Spring 2009: Examining Our Priorities: The Relationship Between National Security and Other Fundamental Values

Vermont Law Review hosted “Examining Our Priorities: The Relationship Between National Security and Other Fundamental Values” on Friday October 17, 2008. Louis Fisher, author of The Constitution and 9/11: Recurring Threats to America’s Freedoms, was the keynote speaker. Panels included:

■ Vermont’s Confidentiality of Library Patrons Act, led by Gail Weymouth, Library Director, and Jane Woldow, Collection Development Librarian at Vermont Law School.

■ Environmental Concerns Through the Lens of National Security, led by Brian Segee, Staff Attorney for Defenders of Wildlife, and Joel Reynolds, Senior Attorney and Director of NRDC’s Marine Mammal Protection Project.

■ The Threat of Unpopular Ideas, led by Will Potter, Freelance Reporter, Lee Hall, Director of Friends of Animals, and Odette Wilkens, Executive Director of Equal Justice.

■ Immigration and National Security, led by Arthur Edersheim, Staff Attorney at South Royalton Legal Clinic and Assistant Professor of Law at Vermont Law School, and Leslie Holman, Attorney.


Retta Dunlap is currently the Executive Director of Vermonters for Better Education. She has four grown children and is a life long advocate for parental rights. She works not only as an advocate for and with parents on educational issues, but she also lobbies at the Legislature in Montpelier to expand education opportunities for all the children of Vermont through parental choice in education. Retta is also a commissioner on Vermont’s Commission on Women, on the Board of Vermont Right to Life, director of Vermont Home Education Network, chair of the Woodbury School Board, and will gradate from Johnson State College in 2009 with a degree in Political Science.

Louis Fisher is Specialist in Constitutional Law with the Law Library of the Library of Congress, after working for the Congressional Research Service from 1970 to 2006. During his service with CRS he was research director of the House Iran-Contra Committee in 1987, writing major sections of the final report. Dr. Fisher has been invited to testify before Congress on such issues as war powers, state secrets, NSA surveillance, executive spending discretion, presidential reorganization authority, Congress and the Constitution, the legislative veto, the item veto, the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act, executive privilege, executive lobbying, CIA whistleblowing, covert spending, the pocket veto, recess appointments, the budget process, the balanced budget amendment, biennial budgeting, and presidential impoundment powers.

Allen Gilbert is executive director of the ACLU of Vermont. He has a background in education, and came to the ACLU through his involvement in a successful education equity lawsuit. Gilbert was chair of his local school board when it became a plaintiff in the ACLU-Vermont’s “Brigham” lawsuit. The decision in the case resulted in a comprehensive overhaul of Vermont’s education funding system. Gilbert led a statewide advocacy group supporting the equity principles of the “Brigham” decision. He was also president of the Vermont School Boards Association. Gilbert’s professional background is in journalism, teaching, and research. Gilbert holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Harvard, and a master’s degree in education from the College of William and Mary.

Lee Hall is a lawyer whose work addresses migration, anti-terrorism legislation, detentions, and evolving concepts of personhood. Hall, who has taught both animal law and immigration law at Rutgers University, is currently the legal director of the international advocacy group Friends of Animals (founded in 1957). The combined interests in human rights and nonhuman rights that run through Hall’s writings focus on the culture of the cage, and the concept of transcending it. Hall authored the book Capers in the Churchyard: Animal Rights Advocacy in the Age of Terror, and presented “When Does Activism Become ‘Terrorism’ Under the Law?” in the seminar for the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education’s Litigation and Defense of Animals (2005).

Will Potter is an award-winning independent journalist who focuses on how lawmakers and corporations have labeled animal rights and environmental activists as “eco-terrorists.” Will has written for publications including The Chicago TribuneThe Dallas Morning News and Legal Affairs, and has testified before the U.S. Congress about his reporting. He is the creator of GreenIsTheNewRed.com, where he blogs about the Green Scare and history repeating itself.

Joel Reynolds joined the staff of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) Los Angeles office as a Senior Attorney in 1990, after ten years with the Center for Law in the Public Interest and the Western Center on Law and Poverty, both in Los Angeles. Mr. Reynolds is Director of NRDC’s Urban Program and director of the Marine Mammal Protection and Southern California Ecosystem projects. He currently specializes in issues of coastal protection, land use, marine mammal protection, environmental justice, and transportation.

Gail Weymouth is the Library Director at the Sherburne Memorial Library in Killington, Vermont since 1984.Gail is a veteran member of the Vermont Library Association and has served on various committees including the Intellectual Freedom Committee that she currently chairs. She is co-author of the Vermont Intellectual Freedom Manual . She also serves as on the American Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Committee, Privacy Sub-committee and National Conversation Privacy Steering Committee. She speaks regularly throughout the state about Intellectual Freedom Issues. In 2002, she received the Sarah C. Hagar Award for outstanding contributions to librarianship in Vermont.

Odette Wilkens is Executive Director of the Equal Justice Alliance, a coalition of organizations that she co-founded in 2006 to repeal the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA). She is a member of the Issues Pertaining to Animals Committee of the New York City Bar Association. She has been the featured speaker on AETA at the Minnesota Bar Association’s Continuing Legal Education program, at the Animal Law Committee of the Connecticut Bar Association, at the 2008 Connecticut Bar Association Annual Meeting and at Rutgers Law School. Odette is also a corporate and transactional attorney specializing in information technology and e-commerce, and speaks on corporate records retention policies.

Jane Woldow is a Lawyer Librarian at the Vermont Law School Library. She teaches the Introduction to Legal Research course, Advanced Legal Research course and oversees collection development. Jane received a BS from Tulane University, a JD from Vermont Law School and an MLS from the State University of New York at Albany. Before joining the Vermont Law School Library in 2003, Jane worked for the Middlebury College Libraries, the Rutland Free Library and as the librarian for the law firms of Saxer Anderson Wolinsky & Sunshine as well as Eggleston & Cramer.

Leslie Holman is the founder of Holman Immigration Law and has been practicing law since 1988. Leslie currently serves as the Chair of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Admissions and Border Enforcement Committee, the Vice Chair of its CBP Committee, and as the CBP representative to AILA’s Interagency Committee. In addition she serves as the AILA New England Chapter’s liaison to local and regional land ports of entry. This year Leslie was elected to AILA’s Board of Governors. In addition to her involvement with AILA Leslie is currently serving a two year term on the Vermont Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission of Civil rights.

Arthur Edersheim is one of four experienced attorneys who supervise the South Royalton Legal Clinic’s student clinicians. He specializes in immigration law, domestic violence law, family law, landlord-tenant law, and poverty law. He teaches the immigration law course at Vermont Law School. He is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. He is the Project Coordinator for Vermont Immigrant Assistance (VIA) which was established in 2003 to protect the rights of immigrants in domestic violence, human rights, and general civil rights in critical immigration procedures. VIA provides pro bono legal services in behalf of low-income immigrants and refugees.

Brian Segee is a Staff Attorney for Defenders of Wildlife in Washington, D.C., where he works to protect native species and protected lands through litigation, administrative advocacy, legislative work, and policy analysis. He has led Defenders’ legal efforts to better integrate environmental protection with national security operations along the southwest border, and developed and argued Defenders of Wildlife v. Chertoff, a case challenging border wall construction in Arizona’s San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area. Brian is a graduate of the University of Colorado School of Law and has more than a decade of experience in environmental law.

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