information, and the individual’s right to privacy in that information. Does the Fourth Amendment adequately protect an individual’s rights in an era of rapidly advancing technology, or should Congress play a more active role in regulating this space?

Mr. Ted Ullyot – Facebook
Mr. Steven G. Bradbury – Dechert LLP
Ms. Rachel L. Brand – Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board
Professor John Stinneford – University of Florida Levin College of Law
Mr. Julian Sanchez – Cato Institute

Judge Bill Pryor, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit


Description: Recent leaks of classified information have undermined the public’s confidence in the ability of their government to keep secrets. Government officials have alleged that these leaks have caused irreparable harm to America’s national security. However, while government officials criticize leaks, they oftentimes are complicit in leaking information when it serves their political interests. All experts seem to agree that some exposures undermine America’s ability to combat terrorism and counter other national security threats. But, other leaks are viewed as a form of whistleblowing and public accountability. Are there good leaks and bad leaks, and who decides? Should the U.S. government do a better job of protecting secrets? Should leakers be prosecuted? What about those media outlets and other entities who publish national security secrets, should they also be prosecuted?

Professor Nadine Strossen – New York Law School/ACLU
Dr. Roger Pilon, Ph.D., J.D. – Cato Institute

Judge Jerry Smith, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

9:30 – 11:00 p.m.: Cocktail Reception


Location: University of Florida President’s House

Greeting from Congressman Ted Yoho
United States House of Representatives

Special Video Greeting from Senator Marco Rubio
United States Senator from Florida


Location: J. Wayne Reitz Union

8:00 – 9:00 a.m.: Continental Breakfast

9:00 – 10:45 a.m.: Panel 1: “CYBERSECURITY AND THE NSA”

Description: The NSA acts pursuant to broad statutory authorities, and has interpreted those statutes to enable vast data collection programs. Two programs in particular, programmatic surveillance of the content of communications and bulk collection of metadata have become the subject of heated public and scholarly debate. Are these programs consistent with the NSA’s mission to gather foreign intelligence and to defend U.S. government information systems? Have the leaks about these programs jeopardized national security, or have they enhanced public accountability? Is there a better way to strike a balance between privacy and security?

Mr. Stewart Baker – Steptoe & Johnson
Professor Randy Barnett – Georgetown University Law Center
Professor Jeremy Rabkin – George Mason University School of Law

Chief Justice Ricky Polston, Florida Supreme Court

11:00 – 12:15 p.m.: Debate 2: “IS THE FISA COURT TOO SECRET?”

Description: The proceedings before the FISA Court are ex parte, and secret, prompting critics to argue that the court has become a rubber stamp, authorizing governmental activity without democratic accountability. Are activities conducted pursuant to FISA too secret? Does FISA require more oversight or accountability? Are there any feasible reforms that can effectively balance the need for foreign intelligence gathering against the rights of individuals who are surveilled? This debate will address these important questions.

Mr. Alex Abdo – American Civil Liberties Union
Professor Gregory McNeal – Pepperdine University School of Law

Justice Charles T. Canady, Florida Supreme Court

12:15 – 1:30 p.m.: Lunch

Optional Session for Students Interested in Employment in Florida
Location: J. Wayne Reitz Union – Arredondo Café

Optional Session for Students Interested in Academia
Location: J. Wayne Reitz Union – Matthews Suite


Description: This panel will address the ongoing debate regarding trying, convicting and punishing suspected terrorists. Should military tribunals be abandoned in favor of trying individuals in Article III courts? A mere seven individuals held in Guantanamo Bay have been tried and convicted bQy military commissions, while DOJ reports that more than 500 individuals have been convicted of terrorism related offenses. What has prevented the trial of suspected terrorists held in Guantanamo Bay? Should military commissions for suspected terrorists and other enemies be abandoned or do they serve a valuable function?

Professor Laura Donohue, Ph.D., Georgetown University Law Center
Professor Deborah Pearlstein, Cardozo School of Law
Professor Peter S. Margulies, Roger Williams University School of Law
Professor Christopher Jenks, Southern Methodist University School of Law

Judge A. Raymond Randolph, United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit

3:45 – 5:30 p.m.: Panel 3: “DRONES AND PRESIDENTIAL AUTHORITY”

Description: A key element of America’s national security strategy has been the use of drones to carry out targeted killings against suspected terrorists. Targeted killings have become increasingly controversial, critics argue that the strikes violate the sovereignty of the nations where the attacks occur, and when those strikes occur outside circumstances of armed conflict amount to extrajudicial killings in violation of international human rights law. The U.S. contends that the strikes are part of America’s armed conflict with al Qaeda, and therefore are lawful strategies pursued pursuant to that armed conflict. Under what circumstances does the President have the authority to order the killing of suspected terrorists? Does he require statutory authorization, such as an Authorization for Use of Military Force, or can he rely on his own inherent power? Is the President bound to abide by treaties and customary international law prohibitions on the use of force? What due process rights are U.S. citizens entitled to when the President chooses to use military force against them? May the President use force against suspected terrorists inside the U.S.?

Professor Martin Flaherty, Fordham University School of Law
Professor Rosa Brooks, Georgetown University Law Center
Mr. Gregory Katsas, Jones Day
Professor Michael Stokes Paulsen, University of St. Thomas School of Law

Hon. Eileen J. O’Connor, Pillsbury Law

6:00 – 7:00 p.m.: Cocktail Reception

Location: J. Wayne Reitz Union

7:00 – 10:00 p.m.: Banquet

Location: J. Wayne Reitz Union – Grand Ballroom
Speaker: Dr. Bob McClure, Ph.D., James Madison Institute

Paul M. Bator Award Winner:

Professor Joshua D. Wright, George Mason University School of Law

Presented by Zach Mayo, Vice President & Chair of the Bator Award, University of Chicago Law School Federalist Society Chapter

Feddie Award Finalists:

James Madison Award for Chapter of the Year
Columbia University
Florida State University
Harvard University
University of California-Berkeley
University of Notre Dame
University of Pennsylvania
Yale University

Alexander Hamilton Award for Most Improved Chapter
Florida Coastal University
John Marshall Law School-Savannah
New York University
North Carolina Central University
Seattle University
University of San Francisco
University of South Carolina
University of Southern California

Samuel Adams Award for Membership Growth
Barry University
Liberty University
George Washington University
Harvard University
University of Michigan
University of Missouri
University of Notre Dame
University of Virginia

Thomas Paine Award for Creative Publicity
Barry University
Florida State University
George Washington University
New York Law School
Pepperdine University
Southwestern University
University of Minnesota
University of Mississippi (Ole Miss)

Please note that attire for panels and debates is business casual and the attire for the banquet is business.

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