John Bellinger

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John B. Bellinger III is a partner in the international and national security law practices at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP in Washington, DC. He is also Adjunct Senior Fellow in International and National Security Law at the Council on Foreign Relations. He served as The Legal Adviser for the Department of State from 2005–2009, as Senior Associate Counsel to the President and Legal Adviser to the National Security Council at the White House from 2001–2005, and as Counsel for National Security Matters in the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice from 1997–2001.

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International Criminal Court (ICC)

The Trump Administration Throws Down the Gauntlet to the ICC. The Court Should Decline The Challenge.

In his speech to the Federalist Society on Monday, national security adviser John Bolton fired a broadside at the International Criminal Court, which he called “ineffective,” “unaccountable,” “deeply flawed” and “outright dangerous.” He said the ICC unacceptably threatens American sovereignty and U.S. national-security interests. He criticized the ICC prosecutor’s request to start an investigation of U.S.

Unfiled

ICYMI: Former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh Urges Republicans to Defend the Mueller Investigation and the Justice Department

In case you missed it, or missed Benjamin Wittes’s subsequent tweet commending it, former attorney general Dick Thornburgh had an important op-ed in the Washington Post last week—headlined “We Republicans Must All Speak out to Protect the Mueller Investigation”—in which he defends Bob Mueller, his investiga

International Law

The Trump Administration Should Do More to Explain the Legal Basis for the Syrian Airstrikes

In their post earlier today, Jack Goldsmith and Oona Hathaway argue that the Trump administration had no apparent domestic or international legal authority for last night’s air strikes against Syria. I had similarly questioned the legal basis, especially the international law basis, for the U.S. air strikes against Syria in April 2017. I would offer these additional thoughts now:

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Amicus Brief on Behalf of Evan McMullin et al in Hawaii v. Trump: Congress Intended to 'Eliminate All Vestiges of Discrimination'

On April 25, when the Supreme Court hears argument in Hawaii v Trump, the challenge to President Trump’s third executive order imposing a travel ban on nationals from eight countries (“EO-3”), the Court will have received the views not only of the parties but of numerous other interested individuals, organizations, and states who have submitted 73 amicus briefs. Of these, 13 briefs support the Trump Administration and EO-3, while 56 briefs support Hawaii and oppose EO-3.

International Criminal Court (ICC)

The International Criminal Court and the Trump Administration

In a post earlier this week, David Bosco speculated how John Bolton’s appointment as national security adviser might affect the Trump administration’s reaction if the International Criminal Court opens an investigation into possible U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan and other countries.

National Security Strategy

To Strengthen Trump’s National Security Approach, Promote Human Rights

In a series of tweets on New Year’s Eve, President Donald Trump expressed strong support for Iranians protesting against their autocratic regime. He added that the United States would be “watching very closely for human rights violations!” The president’s pronouncements have been valuable in emphasizing the importance of human rights in Iran.

Miscellaneous

‘Once to Every Man and Nation Comes the Moment to Decide’

On this day in 1845, the New England poet and noted abolitionist (and Harvard Law School graduate) James Russell Lowell published a long poem in the Boston Courier entitled “Verses Suggested by the Present Crisis” about the national debate over slavery and the impending war with Mexico after the annexation of the slave-owning Texas by the United States.