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Executive & Military

What next for Raqqa?

The military battle for Raqqa city appears to be over. The Syria Democratic Forces (SDF), with support from the US-led coalition, seized the Raqqa National Hospital, one of the last bastions of the Islamic State (ISIS) in the city earlier today.…   continue »

Responsibility and the Encryption Debate: A Response to DAG Rosenstein

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Last week, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein gave a speech about encryption at the U.S. Naval Academy, solidifying the Trump administration’s anti-encryption stance. During his campaign, the president advocated a boycott of Apple products when the company took the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to court after the bureau tried to force Apple to hack into the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone.…   continue »

With Blinders On?: How International Law Casebooks Teach Students in the United States

Is International Law International? by Anthea Roberts

The United States disagrees with many countries, including key allies, on important questions of international law, including the geographical scope of armed conflict, the extraterritorial application of human rights, and the existence and scope of a right to preemptive self-defense. Underlying these particular disagreements is a broader divide between US and non-US approaches to international law.…   continue »

What Does the Presidential Records Act Have to Say About Private Email Use?

Over the last several weeks, there have been a number of news stories outlining the use of private email accounts and devices by members of the Trump administration. Politico reported that the White House had initiated a probe into staff use of private email after it was revealed that President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, as well as a number of other senior White House officials, used private email accounts to conduct government business.…   continue »

Norms Watch: Democracy, the Trump Administration, and Reactions to It (September 29-October 6)

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The New York Times reported on long-standing tension and a lack of chemistry between Trump and Tillerson, and NBC reported that Vice President Mike Pence’s intervention was required to keep Tillerson from resigning this past summer.  continue »

Three Quick Observations on the U.S. Citizen ISIL Detainee


1. Like Bobby Chesney, I fully expected that “John Doe”–the U.S. citizen who the military currently is detaining in Iraq–would be “en route to the U.S. to face civilian prosecution . . . within a week or so.”  Turns out that’s probably not in the cards:  As Eric Schmitt and Charlie Savage report today, although the government apparently has sufficient evidence to conclude that Doe is part of ISIL forces, it does not yet have sufficient admissible evidence to prove that fact in an Article III trial (which is presumably what they’d need to show to secure a material-support conviction). …   continue »