Administrative state

Memo to Gov. Brown, Re: Public Pensions

Featured image It may be hard for readers to believe this—and I do advise sitting down—but Gov. Jerry Brown is—relatively speaking, mind you—about the only adult in the room in Sacramento among Democrats. If you doubt me, just wait till we have a governor named “Gavin” next year (which California richly deserves), and you’ll see what I mean. Governor Moonbeam has actually vetoed a lot of bad bills that any other liberal »

Memo to Trump, Re: Reforming The “Civil Service”

Featured image Here’s a puzzler for you: the number of civilian federal employees is actually smaller than it was when John F. Kennedy was president. This anomaly is explained by one of the smarter liberals around, John DiIulio, in his provocative book Bring Back the Bureaucrats. I say let’s not do that, but DiIulio does reveal that since government is vastly bigger than it was when Kennedy was president, there must be »

Memo to Betsy DeVos: What You’re Up Against

Featured image In the mission of offering continuing political education here at Power Line University, herewith another timeless scene from Yes, Prime Minister on how the bureaucrats regard the idea of school choice, with a side of Obamacare thrown in for good measure. Betsy DeVos might want to screen this scene:   »

Today’s Classroom Lesson: Government Art Subsidies

Featured image For at least 25 years now, conservatives have been asking why taxpayers should subsidize marginal art like “Piss Christ” through the National Endowment for the Arts and such. Periodic calls to abolish the NEA always seem to get turned back somehow in the DC swamp. But the Trump Administration just might be the people to blow off the special pleading of the “arts community” and zero out the NEA. But »

Mr. Mulvaney requests…

Featured image OMB Director Mick Mulvaney is one of the all-stars among President Trump’s cabinet level appointees. President Trump had the inspired idea to appoint him acting director of the constitutional monstrosity known as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau when Richard Cordray departed to run for elective office. Before his departure, however, in the lawless spirit of the bureau itself, Cordray sought to name his own successor. We admired his performance facing »

With Alex Acosta history repeats itself

Featured image Bloomberg reports that Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta is “keeping a low profile in this first year in office, possibly because he has his eye on another job.” “Low profile” means keeping Barack Obama’s left-wing program in place. “Another job” means a high-level federal judgeship. “Possibly” means certainly. Here’s how Bloomberg’s Ben Penn puts it: There is widespread discussion that Acosta, a former United States Attorney and law school dean, »

What Trump (And Everyone Else) Is Up Against

Featured image We had a lively discussion last night on the Power Line VIP video chat about the “permanent government,” or “the swamp” as Trump and others call it, and how difficult it is to conquer. It reminded me that I’ve been thinking for years about teaching an entire course based on episodes of the great “Yes, Minister” and “Yes, Prime Minister” BBC series, which holds up astoundingly well after 30 years »

Populism and the administrative state

Featured image Steve Bannon’s days as an influential player may be over. If so, what is his legacy? It’s not the election of President Trump. This was down to Trump himself, as the president likes to remind us. Nor is Bannon’s legacy hanging tough on “Billy Bush weekend,” though at times this seems to be what he is most proud of. And his legacy is not blowing a safe Senate seat in »

Neutralize this

Featured image In 2015 the FCC reversed long-standing practice and policy to assert control over the Internet. The FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order (i.e., “net neutrality” as it is in the propaganda wars) reclassifies broadband Internet access service as a Title II telecommunications service under the jurisdiction of the Communications Act of 1934. Internet service providers were now to be regulated as common carriers like Ma Bell. According to Barack Obama and »

Mulvaney meets the press

Featured image Mick Mulvaney is one of the GOP stars whom President Trump plucked from Congress to serve in his administration, in this case as Director of the Office of Management and Budget. He is an extraordinarily knowledgeable and impressive public servant. It made perfect sense when President Trump turned to him to step in as acting director of the unconstitutional monstrosity known as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Holman Jenkins sketched »

Today’s News in the Administrative State

Featured image Today may go down in history as one of the crucial turning points in the reversal of the Administrative State. The Supreme Court is hearing Oil States Energy v. Greene’s Energy, where the issue of whether administrative law judges beholden to executive agencies, rather than bona fide Article III judges and juries at trial, can decide whether or not patent property rights deserve protection. The Wall Street Journal editorial page has a »

The administrative state revisited

Featured image As it wound up its 2017 National Lawyers Convention this past Saturday, the Federalist Society convened an all-star panel to discuss administrative agencies and the separation of powers. Newly minted Eleventh Circuit Judge Kevin Newsom served as the panel’s moderator. The panel of law professors included Boston University’s Gary Lawson, the author of a classic article on administrative law, and Columbia University’s Philip Hamburger, author of (in my estimation) the »

Trump vs. the administrative state (2)

Featured image The Federalist Society held its 2017 National Lawyers Convention this past Thursday through Saturday. The topic of this year’s convention was Administrative Agencies and the Regulatory State. Most of the proceedings were streamed online and uploaded to YouTube. Senator Cotton gave the opening remarks. Attorney General Sessions formally addressed the convention. The heart of the convention consisted of panel discussions offering an intellectual feast on the threat of the administrative »

Trump Versus the Administrative State

Featured image Last month I noted here and in the Los Angeles Times that the Trump Administration is conducting the most serious effort at de-regulation and true regulatory reform (as opposed to mere temporary relief) since the Reagan Administration, and in some ways superior to the Reagan efforts. (Though to be fair, many of the worst excesses of executive branch regulation have grown up since the Reagan years.) Yesterday my regulatory rabbi »

The Arc of Regulation, Yesterday and Today

Featured image Big things are afoot in the world of federal regulation. While the media and liberals (but I repeat. . .) obsess over Trump’s tweets and other unconventional speech acts, the Trump Administration is quietly but determinately going about the task of, in Steve Bannon’s words from February, “deconstructing the Administrative State.” Certainly they are rolling back old regulations and stopping new ones at a rate not seen since the best »

The Important Story You’re Not Hearing Much About

Featured image What would you think of someone who got sued, lost in court, and celebrated the loss? You’d think there is something seriously amiss. In fact this has been the longstanding practice of a number of federal agencies, who actively cooperate with activist groups (invariably on the left) to set up lawsuits against agencies that result in the agencies having more power and instituting more regulations. To give a good example, »

Trump Administration Cancels Oppressive Obama Employment Regulations

Featured image This is one of many similar stories we have seen over the past seven months, which cause one to question the judgment of those who claim to be conservatives, but who favored Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. The Free Beacon reports: “Trump Rolls Back Onerous Diversity Regs.” The Trump administration blocked Obama-era rules that would have saddled employers with hundreds of millions of dollars in compliance costs and increased paperwork »