Jan 16, 2019 | 9:00 AM | Wednesday

Wed Jan 16, 9:00 AM - Wed Jan 16, 5:00 PM

Center for Strategic and International Studies

1616 Rhode Island Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20036

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The term “emergency powers” conjures images of crackdowns and rights abuses by authoritarian regimes. But emergency powers are also a standard feature of modern democracies—including the United States. Unknown to most Americans, Congress has passed more than a hundred l

Event Details

The term “emergency powers” conjures images of crackdowns and rights abuses by authoritarian regimes. But emergency powers are also a standard feature of modern democracies—including the United States. Unknown to most Americans, Congress has passed more than a hundred laws that give the president special authority when he declares a national emergency, including powers to shut down communications facilities, freeze Americans’ bank accounts, and deploy troops inside the U.S. In a time when institutional checks and balances are being tested, do these extraordinary powers protect our democracy… or do they put it at risk?
Join the Brennan Center for Justice and R Street Institute for a symposium that will explore the deeply important and timely questions raised by presidential emergency powers in the U.S. Former government officials, scholars, and advocates will come together for a day of discussion including:

An overview of the legal framework for emergency powers in the U.S., focusing on some of the most extraordinary powers in the president’s legal arsenal
Perspectives from the inside, featuring former executive branch officials with direct experience in governing during emergencies; A conversation about the risks vulnerable communities face in emergencies, and how to mitigate those risks
Lessons we can draw from recent experiences with emergency powers in other nations. 

Speakers will include:

Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism, United Nations (TBC)
Sahar Aziz, Professor of Law, Rutgers Law School
William Banks, Professor of Law Emeritus, Syracuse College of Law
Rachel Brown, Executive Director, Over Zero
Nadia Firozvi, Project Manager for the Special Project on Fostering a Just and Inclusive Society, Democracy Fund
Christopher Fonzone, former Legal Adviser to the National Security Council
Elizabeth Goitein, Co-Director of the Liberty and National Security Program, Brennan Center for Justice
Avril Haines, former Deputy National Security Advisor
Ashkhen Kazaryan, Director of Civil Liberties and Legal Research Fellow, TechFreedom
Rachel Kleinfeld, Senior Fellow, Democracy, Conflict and Governance Program,

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