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So What Does the New Republican Majority Mean for National Security Issues In Congress?

by Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Thursday, November 6, 2014

The result is no surprise: Republicans now control both houses of Congress—or, at least, they will come January. I’ll leave it to others to dissect how we should understand last night’s electoral results in political terms, what it means for President Obama, the 2016 election, or the future of American politics.


End of Forever War Watch, Election Day Edition

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The wise Walter Pincus had a good piece yesterday in the WP that makes two points: (1) the United States’ fight “against the so-called Islamic State has just begun and will last for years,” and (2) “Iraqi boots on the ground are the only ones that can defeat the Islamic State in Iraq.


On Ryan Goodman’s “Interrogation” of the “Parity Principle”

by Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Monday, November 3, 2014

Over at Just SecurityRyan Goodman analyzes UN Special Rapporteur Ben Emmerson’s claim that states owe the same privacy protections to non-nationals abroad as to their own citizens at home in conducting broad surveillance programs. Emmerson had written.


On Journalists’ Claims for Immunity From Legal Accountability

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Monday, November 3, 2014

I think I am unusual among former government officials in arguing that the publication of national security secrets can promote democracy and good government.  Such publications are often costly, sometimes very costly, to national security – more so than is generally realized.


A Friendship Scathed

interview with Peter Berkowitzvia Secure Freedom Radio
Friday, October 31, 2014

Secure Freedom Radio's Frank Gaffney interviews Hoover fellow Peter Berkowitz about Israel and the struggle over the international laws of war.

The Supreme Court

How the Supreme Court Should Resolve Zivotofsky

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Thursday, October 30, 2014

Zivotofsky is an important case because it appears to require the Supreme Court to address the scope of the President’s exclusive foreign relations power vis a vis Congress.  This is a very hard question, rarely addressed by the Court, about which the relevant sources (text, original meaning, historical practice) are, in my view, unclear.

American Flags

Susan Rice Did Not Consult DOD When She Urged Repeal of 2002 AUMF That DOD (Correctly) Thought Was “Still Needed”

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Monday, October 27, 2014

Michael Hirsh has a piece at Politico on the disorganized, uncoordinated crafting and implementation of the administration’s strategy to defeat the Islamic State.  Of particular interest to Lawfare readers is the news that National Security Advisor Susan Rice failed to consult with DOD when she wrote a letter to Congress last summer asking for the repeal of the 2002 AUMF.


President Obama Is Right

by Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Thursday, October 23, 2014

President Obama is right.

He was right when he said, as a presidential candidate in 2007, that “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”


North Korean Ambassador to the UN Talks at CFR

by Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Wednesday, October 22, 2014

In case you need a macabre laugh. Transcript is available here if you can’t stand watching Jang Il Hun compare human rights in his country favorably to those in South Korea.

US-Iran Relations

Some Implications of President Obama’s Plans to Sidestep Congress on Iranian Sanctions

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Tuesday, October 21, 2014

David Sanger recently reported that the Executive branch thinks it can suspend “the vast majority” of congressional sanctions unilaterally if it reaches a deal with Iran to forestall that nation’s nuclear weapons program. 


The Briefing

The Briefing provides perspectives on national security under the auspices of the rule of law and US constitutional law.

Lawfare Blog

The National Security and Law Task Force examines the rule of law, the laws of war, and American constitutional law with a view to making proposals that strike an optimal balance between individual freedom and the vigorous defense of the nation against terrorists both abroad and at home.

The task force’s focus is the rule of law and its role in Western civilization, as well as the roles of international law and organizations, the laws of war, and U.S. criminal law. Those goals will be accomplished by systematically studying the constellation of issues—social, economic, and political—on which striking a balance depends.

Peter Berkowitz serves as chair of the National Security and Law Task Force.