Apple vs. FBI: What Was Obama Thinking at SXSW? – Fortune

There’s nil terribly surprising regarding the conclusion Harvard Law professor Susan Crawford reached in an essay posted this week on Medium’s Backchannel.

Like the 32 law professors that filed a friend-of-the-court brief 2 weeks ago in assist of Apple


, she believes (as the title of her piece puts it) “The Law Is Clear: The FBI Cannot Make Apple Rewrite its OS.”

What makes Crawford’s essay special (and worth a read) is that she knows Obama and can, to some extent, get hold of in to his head. She was an advisor on the President’s transition group and invested a year at the White Home as his special assistant for Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy. She has actually some suggestions in to exactly how President Obama, that taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago, could take the FBI’s adverse in the San Bernardino standoff.

“Barack Obama has actually a great legal mind,” she begins. “However he could not have actually been making use of it as soon as he talked regarding encryption last week.”

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From her essay:

“Every when in a while, President Obama erases his Law Professor in Chief hat and puts on his I get hold of Terrifying Briefings Each day hat.

“Last week, at SXSW, as he delivered overall remarks regarding the encryption debate, he tried to sound reasonable and professorial. ‘We understand that simply Love our various other rights — freedom of speech, freedom of religion, et cetera — that there are seeing be some constraints that we impose in order to make certain that we are safe, secure, and, uh, living in a civilized society,’ he said, repeatedly making an adopting gesture along with his palms. Symbolically preserving us safe, encircling us along with his hands, the father of Malia and Sasha blinked a bit promptly as he said this.

“’I am method on the civil-liberties adverse of this [government surveillance] thing,’ he said later, drawing in his lips and looking away from his interviewer in to the middle distance, showing the two that he was believing regarding the problem and a little uncertain. ‘I anguish much over the decisions we make.’ He cautioned the huge audience listening not to be ‘absolutist,’ reminding us that ‘the dangers are real.’

“The problem for the president is that as soon as it involves the personal battle going on ideal now in between Apple and the FBI, the law is clear…”

The president— our Law Professor in Chief — has actually to already know the DOJ is on shaky ground. He’s possibly got this rule of statutory construction rolling about in his thoughts as he watches college basketball this week: personal statutes [CALEA] trump overall ones [All Writs Act]. Generalia specialibus non derogant.

“Nonetheless, the president has actually selected his I get hold of Terrifying Briefings Each day hat,” writes Crawford. “It’s understandable. that will certainly blame him or her for protecting us? He’s worried regarding something awful happening. It’s simply that increasingly hard-to-hear rule of law alarm bell going off again.”

You Can easily read the complete essay here. You Can easily watch Obama’s SXSW remarks here.

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