Congress Courts & Litigation

Rational Security: The “So Much for that Menendez Rest Stop” Edition

Scott R. Anderson, Quinta Jurecic, Alan Z. Rozenshtein, Jen Patja
Thursday, September 28, 2023, 12:00 PM
This week, Alan Rozenshtein, Quinta Jurecic, and Scott Anderson reunited to discuss the week’s big national security news.

Published by The Lawfare Institute
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This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott reunited to discuss the week’s big national security news, including:

  • “Do as I Menendsez, Not as I Menendo.” New Jersey Senator and, until recently, chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee Bob Menendez was indicted alongside his wife last week, on charges that they accepted money from Egyptian businessmen in exchange for information and favors arising from Menendez’s official duties. How serious are these charges? Where will they lead?
  • “…with a Silver Spoon.” D.C. federal district court judge Tanya Chutkan is weighing a gag order on former President Trump, aimed at restraining him from commenting on the proceedings or attacking various officials involved in them. Trump and his attorneys, meanwhile, see the gag order request as an attack on his First Amendment rights. Who is likely to prevail? And what are the broader stakes?
  • “The Forever Chore.” The House foreign affairs committee is set to hold the latest in a long series of hearings on a topic that has been on Congress’s agenda for more than a decade: reforming the 2001 AUMF that provides the legal basis for most global counterterrorism operations. But despite near-universal agreement on the need for change, progress has been limited. Is there reason to think this time will be different?


For object lessons, Alan recommended the Dear Committee Trilogy, which even non-academics will find hilarious. Quinta urged listeners to check out the recent New York court decision concluding that former President Trump and his businesses misrepresented the value of various properties. And Scott log-rolled for his new law review article digging into some of the tricky constitutional issues raised by the prospect of defending Taiwan.

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.
Alan Z. Rozenshtein is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota Law School, a senior editor at Lawfare, and a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Previously, he served as an Attorney Advisor with the Office of Law and Policy in the National Security Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland.
Jen Patja is the editor and producer of The Lawfare Podcast and Rational Security. She currently serves as the Co-Executive Director of Virginia Civics, a nonprofit organization that empowers the next generation of leaders in Virginia by promoting constitutional literacy, critical thinking, and civic engagement. She is the former Deputy Director of the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier and has been a freelance editor for over 20 years.

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