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Drones and Citizensí Rights to be Focus of Constitution Day Presentation at Ithaca College

ITHACA, NY — A discussion on “Targeted Killings, the Constitution, and You: U.S. Drone Policy and Citizens’ Rights” will be held at Ithaca College on Wednesday, Sept. 17. Held in recognition of Constitution Day, the presentation is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in Emerson Suites, Phillips Hall. It is free and open to the public.

Unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, have been used for various benign purposes by organizations and governments alike. But the use of armed drones by the U.S. government, in the name of fighting terrorism and under the pretext of national security, has ignited controversy. The most startling use involves targeting and killing U.S. citizens without constitutional due process. In whose hands should this new technology be trusted? What constitutional rights do citizens have in the age of fighting terrorism with lethal tools such as drones?

Jens David Ohlin, professor of law at Cornell University, will discuss these questions and more in an interview-style conversation with Carlos Figueroa, assistant professor of politics at Ithaca College. Figueroa and Ohlin will consider some of the moral, political, legal and social issues surrounding the use of armed drones for national security purposes and the stripping of citizens’ constitutional protections. The conversation will be followed by an audience Q&A session as well as a book signing.

A specialist in international and criminal law, Ohlin researches the laws of war, particularly the impact of new technology such as drones and cyber-warfare. His books include “Targeted Killings: Law and Morality in an Asymmetrical World” and “Defending Humanity: When Force is Justified and Why.” Figueroa researches and teaches in the areas of American political development, religion and racial politics, U.S. citizenship and historical/interpretive policy analysis. He is working on a book entitled “Quakers, Race and Empire: Metaphors and the Politics of Citizenship in U.S. Insular Policy Development, 1898–1917.”

Constitution Day is an annual observance that commemorates the September 17, 1787, signing of the United States Constitution. On or around that day, all educational institutions receiving federal funding are required to hold an educational program pertaining to the U.S. Constitution.

The event is cosponsored by the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Educational Affairs, Department of Politics and Park Center for Independent Media.