The BriefingThe U.S. government’s assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassim Suleimani last week risked plunging the United States into another war in the Middle East.To be clear: Suleimani was malevolent, among many other things masterminding Bashar Assad’s genocidal war on his own people in Syria.
But we cannot normalize the idea that war can be launched by one person, on a whim, without congressional authorization, and seemingly without a thought to the cascading consequences and vast numbers of lives at stake. This incident adds urgency to the work of protecting the Constitution from an overzealous executive.The Brennan Center has spoken on these issues before.
In 2018, Elizabeth Goitein, codirector of the Brennan Center’s Liberty & National Security Program, pushed back against a proposed new authorization of military force — the congressional enactment that has been misused to authorize two decades of war — that would have further delegated away Congress’s war-making power to the president.
And our Election Reform team notes that the U.S. defense and intelligence community has identified Iran as one of three countries as most likely to try to hack U.S. elections. Russia may have competition!Amid these challenges, we have a duty to focus on our efforts to strengthen the systems of democracy and justice and the constitutional order that is so plainly at risk.
Democracy: The Fight to Vote in 2020 will be a pivotal year for our democracy — and our mission to ensure an election that is free, fair, and secure. Last month, court rulings allowed Wisconsin and Georgia to move forward with aggressive voter purges that could disproportionately disenfranchise people of color, students, and the poor. State election officials are scrambling to make their election systems more secure against the threat of cyberattacks and foreign interference. And this year’s census will launch the next wave of congressional redistricting, a process that is often sabotaged by politicians drawing maps for their own partisan advantage.
We will keep you apprised of the great fight for the vote over the course of the year. // JOIN USJusticeCrime Still Drops as Reform Kicks InIt’s a watershed moment for criminal justice reform, with new bail and discovery reforms coming into effect in New York State — with rumblings of backlash from conservative media and some law enforcement. In New York State, the system of cash bail — which kept people behind bars simply because they could not afford to pay — has been overhauled. Former top federal prosecutor Taryn Merkl wrote an explainer on the reforms. // READ MORE A key point: crime continues to hover at decades-long lows, even as reform takes hold.
Fear of a scary national crime wave is vastly overblown. Brennan Center Justice Program Director Lauren-Brooke Eisen spoke with the Washington Post about the landscape for state-level criminal justice reform heading into 2020, and Ames Grawert joined NBC News Now to talk about 2019 crime rates in Chicago and crime trends nationwide. // READ MORENews
- Michael German on President Trump’s retweet of the alleged name of the whistleblower in the Ukraine scandal // TIME
- Elizabeth Goitein on a recent report on the Trump-Russia investigation and what it revealed about the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court // NPR
- Ames Grawert and Cameron Kimble on the drop in violent crime rates in Chicago in 2019 // CNN
- Kevin Morris on the implications of the recent voter purge in Georgia // ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION
- Myrna Pérez on how voter suppression tactics could affect the 2020 election // MSNBC
Have an issue you’d like us to cover? Feedback on this newsletter? Email us at email@example.com
The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law is a nonpartisan law and policy institute that works to reform, revitalize – and when necessary defend – our country’s systems of democracy and justice.Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law120 Broadway, Suite 1750
New York, NY 10271
T 646 292 8310
F 212 463 7308
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