Administrative state

Civil War on the Left (77): Neera Miss Edition

Featured image I still argue that the divisions within the Democratic Party are going to make the Biden months (heh) in office difficult to manage. Don’t be fooled by the hand-holding Kumbaya drum circles you see right now. If you want an indication of this, look at the announcement today that Neera Tanden’s nomination to head OMB is being withdrawn. Her nomination was in trouble with Republicans from the start, but after »

A Telling Sign of Biden’s Radicalism

Featured image Back in January 1993, when Bill Clinton ended 12 years of medieval rule under Reagan and Bush, the famed environmentalist David Brower published the following full-page ad in the New York Times: What was so brain-damaging about “economics”? Cost-benefit analysis, that’s what. The Reagan Administration had ordered the Office of Management and Budget to conduct cost-benefit reviews of proposed government regulations, and if they cost more than they benefits provided, »

The original progressive dream has become a modern nightmare

Featured image George Will has an excellent column in which he presents the arguments of Philip Howard, as set forth in an article called “From Progressivism to Paralysis.” Howard contends that modern government “is structured to preempt the active intelligence of people on the ground.” Moreover: »

Inside the COVID Pork Bill

Featured image Did you know that today is National Bacon Day? I didn’t—but then I tend to think that every day is national bacon day. Or at least ought to be. Maybe when Homer Simpson is president. In any case, our mind is on pork a lot at the moment because of the 5,593-page COVID relief and omnibus spending mashup Congress passed and President Trump reluctantly signed a couple days ago. There »

DOL wants more time to mull appealing meritless Oracle case

Featured image Who is running the Trump Department of Labor? Ostensibly, it’s Secretary of Labor Gene Scalia. And, ostensibly, Kate O’Scannlain is running the DOL Solicitor’s office. After all, she is the Solicitor. However, the DOL’s unwillingness to let go of its baseless discrimination case against Oracle suggests that leftist career employees are in control of that litigation, and who knows what else. It has been obvious all along that, under any »

Get your hand out of my shower revisited

Featured image Before the advent of the modern environmental movement, National Review founder Bill Buckley used to proclaim with a glint in his eye that a liberal is someone who wants to reach into your shower and adjust the temperature of the water. Man, oh, man, was he right. The liberals’ environmental agenda brought Buckley’s satirical thrust uncomfortably close to reality. See, for example, the Wall Street Journal article “A water fight »

How dare you do your job, Gene Scalia!

Featured image We have written before about the Department of Labor’s action against Oracle for alleged pay discrimination. In my view, the case against Oracle is without merit. It was brought by the Obama administration, based on specious statistical analyses. The Trump administration should have promptly dismissed the action, but former Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta, not wanting to alienate the left or the mainstream media, allowed holdovers from the Obama administration »

Is Trump Right About the CDC?

Featured image John wonders below whether Trump is right in his criticism this morning of the CDC. There is good reason to think he is. Ron Bailey explains over at Reason in a typically bracing piece, “How Government Red Tape Stymied Testing and Made the Coronavirus Epidemic Worse.” Key excerpts: As The New York Times reports in a terrific new article, officials at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for »

The administrative state marches on at the Trump Department of Labor

Featured image I haven’t written much about the Department of Labor since Alex Acosta resigned as Secretary of Labor. However, in this post, written after Gene Scalia became the new Secretary, I complained that the DOL was still pursuing its specious “pay discrimination” case against Oracle. The culprit is the Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). During the Obama administration, OFCCP became a bastion of leftism. It pursued radical theories »

The Power Line Show, Ep. 135: Judicial Fortitude, with Peter Wallison

Featured image Long time readers will know that we’ve been very focused on the problem of the “administrative state,” an arcane term from political science that has in the last few years broken out big in everyday discussion. The administrative state refers to the trend, decades in the making, of transferring lawmaking power away from the legislative branch of government to permanent, unelected bureaucrats and executive agencies. The administrative state undermines a central »

Scenes from the Progressive Freakout (1)

Featured image It’s a really tough time to be a liberal Progressive. One bit of evidence appears right now in The New Yorker, where Harvard Law professor Jeannie Suk Gersen worries that the Supreme Court might actually rein in the administrative state. This, she assures us, would produce a “parade of horrors” (actual quote). Let’s start with this passage: For the better part of a century, the Court has permitted Congress to delegate »

The citizenship question

Featured image You may not want to understand the Supreme Court’s June 27 decision essentially nixing the Trump administration’s effort to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census. You may not want to know where the Supreme Court derives the authority to weigh in on this issue. You may rather want to know how such a fundamental question ever came to be omitted from the Census in the first place. The »

Alex Acosta’s losing bet

Featured image Earlier this week, I noted that Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta failed, in effect, to receive a “full confidence” declaration from the White House. Sarah Sanders’ statement in this regard followed a White House meeting in which, according to what I heard, Mick Mulvaney and at least one key domestic policy adviser urged President Trump to fire Acosta. Given Acosta’s scandalous behavior in connection with the sweetheart deal he gave »

CRB: Draining the swamp

Featured image We continue our preview of the new (Winter) issue of the Claremont Review of Books hot off the press. It went into the mail on Monday and is accessible online to to subscribers now. Buy an annual subscription including immediate online access here for the modest price of $19.95. It is an invaluable magazine for those of us who love trustworthy essays on, and reviews of books about, politics, history, »

An opportunity to roll back the administrative state

Featured image Earlier this month, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case that might well have major implications for administrative law. The case is Kisor v. Wilkie, in which a Marine seeks retroactive benefits for his PTSD. Why is this case so important? Because, as David French explains, it turns on the deference, if any, the VA’s interpretation of the word “relevant” in the applicable federal regulations should receive. French explains »

Acosta DOL authorizes spying on employers via drones

Featured image Alex Acosta’s Labor Department has authorized OSHA inspectors “to use camera-carrying drones as part of their inspections of outdoor workplaces.” So reports Bloomberg Law, linking to a May 18, 2018 DOL memorandum obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. The memorandum requires inspectors to “obtain express consent from the employer” before using a drone, thus likely avoiding a Fourth Amendment problem. However, as prominent labor lawyer and former DOL »

Environmental law and the Constitution

Featured image Last week, I had the honor of attending the swearing-in of Jeff Clark as Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) of the Justice Department. Jeff was sworn in by Judge Danny Boggs for whom he clerked. Matthew Whitaker and Ron Rosenstein both spoke, as did Jeff Wood who was in charge of the ENRD for 21 months while Jeff waited for the Senate to confirm »