The Washington Times - May 12, 2009, 08:44AM

I’m in Montpelier Station, VA, at a conference focused on legal questions facing the future of the U.S. fight against terrorism.

The conference is being organized and paid for by the Brookings Institution, the Center for the Constitution at Montpelier, mainly through a donation from Washington, D.C. businessman Robert H. Smith.


There’s a small group of journalists here, including Scott Shane from the New York Times, Jonathan Rauch from National Journal and The Atlantic, Carol Rosenberg from the Miami Herald, Dafna Linzer of ProPublica, and a few others.

The reason we’re here at the estate of James Madison is because the conference is intended, as Brookings’ Benjamin Wittes said last night, to examine modern issues by beginning at the beginning.

Akhil Reed Amar of Yale Law School will kick things off today by talking about the views of America’s founders, such as Madison, on issues such as security, liberty, war and presidential power.

President Bush’s last solicitor general, Paul Clement, will then talk about the tension between liberty and security in times of war.

Matthew Waxman and Jack Goldsmith will talk this afternoon about detention, looking at what the U.S. can and should do with the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay and at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan.

Topics tomorrow will include interrogation and covert targeted killings by U.S. forces.

I’ll be updating here on the blog as much as possible, and working on something for the paper as well. Please send questions or comments if you have them to

— Jon Ward, White House reporter, The Washington Times

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