Professor of Law
Professor of Public Administration,
Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs
Director, Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism
College of Law
Phone: (315) 443-3678
B.A., University of Nebraska M.S., J.D., University of Denver Professor William C. Banks is recognized internationally as an expert in constitutional law, national security law, and counterterrorism. Since 1987, when the Federation of American Scientists asked him to provide a legal perspective on first use of nuclear weapons, Banks has helped set the parameters for the emerging field of national security law. In 2008, Banks was named to the newly created College of Law Board of Advisors Distinguished Professorship at Syracuse University.
Banks co-wrote the leading text in the field. National Security Law was first published in 1990 and is now in its fourth edition. Banks and his co-authors published Counterterrorism Law in 2007 to help define the emerging field of counterterrorism law. Banks is also the author of numerous other books, book chapters and articles including Constitutional Law: Structure and Rights in Our Federal System, Fifth Edition, “The Death of FISA,” “Legal Sanctuaries and Predator Strikes in the War on Terror,” and “Targeted Killing and Assassination: The U.S. Legal Framework.”
In addition to teaching United States law subjects, Professor Banks lectures extensively on these and other national security and constitutional law-related topics and on comparative legal systems throughout the United States and Canada as well as in South and Central America, the Middle East, the Caribbean, Asia, Africa, and Europe. Banks’ current research interests include domestic and international terrorism, emergency powers, war powers, emergency preparedness and response, civil/military relations, and appropriations powers.
A graduate of the University of Nebraska (B.A. 1971) and the University of Denver (J.D. 1974, M.S. Law & Society 1982), Banks joined the faculty of the Syracuse University College of Law in 1978. Since 1998, he also has been a Professor of Public Administration in SU’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. He was named the Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence in 1998, and he became the founding director of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism at Syracuse University in 2003. He also served as Special Counsel to the United States Senate Judiciary Committee in 1994. Banks worked with the committee on the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Stephen G. Breyer. He currently serves as a member of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism’s International Advisory Board and as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of National Security Law and Policy (JNSL&P).