Words matter. These are the best Benjamin Wittes Quotes, and they’re great for sharing with your friends.
The nature of the job of attorney general has changed – irrevocably. And we should never again have an attorney general, of either party, capable of expressing surprise at the role that national security issues now play in the life of the Justice Department or in the role of its chief.
In a way I never did with George W. Bush or Barack Obama or Bill Clinton, I will write about the actions of the Trump presidency with the working assumption that our nation must be protected both by and from the president.
The difference between a cult and a religion, of course, lies in extremity.
Sometimes, the intelligence community does legal collection against a legitimate foreign intelligence target and that target interacts with U.S. persons, against whom our people thus end up collecting information as a collateral matter.
If the ‘enemy combatant’ cases of Padilla and Hamdi present a clash between liberty and security, each side champions one while giving short shrift to the other.
I’m an unabashed apologist for strong national-security authority. That’s why I might be more alarmed by Trump.
I’ve got no problem with drone strikes.
How exactly the obstruction-of-justice statutes interact with the president’s broad powers to supervise the executive branch under Article II of the Constitution is a genuinely difficult question.
You cannot denude the presidency of the substance and power of its office. It can’t be done.
The foundations of modern civil-rights law are exceptionally secure. Conservative judges nibble around the edges sometimes, and people still debate the constitutionality of affirmative-action programs. But almost no one seriously argues about the basic meaning or legitimacy of core civil-rights protections.
Conservatives complain that the Supreme Court is too liberal. Liberals complain that it’s too conservative. Both charges are inaccurate: in reality the Court is a careful political actor that arguably represents the center of gravity of American politics better than most politicians do.
The concept of war is not the construct that will govern – psychologically, politically, and legally – our continuing response to Al Qaeda.
I understand that a lot of people who use phrases like #resistance have found my work valuable. But my job is to look at difficult problems of national security in ways that may be useful to policymakers and the public.
Stability in law – particularly constitutional law – is critically important; the Supreme Court would do well to remember that.
We should never again have an attorney general capable of saying virtually nothing as the law of major intelligence programs and the integrity of his department’s work in overseeing these programs are assailed over a protracted period of time.
I was much less offended than others were by the CIA’s interrogations in the years after September 11.
A generation of women has grown up thinking of reproductive freedom as a constitutional right, and the Court should not casually take away rights that it has determined the Constitution guarantees.
When it comes to letting kids out into dark alleys, we understand that they have things to steal. We need to understand that in online life, too.
I’m positively enthusiastic about American surveillance policies.
I have fiercely criticized both the Bush administration’s counterterrorism policies and the Obama administration’s – and fiercely defended both as well.
I’m a rationalist and a skeptic, someone who safely separates faith from reason.
Secret courts require great faith that the Justice Department – and future Justice Departments – will act with integrity.
June 10, 2002, the day John Ashcroft announced the arrest of Jose Padilla, marked a low point in Ashcroft’s career as Attorney General.
In the world of President Trump, we really want people who aren’t going to lie. We want people who can sit in front of a congressional committee for hours and, however mad they may make us, never give us reason to doubt that they are telling the truth as they see it.
The only way to tyrantproof the presidency is not to elect tyrants to the presidency.
In general, liberals fear conservative judges far too much. In almost all areas, in fact, they dramatically overstate the stakes.
Liberals have been overselling the threat to reproductive rights for decades.
Drosnin’s ‘The Bible Code’ would hardly be worth mentioning were it not such a smash hit.
For those who support same-sex marriage – and I support it without reservation – the ideal of equality and the belief in the dignity of same-sex relationships necessarily makes the issue seem a great deal like the civil-rights struggles of the past.
Back when the natural sciences, philosophy, and theology were one great intellectual hodgepodge, proving the existence of God was a relatively commonplace exercise. To the modern mind, however, science and religion talk past each other.
There’s all kinds of crazy right-wing conspiracies about me.
The reason the FISA standard is constitutional is that the government is supposed to use FISA surveillance not for criminal investigations but for counterintelligence probes pursued under the president’s authority to conduct foreign policy.
It is possible for great nations to rot from within.
National security is not just things that go boom. It is not just terrorists and foreign adversaries.
While I oppose the death penalty as a policy matter, in a legal culture in which we reserve the right to execute people for relatively routine street crimes, it seems quite absurd for the justice system to get squeamish about executing the operational masterminds of Sept. 11.