Want a thorough backgrounder on the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force? This is the episode for you. (This also is the episode for you if what you want, instead, is an hour of legal blather followed by five minutes of speculation about Season 7 of Game of Thrones). The “AUMF” is the key statute on which the government relies for its post-9/11 uses of force relating to terrorism, and it has been the source of controversy and debate for the better part of the past sixteen years. This week’s episode focuses exclusively on it. Professors Vladeck and Chesney first explain how it fits into larger legal debates about the separation of powers in our system. Next, they review some of the key historical developments leading to its passage. Then they describe the fight in September 2001 over how broad it ought to be. Then they talk about key legal rulings construing its scope in the years that followed. Then they talk about how the evolving circumstances of counterterrorism–particularly the emergence of entities like AQAP and the Islamic State–have heightened questions regarding the continuing relevance of the AUMF. Then they describe some of the proposed legislative fixes (and why they have not moved forward). Then they…oh, I give up, you have the general idea, it’s quicker just to listen!
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