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Separation of Powers

Executive Action on Immigration - Event Audio/Video

Sponsored by the Federalist Society's Practice Groups
Kamal Essaheb, David B. Rivkin, Jr., Ilya Shapiro, Peter Bisbee February 20, 2015

On November 20, 2014, President Obama, with much attention from the media and the public, announced executive action on immigration. Our discussion will address the specifics of the President’s actions, and the legality of those actions. What exactly was said and done by the President, and how do his actions differ from acts he previously asserted were beyond his unilateral power? Has the President exceeded his constitutional authority to act? What happens next? Please join us over the lunch hour for a discussion with three experts in the field.

Featuring:

  • Mr. Kamal Essaheb, Immigration Policy Attorney, National Immigration Law Center
  • Mr. David Rivkin, Partner, Baker & Hostetler LLP
  • Mr. Ilya Shapiro, Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies, Cato Institute
  • Moderator: Mr. Peter Bisbee, Membership Director and Associate Director of External Relations, The Federalist Society

National Press Club
Washington, DC

“Sue-and-Settle” and the Endangered Species Act - Podcast

Environmental Law & Property Rights and Federalism & Separation of Powers Practice Groups Podcast
Susan Combs, Justin Pidot, William Yeatman February 18, 2015

Endangered Species Act listing settlements between the Environmental Protection Agency and private parties have not always allowed state participation or input. Truncated legal proceedings may not sufficiently recognize private partnerships with states to remedy habitat conservation concerns. State actors, energy industries, ranchers, and private property owners have asked how the process may better serve all interests. As some states face settlement decrees that represent potentially dozens – to over a hundred – new listings, is there a way to ensure equity and full process for all concerned parties?

  • Hon. Susan Combs, Former Comptroller of Public Accounts, State of Texas
  • Prof. Justin Pidot, University of Denver Sturm College of Law
  • William Yeatman, Senior Fellow, Competitive Enterprise Institute

Amtrak and the Non-Delegation Doctrine in the Supreme Court - Podcast

Litigation Practice Group Podcast
C. Frederick Beckner December 10, 2014

Congress passed the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act (PRIIA) in 2008. Section 207 of PRIIA requires the Federal Railroad Administration and Amtrak to “jointly develop” the metrics and standards for Amtrak’s performance that are used by the Surface Transportation Board to trigger the investigation of private freight railroads for failing to provide preferences for Amtrak passenger trains (as required by federal law) if Amtrak fails to meet the standards. Is PRIIA Section 207 an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power to a private entity? The D.C. Circuit said yes, concluding that the statute is the functional equivalent of granting General Motors the authority to write regulations covering its industry rivals. Will the Supreme Court agree and breathe life into the rarely invoked non-delegation doctrine? Our expert attended the oral argument on Monday, December 8, and offered his impressions to a Teleforum audience.

  • C. Frederick Beckner, III, Partner, Sidley Austin LLP

Department of Transportation v. Association of American Railroads - Post-Argument SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 12-10-14 featuring Alexander Volokh
Alexander Volokh December 10, 2014

On December 8, 2014, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Department of Transportation v. Association of American Railroads. The question in this case is whether the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 unconstitutionally delegates legislative power to a putatively private entity--Amtrak--by involving it in the creation of standards used to determine whether freight railroads are according the preference to Amtrak’s passenger trains that is required by federal law regarding the use of rail lines.

To discuss the case, we have Prof. Alexander “Sasha” Volokh, who is an Associate Professor of Law at the Emory University School of Law. Professor Volokh received his JD and PhD in economics from Harvard University.

Amtrak and the Resurgence of the Non-Delegation Doctrine? - Podcast

Administrative Law & Regulation Practice Group Podcast
Ronald A. Cass, Michael E. Herz, Brian Callanan December 05, 2014

Congress passed the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act (PRIIA) in 2008. Section 207 of PRIIA requires the Federal Railroad Administration and Amtrak to “jointly develop” the metrics and standards for Amtrak’s performance that are used by the Surface Transportation Board to trigger the investigation of private freight railroads for failing to provide preferences for Amtrak passenger trains (as required by federal law) if Amtrak fails to meet the standards. Is PRIIA Section 207 an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power to a private entity? The D.C. Circuit said yes, concluding that the statute is the functional equivalent of granting General Motors the authority to write regulations covering its industry rivals. The Supreme Court will have a chance to consider the question in Department of Transportation v. Association of American Railroads, scheduled to be heard on December 8, 2014. Our experts discussed the case and previewed the oral arguments.

  • Hon. Ronald A. Cass, Dean Emeritus, Boston University School of Law and President, Cass & Associates, PC
  • Prof. Michael E. Herz, Arthur Kaplan Professor of Law, Co-Director, Floersheimer Center for Constitutional Democracy, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
  • Moderator: Brian Callanan, Associate, King & Spalding