Professor Michael Tigar, "A Human Rights Agenda for the New Administration: Accountability and Engagement"

October 1, 2008Duke Law News

Organized by the Duke Human Rights Center, on Wednesday, Sept. 24, noted defense attorney and long-time human rights activist Michael E. Tigar laid out what he believes to be the human rights challenge for a new administration in Washington. Tigar discussed accountability for the Bush/Cheney human rights abuses and addressed what he sees as the underlying motivation for human rights violations, which is a foreign and military policy aimed at controlling key resources in a time of increasing scarcity.

Tigar is a professor of the practice of law at Duke University School of Law. He has authored or co-authored twelve books, three plays, and scores of articles and essays. He has argued seven cases in the United States Supreme Court, about one hundred federal appeals, and has tried cases in all parts of the country in state and federal courts. His latest book is Thinking About Terrorism: The Threat to Civil Liberties in Times of National Emergency and he has also published a memoir, Fighting Injustice.

His clients have included Angela Davis, H. Rap Brown, John Connally, Kay Bailey Hutchison, the Washington Post, Fantasy Films, Terry Nichols, Allen Ginsberg, Leonard Peltier, the Charleston Five, Fernando Chavez and Lynne Stewart. He worked with South African lawyers engaged in the struggle to end apartheid, and after the release of Nelson Mandela from prison, advised the African National Congress on a new constitution. He has been actively involved in efforts to bring to justice members of the Chilean junta, including former President Pinochet. Of Tigar's career, Justice William J. Brennan has written that his "tireless striving for justice stretches his arms towards perfection."

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