Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Judicial Studies (LL.M.)


Duke University School of Law


From the criminal trial of Aaron Burr on charges of treason to modern-day litigation involving the CIA, the state secrets privilege presents a thorny issue for federal judges. Judge Trenga examines the legal issues at the heart of this privilege—separation of powers, non-justiciability, evidentiary privilege, national security interests, and military secrets—and the two primary doctrinal tracks judges invoke. Then, based on interviews with thirty-one federal judges, Judge Trenga offers insights into how judges think about applying the state secrets privilege to sensitive material.


Originally submitted as a theses in fulfillment of the requirements of the Master of Judicial Studies (LL.M.) degree. Then subsequently revised as a law review article in the Harvard National Security Journal..

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Political questions and judicial power, Judicial review, National security, Judicial process, Executive privilege (Government information), Security classification (Government documents)