The Catholic University of America

Fashioning A Just Response
To A Grave Injustice




eptember 11, 2001
. If any day deserves to be added to Franklin Roosevelt's list of days "that will live in infamy," it is this one. The infamy or wickedness of this day reached directly into The Catholic University of America school of law community and took the life of professor Karen Kincaid, a bright young woman who perished on board the Pentagon crash. Karen had joined us this past fall to teach in our well-known communications law institute. A bright young woman, a marathoner of mind and body, we knew she would distinguish herself in teaching, as she had in her practice with Wiley, Rein & Fielding. Her students thought so, too. She is dearly missed.

The law school thought it was fitting to remember Professor Kincaid in two ways. First, in prayer, and then in prayerful thought. At an overflowing Mass of remembrance the very next day, we honored those who died and comforted those who now must carry on with the sad knowledge that family members will forever - in this life at least - be missing.

Thereafter, in a heavily-attended symposium, Dean Kmiec and Associate Dean Fox together with Professors Perez, Noone, Breger, Ludwikowski, Wagner, Marcin and

Destro explored before a standing room only crowd in our vast law atrium what a just response to terrorist warfare might entail. Of course, like other law schools we covered international conventions and domestic law. We speculated about the difference between regular and irregular combatants, but we did more. We drew deeply upon the intellectual tradition of our faith to determine the permissible ends of a military response when both basic civil order and rule of law are at stake. No law school in the United States could have canvassed this subject so well, so thoroughly, or so inspired by the Holy Father's admonition to "be not afraid."

We are not fearful of the days ahead. Our faith is strong. And there is a palpable sense that the CUA law school is supplying the very type of instruction and leadership that will keep this great country true to her principles even in the face of the present challenge. W. H. Auden wrote when Poland was overrun on September 1, 1939 that: "Waves of anger and fear/ Circulate over the bright/ And darkened lands of the earth." You may remember that Auden was distressed in that writing that the U.S. was not then prepared to defend against the immense evil of his time. We are prepared to defend our legal system and way of life against the evil of our day. The instructional history of The Catholic University school of law is dedicated to a harmony of "reason and revelation and the genius that is America." These were the words of our first rector, and we stick by them. We think that is the surest defense. Below are two short essays that grew out of the symposium. Beyond this, you will be impressed by the variety and depth of faculty insight on this topic that can be found on line at:
www.law.edu/studentlife/panelremarks.htm.