News & Events

Fashion Looks to Paris (Agreement): Professor Mark Nevitt Speaks to WWD

What Rejoining the Paris Agreement Signals to Fashion

(WWD | Jan. 21, 2021) While the U.S. rejoining the Paris Agreement is just the beginning of a bold rush into environmental stewardship, the action should not be overlooked because of the message it signals to fashion.

“I think there will be more focus on all industries that contribute to climate change, to include fashion.”

Why does this brush of the penstroke matter?

A Cross-Industry Sustainability Push

“Rejoining the Paris Agreement is a signal to the world that the U.S. ‘is back’ on the international climate stage,” said Mark Nevitt, an associate professor of law and expert in environmental and climate change law at Syracuse University’s College of Law. “The U.S. is the world’s largest historical greenhouse gas emitter, and U.S. leadership is crucial for making international climate progress and reducing our emissions. As the Senate is 50-50 and there is a slim Democratic majority in the House, passing bold climate legislation will be challenging.”

It is a 30-day process that began Wednesday for the U.S. to officially rejoin the agreement, but the process of undoing previous environmental rollbacks and rewriting law to realize the bold pledge of making the country carbon-neutral by 2050 is more daunting.

Nevitt believes the Environmental Protection Agency will be the main lever under the Biden-Harris administration “to push [Biden’s] environmental agenda,” both in communication and action. And as for the largely unregulated and highly polluting fashion industry, Nevitt foresees it in the mix of broader industry overhaul.

“I think there will be more focus on all industries that contribute to climate change, to include fashion. Look for the new Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Michael Regan, to push broad sustainability policies across the U.S. economy. For fashion, this will likely highlight the need to reuse clothing, streamlining supply chains to reduce the carbon footprint,” he said. “While only so much can be done by law or regulation, look for a broad push via public communications on sustainability across all industries, to include fashion and its environmental impact” …

What Rejoining the Paris Agreement Signals to Fashion

The Legal Examiner Talks to Professor William C. Banks About Domestic Terrorism Cases

Domestic terrorism prosecutions reach all-time high

(The Legal Examiner | Jan. 19, 2021) The insurrection attempt by a mob on the nation’s capitol may be part of a larger trend of increasing incidents of right-wing domestic terrorism.

“I think it’s not a one-off,” said William C. Banks, law professor at Syracuse University College of Law. “We’re in a very critical period right now that might even abate or reverse itself. I’m hopeful that it will. I think we’re going to have to see.”

Banks said he hopes the leadership of Joe Biden’s administration will have a “more calming effect” than President Trump.

Last year saw the highest number of domestic terrorism prosecutions brought by the federal government around the country in the 25 years since government tracking of these cases began, according to a report from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University. Banks is not affiliated with TRAC.

In all, U.S. Attorneys’ offices brought 183 domestic terrorism cases in 2020, compared with 90 in 2019, 63 in 2018 and 69 in 2017, according to the TRAC report, which used data the clearinghouse obtained through litigation …

Read the full article …

Domestic terrorism prosecutions reach all-time high

No Conviction? Professor William C. Banks Comments on Trump’s Second Impeachment

House impeaches Trump once more

(China Daily | Jan. 14, 2020) With the US Capitol secured by armed National Guard troops inside and out, the House of Representatives voted Wednesday to impeach President Donald Trump for a historic second time, indicting him for “incitement of insurrection” in the storming of Congress a week ago.

“I predict no conviction in an eventual Senate trial.”

As impeachment heads to the Senate, President-elect Joe Biden said he hoped the Senate can balance a second impeachment trial of Trump with “other urgent business” of the nation, which remains gripped by the raging COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement released hours after the bipartisan House vote, Biden did not take a position on whether the Senate should convict Trump, but again condemned the violent attack on Capitol Hill …

William Banks, distinguished professor emeritus at the Syracuse University College of Law in New York, said the House vote on impeachment was not surprising.

“It underscores that he is the ONLY President in US history to be impeached two times. It is clearly a stain on his record and should underscore the view that his presidency was an aberration in the US,” Banks told China Daily.

Some Republicans joined because Trump lost the election, he can’t impact them directly in the future, and in addition, Trump’s actions were far more grave and harmful this time around, Banks said.

“I predict no conviction in an eventual Senate trial, and with luck the Senate will relegate the trial to off hours so they can begin working on the Biden agenda,” Banks said. “It should have little impact on the Biden administration” …

Read the full article.

 

Professor William C. Banks Helps Explain Insurrection Act for USA Today

What is the Insurrection Act and how could Trump use it? Here’s what to know

(USA Today | Jan. 11, 2021) False social media posts swirled late Sunday that President Donald Trump in the wake of the U.S. Capitol riots had invoked the Insurrection Act, a law that allows the president to deploy the military to quell rebellion.

Tweets sharing images of military personnel in Washington continued to spread Monday morning and became a trending term on Twitter. However, Trump has not invoked the law.

The law, which has existed in various forms since the time of George Washington and in its current state since the Civil War, allows the president to dispatch the military or federalize the National Guard in states that are unable to put down an insurrection or are defying federal law …

William Banks, a Syracuse University College of Law Board of Advisors Distinguished Professor, said that when thinking about the Insurrection Act, it’s important to remember one of the most basic principles of the United States’ founding: that the military not be involved in civilian affairs.

“The Insurrection Act lays into U.S. law an exception to that background principle,” Banks said.

In most cases, a state would want to rely on National Guard troops in situations of unrest. The Insurrection Act is generally reserved for when “things are really bad,” Banks said …

… Hoffmeister and Banks said, however, there was no need for Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act on Jan. 6. given the federal government’s control of the district’s National Guard and federal law enforcement. Invoking the Act would have further allowed Trump to send active-duty military to the district when he already in effect had control over its National Guard and federal police …

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NBC News Asks Professor William C. Banks About National Guard and Protests

Who decides when there are helicopters? Experts weigh in on National Guard monitoring protests

(NBC News | Jan. 10, 2020) It was not lost on many Americans — including President-elect Joe Biden — that after a violent mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters broke into the Capitol in Washington, D.C., the delayed use of National Guard troops was far different than it was during the Black Lives Matter protests last year.

In late May, governors called on 43,000 troops nationwide. The nation hasn’t deployed National Guard troops at a comparable scale since the civil rights movement of the 1960s. By comparison, on Wednesday, acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller approved the deployment of less than 6,200 National Guard troops …

… But the use of National Guard units in June was “fundamentally exceptional and different from the way civilians and the military have ordinarily worked together,” said William Banks, emeritus professor of law at Syracuse University and co-author of “Soldiers on the Home Front,” a book about the domestic deployment of U.S. military assets. He fears that the new use of military surveillance technology for domestic protesters presents deeply troubling implications. “The civilian-military relationship, which is critical to the success of our society, has broken down” …

Read the full article.

 

Professor Mark Nevitt Asks Four Questions About Capitol Hill Riot

Tragedy at the Capitol: Four Questions that Demand Answers

By Mark P. Nevitt

(Just Security | Jan. 9, 2020) How can the U.S. Capitol, surrounded by one of the largest concentrations of law enforcement and national security personnel in the world, be so quickly overrun by Trump insurrectionists hell-bent on “stopping the steal,” halting our cherished democratic processes, and potentially harming lawmakers?

This tragedy and breach of the Capitol Building on Wednesday is a failure of leadership and planning at the highest levels. A full and comprehensive investigation will be conducted. And it is important not to jump too quickly to conclusions without having a full understanding of the events and decisions that took place that day and the days leading up to it.

Nevertheless, several key questions and themes are beginning to emerge. These must be addressed prior to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20.

These questions center around the difficulty in swiftly coordinating a response across overlapping federal, state, and local jurisdictions. Despite being surrounded by the nation’s vast national security and law enforcement apparatus, the U.S. Capitol response appears to have been plagued by and not taking the threat of right-wing extremism seriously. This was further exacerbated by different chains of command, overlapping legal authorities, and complex jurisdictional issue.

I highlight four initial questions to focus on:

  1. Was the District of Columbia National Guard properly deployed and resourced?
  2. What prevented other state National Guards from being expeditiously deployed?
  3. What role do other federal law enforcement have and why did the DC police have to play such a critical role in the Capitol’s defense?
  4. What other assets may have assisted? …

Tragedy at the Capitol: Four Questions that Demand Answers

Professor William C. Banks Comments on the Capitol Hill Riot

SU Law Professor Saddened, Concerned About Democracy’s Future

(Spectrum News | Jan. 7, 2021) Sadness: That’s how Syracuse University Law Professor Bill Banks felt when he watched a mob rush the Capitol on Wednesday. A group of people took extreme measures to vindicate a president who refuses to accept defeat, he said.

“It’s quite an ironic and disturbing spectacle to have the president of the United States engage in sedition.”

“It’s quite an ironic and disturbing spectacle to have the president of the United States engage in sedition,” said Banks. “That is in violent, illegal attempts to overthrow the government of the United States.”

Capitol police were overwhelmed Wednesday afternoon. The logistics are still unknown.

Law enforcement in Washington, D.C., is unique because the Defense Department usurps the city’s power, said Banks. He says either the police misapprehended where the group was or they were underprepared.

“They simply didn’t have the numbers to stand up to the thousands of violent thugs who were using any means available to them to break into the building,” said Banks …

Read the full article.


CNY Reactions to Washington D.C. Attack on Congress from Disgust to Anger to Blaming Trump

(WAER | Jan. 7, 2021) Reactions to the storming of the U.S. Capitol building by a large number of President Trump supporters Wednesday sparked some strong reactions from New York’s Congressional delegation and political experts in Central New York …

Syracuse University Professor William Banks, founder of the Institute for Security Policy and Law says the mob and its activities fall short of a coup attempt, though said it was appropriate for police to use force to quell rioting …

Read the full story.

 

Preparedness, Planning, and Leadership: Professor William C. Banks Looks at Lessons Learned in 2020

Hope jostles with fear in US

(China Daily | Jan. 5. 2021) New leader on way, but wounds could take time to heal in polarized nation

The year 2020 has passed into history with a series of cascading events in the United States ranging from racism protests to a traumatic presidential election-all played out against the backdrop of a deadly pandemic.

The past year will make itself felt in 2021 as a more divided country grapples with twin health and economic crises.

The US casualties from the novel coronavirus, which the nation’s scientists now believe first infected people there in mid-December 2019, had surged past 351,000 on the first days of 2021. That’s roughly one of every 1,000 residents, the most in the world for a single nation.

But the pandemic wasn’t the only event that shaped the year.

William Banks, distinguished professor emeritus at Syracuse University College of Law in New York, summed up 2020 in three phrases: COVID-19, racial justice and democracy threatened.

The pandemic will mark 2020 as equivalent to 1918, when a similar pandemic killed huge numbers of people, Banks said.

“The lessons learned hopefully are preparedness, planning, and leadership,” he told China Daily. “The US lacked all three this year” …

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Hon. James E. Baker Publishes The Centaur’s Dilemma: National Security Law for the Coming AI Revolution

Artificial IntelligenceOf all the areas that may benefit from artificial intelligence or be damaged by it, national security might be the most important. “Security risk will come first, as states—and perhaps other actors—race to develop and defend against the advantages of AI-enabled intelligence, weapons, and decision-making,” writes the Hon. James E. Baker, Director of the Syracuse University Institute for Security Policy and Law (SPL), in The Centaur’s Dilemma: National Security Law for the Coming AI Revolution, newly published by the Brookings Institution Press (Dec. 1, 2020).

Written in plain English, The Centaur’s Dilemma is written to help guide policymakers, lawyers, and technology experts as they deal with the legal, ethical, and practical questions that will arise when using AI to plan and carry out the actions required for the nation’s defense.

Baker, an expert in national security law and a professor at the Syracuse University College of Law and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, writes that having an AI advantage comes with risk: “Operators may not understand the technology they are using, including its limitations, its strengths, or its faults. They may not rely on it enough or they may rely on it too much.”

The US Department of Defense has sought to mitigate risk by requiring “a human in the loop.” “The Defense Department calls this a centaur model of employment,” writes Baker, “but instead of being part-human and part-horse, this centaur is part-human and part-machine, the machine augmenting human capacity with the human seeking to understand and control the machine’s capabilities.”

Adopting a realistic approach in assessing how the law can be used, or even misused, to regulate this new technology, Baker covers—among other topics—national security process, constitutional law, the law of armed conflict, arms control, and academic and corporate ethics. Using his own background as Chief Judge of the US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, Baker examines potential points of contention and litigation in an area where the law is still evolving and might not yet provide clear and certain answers.

Reviewing the book, Avril Haines—an SPL Distinguished Fellow who was recently nominated by President-Elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. L’68 to the role of Director of National Intelligence—writes that “The Centaur’s Dilemma is a must-read for anyone interested in national security and technology. James Baker provides an extraordinary and timely roadmap for how to think about the intersection of the law and artificial intelligence. What is exceptional about this work is his focus on how to use the law as a tool for making wiser and more strategic decisions regarding the use of AI in national security.”

Professor William C. Banks Explains Martial Law in UK’s The Daily Express

US election re-run: Right-wing leader demands ANOTHER vote – with martial law in place

(The Daily Express (UK) | Dec. 5, 2020) Tom Zawistowski, leader of We The People Convention, is championing “limited martial law” to complement a re-run of the November election. He described Joe Biden as “an illegitimate president”, adding: “We are not asking for the president to contest the current election results because they are so fraudulent no one can figure out which votes count and which ones don’t because that is exactly what the Democrat/Socialists wanted.”

These claims are disputed and numerous legal challenges put forward by US President Donald Trump have failed …

… Speaking to Express.co.uk, professor William C. Banks of Syracuse University College of Law said: “There is no provision in the US for martial law, and it has not been declared by a US official since the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

“It is widely understood to be available only in the event of a complete breakdown of civil institutions” …

Read the full article.