Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Ajay Sarma, Christiana Wayne
Friday, June 25, 2021, 3:52 PM

The Justice Department sued Georgia over a voting law passed by its Republican-led legislature aimed at restricting votes, reports the New York Times. The lawsuit is the most aggressive enforcement of the Voting Rights Act since a 2013 Supreme Court decision that struck down a provision of the law that had allowed the Justice Department to stop states from passing discriminatory voting laws. Attorney General Merrick Garland said, “This lawsuit is the first of many steps we are taking to ensure that all eligible voters can cast a vote, that all lawful votes are counted and that every voter has access to accurate information.”

A new U.S. intelligence assessment says that the Afghan government could fall to Taliban as soon as six months after U.S. troops withdraw from the country, according to the Washington Post. The assessment says the Taliban is gaining control of several districts across the country and numerous criteria favor the Taliban, meaning the fall of the government in Kabul could come earlier than previously expected. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby maintained that the withdrawal is “on pace” and will be complete by September.

Israel is reconsidering its relaxed coronavirus restrictions after a new outbreak of the Delta variant of the virus, according to the Wall Street Journal. About half of adults infected were fully vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine, prompting lawmakers to reinstitute a nationwide indoor mask mandate. Health officials say about 90 percent of new infections were caused by the Delta variant, a highly transmissible strain of the virus.

Roman Protasevich, the Belarusian dissident who was detained after his flight was forced to land in Minsk by the Belarus government, has been moved to house arrest, reports the BBC. Protasevich faces charges including organizing mass protests and could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison. In the month following his arrest, he has repeatedly confessed his guilt and declared loyalty to Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko on state television, statements that appear to have been made under duress.

Doctors Without Borders announced on Friday that three of its staff were found killed in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, writes the New York Times. The three aid workers, two Ethiopian men and one Spanish woman, were part of an effort to provide assistance in Tigray. The region has been the site of a conflict between Ethiopian forces, backed by Eritrea and ethnic Amhara militias, and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front and has seen violence against civilians and a famine. Doctors Without Borders referred to killings as a “brutal murder,” though it did not identify any culprits.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast’s Arbiters of Truth series in which Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Camille François about a new report released by her team earlier this month on an apparent Russian influence operation aimed at so-called “alt-tech” platforms. 

Ainikki Riikonen and Emily Weinstein analyzed the shortcomings in U.S. research security policy and the Department of Justice’s China Initiative. 

Ajay Sarma shared an opinion from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, in which several claims brought against federal and local law enforcement for the June 2020 clearing of Lafayette Square were dismissed. 

Raul “Pete” Pedrozo argued that Russian restrictions on innocent passage in the Black Sea are illegal. 

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