About Law 790, 2014 (not yet updated for 2015)


Course Description:

This three-credit course is about the law and legal policy used to counter terrorism, not about its history, ideology, or grand strategies.  As the authors of our textbook (including our own Professor William Banks) explain, the course is designed to help you “reflect intensively on how to protect national security under the rule of law; whether civil rights and civil liberties must be traded for security, and, if so, how much; and what roles each of the three branches of government should play in making these decisions and trade-offs.”  Special attention will be paid to the dynamic quality of counterterrorism law – that is, most classes will begin with a review of developments since last we met.  Included specific topics can be found in the Assignments section, below.  There are no prerequisites for enrollment.

Required Texts:

For the Spring 2014 term, the primary text is Dycus, Banks & Raven-Hansen, Counterterrorism Law 2d. (Aspen 2012; ISBN 978-0-7355-9863-8) and the relevant annual supplement (available mid-January 2014). More materials will be provided in class. Most materials other than the primary text will be available on this website. All required readings are essential. Many supplemental materials will be available for anyone who wants to delve into a subject more deeply. Most things projected during class likely will be available on the course website. Recommended supplemental books are Bruce Hoffman's Inside Terrorism (ISBN 978-0-231-12699-1); William Banks, et al., Combating Terrorism, Strategies and Approaches (2007, ISBN: 978-0872892996); and William Banks (editor), New Battlefields/Old Laws: Critical Debates on Asymmetric Warfare (2011, ISBN 978-0231152358).


This is an exam class. In-class participation will not be a specific percentage of the final grade. Classroom participation will be taken into account in determining a final course grade only under exceptional circumstances. Ordinarily, performance on the anonymously-graded, closed-book, in-class final examination will constitute 100% of the final course grade. Students are expected to act responsibly and professionally in preparing for and participating in class. In my experience, not including class participation in the grade actually promotes discussion in this type of course – perhaps because people are free from fear of sanction for expressing their views on controversial subjects or for displaying their ignorance. You will learn more if you participate, and that increased knowledge should shine through in your answers on the examination. I do call on students in class, but generally not for things that everyone should already know (such as the facts of a case or its procedural posture). In order to promote participation by students from disciplines outside of law, this course is exempt from the College of Law grading curve. See "note 37" on the official schedule. You may use computers or bluebooks to answer exam questions. The exam will include both essay and objective questions.


My office is Room 300P of Dineen Hall. You are welcome to stop by anytime that my door is open. If you want to go over something in detail, however, please make an appointment. To schedule a meeting, please use the online interface available on the course website. In addition, you are encouraged to ask questions in class or by sending me an email. Also, we can arrange telephone conferences. Video conferencing via Skype is available. My cellular telephone number was provided to each matriculated member of the class via the hard-copy syllabus distributed the first day of class. I am very willing to work with you individually, either in person or electronically. I am willing to meet outside of the office, but generally the presence of a third party will be required. I do not accept text messages. I do not accept Facebook friend requests from current students of the College of Law. I do accept links on LinkedIn.

Attendance Policy:

Regular and punctual attendance is required. You might need to miss a class for reasons that are personal and none of my business. I will respect that. However, you are requested to notify me (preferably by email) of an absence if at all possible, even if your notice is sent at the last moment before class. If you miss more than 3 class hours (each class meeting is scheduled for 1.5 hours), you will need to meet with me about whether there is a systemic problem interrupting your attendance. If you miss more than six class hours, I reserve the option to drop you from the course with the approval of Dean Tomas Gonzalez.

If you miss a class, I will assume that you make it up by listening to a recording of the lecture.

Class will not meet at its regularly scheduled time on Monday, March 24, 2014.



Only registered students and guests are permitted full access to this site.


The Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism (INSCT) -- a joint venture of Syracuse University's College of Law and of its Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs -- provides cutting-edge interdisciplinary research, graduate-level education, and public service on law and policy challenges related to national and international security.