The Church Committee and Contemporary Surveillance
Russell A. Miller
Washington and Lee School of Law
Russell A. Miller was a DAAD/AICGS Research Fellow in 2015. He joined the Washington and Lee law faculty in 2008. His teaching and scholarly research focuses on comparative law theory and methods, comparative constitutional law, German law and legal culture, and public international law. Previously, he taught at the University of Idaho College of Law and has been a guest professor in Germany.
Recently, AGI Non-Resident Fellow, Dr. Russell A. Miller, detailed the “1975 Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities” and its implications for contemporary surveillance in a lecture at his home Washington and Lee University School of Law. The full text is posted at Verfassungsblog.
Prompting an in-depth interview with Der Spiegel, this lecture drew on the so-called (Senator Frank) Church Committee to conclude that “the United States has become a thoroughgoing and unapologetic security state” and emphasized the legislative, rather than jurisprudential, source of this state of affairs. Moreover, he notes that the security state is a rough majority consensus among Americans, who predictably enforce their preferences through democratic channels. Freedom of the Press represents one of the few loci of critical perspective, which sometimes prompt reform of government.
Dr. Miller last spoke at AGI, alongside partner institutions the Goethe-Institut, the German Embassy-Cultural Division, and the Robert Bosch Foundation Alumni Association, this past April for a panel discussion on his 2012 book, co-authored with Dr. Donald Kommers and titled The Constitutional Jurisprudence of the Federal Republic of Germany.
He also gave a lecture at the Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe last week. With the permission of the author, we’ve included this transcript, which originally appeared in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Friday, 12 July.