Charles SwiftDirector of the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America
Charles (Charlie) Swift retired from active service in United States Navy on August 31, 2007, as a Lieutenant Commander in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. After retirement, he taught as a visiting professor at Emory University Law School serving as the Acting Director of Emory’s International Humanitarian law clinic during the 2007-2008 academic year.
Prior to retirement, Swift gained national attention, when after being assigned as a defense counsel in the Office of the Chief Defense Counsel in the Department of Defense (DoD) Office of Military Commissions and detailed to represent Salim Ahmed Hamdan, he refused to attempt to persuade his client to plead guilty. Instead, Swift persuaded his client, Salim Hamdan, a Yemeni national, to permit Swift to serve as his “next friend” and file a habeas corpus action on Hamdan’s behalf challenging his detention and trial, an action that ultimately culminated in the landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld.
Charlie Swift is a 1984 graduate of the United State Naval Academy. After graduation, he served as a Surface Warfare Officer from 1984 until 1991. In 1991, Lieutenant Commander Swift left active service to attend law school at Seattle University School of Law where he graduated cum laude in 1994. After law school, Swift returned to active naval service with the Navy’s Judge Advocate Generals Corp. Charles Swift has twenty years of litigation experience, thirteen of those as a defense counsel and has represented more than 150 service members in military justice proceedings including serving as lead military counsel in more than 20 contested courts-martial, one year as a Law Professor at Emory University, five years in private practice.
His dedication to the preservation of the rule of law in the War on Terrorism has been recognized with the Medal of Liberty presented by the American Civil Liberties Union in 2005 and selection as runner-up for “Lawyer of the Year” by the National Law Journal in 2005. In 2006 Lieutenant Commander Swift was named as one of the 100 most influential Lawyers in America.
Currently, Charlie lives in Dallas, Texas, where he is the Director of the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America.