Leonard M. Cutler

Professor of Political Science

Phone: (518) 783‑2350
Email: CUTLER@siena.edu

Leonard M. Cutler


Ph.D. New School for Social Research
M.A. New School for Social Research
B.A. City College of New York


As an undergraduate I majored in Political Science with a pre-law concentration,and in graduate school I studied Public Law and I received my Phd. from the New School University.I have been teaching Constitutional and Criminal Law,as well as International Security Law as part of our Pre-law Certificate program at Siena College and these areas directly relate to my research and scholarship interests.Since 9/11/2001,I have devoted considerable time to investigating human rights issues as they relate to American national security interests,and I have provided testimony to the United states Congress and the Obama Administration on war powers,NSA surveillance,and presidential power.

I currently Chair the Political Science Department,direct the Center for the Study of Government and Politics,and serve on the Advisory Board of Albany Law School.

What I love about Siena:

First,last,and always it is about the students.Teaching at Siena gives me the opportunity to get my juices going to interact and engage with my students both inside and outside the classroom.It is refreshing for me to place students in the field in Internship experiences and to see them flourish whether it be working with a Senator,member of the Assembly,a governmental agency,a local Judge or Attorney,or for that matter,a not-for -profit advocacy organization.Additionally,our unique,one of a kind program, Summer Legal Fellows affords our students eight weeks of living and breathing the law under the direct supervision of law professors, working with second and third year law students on legal policy research,as well as actual pending legal cases in a court setting.This is experiential learning at its best and I love being afforded the benefit of working with these students and directly benefiting from their out of classroom research and scholarship.

My Favorite courses to teach are:

As is clear my favorite classes are the case law courses that I teach every semester.These include,Constitutional Law,Criminal Law,Civil Liberties,and 4th,5th,6th Amendments because I teach in the Socratic fashion.That means that the students and I are interactively engaging and dialoging with one another for the entire class,back and forth,on issues,problems and perspectives related to the legal issues that we are examining.I do not,and will not,lecture to my students.That is not the way to teach the law.The subject matter in every one of these classes is part of what we face as members of our society on a regular basis,and that is why I enjoy teaching them as much as I do.They are timely,and never static.

Professional Experience:

Office of Legal Services Division of Criminal Justice Services (NYS) 1995 - 2006
Adjunct Professor of Public Law Nelson Rockefeller Graduate School of Public Affairs 1975 - 1990
Director, Intergovernmental Affairs New York State Senate 1973 - 1994
Professor Siena College 1970 - Now

Why I chose Siena:

It is just a" few" years ago that I made my decision to join the Siena community,and at the time it provided me with the challenge and exciting opportunity to develop a Major in Political Science separate and apart from the History department.Moving to the Albany area,which is the state’s Capitol,provided the prospect of Capitalizing on the Capitol which we have been doing ever since through our Internship placements and professional job development that has directly resulted from these learning experiences.We have since developed a Washington Semester program,in our nation’s Capitol, with American University,as well as through our International Studies Minor,links to study abroad at universities situated in other nation’s Capitols.

Upon reflection,this decision in my life,was probably one of the most rewarding in my career as is demonstrated when I read fond testimonials from our Alums as to the benefit of their educational experience from Siena College.

Office Hours:

MON: 09:15 AM-12:15 PM
WED: 09:15 AM-12:15 PM
FRI: 09:15 AM-12:15 PM

My current research:

My research interests were clearly impacted by the horribly destructive terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 9/11/2001.I have since authored several books,articles,and made presentations at Conferences on the President’s War Powers,the Use of Electronic Spying,and most recently the Use of Drone Technology in destroying terrorist havens in other countries,as well as the policy of Targeted Killing of terrorists who are found in other nations plotting against the United States.Needless to say,all of these issues have their supporters and opponents and that is what makes the research all the more interesting for me .

My teaching philosophy:

My teaching philosophy is straight forward.My students and I actively engage in Socratic dialogue addressing a vast array of issues that essentially express how we want to live as individuals in our society.We interactively engage with each other in examining what powers government should exercise?What rights and liberties remain with us?After all,basic questions of philosophy and conscience are at stake.I truly believe that to effectively teach Law you must focus on history,economics,sociology,ethics,and philosophy.It is a vital part of all of these components of life and law is a dynamic discipline.

It is my hope that in my teaching of the law that my students are learning from me as I am learning from them.I see teaching as a mutually beneficial process that provides rewards for all who are involved.

Summer Legal Fellows: A Ten Year Retrospective
Pre-Law Advisors National Conference
Bush vs.Obama Detainee Policy Post 9/11: An Assessment
Strategic Studies Quarterly, vol. 4
Human Rights Guarantees, Constitutional Law and the Military Commissions Act of 2006
Peace & Change
Indefinite Detention of Enemy Combatants Post 9/11 and National Security Policy
Journal of Policy History
Military Commissions in Historical Perspective: A Commentary on the Research of Louis B. Fisher
American Historical Review
Enemy Combatants and Guantanamo: The Rule of Law and Law of War Post 9/11
Peace & Change
International Terrorism and the Doctrine of 'Inter Arma Silent Leges,'
Journal of Law and International Policy
Abscam: Congressional Independence and the Separation of Powers Doctrine
American Journal of Criminal Justice
Legislative Direction for Balanced Growth in the Northeast
American Institute of Planners Journal
category: Service-University
Siena College, 2012
Recipient of the 2010 Raymond Kennedy Excellence in Scholarship Award.
category: Other
Raymond Kennedy Excellence in Scholarship Award, 2010
Selected as a contributing author to Strategic Studies Quarterly, 2010.
category: Other
Strategic Studies Quarterly, 2010
Selected as a Forum/Column Consultant to Jurist/Legal News and Research. Topics of focus include: Guantanamo, Military Justice, Surveillance, and National Security Policy, 2008.
category: Other
Jurist/Legal News and Research, 2008
Selected Faculty Advisor of the Year, Student Senate Award, 2007.
category: Other
Siena College Student Senate, 2007
Appointed by Chief Judge Judith Kaye of the New York State Court of Appeals as a member of the NYS Judicial Screening Commission, 2007.
category: Other
NYS Judicial Screening Commission, 2007
Nominated Finalist, C. Herman Pritchett Award of the American Political Science Association for best book on Law and the Courts, 2005.
category: Other
American Political Science Association, 2005
Certificate of Merit for Creative Scholarship, American Society of International Law, 2005.
category: Other
American Society of International Law, 2005
Adele Mellen Award for Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship 2005.
category: Other
Adele Mellen Award, 2005
Summer Research Fellowship  Military Commissions 2003.
category: Other
Summer Research Fellowship, 2003
Outstanding Teaching in Political Science Award, American Political Science Association, 2001.
category: Other
American Political Science Association, 2001
Jerome Walton Excellence In Teaching Award Recipient, 2001.
category: Other
Jerome Walton Excellence In Teaching Award, 2001
Harvey Fellowship with Peter Rydell Research Scholarship 1996.
Class of 1997.
category: Other
Harvey Fellowship, 1997
Nelson Rockefeller Institute of Government Public Policy Leadership
Series 1990.
category: Other
Nelson Rockefeller Institute of Government, 1990
Kennedy School of Government Fellow Alfred Taubman Center for State
And Local Government 1988.
category: Other
Kennedy School of Government Fellow, 1988
Recipient of Anderson Award Outstanding Research in Criminal
Justice for Study of Abscam,     American Academy of Criminal
Justice, 1982.
category: Other
Recipient of Anderson Award, 1982
The Presidential Election of 2012
The Obama Presidency: A Preliminary Assessment
SUNY Press
ISBN: 0000
Ten Ways to Lose the War on Terror
Routledge Press, United Kingdom
Developments in National Security Policy Since 9/11: The Separate Role of the President, Congress and the Supreme Court
Edwin Mellen Press
ISBN: 0-7734-4997-3
The Rule of Law and the Law of War: Military Commissions and Enemy Combatants Post 9/11
Edwin Mellen Press
ISBN: 0-7734-6209-0
Summer Legal Fellows: A Ten Year Retrospective
Pre-Law Advisors National Conference, Washington, District of Columbia