Public Reality Radio

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Law and Disorder


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Michael Ratner

Michael Ratner (June 13, 1943 – May 11, 2016) was the president of the Center for Constitutional Rights and author of Guantanamo: What the World Should Know. Michael worked for decades, as a crusader for human rights both at home and abroad litigating many cases against international human rights violators resulting in millions of dollars in judgments for abuse victims and expanding the possibilities of international law. He acted as a principal counsel in the successful suit to close the camp for HIV-positive Haitian refugees on Guantanamo Base, Cuba. He had litigated a dozen cases challenging a President’s authority to go to war, without congressional approval. In the wake of the September 11 attacks, the Center focused its efforts on the constitutionality of indefinite detention and the restrictions on civil liberties as defined by the unfolding terms of a permanent war. Among his many honors were: Trial Lawyer of the Year from the Trial lawyers for Public Justice, The Columbia Law School Public Interest Law Foundation Award, and the North Star Community Frederick Douglass Award.

Michael Ratner passed away after a battle with cancer at the age of 72.  We send our condolences to the family of Michael Ratner.

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Heidi Boghosian

Heidi Boghosian is the executive director of the National Lawyers Guild, a progressive bar association established in 1937. She has published articles on policing, protest and the First Amendment including Punishing Protest and The Assault on Free Speech, Public Assembly, and Dissent (North River Press, 2004). Her book reviews have been published in The Federal Lawyer magazine and the New York Law Journal.  Heidi received her JD from Temple Law School where she was editor-in-chief of the Temple Political & Civil Rights Law Review. She has an MS from Boston University’s College of Communication and a BA from Brown University. She lives in New York City.

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Michael Steven Smith

Michael Steven Smith is the author, editor, and co-editor of six books, mostly recently “The Emerging Police State,” by William M. Kunstler. He has testified before committees of the United States Congress and the United Nations on human rights issues. Mr. Smith lives and practices law in New York City with his wife Debby, where on behalf of seriously injured persons he sues insurance companies and occasionally the New York City Police Department. Michael Smith also organizes and chairs the Left Forum.