A pernicious narrative persists today among fans and critics of executive power alike, which goes something like this: the real power in the U.S. government lies not with the elected President, not with his politically appointed cabinet officials, and not with members of Congress. That power rests instead in the hands of an organized network of nefarious, all-powerful, faceless bureaucrats. This stronghold of anonymous control, we are told, is the “Deep State,” the real power center in Washington.
Rebecca Ingber is an Associate Professor of Law at BU Law. She teaches and writes about international law, foreign relations law, national security, war powers, and executive branch decision-making. She previously served for six years in the Legal Adviser's Office at the U.S. Department of State, and held fellowships at Columbia Law School and with the Council on Foreign Relations. She graduated from Yale College and Harvard Law School, and clerked for Judge Robert P. Patterson, Jr., of the Southern District of New York.
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There has been a lot of talk on this blog and elsewhere over just how panicked we should be at the prospect of a Trump presidency, and over whether and how the incoming administration might be reined in.
Last week, U.S. Army Captain Nathan Michael Smith sued the U.S. Government in federal court, seeking a declaration that Obama’s war against ISIS is illegal. Jack Goldsmith and Marty Lederman have put forward competing views over whether this lawsuit is a big deal.
Last week, Nathalie and I wrote about the international law questions U.S. executive officials were likely considering while contemplating the continued detention and ultimate fate of the sole known ISIS detainee, and surely must have contemplated in the lead-up to her capture. Now Shane Harris and Nancy Youssef have an article in the Daily Beast titled “U.S.
Critical attention to the Obama Administration’s handling of the ongoing conflict with al Qaeda and associated forces tends to center on debates over drones and targeted killing, not captures. This may be due at least in part to the fact that, over the course of President Obama’s entire tenure in office, the United States has conducted almost no law-of-war capture and detention operations outside of the Afghan theater.