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Tag Archive: Congress

Just Security Event: Surveillance and the Trump Administration

Join Just Security for a fireside chat on U.S. surveillance and a celebration of Jennifer Granick‘s new book, American Spies: Modern Surveillance, Why You Should Care, And What to Do About It. Opening remarks by Senator Ron Wyden, followed by a discussion between Granick and Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times Washington Correspondent Charlie Savage on U.S.…   continue »

Norms Watch: Tracking the Erosion of Democratic Traditions (Feb. 3-10)


Threatening judicial independence and American constitutional principles, Trump attacked a federal court judge this week in an unprecedented move which generated critique from Democrats, Republicans, and even Trump’s own nominee for the Supreme Court.

Trump Attacks Judge on Twitter

After Judge James Robart, a federal judge in Seattle, blocked Trump’s immigration ban nationwide on Friday, Trump launched an attack on Judge Robart the next day, referring to him as a “so-called judge” and declaring his decision to be “ridiculous.” Trump wasn’t finished blasting the judge, and on Sunday stated that Judge Robart would be to blame “if anything bad happens.” In what became a whirlwind weekend, the Justice Department filed a notice on Saturday night that it would formally appeal the order and on Sunday morning, the U.S.  continue »

Norms Watch: Tracking the Erosion of Democratic Traditions (Jan. 13-20)

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Last week, we launched a regular series tracking President-elect Donald Trump’s adherence, or lack thereof, to democratic norms. These norms are not necessarily legally required, but help make up the fabric that holds together broader democratic values, such as accountability and the rule of law.  continue »

The Troubling Application of the Political Question Doctrine to Congressional Force Authorizations

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Nov. 21 dismissed the suit brought by U.S. Army Captain Nathan Michael Smith challenging the legality of the military campaign against ISIS under Operation Inherent Resolve. The opinion by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly rejecting the suit on political question grounds is troubling.…   continue »

Congressional Oversight in the Trump Era: Strategic Choices

Republican congressional leaders face stark strategic choices as Donald Trump assumes control of the White House. A period of acrimonious divided government will be supplanted by unitary Republican control. And the political salience of casting President Barack Obama and Secretary Hillary Clinton as the cause of real and imagined government failures will evaporate as Republicans control both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.…   continue »

Is Throwing a Rock Through a Window “Terrorism”? Some Federal Prosecutors Think So


Image by Tomas Castelazo— Wikimedia

Did you know that throwing a rock through the window of a Whole Foods could be punished as a federal crime of terrorism?  An Assistant United States Attorney admitted as much last year, when defending the little-known Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (commonly known as the AETA) against a constitutional challenge by the Center for Constitutional Rights.…   continue »

The Terminology of War and the Consequences for Executive Power

Just Security has hosted a number of interesting exchanges over the last week concerning the international and political implications of identifying the existence of an armed conflict. Ryan Goodman noted the international legal benefits that might attach to identifying the existence of an “international armed conflict” between the US and Syria, and discussed the political repercussions that nevertheless deter Presidents from describing a conflict as “war.” Ryan and Michael Adams took issue with the received orthodoxy on the threshold for the existence of a non-international armed conflict (or NIAC, meaning a conflict with a non-state armed group such as ISIL) and Adil Haque proposed an extremely low standard constrained only by the organized armed group’s “capacity to sustain military operations.” All are laudably focused on the protective benefits that accrue as a matter of international law to applying the rules and enforcement mechanisms of International Humanitarian Law — often referred to in the U.S.…   continue »