Executive Branch

Under President Trump, a series of leaks, scandals, false statements, resignations, and questionable appointments have raised fundamental questions about the Executive Branch.

Versus Trump: The FOIA Spectacular!

9/21/17  //  Commentary

On this week’s episode of Versus Trump, Easha and Charlie discuss all things FOIA—that is, the Freedom of Information Act. Listen now!

Charlie Gerstein

Civil Rights Corps

Easha Anand

San Francisco

Versus Trump: Keeping the DREAM Alive

9/14/17  //  Commentary

On this week’s episode of Versus Trump, we discuss a major new lawsuit that challenges President Trump's announced revocation of the DACA immigration program. Listen now!

Charlie Gerstein

Civil Rights Corps

Trump DOJ's Flipped Positions

9/8/17  //  Commentary

Republicans may not be advancing their agenda through legislation, but they're getting it done in other ways.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Versus Trump: Versus DeVos (Re-Air)

9/7/17  //  Commentary

On this week’s episode of Versus Trump, as summer ends and a new school begins, we re-air Jason's interview with Toby Merrill, the director of the Project on Predatory Student Lending at Harvard Law School, about several lawsuits she's involved with against newly-confirmed Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. We'll be back soon with new episodes.

Charlie Gerstein

Civil Rights Corps

Easha Anand

San Francisco

Versus Trump: Trump vs. The CFPB

8/24/17  //  Commentary

On this week’s episode of Versus Trump, Jason and Charlie talk about the Trump Administration's position in a lawsuit contending that the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau—commonly known as the CFPB—is unconstitutional, because its sole director does not serve at the pleasure of the President but instead serves a set term and can be terminated only for-cause. Listen now!

Charlie Gerstein

Civil Rights Corps

Attacking North Korea Would Be Illegal

8/10/17  //  Commentary

President Trump threatened this week to launch "fire and fury like the world has never seen" against North Korea. That is not something the Constitution lets him do without Congress.

Zachary Price

U.C. Hastings College of the Law

Updates | The Week of July 31, 2017

8/6/17  //  Daily Update

Commentary continues on the possibility that President Trump will fire the Attorney General.

Updates | The Week of July 17, 2017

7/23/17  //  Daily Update

Transgender students are turning to the courts to fill the void left by the Department of Education under President Trump. Litigation over the immigration ban may change the scope of the plenary-power doctrine.

Updates | The Week of July 10, 2017

7/16/17  //  Daily Update

The Senate Judiciary Committee began hearings for Christopher Wray, President Trump's nominee for FBI Director, and passed along four other nominees.

Updates | The Week of June 12, 2017

6/18/17  //  Daily Update

The Trump Administration is undermining the role of the inspectors general in federal agencies. President Trump declared that he has “passed more legislation” than any president besides FDR, but history says otherwise.

Updates | The Week of June 5, 2017

6/11/17  //  Daily Update

Allison Murphy discusses what must be asked of any FBI nominee; Alison Frankel examines the impact President Trump's tweets may have on DOJ arguments for the travel ban.

Upates | The Week of May 1, 2017

5/7/17  //  Daily Update

President Trump has signed more executive orders in his first 100 days than any president since Harry Truman, but it's uncertain whether he has increased the powers of the presidency.

Take Care

Improper Commands from President Trump's Employees?

3/16/17  //  Commentary

Key White House personnel might be violating important limits on their lawful authority.

Nikolas Bowie

Harvard Law School

It Was Legal for the President to Fire Comey. That’s the Problem.

5/10/17  //  Commentary

It’s already too late in the day to trust the executive branch to police itself. That lack of trust should extend to a special prosecutor, independent counsel, or whatever other nice terms you want to call it. At this point, only Congress can credibly investigate the President.

Nikolas Bowie

Harvard Law School

The Nuclear Option and Democratic Deterioration

4/10/17  //  Commentary

The Gorsuch nomination battle illustrates and exacerbates the dynamics of democratic deterioration. Reversing these trends will require elected officials to act with courage. It will also require significant structural changes to our political system.

Daniel P. Tokaji

Ohio State, Moritz College of Law

American Cognitive Dissonance

3/17/17  //  Commentary

Perhaps some good may come from Trump’s ham-fisted efforts to drain the swamp: a revitalization of the bureaucracy, which renders important services to the nation.

Jon D. Michaels

UCLA School of Law

The Blind Side In Trump’s War On The Administrative State

4/17/17  //  Commentary

Neomi Rao’s nomination to serve as Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) is part of Trump and Bannon’s war on the administrative state.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Ian Samuel

Harvard Law School

Closing the Courthouse Doors: Justice Kennedy’s Very Bad Day

6/22/17  //  Commentary

David Gans discusses Ziglar v. Abassi, a new SCOTUS ruling that makes it very hard for individuals to sue federal officials for trampling on federal constitutional rights

Take Care

It’s Time To Pay Attention To Whom Trump Is Putting in Charge of Federal Agencies—And How He’s Doing It

3/17/17  //  Commentary

President Trump isn't nominating people to many positions requiring Senate confirmation. Instead, he's relying on employees who haven't been vetted through the advice & consent process. That's not okay.

Brianne J. Gorod

Constitutional Accountability Center

How Donald Trump Will Fire Jeff Sessions

7/26/17  //  Commentary

Donald Trump’s Firing Of Jim Comey Provides A Template For How He Will Fire Jeff Sessions

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Waivers of Executive Privilege Can Be Informal

6/6/17  //  Commentary

Even Had He Wanted to Assert Executive Privilege, Trump May Have Waived Any Such Claim Over His Conversations With Jim Comey By Blabbing and Tweeting About Them

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Laurence H. Tribe

Harvard Law School

The Russia Sanctions Bill Is Unconstitutional – and Unnecessarily So

7/26/17  //  Commentary

The bill to impose sanctions on Russia for meddling in the 2016 election is unconstitutional. And unnecessarily so.

Daniel Hemel

University of Chicago Law School

The Comey Firing in (Comparative) Context

5/11/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

President Trump’s abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey prompted two immediate questions: Is the firing legal, and is this a constitutional crisis? But are these even the right questions to pose?

Aziz Huq

University of Chicago Law School

Versus Trump: A Gadfly Suit + Leah Litman

6/15/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

On a new episode of Versus Trump, Take Care's podcast, Easha, Jason, and Charlie discuss a lawsuit against the President that's been brought by a D.C. gadfly who claims that Trump did not provide sufficient detail on the financial disclosure form he submitted as a candidate. Then, Easha talks with Leah Litman about the status of the Muslim ban litigation and the role of oral advocacy in this and other high-profile cases. Listen now!

Charlie Gerstein

Civil Rights Corps

Easha Anand

San Francisco

Fake Transparency

5/9/17  //  Quick Reactions

As long as the Deputy Attorney General is writing memos making recommendations to the President, it is time to make a recommendation for the appointment of a special counsel.

Neil J. Kinkopf

George State University College of Law

The CFPB Is (Allegedly) A New Kind of Agency. Who Cares? (Part II)

5/23/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

More reasons why the D.C. Circuit should not rely on the CFPB’s purported novelty to suggest the CFPB is unconstitutional

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Trump And His Administration Are A Nightmare For The Dreamers

5/4/17  //  Commentary

ICE Continues To Undermine DACA Despite Trump’s Protestations To the Contrary

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Executive Privilege(s) and the Testimony of James Comey

6/9/17  //  Commentary

The various references to executive privilege and unauthorized disclosures must be analyzed more closely.

Peter M. Shane

Ohio State, Moritz College of Law

Information Wars: The Final Frontier

7/25/17  //  Commentary

Elements of the Republican Party have proposed eliminating the Budget Analysis Division of the Congressional Budget Office.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

When Due Process Reliance Defenses May Bar Enforcement

3/24/17  //  Commentary

In limited but vital ways, those who relied on Obama-era immigration and marijuana non-enforcement policies should be protected against sudden shifts in federal policy under President Trump.

Zachary Price

U.C. Hastings College of the Law

Another Illegal Executive Order--This Time National Monuments Are Under Attack

4/28/17  //  Commentary

Trump issued an order directing Interior Secretary to review a generation's worth of national monument designations. That order is likely illegal.

Michael Burger

Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School

Versus Trump: Versus Kobach

7/20/17  //  Commentary

On this week’s episode of Versus Trump, we discuss the litigation against the newly-created Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, that has Kansas Secretary of State—and repeat defendant in voting rights litigation—Kris Kobach as its now-infamous Vice Chair. Listen now!

Easha Anand

San Francisco

Charlie Gerstein

Civil Rights Corps

Trump’s Advisors Need to Step Up, Or Step Out

5/24/17  //  Commentary

Astounding revelations have erased any reasonable doubt that the President’s shortcomings endanger global security. The time has come to focus on Executive Branch officials who have a duty to guide and, if necessary, constrain Trump. They need to step up, or step out.

Dawn Johnsen

Indiana University Maurer School of Law

The Fire Alarm Function of Office-Holding

6/19/17  //  Commentary

Trumps can fire Mueller only by issuing a directive to Acting AG Rod Rosenstein. Here's why -- and why it really matters.

Zachary Price

U.C. Hastings College of the Law

Trump and North Korea: Where's Congress?

8/13/17  //  Commentary

Guest poster Eric Segall argues that Congress must act now to ensure that the President does not unilaterally commit an act of war without Congressional consent.

Take Care

Judicial Deference to President Trump

5/8/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

It is time to ask: Has Trump in effect forfeited some measure of judicial deference across contexts and cases, through his disrespect for the courts and the rule of law and his displays of prejudice and arbitrary decisionmaking? And if he has not yet reached that point, what more would it take?

Dawn Johnsen

Indiana University Maurer School of Law

The (Other) Dark Side Of The Comey Affair

5/15/17  //  Commentary

James Comey’s firing threatens more than just the rule-of-law norm against self-investigation. It also threatens the rule-of-law norm against politically motivated policing and prosecutions.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Information Wars Part II: Undermining Our Understanding of Police Practices

4/14/17  //  Commentary

As part of the Trump administration's war on information, the administration has started to roll back federal investigations into police violence and criminal justice.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Helen Klein Murillo

Harvard Law School '17

Ten Questions for a New FBI Director

6/6/17  //  Commentary

By Allison Murphy: Given President Trump’s documented and acknowledged efforts to interfere with the independence of the FBI, the Senate should presume that could continue under a new FBI Director. It is therefore incumbent upon Senators to ensure that any Trump nominee for FBI Director commits to certain baseline aspects of independence and impartiality before any new nominee is confirmed. Here are 10 questions that require answers.

Take Care

Trump Is Responsible For What ICE Is Doing To the Dreamers

5/5/17  //  Commentary

Basic principles of constitutional structure mean Trump is, and should be held, personally responsible for ICE’s egregious treatment of the DREAM-ers.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

The Audacity of The President’s "Hope"

6/13/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

Senator Risch asked Jim Comey whether a person has been charged for obstruction of justice or any other criminal offense, where they said or thought they hoped for an outcome. We hope he finds our research instructive.

Daniel Epps

Washington University Law School

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

A Reply to Larry Solum

5/25/17  //  Commentary

A response to Professor Solum’s comments on my posts about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

[UPDATED] Trump's Innocence and the Rule of Law

5/12/17  //  Commentary

Even if Trump fired Comey because Trump knows himself to be innocent of Russia-related wrongdoing, that would still be unacceptable.

Richard Primus

University of Michigan Law School

Tweetstorm Round Deux

6/5/17  //  Commentary

The President's latest statements on Twitter undermine DOJ's defense of the entry ban, and continue the President's efforts to blame everyone (including DOJ and the courts) but himself.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

The Constitutional Challenge To The CFPB

5/19/17  //  Commentary

The major constitutional challenge to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rests on the claim that the President of the United States does not have enough power over the agency.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

The Functions and Potential (but Fixable) Flaws of the “Protect Mueller” Bills

8/7/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

The bills to protect the special counsel from removal have some rough spots that can and should be worked out.

Marty Lederman

Georgetown Law

Real Reasons To Worry About Filibuster Repeal

4/10/17  //  Commentary

The filibuster repeal itself is ultimately far less important than some deeper trends it reflects concerning partisanship, institutional norms, and the separation of powers in our constitutional order.

Zachary Price

U.C. Hastings College of the Law

Trump's DOJ Budget Puts The Money Where His Mouth Has Been

6/2/17  //  Commentary

The budget for the Civil Rights Division underscores how the administration will turn a blind eye toward many forms of discrimination while stoking anti-immigrant sentiment.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

The CFPB Is (Allegedly) A New Kind of Agency. Who Cares? (Part I)

5/22/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

This two-part series explains why the CFPB’s purportedly novel structure is not a sign that the CFPB’s structure is unconstitutional.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Our (Ongoing) Coverage of the Comey Firing

5/11/17  //  Uncategorized

An organized guide to all Take Care coverage and analysis of President Trump's abrupt termination of FBI Director Comey

Take Care

Versus Trump: (Judicial) Independence Day Spectacular!

7/6/17  //  Commentary

On this week’s episode of Versus Trump, we celebrate Independence Day with a look at the past, present, and future of judicial independence. Jason and Easha discuss the origins of judicial power, and then talk about what the Trump Administration has done that may undermine the authority of the judiciary—and where that kind of talk might lead us. Listen now!

Easha Anand

San Francisco

Trump's Mistaken Signing Statement on Marijuana Enforcement

5/16/17  //  Commentary

Trump suggested in a recent signing statement that he could disregard an appropriations restriction on federal marijuana enforcement. But Trump is mistaken.

Zachary Price

U.C. Hastings College of the Law

The Road to United States v. Trump is Paved with Prosecutorial Discretion

5/21/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

Should former FBI Director Robert Mueller decide to bring criminal charges against President Trump for obstruction of justice, he would be acting well within the law, the norms of the profession, and the reasonable bounds of the discretion with which he has been entrusted.

Andrew Crespo

Harvard Law School

Versus Trump: "What About Congress? + Steven Wu"

6/8/17  //  Commentary

On a new episode of Versus Trump, Take Care's podcast, Easha, Jason, and Charlie discuss Congress's role and powers in investigations of the Executive. Then, Jason talks with Steven Wu, a Deputy Solicitor General in the Office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, about the case against Trump University, the active role of states in recent years, and other issues in which New York is adverse to the President. Listen now!

Easha Anand

San Francisco

Charlie Gerstein

Civil Rights Corps

Seven Reactions to Today’s Coats/Rogers Testimony

6/7/17  //  Quick Reactions

Jed Shugerman analyzes today's live testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Jed Shugerman

Fordham Law School

Policing is Always Political, So Politicians Should Control It

5/24/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

Recent Harvard Law graduate, and soon to be civil rights lawyer, Shakeer Rahman offers some second thoughts about celebrating federal law enforcement’s independence.

Take Care

On Presumptions Of Regularity, And Incidents Of Irregularity

5/11/17  //  Commentary

The Presumption of Regularity, Like All Presumptions, Is Rebuttable, Not Conclusive Evidence

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

A Landmark Victory for LGBT Rights (And The Path Ahead)

4/5/17  //  Commentary

The en banc Seventh Circuit has held that Title VII protects against sexual orientation discrimination. SCOTUS is likely to grant review of this important issue in the near future. But it remains unclear what position the Trump Administration will take.

Joshua Matz

Publisher

How Might Congress Reinforce NATO?

5/30/17  //  Commentary

President Trump's overseas trip has cast doubt on longstanding consensus features of U.S. foreign policy, particularly our commitment to NATO. Here are some ways Congress might respond.

Zachary Price

U.C. Hastings College of the Law

SCOTUS Warns Against Appointing "Unfit Characters"

3/24/17  //  Quick Reactions

A decision this week reminds us that President Trump is bound by laws, which he is violating, in making key appointments. The Acting U.S. Trade Representative, for instance, might well be occupying that role unlawfully.

Nikolas Bowie

Harvard Law School

Dark Money and Judicial Nominations Under Trump (And Beyond)

5/9/17  //  Commentary

Our treasure of an independent judiciary is built upon an assumption of independence, of transparency about influence and potential conflicts, and accountability to the democratic process. When massive amounts of dark corporate money can affect those political processes, we are in grave danger of damaging that national treasure.

Dawn Johnsen

Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Congress’s Vital Power of the Purse

4/5/17  //  Commentary

The upcoming budget fights will be ugly and brutal, but they implicate the most important practical means of constraining this president (or any other)—Congress’s power over appropriations. But the nature and limits of that power remain shockingly undefined.

Zachary Price

U.C. Hastings College of the Law

Versus Trump Podcast: Prosecuting Trump FAQ + James Williams

5/17/17  //  Commentary

On today's two-part episode of Versus Trump, Take Care's podcast, we answer three burning questions related to whether the sitting President can face criminal charges, and how that prosecution could be started. We also have an interview with James Williams, the County Counsel for Santa Clara County, where he discusses his County's lawsuit against Trump Administration that has so far successfully prevented the Trump Administration from enforcing an executive order that would have withdrawn federal funding from so-called sanctuary cities.

Charlie Gerstein

Civil Rights Corps

A Few Cheers For The Appointment Of A Special Counsel

5/17/17  //  Quick Reactions

In a welcome development, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to investigate Russia-related (criminal) wrongdoing.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Updates | The Week of April 24, 2017

4/30/17  //  Daily Update

The Trump Administration has more executive orders in its first 100 days than any administration since FDR, but done little governing. Politico lists the hundreds of federal positions President Trump has yet to fill.

Updates | The Week of March 27, 2017

4/2/17  //  Daily Update

This week, Jared Kushner was tapped to head a new "Office of Innovation." Niko Bowie and John D. Michaels provided commentary on Take Care. The White House's decision to prevent acting Attorney General Sally Yates from testifying demonstrates the administration's aggressive approach to executive privilege.

Updates | The Week of April 3, 2017

4/9/17  //  Daily Update

A federal judge has allowed a lawsuit against President Trump for inciting violence at a campaign rally to go forward.