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Bob Bauer and Jack Goldsmith on Reforming the Presidency

It's been almost a year since Trump lost the presidency and over nine months since a new administration and a new congressional majority took power. We’re moving further and further away from Trump's controversial use of presidential authorities, and it seems like we've lost momentum in the push for systemic changes to prevent future abuses. Fortunately, some people are still pushing. Natalie Orpett sat down with Bob Bauer, former White House counsel to President Obama, and Jack Goldsmith, former assistant attorney general in President Bush’s Office of Legal Counsel. Together, they are the authors of the book, “After Trump: Reconstructing the Presidency,” which was published in fall 2020. They've now joined together again to start a new organization, the Presidential Reform Project, which proposes a bipartisan blueprint for reconstructing the presidency. They talked about their recommendations for reform, including a few that they've added to their list since writing their book; about what's going on in Congress and the executive branch right now; and they explained why they believe that it really is still possible to implement some of their reforms.

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10/14/2021

Finstas, Falsehoods and the First Amendment

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen’s recent testimony before Congress has set in motion a renewed cycle of outrage over the company’s practices—and a renewed round of discussion around what, if anything, Congress should do to rein Facebook in. But how workable are these proposals, really?This week on Arbiters of Truth, our series on the online information ecosystem, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Jeff Kosseff, an associate professor of cybersecurity law at the United States Naval Academy, and the guy that has literally written not just the book on this, but two of them. He is the author of “The Twenty-Six Words That Created the Internet,” a book about Section 230, and he has another book coming out next year about First Amendment protections for anonymous speech, titled “The United States of Anonymous.” So Jeff isvery well positioned to evaluate recent suggestions that Facebook should, for example, limit the ability of young people to create what users call Finstas, a second, secret Instagram account for a close circle of friends—or Haugen’s suggestion that the government should regulate how Facebook amplifies certain content through its algorithms. Jeff discussed the importance of online anonymity, the danger of skipping past the First Amendment when proposing tech reforms, and why he thinks that Section 230 reform has become unavoidable … even if that reform might not make any legal or policy sense.