• PERSPECTIVE: Prosecuting seditionsThe Last Time the Justice Department Prosecuted a Seditious Conspiracy Case

    Lenawee County, Michigan, had an apocalyptic Christian nationalist militia problem about a decade ago. The group called itself the Hutaree, a name that members said meant “Christian Warriors,” though the FBI said it didn’t mean anything at all. The FBI had an informer inside the group, and nine of its members were charged with conspiracy, sedition, and various weapon charges. Judge Victoria Roberts acquitted the Hutaree members of the serious charges of conspiracy and sedition. Why should anyone care about the Hutaree now? Jacob Schulz writes that we should, “because one of those serious charges was seditious conspiracy under 18 U.S.C.§ 2384. It was the last time the Justice Department would use the statute until the present day.” It’s looking more and more like prosecutors might dust off the statute in response to the insurrection of Jan. 6. “The trial judge’s decision in the Hutaree case isn’t binding precedent. But the Hutaree are worth a second look.”

  • Technology regulationHow Much Regulation of the Tech Industry Is Too Much?

    As prominent figures, including former President Donald Trump, are banned from social media platforms for posting disinformation or inflammatory remarks, technology regulation has become a hot topic of debate. “We are living in times where technology has fundamentally changed almost all aspects of our lives,” says UCLA’s Terry Kramer. “It is within this context that we must carefully balance and enable the advantages of technology, which can improve our lives, improve our connectedness, lower the cost of critical goods and services, and improve health care against forces that can create negative externalities. Developing a critical understanding of the trade-offs is essential.”

  • GunsLess Gun Violence among Children in States with More Gun Laws

    Gun violence among children is lower in states with more gun laws, according to a new study. The study examined youth gun and weapon carrying data from 2005 and 2017 across several states.

  • China syndromeChina’s Abuse of the Uighurs: Does the Genocide Label Fit?

    By John B. Bellinger III

    On his last full day in office, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo determined that the Chinese government is committing genocide against the Uighurs and other minority groups in the Xinjiang region. The Biden administration is reviewing the decision. But what does the genocide label mean, and what would using it entail for U.S. foreign policy?

  • Conspiracy theoryWhy the Pro-Trump QAnon Movement Is Finding Followers in Japan

    By Julian Ryall

    After emerging among conspiracy theorists in the United States, the far-right QAnon movement is expanding to include a small but dedicated band of adherents in Japan. Julian Ryall reports from Tokyo.

  • Democracy watchIs Impeaching President Trump “Pointless Revenge”? Not If It Sends a Message to Future Presidents

    By Michael Blake

    If Congress chooses to impeach President Trump, it is because there is a need to mark out, through a definitive statement, what no president ought to do. It will also set the moral limits of the presidency – and, thereby, send a message to future presidents who might be tempted to follow in President Trump’s footsteps.

  • Perspective: Cyber conductIsrael, Cyberattacks and International Law

    Recently, several cyberattacks have hit Israeli companies. While Israel has not yet publicly attributed the attacks to any foreign state, media outlets report that Israeli cybersecurity experts have tied the operations of the main hacker groups behind these attacks—BlackShadow and Pay2Kitten—to Iran. Tal Mimran and Yuval Shany write that in response, Israel seems to be increasingly turning toward international law to guide its approach to hostile activities in cyberspace

  • Election securityElection security It’s Official: The Election Was Secure

    Election officials and election security experts have long been clear: voter fraud is extraordinarily rare and the U.S. system has strong checks in place to protect the integrity of our voting process. “These are the facts,” says the Brennan Center for Justice. “But the facts have not stopped bad actors from trotting out baseless claims of ‘systemic voter fraud’ to suppress votes and undermine trust in our democracy for political gain.” Government officials, judges, and elected leaders, overwhelmingly Republican —and, in the executive branch and the judiciary, mostly Trump appointees — have publicly acknowledged confidence in the November election.

  • ARGUMENT: Criminal sedition Invoking Martial Law to Reverse the 2020 Election Could be Criminal Sedition

    In his increasingly desperate bid to hang on to the White House, President Trump is reportedly contemplating invoking martial law to force the invalidation of the results of the election in four swing states, apparently inspired by remarks of the former and recently-pardoned National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Law professors Claire O. Finkelstein and Richard W Painter write that “While we deem the chances that Trump will actually follow through with the attempt to spark a military coup between now and January 20th extremely low, Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen should be prepared for such a contingency and play out the legal and enforcement implications in advance. Shocking and unprecedented though it would be, Rosen should be ready to go so far as to order federal law enforcement officers to arrest anyone, including, if necessary, the president, who has conspired to carry out this illegal plan.”

  • ARGUMENT: Confrontational politicsPandemic Consequences: The Acceleration of Confrontational Politics

    Soon after the coronavirus began spreading widely around the world, a dominant narrative emerged about its likely effect on global politics: the pandemic would reinforce autocratic governance. Thomas Carothers and Benjamin Press write in Just Security that, indeed, dozens of authoritarian or authoritarian-leaning leaders, from Cambodia to Hungary, quickly seized the moment to amass more power, undercut institutional checks and balances, and restrict citizen freedoms in ways that exceeded public-health necessity. But “almost a year in, another critical trend has become apparent: contrary to the hopes of some observers, the pandemic is also fueling the longer-term ascendancy of confrontational politics,” they write.

  • No-fly lawsuitU.S. Supreme Court Allows 3 Muslim Men to Sue FBI Agents in “No Fly” Case

    By Masood Farivar

    The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday that three Muslim men who were put on the U.S. government’s no-fly list for allegedly refusing to serve as FBI informants could sue FBI agents for monetary damages.

  • PandemicCoronavirus: Five Ways Some States Have Used the Pandemic to Curtail Human Rights and Democracy

    By Rachel M. Gisselquist and Durgesh Solanki

    In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, at least 95 countries declared a national emergency, empowering governments to act in ways they would not normally to protect citizens. Such exceptional periods pose major risks for democracy and human rights, providing opportunities for leaders and states to consolidate power.

  • Election securityBarr: DOJ Has Found Nothing that Could Impact Election Result

    Attorney General Bill Barr has thrown cold water on the president’s false claims of massive voter fraud and a “stolen election.” Despite Department of Justice investigations turning up no evidence, and despite the fact that the president and his legal team have lost practically every legal challenge they filed — Trump and his allies are 1-39 in post-election litigation — Trump continues to spread falsehoods about the election, and continues to raise money — $170 million so far — based on these untrue claims.

  • PolarizationLike Fire and Ice: Why Societies Are Increasingly Fragmenting

    Scientists at the Complexity Science Hub Vienna (CSH) show that the accelerating fragmentation of society - often referred to as filter bubbles - is a direct consequence of the growing number of social contacts. According to their model, societies can only be either cohesive or fragmented. And just as water becomes ice or gas at a certain temperature, a society abruptly changes from one state to the other at certain tipping points. If the basic sociological assumptions are correct, researchers see a huge problem that could endanger our democracies as well as the management of massive challenges such as the climate crisis or future pandemics.

  • Post-election tensionsFive Reasons Trump’s Challenge of the 2020 Election Will Not Lead to Civil War

    By Alexander Cohen

    Some Americans fear that the deep political divisions in the country and President Donald Trump’s determination to challenge the results of the election will cause civil war. Those who object to Trump’s tactics argue that he behaves like an autocrat by delegitimizing sources of information that resist his narrative, demonizing political opponents, supporting political violence, and using courts as political tools Without a doubt, the president’s attempts to undermine faith in the integrity of the election are dangerous to democracy. Yet, for the moment, the system appears poised to hold together. The months ahead will be turbulent, but civil war is unlikely.