Checking the President’s Sanctions Powers
July 13, 2021
A single emergency power accounts for 37 of the 40 national emergencies active today: the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), which underlies most U.S. economic sanctions regimes. Although it was originally enacted to constrain the president during peacetime, Congress today has almost no ability to check presidential uses (or abuses) of this extremely broad power. Moreover, sanctions programs and targets have ballooned since IEEPA’s enactment, harming both Americans’ constitutional rights and the well-being of civilians abroad. The Biden administration has pledged to review the sanctions regimes currently in place, and voices inside and outside of government are calling for reform. A recent report released by the Brennan Center for Justice, Checking the President’s Sanctions Powers, delves into the problems with IEEPA and its implementation and offers recommendations to address them.
Join a timely discussion on the need for sanctions reform moderated by the Director of the ACLU’s National Security Project, Hina Shamsi, in conversation with Asli Bâli, Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law and Faculty Director of the Promise Institute for Human Rights; Peter Beinart, journalist, Professor of Journalism and Political Science at CUNY, and author of The Beinart Notebook; and Andrew Boyle, Counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice and author of Checking the President’s Sanctions Powers.
Asli Bâli, Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law and Faculty Director of the Promise Institute for Human Rights
Professor Bâli is Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law. She was previously Director of the UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies. She currently teaches Public International Law, International Human Rights, a seminar on the Laws of War and a Perspectives seminar on Third World Approaches to International Law.
Bâli is a graduate of Williams College, the University of Cambridge where she was a Herschel Smith Scholar, Yale Law School and Princeton University, where she earned her Ph.D. in Politics. During law school, she served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal and the Yale Journal of International Law, and as an articles editor of the Yale Journal of Human Rights & Development. After law school, she worked for the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and as an associate at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, where she specialized in international transactions and sovereign representation. Bâli currently serves as co-chair of the Advisory Board for the Middle East Division of Human Rights Watch and as chair of the Task Force on Civil and Human Rights for the Middle East Studies Association. Immediately prior to her appointment at UCLA, Bâli served as the Irving S. Ribicoff Fellow in Law at the Yale Law School.
Bâli’s principal scholarly interests lie in two areas: public international law—including human rights law and the law of the international security order—and comparative constitutional law, with a focus on the Middle East. Her current research examines questions of federalism and decentralization for the purposes of addressing self-determination demands and governance goals in the transitions currently underway in the Middle East. She is also completing a project examining the post-Cold War erosion of the United Nations Charter prohibition on the use of force. She has previously written on constitutional design in religiously divided societies, the nuclear non-proliferation regime, international legal arguments concerning humanitarian intervention, race and empire in the formation, interpretation and enforcement of international law, and the role of judicial independence in constitutional transitions. Bâli’s recent scholarship has appeared in the American Journal of International Law Unbound, International Journal of Constitutional Law, University of Chicago Law Review, UCLA Law Review, Yale Journal of International Law, Cornell Journal of International Law, Virginia Journal of International Law, Geopolitics, Studies in Law, Politics and Society and edited volumes published by Cambridge University Press and Oxford University Press.
Peter Beinart, journalist, Professor of Journalism and Political Science at CUNY, and author of The Beinart Notebook
Peter Beinart teaches national reporting and opinion writing at the Newmark J-School and political science at the CUNY Graduate Center. He is editor-at-large for Jewish Currents, a CNN political commentator, and a fellow at the Foundation for Middle East Peace. He is also a nonfiction author and former Rhodes Scholar.
His first book, “The Good Fight,” was published by HarperCollins in 2006. His second book, “The Icarus Syndrome,” was published by HarperCollins in 2010. His third, “The Crisis of Zionism,” was published by Times Books in 2012.
Beinart has written for The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, The New Republic, the Financial Times, the Boston Globe, Newsweek, Slate, The Forward, Reader’s Digest, Die Zeit, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, and Polity: the Journal of the Northeastern Political Science Studies Association. The Week magazine named him columnist of the year for 2004. In 2005, he gave the Theodore H. White lecture at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
He has appeared on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” “Charlie Rose,” “Meet the Press,” “The Colbert Report” and many other television programs.
Beinart graduated from Yale University, winning a Rhodes scholarship for graduate study at Oxford University. After graduating from University College, Oxford, Beinart became The New Republic’s managing editor in 1995. He became senior editor in 1997, and from 1999 to 2006 served as the magazine’s editor.
Andrew Boyle, Counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice and author of Checking the President’s Sanctions Powers
Andrew Boyle is counsel in the Liberty & National Security Program, where, among other matters, he focuses on emergency powers. He has held fellowships with the Truman National Security Project, the National Endowment for Democracy, and the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. He is also co-chair of the American Society for International Law’s (ASIL) International Criminal Law Interest Group, is a member of the Executive Committee of ASIL’s Lieber Society on the Law of Armed Conflict, and has served as an observer at the Guantanamo Military Commissions.
Prior to joining the Brennan Center, Boyle prosecuted senior Khmer Rouge leaders on behalf of the United Nations for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. He has also served in the trial chambers of the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, where he worked on cases resulting from the 1994 genocide, completed a fellowship in the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program, and clerked for The Honorable Helene N. White of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.His writing has been published in on-line and print fora, including The New York Times, and Fortune, and he has provided commentary in various broadcast and print media outlets, including MSNBC, BBC World, Univision News, the Associated Press, Swiss Broadcasting, the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Time, Mother Jones, and the Asahi Shimbun.Boyle graduated from UCLA School of Law and its Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy, where he was an articles editor for the Journal of International Law and Foreign Affairs.
Hina Shamsi, Director of the ACLU’s National Security Project
Hina Shamsi (@HinaShamsi) is the director of the ACLU National Security Project, which is dedicated to ensuring that U.S. national security policies and practices are consistent with the Constitution, civil liberties, and human rights. She has litigated cases upholding the freedoms of speech and association, and challenging targeted killing, torture, unlawful detention, and post-9/11 discrimination against racial and religious minorities. Her work includes a focus on the intersection of national security and counterterrorism policies with international human rights and humanitarian law. She previously worked as a staff attorney in the ACLU National Security Project and was the acting director of Human Rights First’s Law & Security Program. She also served as senior advisor to the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions. Hina appears regularly in the media and has been quoted as a national security expert by numerous outlets including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Associated Press, and Reuters, and has appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, NPR, ABC News, and the BBC. She is the author and coauthor of publications on targeted killing, torture, and extraordinary rendition, and has monitored and reported on the military commissions at Guantánamo Bay. She is also a lecturer-in-law at Columbia Law School, where she teaches a course in international human rights. Hina is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and Northwestern University School of Law.