//  3/27/17  //  Quick Reactions

In a Washington Post article that reads like a White House press release, the Trump administration announced that the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, will lead a new Office of American Innovation “with sweeping authority to overhaul the federal bureaucracy.” The Post calls it a “SWAT team to fix government with business ideas.”

But there are a few reasons to believe this SWAT team won’t be anything more than a neighborhood watch whose only authority is to call Kushner’s father-in-law for backup.

For one thing, despite his new “office,” Kushner is still a White House employee, not a Senate-confirmable officer. That’s more than his wife can say, at the moment, but it still means he can’t legally direct or supervise actual officers who have formal positions in the executive branch. The Post couches this deep in the article with, “Kushner takes projects and decisions directly to the president for sign-off.” Yes, well, good for him.

For another thing, there’s also no risk that President Trump will give his son-in-law “sweeping authority” to do much of anything anytime soon. The only reason Kushner is allowed to work in the White House in the first place is because the Department of Justice concluded that the federal anti-nepotism rules don’t apply to White House employees. The second the president tries to promote Kushner into an officer is the second Kushner is subject to those requirements.

A better headline for the Post article would have been: “President gives son-in-law bigger office to combat nepotism, shrink government.” Let the irony speak for itself.


Versus Trump: Can You Hear The Whistle Blowing?

9/25/19  //  In-Depth Analysis

On this week's episode of Versus Trump, Charlie and Jason discuss the legal stakes of the fight over what Trump said to the President of Ukraine and the related whistleblower complaint. A lot happened between when they recorded the episode and when it's being posted, but we still think it's a useful primer on the legal questions in this dispute. Listen now!

Charlie Gerstein

Civil Rights Corps

The House Ways and Means Committee Has Standing to Seek Trump's Tax Returns

9/23/19  //  In-Depth Analysis

If the House Ways and Means Committee lacked Article III standing, then the House’s subpoena power would be gutted, and the Executive Branch could defy valid congressional process with impunity

Laurence H. Tribe

Harvard Law School

SCOTUS Needs to Rein in Lower Courts Willing to Force Its Hand by Defying Its Precedent

9/19/19  //  In-Depth Analysis

By David Strauss: Ideological lower court judges have challenged the Supreme Court by defying its precedent. There is one way for the Court to keep from being put in this position time and again. It should summarily reverse, making clear that only the Court will decide when its own precedent is no longer good law.

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