Field Notes From A Battleground

Why no Voting Rights fix?

Part 2

Last week, Church examined how Congress erred in its 2006 renewal of the vitally important Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA), leading to the U.S. Supreme Court’s gutting of one of its two crucial provisions described below. Now, he looks at why Congress has not fixed the statute since 2013, and at how the discriminatory practices in the states have changed significantly. Finally, he will touch upon what might be done.


The devastating demise of crucial provisions in the Voting Rights Act of 1965

Part 1 of 2


During the post-Civil War era, the 15th Amendment became one of the most essential features of our governing document by ordaining that the right to vote “shall not be denied or abridged...on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”  Crucial to the amendment’s future effectiveness was its less renowned Section 2, which granted to Congress the “power to enforce [it] by appropriate legislation.”  

There’s more than one way to skin a cat

Last time, Church described the disappointing refusal of Special Prosecutor John Durham to prosecute CIA contractors and agents who had tortured terrorism suspects at CIA black sites, while noting the unprecedented settlement in a suit brought against two psychologists who were major players in the torture of suspected terrorists. This week, he will explore the possible investigation by the International Criminal Court (“ICC”) of torture by CIA contractors and agents, and an intriguing development in North Carolina.

Part 2 of 2

Torture, terror: There’s more than one way to skin a cat

Part 1 of 2

Cat lovers take comfort. My title is just a turn of phrase, an adage that serves as a metaphor for what I wish to write about.  

‘Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water’

Part 2 of 2

Last time, Church showed why the Army Field Manual provides the most effective protection against torture, and that President Obama’s Executive Order 13491 extended its reach to all U.S. interrogations, including those conducted by the CIA. But can Trump, with a pen stroke, sign a new order freeing the CIA from the manual’s restraints?


Certainly Trump could rescind President Obama’s order. But where would that leave Trump and Pompeo, who may have put the president up to it?

‘Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water’

Part 1 of 2

The tagline for “Jaws II” is apropos for what I will write about, which is not great white sharks. Rather, it’s about something far more ferocious: torture. 

I had hoped America was done with torturing. But now there may be reason to fear that it will be revived. That’s what I intend to examine.

While on the campaign trail, Donald Trump infamously declared that as president he would use torture in the fight against terrorism. 

Though he never met Donald Trump, Alexander Hamilton knew the man

Alexander Hamilton, a bastard born on Nevis, a small Caribbean island, was both an intellectual dynamo and a brave man of action. During the American Revolution, after first serving with distinction as an artillery captain, Hamilton later was promoted and became Washington’s invaluable adjutant.