Lawfare News

The Week That Was: All of Lawfare in One Post

Julien Berman
Friday, June 28, 2024, 6:00 PM
Your weekly summary of everything on the site.

Published by The Lawfare Institute
in Cooperation With

On June 28, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Quinta Jurecic and Roger Parloff for a live discussion of the Supreme Court’s decision in Fischer v. U.S., narrowing the interpretation of an obstruction statute used by the Department of Justice to charge over 300 Jan. 6 defendants. You can watch a recording of the Lawfare Live here.

Katherine Pompilio shared the Supreme Court’s decision in Fischer v. United States, which narrowed the use of 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c), a federal obstruction charge, in its application to hundreds of Jan. 6 defendants, including former President Trump.

From the courtroom in former President Donald Trump’s classified documents case, Bower provided a dispatch covering Judge Aileen Cannon’s hearing on the legality of Special Counsel Jack Smith’s appointment.

On Lawfare Daily, Wittes, Bower, and Lee Kovarsky discussed Judge Aileen Cannon’s hearing regarding Special Counsel Jack Smith’s appointment, appellate issues in Trump’s New York trial, the latest filings in the Fulton County case, and more.

In anticipation of two Supreme Court rulings related to the case against former President Donald Trump for allegedly conspiring to overturn the 2020 election, Norm Eisen and Joshua Kolb suggested that even if the Court rules in a restrictive fashion and delays Trump’s trial until after the 2024 election, a “mini trial” would still be able to occur before the upcoming election. They explained that this mini-trial could involve witness testimony and other evidence that could inform voters about Trump’s alleged misconduct.

On “Lawfare Live: Trump’s Trials and Tribulations,” Wittes was joined by Anna Bower and Parloff to discuss recent developments in the Fulton County case as well as Judge Aileen Cannon’s hearing regarding Special Counsel Jack Smith’s appointment.

On Lawfare Daily, Wittes sat down with Kate Klonick and Matt Perault to discuss the Supreme Court’s decision in Murthy v. Missouri—the “jawboning” case concerning a First Amendment challenge to the government practice of pressuring social media companies to moderate content on their platforms.

Perault—in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Murthy v. Missouri, which did not offer new guidance on determining when government speech qualifies as unconstitutional jawboning—proposed that the next presidential administration issue an executive order on jawboning. Perault offered model language for such an order including guidelines for permitted and prohibited communications between government employees and online platforms, a reporting requirement, and an ethics pledge.

Matt Gluck shared the Supreme Court’s decision in Murthy v. Missouri, a case involving the government “jawboning”—the practice of government officials pressuring social media companies to moderate content on their platforms. In a six-to-three decision, the Court ruled that the plaintiffs lacked standing in the case, because they could not establish any concrete link between their injuries and the defendants’ conduct.

David Scheffer argued that the State of Palestine could be held accountable at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for Hamas’s Oct. 7, 2023, attacks against Israel, given its acceptance of ICJ jurisdiction under the Genocide Convention. He emphasized that if such a case were brought before the ICJ, it would likely compel Palestinian officials to address genocide accusations and clarify their efforts to prevent and punish Hamas's actions.

Akshaya Kumar argued that elements of the ongoing litigation at the International Court of Justice regarding the Israel-Hamas war provide the United States and its allies with “constructive knowledge” of potential international crimes, and she considered implications of this constructive notice for continued arms exports to Israel.

Emily Harding discussed the failure of unit 8200, a branch of the Israeli Intelligence Corps, to adequately warn Israeli officials about Hamas’s planned attacks on Oct. 7, highlighting the systemic issues within the Israeli intelligence apparatus.

On Lawfare Daily, Wittes spoke with Katsiaryna Shmatsina about her trial for allegedly plotting to overthrow the Belarusian government, her experiences with political repression and seeking asylum in the United States, the broader political situation in Belarus, and more.

Tyler McBrien shared a letter and a criminal information indicating that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is expected to plead guilty to one count of violating the Espionage Act.

On Rational Security, Scott Anderson, Jurecic, and Alan Rozenshtein were joined by Frazier to discuss Julian Assange’s guilty plea to an Espionage Act violation, the escalating Houthi attacks on Red Sea shipping and the international response, and Apple’s new AI initiative, Apple Intelligence, which will not be available in Europe due to regulatory issues.

In the latest edition of Lawfare’s Digital Social Contract paper series, Alexander Rigby and Chinmayi Sharma use open banking—a regulatory regime requiring banks to grant third-party service providers access to financial data—to explain the harms of centralized banking platforms and the dominance of large banks. They argued that open banking ultimately benefits dominant banks unless policymakers independently address market concentration concerns.

On Lawfare Daily, Rozenshtein sat down with Rigby and Sharma to discuss their new paper about open banking and data interoperability, published as part of Lawfare's Digital Social Contract series.

On Lawfare Daily, Frazier joined Larry Lessig to discuss an open letter by AI lab employees calling for a Right to Warn about the dangers of artificial intelligence, continuing the ongoing discussion about AI risks and the responsibilities of AI labs and employees.

Frazier noted that Congress, despite the pressing need to regulate AI after the launch of ChatGPT-3.5, remains indecisive. He advocated for a national advisory referendum to provide clear legislative direction and avoid further regulatory paralysis.

On Lawfare Daily, Natalie Orpett sat down with Michael Posner to discuss the implications of the recent verdict against Chiquita Banana, which was found guilty of financing a paramilitary group in Colombia that resulted in the deaths of eight men. They discussed the case’s 17-year-long, multidistrict litigation, whether the verdict will set a new precedent for holding corporations accountable for human rights violations, and more.

In this week’s edition of Lawfare’s Foreign Policy Essay series, Jeremy Shapiro explained why the United States’s smaller, less powerful allies are often reluctant to heed U.S. demands. Shapiro hypothesized that because allies have developed significant influence in U.S. domestic politics, and because the U.S. wants to be perceived as the leader of “the free world,” weaker powers can ignore U.S. requests while still receiving support.  

Jack Crawford and Sarah Tzinieris analyzed the European Union’s aggressive sanctions strategy imposed on China in response to its support for Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine. They argue that the sanctions could increase tensions between the EU and China, potentially affecting global trade and international relations.

In the latest edition of the Seriously Risky Business cybersecurity newsletter, Tom Uren discussed the U.S. government’s decision to evict Kaspersky—a Russian cybersecurity company—from the U.S. market, new information about the 2022 data breach at Australian telecommunications provider Optus, ransomware attacks on U.S. car dealerships, and more.

In the latest installment of Water Wars, Aaron Baum, Nikhita Salgame, and Ania Zolyniak discussed the key takeaways from the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, a collision between Chinese and Philippine ships near Second Thomas Shoal, Quad coordination on disaster relief efforts in Papua New Guinea, and more.

On Chatter, Shane Harris sat down with Katherine Mangu-Ward to discuss the libertarian perspective on war, diplomacy, and nation-state conflicts, highlighting differences between libertarian philosophy and the Libertarian Party.

And to support Lawfare’s coverage of the Trump Trials—a first-of-its-kind project dedicated to providing in-depth coverage of the ongoing criminal proceedings against Trump in Washington, Florida, New York, and Georgia—please consider making a contribution here. Lawfare’s talented correspondents and analysts discuss the latest developments in the cases, explain the complex legal issues they raise, and consider what might come next in a wide range of content, including written analysis, podcasts, live and recorded virtual events, primary source document repositories, and infographics.

And that was the week that was.

Julien Berman is Lawfare's summer 2024 intern. He studies economics at Harvard University and writes op-eds for The Harvard Crimson.