- Professor Richard Epstein, NYU Law
Saving Congress from Itself proposes a single reform: eliminate all federal grants-in-aid to state and local governments. This action would reduce federal spending by over $600 billion a year and have a profound effect on how we govern ourselves. The proliferation of federal grants-in-aid programs is of recent vintage: only about 100 such grants existed before Lyndon Johnson took office, and now they number more than 1,100. Eliminating grants to the states will result in enormous savings in federal and state administrative costs; free states to set their own priorities; and improve the design and implementation of programs now subsidized by Washington by eliminating federal regulations that attend the grants. In short, it will free states and their subdivisions to resume full responsibility for all activities that fall within their competence, such as education, welfare, and highway construction and maintenance. And because members of Congress spend major portions of their time creating grants and allocating funds assigned to them (think earmarks), eliminating grants will enable Congress to devote its time to responsibilities that are uniquely national in character.
The Federalist Society's Practice Groups presented this closing discussion on "Saving Congress from Itself: Emancipating the States & Empowering Their People" on Saturday, November 15, during the 2014 National Lawyers Convention.
On October 7, 2014, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Holt v. Hobbs, which concerns whether the Arkansas Department of Correction's grooming policy, which generally prohibits inmates from growing beards save for a narrow health-based exception, violates the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) by impermissibly burdening the religious liberty of a Muslim inmate seeking to grow a half-inch beard for religious reasons.
To discuss the case, we have Jordan Lorence, who is senior counsel and senior vice-president of the Office of Strategic Initiatives for Alliance Defending Freedom.
Carrie Severino breaks down the upcoming Supreme Court Case King v. Burwell, which questions whether the IRS can issue Affordable Care Act subsidies through federal exchanges.
Emotions sometimes run high in the public debates over race and gender issues. Some claim that public passions can obscure facts and result in ill-considered policy. Many observers have bemoaned the public rhetoric surrounding the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri as more inflammatory than constructive. Another example can be found in criticism over President Obama’s use of a misleading, or at least contestable, figure in his 2014 State of the Union address: “Today, women make up about half our workforce. But they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. That is wrong, and in 2014, it’s an embarrassment. A woman deserves equal pay for equal work.” But equal pay for equal work has been the law since 1963, and some researchers have questioned whether the pay gap exists in reality to the same extent it does rhetorically. Are similarly emotional arguments being used in the debates over sexual assault in the military, hate crimes, and harassment and bullying in public schools? This panel will explore the concerns over this problem and its policy consequences.
This panel on "Passion and Prudence in the Political Process: The Debate Over Federal Civil Rights Policy" was part of a day-long conference on Civil Rights in the United States held on September 9, 2014, and co-sponsored by the Federalist Society's Civil Rights Practice Group, the Cato Institute, and the Heritage Foundation.
The Mayflower Hotel