Spring classes may be over, but national security legal news hasn’t slowed down one bit. This week, we wrestle with the following:
- The D.C. Circuit ruling in Doe v. Mattis (forbidding the government from transferring him unless and until the government wins on the merits in the underlying habeas case). How did the majority parse the doctrine of transfers, why did the dissent disagree, what will happen next, and–by the way–isn’t it clear at this point that he could be prosecuted in civilian court under 18 U.S.C. 2339B?
- The D.C. Circuit briefing order relating to the al-Nashiri military commission case: The “seven-layer dip” case now has about layers, but the Circuit appears poised to take a substantial bite out of it in one fell swoop. Whether this will result in further difficulties for the prosecution or, instead, pave the way to trial, is not yet clear.
- The D.C. Circuit briefing order in Smith v. Trump, raising a mootness problem with an attempt by a deployed servicemember to challenge the government’s interpretation that the AUMF applies to the Islamic State.
- The D.C. Circuit … nah, just kidding, three D.C. Circuit items is plenty. The next item instead is a telling comparison of two unfolding detention issues that are in the news but not the courts. First, we have an ongoing debate (within the administration and also at the diplomatic level) over what to do with the Islamic State fighters detained by the Syrian Democratic Force in Syria (especially the European citizens among them). The SDF won’t hold these people forever–perhaps not even for long–but no clear plan has yet emerged. Meanwhile, a separate story underscores how little we really know about what happens to captured IS fighters who end up in Iraqi custody, while also noting that the United States has some form of involvement in the resulting interrogations in at least some such cases.
- Quick timeout to recap this week’s new Supreme Court opinions (including notes on severability and on reasonable expectations of privacy).
- The demise of the nuclear agreement with Iran.
We do squeeze in a modest dose of frivolity at the end, mostly NBA-focused. But buckle up for next week–and send us your opinions in advance–as we grapple with a classic question: What are the best (or, if you prefer, worst) one-hit wonder songs?