The President’s speech was a dog’s breakfast: some good parts, some bad parts, and some ugly parts.
The Good. The most significant part of the speech was the President’s description of clearer standards for use of force against terrorists, including … Read more »
In his speech this afternoon, the President is expected to announce a renewed effort to close Guantanamo. This will require hard work, both with Congress and with other countries. When the President originally announced his intent to shutter Guantanamo, I … Read more »
In advance of the President’s speech tomorrow, the Attorney General has just sent this letter to Senator Leahy, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, describing the Administration’s legal basis for killing Anwar al-Aulaqi and targeting other U.S. citizens outside the … Read more »
Better late than never. I have been meaning to report for some time Secretary Kerry’s announcement earlier this month — via an op-ed in the Huffington Post – that the State Department is now offering a $5 million reward for … Read more »
Peter Bergen of the New America Foundation, which is the leading compiler of information about US drone strikes, made this interesting comment in his testimony yesterday before the Senate Judiciary Committee:
The drone program has increasingly evolved into a counterinsurgency
… Read more »
A few Lawfare readers have wondered why, given the past attention we have paid on this blog to the Alien Tort Statute, none of us have had anything to say about last week’s landmark decision in Kiobel. The blogosphere … Read more »
This evening, President Obama nominated Avril Haines to be the next Legal Adviser of the State Department.
Avril currently serves Deputy Counsel to the President and Legal Adviser to the National Security Council.
Avril served as Assistant Legal Adviser for … Read more »
What do the Governments of Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka and former Attorneys General William Barr, Ed Meese, and Dick Thornburgh have in common?
Answer: They all believe that the Supreme Court should grant the petition for certiorari of former … Read more »
Last Thursday and Friday, the Senate and House respectively passed legislation providing that Sections 8 and 11 of the STOCK Act, which would have required publication on the Internet of the financial disclosure forms of senior military officers, senior executive … Read more »
This is old news by now, but Judge Pierre Leval of the Second Circuit has a thoughtful article in the March/April issue of Foreign Affairs (behind a paywall, unfortunately) entitled “The Long Arm of International Law: Giving Victims of … Read more »
Today, a National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) task force released a report mandated by Congress on the risks posed by Section 11 of the STOCK Act, which would require Internet publication of the financial disclosure forms of 28,000 senior … Read more »
Although most Supreme Court watchers are focused on the two gay marriage cases to be argued before the Court on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week (NB: I signed the brief submitted by former Republican officials supporting same-sex marriage in … Read more »
When I testified last month (together with Ben, Bobby, and Steve) before the House Judiciary Committee on the legality of targeted killings, I started and ended my remarks with a plea for more congressional bipartisanship on international and national security … Read more »
In the latest twist in the long-running ATS and TVPA suit against him, former Somali Defense Minister Mohamed Ali Samantar filed on Monday for certiorari after the Fourth Circuit’s surprising decision last October denying him immunity on the basis that … Read more »
The historic resignation of Pope Benedict XVI last week causes me to recall the involvement of the Office of the Legal Adviser in a lawsuit against the Pope.
Pope Benedict XVI was sued in the Southern District of Texas for … Read more »
Here’s an update on the status of Section 11 of the STOCK Act, the law enacted last year that would have required 28,000 senior executive officials (and senior military officers) to post their financial disclosure forms on the websites of … Read more »
Further to Jack’s post yesterday on the politics of drones versus enhanced interrogation, and my post earlier in the week about Peter Baker’s article about the mounting criticism of the Obama Administration’s counter-terror policies, comes this article by Sara Sorcher … Read more »
The distraction of the NDAA and the drone controversy led me to miss two other important lawfare developments in December: the Obama Administration asserted immunity for foreign government official defendants in two Alien Tort Statute lawsuits.
Of the two assertions … Read more »
Senator Lindsey Graham threatened yesterday to block confirmation of Chuck Hagel and John Brennan unless President Obama provides more information about his knowledge of the Benghazi attacks.
I have great respect for Senator Graham, a staunch conservative and strong military … Read more »
Peter Baker, who is finishing a book on the Bush Presidency, has a long front-page article in the New York Times today entitled “Obama’s Turn in Bush’s Bind” discussing how the mounting domestic and international criticism of the … Read more »
All of us have been so fixated on the DoJ White Paper and the drone controversy at home that we overlooked an important and eponymous development for this blog: lawfare in the Hague.
On January 30, a court in the … Read more »
The New York Times has this long article about the Noor Khan lawsuit in Britain, in which the son of a man killed in a drone strike in Pakistan has sued the British Foreign Secretary for information about British intellligence … Read more »
I have an op-ed in today’s Washington Post entitled (in the print edition) “Aiding Syria: Easier said than done” in which I describe some of the international legal obstacles to intervening in Syria. Here are a couple of excerpts:
… Read more »
On Friday, a British court rejected a closely watched civil suit by the son of man killed in a 2011 drone strike in Pakistan that requests a judicial declaration that British intelligence officials may be liable for assisting acts of … Read more »
I have an op-ed in today’s New York Times entitled “Obama’s Weakness on Treaties” arguing that the Obama Administration needs to work harder to get Senate approval of treaties in its second term. Here are a few excerpts:… Read more »
Belatedly, I want to note the completion — on October 18/19 — of the “Copenhagen Process on the Handling of Detainees in International Military Operations” and the release of “The Copenhagen Process Principles and Guidelines.” The Copenhagen Process … Read more »
Last Friday, a Fourth Circuit panel issued a surprising decision in Yousuf v. Samantar, in which it concluded that “officials from other countries are not entitled to foreign official immunity for jus cogens violations, even if the acts were … Read more »
A year ago, I wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post entitled “Will Drone Strikes Become Obama’s Guantanamo?” in which I argued that unless the Obama Administration did a better job explaining the legal and policy basis for … Read more »
I was out of the country last week and missed the opportunity to weigh in promptly on the Hamdan decision. In reading the reactions, I have noted that many human rights and civil liberties groups have insisted that the decision … Read more »
The Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum case was re-argued in the Supreme Court Monday morning — the first argument on the first day of the new term. The transcript is here. Readers will recall that Kiobel was first argued … Read more »
For those following Section 11 of the STOCK Act, this afternoon President Obama signed S. 3625, which delays until December 8 the dangerous and short-sighted requirement in Section 11 of the STOCK Act that the financial disclosure forms of … Read more »
My law partner (and former CIA General Counsel) Jeff Smith and I have an op-ed in today’s Washington Post (entitled “Is It Legal to Hit Iran?” in the print edition) discussing the U.S. and international law applicable to a possible … Read more »
On September 7, the Justice Department filed a Suggestion of Immunity on behalf of former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo in a suit against Zedillo under the Alien Tort Statute and Torture Victim Protection Act by families of Mexican civilians killed … Read more »
This afternoon, Judge Alexander Williams of the District Court in Maryland issued a preliminary injunction against implementation of Section 11 of the STOCK Act, which would require publication of the financial disclosure forms of 28,000 senior executive officials on the … Read more »
Here’s a challenge: Can either President Obama or any member of Congress explain why it makes good sense to require 28,000 senior executive officials to post their financial disclosure forms (containing extremely detailed information about the checking accounts, savings accounts, … Read more »
On September 4, Judge Naomi Buchwald of the Southern District of New York dismissed an Alien Tort Statute suit against President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka, on the basis of a Suggestion of Immunity filed by the Justice Department, at … Read more »
Last fall, a panel of the Ninth Circuit issued a sweeping decision in the long-running Alien Tort Statute suit against Rio Tinto rejecting Rio Tinto’s defenses on nearly every issue and prompting dissenting judges to accuse the majority of deciding … Read more »
On August 16, a judge in the Southern District of New York dismissed a suit brought against the Emir of Kuwait, Sheik Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, under the Alien Tort Statute and the Torture Victim Protection Act, based on a … Read more »
Lawfare readers will recall that in March the Supreme Court ordered the case of Kiobel v Royal Dutch Petroleum to be re-briefed and reargued to address the additional question of whether the Alien Tort Statute applies to violations of international … Read more »
The Washington Post has an editorial today — entitled “Laughing STOCK” in today’s print editions — criticizing the STOCK Act’s internet publication mandate for executive branch financial disclosure forms.
Here are two key excerpts:
As its name implies, the act
… Read more »
Last week, I posted about the national security and personal safety threats posed by Section 11 of the STOCK Act, which would have required senior executive branch officials to post their SF-278 financial disclosure forms (listing all of the debts, … Read more »
In March, Congress passed the Stop Insider Trading in Congressional Knowledge Act (the STOCK Act), which was intended to prevent members of Congress from trading in securities based on non-public information gained in their official positions. Unfortunately, an amendment added … Read more »
July1 marks the tenth anniversary of the entry into force of the Rome Statute, the treaty that created the International Criminal Court. I have an op-ed in the print edition of Friday’s Washington Post arguing that Congress should review the … Read more »
I will testify tomorrow afternoon before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in support of the Law of the Sea Convention. A copy of my written statement is here. Former Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte will also testify in … Read more »
In a surprising development, the Obama Administration today filed an amicus brief in the Kiobel case in partial support of Shell Oil, arguing that the Alien Tort Statute should not be applied to allow a cause of action that “challenges … Read more »
Raff has noted in recent posts some of the conservative opposition to the U.N. Law of the Sea Convention. But the treaty is supported by many senior Republican officials. Last Thursday all of the living Republican Secretaries of State – … Read more »
Now sooner did I complain about the lack of editorial response to John Brennan’s speech on drones than the Washington Post has published this editorial on drone strikes in Yemen. The editorial goes on to praise Brennan’s speech and give … Read more »
It is surprising to me that neither the Washington Post nor the New York Times nor the Wall Street Journal has yet to run an editorial reacting to John Brennan’s extensive and thoughtful speech on drones last week.
A senior … Read more »
As I have noted previously, the Supreme Court’s March 5 order that the Kiobel case be re-briefed to address the extraterritorial application of the Alien Tort Statute has put the Obama Administration in a difficult position if it wishes … Read more »
Last October, I wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post entitled “Will Drone Strikes Become Obama’s Guantanamo?” in which I said that “the administration needs to work harder to explain and defend its use of drones as lawful … Read more »