Lark Turner // 9/10/17 //
The Trump Administration’s definition of “close familial relationship” in the travel ban case is absurd, writes Sarah Mahmood at Take Care.
Transgender soldiers and transgender people seeking to enlist sue the Trump Administration over the ban on transgender people serving in the military (The Hill).
Animus, not military readiness, explains President Trump’s ban, writes Scott Skinner-Thompson at Just Security.
Members of the President’s Election Commission led by Kris Kobach have been using personal email to communicate, in potential violation of the Presidential Records Act (The Hill).
A new bill in the House of Representatives would shift the burden of ADA compliance from businesses to the individuals being denied access, undermining the civil rights of people with disabilities, writes Tyler Ray for the ACLU.
Lambda Legal has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case of Jameka Evans, seeking a nationwide ruling that sexual orientation discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Lambda Legal).
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will rescind 2011 Title IX guidance relating to how schools should address sexual assault and harassment (Human Rights Campaign).
President Trump’s incendiary statements against the media may be purposeful and premeditated, argues David Kaye at Just Security.
DOJ has argued that Texas should be allowed to enforce its voter ID pending appeal, even though the Court found the law was intentionally discriminatory (Election Law Blog).
President Trump shows signs of normalizing his presidency, argues Eric Posner on his blog.
A group of prominent politicians, including Senator John McCain of Arizona and Governor John Kasich of Ohio, have urged the Supreme Court to rule that partisan gerrymanders violate the Constitution (WaPo, NYT).
A new Harvard study shows that voter identity theft constitutes a real threat to electronic voting systems (Phys.org).
JUSTICE AND SAFETY
North Korea conducted another nuclear test last weekend, drawing a U.S. warning of a “massive military response” (NYT).
The United States proposes stiffer United Nations sanctions against North Korea, including an embargo on the country’s oil and textile trade (WSJ).
AG Sessions is inconsistent and untruthful in his claims that violent crime is sweeping the nation (WaPo).
The civil-military divide is a temporary casualty of the Trump Administration, writes Ned Price at Just Security.
The Pentagon is expected to announce an increase of 3,500 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan (WaPo).
The Department of Homeland Security is reviewing a report that identifies a hacking effort targeting the U.S. energy sector (The Hill).
President Trump is increasingly using trade as a leverage point in matters of national security and foreign affairs (The Hill).
In most states, police body camera footage is not a matter of public record, and transparency varies widely from state to state (Ars Technica).
The United States sanctioned South Sudan officials for enriching themselves amid civil war and famine (WaPo).
Twitter will give a report of Russian activity to Congress (The Hill).
The House Homeland Security Committee advances a bill to protect United States ports from cyberattacks (The Hill).
The House Intelligence Committee interviewed former national security adviser Susan Rice behind closed doors regarding unmasking, the process by which officials can request to know the identity of Americans caught in U.S. surveillance (The Hill).
There must be judicial review of security clearance decisions to ensure that people are not losing their jobs because of their political viewpoints or discrimination, writes Heidi Gilchrist at Just Security.
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
On Saturday, September 23rd, Harvard Law School will host a one-day conference entitled “Populist Plutocrats: Lessons from Around the World,” which will focus on leaders who exploit anti-elite sentiment in order to gain power, but then use that power for profit (Take Care).
Donald Trump, Jr. will be paid $100,000 by the company of a major GOP donor to give a speech at a Texas University (WaPo).
Dozens of lobbyists, contractors, and others pay to join President Trump’s private golf clubs, giving them close access to the President (USA Today).
Fossil fuel industry officials will take key spots on a new Interior Department royalties committee (The Hill).
The EPA has changed its policy and placed a political appointee with little environmental policy experience in charge of approving grant applications (WaPo).
The Trump administration will not appeal a district court ruling blocking the Obama administration’s revised overtime pay rule (The Hill).
The Department of Education has terminated an agreement to cooperate with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on investigations of student loan fraud (The Hill).
Senate Democrats criticized a proposal by the FCC to redefine “broadband Internet” as including certain slower services (Ars Technica).
Congress must act to strengthen election cybersecurity, writes Michael Chertoff in The Wall Street Journal.
The Department of Education has now dissolved a 2016 arrangement under which the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau accepted federal student loan complaints (Consumer Finance Monitor).
Stanley Fischer, vice chairman of the Federal Reserve, will step down in mid-October (NYT).
Disaster relief in the wake of Hurricane Harvey poses great risk for waste and fraud; Congress and the administration should insist on oversight, writes Nick Schwellenbach at POGO.
The EPA plans to submit its review of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan this fall, according to a court filing (The Hill).
RULE OF LAW
DOJ says there is no evidence that President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower, despite President Trump’s earlier claims (Lawfare).
Increasing partisanship poses risks to American democracy, writes Lee Drutman at Vox.
The task of interpreting the Equal Rights Amendment, should that amendment be ratified, will be made more difficult by the long time span between its proposal and ratification, writes Gerard Magliocca at Concurring Opinions.
President Trump may be engaging in intimidating witnesses via his Twitter account, writes Hannah Ryan at Just Security.
CHECKS & BALANCES
President Trump submitted 16 nominations for the federal judiciary, including current deputy White House Counsel George Katsas (The Hill).
If reports are true that Vice President Pence heard President Trump’s “screed” regarding former FBI Director James Comey’s handling of the Russian probe, then Pence may be in legal jeopardy for obstruction of justice, argues Jed Shugerman at Take Care.
Special Counsel Mueller is in possession of an early draft of a letter written by President Trump and an aide that explains the reasons for firing former FBI Director Comey (NYT).
Russian election hacking efforts have drawn little scrutiny from local, state, and federal officials (NYT).
The president likely cannot be named as an unindicted co-conspirator in an indictment resulting from the investigation into Russian interference, argues James B. Jacobs at Just Security.
Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have proposed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would provide grants for state-level election security initiatives (Lawfare).
Facebook's ad sales team sold advertising to a “shadowy Russian company” ahead of the 2016 Presidential election, the company confirmed this week.
Donald Trump Jr. met with the Senate Judiciary Committee behind closed doors on Thursday (The Hill).
The Senate Intelligence Committee interviewed former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice as part of its investigation into Russian interference (The Hill).
A former member of the CIA’s Senior Intelligence Service, John Sipher, examined the Steele dossier, concluding that its information on campaign collusion is generally credible despite some factual errors (Just Security).
FBI Director Christopher Wray stated that he has not seen any indications of Trump administration interference with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian involvement with the 2016 elections (WaPo, The Hill).