Episode 9 – Oona Hathaway on War Powers and the Scope of National Security

In this episode, I speak with Oona Hathaway, Professor of Law at Yale Law School and Professor of International Law and Area Studies at the Yale University MacMillan Center. We discuss the constitutional and legislative constraints on the executive war-making power, both in terms of the theoretical rationale for such constraints, and in terms of the constitutional and legislative form such constraints take in U.S. legal system. After discussing how and why such constraints in the U.S. have eroded over time, reaching a nadir in the Libyan intervention, Oona explains how the War Powers Resolution could be revised, in ways more consistent with international law, and how Congress could employ the courts, in order to re-establish Congressional authority over decisions to engage in armed conflict. We also discuss how such crises as the Coronavirus pandemic and climate change should cause us to re-think the scope and character of national security priorities and policy. We wrap up with a short discussion of the collaborative process involved in the writing of her co-authored work The Internationalists, and the ethical obligations in being a government lawyer. A fantastic foray into war powers and evolving perspectives on national security!

Materials:

– “How to Revive Congress’s War Powers,” Texas National Security Review (2019).

– “How to Recover a Role for Congress and the Courts in Decisions to Wage War,” Just Security, Jan. 10, 2020)(with Geoffrey Block).

– “COVID-19 Shows How the U.S. Got National Security Wrong,” Just Security, Apr. 7, 2020.

Reading Recommendations:

– Kate Manne, Entitled: How Male Privilege Hurts Women (2020).

– Samuel Moyn, Humane: How Americans Abandoned Peace and Reinvented War, [working title – forthcoming, see this YouTube session for Sam’s discussion of the book!]

– Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall Trilogy (2009)

Episode 1 – An Introduction by Host Craig Martin

I am Craig Martin, the host of this podcast. In this introductory episode, I explain briefly the objectives, scope, and format of the podcast. I also provide an overview of the main legal regimes that comprise “the laws of war,” namely the jus ad bellum and jus in bello regimes – which, respectively, govern the conditions under which states may use force against other states, and govern the conduct of armed forces within armed conflict. I also refer to their relationship with some other regimes that affect armed conflict, including international human rights law, and constitutional war powers provisions in domestic law.

While this episode is aimed primarily at the non-expert, to provide background that may be helpful in understanding the issues raised in subsequent episodes, it also highlights many of the areas of controversy and debate that we will address in episodes to come, and so may be of interest to the expert listeners as well.

Supplementary Material:

I include below some links to my own writing on these issues, as these articles include sections that summarize the legal regimes discussed in this episode, which some may find helpful; and they will also give a sense of where I stand on some of the more controversial issues:

– “Challenging and Refining the “Unwilling or Unable” Doctrine,” 52 Vanderbilt J. Trans. L. 245 (2019).

A Means-Methods Paradox and the Legality of Drone Strikes in Armed Conflict,” 19:2 Int’l J. Human Rights 142 (2015).

Taking War Seriously: The Case for Constitutional Constraints on the Use of Force, in Compliance with International Law,” 76:2  Brooklyn L. Rev. 611 (2011).

The rest of my writing can be found on my webpage.