National Security and Climate Change

Feb. 20, 10:30 am, Weinmann Hall, Room 251

Climate change is not only an environmental threat, but also a serious threat to domestic and international security. Congress possesses the constitutional authority to plan for this growing national security threat, but at what point does the President, as Commander-in-Chief, have the power to directly combat climate change through executive order?


Mark Nevitt, LL.M., J.D., Georgetown University Law Center

Mark P. Nevitt is a Navy commander and member of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. A 1997 graduate of the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, Mark was commissioned as a naval officer via the Naval Reserve Officer’s Training Corps program, and served for the next several years as a naval flight officer in a San Diego, California-based aircraft squadron—accumulating more than 290 aircraft carrier-arrested landings and participating in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Southern Watch.
Mark attended law school through the Navy’s Law Education Program, receiving his J.D. and LL.M. degrees from the Georgetown University Law Center.  His Navy JAG assignments have included serving as a defense counsel in Lemoore, California; operational law attorney with the U.S. Navy’s Sixth Fleet in Naples, Italy; and the Department of Defense’s Regional Environmental Counsel in Norfolk, Virginia.  During his tenure in Norfolk, Mark tackled emerging legal and policy issues posed by the intersection of climate change and national security, among other things playing a lead role in the Hampton Roads Sea Level Rise Pilot Project—an intergovernmental initiative to develop a whole-of-government approach to sea-level-rise preparedness in Hampton Roads. Mark’s writing examines civilian control of military institutions generally, with a focus on the intersection of environmental, international, and national security law.  He is the recent author of a book chapter on environmental law in military operations in U.S. Military Operations:  Law Policy, and Practice (Oxford University Press 2015).  His publications have also appeared in the Cardozo Law Review, the Berkeley Journal of International Law, and the Hawaii Law Review.



Keith Werhan, Professor, Tulane Law School;

werhanKeith Werhan holds the Ashton Phelps Chair in Constitutional Law at Tulane Law School. He specializes in Constitutional Law, Freedom of Speech, Church and State, Administrative Law, and Federal Courts, and has written widely in those areas. He is the author of two books: Freedom of Speech, published by Praeger Press in 2004, and Principles of Administrative Law, published by Thomson/West in 2008, and is now at work on a book comparing classical Athenian democracy and the American Constitution, which will be published by Oxford University Press. Professor Werhan received his Bachelor Degree in 1972 from the University of Notre Dame, where he graduated with High Honors, the equivalent of Magna Cum Laude. He received his law degree in 1975 from the George Washington University National Law Center, where he was a member of the editorial board of the George Washington Law Review and of the Order of the Coif. Upon graduation from law school, Professor Werhan entered the practice of law in Washington, D. C., first with the law firm of Winston & Strawn and later with the United States Department of Justice. He began his academic career in 1982, and has been a member of the faculty of Tulane Law School since 1988. He served as Vice Dean of the Tulane Law Faculty from 1995-1998.


Edward P. Richards (moderator), J.D., M.P.H., Director, Program in Law, Science, and Public Health, Clarence W. Edwards Professor of Law, LSU Law Center.

RichardsProfessor Richards received his undergraduate degree in biology and behavioral science from Rice University, studied human physiology and biochemistry as a graduate student at Baylor College of Medicine, physical chemistry and drug design at the University of Michigan, received his J.D. from the University of Houston and his M.P.H. (Masters of Public Health) from the University of Texas School of Public Health. He is the Clarence W. Edwards Professor of Law at the Louisiana State University Law Center, and Director of the Program in Law, Science, and Public Health. He is currently researching the impact of sea level rise and climate change on coastal disaster risks. His publications include 5 books and more than 150 articles, essays, and chapters. He has been the Chair of the AALS Health Law Section and the AALS Administrative Law Section and runs the Administrative Law Discussion Forum. He has worked on projects with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and several state health departments.



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