The National Security Law Podcast: Mueller Is the Only Vulcan in the Room

By Robert Chesney, Steve Vladeck
Monday, March 12, 2018, 3:12 PM

Out on spring break but still listening to the podcast? We love it! Actually, your hosts are out on spring break too, but before they left town they sat down to record episode 63 on March 9. If things have gone crazy over the weekend, and you are surprised they aren’t discussing them here—well, that’s why!

This week’s show, at any rate, catches up on a number of ongoing sagas:

  • The latest twists in the Mueller investigation: Yes, we feel duty bound to talk about the obligation to comply with grand jury subpoenas (looking at you, Sam Nunberg), but we also dig into the surprise emergence of issues involving Erik Prince (of Blackwater fame).
  • The military commissions “seven-layer dip” issues in the Nashiri case: We’ve been closely tracking the concatenating issues bedeviling the Nashiri prosecution, originating with a defense team claim about monitored attorney-client communications. This week, a key new detail emerged: the spat began when the attorneys found a microphone in the relevant room (one that the prosecution says was merely an unplugged legacy piece of equipment from prior use of the same room as an interrogation room) but then were directed not to talk to their client about it. We discuss the implications, both substantive and procedural.
  • Doe v. Mattis, the American citizen enemy combatant case: Two storylines are in play here. First, we now know which judges will comprise the D.C. Circuit panel that will hear argument on the detainee-transfer issue in early April. Second, the briefing on the underlying legal dispute has developed to the point that we can provide a deeper-dive into the relevant questions.
  • The Doe v. Mattis deep-dive on the legal dispute quickly leads to a discussion of judicial deference and the good ol’ Political Question Doctrine. Buckle-up for an extended talk about how these doctrinal threads do or should work together not just in Doe but in other contexts.

Someone on this show still hasn’t seen Black Panther, so we are not yet ready to do our review of it. Instead, those who hang in till the end will be treated to NCAA Tournament Final Four projections made without the benefit of knowing anything about what the brackets will look like. One doubts this will make their predictions any worse than they would have been anyway ...

Happy spring break to all!