Monday, January 7, 2008

Weaver on Origins of the State Secrets Privilege

William G. Weaver, University of Texas at El Paso, has posted a new paper, Origins of the State Secrets Privilege. Here's the abstract:
The state secrets privilege is the most powerful secrecy privilege available to the president. In recent decades it has been used more frequently and the executive branch has successfully sought to expand the scope of the privilege beyond what constitutional limits should bear. Despite the importance of the privilege to the modern presidency and claims that it hails from ancient common law origins, there has never been a detailed account of the beginnings and development of the privilege. This article seeks to explain the origins and development of the privilege and how the privilege was adapted to U.S. law. This adaptation was infelicitous in a number of respects, and courts, accountability, and the people of the United States have suffered needlessly because the law is now a servant to executive claims of national security.