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War Powers Reform: A Skeptical View, Matthew C. Waxman Jan 2024

War Powers Reform: A Skeptical View, Matthew C. Waxman

Faculty Scholarship

Debates about war powers focus too much on legal checks and on the President’s power to start wars. Congressional checks before and during crises work better than many reform-ists suppose, and there are ways to improve Congress’s political checking without substantial legal reform.


How Agencies Can Better Regulate For Racial Justice, Olatunde C.A. Johnson Jan 2022

How Agencies Can Better Regulate For Racial Justice, Olatunde C.A. Johnson

Faculty Scholarship

On his first day in office, President Joseph R. Biden signed an executive order to advance racial equity throughout the federal government by taking a “systematic approach to embedding fairness in decision-making,” redressing inequities, and advancing equal opportunity in agency policies and programs.

This order is an important step. President Biden’s executive order promises new, proactive engagement by the administrative state to promote racial equity and other dimensions of inclusion in agency programs. But federal administrative agencies have played a key role in structuring racial segregation and sustaining racial inequality in housing, health care, access to transit, and wealth. President …


Power Transitions In A Troubled Democracy, Peter L. Strauss, Gillian E. Metzger Jan 2021

Power Transitions In A Troubled Democracy, Peter L. Strauss, Gillian E. Metzger

Faculty Scholarship

Written as our contribution to a festschrift for the noted Italian administrative law scholar Marco D’Alberti, this essay addresses transition between Presidents Trump and Biden, in the context of political power transitions in the United States more generally. Although the Trump-Biden transition was marked by extraordinary behaviors and events, we thought even the transition’s mundane elements might prove interesting to those for whom transitions occur in a parliamentary context. There, succession can happen quickly once an election’s results are known, and happens with the new political government immediately formed and in office. The layer of a new administration’s political leadership …


Presidential Primacy Amidst Democratic Decline, Ashraf Ahmed, Karen M. Tani Jan 2021

Presidential Primacy Amidst Democratic Decline, Ashraf Ahmed, Karen M. Tani

Faculty Scholarship

Fifty years ago, when the Harvard Law Review asked Professor Harry Kalven, Jr., to take stock of the Supreme Court’s 1970 Term, Kalven faced a task not unlike Professor Cristina Rodríguez’s. That Term’s Court had two new members, Justices Harry Blackmun and Warren Burger. The Nixon Administration was young, but clearly bent on making its own stamp on American law, including via the Supreme Court. Kalven thus expected to see “dislocations” when he reviewed the Court’s recent handiwork. He reported the opposite. Surveying a Term that included such cases as Palmer v. Thompson, Younger v. Harris, Boddie v. …


How The Administrative State Got To This Challenging Place, Peter L. Strauss Jan 2021

How The Administrative State Got To This Challenging Place, Peter L. Strauss

Faculty Scholarship

Written for a dispersed agrarian population using hand tools in a local economy, our Constitution now controls an American government orders of magnitude larger that has had to respond to profound changes in transportation, communication, technology, economy, and scientific understanding. How did our government get to this place? The agencies Congress has created to meet these changes now face profound new challenges: transition from the paper to the digital age; the increasing centralization in an opaque, political presidency of decisions that Congress has assigned to diverse, relatively expert and transparent bodies; the thickening, as well, of the political layer within …


The Three Permissions: Presidential Removal And The Statutory Limits Of Agency Independence, Jane Manners, Lev Menand Jan 2021

The Three Permissions: Presidential Removal And The Statutory Limits Of Agency Independence, Jane Manners, Lev Menand

Faculty Scholarship

Seven words stand between the President and the heads of over a dozen “independent agencies”: inefficiency, neglect of duty, and malfea­sance in office (INM). The President can remove the heads of these agencies for INM and only INM. But neither Congress nor the courts have defined INM and hence the extent of agency independence. Stepping into this void, some proponents of presidential power argue that INM allows the President to dismiss officials who do not follow presidential directives. Others contend that INM is unconstitutional because it prevents Presidents from fulfilling their duty to take care that the laws are faithfully …


Presidential Progress On Climate Change: Will The Courts Interfere With What Needs To Be Done To Save Our Planet?, Michael B. Gerrard Jan 2021

Presidential Progress On Climate Change: Will The Courts Interfere With What Needs To Be Done To Save Our Planet?, Michael B. Gerrard

Faculty Scholarship

The Biden Administration is undertaking numerous actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and transition away from fossil fuels as part of the fight against climate change. Many of these actions are likely to be challenged in court. This paper describes the various legal theories that are likely to be used in these challenges, assesses their prospects of success given the current composition of the Supreme Court, and suggests ways to minimize the risks.


Fixing America's Founding, Maeve Glass Jan 2020

Fixing America's Founding, Maeve Glass

Faculty Scholarship

The forty-fifth presidency of the United States has sent lawyers reaching once more for the Founders’ dictionaries and legal treatises. In courtrooms, law schools, and media outlets across the country, the original meanings of the words etched into the U.S. Constitution in 1787 have become the staging ground for debates ranging from the power of a president to trademark his name in China to the rights of a legal permanent resident facing deportation. And yet, in this age when big data promises to solve potential challenges of interpretation and judges have for the most part agreed that original meaning should …


War Powers: Congress, The President, And The Courts – A Model Casebook Section, Stephen M. Griffin, Matthew C. Waxman Jan 2020

War Powers: Congress, The President, And The Courts – A Model Casebook Section, Stephen M. Griffin, Matthew C. Waxman

Faculty Scholarship

This model casebook section is concerned with the constitutional law of war powers as developed by the executive and legislative branches, with a limited look at relevant statutes and federal court cases. It is intended for use in Constitutional Law I classes that cover separation of powers. It could also be used for courses in National Security Law or Foreign Relations Law, or for graduate courses in U.S. foreign policy. This is designed to be the reading for one to two classes, and it can supplement or replace standard casebook sections on war powers that are shorter and offer less …


Coordinating Injunctions, Bert I. Huang Jan 2020

Coordinating Injunctions, Bert I. Huang

Faculty Scholarship

Consider this scenario: Two judges with parallel cases are each ready to issue an injunction. But their injunctions may clash, ordering incompatible actions by the defendant. Each judge has written an opinion justifying her own intended relief, but the need to avoid conflicting injunctions presses her to make a further choice – “Should I issue the injunction or should I stay it for now?” Each must make this decision in anticipation of what the other will do.

This Article analyzes such a judicial coordination problem, drawing on recent examples including the DACA cases and the “sanctuary cities” cases. It then …


Presidential Use Of Force In East Asia: American Constitutional Law And The U.S.-Japan Alliance, Matthew C. Waxman Jan 2020

Presidential Use Of Force In East Asia: American Constitutional Law And The U.S.-Japan Alliance, Matthew C. Waxman

Faculty Scholarship

The U.S. Constitution’s allocation of military authority has adapted over time to major shifts in American power and grand strategy. This paper explains, with a focus on U.S. military actions in East Asia and possible scenarios of special joint concern to the United States and Japan, that the president in practice wields tremendous power and discretion in using military force. Although formal, legal checks on the president’s use of force rarely come into play, Congress nevertheless retains some political power to influence presidential decision-making. The president’s powers are also constrained by interagency processes within the executive branch, and alliance relations …


Judicial Credibility, Bert I. Huang Jan 2020

Judicial Credibility, Bert I. Huang

Faculty Scholarship

Do people believe a federal court when it rules against the government? And does such judicial credibility depend on the perceived political affiliation of the judge? This study presents a survey experiment addressing these questions, based on a set of recent cases in which both a judge appointed by President George W. Bush and a judge appointed by President Bill Clinton declared the same Trump Administration action to be unlawful. The findings offer evidence that, in a politically salient case, the partisan identification of the judge – here, as a “Bush judge” or “Clinton judge” – can influence the credibility …


Executive Underreach, In Pandemics And Otherwise, David E. Pozen, Kim Lane Scheppele Jan 2020

Executive Underreach, In Pandemics And Otherwise, David E. Pozen, Kim Lane Scheppele

Faculty Scholarship

Legal scholars are familiar with the problem of executive overreach, especially in emergencies. But sometimes, instead of being too audacious or extreme, a national executive's attempts to address a true threat prove far too limited and insubstantial. In this Essay, we seek to define and clarify the phenomenon of executive underreach, with special reference to the COVID-19 crisis; to outline ways in which such underreach may compromise constitutional governance and the international legal order; and to suggest a partial remedy.


Administrative States: Beyond Presidential Administration, Jessica Bulman-Pozen Jan 2019

Administrative States: Beyond Presidential Administration, Jessica Bulman-Pozen

Faculty Scholarship

Presidential administration is more entrenched and expansive than ever. Most significant policymaking comes from agency action rather than legislation. Courts endorse “the presence of Presidential power” in agency decisionmaking. Scholars give up on external checks and balances and take presidential direction as a starting point. Yet presidential administration is also quite fragile. Even as the Court embraces presidential control, it has been limiting the administrative domain over which the President presides. And when Presidents drive agency action in a polarized age, their policies are not only immediately contested but also readily reversed by their successors.

States complicate each piece of …


The Trump Administration And The Rule Of Law, Peter L. Strauss Jan 2019

The Trump Administration And The Rule Of Law, Peter L. Strauss

Faculty Scholarship

Written for a French audience in 2017, this article sought to frame the explosive issues about the Trump presidency in relation to the American trend to strong views of the unitary executive, that in the author's view ignore the striking contrast between to propositions in Article II Section 2 of the Constitution, its only words defining presidential power. Made "Commander in chief" of the military, he is next given the power only to require the opinion in writing from the heads of the executive bodies Congress was expected to create how they intended to carry out the duties Congress had …


The Trump Administration And Administrative Law, Peter L. Strauss Jan 2019

The Trump Administration And Administrative Law, Peter L. Strauss

Faculty Scholarship

Shortly after the 2018 mid-term elections ended a two-year period of "unified government," under the Republican party,1 twenty one law professors from around the country met at Chicago-Kent College of Law to discuss the seven papers contained in this edition of its Law

Review. Commentaries written in response to each of these papers will appear in the next edition of the Law Review. For those reading any of these essays in the interval between publication of this and the commentary issue, this necessary inconvenience is regrettable; the commentaries (and ensuing open discussion) were enriching and, indeed, have contributed to the …


Is Korematsu Good Law?, Jamal Greene Jan 2019

Is Korematsu Good Law?, Jamal Greene

Faculty Scholarship

In Trump v. Hawaii, the Supreme Court claimed to overrule its infamous Korematsu decision. This Essay argues that this claim is both empty and grotesque. It is empty because a decision to overrule a prior case is not meaningful unless it specifies which propositions the Court is disavowing. Korematsu stands for many propositions, not all of which are agreed upon, but the Hawaii Court underspecifies what it meant to overrule. The Court’s claim of overruling Korematsu is grotesque because its emptiness means to conceal its disturbing affinity with that case.


Trump As A Constitutional Failure, Jamal Greene Jan 2018

Trump As A Constitutional Failure, Jamal Greene

Faculty Scholarship

The election of Donald Trump as president represented a failure of American politics. Trump is a serial liar, a sexual predator, deeply conflicted financially, hostile to bedrock democratic institutions such as free press, and ignorant of even the broad brushstrokes of important policy matters. The best evidence suggests that he is a white nationalist, a plutocrat, and a professional con artist, dangerously attracted to corrupt and incompetent sycophants, self-obsessed and aggressive to the point of psychopathy, and otherwise temperamentally unfit to be in charge of the world’s largest military and nuclear arsenal. There is some evidence that Trump or members …


Whose Lands? Which Public? The Shape Of Public-Lands Law And Trump's National Monument Proclamations, Jedediah S. Purdy Jan 2018

Whose Lands? Which Public? The Shape Of Public-Lands Law And Trump's National Monument Proclamations, Jedediah S. Purdy

Faculty Scholarship

President Trump issued a proclamation in December 2017 purporting to remove two million acres in southern Utah from national monument status, radically shrinking the Grand-Staircase Escalante National Monument and splitting the Bears Ears National Monument into two residual protected areas. Whether the President has the power to revise or revoke existing monuments under the Antiquities Act, which creates the national monument system, is a new question of law for a 112-year-old statute that has been used by Presidents from Theodore Roosevelt to Barack Obama to protect roughly fifteen million acres of federal land and hundreds of millions of marine acres. …


Presidents And War Powers, Matthew C. Waxman Jan 2018

Presidents And War Powers, Matthew C. Waxman

Faculty Scholarship

The U.S. Constitution vests the president with “executive power” and provides that “The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy,” while it endows Congress with the power “To declare War.” These provisions have given rise to two major questions about presidential war powers: first, what should be the president’s role in taking the country to war, and, second, what are the president’s powers to direct its conduct. Historian Michael Beschloss’s new book, “Presidents of War,” examines how presidents have responded to each of these questions across two hundred years of U.S. history.

The major argument of …


Impeachment: A Handbook, Philip C. Bobbitt Jan 2018

Impeachment: A Handbook, Philip C. Bobbitt

Faculty Scholarship

Charles Black’s Impeachment: A Handbook, first published in 1974 at the height of the Watergate crisis, has become the authoritative guide on the subject of presidential impeachment. In September, the Yale University Press published a new edition of the classic handbook, incorporating a new preface and new material by constitutional theorist Philip Bobbitt. Bobbitt’s contribution to the new edition appears in the Essay that follows.

Because Professor Black’s original text had no accompanying notes, the publisher decided to continue this format in the new print edition. In this re-publication, the Journal worked with Bobbitt to present his chapters with …


Politics And Agencies In The Administrative State: The U.S. Case, Peter L. Strauss Jan 2016

Politics And Agencies In The Administrative State: The U.S. Case, Peter L. Strauss

Faculty Scholarship

The pending American presidential election, culminating a period of extreme political partisanship in our national government generally, gives point to an essay on politics and agencies in the American regulatory state. In our two-party system, it has often been the case in recent times, including the last six years, that the President comes from one of our two major political parties and one or both houses of Congress are controlled by the other. All American agencies (including, in the American case, the so-called independent regulatory bodies) are associated with the President in the executive branch, yet dependent on the Senate …


A Response To Professor Rascoff's Presidential Intelligence, Philip C. Bobbitt Jan 2016

A Response To Professor Rascoff's Presidential Intelligence, Philip C. Bobbitt

Faculty Scholarship

Professor Samuel Rascoff’s Presidential Intelligence reflects both the conceptual and research strengths of the author, which are formidable, and the practical difficulties of intelligence reform, which are no less so. Rascoff is certainly right that to be effective – in the still-unfolding constitutional environment that must contend with terror groups armed with unprecedented weapons and communications technology – the intelligence community (IC) must act within the law and the rules governing that community must be reformed to make this possible. He is inclined to believe that the answer lies in heightened presidential management. I’m not so sure. The actual presidential …


Things Left Unsaid, Questions Not Asked, Peter L. Strauss Jan 2016

Things Left Unsaid, Questions Not Asked, Peter L. Strauss

Faculty Scholarship

The University of Pennsylvania Law Review’s symposium on executive discretion, held in the fall of 2015 but just published this November, is an important undertaking, but it is remarkable for several silences – for things left unsaid on this important subject – and for questions not asked. First, although the Constitution’s “Take Care” Clause is extensively discussed, the one power Article II gives the President over domestic administration – to require the “Opinion, in writing” of the heads of the agencies Congress has invested with administrative duties – is not. Second, the discussion of the President’s undoubted but possibly …


The President And The Constitution, Peter L. Strauss Jan 2015

The President And The Constitution, Peter L. Strauss

Faculty Scholarship

That comprehensive and undefined presidential powers hold both practical advantages and grave dangers for the country will impress anyone who has served as legal adviser to a President in time of transition and public anxiety.... The purpose of the Constitution was not only to grant power, but to keep it from getting out of hand.... With all its defects, delays and inconveniences, men have discovered no technique for long preserving free government except that the Executive be under the law, and that the law be made by parliamentary deliberations.


The Administrative Conference And The Political Thumb, Peter L. Strauss Jan 2015

The Administrative Conference And The Political Thumb, Peter L. Strauss

Faculty Scholarship

In his valuable contribution to this special issue, Richard Pierce underscores the role the Administrative Conference of the United States (“ACUS”) has played over the years in encouraging on the ground fact-finding by its consultants, who have usually been academics consulted at the beginning of careers that ever after would be marked by this encounter with the realities of the administrative process. As the mentee of Walter Gellhorn, who directed the remarkable empirical studies of federal agency procedures that underlay the eventual Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”) and who was a member of the ACUS Council from its initiation in 1964 …


Presidential Administration And The Traditions Of Administrative Law, Thomas W. Merrill Jan 2015

Presidential Administration And The Traditions Of Administrative Law, Thomas W. Merrill

Faculty Scholarship

American administrative law has long been characterized by two distinct traditions: the positivist and the process traditions. The positivist tradition emphasizes that administrative bodies are created by law and must act in accordance with the requirements of the law. The process tradition emphasizes that agencies must act in accordance with norms of reasoned decisionmaking, which emphasize that all relevant interests must be given an opportunity to express their views and agencies must explain their decisions in a public and articulate fashion. In the twentieth century, American administrative law achieved a grand synthesis of these two traditions, with the result that …


The President's Enforcement Power, Kate Andrias Jan 2013

The President's Enforcement Power, Kate Andrias

Faculty Scholarship

Enforcement of law is at the core of the President’s constitutional duty to “take Care” that the laws are faithfully executed, and it is a primary mechanism for effecting national regulatory policy. Yet questions about how presidents oversee agency enforcement activity have received surprisingly little scholarly attention. This Article provides a positive account of the President’s role in administrative enforcement, explores why presidential enforcement has taken the shape it has, and examines the bounds of the President’s enforcement power. It demonstrates that presidential involvement in agency enforcement, though extensive, has been ad hoc, crisis-driven, and frequently opaque. The Article thus …


The Pre-Session Recess, Peter L. Strauss Jan 2013

The Pre-Session Recess, Peter L. Strauss

Faculty Scholarship

In the brief remarks following, I do not address the Burkean argument that practice has established the permissibility of recess appointments during the week-or-more adjournments of Congress that modern transportation modalities permit. We can perhaps let President Eisenhower’s recess appointments of Chief Justice Warren, Justice Brennan, and Justice Stewart stand witness to that understanding. Rather, I want to suggest flaws in the originalist analysis used by the Canning court and in the Senate’s ruse of meeting every three days over the winter period of 2011-12 that many take to place the January 4, 2012 recess appointments President Obama made to …


Syria, Threats Of Force, And Constitutional War Powers, Matthew C. Waxman Jan 2013

Syria, Threats Of Force, And Constitutional War Powers, Matthew C. Waxman

Faculty Scholarship

In this Essay, Professor Matthew Waxman argues that debates about constitutional war powers neglect the critical role of threats of war or force in American foreign policy. The recent Syria case highlights the President’s vast legal power to threaten military force as well as the political constraints imposed by Congress on such threats. Incorporating threats into an understanding of constitutional powers over war and peace upends traditional arguments about presidential flexibility and congressional checks – arguments that have failed to keep pace with changes in American grand strategy.