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Guantanamo Detainees and the Supreme Court - Justice Stephen Breyer

Complete video at: U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer explains the Supreme Court's position on allowing terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay to be tried in military courts. ----- Few more fundamental philosophical questions exist in international affairs than that of the relationship between power and law. One narrative (classically formulated in Thucydides Melian Dialogue) holds that these concepts are antagonistic. Power, it argues, is an interest and a purpose unto itself. It is unilateralist in nature, expresses itself through force, makes its own rules, and is in fact its own norm. Law, by contrast, has no autonomous normative quality in this account. It is a tool that the weak use in order to leverage their influence, to restrain the strong, and to harness and contain power and the use of force. Another school of thought (its canonical text is Kants Perpetual Peace) sees law as a civilizing counterforce to power. It seeks to replace or even to ban the use of force in the settlement of disputes, and uses diplomacy and compromise to produce a state of mutuality and reciprocity in international affairs. Its most notable institutional expression was the creation of the United Nations in 1945. This essential tension between power and law has informed many of the great international debates of the past century, from the outlawing of genocide to the creation of international war crimes tribunals to the debate about a responsibility to protect. Stephen G. Breyer, Associate Justice, was born in San Francisco, California, August 15, 1938. He received an A.B. from Stanford University, a B.A. from Magdalen College, Oxford, and an LL.B. from Harvard Law School. He served as a law clerk to Justice Arthur Goldberg of the Supreme Court of the United States during the 1964 Term, as a Special Assistant to the Assistant U.S. Attorney General for Antitrust, 1965-1967, as an Assistant Special Prosecutor of the Watergate Special Prosecution Force, 1973, as Special Counsel of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, 1974-1975, and as Chief Counsel of the committee, 1979-1980.
Length: 02:06


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