If, as they say, timing is everything, then W&L Law Professor Russell Miller has hit upon something very special with his recent receipt of a KoRSE Fellowship at the University of Freiburg in Germany.
With the media still buzzing over the news of Edmund Snowden's evasion of an American warrant after he leaked confidential documents that chronicle the American government's extensive PRISM surveillance program and other secret surveillance activities, Miller has been invited to serve as a Fellow in the University of Freiburg's "Network for the Law of Civil Security in Europe." The fellowship will allow him to research and collaborate with leading scholars on the issues of security and liberty who are based at the University of Freiburg's Center for Civil Security as well as the program's partners at Bucerius Law School (Hamburg), the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law (Freiburg), and the German Federal Police Academy.
Miller will be in residence in Freiburg on several occasions in the 2013/2014 academic year, beginning with a three-week stay in July, 2013.
"I'm thrilled about the opportunity to work closely with dynamic scholars on these issues at one of Germany's most impressive law faculties," Miller said. He noted that the University of Frieburg is the academic home of two of the German Constitutional Court's justices, including the Court's President, Prof. Andreas Vosskuhle.
"The KoRSE program is especially exciting," Miller explained, "because it deliberately seeks to embed discussions of this inherently transnational issue in a global research context."
During his time in Freiburg Professor Miller will pursue several projects. First, he will deliver a lecture on July 10, drawing on his 2008 book U.S. National Security, Intelligence and Democracy (Routledge Press). The book reflected on the 1970s Senate Select Committee that undertook an extensive investigation of U.S. national security activities.
Known as the "Church Committee" (for its Chair, Idaho Senator Frank Church), the Senate Select Committee's reports remain one of the most detailed accountings of the American intelligence community and the reports served as the basis for reforms that now make-up the legal and oversight framework for American intelligence programs. This, of course, is the very framework implicated by Snowden's leaks and the PRISIM program. Miller's lecture will detail, for a foreign audience unfamiliar with this important piece of American history, the background of the Church Committee while raising the broader questions of how a society best achieves the twin goals of providing security while ensuring liberty.
Second, Prof. Miller will begin planning-in close collaboration with other researchers in Freiburg-for the fall 2013 "German Law in Context Program," which will involve a number W&L law and undergraduate students in an intensive, interdisciplinary survey of Germany's efforts to balance security and liberty in its unique struggle with extremism and threats to democracy. The German Law in Context Program is an annual seminar that enjoys the support of the German Law Journal, which Prof. Miller and a number of students edit at W&L. It is also one of the law school's most visible collaborations with W&L's undergraduate college, as faculty from the German/Russian Department, the History Department, and the Williams School's Political Science Faculty contribute their expertise to events and programming in significant ways.
Third, Prof. Miller will use his time in Freiburg to lay a research foundation for and to facilitate his in-person observations of the German Federal Constitutional Court's imminent review of applications to ban a political party (the right-wing NPD). This is a once-in-a-generation procedure that implicates German history, society and politics in remarkable ways. In this effort, Prof. Miller will be building on the work that led to the recent publication of his book The Constitutional Jurisprudence of the Federal Republic of Germany (Duke Press).