The Week That Was

The Week that Was: All of Lawfare in One Post

By Matt Gluck, Tia Sewell
Saturday, August 1, 2020, 3:24 PM

This week, the House Judiciary Committee finally managed to hold a hearing with a witness who has long eluded it: Attorney General William Barr. Elliot Setzer posted a livestream of the hearing. Elena Kagan shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast on the substance of the Barr testimony, minus the theatrics:

Jen Patja Howell also shared a discussion on Rational Security covering Barr’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee and negotiations about the removal of federal officers from Portland. The group also previewed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:

Setzer also posted a livestream of the Pompeo hearing, and Kagan shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast summarizing the hearing and Pompeo’s testimony, without the bull:

Nathaniel Pesily, Charles Stewart III and Benjamin Wittes announced a new series on election integrity in partnership with the Stanford-MIT Healthy Elections project. In the first installment of the series, Sophia Danielpour, Joven Hundal, Zahavah Levine, Mike Norton and Rebecca Smalbach analyzed obstacles facing Arizona in the 2020 general elections amid the pandemic.

Lawfare writers continued to consider the impact of the July 16 Schrems II decision. Henry Farrell and Abraham Newman argued that Schrems II provides a valuable opportunity for the U.S. to reconsider its approach to surveillance for national security and provide reciprocal privacy rights to the citizens of other democracies. Hayley Evans analyzed the impacts of Schrems II on the U.K.’s future data protection landscape.

Stewart Baker shared an episode of the Cyberlaw Podcast featuring conversation on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the fallout of Schrems II and a new lawsuit against Apple, among other things:

Big tech companies were in the news this week as the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law convened a hearing on the business practices of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. (It was a busy week for Congress—Setzer also published a livestream of a House Armed Services Subcommittee hearing on the recommendations in the Cyberspace Solarium Commission’s March 2020 report.) Zoe Bedell and John Major summarized the latest proposals to potentially limit the broad immunity that Section 230 provides for online platforms. Howell shared a discussion on the Lawfare Podcast with Jillian C. York, the director for International Freedom of Expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation and an internet freedom activist, about Facebook’s oversight board and the problems with content moderation, among other topics:

Howell also shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast featuring an interview with Bobby Chesney, Lawfare co-founder and professor of law at the University of Texas, Vera Mironova, research fellow at Harvard and Leah West, lecturer at Carleton University on what to do with detained Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria:Jon Lewis argued that the federal government needs to reorient its counterterrorism apparatus to confront current challenges posed by domestic terrorism, not just threats from abroad.

Peter A. Dutton analyzed the Vietnamese threat to initiate international legal proceedings against China over competing claims in the South China Sea. And Jordan Schneider shared an episode of ChinaTalk featuring discussion on whether the US should ban TikTok and tech’s unique role in U.S.-China relations, among other things:

Also on foreign policy issues, Todd Carney discussed the United States’s diplomatic interests in negotiations between Serbia and Kosovo. Judd Devermont and Nilanthi Samaranayake argued the U.S. should consider using the Quadrilateral Dialogue, the informal strategic coalition between the U.S., Australia, India and Japan, as a model for addressing the surging COVID-19 crisis in Africa. And Lester Munson shared a conversation on the Fault Lines podcast about the impact of Nord Stream 2 on the division between the U.S. and its European allies, the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act and a recent International Criminal Court decision concerning crimes against humanity, among other topics:

Samantha Fry summarized the current lawsuits against the federal government in response to the recent crackdown on protests in Portland—a crackdown that has caused many analysts to express worry about overreach by the federal government.

And Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast featuring an interview with Anne Applebaum on her new book “Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism”:

And that was the week that was.