Sophia Brill

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Sophia Brill is an associate in the litigation department at Morrison & Foerster LLP, in Washington D.C. She was previously an attorney in the National Security Division of the Department of Justice, where she worked on a range of legal policy and appellate matters. She is a graduate of Yale Law School.

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Travel Ban

Was the Supreme Court Given Accurate Information During the Travel Ban Argument?

During last Wednesday’s oral argument at the Supreme Court, Solicitor General Noel Francisco said that the president’s travel ban excludes nationals of countries that fail to provide a “minimum baseline of information” needed to vet people entering the United States and that “the vast majority of the world” meets this “baseline.” Francisco described “reporting terrorism history information,” “reporting criminal history,” and “cooperat[ing] with us on a real-time basis” as part of that minimum

Intelligence Oversight

Can the FISC Clean Up the Nunes Memo's Mess?

At the heart of the now-released “Nunes memo” is an accusation that the FBI and Department of Justice misled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) when they sought orders to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. One quandary (among many) is how the FBI and Justice Department can defend themselves from these allegations without revealing yet more classified information.

Military Commissions

2/11 Hearing #1: Who Hears What, the Chow at Guantanamo, and a Brief Delay

At 9:01, Judge Pohl takes the bench, authority-emanating robes and all.  All parties are present, including the five accused.  Prosecutor Robert Swann notes the continued presence of FBI personnel and an NYPD officer, who might eventually serve as witnesses.  KSM lawyer David Nevin rises, in order to preserve his objection to those persons ever taking the stand.

Our first (and, as we'll soon discover, only) order of business is AE133, and who can hear what, of the defense’s confidential conversations with their clients.

But Nevin says he needs more time to investigate that issue.   The logis

Case Coverage: 9/11 Case

1/28 Hearing #6: Who Hit the Censor Button? And Voluntariness, and a 505(h) Session

The parties return, the defense having debated and then chosen a procedure for litigating AE80, regarding the preservation of evidence of any existing detention facility.  Before we really learn from KSM lawyer David Nevin what the lawyers’ favored option is---it sounds as if we’ll move to a Rule 505(h) session, rather than attempting argument in open court immediately---the audio cuts out, and is replaced by white noise.  Then the video cuts out.  It’s blank screen time.  Smoke if you got ‘em.   CCTV resumes after a few minutes.
Case Coverage: Military Commissions

1/28 Hearing #5: Agreeing v. Acknowledging, and Some Detention Discussion

We’re back from lunch, with all parties present.   A procedural tidbit before beginning: we’re told that classified session will commence this afternoon at 3 p.m., likely in connection with motions relating to the CIA’s RDI program.  The word is that the court _ probably _ won’t return to open proceedings thereafter.
Case Coverage: Military Commissions

1/28 Hearing #4: What You Can't Disclose, and What You Need to Know

The protective order, and J. Connelll III’s now-famous demonstrative slides, return to center stage.  The lawyer’s subject: the protective order's definition of “unauthorized disclosure.” The latter suggests that merely confirming the existence of classified information amounts to an improper disclosure---something that troubles Connell.  The existence of some classified information is itself not always a classified fact, he explains, referring to the Glomar doctrine employed in FOIA cases.