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War Stories with Frank Rosenblatt: Professor and Faculty Spotlight

In the Fall semester of 2022, a Professor and Faculty Spotlight survey was conducted on the student body of MC Law to determine which professor or faculty member would be in the spotlight as the subject of this article. The winner, by popular declaration, is Professor Franklin Rosenblatt. Honorable mentions, who received substantial nominations include but are not limited to: Dean Deborah Challener, Dean John Anderson, Professor Judith Johnson, and Professor Phillip McIntosh. Congratulations to those who received recognition for your hard work!

From a student’s perspective, Professor Franklin Rosenblatt is the approachable, profound, and kind professor of Constitutional Law, First Amendment, Evidence, Trial Practice, International Law, and International Criminal Law here at MC Law. So many of our professors and faculty members at MC Law have led interesting lives and achieved professional success prior to beginning their career here, but few have a list of accolades and experiences comparable to Professor Rosenblatt. His breadth of knowledge and worldly experiences show how much of an asset Franklin Rosenblatt truly is to MC Law.

Franklin Rosenblatt received his B.A. in Philosophy and Religion from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA. He received his J.D. from University of Virginia School of Law and his LL.M. from the Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School – also known as “The JAG School.” After his Army service, Professor Rosenblatt worked as a judicial clerk for the Honorable Barbara J. Rothstein of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

During his professional career, besides his work through the U.S. military, Professor Rosenblatt has practiced commercial litigation at Butler Snow, LLP, in Ridgeland, MS. He is also the 2021 recipient of the Capital Area Bar Association’s award for pro bono work on behalf of Mississippi inmates who received life sentences for criminal acts committed as juveniles. He has co-authored three books and numerous different book chapters and scholarly articles on topics such as military law, evidence, international criminal law. Professor Rosenblatt has also been invited to speak at several of the world’s flagship institutions such as the Hoover Institution, Yale Law School, the Pentagon, and the Peace Palace in The Hague – what an honor to have the very same speaker as a professor at MC Law.

Perhaps most interesting are the accomplishments and experiences Frank Rosenblatt gathered during his service with the U.S. military. Those students fortunate enough to have taken Professor Rosenblatt’s classes at MC Law may be familiar with his anecdotal War Stories with Rosenblatt – a particular favorite of his International Law class.

Professor Franklin Rosenblatt served in the U.S. Army JAG Corps as a prosecutor. He then was a legal advisor to a combat brigade in Texas and was deployed to Iraq where he worked with local judges in Kirkuk, Iraq to prosecute captured terrorists. He spent two years with Special Forces in East Asia while living in Hawaii, where he helped negotiate the presence of Green Berets abroad. Our own Professor Rosenblatt was with the 82nd Airborne division when they invaded Iraq, was involved with looking for war criminals in Bosnia, and spent two years on the Korean demilitarized zone. The latter experience in Korea is what sparked his interest in International Law.

Perhaps most notably, during the Obama administration, Professor Rosenblatt served as the lead military defense counsel for Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl who was charged with desertion by the United States military following his capture and subsequent captivity by the Taliban-aligned Haqqani network in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This was, by far, the most publicized court-martial in American History. Franklin Rosenblatt and his defense team headed an impressive defense of Sergent Bergdahl’s alleged desertion, bringing light to the circumstances surrounding the events. American news outlets seemed to unanimously paint Bergdahl in a negative light, generating more domestic interest in a military tribunal case than ever before. Professor Rosenblatt continues to represent Sergent Bergdahl in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, where the court-martial is now under review.
Today, Professor Rosenblatt serves many different impressive positions such as Advisory Director for the Chicago – Kent College of Law’s Center for National Security and Human Rights Law, Vice President of the National Institute of Military Justice, the President of the Criminal Law Committee for the International Society for Military Law and the Law of War, and as a Court of Appeals judge for the Mississippi Army National Guard. In the past year he has written several amicus briefs for courts around the country on national security and criminal law issues, including the United States Supreme Court and the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where he presented oral argument in February in a case about war crimes in Uganda.

As a general rule of thumb, people perceive a career in law as dull and grey, lacking a setting of interest besides a court room and behind a computer screen. Professor Rosenblatt is a living example of the places you can go with a law degree – across the country, across the world, even into battle. The student body at MC Law was clearly not misguided when they elected Professor Franklin Rosenblatt as the recipient of The Legal Eye's Professor and Faculty Spotlight. Not only have we recognized one of the most interesting members of our MC Law family, who clearly deserves recognition for his accomplishments, but what a treat we have given ourselves in learning about his life.
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