Episode 30: Don’t Pop the Accountability Champagne Quite Yet

August 8, 2017

In this bizarrely-titled episode (ok, they pretty much all have bizarre titles, Professors Vladeck and Chesney take on four national security law developments from the past week. First, they explore the district court ruling in Salim v. Mitchellin which the court rejects cross-motions for summary judgment in an Alien Tort Statute suit brought by former CIA detainees against the two psychologists who designed and helped implement the “enhanced interrogation techniques” program.  Second, they unpack the meaning and significance of last week’s press observation held by Attorney General Sessions, in which he warned that DOJ and FBI will be ramping up their anti-leak efforts (of course the real lesson for reporters from this whole episode is: probably better not to call these professors, lest they talk your ear off about Game of Thrones).   Third, they offer some preliminary thoughts on the legal issues that will arise if the US does begin using airstrikes against Islamic State targets in the Philippines, as recent media reports have suggested might occur.  Fourth, they drag us all down into the weeds of treaty law–especially the “non-self-execution doctrine”–in connection with the Ninth Circuit’s opinion rejecting an attempt by the Marshall Islands to get a court to declare the US government in violation of its obligation (under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) to negotiate in good faith towards nuclear disarmament.  One might hope they’d be exhausted at that point, and end it there.  But no, they trudge on, sharing their “insights” about the latest episode of Game of Thrones at remarkable length. Happily, GoT’s current season only has a few shows left, so soon your hosts will have to move on to something else!

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