News & Events


Barton and Harris present forum on 2nd Amendment


The ASL Federalist Society had guest speaker Michael Barton lecture on Wednesday, February 13th, Mr. Barton presented a Forum on 2nd Amendment rights in conjunction with ASL Professor Stewart Harris.

Michael James Barton is the current Director of Energy and Natural Resources at ARTIS Research. He has extensive experience in National Security, Homeland Security, counterterrorism, and energy policymaking and is the former Senior Policy Advisor at a publicly traded Silicon Valley energy company. From 2006 to 2009, Mr. Barton served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). In his role there as Deputy Director of the Middle East Policy Office, he crafted, analyzed, and carried out the nation's security policies as directed by the President and the Secretary of Defense. In addition, he also served as the senior OSD policy advisor on Iranian matters. While in OSD, he ensured that cultural, economic, and energy factors were woven into decisions regarding the Middle East and Iran. For his efforts in the national security arena, Mr. Barton was a 2009 recipient of the OSD Exceptional Public Service Medal. Prior to joining the Defense Department, Mr. Barton served at the White House on the Homeland Security Council staff. There he coordinated homeland security-related activities among executive Departments and Agencies and promoted the effective development and implementation of homeland security measures. Mr. Barton's primary focus was on immigration security policies and domestic counterterrorism. Prior to his work at the White House, Mr. Barton served from 2001 to 2003 on the Senate Banking Committee staff where he was responsible for a wide range of legislative matters including international trade, banking, and energy. Mr. Barton holds a M.A. degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College and a B.A. degree in Accounting from the University of Houston. He is a speaker for the American Committees on Foreign Relations and for the Federalist Society. Mr. Barton is also an advisory board member at the Bryce Foundation, which assists in research efforts on behalf of children suffering from cancer, and which supports their families. Professor Stewart Harris graduated from Princeton University in 1983, where he earned an A.B. from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. His studies there focused on U.S. foreign policy, particularly nuclear weapons policy. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1986, where he won the Edwin R. Keedy Cup, the school's highest moot court award.

Professor Harris then spent a number of years practicing law for the federal government and private firms. He notably obtained $500,000 for a newspaper's defamation of a public official in Griffin v. Add, Inc., Case No. 1:99-cv-36 SPM, U.S. District Court, N.D. Fla., 2000. He also served as trial counsel in two reported environmental cases, HCA, Inc. v. Florida Rock Industries, Inc., 19 FALR 1743 (1998) and Hellmuth v. Carolina Solite Corp., 17 FALR 4072 (1996).

Professor Harris began his teaching career at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he taught a course as a third-year law student in 1985-1986. He returned to teaching at the University of Florida's Levin College of Law from 1999 to 2001. Since 2001, Professor Harris has taught at ASL. For the past several years he has also taught Constitutional Law during the summer semester at the University of Tennessee College of Law. His primary scholarly interest is the First Amendment, and his current research focuses on group defamation. Professor Harris has won ASL's Faculty Scholarship Award for "The First Amendment and the End of the World," 68 U. Pitt. L. Rev. 785 (2007). He has also been selected by ASL's first-year or second-year students as Professor of the Year five times.

As part of ASL's commitment to community service, Professor Harris has designed and taught an SAT preparation course at nearby Mountain Mission School, which houses and educates underprivileged children. He has also assisted with a number of other projects at Mountain Mission, including a college-credit course in U.S. government. He also judges Mountain Mission's annual Mock Trial competition assembly.

In March 2011, Professor Harris created a public radio show, "Your Weekly Constitutional," on WETS, the National Public Radio affiliate in Johnson City, Tenn. The show features lawyers, scholars, and activists discussing interesting and controversial issues in constitutional law, such as religious freedom, states' rights, and even secession. The show airs on 89.5 FM each Tuesday evening at 8 p.m. Podcasts are available on the WETS website,, on the ASL website, and via the show's Facebook page.