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NEW YORK � Courts have only just begun to address the many legal issues that will likely arise during war time, former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor said. “The jurisdictions in this and other countries are going to confront � continually confront � a number of legal questions arising from terrorism,” O’Connor said. O’Connor, who retired from the Supreme Court last year after 25 years of service, spoke at Columbia Law School Monday during the Harold Leventhal Memorial Lecture, named after the late Colombia Law School graduate and U.S. Court of Appeals judge. About 400 students, professors and members of the legal community attended the hour-long presentation, which was called “Balancing security, democracy, and human rights in an age of terrorism.” O’Connor said this is not the first time the government has had to confront legal issues during war time. For example, during the Civil War, the right to habeas corpus was suspended, she said. Since Sept. 11, 2001, the U.S. Supreme Court has made several key decisions, O’Connor said. In Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, the court reversed the dismissal of a habeas corpus petition brought on behalf of a U.S. citizen who was being detained as an illegal enemy combatant. O’Connor wrote the plurality opinion in the case, saying citizen detainees should receive notice of their classification as well as an opportunity to rebut it. In Rasul v. Bush, the high court ruled that federal courts have jurisdiction to decide whether foreign nationals being held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were wrongfully imprisoned. Finally, O’Connor referred to Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, a decision issued after she retired, in which the Supreme Court said that military commissions set up for war detainees violate the Geneva Conventions. International reaction Other countries have also passed anti-terrorism laws in the post-Sept. 11, 2001, age, O’Connor said. Germany, for example, has passed legislation designed to strengthen the law enforcement’s ability to fight terrorism, while Great Britain passed an act that aims to help identify terrorists and seize their financial assets. The court decisions stemming from the fight against terrorism have generated a lot of debate, which O’Connor said is evidence that democracy is flourishing. “It would be surprising if decisions in this area did not provoke strong reactions in people,” said O’Connor, the first female justice of the nation’s highest court. Legal questions will likely continue to surface in the fight against terrorism and O’Connor pointed out the importance of key issues that are often at the heart. “If we lose sight of liberty in an effort to defeat our enemies, the price may have been too high,” she said. O’Connor, 77, who grew up on a cattle ranch in Arizona and has moved back to Arizona since her retirement, referred to her upbringing again during the audience question period. Growing up on an isolated farm, she was often not concerned about how beautiful things were, but more about outcome and practicality of solutions, she said. She said her experiences helped shape her jurisprudence. “I may not try to reach perfection in doctrine if I thought the thing was going to resolve the problem and work,” she said.

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