I wanted to pass along to my readers my love of the National Security Law podcast. It is a podcast hosted by two University of Texas at Austin School of Law professors, Bobby Chesney and Steve Vledeck.
They are a fun mix and they each remind me of myself (if smarter) in different ways. Chesney is more of a center-right guy who shares my longstanding political views. Unlike me, however, he is amiable and easygoing and likes to give political actors the benefit of the doubt when possible. He’s less active on Twitter and is perhaps a little less neurotic. Vladeck is excitable and can’t stand Trump (like me) and tends to view Trump administration actions with a little more skepticism (as I do) but his overall politics appear to be center-left and reasonably to the left of mine.
They’re professors in the same areas of law, they’re clearly friends (and even neighbors) and it’s just a fun listen. The latest episode addresses several topics of interest to me, and is worth your time. Especially if you’re a legal nerd, whether a lawyer or not.
Beginning at about 8:23,* they discuss the D.C. Circuit panel decision in the Flynn case. Vladeck says many of the same things I have been saying here for weeks, but more effectively, and with more detail about why the panel decision’s blithe discarding of usual mandamus standards is such a serious breach. Pro-Flynn people should really listen. To them, I say: I’ll put up Vladeck’s expertise and knowledge against that of literally anyone you’ve been following online who has tried to convince you this panel decision makes sense.
They also discuss Bill Barr’s recent fumbling attempt to install a political appointee as the U.S. Attorney for the SDNY. Again, you’ll hear echoes of what you’ve read here, but with more detail and legal discussion.
Finally, in news ripped from today’s headlines (although they recorded the podcast on Friday, I believe), Chesney and Vladeck discuss the Veterans’ Memorial Preservation Act, which was invoked by President Trump in this tweet:
We are tracking down the two Anarchists who threw paint on the magnificent George Washington Statue in Manhattan. We have them on tape. They will be prosecuted and face 10 years in Prison based on the Monuments and Statues Act. Turn yourselves in now!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 30, 2020
What the statute addresses is “attempts to injure or destroy, any structure, plaque, statue, or other monument on public property commemorating the service of any person or persons in the armed forces of the United States.” Does the George Washington statue referenced by Trump count? Well, according to the New York Post, there are two:
The early 20th-century statues — one of Washington as the nation’s first president and another depicting him as general of the country’s Revolutionary War forces — bled red as they dripped with the still-fresh paint just before 8 a.m.
Sounds like one might be covered by the statute and one might not!
(By the way, no way this statute protects statues of Confederate Army generals.)
Enjoy the podcast. It’s great.
*One thing you’ll either find charming (as I do) or annoying is that these guys get along so well that they sort of chat it up as they introduce what they’re going to talk about, and it can take them a while to get to the substance.