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Campus Celebrates Constitution Day

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist Delivers Talk as Part of Two-Day Event

September 8, 2008

By Mimi Ko Cruz

Eric Lichtblau

New York Times writer Eric Lichtblau, author of “Bush’s Law” and winner of a 2006 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting, will deliver the keynote address Sept. 18, culminating a two-day celebration of the U.S. Constitution at Cal State Fullerton.

Lichtblau’s talk, “A Free Press in the Age of Terror: How Much Does the Public Really Need to Know?” will examine the role of the press and issues from his book.

According to it’s description, “Bush’s Law,” published in 2008 by Random House, “is an account of how the Bush administration employed its ‘war on terror’ to mask the most radical remaking of American justice in generations.”

The Book on Bush

The book raises questions about the constitutionality of President Bush and his administration’s tactics, including warrantless wiretapping and White House pressure on the New York Times to thwart Lichtblau’s story on the program.

About "Bush's Law," Jeff Stein wrote in his New York Times book review: "Even readers who have followed the administration’s legalistic contortions over wiretapping and waterboarding since 9/11 may be unnerved by Lichtblau’s recounting of the human dramas behind the stories of laws broken and ignored. Some of his stories involve officials who stood up to the White House and its henchmen in the FBI and the Justice Department at the cost of their jobs. Others are moving accounts of professionals who lost their integrity, or at least their dignity, by averting their eyes."

About the Author

Lichtblau works in the Washington bureau of the New York Times, covering the Justice Department and national security issues. He worked in the Washington and California bureaus at the Los Angeles Times for 15 years before joining the New York Times in 2002.

“Eric is a childhood friend and I've followed his career for many years,” said Scott J. Spitzer, assistant professor of political science who organized Lichtblau’s visit. “He won his Pulitzer Prize for the New York Times story that broke the news on the Bush administration’s wiretap surveillance program, and the violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act statute that this involved.

“His work speaks directly to the challenges of protecting our Constitutional principles in a time of war, in a time of unspecified terrorist threats and in a time where our presidency has once again become enormously powerful relative to the Congress," Spitzer added. "Anyone who takes the time to come and hear him speak, and to read his book, will be deeply affected by what he has to tell us about how our national security effort is challenging our civil liberties.”

Lichtblau will speak at 7 p.m. in the Titan Student Union. He also will take questions from the audience and sign books. The event is open to the public, free of charge.

For more information about Lichtblau and his book, go to

Sept. 16 Panel

Constitution Day activities on campus also include a Sept. 16 noontime panel discussion, “The 2008 Elections and the U.S. Constitution: Looking Forward to the Next Administration.”

The panel will take place at the Becker Amphitheater. The panelists and their topics are:

Bert Buzan, professor of political science, Supreme Court;

Max Dery, professor of criminal justice, Civil Liberties and Criminal Justice;

Matthew Jarvis, assistant professor of political science, Congress;

Scott J. Spitzer, assistant professor of political science, Presidency; and

Stephen J. Stambough, associate professor of political science, Election Process.

Shelly Arsneault, associate professor of political science, will serve as panel moderator.

Voter Mobilization

Students and volunteers will be on campus offering voter registration materials during the events and throughout the week of Constitution Day.

Sponsors for Constitution Day are Cal State Fullerton's Associated Students, Inc.; the College of Communications; Division of Politics, Administration and Justice; and Public Affairs and Government Relations.

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