Saturday, August 5, 2017

Is Trump Right in Asserting that the Foreign Sanctions Statute is Unconstitutional? Yes and No.

On August 2, President Trump signed H.R. 3364, the "Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act," a law imposing sanctions on Iran and North Korea and prohibiting the President from lifting existing sanctions on Russia. However, President Trump also issued a signing statement (actually two signing statements) in which he asserted that the law was unconstitutional. Was he right?

In part the President is correct: the provision of H.R. 3364 that declares that it is the policy of the United States not to recognize Russia's sovereignty over Crimea and eastern Ukraine is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court has ruled that the Constitution implicitly gives the President has the sole power to recognize what territories are subject to foreign governments. In contrast, the sanctions imposed by Congress on Russia on account of its actions in Ukraine and the limitations on the President's power to lift those sanctions are constitutional, because the Constitution expressly vests Congress with the power to regulate foreign commerce.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Clinton, Trump and the War on Women

For many years Democrats have claimed that Republicans have been waging a "war on women." Republicans have angrily rejected both the metaphor and the reality behind it. With the ascendancy of Donald Trump as the leader of the Republican Party, the reality of the war on women can no longer be denied. I had thought that this election was like all the others I have lived through - a dispute over policy. But it is more, much more. It was only recently that I realized the true significance and scope of this election. It is no less than a revolution - a watershed in the history of the human race.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

What Should Republicans Do Now?

What can the Republican Party do to redeem itself from the racism, sexism, and xenophobia of Donald Trump? In a discussion on 538 entitled "Is This What It Looks Like When a Party Falls Apart," Nate Silver said,  "This isn't just a crisis of party leadership. It's a crisis of the party's voters." Trump is enthusiastically supported by about 40% of Republicans. Republican voters nominated Trump because of his racism, sexism, and xenophobia. He rose to political prominence by loudly proclaiming that Barack Obama is not a citizen and launched his presidential campaign by rudely calling undocumented Mexican immigrants "rapists." The vicious misogyny of Trump recently displayed on tape has been obvious throughout the campaign ("Blood coming out of her ... wherever."). Most Republicans are appalled by him, but what can they do? I have six suggestions for what they can do as individuals, but I'm not at all sure they can salvage the Republican Party.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Supreme Court's Decision in Zubik v. Burwell

Last December I wrote a loooonnnngggg post about the issues in Zubik v. Burwell, the contraceptive mandate case. This case promised to be one of the most significant decisions of the Supreme Court's 2015-2016 term. Today, the case closed softly, in what the media is calling a "compromise" resolution. (Today's decision of the Court in Zubic v. Burwell is available here.) But make no mistake -- the winners are employees who are now guaranteed contraceptive coverage at no cost.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Clinton/Trump (3): The Race as of May 8, 2016

The latest national polls give Hillary Clinton an average of a seven-point lead on Donald Trump. How would this affect the electoral map and control of Congress?

Friday, April 29, 2016

Clinton/Trump (1) -- Will Donald Trump Defend Ukraine Against Russia?

Is Donald Trump caving in to Russia on Ukraine? It sure looks like it. There are strong indications that Trump opposes President Obama's policy of steadfast resistance to Russia, and would prefer to downgrade NATO, abandon Ukraine, and forge an alliance with Vladimir Putin. Donald Trump has chosen Paul Manafort -- an apologist for the Russian puppet Viktor Yanukovych -- as his campaign manager. This is deeply troubling. It calls into question Trump's loyalty to western Europe, his commitment to democracy, and his willingness to stand up to Russian expansionism. Why is Trump doing this? Trump is not a leader who has the best interests of people at heart. Trump is an opportunist who wants to make money.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Supreme Court’s Decision in Federal Energy Regulatory Commission v. Electric Power Supply Association

On January 25, 2016, the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Federal Energy Regulatory Commission v. Electric Power Supply Association, upholding Order No. 745 of the FERC. This case primarily involves a question of statutory interpretation. However, the Court’s decision also has important policy implications. It represents a significant victory for businesses and consumers who purchase electricity as well as a victory for the environment, by reducing the necessity to generate electricity from expensive and polluting coal-fired electrical generating plants. Justice Kagan joined by five other justices authored the opinion for the majority. Justice Scalia, joined by Justice Thomas, dissented. Justice Alito did not participate.

Friday, January 22, 2016

National Review Violates Trump's Rights Under the Eleventh Commandment -- Will Competing Republican Candidates Do the Same?

Yesterday the National Review published an editorial ("Against Trump") and a collection of essays ("A Donald Trump Nomination Would Fundamentally Change the GOP") criticizing Donald Trump. The editorial and some of the essays were composed of standard, inoffensive critiques that are perfectly acceptable within the Republican Party, along the lines of "Trump isn't conservative enough." But several of the essays NR chose to publish in support of its editorial crossed the line that Reagan laid down and that Republican pundits and politicians have almost universally respected until now. Those essays called Trump a racist and a would-be war criminal. And the response of the Republican Party hierarchy was swift. It disassociated itself from the National Review.