Georgetown University Law Center Professor Viet Dinh was the featured keynote speaker at the National Security Symposium 2008, presented by the Regent University Law Review and the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies.
Dinh delivered a stirring lecture on the separation of powers in the three branches of government, in light of the War on Terror. He identified four defining legal cases with respect to the war, and he spoke specifically of recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions that affect rights of enemy combatant detainees in Iraq and Guantanamo.
He noted how since September 11, the branches of power in government have struggled with each other to assert their own role within the constitutional structure in responding to the attack of terrorists. Of the Constitutional conversation going on between the branches, he called attention to the court's triumphalism. "What started as a dialogue is now a monologue," he said.
He spoke of the dangers of constitutional brinksmanship, of the Court assuming a triumphalist position and dangers of exceptionalism, so that what Chief Justice Roberts calls "Constitutional bait-and-switch" gives the enemy more rights than Haitian refugee applicants or even members of the U.S. military.