Presidential First Use of Nuclear Weapons: Is it Legal? Is it Constitutional? Is it Just?


Friday, October 27, 2017, 11:00am


Science Center, Hall C, 1 Oxford Street, Cambridge
Nuclear weapons strategy in the United States is designed around “presidential first use,” an arrangement that enables one man, the president, to kill and maim many millions of people in a single afternoon. What legal or philosophical principle differentiates the moral harm or moral wrong that would be attributed to a terrorist, non-state actor or hacker who delivered a nuclear weapon from a presidential launch of a nuclear weapon? The conference will bring together international and constitutional scholars and statesmen to examine the nature of presidential first use in the United States, as well as parallel arrangements in the other eight nuclear states.

A conference curated by Elaine Scarry and Jonathan King. Cosponsored by the Mahindra Center, Harvard’s Office of the Dean of Arts and Humanities, Mass Peace Action, Mass Peace Action Education Fund, American Friends Service Committee, Council for A Livable World, Future of Life Institute, World beyond War, Union of Concerned Scientists, and Boston Review.

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