Attorney general makes surprise lecture at Law School

U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales made a surprise visit to a Law School class Tuesday and spoke about U.S. policy in the war on terror.

Students in the Law School’s criminal procedure class were surprised to see the special guest speaker in Stockton Hall Tuesday. Associate professor of law Renee Lerner teaches the class and is an acquaintance of Gonzales’. The two worked together when she was at the Department of Justice and he served as White House counsel.

“When he walked in there was a definitive gasp,” Lerner said. “The students were happily surprised to see him.”

The attorney general spent about 15 minutes talking about issues such as the USA PATRIOT Act, wiretapping and military tribunals. Then, for about 35 minutes he answered questions from the 40 students in the class.

Lerner said Gonzales had a “very warm and inviting manner” when speaking with the students, whom she said responded well to the visit.

“Several students mentioned it was good to hear from someone who is directly involved in legal questions they study in an academic setting,” she said. “Some also mentioned how fortunate we are to be in Washington D.C. where we have access to such high-ranking officials.”

Lerner said she arranged the visit a couple of months ago when Gonzales approached her because he wanted to guest lecture in a Law School class. She did not tell her students Gonzales would be joining the class, but assigned readings on the subjects he spoke about.

She said that in the late 1990s, she arranged a guest lecture from then special prosecutor Kenneth Starr who was investigating President Bill Clinton.

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