Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Anna Salvatore
Tuesday, October 27, 2020, 2:56 PM

Amy Coney Barrett, formerly a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, was confirmed to the Supreme Court yesterday evening by a 52-48 vote. NBC News reports that all Republican senators voted to confirm her except Maine’s Susan Collins.

The Supreme Court also held yesterday that mail-in ballots in Wisconsin cannot be counted after Election Day, writes the New York Times. In a concurring opinion that alarmed civil rights lawyers, Justice Kavanaugh wrote that mail-in deadlines were devised to “to avoid the chaos … that can ensue if thousands of absentee ballots flow in after election day and potentially flip the results of an election.” Daniel Jacobson, a former White House lawyer, pushed back on Kavanaugh’s characterization of ‘flipping’ results, writing on Twitter that in every election cycle some votes are tabulated after Election Day. Justice Kagan dissented as well, arguing that “what will undermine the ‘integrity’ of [the election] process is not the counting but instead the discarding of timely cast ballots that, because of pandemic conditions, arrive a bit after Election Day.”

According to the Washington Post, U.S. District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled yesterday that the federal government can’t intervene in E. Jean Carroll’s libel lawsuit against the president. In a 59-page ruling, the judge wrote that President Trump was not acting in his professional capacity when he denied that he had raped Carroll in 2019.

Protesters marched through West Philadelphia late last night to protest the police killing of a 27-year old black man, Walter Wallace Jr., who officers say advanced towards them with a knife. Observers heard at least a dozen gunshots during the incident, which was captured on video and then widely shared, the Times writes. Wallace’s parents told the Philadelphia Inquirer that their son was on medication for mental health issues.

A Facebook executive in India resigned today after refusing to apply the company’s hate-speech speech rules to a governing Hindu nationalist politician, writes the Wall Street Journal. Her decision came under scrutiny from Muslim employees, who urged the company to make content moderation decisions fairer and more transparent when applied to high-profile users.

Twitter flagged one of President Trump’s tweets last night as “disputed” and blocked users from liking or retweeting it. According to Politico, the president had tweeted without evidence that there were “problems and discrepancies with mail-in ballots” and demanded final election results on Nov. 3.

To combat the coronavirus, the European Union is using thermal cameras produced by a Chinese company, Hikvision, that has given surveillance equipment to Uighur detention facilities in China’s Xinjiang province. Deutsche Welle writes that President Trump blacklisted the company last October.

The Trump administration informed Congress yesterday of its plans to sell $2.37 billion in Harpoon missile systems to Taiwan, reports the Associated Press. Boeing, the producer of the missiles, says that Harpoons can strike land and ship targets and deliver 500-pound warheads. China responded by imposing sanctions on three American defense contractors for supposedly threatening Chinese sovereignty.

ICYMI: This Weekend on Lawfare

Laura Rosenberger and Lindsay Gorman explained how authoritarians use foreign influence operations.

Claire Wardle argued that the media has focused too much on foreign interference in elections and not enough on domestic threats.

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of The Lawfare Podcast featuring Susan Hennessey’s conversation with Rep. Jim Himes to discuss the U.S.’s intelligence competition with other countries.

Email the Roundup Team noteworthy law and security-related articles to include, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for additional commentary on these issues. Sign up to receive Lawfare in your inbox. Visit our Events Calendar to learn about upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings on our Job Board.