Lawmakers Want Justification for Signature Drone Strikes

By: Friday June 15, 2012 9:11 am

Over two dozen antiwar members of the House have asked the Administration for the legal justification for the Predator drone program, in particular the “signature” strikes which do not target an individual but a general set of suspected terrorist activities abroad. These signature strikes count all adult males operating in the area of the strike [...]

2006 State Department Memo Shows Bush-Era CIA Interrogations Violated Torture Conventions

By: Wednesday April 4, 2012 8:57 am

A recently declassified memo from 2006 shows that Philip Zelikow, then a state department aide on terrorism issues and previously the executive director of the 9/11 commission, dissented from an extreme opinion by the Office of Legal Counsel that CIA interrogations at secret prisons in foreign countries were free from international treaty constraints against torture. [...]

Holder Tries to Explain Targeted Assassination Program

By: Tuesday March 6, 2012 6:21 am

Attorney General Eric Holder helpfully explained when the government can kill you without a trial, in a speech last night at Northwestern University. He didn’t take questions, because he was so crystal clear about it. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. asserted on Monday that it is lawful for the government to kill American citizens [...]

Secret OLC Memo Authorized Killing of Anwar al-Awlaki

By: Monday October 10, 2011 9:35 am

Charlie Savage digs out the process for authorizing the assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki, killed in Yemen late last month. He wasn’t able to obtain the secret memo from the Office of Legal Counsel authorizing the placing of Awlaki on a kill list, but he had some of the memo described to him: The secret document [...]

Libya: The Precedent is the Problem

By: Wednesday June 22, 2011 8:50 am

Needless to say, Yale Law Professor Bruce Ackerman does not agree with his former colleague Harold Koh. It has now been over three months since the first NATO bombs fell on Libya, yet President Obama has failed to request Congressional approval for military action, as required by the War Powers Act of 1973. The legal [...]

House Will Vote on Limiting or Ending Funding in Libya

By: Monday June 20, 2011 6:50 am

This could be a consequential week for the President’s war in Libya. The House of Representatives will vote on limiting or ending funding for the military operation, and given the rising anger on both sides of the aisle about the abuse of war powers it just might pass. Last week, Representative Dennis J. Kucinich, Democrat [...]

Obama Ignored Advice of Top Legal Advisors, OLC in Waging War in Libya

By: Saturday June 18, 2011 7:01 am

We now have an innovation in executive power. During the Bush Administration, mid-level functionaries would be found to write legal justifications for waging war, committing acts of torture, or what have you. Now, during the Obama Administration, the top lawyers are free to give their considered opinion on these issues. But the President will simply [...]

“Dream Team” at OLC Dismantled, as Marty Lederman Leaves Executive Branch

By: Wednesday July 21, 2010 7:20 am

Let me go in the wayback machine to January 20, 2009, and the announcement of Marty Lederman joining the Administration in the Office of Legal Counsel: Lederman, another former Clinton Office of Legal Counsel lawyer, is perhaps the most prominent of several high-profile opponents of the Bush Administration’s executive power claims joining Obama, a mark [...]

Dawn Johnsen Withdraws Her Nomination To Head OLC

By: Friday April 9, 2010 2:24 pm

Multiple sources have reported and Sam Stein confirms that Dawn Johnsen, the Indiana University law professor whose bid to run the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department has been delayed for over a year, has just withdrawn her nomination. The White House confirmed this to Stein. Johnsen has been delayed since early last [...]

Dawn Johnsen Approved By Senate Judiciary Committee Again

By: Thursday March 4, 2010 8:56 am

It took five attempts – the committee seemed to always run out of time, or lose a quorum – but today the Senate finally approved the nomination of Dawn Johnsen to head the Office of Legal Counsel. Johnsen, an Indiana University law professor who was critical of the Bush Administration’s terror policies, was already approved [...]

OPR Report, As Expected, Absolves Bybee And Yoo Of Professional Misconduct

By: Friday February 19, 2010 4:06 pm

With a Friday night news dump, the Justice Department has released the Office of Professional Responsibility report on the conduct of Bush Administration lawyers in crafting terrorism policy. The House Judiciary Committee has put the report up on its website. Marcy Wheeler has a working thread up; she and her commenters are well-equipped to do [...]

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