Prohibition of alcohol from 1919 to 1933 is a paradigmatic case of sumptuary legislation gone awry. Instead of removing alcohol from the market, Prohibition increased alcohol’s potency and decreased its quality, resulting in a spike in drunkenness and accidental deaths while black market corruption and violence abounded. The same criticisms are often leveled at the War on Drugs. However, this Note explores the most important difference between the two, namely, that in spite of their symmetrical failures, Prohibition was met with a decisive backlash and repeal while the War on Drugs retains popular support despite having created incomparably greater violence. This is dramatically illustrated by the war in Mexico, which is currently the most violent conflict in the world. The causes and implications of this divergence in public choice are explored below.
National Security Law
Many aspects of the United States’s armed conflict with al Qaeda and associated forces have been intensely debated by legal scholars and policymakers, yet one important question has thus far been almost completely ignored: Where, if at all, does the law of neutrality fit into the legal framework governing the conduct of this armed conflict? I argue that neutrality is one of several principles that ensure the completeness of the modern law of armed conflict (LOAC) framework. Neutrality is particularly important in achieving geographic completeness of the legal regime. The 1949 Geneva Conventions (GCs) that form the bedrock of our LOAC framework were written against the background understanding that neutrality would operate wherever GC protections did not apply. In sharp contrast to most wars, the geographic distinction between belligerent and neutral territory is highly unstable in the conflict with al Qaeda. Ironically, at the point in modern warfare when the law of neutrality may be most important, it is being ignored.
The Obama administration has begun to apply analogous provisions of the LOAC rules developed in inter-state wars to its current conflicts—a recognition that this conflict, like all others, should be waged according to a complete legal regime. To date, however, the United States has not recognized the role of neutrality in its conflict
with al Qaeda. This Note begins to fill that gap. While arguing that the law of neutrality is more important in this conflict than many others due to the conflict’s global nature, this Note concludes that recognizing neutrality will only be a partial solution. Neutrality instructs, however, that the LOAC rules themselves may be applicable almost globally because of the asymmetrical nature of the conflict. I argue that the central purpose of recognizing neutrality in our current conflicts is to avoid selectively applying parts of a comprehensive legal system, thereby leaving legal black holes in which some individuals have no protection. What matters most is that the intended fundamental feature of the LOAC regime—its completeness—is not abandoned each time a new form of conflict is recognized.
Many policies in foreign affairs law increase national security at the expense of national wealth and vice versa. Courts have struggled to find a suitable framework for adjudicating cases arising out of these policy decisions. In the recent case United States v. Eurodif S.A., the Supreme Court seemingly abandoned previous assumptions about security-wealth cases, relying instead on the Chevron framework commonly used in administrative law. This Note outlines the potential shift to Chevron and its merits vis-à-vis older frameworks for security-wealth cases. It concludes that Eurodif may well represent a profound change in the Court’s treatment of international relations and predicts that continued application of the Chevron framework will improve foreign policymaking.
This Essay takes up the Court’s less-heralded second holding in Boumediene v. Bush—that a federal habeas court must have the institutional capacity to find facts, which in Boumediene itself meant that a federal district court must be available to the petitioners. Although this aspect of the opinion has gone largely unnoticed, it is inconsistent with the Madisonian Compromise—the standard view that the Constitution does not require Congress to create or to vest jurisdiction in any federal court except the Supreme Court. In fact, it appears that the Court adopted, sub silentio, the position famously advanced by Justice Story in 1816 that the Constitution requires Congress to vest the lower federal courts with jurisdiction to hear executive-detention habeas corpus cases. In considering alternatives to this bold break with long-settled constitutional doctrine, this Essay examines newly uncovered opinions from Supreme Court Justices to determine whether Justices acting in chambers remain a viable habeas forum of last resort post-Boumediene, why the Boumediene Court failed to address this issue directly, and, finally, the degree to which the need for an independent finder of fact is well grounded in constitutional doctrine. This Essay concludes that Boumediene’s rejection of the Madisonian Compromise, rather than its decision with respect to the scope of the habeas writ, will come to be its longest-lived legacy for federal courts law.
The “Surveil or Kill” Dilemma: Separation of Powers and the FISA Amendments Act’s Warrant Requirement for Surveillance of U.S. Citizens Abroad
In July 2010, Nasser Al-Aulaqi, the father of suspected terrorist leader and U.S. citizen Anwar Al-Aulaqi, filed a lawsuit alleging that his son had been placed on a targeted killing “hit list” by the U.S. government. In dismissing the suit, Judge John D. Bates pointed out an extraordinary aspect of the current law of counterterrorism: Prior judicial consideration is required under the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 to target suspected terrorists like Anwar Al-Aulaqi abroad for surveillance, but it is unnecessary under U.S. law to seek judicial authorization to target such individuals for assassination. This apparent antilogy in the law creates a “surveil or kill” dilemma for the government. On the one hand, current law burdens the President’s ability to engage in foreign intelligence surveillance of suspected threats; on the other, it incentivizes aggressive counterterrorism interventions like the CIA’s drone strike program. Indeed, the U.S. government ultimately killed Al-Aulaqi, along with another U.S. citizen suspected of aiding al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, without ever receiving judicial approval or making public any formal charges against them.
In this Note, I explore the constitutionality of the current legal regime established by the FISA Amendments Act of 2008. Specifically, I argue that the statute’s protections for U.S. citizens abroad, while a laudable extension of civil liberties, constitute an unconstitutional infringement of the President’s inherent authority to engage in warrantless foreign intelligence surveillance overseas. By imposing statutory limitations on the President’s power in this context that go beyond the baseline requirements of the Constitution, Congress has encroached upon inherent executive authority and therefore has violated a formal understanding of separation of powers.
Life Without Parole: An Immigration Framework Applied to Potentially Indefinite Detention at Guantanamo Bay
The Supreme Court ruled in Boumediene v. Bush that detainees at Guantanamo
Bay have the right to challenge their detention in habeas corpus proceedings and
that the courts hearing these claims must have some ability to provide “conditional
release.” However, in Kiyemba v. Obama, the United States Court of Appeals for
the District of Columbia ruled that if a detainee cannot be released to his country of
origin or another country abroad, a court sitting in habeas cannot grant the
detainee release into the United States. The court based its determination on the
assumption that the plaintiffs’ request for release implicated “admission,” generally
considered within the purview of the political branches and inappropriate for judicial
review. This Note argues that “parole,” a more flexible mechanism for release
into the United States, is not limited by the admission precedents requiring extreme
deference. This Note then surveys cases in which the judiciary has granted parole as
a remedy, and argues that courts have done so primarily in cases of executive misconduct.
Thus, courts confronting requests for domestic release from executive
detention without a legal basis should consider parole as a remedy distinct from
admission—one that serves a valuable purpose in maintaining a meaningful check
on the Executive.
Legitimacy of the use of military force is undergoing a fundamental but insufficiently appreciated moral and legal transformation. Whereas the traditional practices and laws of war defined enemy forces in terms of categorical, group-based judgments that turned on status—a person was an enemy not because of any specific actions he himself engaged in but because he was a member of an opposing military force—we are now moving to a world that, implicitly or explicitly, requires the individuation of enemy responsibility of enemy persons in order to justify the use of military force. Increasingly, the legitimate use of military force is tied to quasi-adjudicative judgments about the individual acts and roles of specific enemy figures; this is the case whether the use of force involved is military detention or targeted killing. This transformation transcends conventional debates about whether terrorist actions should be treated as acts of war or crime and is more profound in its implications.
This readjustment in the basic premises underlying the justified use of military force will have, and is already having, implications for all the institutions involved in the use of military force and in the processes by which decisions are made to use force. For the military, this change will generate pressures to create internal, quasi-adjudicative processes to ensure accurate, credible judgments about the individual responsibility of particular enemy fighters. For the executive, these changes will propel greater engagement in decisions that had previously been exclusively within the province of the military. For the courts, this transformation toward individuated judgments of responsibility will inevitably bring about a greater judicial role in assessing wartime judgments than in the past; this expansion has begun to occur already. These changes are not yet directly reflected (or at least fully reflected) in the formal laws of war, but we anticipate that as these changes embed themselves in the practices of states, especially dominant states, these changes in practice will also eventually be embodied in the legal frameworks that regulate the use of force. This Article will identify this fundamental transformation as the central factor driving struggles over the proper boundaries of military force and then explore the ramifications of this change for issues like military detention and targeted killings.
Since the September 11th attacks, local law enforcement agencies in major metropolitan areas have become increasingly involved in counterterrorism and intelligence activities. Unfortunately, this development has not yet spurred a comparable increase in intelligence oversight. Indeed, at the local level, intelligence activities are conducted largely in a “formal governance vacuum.” This situation is unsustainable. Local formal oversight mechanisms are desperately needed. Whether local actors are actually up to the intelligence oversight task is another question. And it is a question that has yet to be answered in a satisfactory manner. Skeptics have written off local overseers with little explanation, while advocates of local intelligence oversight have endorsed local overseers without apparent consideration of their viability. This Note seeks to provide a comprehensive answer. Drawing upon lessons from oversight of the federal intelligence community, this Note demonstrates that the federal intelligence oversight apparatus is a workable model for the local context.
Wartime Detention and the Extraterritorial Habeas Corpus Doctrine: Refining the Boumediene Framework in Light of its Goals and Failures
In Boumediene v. Bush, the Supreme Court held that the right to the writ of habeas corpus extended to noncitizen detainees captured abroad and detained at the American naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Although Boumediene extended habeas corpus to Guantánamo and formulated a practical extraterritorial habeas corpus framework, the decision may have been a limited victory for civil rights advocates, as it did not resolve the question of the writ’s reach to any other American detention facilities located abroad, including the Bagram Theater Internment Facility in Afghanistan. In Al Maqaleh v. Gates, the D.C. District Court concluded that the petitioners detained at Bagram, like those at Guantánamo, had the right to petition for the writ of habeas corpus, but the D.C. Circuit reversed the lower court on appeal. The D.C. District and Circuit courts came to different conclusions because they took drastically different approaches to the Boumediene framework. This Note argues that the district court came to the right conclusion because its analysis was more faithful to Boumediene, it was more conscious of Boumediene’s separation-of-powers concerns, and, like the Supreme Court, it was appropriately receptive to the possibility that the Executive was attempting to “switch off” the Constitution by strategically detaining suspected enemy combatants in a location unlikely to receive judicial review. Furthermore, the fact that the district and circuit courts were unable to apply the framework consistently suggests that the Boumediene analysis may require refinement or clarification. This paper attempts to provide that.
Beginning with this nation’s founding and continuing today, courts and political leaders have grappled with difficult questions as to the proper treatment of aliens— those individuals either living here or interacting with the government, but not bearing the title of “U.S. citizen.” In the annual James Madison Lecture, Judge Karen Nelson Moore explores the protections afforded to aliens by our Constitution, tracing those protections and their limitations across the many disparate legal contexts in which questions regarding aliens’ constitutional rights arise. Although the extent to which aliens possess constitutional rights varies with the closeness of their ties to this country, she explains that this single variable cannot account for the many nuances and tensions in federal jurisprudence relating to aliens’ constitutional rights. Closeness, after all, can be measured across multiple dimensions: immigration status, physical proximity to the United States (or to its borders), lawfulness of presence, and allegiance to the country.
Judge Moore first tackles the complicated meaning of alienage, discussing its conceptual definition separately with respect to the text of the Constitution, immigration law, and national security. She then considers the extent to which the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment limits the government’s ability to draw distinctions between different classes of aliens. Possible differential treatment among classes of aliens presents complex constitutional questions that remain unresolved, particularly as those questions relate to the treatment of aliens unlawfully present in this country. The rights of this group are the most in flux: These aliens’ unauthorized presence in the country, combined with their close ties to the political community, makes them difficult to fit into existing legal categories.
The criminal procedure rights of aliens under the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments are also considered, followed by a discussion of aliens’ due process rights with respect to civil litigation, immigration proceedings, and alien-enemy detention. Judge Moore highlights those areas at the outer reaches of current doctrine—the extraterritorial application of constitutional protections and the extent of executive power to combat terrorism. She articulates themes present in constitutional jurisprudence as it relates to aliens, providing a broad-lens view of this vast and complicated area of law.