Issue Brief posted November 13, 2014
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. —Will Rogers
When Congress comes back into session after the November election and before a new…
Issue Brief posted November 12, 2014
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
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Abraham Lincoln is often paraphrased as saying, “The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly.”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
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. 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…
Legal Memorandum posted July 24, 2014
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…
Lecture posted May 22, 2014
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.” 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.
Issue Brief posted April 25, 2014
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…
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…