LAPA Student Forum Dinners are held once each month at Prospect House. Invitations for these dinners go out to students who are registered on the LAPA undergraduate listserv and spaces are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
This month’s guest is LAPA Visitor Deborah Pearlstein who will speak on “Executive Power in the ‘War on Terror’.” Ms. Pearlstein joined the Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs at Princeton University in 2007 as an Associate Research Scholar in the Law and Public Affairs Program. An expert in U.S. constitutional law, she focuses on the human rights impact of U.S. counterterrorism and national security policies, executive power, and the role of the courts. From 2003-2007, Ms. Pearlstein was Director of the Law and Security Program at the international human rights NGO Human Rights First, where she led the organization's efforts in research, litigation and advocacy surrounding U.S. detention and interrogation operations. Ms. Pearlstein’s work at Human Rights First ranged from launching a series of off-the-record workshops between the human rights and national security communities, to leading the first team of human rights trial monitors to observe and report on military commission proceedings at Guantanamo Bay.
Before embarking on a career in law, Ms. Pearlstein served in the White House as a Senior Editor and Speechwriter for President Clinton. In 1998, Ms. Pearlstein received her J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where she was an articles editor of the Harvard Law Review. She also served as a teaching fellow in Harvard College and in the Law School. Following law school, Ms. Pearlstein clerked for Judge Michael Boudin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, then for Justice John Paul Stevens of the U.S. Supreme Court. After her clerkships, Ms. Pearlstein joined the law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson, where she devoted a substantial portion of her time to pro bono litigation in immigration, privacy, and election law matters on behalf of individuals and non-profit organizations. She has briefed and argued cases in trial and appellate courts, and has written numerous briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2002, Ms. Pearlstein shared the ACLU's Voting Rights Award for her work on election systems reform in California following the 2000 presidential election.
Ms. Pearlstein is a frequent public speaker on security-related topics in U.S. constitutional law, including in testimony before the U.S. Congress. She is a regular columnist for the American Prospect, and has published numerous popular and academic articles on the work of the U.S. Supreme Court.
For more on Deborah Pearlstein, see her LAPA page.