The filling of a judicial vacancy provides a unique opportunity to examine not only the appointment or election process, but also the court itself and its work. For obvious reasons, this has been recognized in connection with the Supreme Court of the United States,1 where vacancies are often the subject of much conjecture but, because of life tenure, remain essentially unpredictable. On a less lofty plane, the opportunity to take stock also occurs in other courts, and the timing, at least, is less a matter of speculation in non-Article III courts, where judges serve for fixed terms.
A case in point is the expiration of Chief Judge Andrew S. Effron’s term on the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (referred to here as the Court of Appeals) on September 30, 2011. It is appropriate to consider the process for filling his seat; the standards that, based on the law and past experience, must, could, or should not be taken into account in choosing a successor; and the possible impact on the court and its jurisprudence.
While national security law covers a broad swath, military justice is a key component, since good order and discipline are integral to a credible military capacity, and notwithstanding the remarkable trend towards the use of high technology in national defense, uniformed personnel – human beings – and their conduct (both actual and desired) remain the heart of the matter. Hence, the filling of Judge Effron’s seat is properly viewed as potentially impacting on national security.
Seen from the great height of global comparison, the number of new anti-terrorism laws that criminalize terrorism, block terrorism financing, develop new international monitoring mechanisms to spot terrorists, and increase vigilance about the international movements of persons is extraordinary. Up close, however, widespread compliance [with the Security Council Resolution 1373 framework] looks less like a tightly coordinated strategy than diverse variations on a theme.
Cybersecurity has become a national imperative and a government priority. Increased cybersecurity will help protect consumers and businesses, ensure the availability of critical infrastructures on which our economy depends, and strengthen national security. However, cybersecurity efforts must be carefully tailored in order to preserve privacy, liberty, innovation, and the open nature of the Internet.2 To design an effective and balanced cybersecurity strategy, each part of the country’s critical infrastructure3 must be considered separately. Solutions that may be appropriate for the power grid or financial networks may not be suitable for securing the public portions of the Internet that constitute the very architecture for free speech essential to our democracy. Policy toward government systems can be much more prescriptive than policy toward private systems. The characteristics that have made the Internet such a success – its openness, its decentralized and user-controlled nature, and its support for innovation and free expression – may be put at risk if heavy-handed policies are enacted…