Administrative state

CRB: The threat to liberty

Featured image You may have heard that our own Steven Hayward has a new book that is available now on Amazon. I read the book in galley and think it is the best book I have read since Philip Hamburger’s Is Administrative Law Unlawful? of 2014. Steve is a gifted teacher and a born storyteller, qualities that are prominently on display in his new book. The themes of Steve’s book culminate in »

Liberals bemoan the demise of last-minute Obama regs

Featured image It was never a secret that, once inaugurated, Donald Trump would immediately begin undoing regulations that took effect in the last months of the Obama administration. We knew that, for such regulations, Trump would ask Congress to use the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to bypass filibusters in the Senate to overturn recently issued regs. President Trump and Congress have undertaken this process. The Washington Post is not amused. »

Review this

Featured image Kim Strassel delivers today’s good news in her Wall Street Journal column “A GOP regulatory game changer” (accessible here via Google). She introduces the Pacific Legal Foundation’s Todd Gaziano to explain the mechanics of the rarely used (and almost always unsuccessful) Congressional Review Act of 1996 to undo executive agency regulations. (The text of the Congressional Review Act is accessible here.) As a staffer to Rep. David McIntosh at the »

A look at Judge Neil Gorsuch

Featured image Judge Neil Gorsuch of the Tenth Circuit is now said in some reports to be the frontrunner for nomination to the Supreme Court. That makes me feel old. In the early 1980s when I practiced environmental law, his mother, the late Anne Gorsuch, was the controversial head of the EPA. Anne Gorsuch was my senior by only seven years. Neil Gorsuch looks like a fine candidate for the Supreme Court. »

What Trump Is Up Against

Featured image A lot of people are thinking—and hoping—that Trump will be the third term of Ronald Reagan. Certainly his cabinet is to the right of Reagan’s first cabinet in many ways, and we have the experience of the Reagan years to appreciate better the massive opposition of what people are starting to call the “deep state,” a more accurate term perhaps for the menacing character of the administrative state. I stumbled »

Federal Judge Denounces EPA As Rogue Agency

Featured image In 2014, Murray Energy Corporation and several of its affiliates sued EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, alleging that the EPA was in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 7621, § 321(a) of the Clean Air Act, which requires the agency to “conduct continuing evaluations of potential loss or shifts of employment which may result from the administration or enforcement of the provision of [the Clean Air Act] and applicable implementation plans, including »

Bureaucracy in the Age of Trump

Featured image Who knows just how the clash between the Trump Administration and career bureaucrats will play out, but for the time being we have the great Dan Mitchell to thank for bringing our attention to this splendid video from someone in Latin America, where bureaucracy is a fine art (just 3:30 long): »

What is to be done?

Featured image Steve Hayward’s current Weekly Standard article “Crisis of the conservative house divided” provides an anatomy of splits in the conservative movement exposed in the course of the 2016 presidential contest. It’s an important and illuminating essay. Steve’s essay turns on “the insidious political character of the ‘administrative state,’ a phrase once confined chiefly to the ranks of conservative political scientists, but which has broken out into common parlance. It refers »

Reminder: Washington Hates America

Featured image One of the strongest arguments in favor of Trump is that if he won it would represent a stunning rebuke to the governing class in Washington—of both parties. That is one reason why Trump is essentially running as an independent, attacking both parties after having effected a hostile takeover of the Republican Party. I’ll have more to say about this starting Friday, but for now it is important to take »

Midnight Regs, Part 2

Featured image No sooner are the pixels posted on my note yesterday regarding “midnight regulations” than The Hill reports this: GOP Mostly Powerless in Stopping Obama ‘Midnight’ Regulations . . . Republican lawmakers and independent experts expect more [regulations] to come. But Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas told Roll Call that his party cannot do much because “the framers of the Constitution didn’t give us a lot of tools that didn’t »

Forget the 3 am Phone Call: Watch Midnight Regs Instead

Featured image There’s a phenomenon going back to the Carter-Reagan transition or before that is well known among K Street lawyers and what is called the “regulated community” (a perfectly Orwellian term for private sector business under the visible foot of government): outgoing Democratic administrations enact a number of new rule-makings on the last day of the administration, often very controversial and costly rules that the outgoing administration has sat on for »

NY Times Blasts Obama’s Executive Tyranny

Featured image I’m sure the New York Times didn’t think it was doing what I claim in the headline here with its remarkable story yesterday on Obama’s use of executive power, but what else would you conclude from taking in the direct and cleared-eyed prose of Binyamin Appelbaum and Michael D. Shear: WASHINGTON — In nearly eight years in office, President Obama has sought to reshape the nation with a sweeping assertion »

Our enemy, the state

Featured image This past April the Claremont Institute and the Federalist Society co-sponsored a panel discussion of the weaponization of the bureaucracy against the Democrats’ political opponents. They called the program “Our Partisan Bureaucracy? The IRS, the DOJ, and the Future of Political Activism” (video below and at the link). The Claremont Institute has posted the video with this description: When the first Civil Service Reform Act passed in 1883, “good government” »

First They Came for My Commode . . .

Featured image If you want to understand why Brexit passed and why more revolts from us peasants are likely ahead, take in this story from The Telegraph today: EU to launch kettle and toaster crackdown after Brexit vote The EU is poised to ban high-powered appliances such as kettles, toasters, hair-dryers within months of Britain’s referendum vote, despite senior officials admitting the plan has brought them “ridicule”. The European Commission plans to unveil long-delayed »

Power Line University (3): Brexit and the “Eurosausage”

Featured image One reason the “Yes, Prime Minister” series is so effective as a teaching tool about the nature of contemporary politics is that many of its story lines were taken from the real political controversies of the 1980s. One involved “bangers,” i.e., what passes for “sausage” in British pubs. The European Union, in its attempt to “harmonize” food standards, wanted Britain to rename “bangers” as something other than “sausage.” They were »

This Is How All Bureaucrats Should Be Answered

Featured image Making the rounds right now is an exchange that I certainly hope is authentic, between the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife and ranchers Larry and Amanda Anderson. It seems the Oregon bureaucrats want permission to survey the Andersons’ ranch land for purposes of tracking species decline. Here’s the letter from the state, which I think you can make out: And here is the Andersons’ splendid reply (full text below »

Power Line University (1)

Featured image A number of readers have asked periodically whether any of my courses are online, or available by videotape. Unfortunately not, though I may try to change this next year depending on whether I make a move to a more conventional lecture format. Right now, most of my classes are long, and seminar style, which means lots of classroom discussion and a sometimes chaotic direction that would make for awful viewing. »