Law professor, political journalist kick off dialogue |

Law professor, political journalist kick off dialogue

Alexis DeLaCruz

— What began as a casual June lunch in Washington, D.C., ended with the structuring of Thursday’s Seminars in Steamboat chat on public policy.

Stuart Taylor, a Harvard Law School graduate and political writer for Newsweek and National Journal, and David Cole, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center, will present their perspectives on “A Dialogue on National Security and Civil Liberties: Detention, Interrogation and More” at 5 p.m. Thursday at Strings in the Mountains Music Festival Park. The discussion is free and open to the public.

Before boarding an airplane to Denver on Tuesday, Taylor said he is looking forward to a lively discussion with Cole, his “much-respected friend.”

“I would say David takes the liberal side on these issues while I represent a more moderate, center view,” Taylor said. “I’m sure there will be a fair amount we disagree on, but I don’t think either of us will be defending the actions of the Bush administration.”

Taylor said he and Cole didn’t have “any violent disagreements” during their lunch in June, and he doesn’t expect any Thursday.

“It remains to be seen how different our opinions are,” he said.

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Bob Stein, a Seminars board member and dialogue moderator, said beginning this summer’s series with such a timely issue is an advantage for those planning to attend the discussion.

“I think that in the year before an election, these issues, which are fundamental to our government and democracy, are going to be discussions people can learn from because all too often the discussions start with conclusions and don’t go anywhere,” Stein said.

Stein also said he is eager to bring Cole and Taylor together.

“I have always wanted to have a deal with two people with two different perspectives,” he said. “This is a perfect issue to do it with.”

Discussion topics will address the Bush administration’s policies on terrorism, detention and interrogation as well as looking at past historical events, Taylor said.

“We face terribly difficult, unprecedented challenges since Sept. 11, and the Bush administration has taken the narrow-minded point of view of, ‘We know it all, we know best and we don’t make mistakes,'” he said. “My goal is to carve out a middle ground where we can fight terrorism but not the way the Bush administration has approached it.”

Stein reminds those interested in attending that the discussion has moved this year from Centennial Hall to the Strings in the Mountains music tent near Pine Grove and Mount Werner roads. The move will accommodate a growing interest in the series, he said.

Friends of the Seminars members are invited to sign up for a $25 Dutch treat dinner at Rex’s American Grill & Bar following the seminar by calling 879-1589. Space may be limited.

– To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234

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