Rule of Law

President Trump has disrupted many norms and institutions that sustain the rule of law.

See You In Court 3.0

5/25/17  //  Quick Reactions

A quick recap of the Fourth Circuit's decision in IRAP v. Trump.

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

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

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

Why Impeachment Must Remain A Priority

5/23/17  //  Commentary

The appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller must not lead progressives to put the thought of impeaching President Trump on a back-burner.

Laurence H. Tribe

Harvard Law School

Updates | The Week of May 15, 2017

5/21/17  //  Daily Update

Extensive commentary continued this week on the firing of FBI Director James Comey. Reports that President Trump asked Director Comey to stop the FBI’s Flynn investigation threw the White House into even greater turmoil. The Justice Department appointed Robert Mueller III, former FBI Director, special counsel of its Russia investigation.

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

Updates | The Week of May 8, 2017

5/14/17  //  Daily Update

President Trump's unexpected dismissal of FBI Director James Comey shocked the legal world. The White House's explanations for the firing changed over the course of the week and were contradicted in testimony before Congress by Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, deepening concerns over the President's motivations.

Updates | The Week of April 24, 2017

4/30/17  //  Daily Update

The Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security has opened an investigation after U.S. Customs and Border Protection sent a summons to Twitter seeking to identify the person behind an anti-Trump Twitter account. At Balkinzation, Michael Klarman discussed how the election of President Trump supports the Framers’ concern that democracy would ultimately lead to the election of a demagogue.

Updates | The Week of April 3, 2017

4/9/17  //  Daily Update

President Trump's legal authority to conduct a war against ISIL is being challenged. He also believes he is immune from suits challenging his private conduct while in office.

Updates | The Week of March 27, 2017

4/2/17  //  Daily Update

The United States failed to appear before hearings at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights last week, prompting questions on whether the Trump Administration believes in the rule of law. On the domestic front, the Trump Administration proposed eliminating funding for the Legal Services Corporation, a cut that would fall on the heads of the poor, rural voters who make up President Trump's base.

Updates | The Week of March 20, 2017

3/26/17  //  Daily Update

President Trump doubled down on his attacks on the judiciary. His “adversarial relationship with the truth” continued wrecking havoc for his staff.

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

Uncertainty Has Consequences: Health Care Reform Edition

3/22/17  //  Commentary

Uncertainty created by presidential action can be destructive. That is painfully clear in the healthcare field, where President Trump's vague, confusing, and ever-changing policies are already causing harm.

GSA, Trump International Hotel, and the Constitution

3/24/17  //  Quick Reactions

Yesterday, the General Services Agency surprised experts by declaring that the Trump Hotel in D.C. is not in violation of its lease. But the GSA's decision itself might well violate the Domestic Emoluments Clause.

Brianne J. Gorod

Constitutional Accountability Center

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

Yes, The President Can Constitutionally Fire Comey

5/9/17  //  Quick Reactions

According to breaking news reports, President Trump has fired FBI director James Comey. It's within his power to do that.

No Peeking? Korematsu and Judicial Credulity

3/22/17  //  Commentary

The Supreme Court's decision in the Japanese Internment Cases offers a chilling reminder of why courts cannot close their eyes to clear evidence of bigotry in executive orders supposedly justified by security concerns.

Ian Samuel

Harvard Law School

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Santa Clara v. Trump and the Perils of the Gestural Presidency

4/26/17  //  Quick Reactions

If we had a president less concerned with posing as a man of action and more as the fiduciary taking care that the laws be faithfully executed, he would probably do better in court. I don't foresee him changing course.

Peter M. Shane

Ohio State, Moritz College of Law

McKayla Maroney Is Not Impressed (With DOJ's Brief in the Fourth Circuit)

3/27/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

The Department of Justice has filed a brief in the Fourth Circuit defending President Trump's revised entry ban. This is not an impressive brief: it is rife with misstatements of fact and incorrect legal arguments.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

The Under-Inclusive Theory Of Discrimination (It's Not Going To Happen)

5/8/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

The Trump administration has repeatedly (and incorrectly) argued that a policy does not constitute discrimination unless the policy discriminates against all members of a particular group.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

A Powerful Statement by the California Chief Justice

3/20/17  //  Quick Reactions

In urging the Attorney General to cease using state courthouses as bait for undocumented migrants, the California Chief Justice displayed admirable bravery and commitment to the rule of law.

Laurence H. Tribe

Harvard Law School

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

The Comey Affair And Evidence Of Motive

5/12/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

The Comey affair underscores that decisionmakers must look beyond the administration’s “official” documents to determine the administration’s motives.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

There’s Unquestionably Standing in the CREW Case. Here’s Why.

4/19/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

The additional plaintiffs in the CREW case unquestionably have standing.

Jonathan Taylor

Gupta Wessler PLLC

Rights, Powers, Duties, and Responsibilities: A Comment on the Language of Presidential Compliance with the Law

5/18/17  //  Commentary

No, the President cannot act for any reason. If President Trump fired Comey in an attempt to obstruct an investigation into the Russian connection, that too would constitute an impeachable offense and a federal crime.

Ira C. Lupu

George Washington University Law School

President Trump Shouldn't Be Impeached If He Hasn't Committed a Crime

5/22/17  //  Commentary

It would be a grave mistake to call for President Trump's impeachment if he hasn't committed a crime. In an era of tit-for-tat partisanship, lowering the impeachment standard to “anything Congress thinks is wrong” is a recipe for dysfunctional government, one in which the House of one party could perpetually threaten to impeach the White House of another.

Nikolas Bowie

Harvard 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

An Update on DACA

3/31/17  //  Latest Developments

The President's words indicate he is open to honoring DACA (the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program). But his actions (and inactions) suggest otherwise.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Trump and the Decline of the American Middle

4/14/17  //  Commentary

Do our constitutional arrangements predict just the kind of political failure that materialized in November 2016? If so, does that mean that the long-term remedy for that failure lies in constitutional reform? Does our constitutional fate determine our political fate?

Jamal Greene

Columbia Law School

The Comey Firing - Legal Analyses From Around the Web

5/15/17  //  Latest Developments

A day-by-day guide to legal analysis of the many questions raised by Trump's abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey.

Take Care

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

Nunes Recuses. Sort Of. Now What?

4/7/17  //  Quick Reactions

Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Devin Nunes will step aside from the committee’s Russia investigation. Sort of. What does this mean -- and what comes next?

Ian Samuel

Harvard Law School

The Standard Fare of Judges: What Happens When the Judiciary Does What It Always Does

3/28/17  //  Commentary

The Muslim Ban litigation does not involve a "revolt of the judges." As proven by a survey of major and minor cases from the legal canon, this litigation involves only the standard fare of judging.

Daniel Deacon

U.C. Irvine School of Law

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

Villains, Careerists, and Patriots: Thoughts on Kobach, Rosenstein, Comey, and McMaster

5/22/17  //  Commentary

When do a person's actions demonstrate that whatever they might have been in the past, they are now villains? When do their curious actions reveal them to be careerists? And when does the sacrifice of personal reputation serve a greater good?

Michael C. Dorf

Cornell Law School

What Is Dead May Never Die: An AHCA Update

5/3/17  //  Commentary

With the AHCA back on the table, it's time to remember that the GOP really doesn’t like the constitutional arguments it made against the ACA

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Loyalty and Disloyalty in Trump’s America

5/1/17  //  Commentary

The ugly history of loyalty oaths lies along a road on which Trump's "Loyalty Day" proclamation takes a frightening first step, one wrapped in a false version of the American flag.

Laurence H. Tribe

Harvard Law School

Joshua Matz

Publisher

What Happens Next for the ACA?

3/28/17  //  Commentary

President Trump has said that “the best thing we can do politically speaking is let Obamacare explode,” and there’s a lot he can do to make that explosion a reality. Here is what you need to know about what might come next.

Rachel Sachs

Washington University Law School

Nick Bagley

University of Michigan Law School

Facts Matter—Even if the Sessions Department of Justice Doesn’t Realize It

4/26/17  //  Commentary

Just 100 days into the Trump Administration—the Administration that gave rise to the concept of #AlternativeFacts—there is reason to worry that facts don’t matter to the Justice Department now led by Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions.

Brianne J. Gorod

Constitutional Accountability Center

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, Episode Three: “We’re All Hypocrites” + Zachary Price

5/4/17  //  Commentary

This week on Versus Trump, the Take Care podcast, we preview a major argument in the Muslim travel ban litigation, talk to Professor Zach Price about reliance interests with respect to selective enforcement of federal laws, and more.

Easha Anand

San Francisco

Charlie Gerstein

Civil Rights Corps

Animus, Past and Present

5/9/17  //  Commentary

In a new op-ed, Erwin Chemerinsky and I argue that the entry ban is unconstitutional because it was driven by animus toward Muslims.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Why Trump’s Firing of Comey is Terrifying

5/10/17  //  Commentary

Our country has a very strong, very important norm of apolitical law enforcement. But this norm, ironically, is enforced mostly by politics, not law—and Trump’s action has risked doing it irreparable damage. Going forward, here's what to watch at the state and federal levels.

Zachary Price

U.C. Hastings College of the Law

Standing Up For Standing in CREW v. Trump

4/26/17  //  Quick Reactions

Everyone should give a tip of the hat to the new plaintiffs in the CREW v. Trump lawsuit.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

The Contingency of Partisanship

3/27/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

Both history and recent events make clear that President Trump can’t rely on partisan allegiance alone to save his presidency.

Josh Chafetz

Cornell Law School

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

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

Why Firing Comey Guts DOJ's Main Defense of the Muslim Ban 

5/10/17  //  Commentary

Sometimes, when an emissary of the President asks courts to “trust us,” things the President does elsewhere can fatally undermine judicial confidence in the President’s respect for rule of law values. We’ve seen it before and we’re about to see it again.

Joshua Matz

Publisher

Reliance Defenses in the Trump Era and Beyond

3/23/17  //  Commentary

The transition to President Trump has massively shifted federal enforcement priorities. Does the Constitution protect people who relied on Obama's immigration, healthcare, or marijuana policies?

Zachary Price

U.C. Hastings College of the Law

When Free Speech Suits the President

4/6/17  //  Commentary

A federal judge has refused to dismiss a suit alleging that President Trump incited violence against protesters at one of his campaign rallies last year. The bitter irony to Trump's defense is that it seeks to expand free speech rules; usually, he prefers to trash them.

Amanda Shanor

Yale Law School

[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

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

Ethics Complaints Against Lying Trump-Administration Lawyers

4/7/17  //  Commentary

There might still be some lies that people won't tolerate. Even from lawyers. And even from lawyers who are also politicians. Should those lies be the basis for discipline under legal ethics rules?

Charlie Gerstein

Civil Rights Corps

Why Trump's Motives Do (And Don't) Matter — The Comey/Flynn Incident

5/17/17  //  Commentary

While inquiries into motive need not control legal analysis of Trump's recent conduct, such questions will inevitably shape public (and legal) understanding in profound ways. Sadly, that means we're all about to voyage still deeper into Trump's psyche. This may be a path to madness, but there is no other way forward.

Joshua Matz

Publisher

On Standing In CREW v. Trump Part I: Defining The Injury

4/27/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

Critics of the standing arguments in CREW v. Trump are defining the new plaintiffs’ injury in the wrong way.

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

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 Rule of Law Means Little If The President’s Word Means Nothing

4/26/17  //  Quick Reactions

In a new op-ed, I emphasize the importance of taking President Trump at his word–even as efforts to save his executive orders from his tweets inevitably push Trump's defenders to come up with new and creative reasons for ignoring Trump's public statements.

Joshua Matz

Publisher

Announcing Take Care

3/16/17  //  Commentary

Take Care is a new collaborative blog that will provide insightful, accessible, and timely analysis of whether the President is adhering to legal limits on his authority.

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

Trump, Trust, and the 25th Amendment

5/15/17  //  Commentary

Imagine that the President lacked credibility entirely, whether because he was a pathological liar or because his lying was – hypothetically speaking – one symptom of a narcissistic personality disorder. Would there be anything the American people or government officials should or could do about it, short of waiting until the end of the President’s term.

Jamal Greene

Columbia Law School

Why Hasn’t Rod Rosenstein Recused Himself From the Russiagate Probe?

5/22/17  //  Commentary

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein should recuse himself from the probe into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia and the President’s apparent attempt to obstruct the FBI’s inquiry. Rosenstein himself played a key role in the events at the center of the controversy, and his continued involvement casts a shadow over the ongoing investigation.

Daniel Hemel

University of Chicago Law School

Those Who Do Not Know History

4/12/17  //  Commentary

On the first full day of Passover, the Trump Administration offered several lessons about institutionalized racism and ethnic cleansing.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Joshua Matz

Publisher

Making Bureaucracy Great Again: Trump’s New Office of Innovation

3/27/17  //  Quick Reactions

Jared Kushner says he will run government like a business. But this administration has no understanding of government, or of business. And it doesn't respect the distinctive, unbusinesslike practices and principles of running a government.

Jon D. Michaels

UCLA School of Law

On Standing In CREW v. Trump Part II: More Distinctions Without A Difference To Competitor Standing Cases

4/28/17  //  Commentary

The various ways that standing skeptics have distinguished cases supporting standing in CREW are unpersuasive.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of 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

Yesterday's Other Story: Republican Knowledge of Russian Interference?

5/18/17  //  Commentary

Yesterday, a Washington Post story indicated that Republican House leadership may have known that Russia had hacked the DNC and was delivering the contents of the hack to the Trump campaign.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

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

Trump’s Approach to Crime & Punishment

3/16/17  //  Commentary

The president has continued existing policies, but also signaled a misplaced (and dangerous) reliance on immigration enforcement and incarceration to protect the public.

Chiraag Bains

Harvard Law School

Analysis of Comey, Mueller, Obstruction & Impeachment From Around the Web

5/22/17  //  Uncategorized

Take Care is pleased to offer an organized guide to legal analyses of many rule of law issues that recently have dominated the news.

Take Care

Presidential Bad Faith

3/16/17  //  Commentary

If the President cannot be trusted to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,” then that obligation falls on “We the People."

Laurence H. Tribe

Harvard Law School

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

First Tragedy, Now Farce

5/15/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

Those who forget history are indeed doomed to repeat it. But when history repeats, it often shifts in the repetition: first acts come as tragedy and then return as farce. By many measures, Nixon was a tragic figure. Trump, by contrast, is pure farce. And unlike tragedies, farces don’t end with a flash of recognition—a moment of self-awareness like King Lear’s on the heath. Farces just keep going until someone cries "enough!"

Jon D. Michaels

UCLA School of Law

Republican (and Democratic) Hypocrisy on Faithful Execution

3/17/17  //  Commentary

President Obama pushed the limits of enforcement discretion. Trump may be worse. Will anyone check him if he is?

Zachary Price

U.C. Hastings College of the Law