ACSBlog

  • January 29, 2018
    Guest Post

    by Jim Dempsey, Executive Director, Berkeley Center for Law and Technology

    The recent reauthorization of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was never in doubt. However, civil liberties advocates were disappointed when Congress failed to adopt an amendment requiring the government to obtain warrants before seeking information about US citizens in the repository of data collected under statue. More broadly, the debate failed to grapple with the risks of electronic surveillance in the era of globalization, expanding storage capacities, and big data analytics. Nevertheless, looking forward, the reauthorization set up the potential for fresh judicial consideration of a key constitutional question and yielded some opportunities for enhanced oversight of the 702 program.

    It was widely accepted that activities conducted under Section 702 were effective in producing useful intelligence on foreign terrorism and other national security concerns. Chances for reauthorization were further boosted by the fact that the broad outlines of 702 implementation were, once you got past the incredible complexity of the statute, well within a reasonable interpretation of Congress’ words. The trust generated by express Congressional authorization was augmented, after the Snowden leaks, by substantial and ongoing public disclosures by the Executive Branch about the law’s implementation – more transparency than any government in the world has ever provided about a similar national security program.

  • January 25, 2018
    Guest Post

    by Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, Samuel Weiss Faculty Scholar and founding director of the Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic at Penn State Law - University Park

    Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a policy implemented in 2012 that to date has enabled nearly 800,000 people who came to the United States before the age of sixteen, establish the requisite residence, physical presence and educational requirements to request a form of prosecutorial discretion known as “deferred action.” Originating from a rule published by the Reagan administration in 1981, grantees of deferred action may request work authorization if they can establish “economic necessity.” After receiving work authorization, the type of work a DACA recipient may enter is unrestricted, enabling one to pursue a job in a variety of sectors. DACA recipients with college degrees in a high-demand field are eligible to work in the area of their study and often do.   

  • January 25, 2018
    Guest Post

    by Dan Jackson, Keker, Van Nest & Peters

    Thirty-six distinguished economists and professors of law and economics including three Nobel laureates, two recipients of the American Economic Association’s prestigious John Bates Clark Medal, and two past presidents of the American Economic Association filed an amici curiae brief  to assist the Supreme Court in understanding the free-rider problem at issue in Janus v. AFSCME.

  • January 24, 2018
    Guest Post

    by Caroline Fredrickson, ACS President

    Leading up to the federal government shutdown, the judicial nominations process further broke down.

    For the second time, Senate Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, advanced a nominee without support from a home-state Senator. He scheduled a confirmation hearing on Jan. 24 for Michael Brennan, who President Trump nominated to a seat on the 7th Circuit Court without even consulting with the home-state Senator Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.

    Traditionally, the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee would only plan hearings for nominees who have the support of both of their home-state Senators. These two Senators turn in a blue sheet of paper, known as a blue slip, to the Chair as an indication of their approval for a candidate. With few previous exceptions, the Committee holds hearings for judicial nominees with blue slips.

  • January 24, 2018
    Guest Post

    by Muriel Bowser, Mayor, Washington, DC

    Amid the much-needed and continuing conversation on sexual harassment across the country, my team and I undertook a deeply introspective and forward-looking review of the District of Columbia’s sexual harassment policy.

    The Challenge. I hope that our policy and program of trainings, reporting, and remediation inspire action by other cities, corporations, universities, law firms, non-profit organizations, and other governmental employers. Indeed, I challenge other leaders to create a culture of respect, to rearticulate norms against sexual harassment, to empower their workforces to report unwanted and harassing sexual conduct, and to establish effective remedies for sexual harassment. While sexual harassment does not only victimize women, taking strong action to combat harassment will in turn help to empower women, a cause near and dear to my heart.

    On December 18, 2017, I signed an updated Mayor’s Order on sexual harassment that clearly defines sexual harassment, reporting, protections, defenses, and available training. While grounded on principles found within the District of Columbia Human Rights Act of 1977, this new policy is in line with current laws, technology, culture, and workplace dynamics. All District Government employees have received a copy of this policy and clear guidance that sexual harassment is strictly prohibited in District government.