Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Ajay Sarma, Christiana Wayne
Thursday, June 17, 2021, 3:38 PM

The House of Representatives voted to repeal the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), reports the Washington Post. Though the AUMF was originally granted to permit military action in Iraq, the 268-to-161 vote to repeal it on Thursday represents a growing bipartisan sentiment that the AUMF had been used to justify conflicts that had not existed when it was first issued. The Biden White House has expressed support for repealing both the 2002 AUMF and the 2001 AUMF passed shortly after 9/11 to combat terrorism, though the former may be easier to revoke because the Iraq War officially ended several years ago. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has indicated that he intends to bring the measure to the Senate floor for a vote this year.

The Supreme Court dismissed a challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) from a group of Republican-led states, writes the Washington Post. The states asserted that Congress’s 2017 removal of the individual mandate that required Americans to buy health insurance or pay a penalty should render the entire act unconstitutional because the individual mandate was posited as the source of the law’s constitutionality by the Supreme Court in 2012. The justices ruled 7-2 that the states seeking to overturn the ACA did not have standing as “there is no possible government action that is causally connected to the plaintiffs’ injury — the costs of purchasing health insurance.” Justice Samuel Alito, joined by Justice Neil Gorsuch, dissented, claiming that the impact of the ACA on states as employers would be more than enough for the plaintiff states to have standing.

The Supreme Court also issued a decision in favor of two corporations accused of links to child slavery in the Ivory Coast, according to the New York Times. The case, Nestle v. Doe, was a lawsuit brought by six Mali citizens against the companies Nestlé USA and Cargill. Writing for the majority, Justice Thomas said the companies’ activities in the United States were not sufficiently related to the alleged abuses to be subject to suit under the Alien Tort Statute. The decision is the latest in a series of rulings setting strict limitations on federal lawsuits based on foreign human rights abuses. Justice Alito wrote a lone dissent.

Hong Kong police arrested five editors and executives of a pro-democracy newspaper on charges of colluding with foreign powers, reports the Associated Press. The arrests are the result of a sweeping national security law aimed at cracking down on the city’s freedoms. Authorities said the newspaper, Apple Daily, had played a “crucial part” in a conspiracy by foreign powers to impose sanctions on China and Hong Kong. A letter to readers by the publication said, “We will continue to persist as Hongkongers and live up to the expectations so that we have no regrets to our readers and the times we are in.”

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jeh Johnson discussed Sen. Gillibrand’s legislation aimed at reshaping how the U.S. military handles instances of sexual assault.

Hilary Matfess examined the widespread sexual violence in Tigray, a northern region of Ethiopia, after the outbreak of war there.

Christiana Wayne announced this week’s Lawfare Live, which featured a conversation between Alexander Vindman, Pritzker Military Fellow at the Lawfare Institute; Fiona Hill, Robert Bosch senior fellow at the Brookings Institution; Toomas Hendrik Ilves, former president of Estonia; Alina Polyakova, president and CEO of the Center for European Policy Analysis; and Benjamin Wittes, Lawfare editor in chief, on President Biden’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which Rep. Seth Moulton and Truman Center fellow Matt Zeller talk about U.S. visas for U.S. partners in Afghanistan as U.S. troops withdraw.

Howell also shared an episode of Rational Security which covers the Biden-Putin meeting in Geneva, the Trump Justice Department leak investigations and more.

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