Professor Andy Wright Mentors Brandeis School of Law Professor Justin Walker

August 22, 2017

In an upcoming article, Brandeis Law Professor Justin Walker argues that a president should have a significant degree of control over an FBI director — as much control as the president has over the military.

The largest section of the article is about FBI history. Walker argues that the FBI’s primary purpose has often been a military one, pointing to World War II, the Cold War and the War on Terrorism as examples. He also explores the ways the FBI has infringed on civil liberties, from conducting illegal wiretaps to targeting racial and political minorities.

Finally, Walker points to times when the FBI director has exercised independence from the president and attorney general. He argues that that independence facilitated and exacerbated the FBI’s violations of civil liberties.

That research and subsequent article are supported by the Dean’s Faculty Development Fund, established by incoming Dean Colin Crawford and supported by Interim Provost Dale Billingsley to promote scholarship among law faculty.

From that fund, Walker received a grant meant for junior faculty members. The grant allows junior faculty to approach a nationally recognized scholar as a mentor to provide focused attention on a piece of scholarship. That mentor will visit Louisville to focus intensively on the article and to deliver a lecture or make a presentation.

For Walker’s article, he chose Andrew Wright, an associate professor at Savannah Law School.

“He’s someone who has written in this field. He’s someone who has worked in this field,” Walker says. “I’m also excited that even though we are researching in a similar field, he has a different perspective than I do. I don’t think that we agree on everything. That’s one of the reasons why I wanted his advice to try to make the article stronger.”

Wright writes and teaches about presidential power and is working on an article about presidential control of the Department of Justice. He has served in the Obama White House as associate counsel to the president, in Congress conducting oversight of U.S. national security matters and in the Clinton White House as assistant counsel to Vice President Al Gore. Wright also is a founding editor of Just Security, an online forum on national security, international law and human rights hosted by the NYU School of Law.

Wright will visit the Brandeis School of Law this week to meet with Walker. On August 24, 2017, he will present a lecture titled “Justice Department Independence and White House Control” for law faculty and students.

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