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Constitutional Avoidance In The Executive Branch, Trevor W. Morrison Oct 2006

Constitutional Avoidance In The Executive Branch, Trevor W. Morrison

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

When executive actors interpret statutes, the prevailing assumption is that they can and should use the tools that courts use. Is that assumption sound? This Article takes up the question by considering a rule frequently invoked by the courts - the canon of constitutional avoidance.

Executive branch actors regularly use the avoidance canon. Indeed, some of the most hotly debated episodes of executive branch statutory interpretation in recent years - including the initial torture memorandum issued by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, the President's signing statement regarding the McCain Amendment's ban on the mistreatment of detainees, and ...


Constitutional Avoidance In The Executive Branch, Trevor W. Morrison Oct 2006

Constitutional Avoidance In The Executive Branch, Trevor W. Morrison

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

When executive branch actors interpret statutes, should they use the same methods as the courts? This Article takes up the question by considering a rule frequently invoked by the courts-the canon of constitutional avoidance. In addition to being a cardinal principle of judicial statutory interpretation, the avoidance canon also appears regularly and prominently in the work of the executive branch. It has played a central role, for example, in some of the most hotly debated episodes of executive branch statutory interpretation in the "war on terror." Typically, executive invocations of avoidance are supported by citation to one or more Supreme ...


Lost Constitutional Moorings: Recovering The War Power, Louis Fisher Oct 2006

Lost Constitutional Moorings: Recovering The War Power, Louis Fisher

Indiana Law Journal

For the past half century, Presidents have claimed constitutional authority to take the country from a state of peace to a state of war against another nation. That was precisely the power that the Framers denied to the President and vested exclusively in Congress. That allocation of power was understood by all three branches until President Harry Truman went to war against North Korea in 1950. He never came to Congress for authority before he acted or at any time thereafter. Similar false claims of authority have been made by Presidents since that time. These constitutional violations have been assisted ...


Domestic Surveillance For International Terrorists: Presidential Power And Fourth Amendment Limits, Richard H. Seamon Aug 2006

Domestic Surveillance For International Terrorists: Presidential Power And Fourth Amendment Limits, Richard H. Seamon

ExpressO

This article examines the recently disclosed, presidentially authorized program of warrantless electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency (NSA). Critics of the program say it violates the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) and the Fourth Amendment. Supporters counter that it falls within the President's congressionally irreducible power to protect national security and within the relaxed Fourth Amendment governing national security searches. This article focuses on an aspect of the controversy to which neither critics nor supporters have paid much attention: the connection between the issues of whether the NSA program violates FISA and whether it violates the ...


The Foreign Affairs Power: Does The Constitution Matter?, D. A. Jeremy Telman Aug 2006

The Foreign Affairs Power: Does The Constitution Matter?, D. A. Jeremy Telman

ExpressO

Peter Irons’ WAR POWERS favors congressional initiative in questions of war and peace but makes a historical argument that our government has strayed from the constitutional design in the service of an imperialist foreign policy. John Yoo’s THE POWERS OF WAR AND PEACE seeks to overthrow the traditional perspective on war powers espoused by Irons in favor of executive initiative in war. Yoo also pursues a revisionist perspective on the treaty power, which favors executive initiative in treaty negotiation and interpretation but insists on congressional implementation so as to minimize the impact of international obligations on domestic law. This ...


Sherman's March (In)To The Sea, Andrew S. Oldham Aug 2006

Sherman's March (In)To The Sea, Andrew S. Oldham

ExpressO

This Article argues that the Sherman Act is unconstitutional. At the very least, scholars and jurists must not take for granted Congress's ability to statutorily deputize the federal courts with common-lawmaking powers. The federal antitrust statute—which has been described as the Magna Carta of free enterprise—raises serious constitutional questions that have heretofore gone unexplored and unanswered. Specifically, it is difficult (if not impossible) to reconcile the Sherman Act with the separation of powers, the nondelegation doctrine, and the Supremacy Clause.


Secularization, Religiosity, And The United States Constitution, Christopher L. Eisgruber Jul 2006

Secularization, Religiosity, And The United States Constitution, Christopher L. Eisgruber

Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies

This article draws upon leading works in the sociology of religion to assess what I shall call "the secularization claim" regarding the United States. It endeavors, in particular to clarify the possible meanings of "secularization,"and then to use these conceptual refinements to examine what sort of evidence exists that the United States has been secularized. Though it is not possible to falsify every version of the secularization claim, there is little evidence to support it, especially in its most prominent and politically relevant variations. The article then goes on to offer a preliminary analysis of to what extent, if ...


Presidential Signing Statements: Hearing Before The S. Comm. On The Judiciary, 109th Cong., June 27, 2006 (Statement Of Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz, Prof. Of Law, Geo. U. L. Center), Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz Jun 2006

Presidential Signing Statements: Hearing Before The S. Comm. On The Judiciary, 109th Cong., June 27, 2006 (Statement Of Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz, Prof. Of Law, Geo. U. L. Center), Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz

Testimony Before Congress

No abstract provided.


Line-Item Veto: Constitutional Issues: Hearing Before The H. Comm. On The Budget, 109th Cong., June 8, 2006 (Statement Of Viet D. Dinh, Prof. Of Law, Geo. U. L. Center), Viet D. Dinh Jun 2006

Line-Item Veto: Constitutional Issues: Hearing Before The H. Comm. On The Budget, 109th Cong., June 8, 2006 (Statement Of Viet D. Dinh, Prof. Of Law, Geo. U. L. Center), Viet D. Dinh

Testimony Before Congress

No abstract provided.


When Worlds Collide: Federal Construction Of State Institutional Competence, Marcia L. Mccormick Mar 2006

When Worlds Collide: Federal Construction Of State Institutional Competence, Marcia L. Mccormick

ExpressO

The federal courts routinely encounter issues of state law. Often a state court will have already analyzed the law at issue, either in a separate case or in the very situation before the federal court. In every one of those cases, the federal courts must decide whether to defer to the state court analysis and, if so, how much. The federal courts will often defer, but many times have not done so, and they rarely explain the reasons for the departures they make. While this lack of transparency gives the federal courts the greatest amount of discretion and power, it ...


Presidential Signing Statements: How To Find Them, How To Use Them, And What They Might, Steve Sheppard Jan 2006

Presidential Signing Statements: How To Find Them, How To Use Them, And What They Might, Steve Sheppard

Steve Sheppard

Lawyers should be cautious when seeking guidance in statutory interpretation from presidential signing statements. Reliance on signing statements as a source of statutory interpretation is controversial, as deference to the president’s interpretation, rather than interpretations of the legislature or judiciary, can lead to unlimited executive power. Signing statements can be retrieved from government resources or private vendors, and they are useful for advising clients how to interact with government agencies. In effect, signing statements act as orders from the president, which agencies under the executive chain of command follow.

Signing statements are also useful as sources of statutory interpretation ...


Jurisdiction Stripping In Three Acts: A Three String Serenade, Caprice L. Roberts Jan 2006

Jurisdiction Stripping In Three Acts: A Three String Serenade, Caprice L. Roberts

Villanova Law Review

No abstract provided.


Internal Separation Of Powers: Checking Today's Most Dangerous Branch From Within, Neal K. Katyal Jan 2006

Internal Separation Of Powers: Checking Today's Most Dangerous Branch From Within, Neal K. Katyal

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The standard conception of separation of powers presumes three branches with equivalent ambitions of maximizing their powers. Today, however, legislative abdication is the reigning modus operandi. Instead of bemoaning this state of affairs, this piece asks how separation of powers can be reflected within the Executive Branch when that branch, not the legislature, is making much law today. The first-best concept of legislature v. executive checks-and-balances has to be updated to contemplate second-best executive v. executive divisions.

A critical mechanism to promote internal separation of powers is bureaucracy. Much maligned by both the political left and right, bureaucracy serves crucial ...


Checks And Balances: Congress And The Federal Court, Paul D. Carrington Jan 2006

Checks And Balances: Congress And The Federal Court, Paul D. Carrington

Faculty Scholarship

This essay was published as a chapter in Reforming the Supreme Court: Term Limits for Justices (Paul D. Carrington & Roger Cramton eds, Carolina Academic Press 2006). Its point is that Congress has long neglected its duty implicit in the constitutional doctrine of separation of powers to constrain the tendency of the Court, the academy and the legal profession to inflate the Court's status and power. The term "life tenure" is a significant source of a sense of royal status having not only the adverse cultural effects noted by Nagel, but also doleful effects on the administration and enforcement of ...


The "Constitution Restoration Act" And Judicial Independence: Some Observations, Mark V. Tushnet Jan 2006

The "Constitution Restoration Act" And Judicial Independence: Some Observations, Mark V. Tushnet

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This Essay uses the proposed Constitution Restoration Act of 2005 as the vehicle for exploring some aspects of contemporary concerns about judicial independence and the mechanisms available to control what might be perceived as abuses of judicial authority . . . I doubt that the Act has a serious chance of enactment, but its introduction provides an opportunity to examine some difficulties associated with congressional control of judicial decision-making. I begin by treating the Constitution Restoration Act as a real statute, asking what its substantive terms mean. I argue that there is substantial tension between what the Act says and what its sponsors ...


Unitariness And Myopia: The Executive Branch, Legal Process And Torture, Cornelia T. Pillard Jan 2006

Unitariness And Myopia: The Executive Branch, Legal Process And Torture, Cornelia T. Pillard

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

What promotes legality on the part of government under strain? This Article looks to the role of intra-executive processes in facilitating well-reasoned, legitimate conclusions on questions like the one addressed in this symposium: What are the legal authorities and limits governing coercive interrogation tactics? Admittedly, even the best legal processes are no guarantee of good substantive outcomes. Many critics would disagree with the substance of the executive's August 1, 2002, legal position on coercive interrogation no matter how it was derived. And even were all the best processes faithfully adhered to in developing the government's legal position on ...


Critical Constitutionalism Now, Louis Michael Seidman Jan 2006

Critical Constitutionalism Now, Louis Michael Seidman

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The starting point for this essay is the claim that if the texts that critical scholars studied are unstable over time, then this must also be true of the studies themselves. There is no reason to suppose that the critical perspective, uniquely among all possible perspectives, reflects timeless and contextless truth. The question I want to ask, then, is what meaning the critical perspective has for us now in our new and dramatically transformed environment. I proceed in four parts. First, I address the meaning that critical scholars attributed to constitutional law in the late twentieth century. Second, I describe ...