David Cole is a professor at Georgetown University Law Center and serves as the legal affairs correspondent for The Nation. As an Open Society Fellow, he is writing a book that explores the effectiveness of civil society organizations in making human rights meaningful. He is looking at five case studies in which citizens banded together to achieve constitutional change against overwhelming odds. The case studies include the success of civil society organizations in compelling consecutive administrations in Washington to reduce or curtail their most aggressive responses to the War on Terror, including the torture of detainees, extraordinary rendition, warrantless wiretaps, and the maintenance of a network of secret prisons. He is also studying the movement for marriage equality and the death-penalty abolition movement, as well as conservative efforts to oppose gun control and abortion rights.
Cole is the author of seven books, including the American Book Award winning Enemy Aliens: Double Standards and Constitutional Freedoms in the War on Terrorism and Less Safe, Less Free: The Failure of Preemption in the War on Terrorism, with Jules Lobel (New Press, 2007), which was awarded the Palmer Civil Liberties Prize.