In the decade since the September 11 attacks, Americans have come to know something previously unheard of in their lifetimes: a decidedly blatant violation of their civil liberties. On Friday, September 16, Pulitzer Prize finalist Roger Newman will speak at Bellarmine University about civil liberties, the media, surveillance and terrorism in the post-9/11 era.
“The events of September 11, 2001 have cast our civil liberties in a new light,” says Newman. “The existence of secret databases of all telephone calls and e-mails made by Americans, along with the government’s ability to wiretap without a court order, makes the matter urgent. The whole subject simply cannot be escaped. If the first casualty of war is truth, civil liberties are second.”
Newman, who teaches in the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and is a fellow in Bellarmine’s Institute for Media, Culture & Ethics, is the author of Hugo Black: A Biography. The history of Black, a Supreme Court Justice from 1937 to 1971, made Newman a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1995. “Roger Newman has become a powerful voice on the topic of civil liberties,” says Ed Manassah, director of the Institute. “When we became acquainted earlier this year it became a natural tie to the work of the Institute to connect students and the community to varied voices. With the 9/11 anniversary imminent, his lecture topic became even more timely.”
Newman’s lecture, which is free and open to the public, will take place at the Amy Cralle Theater in the Wyatt Center for the Arts. It is sponsored by Bellarmine University’s Institute for Media, Culture & Ethics, and the Brown Scholars Leadership Program.
Constitution Day is observed each year on September 17 to commemorate the signing of the Constitution on September 17, 1787. In 2004, Congress added a requirement that each education institution receiving federal funds should hold an educational program on the Constitution for students on that day. As September 17 falls on a Saturday, it will be observed on Friday.
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Photo: Courtesy Bellarmine University