Today’s Headlines and Commentary

Anna Salvatore
Thursday, October 22, 2020, 1:49 PM

Lawfare’s daily roundup of national security news and opinion. 

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The Times reported yesterday that the Trump administration cannot find 545 parents forcibly separated from their children at the U.S.-Mexico border. According to court documents filed this week, the parents are “unreachable” despite wide-ranging search campaigns throughout Mexico and Central America. The Trump administration battled for months last year to avoid disclosing these separations on the ground that the children are no longer in federal custody.

The Supreme Court voted 5-3 last night to allow Alabama officials to ban curbside voting for people with disabilities and coronavirus concerns, writes the Washington Post. The three liberal-leaning justices dissented, with Justice Sotomayor writing, “We should not substitute the district court’s reasonable, record-based findings of fact with our own intuitions about the risks of traditional in-person voting during this pandemic or the ability of willing local officials to implement adequate curbside voting procedures.”

The ultra-orthodox community in Israel is defying public-health restrictions, according to the Wall Street Journal. This week, thousands of Israeli children began attending school and adults resumed studying in yeshivas despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s nationwide order to close schools and businesses.

In Lebanon, a political veteran named Saad Hariri was appointed prime minister today a year after resigning from the post. His appointment dismayed many anti-establishment protestors. CNN notes that Hariri, the son of a former prime minister, faces a country reeling from an economic collapse and a devastating explosion in Beirut this past August.

The European Union has imposed sanctions on the head of Russia’s military intelligence for a cyberattack against the German parliament in 2015, reports Deutsche Welle. “A significant amount of data was stolen and the email accounts of several MPs, as well as of Chancellor Angela Merkel, were affected,” the EU wrote in a statement.

Presidential nominee Joe Biden said in a 60 Minutes interview that if elected, he will establish a bipartisan commission of legal scholars to explore Supreme Court reform, writes the New York Times. Because Biden has hesitated to endorse expanding the Court, he implied that other options– such as setting term limits for justices and removing issues from the Court’s jurisdiction –would be seriously considered by the commission. Biden’s announcement comes as Republican representatives voted today to advance Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court, paving the way for a full Senate vote on Monday.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Scott R. Anderson and Benjamin Wittes analyzed the Trump administration’s overdue report on its legal and policy frameworks for using military force.

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of Rational Security entitled the “‘That’s Rudy’ Edition.” Benjamin Wittes, Tamara Cofman Wittes, Shane Harris and Susan Hennessey discuss the latest national security news, including the possibility that Rudy Giuliani was ensnared in a Russian influence operation.

Lester Munson shared an episode of the Fault Lines podcast called “Bipartisanship in Natsec.” Munson sat down with a group of experts to talk about the importance of bipartisanship in national security and foreign policy.

Abby Lemert and Eleanor Runde provided their biweekly round-up of U.S-China technology policy and national security news.

Janine Zacharia and Andrew J. Grotto argued that the U.S. media should prepare for another hack-and-leak operation akin to the 2016 hacking of the Democratic National Convention.

Jack Goldsmith expressed his concerns about the Justice Department’s recent indictments of Russian military officers.

Krithika Iyer, Matthew Simkovits, Adriana Stephan, Tom Westphal and Amanda Zerbe discussed how voter intimidation is defined in six battleground states. ‘

Eli Nachmany explains how the government has taken actions to address vulnerabilities in key rare mineral supply chains.

Jen Patja Howell released an episode of The Lawfare Podcast entitled “Fear and Loathing at the U.S. Agency for Global Media.” Lawfare’s Margaret Taylor spoke with NPR’s David Folkenflik about the politicization of government-run media organizations like Voice of America.

Email the Roundup Team noteworthy law and security-related articles to include, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for additional commentary on these issues. Sign up to receive Lawfare in your inbox. Visit our Events Calendar to learn about upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings on our Job Board.

Anna Salvatore is a rising freshman at Princeton University. She previously served as the editor in chief of High School SCOTUS, a legal blog written by teenagers. She is now a fall intern at Lawfare.

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