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Two lectures mark Patriot Act anniversary

Bruce Fein, a constitutional lawyer and provocative critic of the war on terrorism, will deliver two public lectures on the state of American civil liberties on Wednesday, Oct. 26, at Linfield College. The date marks the 10th anniversary of the signing of the USA Patriot Act.

At 12:30 p.m., Fein will present “A Republic, If You Can Keep It,” a Pizza and Politics event in the Pioneer Reading Room. According to James McHenry, one of Maryland’s delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1787, as the delegates were leaving the convention, Benjamin Franklin was asked by a passerby, “Well, doctor, what have we got – a republic or a monarchy?” Franklin is said to have replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.” Fein will offer his reflections on the meaning of Franklin’s reply for contemporary American citizens.

At 7:30 p.m., Fein will speak on “A Patriot Protects His Country from his Government: An Address to Mark the 10th Anniversary of the Patriot Act” in the Austin Reading Room in Nicholson Library.

In the decade since 9/11, Fein has been a provocative critic of the war on terrorism and a staunch defender of the rule of law. After graduating from Harvard Law School with honors in 1972, Fein served in a variety of roles in the U.S. Department of Justice. Among other things, he authored a monograph on the definition of an impeachable offense in conjunction with the House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment hearings against President Richard M. Nixon. During the 1980s, he served as the General Counsel of the Federal Communications Commission and Research Director on the Joint Congressional Committee on Covert Arms Sales to Iran. Fein has written on the United States Constitution, the U.S. Supreme Court and international law. He has assisted three dozen countries in constitutional revision, including Russia, Spain, South Africa, Iraq, Cyprus and Mozambique. Fein’s writings have appeared in the Washington Times, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Financial Times, the Boston Globe, USA Today, the American Bar Association Journal, the Harvard Law Review, the Huffington Post and Slate. He regularly appears on national television and radio, including MSNBC, Fox News, C-SPAN, BBC, Reuters, PBS and NPR.

The lectures are free and open to the public, and sponsored by the Department of Political Science. For more information, contact Nick Buccola, assistant professor of political science, 503-883-2246, nbuccol@linfield.edu.