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Category Archives: Executive Power

Speaking the Law: The Obama Administration’s Addresses on National Security Law

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Monday, May 4, 2015 at 10:07 PM

For some time now, Lawfare and the Hoover Institution Press have been serializing our book on the Obama Administration’s speeches on legal policy and national security. Now, we are pleased to announce Hoover has released an edition in hard copy, complete with a handy compendium on what we call the canonical national security law speeches of the administration. . . .
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New AP Poll on U.S. Targeted Killing Program

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Friday, May 1, 2015 at 11:16 AM

A new AP-GFK poll released today finds broad swaths of the American public continue to strongly support the U.S. targeted killing program. The poll was conducted in the days immediately following President Barack Obama’s announcement that the United States had mistakenly killed an American and Italian hostage in a drone strike on a suspected al Qaeda compound. . . .
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Why Republicans Skeptical of the Iran Deal Are Trying to Make it Easier for the President to Implement the Iran Deal

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015 at 12:53 PM

The NYT reported yesterday that the Iran Review bill is “now endangered by Republican amendments that would peel away bipartisan support for a measure begrudgingly accepted by the White House this month. “ It identifies three such bill-killing amendments: one “that would require Iran to recognize Israel,” one that “would give any final nuclear deal . . .
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Referred for Prosecution But Never Tried: The (Latest) Guantánamo Math Problem

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Thursday, April 23, 2015 at 11:47 AM

Everyone should read Bobby’s post from last night on the potential approach of an endgame for the 122 detainees still in custody at Guantánamo. As Bobby points out, even if the government (miraculously) is able to transfer the 57 detainees cleared for transfer, that still leaves two categories of detainees in need of a solution: those the government . . .
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Is the GTMO Endgame Approaching?

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015 at 8:21 PM

The Washington Post has the latest here. Key points: 1. Lightning Round for Transfers Anticipating NDAA language leveraging the power of the purse to further constrain the ability of the government to transfer GTMO detainees to third countries, “the Pentagon is racing” to complete the transfer 57 detainees who already have been approved for that . . .
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Another Response to Andrew McCarthy on the Corker Bill Iran Review

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Monday, April 20, 2015 at 3:25 PM

Andrew McCarthy has a thoughtful response to my critique of his weekend column on the Corker Review bill.  I recommend it. We seem to have fewer disagreements than I thought. Rather than a lengthy a point-by-point response, let me just say this: Yes, Obama’s aim is to permanently lift U.S. sanctions.  But that does not . . .
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Andrew McCarthy’s Distortion of the Corker Bill (and the Constitution)

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Saturday, April 18, 2015 at 5:40 PM

Andrew McCarthy, like the New York Times, doesn’t like Senator Corker’s Iran Review bill.  But in contrast to the NYT’s argument that the bill “inappropriately diminishe[s] the president’s power” (a view I criticized here), McCarthy today argues that the bill inappropriately enhances the president’s power.  This represents a pretty large reversal of constitutional positions for . . .
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U.S. Support for the Saudi Air Campaign in Yemen: The Legal Issues

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015 at 3:02 PM

For the past couple of weeks, a Saudi-led coalition has been engaged in a substantial air campaign against Houthi forces in Yemen. The United States is not conducting its own air strikes against the Houthis, but it is providing various forms of material and intelligence support to the coalition, including armaments, air-to-air refueling services, satellite . . .
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What the NYT Editorial Board Gets Wrong About the Sensible, Bipartisan Iran Review Bill

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015 at 11:58 AM

Here is the Bill passed unanimously by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday (and here is my lengthy analysis of the similar earlier version of the Bill).   The NYT Editorial Board doesn’t like the Bill.  But not for the first time, it gets some things wrong, and is misleading in other respects. First, the editorial . . .
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Why the Administration is Perfectly Pleased with the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015 at 8:33 PM

Today, just hours before Senator Corker’s slightly amended “Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act” sailed through committee on a unanimous vote, the Obama administration began walking back its longstanding opposition. White House spokesman Josh Earnest even told reporters “it’s now in the form of a compromise that the president is willing to sign.” There are two . . .
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Polite Sabotage: The Attempt to Gut the Iran Oversight Bill by Amendment

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Monday, April 13, 2015 at 2:34 PM

This morning’s New York Times has an excellent article outlining the debate over Senator Corker’s Iran deal oversight bill—likely heading for mark-up tomorrow. But most interesting to me was the brief section on how White House-aligned Democrats are targeting the bill: Democrats on the committee, in close consultation with the White House, have focused on . . .
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Today’s Remarks by Stephen Preston at ASIL

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Friday, April 10, 2015 at 6:00 PM

Today at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law, General Counsel of the Department of Defense Stephen Preston delivered remarks on “The Legal Framework for the United States’ Use of Force Since 9/11.” You can read his full remarks as prepared below:

How a U.N. Security Council Resolution Transforms a Non-Binding Agreement with Iran Into a Binding Obligation Under International Law (Without Any New Senatorial or Congressional Vote)

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Thursday, March 12, 2015 at 8:37 AM

It is now clear that any deal with Iran will by its terms be a non-binding agreement.  That means the United States will have no international law obligation to comply with the agreement, considered in isolation, and that only diplomatic and political considerations – which might not be trivial – will stand in the way . . .
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Senate Foreign Relations Hearing on ISIS AUMF

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015 at 3:44 PM

Earlier this morning, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee heard testimony from Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey on the president’s proposed Authorization for the Use of Force (AUMF) against ISIS. You can watch the full hearing here.

Non-Legal Agreements: Easier to Make, Easier to Break

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015 at 9:05 AM

If, as Marty and I just argued, the deal with Iran is a non-binding agreement under international law, then, as we stated, “there is little doubt about the President’s constitutional authority to make the deal on his own.”  I think Senator Cotton agrees.  I take that to be the import of his statement this morning . . .
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The Case for the President’s Unilateral Authority to Conclude the Impending Iran Deal is Easy Because it Will (Likely) be a Nonbinding Agreement Under International Law

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015 at 8:38 AM

[Cross-posted at Just Security.] In Marty’s post yesterday about the letter that 47 Senators sent to “the Leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he briefly addressed the question of “whether the President has the constitutional authority to complete the agreement in question without further congressional involvement.”  The answer to that legal question depends, he wrote, “largely on what . . .
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The Iran Letter and the Logan Act

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015 at 10:32 AM

  Please like our Facebook page and follow Lawfare on Twitter: Follow @lawfareblog The second-day story about the letter by 47 Republican Senators to the government of Iran that Jack’s discussed here and here has shifted to whether these Senators have violated the Logan Act–as Peter Spiro suggested in this post over at Opinio Juris. Before folks . . .
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More on the Senate’s Role in the Impending Iran Deal

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015 at 6:58 AM

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has responded here to the letter from the 47 Republican Senators, on which I commented yesterday.  Just as the Senators’ letter purported to school Iran on U.S. constitutional law of foreign relations, Zarif says that the Senators “not only do not understand international law, but are not fully cognizant of the . . .
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The Error in the Senators’ Letter to the Leaders of Iran

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Monday, March 9, 2015 at 5:55 AM

  Please like our Facebook page and follow Lawfare on Twitter: Follow @lawfareblog Josh Rogin reports that a “group of 47 Republican senators has written an open letter to Iran’s leaders warning them that any nuclear deal they sign with President Barack Obama’s administration won’t last after Obama leaves office.”  Here is the letter.  Its premise is . . .
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Consensus on the Way Forward for an ISIL AUMF

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Friday, February 27, 2015 at 11:30 AM

Even casual readers of this blog are likely aware of the longstanding (and thoroughly joined) debate between Ben and me with respect to how Congress ought to update / revisit the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised by both Ben’s prepared testimony before yesterday’s House Armed Services Committee . . .
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