Skip to main content

Technology and the Future of the U.S. Constitution

In recognition of Constitution Day on Wednesday, Sept. 17, Regent University's College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) hosted "Technology and the Future of the U.S. Constitution."

The event discussed a question that's been gaining momentum over the years: how do Americans guarantee natural liberties, constitutional rights and security in light of increasing dependence on government intelligence and technologies?

The question was addressed by a panel of faculty experts and moderated by Dr. Gerson Moreno-RiaƱo, dean of CAS. Dr. Josh McMullen, associate CAS professor; Dr. Dale Coulter, assistant professor in the School of Divinity; Dr. Mary Manjikian, assistant professor in the Robertson School of Government; and Professor Robert W. "Skip" Ash, the Senior Litigation Counsel for National Security Law at the American Center for Law & Justice comprised the panel.

McMullen began the discussion by drawing attention to public desire for government intervention in response to terrorist attacks throughout U.S. history.

Highlighting the War of 1812, Pearl Harbor, and Sept. 11, he explained that Americans seek government intervention in response to attacks on American soil.

"After a period we see that Americans tend to then reevaluate those initial decisions and begin to question, or maybe even fear, the role of the American government in their lives," said McMullen.

While Americans don't know where we they are in the cycle of attack, reaction, and reevaluation since 9/11, it's much harder to divest than it is to invest the government in power, according to McMullen.

Coulter addressed the balance between democracy, freedom, community and the individual. Offering a theological framework, he explained that radical individualism resides behind certain interpretations of the Constitution and brings us back to the doctrine of original sin, which he defined as "inordinate self-love."

Coulter explained that the challenge of technological innovations is that it can be interpreted as increasing the liberation of the individual from all forms of community life.

"There's irony in American history that we seek to liberate the individual and this quest to liberate actually makes us more dependent upon the state to secure that liberty," said Coulter.

Addressing the issue of technology and constitutional rights, Manjikian challenged the mindset that views technology as inherently unconstitutional or threatening.

"If we think about the constitutionality of new technologies, we really need to think about why we are attributing a particular ideological position to a technology," said Manjikian. She explained that America's use of weaponry, the first technology regulated by the Constitution in the Second Amendment, is still controversial today because people base their arguments on what they think weapons are for.

"I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with technologies like surveillance," she said. "There is nothing inherently wrong with regulating technologies either, but we need to be careful about how we construct these arguments regarding constitutionality or unconstitutionality of emerging technologies."

Ash ended the panel discussion by asking, "Are we at war or not?" With the War on Terror being a debate, there are questions that remain unanswered.

"It makes a difference because there are different laws that apply in peacetime compared to laws in wartime," said Ash.

He explained that when war is declared there are implications on individual rights and determining whether or not a combatant is lawful.

"You'll notice that when war is underway there is a balancing act that goes on between individual rights and the rights or obligations of security," said Ash.

by Esther Keane

Popular posts from this blog

Regent Law Named One of PreLaw Magazine's 20 Most Innovative Law Schools

Regent University School of Law was recently identified as one of PreLaw Magazine's 20 Most Innovative Law Schools, defined as "...schools that are on the cutting edge when it comes to preparing students for the future."


Pages 32-33 of the article reads,
Through Regent Law's Integrated Lawyer Training, students participate in a number of opportunities designed to enhance their legal education through hands-on training and ethical formation.  Students learn workplace skills, such as basic accounting principles and technological competence with e-discovery, e-filing and other cutting edge law office technology. Third year students also have the opportunity to participate in a for-credit apprenticeship, where they work and study under an attorney while taking online coursework.  Regent Law was also ranked in the top 15 of law schools for human rights law and given an "A" rating.

Click here to read PreLaw Magazine's Back to School 2017 issue > 

Click here …

Regent Law Trains Lawyers Called to Fight for Social Justice

As Regional Legal Coordinator with Freedom Firm in Maharashtra, India, Evan Henck ‘07 helps unravel the complex legal and social difficulties that come with prosecuting sex trafficking.
Evan’s virtual journal entry below depicts the sobering reality of the sex trade even as it celebrates the Freedom Firm’s recent progress. It originally appeared in the 2010 Spring/Summer edition of “Brief Remark”, Regent University School of Law’s new biannual publication.
From giving papers at a national human rights conferences and training human rights attorneys, to subsidizing summer internships within the nascent Center for Global Justice, the Regent Law community is committed to furthering the cause of justice at home and abroad.
If you feel called to the legal profession and to the fight for social justice, a Regent J.D. might be for you. Learn more here.

Jan. 16 2010
Maharashtra, India
In January an informant phoned Suresh Pawar, a human rights activist with the Freedom Firm in Maharashtra, India,…

Constitution Day Explores Fifth Amendment: Should You Talk to the Police?

Life, liberty, pursuit of happiness and the right to due process: Regent University School of Law (LAW), Roberson School of Government (RSG) and College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) explored the Fifth Amendment promised to citizens in the United States Constitution on Monday, September 18.

Each year, Regent celebrates the nationwide observance of “Constitution Day,” a day commemorating the signing of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787.

To commemorate this year, LAW professor James Duane and Hampton Commonwealth’s Attorney Anton Bell presented their perspectives on “Finding Common Ground for Criminal Justice: Exploring the Fifth Amendment.”



Duane spelled out his perspective on the Fifth Amendment from his recently published book that explores cases in which innocent parties have self-incriminated in criminal cases due to a lack of proper “lawyering up” before talking to police.

You Have the Right to Remain Innocent: What Police Officers Tell Their Children About the Fifth Amen…