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June 15 Tuesday

Abrams Institute Conversations: Fifty Years after the Pentagon Papers: It's Impact and It's Future

  • Tuesday, June 15, 2021 at 12:00PM - 1:30PM
  • Online
  • Open To The Public
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The Pentagon Papers Case began exactly fifty years ago to the day from this luncheon exchange about its impact, then and now.  The case resulted in one of the most significant press victories in our history, yet one that raised questions about its scope and application from the day it was decided. The unanswered questions have only multiplied as the Internet revolutionized how the news is disseminated.

Please use this link to make your reservation now, and join us on June 15:


To take stock of the impact of the case and explore it future, we will have an all-star panel:

Heidi Kitrosser is an expert on free speech and the separation of powers, and has written, spoken, and consulted widely on these topics.  Her book, Reclaiming Accountability: Transparency, Executive Power, and the U.S. Constitution, was awarded the 2014 Roy C. Palmer Civil Liberties Prize.  Among her many publications, Kitrosser is author of the paper, “What If Daniel Ellsberg Hadn’t Bothered?” (Indiana Law Review, Vol. 45, 2011).  In 2017, Kitrosser received a Guggenheim fellowship to begin an ongoing project on U.S. government whistleblowers.  She is currently a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School on leave at Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law and will be joining the Northwestern faculty full-time in Fall 2022.

David Rudenstine is a prominent legal voice on issues of free speech, freedom of the press, national security and terrorism.  His published books include The Day the Presses Stopped: A History of the Pentagon Papers Case (University of California 1996), which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and is considered the seminal legal history on the Pentagon Papers case.  His most recent book, The Age of Deference: The Supreme Court, National security, and the Constitutional Order (Oxford University Press, 2016), argues that the Court has allowed national security interests to trump individual rights in case after case since World War II.  Rudenstine is currently the Sheldon H. Solow Professor of Law at Cardozo School of Law, where he served as the Dean from 2001 to 2009.

Alan Rusbridger was editor-in-chief of Guardian News & Media from 1995 to 2015, where he oversaw the transformation of the paper into a world-leading digital news organization.  Under his leadership, Guardian investigations into WikiLeaks, tax avoidance, phone hacking and the Snowden revelations won numerous awards, including the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for public service.  Rusbridger wrote about the transformation and challenges of the news industry in Breaking News: The Remaking of Journalism and Why it Matters (2018). Rusbridger is currently Principal of Lady Margaret Hall at the University of Oxford and Chairs the Steering Committee of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.  He is also a member of the Oversight Board, created by Facebook to review content moderation cases.

Floyd Abrams is senior counsel at Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP, a Visiting Lecturer at Yale Law School and a Lecturer in Law at Columbia Law School. He is the author of three books about the First Amendment of which the most recent was “The Soul of the First Amendment“ (2017). Mr. Abrams has argued numerous cases involving the First Amendment in the Supreme Court and lower courts. Among others, he was co-counsel to the New York Times in the Pentagon Papers case, counsel to the Brooklyn Museum in its litigation against New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, and counsel to Senator Mitch McConnell in the Citizens United case. Former Yale Law School Dean Robert Post has observed that “no lawyer has exercised a greater influence on the development of First Amendment jurisprudence in the last four decades.”

Abrams Institute Conversations are made possible through the generous support of the Stanton Foundation.

The Floyd Abrams Institute for Freedom of Expression at Yale Law School promotes freedom of speech, freedom of the press, access to information and government transparency. The Institute’s activities are grounded in the belief that collaboration between the academy and the bar will enrich both scholarship and practice.

Sponsoring Organization(s)

ISP, Abrams