Justice & Safety

“The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times. Liberty and security can be reconciled; and in our system they are reconciled within the framework of the law.”

~  Boumediene v. Bush (2008)

Trump’s Visit to Israel

5/24/17  //  Commentary

President Trump’s visit to Israel comes at a fraught time for his Administration and a pivotal moment for the relationship between the two countries.

Policing is Always Political, So Politicians Should Control It

5/24/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

Recent Harvard Law graduate, and soon to be civil rights lawyer, Shakeer Rahman offers some second thoughts about celebrating federal law enforcement’s independence.

Take Care

The Road to United States v. Trump is Paved with Prosecutorial Discretion

5/21/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

Should former FBI Director Robert Mueller decide to bring criminal charges against President Trump for obstruction of justice, he would be acting well within the law, the norms of the profession, and the reasonable bounds of the discretion with which he has been entrusted.

Andrew Crespo

Harvard Law School

Trump's Mistaken Signing Statement on Marijuana Enforcement

5/16/17  //  Commentary

Trump suggested in a recent signing statement that he could disregard an appropriations restriction on federal marijuana enforcement. But Trump is mistaken.

Zachary Price

U.C. Hastings College of the Law

Updates | The Week of May 8, 2017

5/14/17  //  Daily Update

A new suit seeks documents detailing the Trump Administration’s justifications for military action in Syria. The ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act suit seeking documents related to President Trump’s unsuccessful Yemen raid.

Updates | The Week of May 8, 2017

5/14/17  //  Daily Update

Commentators warn about the effects of President Trump's withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Updates | The Week of May 8, 2017

5/14/17  //  Daily Update

President Trump signed an executive order on cybersecurity. The Department of Homeland Security will ban laptops and other large electronic devices in the cabin on flights from Europe.

Updates | The Week of May 8, 2017

5/14/17  //  Daily Update

President Trump has pushed back against the ban on state medical marijuana interference. However, he might retreat from the federal drug war through major budget cuts to key offices.

Updates | The Week of May 8, 2017

5/14/17  //  Daily Update

Attorney General Jeff Sessions advocated returning to harsh punishments for low-level drug offenders.

Yes, The President Can Constitutionally Fire Comey

5/9/17  //  Quick Reactions

According to breaking news reports, President Trump has fired FBI director James Comey. It's within his power to do that.

Updates | The Week of May 1, 2017

5/7/17  //  Daily Update

Human Rights advocates are concerned about the President's plans to cut international aid funding and growing relationships with despotic regimes.

Take Care

Reinvigorating Civil Rights in the Era of Trump

4/13/17  //  Commentary

Given the nativist overtones of his campaign and his administration’s signature policies — from the Muslim ban to an immigration crackdown that equates being a foreign-born minority with criminality — Trump has exploded the fiction that we live in a post-racial society.

Chiraag Bains

Harvard Law School

Constitutional Hurdles for Concealed Carry Reciprocity

3/16/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

President Trump favors federal legislation requiring states to recognize concealed carry licenses issued by other states. But that policy rests on shaky constitutional foundations.

Joseph Blocher

Duke Law School

Improper Commands from President Trump's Employees?

3/16/17  //  Commentary

Key White House personnel might be violating important limits on their lawful authority.

Nikolas Bowie

Harvard Law School

What President Trump Hasn’t Learned from the Rodney King Riots

5/2/17  //  Commentary

100 days in and 25 years after the unrest in Los Angeles, the Trump Administration is failing communities entitled to fair and just policing.

Chiraag Bains

Harvard Law School

What Happened on United Is Terrible, But What’s Going to Happen Everywhere Is Worse

4/11/17  //  Quick Reactions

The video of the United flight reveals more than just what happened. It also shows why DOJ oversight is so important.

Nikolas Bowie

Harvard Law School

No Peeking? Korematsu and Judicial Credulity

3/22/17  //  Commentary

The Supreme Court's decision in the Japanese Internment Cases offers a chilling reminder of why courts cannot close their eyes to clear evidence of bigotry in executive orders supposedly justified by security concerns.

Ian Samuel

Harvard Law School

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Cruise Missiles More Dangerous Than the "Nuclear Option"

4/10/17  //  Commentary

If Congress does nothing now to further delineate the scope of presidential authority to deploy military force, it will effectively be forfeiting, now and forever, its constitutional authority to check presidential moves short of all-out state-to-state war.

Peter M. Shane

Ohio State, Moritz College of Law

Announcing Our New Podcast: "Versus Trump"

4/20/17  //  Latest Developments

Take Care is pleased to announce the release of "Versus Trump," a new, affiliated podcast about the ways that the Trump Administration is breaking the law—and what people are doing about it.

Take Care

Criminal Justice Reform and Disability – The Overlooked Opportunity

4/12/17  //  Commentary

Criminal justice agencies have become part of our communities' mental health services systems. They need to abide by the disability rights laws that govern mental health services

Eve Hill

Brown Goldstein & Levy

Justice Gorsuch, Executive Power, And Muslim Ban 2.0

3/20/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

A careful review of Judge Gorsuch's record reveals strong reason to believe that he would vote to uphold President Trump's revised Muslim Ban (and potentially many other executives abuses, too).

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Amir Ali

Roderick & Solange MacArthur Justice Center

International Human Rights Law in the Trump Era

3/29/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

The Trump Administration’s actions thus far are not just an attack on human rights norms. And they’re not merely a rejection of international law. They’re also an assault on our national security and foreign policy.

When Due Process Reliance Defenses May Bar Enforcement

3/24/17  //  Commentary

In limited but vital ways, those who relied on Obama-era immigration and marijuana non-enforcement policies should be protected against sudden shifts in federal policy under President Trump.

Zachary Price

U.C. Hastings College of the Law

The President’s Dilemma

3/17/17  //  Commentary

An emergency appeal on the Muslim Ban may be both rational and his worst outcome.

Amir Ali

Roderick & Solange MacArthur Justice Center

The Trump Administration’s Immigration-Related Detentions

3/24/17  //  Commentary

The Supreme Court is considering a major constitutional challenge to federal immigration detention policies. Trump’s recent executive orders make that case even more significant.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Versus Trump, Episode Three: “We’re All Hypocrites” + Zachary Price

5/4/17  //  Commentary

This week on Versus Trump, the Take Care podcast, we preview a major argument in the Muslim travel ban litigation, talk to Professor Zach Price about reliance interests with respect to selective enforcement of federal laws, and more.

Easha Anand

San Francisco

Charlie Gerstein

Civil Rights Corps

The Trump Administration May Already Have What It Needs for a Serviceable (and Unconstitutional) “Muslim Registry”

4/19/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

The Trump Administration may already have the tools it would need to predict with high accuracy the religious identity of a significant percentage of U.S. citizens and visiting Muslims. And software engineers, not lawyers, may be our first line of alarm and defense.

(Apparent) Administration Justifications for Legality of Strikes Against Syria

4/8/17  //  Commentary

A document seeking to justify the use of force in Syria has begun circulating outside the government that is said to have been developed within the Administration. But there are significant flaws in this justification as a matter of domestic and international law.

Marty Lederman

Georgetown Law

Embracing Federalism

3/16/17  //  Commentary

It is time for progressives to embrace federalism and to use Supreme Court precedents protecting states’ rights to fight against Trump administration policies

Erwin Chemerinsky

U.C. Irvine School of Law

DOJ Begins to Turn Its Back on Policing Reform

4/4/17  //  Quick Reactions

AG Sessions’s eleventh-hour effort to avoid a consent decree in Baltimore is indefensible and unmistakably political. The court should not allow it.

Chiraag Bains

Harvard Law School

Why Trump's Travel Ban Statements Compel a Finding of Improper Purpose

4/6/17  //  Commentary

Trump's statements about the revised travel ban overwhelmingly evidence a purpose at odds with the Establishment Clause. And few, if any, of those statements evince actual, substantive national security or foreign affairs objectives that explain the bizarre scope of his order.

Joshua Matz

Publisher

State-Level Capital Punishment Under President Trump

4/28/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

While President Trump has little direct control over how states administer the death penalty, his administration might seek to facilitate the acquisition of legal injection drugs and limit federal habeas review in capital cases. But these policies would raise major legal questions.

AG Sessions Just Might Give Up On Consent Decrees

4/26/17  //  Commentary

Will Attorney General Sessions really get the federal government out of the police oversight business? Signs are increasingly pointing to yes.

Information Wars Part II: Undermining Our Understanding of Police Practices

4/14/17  //  Commentary

As part of the Trump administration's war on information, the administration has started to roll back federal investigations into police violence and criminal justice.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Reliance Defenses in the Trump Era and Beyond

3/23/17  //  Commentary

The transition to President Trump has massively shifted federal enforcement priorities. Does the Constitution protect people who relied on Obama's immigration, healthcare, or marijuana policies?

Zachary Price

U.C. Hastings College of the Law

When Free Speech Suits the President

4/6/17  //  Commentary

A federal judge has refused to dismiss a suit alleging that President Trump incited violence against protesters at one of his campaign rallies last year. The bitter irony to Trump's defense is that it seeks to expand free speech rules; usually, he prefers to trash them.

Amanda Shanor

Yale Law School

Information Wars Part I: The Challenge To The Census

4/13/17  //  Commentary

The Trump administration has enacted several policies to conceal, subvert, or manipulate information. It has retracted a proposal to add LGBTQ identification to the U.S. census and eliminated LGBTQ identification from HHS surveys. These policies and others attempt to deny the existence of a problem by disappearing the (inconvenient) facts.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Why Jeff Sessions’s Reversal on Private Prisons Is Dangerous

3/23/17  //  Commentary

The Attorney General’s embrace of private prisons is a victory for the industry, but it threatens the safety of correctional officers and prisoners.

Chiraag Bains

Harvard Law School

Trump's Immigration Policy & The Cross-Border Shooting Case

3/30/17  //  Commentary

President Trump's immigration enforcement policy has massively raised the stakes in Hernandez v. Mesa, where the Supreme Court is considering a cross-border shooting by a U.S. agent.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

The Federal Death Penalty Under Trump

4/27/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

President Trump and Attorney General Sessions hold exceptionally pro-death penalty views. Here's how they might seek to increase use of capital punishment at the federal level, and why any such effort likely would fail.

Why Courts Have Probed Trump’s Motives for the Travel Ban

4/4/17  //  Commentary

Perceptions of presidential bad faith have given judges the fortitude to do what the law already demands of them, even though their actions might prompt the President to bash them by name on TV or Twitter.

Joshua Matz

Publisher

Why Did Trump Believe the Syria Strike Was Lawful?

4/10/17  //  Commentary

When the President unilaterally decides that America will start killing people in foreign countries, the least we can expect is a sound justification for that action under domestic and international law. Yet Trump has yet to offer one.

Joshua Matz

Publisher

Those Who Do Not Know History

4/12/17  //  Commentary

On the first full day of Passover, the Trump Administration offered several lessons about institutionalized racism and ethnic cleansing.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Joshua Matz

Publisher

Motive Matters in Assessing the Travel Ban

3/20/17  //  Commentary

To the extent that Trump’s statements about the travel ban shed light on why the executive orders were issued—and they surely do—those statements are material to the constitutional analysis.

Richard Primus

University of Michigan Law School

See You In Court 2.0

3/16/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

Last night, a federal judge in Hawaii blocked Trump's revised entry ban. Here is a detailed analysis of its decision and an assessment of what likely will happen next in that litigation.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

The World Is Not Made Brand New Every Morning

3/20/17  //  Commentary

Judge Kozinski thinks that we cannot account for President Trump's campaign statements in the Muslim Ban cases. That is wrong. Courts can, and should, reckon with this history in assessing whether Trump's ban comports with religious neutrality.

Jonathan Taylor

Gupta Wessler PLLC

Trump’s Approach to Crime & Punishment

3/16/17  //  Commentary

The president has continued existing policies, but also signaled a misplaced (and dangerous) reliance on immigration enforcement and incarceration to protect the public.

Chiraag Bains

Harvard Law School

Faith in the Ninth Circuit

3/16/17  //  Commentary

An analysis of Judge Bybee's dissent from denial of rehearing en banc in Washington v. Trump, and some predictions about the future of President Trump's revised entry ban.

Daniel Hemel

University of Chicago Law School

Republican (and Democratic) Hypocrisy on Faithful Execution

3/17/17  //  Commentary

President Obama pushed the limits of enforcement discretion. Trump may be worse. Will anyone check him if he is?

Zachary Price

U.C. Hastings College of the Law

Updates | The Week of March 20, 2017

3/26/17  //  Daily Update

Commentators discussed President Trump's multiple front onslaught on international law and institutions this week.

Updates | The Week of May 1, 2017

5/7/17  //  Daily Update

Capital punishment and tension between communities and law enforcement may escalate under President Trumps' Department of Justice.

Take Care

Updates | The Week of April 3, 2017

4/9/17  //  Daily Update

The White House violated traditional security protocol when announcing Jared Kushner's visit to Iraq. Further, President Trump's proposed budget cuts may worsen a famine in Africa.

Updates | The Week of April 17, 2017

4/23/17  //  Daily Update

The Administration continues to treat national security as "security theater" with a stunning "indifference to facts, accountability, and democratic oversight," argue critics.

Updates | The Week of March 27, 2017

4/2/17  //  Daily Update

The Trump Administration has signalled a reduced commitment to human rights internationally, and President Trump's proposed cuts to the State Department may hamper U.S. foreign policy.

Updates | The Week of April 3, 2017

4/9/17  //  Daily Update

This week, the Department of Justice ordered a nationwide review of consent decrees implemented to curb civil rights abuses. State governors are poised to fight back against Attorney General Jeff Sessions's federal marijuana policy. And a decline in incarceration rates is threatened by the Trump Presidency.

Updates | The Week of April 17, 2017

4/23/17  //  Daily Update

Attorney General Sessions has started to make significant changes at the Department of Justice by doubling down on mass incarceration and weakening police accountability. Such efforts face significant criticism.

Updates | The Week of April 10, 2017

4/16/17  //  Daily Update

This week, commentary focused on U.S. military action against Syria. Joshua Matz and Marty Lederman both considered the legal reasoning for the strikes on Take Care.

Updates | The Week of April 24, 2017

4/30/17  //  Daily Update

Politicians ask the Administration to explain its legal justifications for the strike in Syria, pressure mounts with North Korea, and President Trump calls the United Nations an "underperformer."

Updates | The Week of March 20, 2017

3/26/17  //  Daily Update

Private prisons have newfound influence in the White House and have benefitted from the Trump Administration's Justice Department policy reversal.

Updates | The Week of April 24, 2017

4/30/17  //  Daily Update

The Administration may remove oversight of local law enforcement agencies, and use the federal death penalty more often.

Updates | The Week of May 1, 2017

5/7/17  //  Daily Update

President Trump's harsh rhetoric may be a gift to terrorist organizations abroad. While some intelligence agencies seek to dial back surveillance, it will likely only grow if Congress authorizes more options for the use of military force.

Take Care

Updates | The Week of April 3, 2017

4/9/17  //  Daily Update

Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s memorandum outlining task forces on various policies, including federal marijuana policy, has some state governors poised to fight back: governors of four Western states warned Attorney General Sessions and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin against interfering with state laws legalizing marijuana use

Updates | The Week of April 10, 2017

4/16/17  //  Daily Update

This week, legal analysis focused on military action in Syria and the effect that action had on the international stage.

Updates | The Week of March 20, 2017

3/26/17  //  Daily Update

This past week, America and Britain barred personal electronic devices on flights from several Muslim-majority countries. Ivanka Trump's proposed role within the White House may also pose a national security threat.

Updates | The Week of March 27, 2017

4/2/17  //  Daily Update

Zachary Price argued at Take Care this week that individuals who relied on Obama-era immigration and marijuana non-enforcement policies should be protected against sudden enforcement by the Trump Administration.

Updates | The Week of April 10, 2017

4/16/17  //  Daily Update

This week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions ushered in the "Trump Era," heralding increased enforcement of immigration offenses. The Department of Homeland Security has resurrected programs deputizing state and local police to enforce immigration laws. And Nikolas Bowie, writing for Take Care, argues that the internal review of Civil Rights Division consent decrees threatens its value as an unbiased source.

Updates | The Week of April 3, 2017

4/9/17  //  Daily Update

This week, President Trump ordered a military strike on a Syrian air base in response to a deadly chemical weapon attack attributed to Bashar al-Assad's government. President Trump also shook up the National Security Council, including removing Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon from the NSC principals committee.

Updates | The Week of March 27, 2017

4/2/17  //  Daily Update

Democrats in Congress have been stepping up claims that Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election constituted an act of war. Further, President Trump has proposed cuts to the State Department while stepping up airstrikes abroad.

Updates | The Week of April 24, 2017

4/30/17  //  Daily Update

Ashley Gorski, at the ACLU, analyzes Section 702's broad grant of power to the executive branch to examine Americans' emails.

The Story Thus Far: International Law

3/16/17  //  Daily Update

Trump has promised a foreign policy of America First. His conduct thus far suggests that he will follow through on that promise, but in ways that risk violating domestic and international law. Here are some useful analyses of the story thus far.

The Story Thus Far: National Security

3/16/17  //  Daily Update

From Guantanamo Bay to wiretapping to foreign intrigue, these have been a busy two months for the Trump Administration. Here are some useful analyses of the story thus far.

Updates | The Week of April 17, 2017

4/23/17  //  Daily Update

The Administration navigated foreign policy issues throughout the world, particularly with North Korea, Afghanistan, Syria, and Iran. In North Korea, the Administration spent the week explaining its falsehood that it had sent an aircraft carrier into the Sea of Japan.