Welcome back to the National Security Law Podcast, where co-hosts Bobby Chesney and Steve Vladeck cross-swords with courtesy and nerdistry while reviewing the latest national security legal news (along with a healthy does of frivolity at the end…and sometimes the middle…and the beginning…)! This will be the last episode until July 17th or 18th, and it covers:
- Doe v. Mattis is back! Well, not in a major way. But we do at least have a reissued D.C. Circuit opinion that confirms what we all knew: The government had been negotiating with Iraq and Saudi Arabia, etc. We discuss whether the long process of allowing this to become public shows a system working well or problematically.
- Back to the Border (Wall)—Judge Haywood Gilliam has now issued a permanent injunction in the Sierra Club lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s attempts to generate new border wall construction funds via the Defense Department’s support-to-counternarcotics account. It’s more or less the same legal analysis as in the preliminary injunction opinion discussed in detail in Ep. 123, but we bring things up to date here.
- SCOTUS calls BS—Chief Justice John Roberts threads the needle in the census citizenship question case, Department of Commerce v. New York, holding on one hand that a citizenship question can be asked on the census, but also that the Department of Commerce in this instance was lying when claiming to want to do so in 2020 solely in order to help DOJ enforce the Voting Rights Act. That pretext ruling sets up an interesting comparison to the earlier Travel Ban litigation, and sets the table for more challenges in the near future with DACA, Border Wall litigation and much more.
- Crypto Wars Redux? News of a National Security Council deputies meeting discussing the “going dark” challenge has people wondering if a push for legislation is on the horizon. We suspect not.
- Phone Metadata and Compliance: Recent news detailing how a telecom provider gave the National Security Agency too much information in response to an otherwise-proper USA Freedom Act request has added fuel to the fire that is burning right underneath the thin thread on which Section 215 renewal is hanging. But was this proof of the need to let that thread snap, or just an example of a compliance framework effectively spotting and fixing errors?
And then there was sportsball. Turns out the Knicks front office isn’t good at what they do, and Golden State’s is really, really good. So say we all…