Back in May, the New York Times published a piece by the technology entrepreneur, Heidi Messer, in which she argued that the time has come to “stop fetishizing privacy,” understood as control over one’s personal information. Her basic contention is that the modern narrative about information privacy – that is, control over information about ourselves… Continue reading Against the Commodification of Information Privacy
The truth may be out there, but President Donald Trump is doing his level best to prevent its discovery. His latest effort is the assertion of executive privilege in the face of congressional inquiries into the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census. The move is not likely to go unchallenged—and, in this… Continue reading Executive Privilege and the Census
The Trump administration may well be contemplating military action against Iran. Not only has it named Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard a foreign terrorist group – the first such designation under the aegis of a nation-state – but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggested in recent Senate testimony that he has “no doubt there is a… Continue reading Iran, Al Qaeda and the Legacy of September 11
The State of the Union address is not just an annual ritual—it is a requirement. Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution provides that the President “shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union.” That the speech is, today, more rhetorical than informative does not mean it… Continue reading Keeping the President in Check, One Congressional Hearing at a Time
We wrote recently, in Just Security, about December’s bipartisan Senate vote and resolution to withdraw U.S. military assistance from Yemen and to assign responsibility for the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman—legislative moves contrary to the policy wishes of the Trump administration. The Senate’s actions suggested three developments in… Continue reading Checking Trump, One Foreign Policy at a Time
In an essay published last November, the philosopher S. Matthew Liao asks: do we have a moral duty to leave Facebook? His answer: not yet. In light of Facebook’s destructive effect on information privacy, I’m not sure the answer to his question shouldn’t be an unequivocal “yes.” Considering the duties one owes to others, Liao… Continue reading On the Moral Duty to Leave Facebook
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is unhappy again – not with a substantive ruling by the court, but with a decision by the majority to decline to hear a particular case. Last year, Thomas, joined by Justice Samuel Alito, dissented from a decision by the majority – one in a long line – not to… Continue reading The Supreme Court Declines to Resolve Yet Another Lower Court Conflict
In the wake of Justice Antonin Scalia’s passing in early 2016, the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate declined to give its advice on President Barack Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the high court, much less its consent. That move, along with the Republican-led elimination of the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations, has led to a… Continue reading Moving Forward: Supreme Court Appointments After Kavanaugh
Associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump have suggested that the infamous Supreme Court decision upholding the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, Korematsu v. United States, could be used to justify measures aimed at tracking and potentially detaining Muslim-Americans and Muslim immigrants. As Professor Noah Feldman has recently noted, the Korematsu decision is widely regarded today as having been wrongly decided and it has been, as Justice Stephen G. Breyer has put it, “discredited.” But there is another reason why the precedential value of Korematsu has been diminished: its basic premise has been undermined by the Supreme Court’s more recent decisions in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld and Boumediene v. Bush.
By: Lawrence M. Friedman In his dissenting opinion in Fisher v. University of Texas, Justice Alito argues that the Court indulged the university’s “plea for deference” in the application of strict scrutiny to its race-based affirmative action program. And he’s probably right, too: the scrutiny the majority applied in Fisher seems less strict than the scrutiny the Court historically has given race-based classifications. But this isn’t to say that the result Alito would have reached—striking down the university’s plan—is also right. For he fails to appreciate that, just as equal protection doctrine protects only individuals who are similarly situated, strict scrutiny applies in the same way only in similarly situated cases. In other words, context matters—and context explains why higher education affirmative action programs may survive judicial review where the governmental use of race in other contexts would not.