Lecture on February 13, 2014
The Prospect for Freedom: Can the U.S. Sustain Its Experiment in Self-Government?
Some years ago, I was in China at one of the major universities and speaking to a forum of Chinese CEOs. After the final banquet, I walked back to the lecture hall with the dean of the business school.
“Let me ask you a question I wouldn’t ask in public,” he said. “What am I missing? We in China are fascinated with the Christian roots of your Western past—for the sake of…
Legal Memorandum posted February 12, 2014
An Executive Unbound: The Obama Administration’s Unilateral Actions
“We can’t wait for an increasingly dysfunctional Congress to do its job. Where they won’t act, I will.”
—President Barack Obama
The rule of law is a bedrock principle of Anglo–American jurisprudence. It stands for the belief that all—including government officials—are subject to the law and not above it. America’s Founding Fathers understood this principle, and the…
Legal Memorandum posted January 23, 2014
Harris v. Quinn: An End to the Forced Unionization of Home-Care Workers?
On January 21, 2014, the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral argument in Harris v. Quinn, a challenge to states' authority to require that home-based workers submit to an exclusive representative for collective bargaining—i.e., a labor union. Organizing home-based workers has been among the labor movement's greatest prospects for adding to its diminishing ranks,…
Lecture posted January 7, 2014
Defending the Senate’s Constitutional Duty to Advise and Consent to Presidential Appointments
I’m very grateful for the opportunity to speak about the Recess Appointments Clause today. In the small town of Alpine, Utah, where I live, we speak of little else. It is of great interest to those of us who watch the Supreme Court to see this case get teed up.
I was very happy, of course, when the Supreme Court of the United States granted certiorari to review this…
Legal Memorandum posted October 9, 2013
The Supreme Court Considers the President’s Power to Make Recess Appointments
In its new term, the Supreme Court of the United States will consider National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning, a challenge to President Barack Obama’s January 4, 2012, recess appointments to fill three National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) vacancies. At the time of these appointments, every three days, the Senate was conducting pro forma sessions during which no…
Lecture posted June 25, 2013
How to Limit Government in the Age of Obama
The Role of Congress
Joseph Postell, PhD: Limiting government in the age of Obama is a tall order, but it is a tall order not simply because of who occupies the White House. It is a tall order because it requires limiting government in the age of the administrative state, which stacks the deck against those hoping to place limits on government.
To mount an effective…
Center for Policy Innovation Lecture posted March 14, 2013
Confronting Washington's Administrative State: A Renewed Role for the States
While the Constitution continues to be read, and its principles known, the States must, by every rational man, be considered as essential component parts of the Union; and therefore the idea of sacrificing the former to the latter is totally inadmissible.
—Alexander Hamilton, 1788 
Federalism is rooted in the knowledge that our political liberties are best assured by…
Backgrounder posted February 5, 2013
Nine Fallacies Used to Defend Public-Sector Pensions
The generosity of retirement benefits for government employees has become a major political issue, as policymakers at all levels of government struggle with budget deficits in the midst of a weak economy. Government employees do enjoy retirement benefits that are often several times greater than the retirement benefits of comparable private-sector workers. This…
Issue Brief posted January 30, 2013
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Its Non-Director: What Now?
It may be back to the beginning for the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The agency, under the direction of Richard Cordray, had just built up a full head of steam, releasing some 16 regulations in the past year. But a court decision on January 25 may not only stop this train, but send it back to the station. Such a reversal would be good news for…
Issue Brief posted January 28, 2013
A Better Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States
According to The Heritage Foundation’s China Global Investment Tracker, Chinese non-bond investment in the U.S. set a record in 2012. China has $3.3 trillion in foreign reserves and, like other fast-growing economies, wants to invest more here. Foreign investment and other commerce benefits America, but there are understandable concerns about the loss of advanced…
Issue Brief posted January 24, 2013
Hagel, Kerry, and Brennan Senate Confirmation Hearings: U.S. Policy on Arctic Security
In the coming weeks, the United States Senate will begin the confirmation process for three key Administration positions: Senator John Kerry (D–MA) for Secretary of State, former Senator Chuck Hagel (R–NE) for Secretary of Defense, and White House chief counterterrorism advisor John Brennan for director of the CIA. All three have been prominent backers of President…
Issue Brief posted January 18, 2013
Hagel, Kerry, and Brennan Senate Confirmation Hearings: U.S. Policy on Sub-Saharan Africa
Following President Obama’s inauguration, the Senate will hold confirmation hearings for three key Administration positions: Senator John Kerry (D–MA) for Secretary of State, former Senator Chuck Hagel (R–NE) for Secretary of Defense, and White House chief counterterrorism advisor John Brennan for director of the CIA. These nominees have strongly supported President…