Bessie Jones Day Symposium

Bessie Jones Day Symposium:

Modern Issues Involving the Law of Self-Defense

November 5, 2005


    A group of eminent scholars examined the modern law of self-defense in a symposium sponsored by George Mason University School of Law in Arlington.

    The symposium was entitled “Bessie Jones Day Symposium – Modern Issues Involving the Law of Self-Defense” and took place in classroom 221 of Hazel Hall (the law school building). Presentation of papers began at 8:45 a.m. and end at 5 p.m. The program featured presenters who are recognized scholars from the United States and Great Britain.

Symposium Program

8:45 a.m. Is There A Federal Constitutional Right of Self-Defense?
Presenter: Professor Nicholas J. Johnson
Fordham University School of Law
10:15 a.m. English vs. American Law and Attitudes Toward Self-Defense
Presenter: Professor Peter Squires
University of Brighton, England
11:15 a.m. From a Philosopher’s Perspective, Does the Human Right of Self-Defense Imply a Reason to Possess Arms?
Presenter: Professor Lance Stell
Davidson College and Carolinas Medical Center
1:30 p.m. Is There an International Law Human Right to Self-Defense or is the Right to Self-Defense a Mere Privilege Which Any State is Free to Dispense With? (Debate Papers)

Presenters: Don B. Kates, JD
Criminologist and Lawyer, Battle Ground, WA

and Professor John P. Cerone
New England School of Law

2:15 p.m. Status of Controversial Issues in the American Law of Self-Defense
Presenter: Professor Renée Lerner
George Washington University Law School
3:15 p.m. The Doctrines: a)That Police Have No Duty to Protect Individuals; but b)That Businesses or Landlords Sometimes Do Have Such a Duty – Can They Be Reconciled?
Presenter: Professor Robert Weisberg
Stanford Law School
4:00 p.m. Gender Self-Defense Issues Including Genocide and International Violence Situations
Presenter: Professor Mary Stange
Skidmore College

Additional participants include Dr. Abigail Kohn, author; Professor William Van Alstyne, College of William & Mary Marshall Wythe School of Law;  Dean and Professor of Law Daniel P. Polsby, George Mason University School of Law; Professor Paul Robinson, University of Pennsylvania Law School; Professor Robert F. Turner, University of Virginia School of Law; Professor James B. Jacobs, New York University School of Law; Professor Timothy D. Lytton, Albany Law School; Professor Julie Mair, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.