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Baher Azmy   

Professor Baher Azmy

Professor of Law

  • Degrees:

  • J.D., New York University | M.P.A., Columbia University | B.A., University of Pennsylvania
  • Contact:

  • [email protected]
  • Tel:  973-642-8700
  • SSRN Site link
  • Courses:

  • Civil Litigation Clinic, Constitutional Law

Professor Baher Azmy is on leave and currently serving as the Legal Director at the Center for Constitutional Rights.  While at Seton Hall Law, he directed the Civil Rights and Constitutional Litigation Clinic, and taught Constitutional Law. Professor Azmy's litigation and scholarship focuses on national security and human rights issues emerging from the "war on terror," including those raising issues relating to the federal court jurisdiction, indefinite executive detention, lawfulness of extraordinary rendition and torture. He also litigates cases protecting the rights of immigrants and attempting to increase openness in government. He has authored numerous legal briefs in the Courts of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court on various human rights and international law issues. For his teaching, Seton Hall Law students voted him Professor of the Year in 2007.

In July 2004, he took on the representation of Murat Kurnaz, a German resident of Turkish descent imprisoned in Guantánamo Bay by the U.S. military as a so-called "enemy combatant" until his release in August 2006. Professor Azmy visited Guantánamo numerous times, and had participated extensively in varied briefing that has occurred in the courts, including in the Supreme Court in Boumediene v. Bush, in the consolidated Guantánamo habeas cases. Mr. Kurnaz detailed his ordeal in Five Years of My Life: An Innocent Man In Guantánamo. Professor Azmy has discussed the issues surrounding the Guantanamo cases in a variety of national and international academic, professional and human rights forums, and has testified before Congress. His work on this case and others has been featured in a number of prominent media, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, CBS' 60 Minutes, The Boston Globe, Miami Herald, Village Voice, Mother Jones and New York Magazine.

Some of his other litigation work includes:

  1. Amicus briefs in U.S. Supreme Court in Munaf v. Geren on behalf of human rights and religious organizations arguing proposed transfer of U.S. citizens to risk of torture is illegal under international and U.S. Constitutional Law; in Al-Marri v. Spagone, on the unconstitutionality of the incommunicado military detention and abuse of a lawful permanent resident apprehended in the U.S.; in Kiyemba v. Obama, urging the Court to review lower court decision that limited Guantánamo detainees' rights to challenge their transfer to a risk of torture in other countries; in Saleh v. Titan, on behalf of retired U.S. generals, urging review of decision that granted blanket immunity to military contractors accused of torture and abuse in Abu Ghraib; in Qassim v. Bush, on behalf of 300+ detainees highlighting harsh interrogation methods and conditions of confinement in Guantánamo.

  2. Amicus brief in 2nd Circuit in Arar v. Ashcroft, on behalf of twenty prominent constitutional law scholars arguing that constitutional prohibition on torture is not subject to any national security exception; and in 3rd Circuit in Khouzam v. Atty Gen'rl, on behalf of international human rights scholars challenging government's use of "diplomatic assurances" to avoid judicial review of proposed transfers to countries where torture is likely.

  3. Major lawsuit brought on behalf of nine individuals against thirty-five Immigration and Customs Enforcement Officers and high-level supervisory officials challenging legality of Department Homeland Security's nationwide practice of engaging in warrantless, pre-dawn raids of immigrant households.

  4. Federal court challenge to dismissal premised on asserted national security concerns of Egyptian-American engineer from federal government employment.

  5. Federal court challenge to Newark Police Department's intimidation and false arrest of local newspaper publisher and to Department's pattern of First and Fourth Amendment violations.

  6. Federal class action challenge to adequacy of mental health treatment provided to residents of state civil commitment program.

  7. Freedom of Information Act lawsuits to obtain DHS records regarding raids practices and to obtain DOD's records regarding Guantánamo, resulting in major disclosures of exculpatory information, and separate action to obtain records relating to DHS's "Operation Return to Sender" immigrant raids practices.

  8. Lawsuits against UN officials and other employers seeking civil damages for acts of human trafficking and involuntary servitude.

Prior to joining Seton Hall in 1999, Professor Azmy was in private practice in New York and clerked for then-Chief Judge Dolores K. Sloviter of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia. He is a magna cum laude graduate of NYU School of Law where he was a Root-Tilden-Snow Public Interest Scholar. He received his B.A., magna cum laude, in American History and Economics from the University of Pennsylvania.



A Return to the Writ: Executive Detention, Boumediene, and the New Common Law of Habeas, 95 Iowa L. Rev. 445 (2010)

Rasul v. Bush and the Intra-Territorial Constitution, 2 N.Y.U. Ann. Surv. Am. L. 369 (2007)

Symposium Foreword: Guantanamo: How Should We Respond, 37 Seton Hall. L. Rev. 685 (2007)

Squaring the Predatory Lending Circle: A Case for the States as Laboratories of Experimentation, 57 Florida L. Rev. 295 (2005)

Modeling a Response to Predatory Lending: The New Jersey Home Ownership Security Act of 2002, 35 Rutgers L. J. 645 (2004) (David Reiss)

Unshackling the Thirteenth Amendment: Modern Slavery and a Reconstructed Civil Rights Agenda, 71 Fordham L. Rev. 981 (2002)


The Guantánamo Lawyers: Inside a Prison Outside the Law, NYU Press (2009) (Denbeaux and Hafetz, eds., several essay contributions)

Epilogue: Murat Kurnaz, Five Years of My Life (Palgrave), (2008)