The nature of the job of attorney general has changed - irrevocably. And we should never again have an attorney general, of either party, capable of expressing surprise at the role that national security issues now play in the life of the Justice Department or in the role of its chief.
Broadly speaking, the problems with the Espionage Act are that it is hopelessly broad. And we tend to use the Espionage Act - we think about the Espionage Act as forbidding disclosures of classified information. That's not really what the statute says. What the statute talks about is information related to the national defense.
To get a FISA warrant to spy on a suspected spy, the feds go before a super-secret court located in a sealed room in the Department of Justice. With no defense lawyers present, they need only show probable cause that the target is an 'agent of a foreign power' engaged in intelligence gathering against the United States.
President Obama's decision not to go to Congress for help in establishing reasonable standards for the continued detention of Guantanamo detainees is a failure of leadership in the project of putting American law on a sound basis for a long-term confrontation with terrorism. It is bad for the country, for national security, and for civil liberties.
In the world of President Trump, we really want people who aren't going to lie. We want people who can sit in front of a congressional committee for hours and, however mad they may make us, never give us reason to doubt that they are telling the truth as they see it.
Although environmental groups sometimes raise issues in the confirmation process, environmental protection is not central to the fear-mongering of the liberal interest groups that oppose conservative judges. But the threat to basic environmental protections from conservative jurisprudence is broad-based and severe.
The foundations of modern civil-rights law are exceptionally secure. Conservative judges nibble around the edges sometimes, and people still debate the constitutionality of affirmative-action programs. But almost no one seriously argues about the basic meaning or legitimacy of core civil-rights protections.