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Rational Security: The “Sir, This is a Wendy’s” Edition

Scott R. Anderson, Quinta Jurecic, Molly E. Reynolds, Anna Bower
Thursday, February 29, 2024, 12:30 PM
This week, Quinta Jurecic and Scott Anderson were joined by Molly Reynolds and (a prerecorded) Anna Bower to talk through some of the week’s big national security news

Published by The Lawfare Institute
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This week, an Alan-less Quinta and Scott were joined by Lawfare Senior Editor and Congressional Guru Molly Reynolds and (a prerecorded) Lawfare Legal Fellow and Courts Correspondent Anna Bower to talk through the week’s big national security news, including:

  • “The Shutdown Rut.” Congress once again has the government on the verge of a shutdown. And while Speaker of the House Mike Johnson has reportedly committed to avoiding one, demands from within his caucus may make that hard—just as they continue to obstruct a path forward for the national security supplemental that contains essential assistance for Ukraine. Is there a way forward? Or are we shutdown-bound?
  • “Sex, Lies, and Geolocation.” The criminal case against former President Trump and more than a dozen codefendants in Fulton County, Georgia, remains on hold as defense attorneys continue to dig into the details of Fani Willis’s romantic relationship with subordinate Nathan Wade. Over the last week, we’ve seen filings on geolocation data and the examination of Wade’s former attorney. But does any of this add up to a potentially disqualifying conflict of interest?
  • “If This Segment Were a Newspaper, How Much Would It Weigh?” The Supreme Court heard extended oral arguments over the constitutionality of controversial Florida and Texas laws seeking to regulate content moderation on social media platforms this week. But amid some very interesting lines of questioning—including one inquiring the weight of YouTube if it were a newspaper—it wasn’t clear the Court was really ready and interested in delving into the technical details. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? And where might the Court come out?


For object lessons, Quinta answered Justice Alito’s recent inquiry, “If YouTube were a newspaper, how much would it weigh?” Scott sang the praises of Bianco DiNapoli’s fire-roasted tomatoes. And Molly recommended the podcast Short Walk, about one of the stranger state-level political controversies in recent memory.

Scott R. Anderson is a fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution and a Senior Fellow in the National Security Law Program at Columbia Law School. He previously served as an Attorney-Adviser in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State and as the legal advisor for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq.
Quinta Jurecic is a fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution and a senior editor at Lawfare. She previously served as Lawfare's managing editor and as an editorial writer for the Washington Post.
Molly Reynolds is a senior fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. She studies Congress, with an emphasis on how congressional rules and procedure affect domestic policy outcomes.
Anna Bower is Lawfare’s Legal Fellow and Courts Correspondent. Anna holds a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Cambridge and a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School. She joined Lawfare as a recipient of Harvard’s Sumner M. Redstone Fellowship in Public Service. Prior to law school, Anna worked as a judicial assistant for a Superior Court judge in the Northeastern Judicial Circuit of Georgia. She also previously worked as a Fulbright Fellow at Anadolu University in Eskişehir, Turkey. A native of Georgia, Anna is based in Atlanta and Washington, D.C.

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