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About Michael Meltsner

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.


Present George J. and Kathleen Waters Matthews Distinguished University Professor of Law, Northeastern University

Curriculum Vitae



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Contact Information

50 Cargill Hall
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
Tel: (617) 373-3218
Fax: (617) 373-5056


Articles (17)

Books (5)

Teaching Materials (2)