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Tag Archive: Trump Administration’s Civil Service

Ben Wittes and Quinta Jurecic on the “Oathless Presidency”—Questions raised by deep distrust in Trump

Just Security and the Center on Law and Security at NYU School of Law were delighted to host an event today for our friends from Lawfare, Ben Wittes and Quinta Jurecic, for a discussion of their essay, “What Happens When We Don’t Believe the President’s Oath?” I served as the discussant, and thought to write up some of the questions that I raised.…   continue »

Holding the Federal Government in Contempt of Court: What Powers Do Judges Have Over an Administration?


Within a day of the Trump administration’s January 27 travel order, a U.S. district court ordered Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to permit lawyers access to certain detainees at Dulles Airport.  There have been allegations that CBP failed to comply with the order, prompting the Virginia attorney general to move that CBP show cause why it shouldn’t be held in contempt; the judge has denied that motion without prejudice. …   continue »

Trump and the Immigration Bureaucracy: Should We Expect Civil Servants to Dissent?

President Trump’s Executive Order (EO) barring entry from seven Muslim majority countries and suspending the refugee resettlement program has sparked public outcry, caused upheaval and suffering at the nation’s airports, and prompted fast-moving litigation. It also has shed stark light on some critical questions about the relationship between the President and the bureaucracy.…   continue »

Explainer on Officials in Contempt of Court Orders on #MuslimBan–Tracking All the Cases

In recent days, much of the focus has been on Washington State’s challenge to Trump’s Muslim Ban, which resulted in a nationwide stay upheld by the Ninth Circuit (see here for Marty Lederman’s analysis). DHS and the State Department have stated that they are complying with the judge’s order, even though there remains considerable confusion as to what it actually means for people whose visas were already revoked.  continue »

Full Text of Remarks by Top State Dep’t Official Discharged by Trump’s White House–Tom Countryman’s Powerful Farewell Address

Last week, six top State Department officials were suddenly discharged by the White House—an Undersecretary, an acting Undersecretary, and four Assistant Secretaries—without notice and without even a nominee selected to replace them. Tom Countryman, who served the nation for 35 years and at the time as Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation, was in Amman booked to fly to an international meeting on nuclear arms control when he received the discharge and orders to turn around and fly back home.…   continue »

Dissenting from Within the Trump Administration

After the presidential election, many of those who were already working in government or who were considering joining began to ask questions about the ethics of working for a Trump Administration. One of us argued in a Just Security post that those working in the federal government should stay, even if they oppose the policies articulated by Trump during the campaign, and that students should not automatically write off applying to enter the bureaucracy.  …   continue »

Five (Overlooked) Decision Points for the Trump Administration in National Security

What are the decision points that the President-elect’s transition team and incoming administration will likely face over the horizon in the national security arena? News media and commentators have highlighted issues that now dominate headlines including: relations with Russia, Israeli settlements, the Iran nuclear deal, torture, Syria and ISIL strategy, North Korea’s nuclear program, and freedom of the press.…   continue »