Part lament, part provocative call-to-action, Democracy in Decline: Steps in the Wrong Direction argues how democracy is being diluted and restricted in five of the world's oldest democracies – the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. University of Queensland School of Law Professor James Allan targets four main, interconnected causes of decline – judicial activism, the transformation and growth of international law, the development of supranational organizations, and the presence of undemocratic elites. He argues that the same trends are occurring whether the country has a constitutional bill of rights (United States and Canada), a statutory bill of rights (the United Kingdom and New Zealand), or no bill of rights at all (Australia). Identifying tactics used by lawyers, judges, and international bureaucrats to deny that any decline has occurred, Mr. Allan looks ahead to further deterioration caused by attacks on free speech, intolerant worldviews, internationalization through treaties and conventions, and illegal immigration. Social and political decisions, Mr. Allan argues, must be based on counting every adult in a nation state as equal. An essential book for anyone concerned with majority rule and fairness in numbers, Democracy in Decline presents an account of trends that he says have been undermining democracy over three decades.
What are the duties and responsibilities of the Legislative and Judicial Branch in policing Executive Branch activities? Has the administrative state grown to an extent that the very balance of power between the three branches has changed, and have the coordinate branches taken a step back? When it comes to the separation of powers, and ensuring one branch does not encroach on the proper authority of another, Federalist 51 advises that, “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition.” Should Congress provide more robust oversight, or use its power of the purse more readily to rein in the Executive? Has the judiciary, through the non-delegation doctrine, Chevron deference, and its recent City of Arlington decision, struck the right balance? These and other questions will be addressed by our panelists.
A key element of the Practice Groups' Executive Branch Review project is our annual conference. This year's Executive Branch Review Conference took place on May 7th at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Luncheon Panel: Executive Power and the Role of the Coordinate Branches
12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
This panel will examine the growth of interest in recent years in original public meaning as a source of constitutional law. Panelists will debate the merits and demerits of originalism as compared to living constitutionalism. Questions addressed will include whether originalism is consistent with or in opposition to living constitutionalism and whether evidence of original intent is ever relevant to constitutional law. Panelists will also discuss the normative arguments for and against reliance on original meaning in constitutional interpretation. Another question to be considered is whether the interpretation and construction of legal rules are separate or identical judicial acts.
The Federalist Society's Practice Groups presented this showcase panel on "Textualism and Constitutional Interpretation" on Friday, November 15, during the 2013 National Lawyers Convention.
Showcase Panel II: Textualism and Constitutional Interpretation
9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas addressed attendees of the Federalist Society's 2013 National Lawyers Convention on Thursday, November 14, at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. Senator Cruz was introduced by Mr. Leonard A. Leo, Executive Vice President of the Federalist Society.
[Watch or listen now!]