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  • Issue Brief posted November 13, 2014 by Hans A. von Spakovsky The Dangers of Lame Duck Sessions in Congress—Unfair and Undemocratic

    An awful lot of people are confused as to just what is meant by a lame duck Congress. It’s like where some fellows worked for you and their work wasn’t satisfactory and you let’em out, but after you fired ‘em, you let ‘em stay long enough so they could burn your house down.[1] —Will Rogers When Congress comes back into session after the November election and before a new…

  • Issue Brief posted November 12, 2014 by Romina Boccia Lame Duck Threats Congress Should Avoid

    A‌ lame duck session refers to when one Congress ‌is in session after a new one has been elected. After last week’s election, Members of Congress who lost elections or are retiring are lame ducks, who are protected from the consequences of passing politically unpopular legislation. This lame duck session is particularly important because the Republicans will take control…

  • Lecture posted November 6, 2014 by Bob Goodlatte The President’s Duty to Faithfully Execute the Law

    The Honorable Bob Goodlatte A‌braham Lincoln is often paraphrased as saying, “The best way ‌to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly.” While that paraphrase summarizes the gist of what Lincoln was saying, the full text of his remark is worth repeating. In 1838, early in his career, Abraham Lincoln delivered an address to the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield,…

  • Issue Brief posted October 31, 2014 by David Inserra Five Questions the Secret Service Review Panel Must Answer

    A ‌series of alarming security breaches have caused ‌many to question the Secret Service’s ability to protect the President.[1] In the wake of these events, an independent four-member review panel—two senior officials each from the Bush and Obama Administrations—will investigate the Secret Service’s recent security breaches and advise the Department of Homeland Security…

  • Commentary posted August 25, 2014 by Lee Edwards, Ph.D. The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan

    Not since Edmund Morris’s bizarre semi-fictional biography of Ronald Reagan has there been such a deeply disappointing Reagan book as Rick Perlstein’s The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan. No sooner was it published than it was greeted with charges of plagiarism, egregious misstatements, and “invisible” footnotes. It is always useful to know…

  • Legal Memorandum posted July 24, 2014 by John Malcolm, Elizabeth Slattery Boehner v. Obama: Can the House of Representatives Force the President to Comply with the Law?

    A‌rticle I of the Constitution vests “All legislative powers herein ‌granted” in Congress, while Article II, section 3 requires that the President “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” But what happens when the President fails to execute the law? Time and again, President Barack Obama has pushed the limits of this duty, acting unilaterally to change or…

  • Commentary posted July 17, 2014 by David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D. New Brookings Report on Government Failures Ignores Failed Social Programs

    A new Brookings Institution report, “A Cascade of Failures,” by Paul C. Light concludes that the failures of the federal government are accelerating. As the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the federal government continually expand the power and responsibilities of the federal government beyond its core constitutional functions, none of the failures…

  • Lecture posted May 22, 2014 by Adam J. White Congress and the New Administrative State

    The administrative state begins with Congress. As the Supreme Court has observed, “an agency literally has no power to act…unless and until Congress confers power upon it.”[1] So let me offer a few words about what previous Congresses have done to create the new administrative state and what Congress can do, today and tomorrow, to restore some limits. Delegating Powers…

  • Issue Brief posted April 25, 2014 by Elizabeth Slattery Supreme Court 101: A Primer for Non-Lawyers

    A common refrain from lawyers is that they will take a case “all the way to the Supreme Court,” but it is easier said than done to get the Supreme Court to review a case. The Supreme Court of the United States agrees to hear only a small number of cases each term, so the odds are stacked against most litigants. The reasons why the Court declines to hear particular cases…

  • Commentary posted February 16, 2014 by Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. Nonprofit model entirely misleading

    One of the many virtues of the United States is it has an exceptionally lively nonprofit sector. There is an organization for everyone, and every organization speaks for itself. Europe is less fortunate: there, government funding of nonprofits is the norm. But at least Europe is waking up to the dangers of subsidies. We seem to be going to sleep. In the United States,…

  • 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 by Elizabeth Slattery, Andrew Kloster 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[1] 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…

  • Commentary posted February 3, 2014 by Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D. Why the people don’t trust government

    No one tests the historic optimism of the American people quite like your average politician. Poll after poll finds a deep distrust of government, with more than two-thirds saying they can’t believe what they hear from Washington. You don’t have to look far for examples of why they feel this way. Americans have learned to be wary of taking what politicians say at face…

  • Legal Memorandum posted January 23, 2014 by Andrew M. Grossman 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 by Mike Lee 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…