Politician promises to “do ___ in the future” are usually grandstanding.

Like a withdrawal from Afghanistan. Which should happen yesterday.

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The Ninth Circuit on Foreign Relations Federalism

The Ninth Circuit (Judge Harry Pregerson writing) had an interesting recent decision regarding foreign relations federalism in Cassirer v. Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation. The case involves California Code of Civil Procedure § 338(c)(3), which extends the statute of limitations for suit for the recovery of fine art against a museum, gallery, auctioneer, or dealer.

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US-Drone-attacks-on-Pakistan

Pakistan Doesn’t Want US Drone War Anymore

After nearly a decade of war by drones on the tribal regions of Pakistan, an ally of the US government, that country has now had enough.

This week Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited Washington, D.C. calling the drone bombings a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty. At nearly the same time, reports from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are showing the federal government is lying about who exactly is dying in drone wars.

These attacks began with President Bush but have, as many national security policies, swelled under President Obama. An interactive display (which can be viewed here) of recorded drone strikes that has been passed around for months illustrates the evolution of this undeclared war on Pakistan’s innocent men, women, and children. Cries of war crimes and violations of international law are mounting, yet still there is that familiar silence regarding Constitutionality.

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Before You Rejoice

Before you rejoice that the government has seized an alleged terrorist in Libya who was indicted for planning the notorious 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Africa, before you join the House of Representatives in a standing ovation for the Capitol Hill Police who killed a woman whose car struck a White House fence and who then drove away at a high speed, and before you commend the New York Police Department for quickly getting to the bottom of an alleged assault by a motorcycle gang that tormented a young family on a city street, please give some thought to the rule of law.

Last weekend, a team of Navy SEALs kidnapped a Libyan, Abu Anas al-Libi, off of a public street in Tripoli. The Navy men did not have a warrant for his arrest, did not have the permission of the local authorities or the Libyan government to carry out this kidnapping, and were unlawfully present bearing arms in public in Libya. Many of al-Libi’s alleged accomplices already had been arrested, prosecuted and convicted in the U.S. The U.S. could have sought his extradition, as it did with some of them, had President Obama not bombed the American-friendly government of Col. Moammar Gadhafi out of existence, without a congressional declaration of war.

Obama apologists have praised this maneuver as a bloodless way to obtain justice without using drones to kill. (How low we have sunk when Obama can be praised for not executing someone with a drone.) Secretary of State John Kerry, acknowledging that al-Libi is innocent until proved guilty, has claimed that the rule of law was followed here because he will be brought to a civilian U.S. court for trial. Former George W. Bush administration Attorney General Michael Mukasey claimed that because the embassy bombings constituted an act of war, the kidnapping of al-Libi was a lawful wartime assault, and he should be tried before a military tribunal.

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