The Week That Was

The Week that Was: All of Lawfare in One Post

By Benjamin Bissell
Saturday, November 15, 2014, 9:55 AM

This week at Lawfare,  a debate over President Obama’s stated support for a new AUMF to deal with ISIS dominated our content. Bobby, Jack, Matt and Ben formulated a draft AUMF to get the discussion going.

Jack followed that up with a post on why a substantively neutral but procedurally constraining AUMF makes sense.

Ben explained why three of the six AUMF principles that Just Security put out are flawed. Steve Vladeck later responded to him, asserting that Ben agrees with Just Security’s AUMF principles on “just about everything that matters.” Ben then responded to his post, arguing that if there is agreement, it is because Steve is “moving the goalposts.”

John Bellinger, meanwhile, criticized both the Lawfare and Just Security AUMF proposals and wrote that the lame-duck Congress should not sunset the 2001 AUMF. Jack proffered two quick reactions to this take.

Wells argued that a significant, if still-undiscussed, part of the ISIS AUMF debate should focus on the language of the next AUMF’s preamble.

Ben outlined why the AUMF debate even matters.

Jack explored the legal consequences of the reported cooperation between ISIS and al Qaeda in Syria and what implications such a collaboration would hold for AUMF reform. He also shared a CRS analysis of the seven proposals for a new AUMF currently circulating in Congress.

Additionally, Jack noted an event at the Wilson Center on an ISIS AUMF and related issues featuring himself, Senator Tim Kaine and former Representative Jane Harman. Later, Wells shared a transcript of Senator Kaine’s remarks at the event.

And just this morning, Jack wrote a piece with Steve and Ryan Goodman highlighting common ground among the two proposals.

Alex Ely linked to the recent OHCHR report that uses first-hand accounts to describe ISIS's "rule of terror" in Syria.

Relatedly, Lawfare debuted a new feature this week: “Throwback Thursday.” Check out the first edition of the Lawfare #tbt, which focuses on the lingering saliency of the Sykes-Picot Agreement for the modern Middle East.

Wells noted that the DC Circuit temporarily stayed the US’s appeal in the Al Nashiri case, pending consideration of a petition for a writ of mandamus. He also shared Charlie Savage’s scoop in the Times concerning the Obama administration’s decision this week to recognize that the Convention on Torture restricts how the US can treat prisoners in certain places abroad. John expanded on the significance of the decision, which contravenes the Bush administration’s theory on the subject.

Cody highlighted Judge Gladys Kessler's decision this week to deny Guantanamo detainee Abu Wa’el Dhiab’s bid for a preliminary injunction against certain force-feeding procedures.

Paul observed that a judge rejected a request by terror victims to transfer to their control the .ir, .kp and .sy domains from administrators in Iran, North Korea and Syria, respectively.

Stewart Baker brought us the 42nd edition of the Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast, which featured an interview with Orin Kerr.

Ben responded to a recent Pew study and asserted that it says exactly what you would expect on privacy, surveillance and other matters.

Jane noted that the appellees in Klayman v. Obama filed a supplemental brief and summarized its contents.

Paul was invited to speak at the November 12th open meeting of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board on “Defining Privacy.” He provided the text of his remarks to the body, entitled, “Privacy as a Utilitarian Value.” Wells also linked to the hearing.

Tara noted that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released the latest declassified Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Primary Order pertaining to telephony metadata.

Orin Kerr shared the final version of his article, A Rule of Lenity for National Security Surveillance Law, which was posted online at the Virginia Law Review website.

For the 99th iteration of the Lawfare Podcast, we ran a speech by Jack onPresident Obama’s war powers legacy.

In this week’s Foreign Policy Essay, Elizabeth Economy, the C.V. Starr senior fellow and director for Asia studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, argued that Xi Jinping’s attempts to transform China are fracturing the country and will limit Beijing’s influence in the near future.

Apropos of China, Jack argued that the much-vaunted climate “deal” between the US and China does “less than has been hyped.”

Matt and Ken responded to the recent Times article on autonomous weapons and asserted that “with proper international and national-level processes,” emerging autonomous systems can be regulated within the existing LOAC framework.

Peter Baker reviewed Lawrence Wright’s new book, “Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David.”

Ben offered the readership a friendly reminder about the importance of contributing to Lawfare. Here's another one:

Finally, on behalf of all of us at Lawfare, Wells extended to veterans and their families a note of profound gratitude for their sacrifices.

And that was the week that was.