March 27, 2012, at the Boston Playwrights' Theatre was the first dramatic
reading of In Our Name: A Play of the Torture Years, Michael Meltsner's searing
depiction of how and why the nation found itself brutally treating the men it detained —
some with good reason, some with stunning caprice — after 9/11. In Our Name confronts the
government rationalizations, the bizarre military hearings and the willful blindness of
the public to what was happening behind barbed wire. “Americans have not fully confronted
that what we did at Guantanamo and elsewhere that tainted our reputation, and continues
to question our commitment to justice and the rule of law,” says Meltsner. Brendan Shea
of the American Repertory Theatre calls In Our Name a "living essay" in which
the United States' actions at Guantanamo are put on trial. In Our Name was performed
September 21, 2012 at the Playwrights' Theatre under the sponsorship of the New
England School of Law Journal of Civil and Criminal Commitment and again on the campus of
Northeastern University on January 22, 2013. 

In his storied career, Meltsner represented Muhammad Ali in the case that removed legal
barriers barring his return to the boxing ring after refusing induction in the Army,
tried the case that led to the integration of southern hospitals and was one of the
initiators of the campaign that resulted in a nine-year moratorium of the use of capital
punishment. His memoir, The Making of a Civil Rights Lawyer, was published in 2006. Among
his other writings are: Cruel and Unusual: The Supreme Court and Capital Punishment and
Short Takes, A Novel. 



On the Virtues of a Wild Justice, School of Law Faculty Publications (2014)


Deciding death, The Huffington Post (2013)


A patient's view of OpenNotes, Annals of Internal Medicine (2012)



Race, rape, and injustice: documenting and challenging death penalty cases in the civil rights era (2012)

This book tells the dramatic story of how twenty-eight law students—one of whom was the...

Reflections on clinical legal education (with Philip G. Schrag) (1998)
Short takes (1979)

Teaching Materials

Popular Press


Examining U.S. ‘Torture Years’ In A Theatre, Not A Courtroom (with Sacha Pfeiffer and Lynn Jolicoeur), NPR (2012)