Lawyer Who Represented Bin Laden’s Driver Before U.S. Supreme Court to Speak at Pitt

Issue Date: 
February 11, 2008

Charles Swift, a prominent lawyer best known for defending Osama bin Laden’s driver before the U.S. Supreme Court, will speak at the University of Pittsburgh’s Oakland campus at 6 p.m. on Thurs., Feb. 21.

The talk, “U.S. Sovereignty and the War on Terror After Hamdan v. Rumsfeld,” will be held in the Barco Law Building’s Teplitz Moot Courtroom. The event is free and open to the public.

The lecture is the 16th Annual McLean Lecture on World Law, presented by the University of Pittsburgh School of Law’s Center for International Legal Education and the Global Solutions Education Fund.

Swift, who is now acting director of Emory University’s International Humanitarian Law Clinic, acquired extensive experience in the practice of military and international law during his service with the Department of Defense Office of Military Commissions. His well-publicized representation of Salim Hamdan, the driver for Osama bin Laden, brought Swift to the U.S. Supreme Court in the precedent-setting case of Hamdan v. Rumsfeld. In its decision, the court ruled that the military commission being used to try Hamdan was illegal and therefore lacked the protections provided under the Geneva Conventions and U.S. Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Known for his dedication to preserving the rule of law during wartime, Swift has been honored by the American Civil Liberties Union with a Medal of Liberty and named by the National Law Journal as one of the most influential lawyers in America. With more than 12 years of litigation experience with the U.S. military, Swift is also a visiting professor at Emory.

The McLean Lecture on World Law honors the memory and contributions of M.W. McLean, a founder, executive director, and executive vice president of the Pittsburgh World Federalist Association chapter, now Global Solutions Education Fund, Pittsburgh.

This lecture has been approved by the Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education Board for one hour of substantive Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits. There is a $25 fee for credit. For CLE details, call 412-648-7023 or e-mail