Katyal on Executive Oversight for Drones

Former acting solicitor general Neal Katyal writes in today’s NYT in favor of an executive branch court to oversee the use of drones to combat terrorism.  His op-ed begins:

In the wake of revelations about the Obama administration’s drone program, politicians from both parties have taken up the idea of creating a “drone court” within the federal judiciary, which would review executive decisions to target and kill individuals.

But the drone court idea is a mistake. It is hard to think of something less suitable for a federal judge to rule on than the fast-moving and protean nature of targeting decisions.

Fortunately, a better solution exists: a “national security court” housed within the executive branch itself. Experts, not generalists, would rule; pressing concerns about classified information would be minimized; and speedy decisions would be easier to reach.

Katyal raises some reasonable concerns about subjecting oversight of drone strikes to the judiciary, and suggests this may be a viable way to enhance oversight of drone strikes without unduly compromising the military and intelligence communities’ ability to use drones when warranted.

[I’m sure there’s additional commentary on the Lawfare blog, but I can’t link to any because it appears to be down at the moment.]