April 02, 2009

The State Secrets Privilege: Torts, Torture and the Role of the Judiciary


Philadelphia partner Wilson Brown will join with noted ACLU attorney Ben Wizner to present this CLE sponsored by the ACLU of Pennsylvania April 3 at the Marvin Comisky Conference Center located in One Logan Square, Philadelphia. The State Secrets Privilege was first recognized by the Supreme Court in United States v. Reynolds, a case brought by widows of civilian crew members following the crash of a military plane that killed their husbands. The U.S. government refused to produce the accident report, claiming it contained military secrets. Charles Biddle handled the case for the widows. Decades later, after the accident report was declassified, a daughter of one of the civilians learned it contained no sensitive military information. With the help of Wilson, they fought to reopen the case. In this CLE, Wilson will discuss the original Reynolds case and the Herring case that sought to reopen it. Wizner, who has argued several important recent cases including a Ninth Circuit appeal involving the new administration, will discuss the government’s ongoing invocation of Reynolds to defeat claims based on alleged governmental wrongdoing, and the judicial and legislative responses to the executive branch’s increased use of the State Secrets Privilege.

For more information contact Steve Gotzler.

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