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Category Archives: Constitutional Rights

Why Article III Matters: A Reply to Peter Margulies on al Bahlul

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014 at 10:23 PM

I must confess that I don’t fully understand Peter Margulies’ response to my post from earlier today. My post argued that the bottom-side briefing in the D.C. Circuit in al Bahlul offers a relatively weak (and, in my view, already debunked) explanation for why Congess can allow allow military commissions to try enemy belligerents for wholly domestic offenses without . . .
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Article III and the Bottom-Side Briefing in al Bahlul

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014 at 12:02 PM

Jane already flagged the merits brief filed by the U.S. government on September 17 in al Bahlul v. United States, the major challenge to the power of the Guantánamo military commissions to try non-international war crimes that was remanded by the en banc D.C. Circuit to the original three-judge panel back in July (and in which oral argument is . . .
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The FBI’s Facial Recognition Program

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Thursday, September 18, 2014 at 8:30 AM

Earlier this week, the FBI announced the completion of its “next generation” facial recognition program.  The system, now “fully operational” will house more than 52 million faces, which (assuming no duplication) is roughly 1 in 6 Americans.  The system is said to be only moderately effective — it will typically return 50 possible matches for . . .
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Article III and the al Bahlul Remand: The New, New NIMJ Amicus Brief

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Monday, August 18, 2014 at 12:59 PM

On July 14, the en banc D.C. Circuit ruled in al Bahlul v. United States that “plain error” review applied to Bahlul’s ex post facto challenge to his military commission convictions for conspiracy, material support, and solicitation–and then upheld the first of those charges under such deferential review (while throwing out the latter two). One of the potentially unintended consequences of the Court . . .
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Pre-Abu Khattala: Yunis, That 1987 Shipboard Terrorist Interrogation Case

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Ahmed Abu Khattala is not the first person to be whisked onto a ship in the Middle East by U.S. forces, interrogated aboard, and then dropped in a U.S. court. There are some recent famous cases, of course, but there are also some older ones—one of which, in particular, may have precedential value for the . . .
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SCOTUS: Without a Warrant, Police Generally Cannot Search Digital Information on Arrestees’ Cell Phones

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 11:20 AM

You’ve likely heard the news, made earlier this morning by the opinion in Riley v. California.  

The Bond Case, Statutory Interpretation, and the Executive Branch

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Sunday, June 8, 2014 at 2:58 PM

The Supreme Court had the opportunity in Bond v. United States to tackle constitutional questions about the scope of the Treaty Power and the Necessary & Proper Clause, but the six-justice majority declined that invitation. So, in the end, Bond is a statutory interpretation case. Although lacking the drama of a major constitutional ruling, statutory . . .
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Chief Justice Roberts – [Not yet] The Most important Author of Foreign Relations Opinions in the History of the Supreme Court?

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Monday, May 12, 2014 at 10:47 AM

It seems likely that Chief Justice Roberts will author the much-anticipated opinion in Bond v. United States. This comes as no surprise. The Chief Justice has assigned much opinion-writing in close and/or important foreign relations cases to himself, perhaps consistent with how Chief Justices generally use their assignment power.   In foreign relations cases, this trend . . .
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Oral Argument Summary: Ralls Corporation v. CFIUS

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Thursday, May 8, 2014 at 12:00 PM

The courtroom was nearly full Monday for the DC Circuit Court of Appeals oral arguments in Ralls Corporation vs Committee on Foreign Investments. Ralls is a fascinating case that tests Presidential power at its apex—in actions related to national security and specifically authorized by Congress—against the due process claims and the property interests of foreign . . .
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New Draft Article, “The Fourth Amendment and the Global Internet”

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Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 12:32 PM

I have a new forthcoming article that may be of interest to readers: The Fourth Amendment and the Global Internet, forthcoming in the Stanford Law Review. Here’s the abstract: This article considers how Fourth Amendment law should adapt to the increasingly worldwide nature of Internet surveillance. It focuses on two types of problems not yet . . .
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Yale Symposium: Unpacking NSA’s Global Problem

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014 at 3:30 PM

On Sunday, the Yale Information Society Project held an excellent symposium on the international policy implications of “Big Data.” I took part in the event (see livestream here), which touched on many topics of interest, including (unsurprisingly enough) the adverse reaction to the Snowden revelations.  One symposium participant, UC Davis’s Anupam Chander, explained that in . . .
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A Summary of Friday’s Decision in al-Aulaqi v. Panetta

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Monday, April 7, 2014 at 1:19 PM

As Ben mentioned on Friday, Judge Rosemary Collyer of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed a Bivens suit brought by the families of Anwar al-Aulaqi, his son Abdulrahman, and Samir Khan—three U.S. citizens killed in U.S. drone strikes in 2011—seeking to hold various federal officials personally liable for their roles in . . .
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Judge Collyer Throws Out Al-Aulaqi Bivens Suit

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Friday, April 4, 2014 at 6:05 PM

Judge Rosemary Collyer of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has thrown out the Bivens suit by the families of Anwar Al-Aulaqi and his son, and Samir Khan, all of whom were U.S. citizens killed in drone drikes in Yemen. Here’s the 41-page opinion. It opens: Because Anwar Al-Aulaqi was a terrorist leader of . . .
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A Further Response to Ryan Goodman on an Alleged Extraterritorial Right to Privacy

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 10:22 AM

Continuing our dialogue about whether the ICCPR places limits on electronic surveillance by a state outside of its own territory, Ryan Goodman has posted a lengthy response to my response to his post about my PCLOB testimony last month.  His arguments deserve a longer response (and I hope some other Lawfare contributors may also respond), . . .
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Intelligence Squared US Debate: “The President Has Constitutional Power To Target And Kill U.S. Citizens Abroad”

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Thursday, March 13, 2014 at 9:50 PM

For the Motion: Alan Dershowitz, Professor of Law, Harvard Law School Michael Lewis, Professor of Law, Ohio Northern University School of Law Against the Motion: Noah Feldman, Professor of Law, Harvard Law School Hina Shamsi, Director of the ACLU National Security Project President Has Constitutional Power to Target Americans from Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates on FORA.tv The results are . . .
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A Dissenting Word on the Harold Koh Memoranda

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Monday, March 10, 2014 at 2:00 PM

I want to take issue with Peter Margulies’s laudatory remarks this weekend about the Harold Koh memos on extraterritorial application of the ICCPR and the CAT—you know, those memos that mysteriously showed up in the New York Times just as the United States was preparing to present its views on the ICCPR to the UN . . .
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Extraterritoriality and Human Rights: Time for a Change in the U.S. View?

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Saturday, March 8, 2014 at 8:11 AM

As Jack has frequently observed, legitimacy and effectiveness often go hand-in-hand.  The two comprehensive State Department memoranda by former Legal Adviser (and Yale Law School dean) Harold Koh released Friday on extraterritoriality under the ICCPR and Convention Against Torture make this point powerfully and persuasively (see commentary by Marko Milanovic here and Jennifer Daskal here).  . . .
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NYT on the United States’ Position on Human Rights Treaties

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Friday, March 7, 2014 at 9:45 AM

Well worth a read: Charlie Savage’s story, for the New York Times, regarding Obama Administration debate over whether the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Convention Against Torture, impose legal obligations on the United States in places beyond its borders. The piece cites, among other things, two memos written by then-State Department Legal Adviser Harold . . .
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Statutory Authority, Military Installations and Protests: Today’s Supreme Court Ruling in United States v. Apel

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 7:01 PM

Federal law criminalizes the reentry of a “military . . . installation” after having been ordered not to do so by “any officer or person in command.”  18 U.S.C. § 1382.  But does that criminal prohibition apply to areas specifically designated by the military as civilian “protest areas”? Today, in United States v. Apel, the Supreme Court . . .
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Klayman v. Obama: Government Moves for More Time, Appellees Oppose

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Saturday, February 22, 2014 at 4:00 PM

District court proceedings in Klayman v. Obama ended with a bang back in December, with D.C. District Court Judge Richard Leon ruling that bulk metadata collection under Section 215 of the Patriot Act is unconstitutional. And it looks like the expected drama at the appellate court level has already begun. The government has asked for more time on its . . .
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