CENTER FOR ETHICS AND THE RULE OF LAW​

O’Connell to speak on how AWS will shape future human-technology relations

CERL Advisory Council member Mary Ellen O’Connell is slated to speak at this year’s Vienna Conference on Autonomous Weapons Systems, titled ” “Humanity at the Crossroads: Autonomous Weapons Systems and the Challenge of Regulation,” and hosted at the Hofburg Palace from April 29-30. O’Connell will be serving on a panel called “How dealing with AWS will […]

CERL hosts screening of Nova music festival attack documentary

Together with the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, Penn Hillel, and Penn’s Cinema and Media Studies Department, the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law hosted on Feb. 22 a screening of Supernova: The Music Festival Massacre, followed by a panel discussion and Q&A with the film’s directors, Yossi Bloch and […]

Former U.S. Attorney for Eastern District of Pennsylvania Joins CERL Board

CERL is pleased to announce the election of Jennifer Arbittier Williams, partner at Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan LLP and former United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, to the center’s Executive Board. “I am excited to welcome Jennifer Arbittier Williams to the CERL Board,” said CERL Faculty Director Claire Finkelstein. “Jennifer has an […]

CERL’s 2024 summer internship application is now open—apply today!

CERL’s Summer Internship Program Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until March 1, 2024, and thereafter only as space permits. ABOUT THE PROGRAMCERL’s nine-week summer internship program prepares law, graduate, and undergraduate students interested in the national security field by providing an ethics and rule of law foundation so that future perspectives, leadership, and […]

New CERL-OUP volume sheds light on psychological costs of war

This Veterans Day, on a day when we honor the men and women who have bravely served our country, the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law (CERL) is pleased to announce the publication of its twelfth edited volume with Oxford University Press, Preventing and Treating the Invisible Wounds of War: Combat Trauma, Moral […]

CERL welcomes two new board members

CERL is pleased to announce that General James E. Cartwright, who served as commander, U.S. Strategic Command, before being nominated and appointed as the eighth vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Mark S. Zaid, a Washington, D.C.-based attorney with expertise in such matters as national security and the Freedom of Information and […]

CERL’s 2023 interns addressed pressing national security issues

CERL’s nine-week summer internship program provides law, graduate, and undergraduate students interested in the national security field with an ethics and rule of law foundation to help inform future perspectives, leadership, and decision-making. CERL’s 2023 interns worked on a range of projects, from producing a white paper on the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Program for […]

CERL Executive Board Condemns the Attacks by Hamas on Israel

The Executive Board of the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law condemns the illegal terrorist attacks on Israel by Hamas and mourns the resulting loss of innocent life. The Board calls on the international community to denounce Hamas’ barbarous attacks and to demand the immediate return of all those taken hostage. Hamas’ illegal […]

Claire Finkelstein discusses “dereliction of duty” accusations

Articles of impeachment submitted by Colorado Congresswoman Lauren Boebert cite concerns over President Biden’s handling of immigration and border issues, namely “dereliction of duty” and “abuse of power.” CERL’s Prof. Claire Finkelstein told The Hill the term “dereliction of duty” is somewhat contrived and not tied to traditional notions of presidential impeachment. Claire Finkelstein is […]

New UN report documents conditions at U.S. prison in Cuba

A new UN report details the cruel treatment of detainees at the U.S. prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. CERL Advisory Council member Mark Fallon is quoted in a World Is One News article explaining findings from and reactions to the report. Mark Fallon spent over three decades as a national security professional, principally as a […]

Trump trial likely to face delays

The criminal trial involving former President Donald Trump’s mishandling of classified documents is tentatively scheduled for August 14, 2023. CERL’s Prof. Claire Finkelstein told The Irish Times the trial is unlikely to move swiftly. Other indictments could delay the process, and Trump may run his own interference. Claire Finkelstein is the Algernon Biddle Professor of […]

SCOTUS rejection of “independent state legislature” theory

In a 6-to-3 majority, the Supreme Court rejected a legal theory that would give state legislatures largely unrestricted power over federal elections. CERL Executive Board Member Stuart Gerson discusses this ruling and others in a blog post for Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. Stuart Gerson is Member of the Firm at Epstein Becker Green, former […]

CERL Executive Director discusses intelligence assessments of COVID origins

CERL Executive Director David Joanson joined This Week in Virology, a podcast on the sciences hosted by Professor Vincent Racaniello of Columbia University, to discuss the COVID origins debate. In conversation with Professors Susan Weiss, Rick Bushman, and Gigi Gronvall, Joanson explained how the intelligence community analyzes national security incidents and cases in which China […]

Brig. Gen. Stephen Xenakis, MD appointed to lead APPA

CERL Executive Board Member Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Stephen N. Xenakis, M.D., has been appointed as the new Executive Director of the American Psychedelic Practitioners Association (APPA). The organization supports the safe integration of “psychedelic-assisted therapy” into the health care system in the United States. Brig. Gen. Xenakis is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist with […]

Gauging support for heritage reconstruction efforts in Mosul, Iraq

In a co-authored piece for The Conversation, CERL Affiliated Faculty Lynn Meskell discusses findings from a survey gauging how residents across Mosul feel about the reconstruction of heritage sites that were destroyed by the Islamic State. Lynn Meskell is Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor in the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation and Department of City and Regional […]

Kermit Roosevelt reflects on Juneteenth’s history

June 19 marks the anniversary of the end of slavery in the United States when Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas with news of the Emancipation Proclamation. Penn Today discussed the holiday’s history with Profs. Mary Frances Berry and Kermit Roosevelt of CERL’s Affiliated Faculty, who feature in a new documentary produced by the Annenberg Public Policy […]

Legal experts weigh in on Trump’s obstruction of justice charges

Former president Donald Trump and his aide Walter Nauta face a number of federal charges, among them obstruction of justice. CERL’s Prof. Claire Finkelstein told ABC News the federal government treats obstruction allegations seriously, particularly when it comes to reinforcing that no one is above the law. Claire Finkelstein is the Algernon Biddle Professor of […]

CERL welcomes 2023 summer interns

CERL is pleased to welcome 13 students and recent graduates as part of its Summer Internship Program. Through the program, students actively advance CERL’s mission to preserve and promote the rule of law and ethics in national security, warfare, and democratic governance. CERL interns work in teams to help plan upcoming CERL conferences and symposia, […]

Proof of taking the oath of office is not a constitutional requirement

A video circulating on social media incorrectly claims that officials in the Biden administration have not taken their oaths of office and therefore are serving illegitimately. APPC’s FactCheck.org explains why the video’s claims, and a petition on which they are based, are false, citing commentary from CERL Affiliated Faculty Kermit Roosevelt. Kermit Roosevelt works in […]

Lawfire features April conference on super soldiers

In a feature of Lawfire, Maj. Gen. Charles J. Dunlap Jr., USAD (Ret.), profiles CERL’s conference on super soldiers that was held in partnership with the Annenberg Public Policy Center and the University of Massachusetts Lowell in April of this past academic year. Maj. Gen. Dunlap, the former deputy judge advocate general of the United […]

Should Biden consider a Plan B when it comes to the debt ceiling crisis?

CERL Affiliated Faculty Eric Orts spoke with The Andrea Mitchell Center Podcast about the debt ceiling crisis. In a conversation with Matthew Berkman, Prof. Orts expresses concern about Republican brinksmanship and urges Biden to consider executive actions that could prevent ruinous outcomes such as financial panic or a recession. Eric Orts is the Guardsmark Professor […]

CERL hosts delegation of legal professionals on State Department exchange program

CERL was pleased to host last week a delegation of legal professionals from Europe and the Central Asian Caucuses who traveled to the United States on a State Department-sponsored exchange to learn about investigating human rights violations and wartime atrocities. The visit was organized by Citizen Diplomacy International of Philadelphia in connection with the U.S. […]

Prof. Ewald receives Penn Carey Law School teaching award

CERL Affiliated Faculty William Ewald is among six Penn Carey Law School faculty members who received teaching awards for the 2022-2023 academic year. Join us in congratulating Prof. Ewald for receiving the LLM Award for Teaching Excellence! William Ewald is an internationally recognized scholar in legal philosophy and comparative law. He is the author of […]

CERL celebrates 10 years of educating students, professionals, and the public

We are pleased to release the 2021-22 Annual Report, celebrating CERL’s accomplishments and milestones over the course of the last academic year and since its founding in 2012. For the past 10 years, CERL has been at the cutting edge of efforts to analyze U.S. national security practices for their fidelity to rule of law […]

Examining public sentiment in cultural heritage sites

As part of a Penn Global Engagement Fund project grant, conducted in collaboration with Vit Henisz of the Wharton School, CERL Affiliated Faculty Lynn Meskell examined public sentiment in every UNESCO World Heritage site inscribed since 1990. What she found is that popular notions of these sites are often at odds with how international organizations […]

Opinion: The FISA Section 702 Debate Intensifies

With Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) set to expire on Dec. 31, 2023, this is a critical year for the foreign intelligence collection program. In his latest for Lawfare, CERL Advisory Council member George Croner explores how the balance between national security imperatives and protecting the privacy and civil liberties of […]

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Opinion: Calling Republicans’ Bluff on the Debt Ceiling – and Creating Contingency Plans