The Week That Was

The Week that Was: All of Lawfare in One Post

By Elliot Setzer
Saturday, March 21, 2020, 11:06 AM

As the federal government responded to the novel coronavirus pandemic, Lawfare writers examined what precisely the emergency powers invoked by the Trump administration permit. Charlotte Butash analyzed President Trump’s COVID-19 national emergency announcement. Patrick McDonnell summarized what’s in Trump’s executive order on the Defense Production Act, which provides authority to address medical supply shortfalls.

Jen Patja Howell shared a bonus edition of the Lawfare Podcast, featuring a discussion with Steve Vladeck on presidential emergency powers and the coronavirus:

Brian Kim analyzed the bespoke legal authorities underlying South Korea’s successful response to the coronavirus outbreak. And Karman Lucero analyzed China’s mixed response to the pandemic.

Nathaniel Persily and Charles Stewart III outlined ten recommendations to ensure a healthy and trustworthy 2020 election despite the crisis. Richard Pildes argued that COVID-19 could generate an enormous shift toward voting by mail in the 2020 general election—magnifying the possibility of election meltdown if the apparent “winner” on election night turns out to have lost a week or more later. Amanda Sloat discussed how European leaders are struggling with scheduled local, regional, parliamentary, and presidential elections affected by COVID-19.

Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which Benjamin Wittes discusses the coronavirus with Josh Sharfstein, vice dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health:

She also shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast featuring an interview about global health security and COVID-19 with Rebecca Katz, director of the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University Medical Center:

Robert Loeb, Katie Kopp and Melanie Hallum analyzed how federal courts have adjusted to navigate the coronavirus crisis. And William Ford summarized a House Homeland Security subcommittee hearing on states’ readiness for and response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast featuring an interview with Kate Starbird on how information flows during crisis events:

Lawfare continued to share a series of commentaries on the recently released Cyberspace Solarium Commission report by analysts involved in the Commission, among others. Carrie Cordero and David Thaw analyzed the Cyberspace Solarium Commission’s mandate to fix congressional oversight on cybersecurity. Trey Herr argued that it is better to be realistic about the security opportunities of cloud computing. Justin Sherman wrote that U.S. diplomacy is a necessary part of countering China’s digital authoritarianism. Josephine Wolff argued that it is time for regulators to take cyber insurance seriously. And Elaine Korzak made the case that the United States must articulate an approach to cyber norms that looks past the Open-Ended Working Group and the Group of Governmental Experts.

The Senate punted on the issue of reforming the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act this week. Margaret Taylor argued that this delay was a sign of just how dysfunctional Congress and the executive branch have become. And Benjamin Wittes argued Trump made a fool of his attorney general by tweeting a threat to veto the bipartisan compromise that William Barr had endorsed.

Patja Howell shared the most recent episode of Rational Security, reflecting on the White House response to the coronavirus pandemic and Congress’s delays in voting on FISA reform until the end of May:

Eric Woods described how right-wing extremists are manufacturing their own firearms to evade detection by law enforcement. Eric Halliday and Rachael Hanna analyzed a federal district judge’s enjoining of the Trump administration’s easing of restrictions on 3D gun blueprints.

Ben Berwick, Jamila Benkato and Cameron Kistler argued that President Trump and his lawyers are engaged in an attempt to fatally weaken the American system of checks and balances.

David A. Martin examined the Refugee Act of 1980 on the 40th anniversary of its being signed into law, discussing the guidance it provides for overcoming today’s global refugee and asylum dysfunction.

Nathaniel Sobel examined whether ICE’s use of a Maryland facial recognition database is lawful.

Quinta Jurecic shared a Justice Department motion to dismiss the criminal charge against a company linked to an Internet Research Agency troll farm.

Vishnu Kannan compiled the national security highlights from the eleventh Democratic debate.

And Stewart Baker shared the most recent episode of the Cyberlaw Podcast, featuring an interview with Elsa Kania, adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security:

And that was the week that was.