Harvard Law School Forum v. George P. Schultz

633 F. Supp. 525 (1986)

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Harvard Law School Forum v. George P. Schultz

United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts
633 F. Supp. 525 (1986)

Facts

The Harvard Law School Forum (the forum) (plaintiffs) wanted to host a debate with Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz and Zuhdi Labib Terzi on the topic of peace in the Middle East. Terzi was the Permanent Observer of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Members of the PLO were excludable aliens under federal immigration law, but federal immigration law permitted the attorney general to grant a waiver to allow an excludable alien into the country on a temporary basis. The United States had entered into a United Nations agreement whereby it agreed not to impede the transit of members of observer missions to and from the United Nations headquarters in New York. It was common for the attorney general to grant such exceptions for PLO observer-mission personnel. United States Secretary of State George P. Schultz (defendant) denied Terzi’s request without providing a reason. The forum filed an action, seeking a preliminary injunction against Schultz’s denial of the request. Schultz argued that the denial of Terzi’s request was grounded in legitimate foreign-policy reasons, namely that the United States refused to recognize or negotiate with the PLO, and that allowing the PLO to debate outside of the United Nations would lend it legitimacy and undermine United States foreign policy.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Skinner, J.)

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