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CICL Distinguished International Speaker Series: Disinformation Under the Trump Administration: The Commission on Unalienable Rights by Professor Robe

Monday, 15 November, 2021

CICL Distinguished International Speaker Series: Disinformation Under the Trump Administration: The Commission on Unalienable Rights by Professor Robert C. Blitt, Toms Foundation Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Tennessee College of Law

Join CICL at 12PM on Monday, November 15, via Zoom for our next CICL Distinguished Speaker Series. Professor Robert C. Blitt is the Toms Foundation Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Tennessee College of Law will present on "Disinformation Under the Trump Administration: The Commission on Unalienable Rights."

Zoom link: https://slu.zoom.us/j/96807480785

Donald J. Trump’s presidency shattered administration norms governing the responsibility to relay accurate, truthful information to the public. Whether it related to trivialities or vital issues of the dayâ€"from misrepresenting his inauguration crowd size to dismissing a deadly insurgency at the U.S. Capitol as “events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is…viciously stripped away”â€"the “Trump Doctrine” unleashed a torrent of damaging misinformation and disinformation at home and abroad. This penchant for falsehood and misrepresentation did not give human rights issues a pass.

This presentation will scrutinize the Trump administration’s decision to establish a Commission on Unalienable Rights (COUR) as representing a high-water mark in efforts to subvert human rights norms through mis- and disinformation. After discussing how the COUR and the political activity it engendered proffered a skewed vision of human rights that emboldened authoritarian and illiberal forces, the presentation will conclude by offering suggestions for moving beyond a perfunctory repudiation of the report, with an eye towards crafting an effective and durable rebuttal to the COUR legacy and restoration of U.S. leadership on the international stage


Professor Robert C. Blitt is the Toms Foundation Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Tennessee College of Law. Professor Blitt’s teaching interests include constitutional law and a variety of upper-level international law-related seminars. His research explores contemporary challenges to human rights norms and mechanisms, ranging from the movement of anti-constitutional ideas across states and within the international system to how international norms apply to and are impacted by nonstate actors. Professor Blitt has lectured and presented his scholarship widely in the United States and abroad, and has published op-eds and been interviewed and quoted in national and international media outlets. He holds an LLM in international law, an MA in International Relations and law degree from University of Toronto, and a BA magna cum laude from McGill University.

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