iOS app Android app

Separation of Powers

Boehner Law Suit Dismissed; Fix Constitutional Dysfunction

Douglas Kmiec | Posted 08.05.2014 | Politics
Douglas Kmiec

To avoid our present dysfunction, we must modify House and Senate rules that elevate the party and ideology over the formation of a workable government. The tradition of separated power will continue to secure our liberty. It is the interdependence and the reciprocity that is understated.

NLRB v. Noel Canning: Two Cheers for Recess Appointments

Peter M. Shane | Posted 08.27.2014 | Politics
Peter M. Shane

The Supreme Court's Noel Canning decision upholds the D.C. Circuit's outcome, but repudiates its reasoning and leaves the elected branches with pretty much the same tools already available to them to foster either friction or cooperation. All in all, it's a pretty good day for constitutionalism.

Hillary Clinton and Our Separation of Powers: A Law Student's Perspective

Skyler Gray | Posted 06.17.2014 | College
Skyler Gray

Presidential candidates with Hillary's governmental experience do not come around everyday, and we need her profound insight to work towards breaking though the partisan standoffs that seem to characterize current U.S. politics.

The Constitutional Stakes in Debt Ceiling Brinkmanship

Peter M. Shane | Posted 12.15.2013 | Politics
Peter M. Shane

If you don't think the current government shutdown and fight over the debt ceiling are a threat to constitutional government, you're not paying attention.

Checks and Balances: The Government Shutdown in Perspective

Jack Pinkowski | Posted 01.23.2014 | College
Jack Pinkowski

Conservative Republicans are using the system, because they can, to bring the healthcare bill back on the agenda by refusing to pass the omnibus budget bill for 2014. This is possible by design and a result of the Separation of Powers. That system of checks and balances incorporates the need for agreement and compromise between the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government.

6 Lessons From the Government Shutdown

Jeanne Zaino | Posted 11.30.2013 | Politics
Jeanne Zaino

How did we get to this point? How we can avoid being in this position in the future? We don't yet have the perspective necessary to answer these questions fully.

Rebalancing War Powers: President Obama's Momentous Decision

Peter M. Shane | Posted 11.02.2013 | Politics
Peter M. Shane

President Obama's pursuit of congressional authority for a Syrian strike operation is, to date, his single most important decision in reshaping the post-9/11 presidency.

Using the Syria Debate to Launch War Powers Reform

Peter M. Shane | Posted 11.09.2013 | Politics
Peter M. Shane

Now is the time for Congress to think about war-making in a context broader than Syria. President Obama has opened up the possibility for seriously rethinking the relationship of our elected branches in war-making in the post-9/11 era. It would be wonderful not to miss this opportunity for reform.

Sen. Lautenberg's 2005 Stand Against David Barton Was Much More Than Just a Stand for Separation of Church and State

Chris Rodda | Posted 08.05.2013 | Politics
Chris Rodda

Upon hearing of his passing on Monday morning, the one thing that immediately came to mind for me was the day in 2005 when he took a stand on the Senate floor against pseudo-historian David Barton.

The NLRB, the IRS, and the Cancer of Senate Obstructionism

Peter M. Shane | Posted 07.17.2013 | Politics
Peter M. Shane

What we are witnessing today in depressing, even contemptible form is a GOP-led congressional subversion of two of the most elementary norms on which our government rests.

Fixing Illinois' Unconstitutional Mandatory Life Without Parole Sentencing for Juveniles

Jeanne Bishop | Posted 07.16.2013 | Chicago
Jeanne Bishop

It's May now, and the Illinois legislature has already taken up measures to try to fix the concealed carry law. The fix on juvenile life sentences? Still waiting.

Scalia: Recuse or Resign

Brent Budowsky | Posted 05.14.2013 | Politics
Brent Budowsky

Scalia has a right to believe voting rights are a "perpetuation of racial entitlement" for blacks and Hispanics, but should promote this repellent and biased view on conservative talk radio, not the court.

Two More Reasons Why the D.C. Circuit is Wrong, Wrong, Wrong on Recess Appointments

Peter M. Shane | Posted 04.01.2013 | Politics
Peter M. Shane

Congress can work mischief of its own. The Senate can hold up patently qualified nominees interminably. Or a majority of the House of Representatives may disable the Senate from going into "the recess" for no reason other than to preserve the filibustering prerogatives of a Senate minority.

Making Mischief with Recess Appointment Authority -- The DC Circuit Adds New Ways to "Just Say No"

Douglas Kmiec | Posted 03.31.2013 | Politics
Douglas Kmiec

Having few ideas of one's own and repeatedly finding a way to deny Democratic action to meet modern day problems can hardly be claimed as a Senatorial privilege -- which, of course, it is not.

Permitting Legislative Repeal by Blocking Nominations: The DC Circuit Recess Appointment Disaster

Peter M. Shane | Posted 03.29.2013 | Politics
Peter M. Shane

Of course, the Senate is not intended to be a rubber stamp. But stalling nomination votes simply to keep laws from being enforced -- effectively repealing the laws that cannot be enforced without the nominees in place -- is utterly inconsistent with the Senate's proper confirmation role.

Selecting Facts Regarding the Supreme Court

Howard Steven Friedman | Posted 06.06.2012 | Politics
Howard Steven Friedman

The Constitution does not explicitly state that the Supreme Court has the right to review laws and declare them constitutional or not. In fact, the Supreme Court gave themselves this power in Marbury v. Madison.

OLC's Skillful Defense of President Obama's Recess Appointments and Its Possible Aftershocks

Peter M. Shane | Posted 03.14.2012 | Politics
Peter M. Shane

The Justice Department's release of on Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) opinion regarding President Obama's recess appointments power is a welcome display of public accountability. However one analyzes the bottom line, the opinion is a model of the genre.

Recess Appointments and President Obama's Surprising Restraint

Peter M. Shane | Posted 03.07.2012 | Politics
Peter M. Shane

For all the brouhaha surrounding President Obama's recess appointments this week of three new members for the National Labor Relations Board and of Ri...

How the Gingrinch Stole the Judiciary

Judge H. Lee Sarokin | Posted 02.20.2012 | Politics
Judge H. Lee Sarokin

Gingrich apparently has this view that judicial independence and separation of powers are some quaint old relics that have seen better days.

Republican Candidates Want the Federal Judiciary to Be More Like American Idol

Judge H. Lee Sarokin | Posted 12.24.2011 | Politics
Judge H. Lee Sarokin

The GOP keeps insisting that judges be held accountable; that somehow public opinion should influence outcomes. Nothing could be more inaccurate or contrary to constitutional principles.

What May a President Do if He Cannot Pay Our Bills?

Peter M. Shane | Posted 09.19.2011 | Politics
Peter M. Shane

If the president cannot pay off America's creditors and keep all government programs running, what legal authority does he have to deal with the crisis?

Double Congress's Pay

Robert J. Spitzer | Posted 05.25.2011 | Politics
Robert J. Spitzer

We must separate our ire at the Congress of the moment from the nobility of the legislative task performed by the people we choose, and demand that congressional pay be doubled -- at least.

Ten Congressional Commandments

Bruce Fein | Posted 05.25.2011 | Politics
Bruce Fein

Members of Congress have abdicated to the president their constitutional responsibilities because of slavish devotion, staggering constitutional illiteracy, and a vassal-like conviction that the executive branch knows best.

Are You Brainwashed? 7 Principles For Free Government

John W. Whitehead | Posted 05.25.2011 | Politics
John W. Whitehead

Precisely because Americans are easily distracted -- because, as study after study shows, they are clueless about their rights -- the American governmental scheme is sliding ever closer toward authoritarianism.

Pres. Obama: Don't Make This Veto Mistake

Robert J. Spitzer | Posted 05.25.2011 | Politics
Robert J. Spitzer

Mr. President, the advice you received on how to veto this bill was fatally defective. Yes, some of your predecessors have used this gambit, but it's an affront to the Constitution, it's unnecessary, and it thwarts the separation of powers.