Last updated on: 4/11/2014 | Author:

David Cole, JD Biography

Professor of Law at Georgetown University
Con to the question "Should the United States Continue Its Use of Drone Strikes Abroad?"

“Imagine that Russian President Vladimir Putin had used remote-controlled drones armed with missiles to kill thousands of ‘enemies’ (and plenty of civilians) throughout Asia and Eastern Europe… How would the [US] State Department treat such a practice in its annual reports on human rights compliance?

Conveniently, the State Department’s country reports leave out the United States. Otherwise, it might have to pass judgment on President Obama’s use of drones to kill thousands of our ‘enemies,’ and lots of civilians, many of them far from any battlefield. But as citizens in whose name the president is exercising this power, we need to pass judgment… The more we learn, the more troubling the practice is…

The root of the problem is that [drones] make it too easy to kill… In his only major presidential speech on national security, President Obama promised that he would fight terror within the confines of our values and the rule of law. What happened to that promise?”

“What’s Wrong with Obama’s Drone Policy,” The Nation, Feb. 13, 2013

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Professor, Georgetown University Law Center, 1994-present
  • Legal affairs correspondent, The Nation, 1998-present
  • Contributor, New York Review of Books
  • Commentator, National Public Radio, All Things Considered
  • Fellow, Open Society Foundations, 2013-2014
  • Recipient, Norman Dorsen Presidential Prize, American Civil Liberties Union, 2013
  • Recipient, Honorary Degree in Psychology, Adler School of Professional Psychology, 2009
  • Co-director, Center for Transnational Legal Studies (London), 2008-2009
  • Recipient, Lifetime Commitment to Justice Award, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, June 2008
  • Visiting scholar, University College London School of Public Policy, Fall 2007
  • Recipient, People’s Law Award, National Lawyers Guild, 2003
  • Visiting professor, New York University Law School, Spring 1996
  • Associate professor, Georgetown University Law Center, 1990-1994
  • Staff attorney, Center for Constitutional Rights, 1985-1990
  • Law Clerk, Judge Arlin M. Adams of the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, 1984-1985
  • Education:
  • JD, Yale Law School, 1984
  • BA, magna cum laude, English, Yale University, 1980
  • Other:
  • Named one of 45 outstanding lawyers under 45 in the public sector, by The American Lawyer, Jan.-Feb. 1997
  • Named Trial Lawyer of the Year Award in 1995 by Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, for work on Paul v. Avril, international human rights action against former President of Haiti General Prosper Avril
  • Has testified before Congress more than 10 times
  • Quoted in:
    Pro & Con Quotes: Should the United States Continue Its Use of Drone Strikes Abroad?