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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Major Questions Doctrine At The Boundaries Of Interpretive Law, Daniel E. Walters Jan 2024

The Major Questions Doctrine At The Boundaries Of Interpretive Law, Daniel E. Walters

Faculty Scholarship

The Supreme Court’s apparent transformation of the major questions doctrine into a clear statement rule demanding clear congressional authorization for “major” agency actions has already had, and will continue to have, wide-ranging impacts on American public law. Not the least of these is the impact it will have on the enterprise of statutory interpretation. Indeed, while it is easy to focus on the policy repercussions of a newly constrained Congress and newly hamstrung administrative state, this Article argues that equally important is the novel precedent that is set in this particular formulation of a clear statement rule, which stands almost …


The Antiregulatory Arsenal, Antidemocratic Can(N)Ons, And The Waters Wars, William W. Buzbee Dec 2022

The Antiregulatory Arsenal, Antidemocratic Can(N)Ons, And The Waters Wars, William W. Buzbee

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The Clean Water Act has become a centerpiece in an enduring multifront battle against both environmental regulation and federal regulatory power in all of its settings. This Article focuses on the emergence, elements, and linked uses of an antiregulatory arsenal now central to battles over what are federally protected “waters of the United States.” This is the key jurisdictional hook for CWA jurisdiction, and hence, logically, has become the heart of CWA contestation. The multi-decade battle over Waters protections has both drawn on emergent antiregulatory moves and generated new weapons in this increasingly prevalent and powerful antiregulatory arsenal. This array …


Jail By Another Name: Ice Detention Of Immigrant Criminal Defendants On Pretrial Release, Kerry Martin Sep 2020

Jail By Another Name: Ice Detention Of Immigrant Criminal Defendants On Pretrial Release, Kerry Martin

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This Article assesses the legality of an alarming practice: Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) routinely detains noncitizen criminal defendants soon after they have been released on bail, depriving them of their court-ordered freedom. Since the District of Oregon’s decision in United States v. Trujillo-Alvarez, 900 F. Supp. 2d 1167 (D. Or. 2012), a growing group of federal courts has held that when ICE detains federal criminal defendants released under the Bail Reform Act (BRA), it violates their BRA rights. These courts have ordered that the government either free the defendants from ICE custody or dismiss their criminal charges. This …


Agency Statutory Abnegation In The Deregulatory Playbook, William W. Buzbee May 2019

Agency Statutory Abnegation In The Deregulatory Playbook, William W. Buzbee

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

If an agency newly declares that it lacks statutory power previously claimed, how should such a move—what this article calls agency statutory abnegation—be reviewed? Given the array of strategies an agency might use to make a policy change or move the law in a deregulatory direction, why might statutory abnegation be chosen? After all, it is always a perilous and likely doctrinally disadvantageous strategy for agencies. Nonetheless, agencies from time to time have utilized statutory abnegation claims as part of their justification for deregulatory shifts. Actions by agencies during 2017 and 2018, under the administration of President Donald J. Trump, …


Presidential Signing Statements: A New Perspective, Christopher S. Yoo Jan 2016

Presidential Signing Statements: A New Perspective, Christopher S. Yoo

All Faculty Scholarship

This Article offers a new perspective on Presidents’ use of signing statements. Following the dichotomy reflected in the literature, I will analyze signing statements raising constitutional objections and those offering interpretive guidance for ambiguous provisions separately. With respect to constitutional interpretation of statutes by the executive branch, Presidents have long asserted the authority and obligation to consider constitutionality when executing statutes. The widespread acceptance of the President’s power to construe statutes to avoid constitutional problems and to refuse to defend the constitutionality of or to enforce statutes in appropriate cases confirms the propriety of this conclusion. If these fairly uncontroversial …


Inside Agency Statutory Interpretation, Christopher J. Walker May 2015

Inside Agency Statutory Interpretation, Christopher J. Walker

Christopher J. Walker

The Constitution vests all legislative powers in Congress, yet Congress grants expansive lawmaking authority to federal agencies. As positive political theorists have long explored, Congress intends for federal agencies to faithfully exercise their delegated authority, but ensuring fidelity to congressional wishes is difficult due to asymmetries in information, expertise, and preferences that complicate congressional control and oversight. Indeed, this principal-agent problem has a democratic and constitutional dimension, as the legitimacy of administrative governance may well depend on whether the unelected bureaucracy is a faithful agent of Congress. Despite the predominance of lawmaking by regulation and the decades-long application of principal-agent …


Purposivism In The Executive Branch: How Agencies Interpret Statutes, Kevin M. Stack Jan 2015

Purposivism In The Executive Branch: How Agencies Interpret Statutes, Kevin M. Stack

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

After decades of debate, the lines of distinction between textualism and purposivism have been carefully drawn with respect to the judicial task of statutory interpretation. Far less attention has been devoted to the question of how executive branch officials approach statutory interpretation. While scholars have contrasted agencies interpretive practices from those of courts, they have not yet developed a theory of agency statutory interpretation. This Article develops a purposivist theory of agency statutory interpretation on the ground that regulatory statutes oblige agencies to implement the statutes they administer in that manner. Regulatory statutes not only grant powers but also impose …


King V. Burwell And The Rise Of The Administrative State, Ronald D. Rotunda Dec 2014

King V. Burwell And The Rise Of The Administrative State, Ronald D. Rotunda

Ronald D. Rotunda

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a complex law totaling nearly a thousand pages in length. The litigation now before the Supreme Court in King v. Burwell presents, on the surface, a simple issue of statutory interpretation. However, that surface has a very thin veneer. If the Court allows administrators carte blanche to change the very words of a statute, we will have come a long way towards governance by bureaucrats. Over the years, Congress has delegated many of its powers, but it has never delegated the power to raise taxes or spend tax subsidies in ways …


Presidential Inaction And The Separation Of Powers, Jeffrey A. Love, Arpit K. Garg May 2014

Presidential Inaction And The Separation Of Powers, Jeffrey A. Love, Arpit K. Garg

Michigan Law Review

Imagine two presidents. The first campaigned on an issue that requires him to expand the role of the federal government-—maybe it was civil rights legislation or stricter sentencing for federal criminals. In contrast, the second president pushes policies—-financial deregulation, perhaps, or drug decriminalization—-that mean less government involvement. Each is elected in a decisive fashion, and each claims a mandate to advance his agenda. The remaining question is what steps each must take to achieve his goals. The answer is clear, and it is surprising. To implement his preferred policies, the first president faces the full gauntlet of checks and balances-—from …


Bond V. United States: Can The President Increase Congress's Legislative Power By Entering Into A Treaty?, Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz Jan 2013

Bond V. United States: Can The President Increase Congress's Legislative Power By Entering Into A Treaty?, Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The proposition that treaties can increase the power of Congress is inconsistent with the text of the Treaty Clause, the Necessary and Proper Clause, and the Tenth Amendment. It is inconsistent with the fundamental structural principle that "[t]he powers of the legislature are defined, and limited."S It implies, insidiously, that that the President and the Senate can increase their own power by treaty. And it implies, bizarrely, that the President alone--or a foreign government alone--can decrease Congress's power and render federal statutes unconstitutional. Finally, it creates a doubly perverse incentive: an incentive to enter into foreign entanglements simply to increase …


Inside Agency Preemption, Catherine M. Sharkey Feb 2012

Inside Agency Preemption, Catherine M. Sharkey

Michigan Law Review

A subtle shift has taken place in the mechanics of preemption, the doctrine that determines when federal law displaces state law. In the past, Congress was the leading actor, and courts and commentators focused almost exclusively on the precise wording of its statutory directives as a clue to its intent to displace state law. Federal agencies were, if not ignored, certainly no more than supporting players. But the twenty-first century has witnessed a role reversal. Federal agencies now play the dominant role in statutory interpretation. The U.S. Supreme Court has recognized the ascendancy of federal agencies in preemption disputes-an ascendancy …


Impeding Reentry: Agency And Judicial Obstacles To Longer Halfway House Placements, S. David Mitchell Apr 2011

Impeding Reentry: Agency And Judicial Obstacles To Longer Halfway House Placements, S. David Mitchell

Faculty Publications

Part I of this article details the Bureau of Prisons' rules and policies governing inmate placement, including the most recent iteration. Part II examines Chevron27 and the Bureau of Prisons' extraordinary justification exception rule. Part III turns to the threshold matter of obtaining judicial access to challenge the Bureau of Prisons' new rule, with Part III.A arguing that the federal courts should relax their standards when faced with exceptions to the exhaustion requirement and Part III.B arguing for the adoption of a federal public importance exception to the mootness doctrine. The article concludes that these changes will further Congress' dual …


John Mccain's Citizenship: A Tentative Defense, Stephen E. Sachs Aug 2008

John Mccain's Citizenship: A Tentative Defense, Stephen E. Sachs

Stephen E. Sachs

Sen. John McCain was born a U.S. citizen and is eligible to be president. The most serious challenge to his status, recently posed by Prof. Gabriel Chin, contends that the statute granting citizenship to Americans born abroad did not include the Panama Canal Zone, where McCain was born in 1936. When Congress amended the law in 1937, he concludes, it was too late for McCain to be "natural born." Even assuming, however, that McCain's citizenship depended on this statute - and ignoring his claim to citizenship at common law - Chin's argument may be based on a misreading. When the …


The Justiciability Of Eligibility: May Courts Decide Who Can Be President?, Daniel P. Tokaji Jan 2008

The Justiciability Of Eligibility: May Courts Decide Who Can Be President?, Daniel P. Tokaji

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

The 2008 election cycle has been a busy one for legal disputes over the qualifications of presidential candidates, with federal cases having been filed to challenge both major candidates’ eligibility under the “natural born Citizen” clause. These cases unquestionably present vital questions of constitutional law, touching on matters of self-evident national importance. It is doubtful, however, that they are justiciable in lower federal courts. Standing requirements and the political question doctrine make it unlikely that a federal court will reach the merits in cases of the type filed to date.


Why John Mccain Was A Citizen At Birth, Stephen E. Sachs Jan 2008

Why John Mccain Was A Citizen At Birth, Stephen E. Sachs

Stephen E. Sachs

Senator John McCain was born a citizen in 1936. Professor Gabriel J. Chin challenges this view in this Symposium, arguing that McCain’s birth in the Panama Canal Zone (while his father was stationed there by the Navy) fell into a loophole in the governing statute. The best historical evidence, however, suggests that this loophole is an illusion and that McCain is a "natural born Citizen" eligible to be president.


Slides: The Future Of Oil And Gas Development On Federal Lands, Mike Chiropolos Jun 2007

Slides: The Future Of Oil And Gas Development On Federal Lands, Mike Chiropolos

The Future of Natural Resources Law and Policy (Summer Conference, June 6-8)

Presenter: Mike Chiropolos, Lands Program Director, Western Resource Advocates

44 slides


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 …


The First Word: The President's Place In "Legislative History", Kathryn Marie Dessayer Nov 1990

The First Word: The President's Place In "Legislative History", Kathryn Marie Dessayer

Michigan Law Review

This Note examines the extent to which courts interpreting statutes should consider presidential participation in the legislative process. Part I concludes that courts should afford presidential input greater weight in statutory interpretation given the constitutional foundations and the empirical reality of the President's involvement in the lawmaking process. This conclusion follows from an examination of the President's authority to propose legislation and his power to review legislation via the presentment clause. To demonstrate the advantages of using presidential documents, Part II considers a series of cases in which courts used executive documents in the statutory interpretation process. Although federal courts …